Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta's Independence Day Message

 “On this Independence Day, I would like to extend my gratitude and best wishes to our entire military family:  our men and women in uniform who serve around the world, and their families, and our Department of Defense civilians who support them, and their families.  On this day, we honor all of you for your service and the many sacrifices you make to defend our freedom.

 “While many Americans will spend this holiday with family and friends enjoying summer weather, fireworks, and outdoor barbeques, others will be on the front lines defending our country.  Today, in particular, the American people pay tribute to those of you deployed overseas for your strength, your courage, and your willingness to put your lives on the line to protect this country.

 “It was 236 years ago that our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.  Since then, succeeding generations of Americans have stepped forward to safeguard the liberties that our founders fought to give us.  That was true 200 years ago during the War of 1812, when we first defended our young nation from attack, and has remained true whenever freedom has been threatened in the generations since.

 “Today, our brave men and women in uniform continue to protect our freedoms that were first outlined in that Declaration.  They serve our nation proudly and they are willing to put their lives on the line so that our children can have a better future.

 “As we celebrate the birth of our nation, it is a time for our leaders and every American to recognize that the blessings of freedom we enjoy are not free -- they come from a legacy of sacrifice, courage, and leadership.  That legacy is now our responsibility to fulfill -- so that our children can enjoy a better life.

 “May God bless you, may God bless our military, and may God bless this great nation.”

Fourth of July: Did You Know…

By Navy CAPT Paul S. Hammer, DCoE director

It’s official: America is almost another year older! It’s the time of year when we throw off our grill covers, enjoy more time outside with our friends and family, cheer on our favorite baseball teams, or head to the beach loaded down with more sand toys, coolers and beach chairs than we know what to do with. It’s also the time when we gather together under the stars to watch the night sky explode with bursts of color to celebrate the birth of our country and the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Our country is younger than most, yet it is still rich in history and has time and again been at the forefront of change, even when change came slowly. Most of us can undoubtedly recall the history lessons of our youth, bringing to mind the many sacrifices our forefathers endured for our freedom. We may carry these lessons from our youth with us as we age and hopefully share with younger generations. However, there are many Independence Day fun facts that we may not so easily recall.

Did you know?
 ■Three of our nation’s presidents died on the Fourth of July. Two, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, died on the same day in 1826, which also happened to be the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe died several years later on July 4, 1831.
■According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, “On Independence Day, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. over five times.” July also happens to be National Hot Dog Month.
■Our national anthem is set to the tune “To Anacreon of Heaven” thought to be a drinking song of 18th century London society.
■$232.3 million is the approximate value of fireworks imported from China in 2011. By comparison, the United States fireworks exports came to just $15.8 million in 2011, with Australia purchasing more than any other country, totaling $4.5 million.
■Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names. The most populous one as of April 1, 2010, was Liberty, Mo. (29,149). Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.

No matter what your plans are for this Fourth of July, please be safe and take a moment to remember our men and women serving overseas and their families here at home.

Independence Day message from the Adjutant General of Wisconsin

On Wednesday, we celebrate the 236th anniversary of our nation's Declaration of Independence. An extraordinary confluence of events led our forbearers to tell the most powerful king on earth that we were, and of right ought to be, free and independent states. They then called on our militia and our newly formed Army, Navy and Marine Corps - who, under the leadership of George Washington, backed up our declaration and established our republic. What a gift. What a legacy. What a heritage.

We are the National Guard - we were there in 1776 and we remain today - always ready and always there. May God continue to bless our nation and the people we are privileged to serve.


 Donald P. Dunbar
 Major General
 Wisconsin National Guard
 The Adjutant General

Dunbar to remain state's top military officer

Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office

Governor Scott Walker announced today the reappointment of Major General Donald Dunbar as the adjutant general of Wisconsin.

 "Major General Dunbar has demonstrated over the past five years that he is a proven leader," said Governor Walker, who is the commander-in-chief of the Wisconsin National Guard. "I know he will effectively lead the Wisconsin National Guard through the challenges of the future."

Dunbar became the state's 30th Adjutant General on Aug. 3, 2007, when he assumed command of the 10,000-member Wisconsin National Guard from Major General Al Wilkening. As Adjutant General, Dunbar oversees the state's Emergency Management division, chairs the Governor's Homeland Security Council, and is the governor's Homeland Security Advisor. He also serves as the vice-chair on FEMA's National Advisory Council.

"I am honored and humbled to be reappointed as Wisconsin's Adjutant General and I am grateful to Governor Walker for his leadership and confidence," Dunbar said, " I am also grateful to my wife, Colleen, for her love, friendship and support of a career with many demands.

"It is my distinct privilege to continue in this capacity and serve with the outstanding Soldiers and Airmen of the Wisconsin National Guard and the exceptional civilian professionals at Wisconsin Emergency Management and within the Department of Military Affairs," Dunbar continued. "I am very proud to lead them and pledge to do my very best to be worthy of their service and this reappointment."

Dunbar began his military career in 1983 and completed pilot training in 1985. He has served as KC-135 functional manager at the National Guard Bureau, staff member for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, executive officer to the director of the Air National Guard, and commander of the 141st Operations Group.

In 2005, he became commander of the Milwaukee-based 128th Air Refueling Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard. There he commanded more than 900 Airmen and was responsible for maintaining worldwide unit readiness.

Dunbar has volunteered for and deployed on contingency missions including Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Northern Watch. He commanded the 385th Expeditionary Operations Group in 2004 and 2005, supporting Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom with C-17 and KC-135 operations.

As adjutant general, Dunbar has mobilized more than 6,000 Soldiers and Airmen for combat operations and led the state through five declared Stafford Act emergencies.

Dunbar is a Drexel Hill, Penn., native. He and his wife, Colleen, currently reside in New Berlin, Wis.

Missouri Guard engineers build retaining wall at Honduran school

By Army National Guard 1st Lt. John Quin
Missouri National Guard

NACO, Honduras (7/3/12) - Soldiers from the Missouri Army National Guard’s 1438th Engineer Company (Multi-Role Bridge) took on a new project, building a retaining wall at a school outside Naco, Honduras on June 28.

The wall, which sits beneath a hill, will serve a dual purpose by stopping further erosion and increasing security for the young students. Some of those students were on hand, watching the Soldiers work.

“The kids have been great,” said Spc. Zack Adkins, a member of the 1438th Engr. Co. “We’ve been trying to get past the language barrier with them.”

The Soldiers are in Honduras as part of U.S. Army South’s Beyond the Horizon exercise.

The exercise seeks to combine military skills training in areas like engineering and medicine with humanitarian outreach projects. The vast majority of service members who have participated are in the National Guard or Reserves and many, like the 1438th, came to Honduras in two-week rotations for their annual training.

The Soldiers working on the wall are part of the exercise’s final rotation. Although they have been in Honduras since Saturday, much of their previous work was finishing nearly-completed projects left by previous rotations.

Because extra materials were available and the community expressed a need, the Soldiers were able to take on the retaining wall mission as a ‘project of opportunity.’

By the time the Soldiers leave, the wall will be four cinderblocks tall, said Army Sgt. Brad Fouch, also from the 1438th Engr. Co.

“After we leave, the locals will build it the rest of the way up,” Fouch said.

Even with temperatures soaring into the 90s and a heat index well above 110 degrees, Adkins said the mission was a rewarding one.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s a good time – it’s hard work, but it’s worth it.”

For Army Pvt. James Walker, Army Pfc Brandon Smith, and Spc. Jamin Coleman, this was not only their first humanitarian mission, but their first trip outside the United States.

“It’s a good experience,” Walker said.

Coleman agreed.

“It’s good to be able to help out other people,” he said. “You have to start from something, so it’s nice to help the people here get to a good starting place.”

The Beyond the Horizon exercise concludes in early July.