Military News

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Inside the World of Mirrors: The Story of a Shadow Warrior.



J. Max Taylor, USA (ret.) “was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in Feb 1948. He was an only child and led a normal life through high school. He received his draft notice in late 1987. When he reported to the draft processing center he went through all the normal physical and intellectual testing that every draftee went through. At the end of all the testing, he was taken aside and offered a special position in military intelligence. If he accepted, he would have a three year commitment to the U.S. Army. He accepted the offer, and in doing so he changed the course of his life. He was trained in special intelligence operations activities, attached to special duty with another organization, and was sent to Korea as an intelligence editor. From this point forward, till 1976, his book, Inside the World of Mirrors tells the compelling story of a world that very few people knew existed. He was medically retired in late 1976.

From that time on he has lived in a world of recurring nightmares. The memories of the bad things that happened were never forgotten. He returns every night to the horror and terror that he had experienced. At that time there was no name for his condition. Now it is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He still is under care by the Veterans Administration for these problems to this day. He went on with his life to become a successful businessman doing business all around the world. In 2000 an accident aggravated the PTSD. Part of the Veterans Administration Program he was in was Psychological Counseling. He was told to write down his experiences, and read them over and over to help deaden the pain and suffering. "Inside the World of Mirrors" is a result of this process. Today he lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wonderful supportive wife Dorothy.” J. Max Taylor is the author of Inside the World of Mirrors: The Story of a Shadow Warrior.

More about J. Max Taylor

Face of Defense: Marine Urges Others to ‘Pay It Forward’

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Krista James
2nd Marine Division

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., July 24, 2013 – It all started with a note and a piece of candy taped to a barracks room door. The note read, “Pay it forward,” and told the reader to contact the person who put it there if they ever needed anything. It was a small token of kindness with a huge meaning behind it: to do things for other people.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Cpl. Andrew Y. Zheng picks up trash along New Bern Highway near Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 20, 2013. Zheng volunteers in his off-duty time to help the local community. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Krista James
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Corps Cpl. Andrew Y. Zheng, a saxophone player with the 2nd Marine Division Band and a St. Louis native, is the man behind this message.

Zheng went around to 500 barracks rooms and gave candy to all of the Marines who were staying at the barracks instead of leaving for the Fourth of July weekend. “On July 4th, I just thought I would do something nice for people, hoping that I raised their spirits to want to do something for other people as well,” he said.

Zheng called this concept “pay it forward.”

“That’s just a concept that I learned in high school -- that when you do a good thing for somebody, they do good things for other people,” he explained. He compared the concept to a chain reaction.

“A lot of people want to do good stuff, but until somebody comes to them and really helps them, or shows them that people really are doing good stuff, they won’t,” he said. “I’m just trying to initiate that spark.”

Zheng said he has been doing volunteer work since high school, and it has carried him throughout his Marine Corps career.

“In order to get used to this area, I did a lot of volunteering through the Single Marine Program to try to network with people and find what kind of volunteer work I enjoy doing,” he said. “From there, I started focusing on volunteer work with United Way.”

Marine Corps Cpl. Evan Laderer -- also a saxophone player with the 2nd Marine Division Band, is Zheng’s roommate and a Slippery Rock, Pa. native -- has known Zheng for about two years. He said Zheng definitely cares about the Marines in the unit, and that he finds satisfaction and fulfillment in volunteering.

“In the time that I’ve known Andrew, he has probably put in anywhere from 200 to 300 hours of volunteer service,” Laderer said. “He volunteers for one thing, and just goes strong. He communicates with those individuals that need that help and gives as much time as he can to volunteering.”

Zheng said he doesn’t volunteer just for his own satisfaction; he hopes he is setting an example.
“I’m helping to show my peers and subordinates what more they can achieve and aspire to be,” he said. “They can find fulfillment and a sense of honor in what they do and who they are by contributing to the community.”

Zheng said he tries to model himself after his life-mentor, who initiated the service spark for him when he was a boy.

“I’d say I do what I do because of my life-mentor,” he said. “Since I was 6 years old, I had this private teacher who basically inspired me to become like him. He went around the community in bad neighborhoods and showed them what more they can do in their lives, and where they can get to if they just put in a little bit of effort.”

Laderer said Zheng’s volunteer work really matters to his fellow Marines and people in the community.
“It’s definitely making a big difference to the Marines that he helps,” he said. “It brightens their day, and that’s mission accomplishment, I would say.”

Zheng said his volunteer work won’t end after he leaves the Marine Corps.

“My future goal is to open up a community center,” he added. “Everything I do, whether it is volunteer service or something else, is in preparation to create the best atmosphere and center that I can.”
Zheng offered some advice for those he hopes to inspire.

“Live your life as if someone were narrating it ... and ask yourself if you would be proud about what they said.”

Airman becomes father to triplets while deployed

by Airman 1st Class Sam Fogleman
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


7/23/2013 - SPOKANE, Wash. -- Deploying can be a disorienting experience in and of itself.

Senior Airman Harley Wicks, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron Air Transportation at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., left for Afghanistan the day after Christmas last year knowing he was about to be the father of triplets.

Wick's wife, Amber, became essentially a single parent and a new mother of three when Owen, Keegan and Rylee-Jo were born April 28. Harley returned back to the United States to meet Amber and his new children July 15. (Their reunion at Spokane International Airport made the news at a variety of outlets.)

"We found out at the six-week ultrasound that we were having three," Amber said. "We knew he was going to be deploying. As soon as we found out there were three, I started making plans to be with my parents while Harley was gone."

The triplets are Harley and Amber's first children together.

"They are our first and only," Amber said with a touch of certainty.

Amber, a Washington state native, stayed with her parents in Oakesdale, Wash., for much of the time Harley was gone.

The Wicks family will begin their trip from Washington state to their new home in Arkansas July 26.

"He was there that first night, and he looked at me with the sleepiest eyes, with a baby on his chest, and he said, "I had no idea how you did this,'" Amber recollected of Harley's first night home with his triplets. "He also said, 'I've been with them for one day and I'm exhausted.'"

Traveling chaplain team raises morale of security forces Airmen

by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs


7/24/2013 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan  -- Comprehensive Airmen Fitness pillars are important to maintain at both home station and abroad, and Chaplain Capt. Myung Cho and his assistant Staff Sgt. Frank Rivas, travel day and night across Bagram Air Field, to ensure the airmen assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Group are spiritually fit.

Prior to a chaplain deploying they usually find out what unit they will be assigned to; In Cho's case, he found out a month beforehand.

"At home station, I was the chaplain for the mission support group," said Cho, on his first deployment from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. "So to be prepared, I immersed myself with the security forces Airmen to learn about their deployment experiences."

Currently at Bagram there are five chaplain and assistant teams: flightline, SFG, wing chaplain, and two medical group teams.

"Our primary mission here consists of visitations and counseling 24/7 with the unit we are assigned to," said Rivas, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain assistant, deployed from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. "I go everywhere the chaplain goes to provide protection. Also during our visitations, I help him gauge morale to see how the Airmen are, mentally, physically and spiritually."

According to Rivas, because of the reduced amount of paperwork here compared to home station, the chaplain teams get to spend more time with the Airmen, or in their case, the defenders of the base. Due to the 24-hour operations here, chaplain teams have to work shifts to support everyone. Cho and Rivas work weekly rotations, alternating with one week of days, and the following week at night, to make sure they get to visit everyone.

"Daily, Airmen here work 12-hour shifts at entry control points, towers, operation desks and patrols, often staring at the same person every shift," said Cho. "As people can imagine, there are only so many topics the same two Airmen can talk about before they run out of things to say to each other. And since they are not allowed any entertainment materials at their post, we visit them at their place of work to lift up their spirits, raise morale and to listen to what the airmen have to say, complaints and all."

Everything chaplains hear is confidential. The teams also make sure the members are getting to talk to their families and maintain strong relationships.

Sunday and Monday before defenders go to work, the SFG chaplain team travels to all five base sectors to make sure everyone has the opportunity to worship. Currently they offer 10 worship services and four to five different devotions at each one. Cho also plays his guitar and sings a song at each session.

"We work all over base lugging fifty pounds of gear daily to keep the base safe and allowing other members to do their jobs, but we need encouragement too," said Master Sgt. John Smith, 455th ESFS member deployed from an 164th Airlift Wing Memphis Air National Guard Base, Tenn. "The source of true encouragement comes from God and chaplain Cho is God's ambassador to us. He provides great chaplain services, but he also puts his vest and helmet on to come see us in our work place, because everyone needs encouragement."

According to Smith, spiritual fitness is one of the most neglected pillars with all that we have going on but Cho and Rivas make sure everyone has the opportunity to worship.

"My favorite part of being deployed would be full integration with the Airmen and knowing that I can help them in any way I can so they can carry out their mission," said Rivas, a native of Miami on his fourth deployment.

Cho said his passion here is to make sure the defenders are taken care of.

He said,"Our goal every visit is to make sure we bring a smile to their faces."

Deployed 961st AACS service members return to Kadena

by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman
18th Wing Public Affairs


7/23/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Twenty-four service members assigned to the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron returned to home station late July 19 after being deployed to Southwest Asia for roughly 90 days.

Kristen Burciaga, wife of returning 1st Lt. Jesus Burciaga, said she's just happy to see her husband again.

"I'm very, very excited to see him," Kristen said. "I'm looking forward to just hanging out with him."

Lt. Col. Trey Coleman, 961st AACS commander, said the crew's return is not only important to awaiting family members - it's vital to the 961st team and overall mission at the 18th Wing and in the Pacific theater.

"We are incredibly happy to have them back," Coleman said. "Not only are they our family, they also constitute a significant portion of our combat capability in the Pacific."

The unit is responsible for air battle management, which gives U.S. and allied forces greater visibility of the battlefield from the sky.

While deployed, the service members flew 24 combat missions totaling 293 flight hours, during which time they controlled 253 aircraft in 136 restricted operating zones in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and the Joint Defense of the Arabian Gulf.

"The mission of the 961st AACS is to provide air battle management in the Pacific area of responsibility," Coleman said. "(The team is) a big piece of our combat capability."

Currently the 961st does not have another crew slated to deploy back to Southwest Asia.

Welsh meets with Wyoming's Total Force Airmen

by Senior Airman Nichole Grady
153rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs


7/24/2013 - CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and his wife, Betty, visited with Airmen of 153rd Airlift Wing at the Wyoming Air National Guard Base here July 19.

During an Airman's call, Welsh applauded the 153rd Airlift Wing's role in hosting the Air National Guard's first active duty associate unit, the 30th Airlift Squadron, as well as their contributions to ongoing firefighting efforts.

"Thank you for the pride you take in doing the job right, thanks for how well you do it and for all that it means to the entire United States military," Welsh said. "Everywhere I go in the Air Force I meet people that have spent their entire career in a lifestyle that is difficult, supporting operations that are difficult, in places that are difficult to operate in. They've been doing it smiling and they've been doing it exceptionally well."

Welsh also addressed furloughs for full-time technicians, one of many important topics affecting Airmen.

"It affects a lot of people who are essential to every mission we do in the Air Force, in some cases they are the mission," said Welsh. "Their reward for that is losing 20 percent of their pay for the rest of the fiscal year. This is horrible, there's nothing good about it."

Welsh explained the difficult process of deciding what areas of the defense budget are vital to primary mission success and what areas could experience cuts. In light of furloughs and sequestering, Welsh praised Airmen for continuing to push forward and continuing to provide airpower for the nation.

"We do things all over the world. The issue that never comes up is 'Can we get them there?'" said Welsh, regarding conversations he has with other services about the Air Force. "Nobody ever thinks about that but they expect it and it occurs because of you. You're really good at what you do and you take pride in getting it right. Thank you for that."

Welsh also added that efforts to prevent furloughs in the future are ongoing.

"We're going to keep working really hard to make sure we never have to face this again," said Welsh.

Welsh also welcomed questions directly from Airmen with topics ranging from sexual assault prevention and prosecution to professional military education and promotions.

The chief of staff concluded the open forum by encouraging Airmen to keep asking questions, continuing to seek new ways to improve their career and workplace in addition to maintaining their dedication to making the Air Force better every day.

Centcom Taps Social Media to Promote Engagement, Understanding

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

TAMPA, Fla., July 24, 2013 – Check out a U.S. Central Command posting on one of some 120 social media sites, and you are as likely to see an image of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque or a favorite family recipe as a mention of a U.S. military operation in the region.

It’s a formula that’s connecting Centcom with more than 100,000 people from the Middle East and Central Asia every week, occasionally hitting the half-million mark with a particularly compelling posting, reported Army Col. J.R. Robinson, the command’s public affairs officer.

Centcom has a dedicated digital engagement team, made up of about a dozen people who were born in or spent considerable time within the command’s 20-nation area of responsibility, Robinson said. Applying their understanding of the region’s various cultures and languages, the team members spend their days surfing popular social media platforms and engaging in seven different languages: Farsi, Urdu, Pashtu, Dari, Arabic, Russian and English.

The nature of their blogs, tweets and Facebook and other social media postings has changed significantly since Centcom uploaded its first blog in 2009, Robinson said.

The command’s initial foray into social media was directed primarily at intellectual and academic sites, typically to refute unintentional mistakes or flagrant misinformation about the United States and its activities, he said.

More often than not, the tone of the rebuttals was insistent and even argumentative -- “more ‘in-your-face’ than it should have been,” Robinson acknowledged. The risk, he said, was losing the audience the command was hoping to cultivate.

“We are not trying to win arguments. We are trying to win relationships,” Robinson said. “At the end of the day, if we win the argument but they stop listening to us because they don’t enjoy having a conversation with us, we haven’t improved our access to the theater. We haven’t won anything.”

Centcom officials called in a cultural advisor to assess their efforts and get them on a more productive track. Today, the command’s digital engagement team leverages the power of social media to engage in a very different way with an ever-expanding audience.

“The tone has become much more measured,” Robinson said. “The idea is not to tell people what to do or to coach them, but to try to lead them to a better answer in a way that is not controversial.”

Rather than directly countering a negative or adversarial message, for example, a team member might respond: “‘That’s an interesting perspective, but how about this way of thinking about it?’ or ‘Thank you. I have never heard it said in those terms. In the U.S., we approach it from this direction,’” Robinson explained.

“Their mission became one of not giving into an argument, as opposed to winning an argument,” he said.

The team realized another thing: Bombarding their audience with Centcom announcements wasn’t gaining them readers.

“This is not a tool for flooding people with your message. That is the fastest way to get tuned out on social media,” Robinson said. “If you want to increase your fan base, you have to appeal to the interests of your audience and recognize that the heart of social media is being social.”

So instead of blasting out information press-release style, the team began engaging in conversations with their audience, he explained. They made it a strict policy always to respond to questions from their followers.

“With so many sites out there, when someone asks questions, nobody responds. So what’s the point?” Robinson said. “People ask questions because they want to talk to you, so the last thing you want to do is ignore them.

“We want to create venues that invite people to ask questions and talk to us,” he said. “And when they talk to us, we answer back.”

The digital engagement team also began posting items one wouldn’t typically expect to find on a military site. They linked to interesting articles or photos and occasionally shared fond memories of their personal experience in the Middle East.

“This is not about trying to establish U.S. culture in the Centcom theater,” Robinson said. “This is about establishing credibility and making a connection. This is about making a relationship, because the heart of communication is really relationships.”

Those relationships help to give Centcom a credible voice with an audience it might not otherwise have, he explained.

“The value of this for the command is that a certain point in time, when we have something that the command needs to communicate, we can do that across a large audience in seven different languages,” he said.

About once a week the digital engagement team posts information about a U.S. exercise, deployment or other Centcom-related activity in the region.

“You have to be careful. You can’t come at the same audience every day, or you will lose it,” Robinson said. “If every day you are publishing information about you -- U.S. Central Command and what the commander wants to say -- you lose your audience.”

One of the most effective approaches, Robinson said, is when the team forwards a link from another source, then asks readers to comment on it.

Centcom’s first experiment with that approach was in February, when a Yemeni-led operation with support from the United States seized an Iranian dhow that was smuggling weapons to insurgents in Yemen. The international media publicized the successful mission, spelling out what had been seized and pointing the finger squarely at Iran.

Rather than generating their own message, Centcom’s digital engagement team posted a link to one of those stories.

“What we did in the DET was take one particular story and amplify it across seven different audiences,” Robinson said. “We provided the story and asked our audiences, ‘Are you aware of this?’ ‘Have you seen this story?’”

The responses ran the gamut, from outright denial and charges of American propaganda in some corners to acknowledgment from others that the Iranians have been conducting similar activities for quite some time.

As the discussion continued, Centcom’s social media audience temporarily skyrocketed 400 percent, Robinson said.

“By honoring the culture first and then talking about what we wanted to talk about, the readers of our forums went like that,” he said, his hand gesturing skyward.

Centcom’s digital engagement team continues to use social media to promote a better understanding of events unfolding in the region, and Centcom’s role in addressing destabilizing activities there, he said.
The team successfully used social media to steer readers to a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news release about an international countermine exercise last spring in the Persian Gulf, issued in part in response to the Iranian government’s attempts to discredit the mission, Robinson reported.

They also generated conversation and debate earlier this year by asking the audience’s views on Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s claim that it’s acceptable for the Iranian military to “engineer” elections there.

“The responses were pretty varied,” Robinson said. “The real value for us was that viewership of the story made a big upward climb. Even if they weren’t commenting, they were reading the story. And that is the intent: Let’s make people aware.”

15th Wing partners with 154th Wing for Operational Readiness Exercise

7/23/2013 - An Airman takes cover under a desk while in mission-oriented protective posture four during an Operational Readiness Exercise at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 18, 2013. MOPP four is primarily used during post-attack reconnaissance, when a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack is in progress or when CBRN contamination is present or suspected. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Jerome S. Tayborn)

Dempsey: Military Must Be Part of Larger Strategy for Syria


By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

LASK, Poland, July 24, 2013 – Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey today called Syria “a human tragedy,” and said any military effort there must be tied together with diplomatic and economic instruments of power.

In his first public comment by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Syria since release of a letter detailing five military options in the civil war there, the chairman spoke to reporters covering his visit to a Polish air base hosting an American aviation detachment.

Responding to reporters’ questions, the general prefaced his remarks on Syria by saying it is one of the most complex issues he has studied in his 39 years of military service. “My job as a military leader is to provide options and then to make sure that the men and women whom we may ask to do it are ready to do what we ask them to do,” Dempsey said. “That’s my focus at this point.”

It is not just Americans who are concerned about the war in Syria, he noted. “The most convincing argument for everyone to be concerned about Syria is the tragedy that’s unfolding,” the general said.

More than 100,000 Syrians have been killed in the on-going conflict, according to the United Nations. U.N. officials said the Syrian civil war has led to the world’s worst refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees said that more than 1.5 million Syrians have fled the country and millions more have fled their homes, but are still in the nation.

“There is a compelling argument for the international community to sit up, take notice and try to contribute,” the general said.

The chairman said many people look to the military instrument as the first choice in an international crisis. This may be because “we are so well-organized, we are so agile and we are so well-trained,” he said.

“But before I would recommend a military solution to this issue, because of the complexity and the myriad actors that are involved, I would have to be convinced that the aftermath of military action would not lead to a failed state in which the suffering would be worse,” he said.

Dempsey emphasized he is not suggesting the international community do nothing about Syria. “I’m suggesting that we need a strategy to tie military options together with the other instruments of power to include the diplomatic and economic,” he said. Dempsey repeatedly has stated that ultimately, the decision to intervene militarily is one for elected leaders.

Ground Support Equipment



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Kehler lauds capability, credibility of nuclear enterprise

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service


7/24/2013 - WASHINGTON (AFNS -- Sweeping improvements across the U.S. nuclear enterprise since a 2007 incident have increased the focus on the nuclear mission and raised the bar in terms of standards and performance, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command told reporters July 24.

"In general, I feel much more comfortable today with the level of attention," Gen. C. Robert Kehler said during a Defense Writers Group breakfast roundtable. "I am very confident in the capability and credibility of the forces. And I am very, very confident in our ability to continue our deterrence mission."

Kehler was deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command during the August 2007 "Bent Spear" incident in which nuclear-equipped missiles were mistakenly transported nearly 1,500 miles on the wing of a B-52 Stratofortress.

Revelation of the incident -- defense officials emphasized at the time that the weapons were never unsecured and never at risk of detonating -- led to personnel dismissals, organizational changes and heightened performance requirements.

"A lot has changed in the last six to seven years," Kehler said. "A lot has changed organizationally, ... in terms of the intensity of the focus on the nuclear part of our mission, ... (and) in terms of the assessment and evaluation that we put on the units that are involved in all of this.

"And as we say, perfection is really the standard when we talk about nuclear weapons," he said.

Among the changes was the Air Force's stand up of Global Strike Command, with a singular focus on the nuclear mission and the standards applied to those involved, he said. The Navy underwent its own top-to-bottom review of its nuclear operations and activities.

The increased focus on nuclear-related units and activities has paid off in better performance levels, Kehler reported.

The general recalled his own experience with these "hard looks" during his earlier years within the nuclear force. "These are not easy evaluations to pass," he said. "And they have gotten harder."

STRATCOM's nuclear deterrence mission remains critical to the United States, Kehler noted, injected with a renewed focus and sense of urgency by the president's 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and the national defense strategy.

"We recognize the Cold War has been over for 20 years," he said, but he noted President Barack Obama's pledge to maintain a "credible deterrent force" for both the United States and its allies and partners.

That deterrent is based on the triad of ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-capable heavy bombers and the associated aerial tankers, and the assured warning and command-and-control system that interconnects them.

Kehler called modernization of the nuclear enterprise "essential."

"We find ourselves in the position today where most of the platforms and virtually all of the weapons are well over 20 years old, and, in some cases, substantially over 20 years old," he said.

"Life extensions are due on the weapons, (and) modernization is due on the platforms ... and the nuclear command-and control system," said Kehler, noting that some of these efforts already have been deferred for almost 10 years

Asked about morale within the nuclear force, Kehler said it's generally good. "It is not an easy job," he added, noting the intellectual intensity of the nuclear mission.

Kehler visited the Global Strike Command headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., earlier this month, to emphasize the importance of that mission to the men and women charged with carrying it out every day.

"The skills that we have for the nuclear-deterrence mission will be needed as far into the future as I can see," he said. "As long as we have nuclear weapons, it's our job to deter nuclear attack with a safe, secure and effective force. That's what we're here for.

Firearm Safety: Fire Resistant Guns Safes



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Security
Whether you buy a small safe or a large one, you want it to be secure. In addition to being hard to open, it should also be secured to the walls or floor of your home to prevent criminals from simply taking the safe with them.

Humidity Control
Humidity causes guns to rust. Regular use and cleaning will prevent the damage, but you can take it one step further by investing in a dehumidifier for the safe.

Fire Resistance
Your guns are an investment, and you want to also protect them from fire. Fireresistant gun safes at GunSafesNow.com are insulated and protected to keep your gun collection safe even in a fire. In addition to placing your guns in the safe, this is also an ideal location for your other valuables like important papers, jewelry, stock certificates and more.

Make the investment in the right gun safe to secure your gun collection. It will protect your family from accidents, and you will also protect your valuable gun collection from theft and damage.

Rally Drums Up ‘Feds Feed Families’ Donations at Pentagon

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 24, 2013 – The Defense Department is playing a vital role in the fight against hunger, and DOD employees have made that fight a priority, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for civilian personnel policy said here today.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Paige Hinkle-Bowles, deputy assistant secretary of defense for civilian personnel policy, addresses a July 24, 2013, rally at the Pentagon courtyard for the “Feds Feed Families” food drive. The Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., collects the food donations and distributes them to more than 700 food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and similar organizations in the national capital region. DOD photo by Terri Moon Cronk
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Paige Hinkle-Bowles, chairwoman of this year’s DOD “Feds Feed Families” effort, spoke at the campaign’s “Cover the Map” food-drive rally in the Pentagon courtyard to encourage donations as this year’s drive nears its end, with five weeks to go. The 2013 campaign began in early June and wraps up at the end of August.

“Participate and Make a Difference,” is this year’s slogan, Hinkle-Bowles said, adding that this summer’s donations are “already 250 percent above our record-setting 2012 campaign.” In 2012, DOD service members and civilian employees exceeded DOD’s goal and donated 2.1 millions of pounds of food to the National Capital Region food banks, she said.
Now in its fifth year, DOD’s participation in the Feds Feed Families campaign has expanded in its donations across the department, Hinkle-Bowles noted.

At today’s rally, a large section of the courtyard floor displayed a map of the metropolitan area, including parts of Maryland and Virginia, to represent where donations go to feed the hungry in the national capital region. Nonperishable food items and other “most wanted” products lined sections of the map to represent DOD’s participation, and the Pentagon community of service members and civilian employees took part by stacking donated items on the map.

The Capital Area Food Bank collects the donations and distributes them to more than 700 food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and similar organizations in the region, officials said.

The campaign is conducted during the summer for a critical reason, Hinkle-Bowles said: children who often miss a supplemental meal when schools are out of session.

“For one in six people in America, hunger is a reality,” she said.

“We’ve already seen in DOD that the spirit of giving is still with us -- [it’s] alive and well across the department this year,” she said. “The people across this great nation say thank you for all that you have done.”

Michael Rhodes, director of Pentagon administration and management, acknowledged to the crowd that employee furloughs mean it’s a difficult time to ask for donations, and suggested participants donate in a “Two-Can Tuesday” system, in which employees bring in two cans on Tuesdays to drop into the Feds Feed Families boxes situated around the Pentagon and other DOD organizations.

“There still are people in need, and that’s what we’re all about,” he said.

A hero's tail

920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

7/22/2013 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  -- Courage comes in many shapes and many sizes. Combat search-and-rescue helicopter pilot, Maj. Mike Brasher, 920th Rescue Wing, recently brought this pint-sized hero covered in fur for a visit to see some old friends, her fellow crewmembers.

Now 13-years-old, Katrina became the mascot of the 920th Rescue Wing in 2005 because of her acts of heroism.

During the first days of Hurricane Katrina search and rescue missions, many acts of courage were witnessed. The story of the 301st Rescue Squadron rescue beagle begins Sept. 1, 2005, at the I-10 overpass in New Orleans.

After setting down to take on multiple loads of stranded hurricane victims, Brasher and Lt Col. Robert Haston began to notice that each time they landed, a beagle would run toward the helicopter and station itself next to Senior Master Sgt. Pete Callina, one of the pararescuemen on board.

"It was like she was helping us corral people into the helicopter. She was totally unafraid," said Callina.

"While we were on our last run, it was obvious that she was an evacuee herself and didn't belong to anyone on the overpass," said Captain Brasher. "So we decided to take her with us," he said.

After entrusting the animal (then called "Barney") to an emergency medical technician at a collection point, the crew hoped that the dog would get to an animal shelter.

"After we got home, the impossible task of finding her began," said Brasher, who enlisted his wife Melanie in the cause.

"After searching through thousands of beagle pictures online, we were able to locate her though petfinder.com," said Brasher. "She was with the Arizona Humane Society," he said.

The Brasher's arranged to have the dog flown to Orlando, Fla., and to her new home and place as the 301st RQS mascot.