Sunday, December 28, 2014

Battaglia Praises Military Medical System at Military Bowl Festivities

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Dec. 28, 2014 – Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised military medicine yesterday during festivities for the 2014 Military Bowl here.

Speaking during a United Service Organizations reception at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, Battaglia said that the military medical system can make all the difference in the recovery of injured troops -- whether their wounds are visible or not.

“The state-of-the-art medicine that we have nowadays in our U.S. armed forces,” he said, “has allowed these men and women to return their mind, body and spirit to some level of optimal performance where they can either serve … in the military or serve their communities, if, in fact, they go back home.”

Sharing a Story

The sergeant major shared a story which served as an example of the level of quality care wounded service members receive.

“Since we’re in Navy country, allow me to give you a quick snippet about the team and the way our medicine is in our military,” Battaglia said.

“I was overseas at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Fisher House Foundation, [which] was doing a ribbon cutting at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital for the British,” he said.

“During the course of that ribbon cutting,” Battaglia said, “there was a Wolverine captain who approached me and said ‘Sergeant major, I am wounded -- I was fighting with the Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, and I’m wondering if you may know a corpsman, because I hadn’t seen him since he rescued me from the battlefield.’”

While the likelihood of knowing this corpsman was slim, Battaglia shared what the British solider told him.

“‘I really owe, forever, a debt of gratitude,’” the captain told the sergeant major, “‘and I just want to tell you my story, sergeant major, if you’ll listen.’”

The British officer told Battaglia he was shot in the abdomen and “really knew and felt that was it.”

“‘I was getting close,’” the officer said, but then, he said, “‘I finally gained what little composure I had and knew deep down within my heart I would be okay.’”

Battaglia paused, noting it was a “pretty severe gunshot wound to the abdomen, and actually, the lad was bleeding out.”

“I said, ‘What made you feel you were okay?’” the sergeant major asked. The British officer replied “‘Because I knew not too far behind me was an American medic.’”

“It just goes to show,” Battaglia said, “the care that we take of our wounded ... And I think it’s a standard that we’re all proud of.”

Thanking the USO

Battaglia also thanked the USO and other Military Bowl sponsors for hosting a tailgate and a parade where he served as Grand Marshal. The sergeant major also later participated in the coin toss.

“While you say ‘thank you’ to every serving and former serving American service member,” he said, “their reply is simply ‘proud to serve,’ because none of us look for fanfare.”

The USO certainly deserves a notable recognition, Battaglia said, since they have been quietly supporting service members and their families for almost 72 years.

“You know what they’ve done for us and continue to do for us here in the continental United States,” he told the audience.

“Without the USO, our troops and families certainly would not be as resilient as they are,” Battaglia said. “So, thank you USO from the bottom of my eagle, globe and anchor.”

Obama, Hagel Mark End of Operation Enduring Freedom

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28, 2014 – President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel each issued statements today marking the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan.

After 13 years of combat operations, Operation Enduring Freedom drew to a close today in a ceremony at the International Security and Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“Today's ceremony in Kabul marks a milestone for our country,” Obama said. “For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan. Now, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.”

“At the end of this year,” Hagel said, “as our Afghan partners assume responsibility for the security of their country, the United States officially concludes Operation Enduring Freedom. … In 2015, we begin our follow-on mission -- Operation Freedom's Sentinel -- to help secure and build upon the hard-fought gains of the last 13 years.”

Today, though, “we give thanks to our troops and intelligence personnel who have been relentless against the terrorists responsible for 9/11 -- devastating the core al-Qaida leadership, delivering justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives,” the president said.

“We are safer, and our nation is more secure, because of their service,” he said. “At the same time, our courageous military and diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan -- along with our NATO allies and coalition partners--have helped the Afghan people reclaim their communities, take the lead for their own security, hold historic elections and complete the first democratic transfer of power in their country's history.”

“I want to express my deep gratitude to all U.S. personnel, both military and civilian, who have served in Afghanistan since 2001, many on multiple deployments,” Hagel said. “I also thank the thousands more who were a part of the mission at home and around the world. In fighting America's longest war, our people and their families have borne a heavy burden, and some paid the ultimate price.”

“We honor the profound sacrifices that have made this progress possible,” the president said. “We salute every American -- military and civilian, including our dedicated diplomats and development workers -- who have served in Afghanistan, many on multiple tours, just as their families have sacrificed at home.

“We pledge to give our many wounded warriors, with wounds seen and unseen, the world-class care and treatment they have earned. Most of all, we remember the more than 2,200 American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, and we pledge to stand with their Gold Star families who need the everlasting love and support of a grateful nation.”

“Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and the Afghan people and their security forces continue to make tremendous sacrifices in defense of their country,” Obama said. “At the invitation of the Afghan government, and to preserve the gains we have made together, the United States -- along with our allies and partners -- will maintain a limited military presence in Afghanistan.”

The United States will pursue two missions in Operation Freedom's Sentinel, Hagel said. “We will work with our allies and partners as part of NATO's Resolute Support mission to continue training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces. And we will continue our counterterrorism mission against the remnants of Al-Qaeda to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to stage attacks against our homeland.”

“Our personnel will continue to face risks, but this reflects the enduring commitment of the United States to the Afghan people and to a united, secure and sovereign Afghanistan that is never again used as a source of attacks against our nation,” Obama said.

“These past 13 years have tested our nation and our military,” the president said. “But compared to the nearly 180,000 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan when I took office, we now have fewer than 15,000 in those countries. Some 90 percent of our troops are home.

“Our military remains the finest in the world, and we will remain vigilant against terrorist attacks and in defense of the freedoms and values we hold dear. And with growing prosperity here at home, we enter a new year with new confidence, indebted to our fellow Americans in uniform who keep us safe and free.”

Tattoo Zoo: A Novel of the Afghan War

The January 22, 2015, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with former Green Beret Paul Avallone, the author of Tattoo Zoo: A Novel of the Afghan War.

Program Date:  January 22, 2015
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Tattoo Zoo: A Novel of the Afghan War.

About the Guest
Paul Avallone, USA "spent three-plus years in Afghanistan as a Green Beret then an embedded civilian journalist." Paul Avallone is the author of Tattoo Zoo: A Novel of the Afghan War.

According to the book description Tattoo Zoo "is a novel that could only have been written by a veteran of more than three years in the Afghan War -- as a Green Beret then a civilian embedded journalist. America's longest war is compressed into a charged forty-six hours with the GIs of the Tattoo Zoo platoon trapped fighting a fierce Taliban in a nowhere piece of picturesque real estate called Wajma Valley, as they are left hung out to dry by a politically correct four-star command hell-bent on prosecuting them for war crimes or just letting them die in place.

You will be taken into the heart and soul of the American soldier -- from private to general. You will be with the soldiers, you will be with the command, and you will be swept into the Afghan War on a visceral level of extreme verisimilitude.  If you've been in the war, you will recognize and feel those hours and days and months, and you will want others to read this to understand what you lived.

If you haven't been to the war and only know Afghanistan from blips you've seen on TV news, Tattoo Zoo will put you there, and you'll know it.  No need here to detail the characters, but you can count on remembering Wolfe and Doc Eberly and Redcloud and St Claire and Dove and Finkle and Victoria Marshall and a whole slew more. This is a big novel, and not meant for the casual reader expecting some throw-away weekend-read thriller. There is nothing pretentious or artificially artistic or overly intellectual about the language here; just the opposite, the reading is easy. In fact, there's enough character and story and conflict here that there's no need for false literary styling meant to impress other writers and professors of hoity-toity MFA programs. Open it up, give it a shot, and find again the deep pleasure of an epic war novel."

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.
About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement 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.

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA