Veterans Interest - Page 8
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-- A soldier died - Received and posted 7/13/09
-- The Old Man... - Posted 5/26/09
-- Bipartisan congressional outrage at 'extremism' report - 4/17/09
-- The Pentagon is inching closer to replacing the Humvee - 9/30/08
-- Will overseas military vote count - 8/15/08
-- VFW Honors Nation’s Last Surviving WW I Veteran:  Frank. W. Buckles Awarded Gold Medal of Merit - 5/25/08
-- Governor Crist Launches Florida Vets First  Extra help for new veterans from Florida - 4/17/08

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 I received this by e-mail from a friend.

One more "Band of Brothers" soldier died June 17, 2009.

We're hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services for such as Michael Jackson.

I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell "Shifty" Powers.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry.  If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle", the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . " at which point my heart skipped.  At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?"  At this point my heart stopped.

I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was.  At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland, into Arnhem."  I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France, and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach.

He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center.

No wall-to-wall back to back 24/7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

And that's not right.

Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way.  Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

"A nation without heroes is nothing." Roberto Clemente


 I received this by e-mail from a friend.

 The Old Man...

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.

The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away.

I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him. I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something.

The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying, 'You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.' And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine. He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.'

He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside and saw
three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us, he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine) I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with?'

He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal . He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood.. They came
over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye's to his wife. I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name....... 'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'*

*I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old m an all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence. Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America.
Thanks to those who served...& those who supported them.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!
**_Remember_**, Freedom isn't "Free" -- thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today.



 Bipartisan congressional outrage at 'extremism' report

'Veterans, families should not be viewed as a threat'

April 17, 2009    By Bob Unruh    WorldNetDaily

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich.

Members of both sides of the aisle in Congress are expressing outrage and seeking an investigation into a new Department of Homeland Security report on "extremism" that targets U.S. military veterans, opponents of abortion and supporters of other conservative causes.

U.S. Rep Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., was horrified at what he described as a "shoddy, unsubstantiated" document that was delivered to law enforcement across the nation.

"I am concerned at what appears to be a shoddy, unsubstantiated, and potentially politicized work product that has been disseminated to the Intelligence Community, and law enforcement as a finished intelligence product," he wrote to DHS chief Janet Napolitano. "The report appears at best sloppy and unprofessional and at worst a representation of political bias being passed off as intelligence analysis by DHS."

According to the Washington Times, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said he was "dumbfounded" that the report was, in fact, released.

"This report appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans – including war veterans," Thompson told Napolitano in a letter.

"As I am certain you agree, freedom of association and freedom of speech are guaranteed to all Americans – whether a person's beliefs, whatever their political orientation, are 'extremist' or not," Thompson said.

He said he was disappointed and surprised the report would be issued. And he demanded to know what types of further activities DHS had planned regarding the issue.

The federal agency's report is called "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."

It already has generated a lawsuit by talk radio host Michael Savage.

As WND reported, a public-interest legal group submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the DHS demanding to know why it calls Americans who support the 2nd Amendment and dislike lax immigration "extremists."

Now Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, is offering his criticism and demanding to know why, as ranking member of the committee, "which is responsible for authorizing funding for this office," he was not given a copy of the report but had to obtain it from open sources on the Internet.

"I would appreciate clarifications as to why this report was not provided to the committee and an understanding of what other reports DHS may be failing to provide to the committee," he wrote.

He also wanted some clarifications:

"The report purports to analyze 'rightwing extremism' without defining the term or specifying by name a single group that falls into this category," he said. "According to the imprecise analysis contained in the report, 'rightwing extremists' could include groups dedicated to opposing abortion or illegal immigration as well as those who may not agree with the new administration's 'perceived' stance on several issues including illegal immigration and restrictions on firearm ownership.

"On their face, these statements may appear to cast legitimate viewpoints – in fact some viewpoints that recently constituted administration policy – in a suspicious light. Without any specific reporting to support such vague statements it is easy to see how they are offensive to many people," he wrote.

A spokesman for the federal agency told WND today that the DHS would refuse to identify the actual authors of the report. The agency also would not comment on any procedures or actions it may take in response to the controversy over the report.

But to the Associated Press, a DHS official confirmed there were concerns by the agency's office of civil rights about some of the language in the report.

It was issued anyway, the agency said.

Napolitano earlier described the charges in the report as assessments, "not an accusation."

Hoekstra called on the ombudsman for the office of director of National Intelligence to investigate the report itself.

"Our nation's veterans and hardworking families that may be facing tough times should not be viewed as a threat and neither should citizens who oppose out-of-control federal spending and tax hikes," he wrote.

The congressman, who has sponsored a constitutional amendment to protect the rights of parents to raise their children, also was disappointed by the report's assertion without substantiation that unemployed parents may foster "rightwing extremist" beliefs in their children.

"Beyond apologizing for its obviously offensive references, the administration needs to get to the bottom of how and why a report like this was written, and put standards in place to keep it from happening again," Hoekstra said.

"I would also appreciate an explanation of the assertion, which is somehow tied to 'rightwing extremists,' that there is a 'perception' that illegal immigrants were taking away jobs from Americans in the 1990s because they were willing to work for lower wages," the congressman wrote.

"Regardless of one's view on immigration policy matters, it cannot be seriously disputed that the protection of the American workforce is one of the driving considerations for the current structure of U.S. immigration law. For DHS, which is charged with administering the immigration laws, to apparently not understand this core principle is shocking," he added.

"When may we expect the office to start consistently producing quality intelligence products?" he wondered.

Savage teamed up with the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Mich., to file a lawsuit against Napolitano over the report.

"It is a civil rights action brought under the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution, challenging the policy, practice, and custom of the United States Government that targets for disfavored treatment those individuals and groups that are considered to be 'rightwing extremists,'" the complaint said.

According to the federal government, characteristics of members of the suspect group of people include those who:

Oppose restrictions on firearms

Oppose lax immigration

Oppose the policies of President Obama regarding immigration, citizenship and the expansion of social programs

Oppose continuation of free trade agreements

Oppose same-sex marriage

Has paraonia of foreign regimes

Fear Communist regimes

Oppose one world government

Bemoan the decline of U.S. stature in the world

Is upset with the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and India

The case seeks a declaration that the DHS policy violates the First and Fifth Amendments, a court order permanently enjoining the policy and its application to the plaintiffs' speech and other activities, and the award of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.

This is a WorldNetDaily printer-friendly version of the article which follows.
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 The Pentagon is inching closer to replacing the Humvee  - 9/30/2008

QUANTICO, Va. — The Pentagon is inching closer to replacing the Humvee — once called the "jeep on steroids" and currently the vehicular backbone of U.S. military operations in Iraq — with the latest lightweight tactical vehicle under development.

The Defense Department next month is expected to select at least three of the seven competing teams to advance to the next phase of a multibillion-dollar competition to build a lighter, more agile tactical vehicle that can withstand roadside bombs and explosive devices.

Like the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs, urgently requested by the Pentagon more than a year ago, the lightweight vehicles will be equipped with V-shaped hulls to protect soldiers from the latest urban threats, while still providing maneuverability and speed.

Among the teams competing for a stake in the deal while mingling with military officials here Tuesday at a Marine Corps conference were: Northrop Grumman Corp. and partner Oshkosh Corp.; the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems PLC and its teammate Navistar International Corp.; General Dynamics Corp. and Humvee maker AM General; and Lockheed Martin Corp. and Armor Holdings.

The vehicles will feature technology to absorb shocks from blasts, travel 90 miles per hour, and be easier to transport into and out of battle zones compared with the heavier MRAPs. While no weight requirement has been set by the services, the vehicles must be light enough for a C-130J aircraft to transport two of them, according to industry officials.

Dan Goure, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, said the U.S. military could benefit from the next generation of tactical vehicles, but he questioned whether the services will be able to properly maintain an expanded fleet that already includes MRAPs, Humvees, armored Humvees and more.

The challenge for companies has been meeting all of the government's requirements for the new vehicles, while keeping in mind the weight of armor, cargo and personnel that will be needed to complete various missions.

"The requirements have driven a lot of the technological innovation," said Kathryn Hasse, director of tactical wheeled vehicles for Lockheed Martin Corp. "It's been a big technical challenge."

But such demands, companies say, will vastly improve upon the current Humvee in offering additional protection and increased capability.

"The Humvee was a good vehicle, but it wasn't designed for the missions needed today," said Kenneth Juergens, Oshkosh program director.

Craig MacNab, a spokesman for AM General, disagreed.

"The Humvees are going to be around for decades ... there are some missions that will require that vehicle," he said. "It's not as easy as it looks."

Oshkosh and Northrop claim their offering will provide the added advantage of being able to easily upgrade the vehicles as technology continues to evolve.

The deals expected to be awarded in October to three teams will get the clock started for another 27-month period, where the remaining competitors will have to undergo a testing phase. The Pentagon will then award another set of contracts to two contractors. It's unclear whether the government will award a final contract to a single company or use multiple vendors.

Each team is being asked to build a family that will include an infantry vehicle, a general purpose vehicle and a utility vehicle to support various Army and Marine Corps missions.

The services are expected to order 65,000 vehicles, which will not enter initial production until 2013.

 Will overseas military vote count in presidential election?

Chad Groening - OneNewsNow - 8/15/2008

National defense expert Bob Maginnis says he shares the concerns published in a recent editorial that far too many military personnel serving overseas will not have their vote counted this November.

USA Today recently published a column entitled "Our view on elections: Baffling process suppresses military voting turnout." The article said that, thanks to differing state laws and the reliance on "snail mail," it will be difficult for 1.4 million military personnel deployed overseas to participate in the basic rite of democracy.

Lt. Colonel Bob Maginnis (USA-Ret.) says Pentagon officials faced a roadblock in trying to rectify the problem. "Specifically there was a major effort to have Internet voting for military members, which would work in places like Afghanistan and Iraq," he explains. "But there were those that saw that as, I suppose, a threat and didn't want and go and embrace the technology that is all but proven to be very reliable."

The Pentagon advisor is not optimistic that a great number of military service members overseas will be able to participate in this year's election. "With each state being different, with their protocols different, I anticipate that this election will be probably just about as bad for military members' votes counting from overseas as was the election of 2000," Maginnis adds.

The USA Today editorial also pointed out that during the 2006 congressional elections, as little as 17 percent of overseas service members participated, compared with 48 percent of all voters. That election proved to be a big win for the Democrats.

 VFW Honors Nation’s Last Surviving WW I Veteran: Frank. W. Buckles Awarded Gold Medal of Merit

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 25, 2008 -- The last known surviving veteran of WWI was recently honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Frank W. Buckles, 107, was awarded the VFW Commander-in-Chief Gold Medal for his “extraordinary achievements and as a cherished representative of all WWI veterans.”

“Frank Buckles has embodied all that is symbolic of the American spirit, admirably serving his nation during times of war and peace with utmost integrity and distinguished honor, while always upholding the venerated core values of the United States of America,” said VFW Junior Vice Commander Tommy Tradewell, who presented the distinguished award during ceremonies held Memorial Day weekend at the Liberty Memorial, the nation’s only memorial honoring WWI veterans.

Impeccably dressed, sprite and smiling, Buckles, who is two years younger than the VFW, graciously accepted the award, remarking softly that he was impressed with the reception he has received as a representative of World War I.

“I always knew I had a feeling of longevity, but I didn’t know I would be the number one,” he said.

Buckles is a Life Member of VFW Post 896 in Chesterfield, West Virginia, and enlisted in the Army in 1917 at the age of 16. Although initially rejected by the Army for being underage, a determined Buckles came back a few weeks later, and, greeted by the same sergeant who weeks earlier had rejected the enthusiastic Buckles, asked the young Missourian once again how old he was. Buckles replied “21.” No further questions were asked, and Buckles was shipped to Fort Riley, Kansas, for training.

“That longevity,” said Tradewell, who spent Saturday evening with Buckles at a special VFW-hosted dinner, “could be attributed to the fact that Mr. Buckles entire career was spent as an ‘underage soldier.’ ”

A Missouri native from Harrison County, Buckles drove motorcycles and ambulances in England and France. During the Occupation, he guarded German prisoners of war. A civilian during World War II, he worked for the White Star steamship line and was in Manila on a business trip when he was captured by the Japanese December 1941. He then spent three years as a civilian POW in a Japanese Interment Camp before being rescued.

“It has been a privilege to have an opportunity to honor Mr. Buckles and spend time with him,” said Tradwell, a Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis. “He is truly a great American, admirably serving his nation during times of war and peace with utmost integrity and distinguished honor. I am fortunate to represent the 1.7 million members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States in honoring him and the memory of all those who served and died during World War I.”


April 17, 2008

Contact: GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE  (850) 488-5394

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today highlighted an initiative to better meet the needs of veterans returning to Florida after deployment and upon leaving military service. Florida Vets First offers a comprehensive clearinghouse for the many key services available to veterans and their families.
Florida Vets First is a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Agency for Workforce Innovation, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Workforce Florida, Inc. The new initiative creates a unified, seamless approach to addressing the needs of Florida’s military veterans, servicemembers and their families.

“Our brave men and women in uniform put their lives on the line and often their personal affairs on hold so that we may enjoy a free and democratic way of life,” Governor Crist said.  “We are committed to serving the more than 1.7 million veterans who defended our nation and who now call our great state home.”

At the interactive Web site,, veterans and their families will find a one-stop resource for information and links to services ranging from employment and training assistance to health care, aid for the homeless, housing and benefits.

 Among those joining the governor for the announcement was Sgt. 1st Class Abraham Scott. Scott retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service, and while finishing his bachelor’s degree in social work at Florida State University, he received resume writing and job search assistance from the Workforce plus One-Stop Career Center in Tallahassee. With the support he received from Workforce plus, Scott found a job as an employment consultant with the Leon Advocacy and Resource Center where he helps developmentally disabled adults in Leon and surrounding counties to find jobs. Scott is also currently working toward a master’s degree in social work at Florida A&M University.

“The veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, in addition to traditional health and long-term care services, are seeking employment, housing and educational opportunities for themselves and their families,” said Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director LeRoy Collins Jr.  “The Florida Vets First initiative is a great start for these young men and women who seek consolidated need-to-know information on federal, state and local benefits, education, employment opportunities and health care services earned by virtue of their military service.”    

Following the event, veterans and National Guardsmen had an opportunity to explore in AWI’s Mobile One-Stop Career Center, a 45-foot van equipped with nine computer workstations and a training room that can accommodate eight additional computer stations that have Internet access.









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