Saturday, June 16, 2012

CBS - For WWII soldier's widow, a 60-year mystery finally solved - Billie Harris

Congressman Thornberry doesn't even have the fortitude to acknowledge the incompetence and indifference of his office and apologize to Billie Harris' widow.

Friday, June 15, 2012



Former 173rd commander handed reprimand, $300,000 fine - News - Stripes

Former 173rd commander handed reprimand, $300,000 fine - News - Stripes


KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Col. James Johnson, convicted of fraud, bigamy, and conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, was sentenced Thursday to a reprimand and a $300,000 fine.
The court-martial panel also imposed a sentence of five years’ confinement if Johnson, the former commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, fails to pay the fine. He was not dismissed from the service and was not sentenced to forfeit his pay and allowances. ....

-bth: don't read this article while eating or you will throw up.  This Col Johnson was over the top and it looks like he got away with it, protected by his peers, he can do not wrong.  If he were a lower ranking officer or worse and enlisted man he would be in Leavenworth.  At one point I was worried that the command structure had been negligent in addressing this problem of a man, this abortion of what it is to be an officer and a gentleman, over the course of 8 years that this bull shit of his unfolded.  But now I realize that the command structure wasn't negligent and ignoring the problem until his own wife (first of them in his bigamous relationship) blew he whistle on him. No they were complicit in the sham as the slap on the wrist sentence illustrates to anyone paying attention.  I mean Jesus, he wasn't event busted in rank.  So now other junior officers and enlisted personnel will have to salute this turd, this officer, this gentleman.  Just how bad is the military criminal justice system?  Well when you get to be a Lt. Col. or Colonel you can, it seems get away with anything.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

International - Jeffrey Goldberg - Ex-Mossad Chief: Israeli Attack Would Help Iran Go Nuclear - The Atlantic

International - Jeffrey Goldberg - Ex-Mossad Chief: Israeli Attack Would Help Iran Go Nuclear - The Atlantic

 Gen. Benny Gantz, the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, spoke out last week against ex-military and intelligence officials who are expressing doubts about the efficacy of a preemptive Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear project.

 Gantz, testifying in the Knesset, said, "There is a lot of chatter and conversation regarding Iran. Very few people know what is real and what is not, or what can be and what cannot be." Gantz named no names, but his targets were quite obviously three men: his predecessor as chief of staff, Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi; the former head of the Shabak, Israel's internal security service, Yuval Diskin; and Meir Dagan, the recently retired chief of the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service....

But what angers him most is what he sees as a total lack of understanding on the part of the men who lead the Israeli government about what may come the day after an Israeli strike. Some senior Israeli officials have argued to me that a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities might actually trigger the eventual downfall of the regime. Dagan predicts the opposite: "Judging by the war Iran fought against Iraq, even people who supported the Shah, even the Communists, joined hands with (Ayatollah) Khomeini to fight Saddam," he said, adding, "In case of an attack, political pressure on the regime will disappear. If Israel will attack, there is no doubt in my mind that this will also provide them with the justification to go ahead and move quickly to nuclear weapons." He also predicted that the sanctions program engineered principally by President Obama may collapse as a result of an Israeli strike, which would make it easier for Iran to obtain the material necessary for it to cross the nuclear threshold.

Dagan believes that sanctions may still yet work, especially the sort of sanctions, combined with sabotage programs, that threaten the stability of the regime. If the Iranian economy is squeezed in a way that causes average citizens to rise up against their government's policies, Dagan believes that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, might be forced to shelve his nuclear ambitions. And Dagan believes the tempo of sabotage should, if anything, be increased. "Covert operations have a better impact on proliferation than an attack.," he said.  ...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ms. Maddy Allen's Bedford High School Winning Memorial Day Essay Presented Memorial Day 2012


 


Honoring the Legacy of the Greatest Generation
By Maddy Allen, BHS Grade 9
“The Greatest Generation” refers to the generation of Americans who shaped the course of history during and after World War II. On Memorial Day, we are deeply aware that there were so many brave men and women who fought in the military to defeat the crushing armies.  But there is also another aspect to the accomplishments and sacrifices of this Greatest Generation. It is that ALL people in the United States made sacrifices and focused on the common objective – to save our nation and to free the world.  In the process, they forever altered the society in which they lived.
During World War II, many brave and courageous men and women joined the military and fought to protect our freedom.  They strived to stop the dangerous flow of Nazism and Fascism in Europe, and Japanese Imperialism in the East. By the time these men and women proudly volunteered to serve, they had already struggled through over a decade of dark years during the Great Depression. The challenge faced by this generation was literally a world at war, a global catastrophe.  Not one inhabited continent was untouched. This must have felt overwhelming and there was no way to hide from the desperate situation. During World War II, and the years that followed, soldiers and their communities all joined together to transform America from an isolated nation, in an economic depression, into a world leader with the strongest economy in the world. 
I have an extremely personal connection to the Greatest Generation – both of my grandfathers served in World War II, as did several great-uncles. My dad’s father, Henry Allen, enlisted in the army at age 17, trained as a paratrooper, and became part of the 101st Airborne Division. He parachuted into the Battle of the Bulge in Europe and was taken prisoner by the German forces. He was held as a Prisoner of War in three different German Stalag camps until the war ended. Thankfully, he made it home. My mom’s father, Chester Okoniewski, also served in World War II.  After enlisting in the army in 1937, he was assigned to the infantry and stationed in the Pacific. His enlistment period was almost over when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred in December 1941. My grandfather, like the majority of the soldiers at the time, was required to stay on his Pacific assignment until the end of the war. When they returned home, they all received a hero’s welcome. Like most men of their time, neither of my grandfathers spoke about their experiences to anyone. However, they both admitted that it was the most difficult time of their lives.
Sacrifices were made everywhere, by everyone. One out of every five families at the time had at least one member in the military (nps.gov). Everyone in our country focused their minds on winning the war. Everyone worked tirelessly every day to produce the supplies our military needed. For example, in 1940, less than 13,000 aircraft were produced, yet in 1944 at the height of US involvement over 96,000 were produced (nps.gov). There was widespread rationing at home, as people gave up not only luxuries but some everyday items to ensure the troops were supplied. Other huge changes took place, due to the war, that impacted society forever. For the first time, women became paid soldiers, and members of the older generations kept things going while the soldiers were overseas. There was a sense of a bigger community. 
What our troops came back to was a very different society. The country came out of the economic depression partly due the military operations, and partly due to the drive to work together, and to look out for one another.  With Memorial Day, the people who died will never be forgotten and will remain heroes as we honor them in this ceremony. We also honor the whole generation that saw an enormous challenge and rose to the occasion in cooperation and pride. 
So many vital lessons can be learned from The Greatest Generation. This generation was comprised of bold Americans whose pride in their country and concern for humanity united them against the dangerous dictators and their armies in an overwhelming military challenge. Through pure willpower and hard work, they joined together. Using their determination as an example, we can all learn to stand up for what is right, not only for us but for others and the world as a whole. Maybe we can take to heart their example - that we can be unlimited in our ability to change our communities, our country, and our world into a place that is even better for all people. Today, let’s remember the gift the Greatest Generation left us - the knowledge that if we’re united with a single focus, we can achieve anything.

bth: Ms. Allen is a student at Bedford High School and her essay won the school competition. She presented it as part of the Bedford Town Memorial Day remembrance ceremony, May 2012.

Soldiers trade Humvees for donkeys : The Billings Gazette - Montana & Wyoming News

Soldiers trade Humvees for donkeys : The Billings Gazette - Montana & Wyoming News


POWELL — Mother Nature has bested billions of dollars worth of 21st-century defense technology, as U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan are now counting on donkeys to help move troops and supplies over steep mountain trails.
Soldiers trade Humvees for donkeys
But with the last major use of pack animals having ended more than 60 years ago, today's Army is short on experts in the art of mule skinning, or wrangling mules and donkeys.
That is why 31 soldiers from the Army's 10th Mountain Division spent much of this week in a barn and in the foothills east of Powell, learning the finer points of donkey management.
The soldiers will pass along their new skills to others scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan, where they'll operate high in the mountains, running supply lines to remote areas not easily reached by helicopters or trucks.
Their instructors were a group of Wyoming outdoors and livestock specialists led by Ron Ostrom, a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer for the Shoshone National Forest.
The work done by Forest Service mule skinners is similar to what soldiers will need to know when working in the field, Ostrom said, so the training is a good fit.
"It's not much different because you've got kind of the same stuff," Ostrom said. "You package it up and load it pretty much the same way.
"In the Forest Service, we use different tools and saws and camping gear, and these guys have got their MREs, water, guns, explosives and their stuff that they need," he said....

-bth: so we are building multi-million dollar robots that will act like mules and donkeys at some future point in time.  Why aren't we using mules and donkeys in Afghanistan?  At a minimum hire the talent locally.

Monday, June 11, 2012

CSM charged with falsely claiming war injuries - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times

CSM charged with falsely claiming war injuries - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times


RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A soldier in Southern California has been charged with falsely claiming he was wounded in Vietnam in order to claim nearly $60,000 in benefits.
The U.S. attorney's office says Command Sgt. Maj. William Roy was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Riverside. A call seeking comment from the 57-year-old Winchester resident wasn't immediately returned Thursday morning.
The active-duty soldier is charged with stealing government property, making false statements and submitting false documents to the government.
Authorities say he falsely claimed to have won two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star in Vietnam when he actually was stationed in Germany. He's also accused of requesting a Purple Heart in 2008 after falsely claiming injuries in Afghanistan.
Roy faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted.

-bth: this is from a command sgt. major for Christ's sake.

O-6 faces bigamy, fraud, adultery charges - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times

O-6 faces bigamy, fraud, adultery charges - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times


The brigade commander seemed born to one day wear stars on his shoulder boards. The son of a distinguished Army general, his own career — including war-zone command of the esteemed 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team — had soared impressively toward flag rank.
Now it’s all in tatters. Fired from command, his next battle will come at court-martial June 11, when he will fight charges that he defrauded the Army out of tens of thousands of dollars to “frolic” with an Iraqi mistress, whom he allegedly made his wife even though he already was married.
If charges prove true, Col. James H. Johnson III is a cheat and a bigamist.
In all he is charged with six counts of violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and 27 specifications. Among them: forgery, fraud, lying and bigamy.
The woman who was his sweetheart while he was a cadet at West Point — and then his wife and mother to his two children — said she was sure her husband was unfaithful but had no clue he had wed his alleged mistress.
Kristina Johnson, 47, said she was shocked to learn about the second marriage, finding out only after being denied Tricare health coverage. She said it was then that she discovered a divorce certificate she suspects was doctored in the process of transferring benefits to the Iraqi woman. She said Army investigators informed her that her husband had married again....

bth:  The 173rd is as illustrious  brigade.  To run it is an honor.  This man brought nothing but shame to the position.  It is ironic if you read the entire article that it was his wife (first one) that put an end to his shameful conduct and not the chain of command.   What a fucking disgrace of a man and the leadership structure.