Remembering Those Who Sacrificed Their Lives On D-Day

June 6, 2009


65 years ago today, an event took place that was a turning point in World War II, on a beaches of Normandy, France. The landings took place on a 50 miles stretch of the Normandy Coast, as 160,000 Troops landed on June 6, 1944. According to the D-Day museum, the Allied invasioin tok place with several overlapping operations.

“The armed forces use codenames to refer to the planning and execution of specific military operations. Operation Overlord was the codename for the Allied invasion of northwest Europe. The assault phase of Operation Overlord was known as Operation Neptune. Operation Neptune began on D-Day (June 6, 1944) and ended on June 30, 1944. By this time, the Allies had established a firm foothold in Normandy. Operation Overlord also began on D-Day, and continued until Allied forces crossed the River Seine on 19 August.”1

On D-Day the Germans had 50 divisions stationed in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Allied Troops faced well prepared German forces, who had large intricate concrete bunkers. They also took advantage of the natural landscape, by using cliffs and hills overlooking the beach as defense points. Allied Forces however overcame the distinct advantage that the Germans had and won the battle; but not without great cost.

Weather forecasts for D-Day weren’t favorable to the Allied Forces. However, despite that, General Dwight D. Eisenhower made the decision to attack on June 6th. At 2am, divisions of American and British were dropped behind the beaches. After 4 1/2 hours of intense fighting to gain points of egress, assault waves of Troops began to land on the beaches. Over 5,000 ships, as well as 4,000 ship to shore craft were used to facilitate the attack. The battle was intense and bloody and many lost their lives, many were buried there.

The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, covers 172.5 acres of land and contains the remains of 9,387 US Soldiers who lost their lives there. On the Walls of the Missing in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.2

It’s important that we remember those who lost their lives on those beaches and those who survived. These men served proudly and willingly made the ultimate sacrifice, to ensure that Europe was free from the tyranny of the Nazi Germans. Their heroism is a shining example to those serving in the US Military today. Just like the brave men at Normany, our Troops today, serve in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting to ensure that the people of those countries are able to finally experience freedom. While many of the survivors of D-Day are no longer among us, their actions continue to provide inspiration to many. I ask that everyone take a moment today to remember, honor and pay your respects to the Heroes of the Normandy invasion. May those who are no longer with us, rest in eternal peace.

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Boot Camp 101

May 30, 2009

If you ask children of service members what their parent does for a living, you’re likely to get various responses. Some may tell you that their dad/mom is simply a Soldier. Others may tell you that their parent fights ‘bad guys’ in the Army or whatever branch of service their in. Some may be able to tell you in detail what their parent does for a living. Middle school students in Heidelberg, Germany recently were able to gain first hand knowledge of what it means to be a Soldier, when they attended “Kids Boot Camp” on May 19th. 60 students in the grades 6th through 8th attended the camp, where they ate their meals of MREs at the DFAC, learned how to apply camo to their faces, donned body armor and kevlar and even did PT.


“I think it’s really good because it shows the kids, it puts them in an experience that their parents have been through and it really shows them what their parents are doing,” said Chelsea Shivers, one of the students who attended. “A lot of times they’ll be like, ‘I don’t know what my dad’s doing, but he’s out there, just doing something.’”1

Soldiers who made the day possible for children of deployed or recently redeployed parents, were volunteers from V Corps, Heidelberg Medical Department Activity, 529th Military Police Company and US Army Garrison Heidelberg. Their goal, to make the day as realistic as possible for the children, to give them an idea what their parent experiences each day.

“I think it gives them an insight into what their parents do,” said Chelsea’s mom Cherie Shivers. “Just the food alone is kind of cool that they see how their parents eat.”2

The children were also given the opportunity to carry someone on a liter, provide first aid to that person. That allowed them to see that the physical activity wasn’t the only thing their soldier parent does during deployment. The children were able to sit inside several different Army vehicles.

According to one the organizers of the event, Lana Barshinger, the event was a huge success. While trying to provide the children with a realistic view of the jobs their parents do, they also hoped to reassure the children that their parents were safe, by focusing on what life was like for their parents, aside from the weapons. Ms. Barshinger said that they entire community pulled together to ensure that the event occurred and went smoothly.

“That was one of the best things about how this worked out,” she said. “Lynn Mattingly, the school counselor, called me and had been trying to get this going, so I said of course we’ll help. As we started, HMEDDAC came in, ACS or Army Community Services, came in, even Club Beyond. So we were able to draw many people together. There are several different organizations that have been out here. I think it’s good for us to do more of these events.”3

This is a fantastic idea and one that can only help the children understand more about their parents’ chosen profession. At the installation that I work for, they’ve also held ‘boot camps’ for the spouses, to help them better understand the role that their spouse has in the military. I think that both of these events only helps to open up the lines of communication and helps them to feel closer to theri deployed Soldier. I hope that more and more installations will follow by offering these types of activities for spouses and children of deployed Soldiers.

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Memorial Day … A Time To Honor The Fallen

May 25, 2009


For many people in the United States, Memorial Day is a day that swimming pools open for the summer, the first three day weekend of the summer and a time to get together and barbecue, party and relax. It seems that many have forgotten what the holiday is intended to be. The meaning of Memorial Day is often lost in all of the other things. It’s a travesty.

Originally called Decoration Day, it was initially dedicated as a day to remember the fallen from the Civil War. A day in which those fallen warriors could be remembered for laying down their lives for something they believed in, whether they fought for the Union or Confederate armies. In May 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson officially proclaimed Waterloo, N.Y to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, though other cities have staked claim to that title as well. Regardless of its origins, it’s a day of remembering those who sacrificed their lives for the ideals of this country.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.1

Across the country on Memorial Day, the graves of Veterans will be decorated with US flags. While the holiday has evolved over the years to include a day in which many remember their friends and family members who have passed on, the history of Memorial Day is something that we should never forget and that we should pass down to our children and grandchildren. Were it not for the brave men and women who have and continue to sacrifice so that we might continue to enjoy the freedoms that are the foundation of our great country, this country would not be what it is today.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”2

I urge everyone to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance. All it takes is a few minutes of your time to stop what you’re doing and remember all of the brave warriors who have given their lives so that we are free to live ours as we chose, whether that is by pausing a moment to reflect in silence or listen to Taps. The sacrifices of our brave, fallen warriors are too important to forget, regardless of whether anyone from your family has ever served or not. , with the voice of an angel and a heart of gold says it best in her song, “Honor The Fallen.”

I ask that each of you take a few moments on Memorial Day to ‘Honor The Fallen’. We owe them that.

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Warrior Legacy Foundation Launches Memorial Day 2009

May 23, 2009

Throughout the history of our country, some have willingly sacrificed to ensure that we as citizens of this great nation can enjoy the freedoms that many take for granted. Some have given their lives in battle, while others have willingly given of themselves to defend our country. They deserve our respect and honor. Because these brave souls have been so willing to give of themselves, the Warrior Legacy Foundation was born, to ensure that the legacy and honor of our warriors is preserved and protected. The Warrior Legacy Foundation is a non partisan organization that is committed to this and welcomes everyone who believes that our warriors deserve this. Please take some time to visit their website (you can access it by clicking the words The Warrior Legacy Foundation above) and join the cause. I think you’ll be glad that you did. I urge you to sign up and do your part in ensuring that the legacy of our brave warriors is protected and preserved. Below, you’ll find the official Press Release.


In A Place Where Valor Lies

May 23, 2009


In a place where courage and valor lie, Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” as well as ceremonial units from each branch of the military gathered on May 21st with full rucksacks. Their mission? To place American flags on each grave at Arlington National Ceremony. That’s more than 300,000 flags. “Flags In” as it is known, is the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend for military members and visitors to Arlington National Cemetery, a holiday for reflecting upon the sacrifices, commitment and valor of those who have given their lives in defense of this country.

Each service member participating had a ruck sack full of flags. Wooden crates containing more flags lined the roads of Arlington National Cemetery, where those participating could refill their ruck sacks as needed. When they were finished, each grave had a flag placed one foot from it’s base.


“It’s a privilege to be out here, it’s a very specific group that is allowed to do this,” said Sgt. Andrew Jansen of the Old Guard’s Headquarters Company. This is the 5th year that Jansen has had the honor of participating.1

They take this job seriously. Afterall, their mission is to ensure that those whose resting place is there, is honored. It’s important to do so, especially on the day set aside to honor the sacrifices of the brave souls buried there. Some of those who had the honor of participating, brought their families along to witness. Children could occasionally be seen carrying tall stacks of flags, some taller than they were, and handing them to the service members whose job it was to place a flag at each grave.

They sometimes took the time to pause and salute, as they placed a flag on certain graves, those of Medal of Honor recepients, such as SPC Ross A. McGinnis who gave his life, by throwing himself on a grenade to save the lives of his fellow Soldiers.2 Old Guard Soldiers will stand watch at Arlington National Cemetery throughout the Memorial Day weekend.


Arlington National Cemetery isn’t the only place where you’ll see a sea of flags proudly waving at the graves of fallen warriors. In Veterans Cemeteries across the country, a similar mission was accomplished. In civilian cemeteries, you’ll also see flags standing proudly on the graves of military veterans. As you go about your weekend, whatever you have planned, take time to think about what these men and women have given for us as a nation. I urge you to take part in the National Moment of Silence on Monday at 3pm local time. If you visit a cemetery and see flags on certain graves, please take a moment to reflect upon what those flags mean. Take a moment to say thanks that brave warriors such as these, have willingly sacrificed to ensure our freedoms. They deserve this honor.

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“And The Thunder Rolls … “

May 19, 2009

Twenty years ago, in 1989 a couple of veterans decided to embark on a trip on their motorcycles, across the country to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. That was the very first “Run For The Wall” ride and it’s become a yearly tradition ever since. They began their journey in San Diego and ended in Washington DC. There they met up with a group of riders known as Rolling Thunder and together they converged on the nation’s capital to honor POWs and those who remain classified as Missing In Action.

Twenty years later, the thunder still rolls across the country and the number of participants has grown tremendously. Last Wednesday, 350 motorcycles left Victoria Gardens and headed East towards Washington DC. Along the way, other groups of motorcyclists will join them as they make their trek towards the Wall, in a ride that is multifaceted. Not only is it about showing their patriotism and pride for our country, or the closeness shared by those making that trip together, but for many, it’s also a ride that’s an integral part of their healing process.


“It’s not a strenuous ride but it’s an emotional roller coaster,” said Daryl Neil from Phoenix. “If you want to see a bunch of old men cry, come on the ride.”1

Many of those who will make the ride are Vietnam veterans as well as their supporters and family members. The rides come in all sizes and shapes, both men and women. Many have made the trip an annual event, while others are making the trip for the first time. Regardless, they will all be impacted and will all experience the emotion that is present on the ride. Their mission is simple, raise awareness of our POWs and MIAs, as well as our Troops and Veterans.


For some, especially the Vietnam Vets, these rides may have been the first time they’ve been able to find some closure to what they experienced, both during the war, but also afterwards when they came home and were treated so badly. Those who have made the ride previously, tend to take care of those who are making the trip for the first time. One veteran rider, Charlie Del Campo embarked on his 5th trip to the capital. For him, his first ride was a pivotal point in his healing process and coming to grips with his service in Vietnam. He now makes the journey each year, in order to help other veterans who are riding for the first time.

New riders are designated by wearing a pin that says “FNG”. According to Del Campo that stands for ‘fun new guy/gal’ and is a play on the term in the military for new guys. As they were preparing to embark on the journey, Del Campo spotted a man who was wearing an FNG pin.

“Hey FNG, welcome home,” Del Campo said. “I’ll be your wingman.”2

As they make their way cross the country, the riders will take two different routes, picking up riders along the way. Stops will be made in Arizona, Texas, Indiana, as well as other states along the way, before they arrive at their final destination in Virginia on Friday, May 22nd, where they’ll meet up with the Rolling Thunder riders. If you happen to see them as they make their way to Washington DC, don’t hesitate to shake their hand, let them know you appreciate their service and sacrifice and tell them “Welcome Home.” A full weekend is planned to advocate for the Troops, Veterans and ensure that our country’s POWs and Missing In Action are not ever forgotten. Rolling Thunder and the Run For The Wall are extremely dedicated to ensure we never forget our POWs and MIAs and should be applauded in their efforts.


The Rolling Thunder activities this year, which kicks off on May 23rd will feature Marine recording artist, Mike Corrado, who’s song “On My Watch Tonight” has a lot of meaning for our Troops as well as our Veterans. Vietnam Memorial founder Jan Scruggs will be a featured speaker. Other musical artists will also perform.3

To find out more about the activities that are planned, please visit the Rolling Thunder website.

To find out more about the annual Run For The Wall, including the routes that will be taken and stops they’ll make along the way, please visit Run For The Wall website.

If you’re in Washington DC or that general area over the Memorial Day weekend, please take some time to visit the National Mall and participate in the activities that will be happening there. Take the time to let these brave men and women know just how important they are to our country. Wish I could be there….

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The Tragedy At Camp Liberty: My Thoughts

May 13, 2009

When a Soldier is downrange in a combat zone, they have to rely on the men and women who are with them, to watch their back. They work closely with each other, as a team to ensure the safety and well being of everyone. In this situation, they should never have to be concerned that one of their brothers or sisters will turn on them and take their life. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. Unfortunately, it did happen in Iraq at Camp Liberty on May 11th.

I’ve been silent on this subject, since the story broke, because I wanted to obtain more details, before I wrote about it. I wanted to make sure that I had as much information as possible, instead of basing what I wanted to say on supposition and only partial information.

Incidents of fratricide in the Army, since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq started have been few, however they have occurred. When something like this occurs, it’s a tragedy for everyone involved …. The victims, their family members, the Army, the country and the suspect’s family. None of us may ever know what drove Sgt John M. Russell to take the lives of 5 fellow service members. But it’s obvious that there were concerns about his mental stability, enough so, that his command had removed his weapon and ordered him to seek mental health counseling at the Combat Stress Center where the incident took place.

His father has spoken to the press and stated publically that while his son forfeited his life by committing these crimes, that he feels the Army is also responsible for the rampage his son went on, stating that the Army ‘broke him.’ That comment, got me thinking about different cases that I’ve read about or been involved in, throughout my career in law enforcement and EMS over the years. In almost every instance in which a multiple homicide occurred, when the perpetrator was found, friends family and neighbors all commented “I can’t believe he/she would do that. He/she is not that kind of person. They’ve always been so polite and caring.” I see the same thing occurring in this case, even before all the facts are made public. Unfortunately, we may never know what was going on inside this man’s head, when he made the conscious choice to overpower his escort, take his weapon and return to the Combat Stress Clinic and open fire.

While I agree that the repeated deployments have played a large part in the mental health concerns of many of our Troops, I just don’t see how this incident can be blamed on anyone but the person who made the choice to pull the trigger. I’ve dealt with many people who are suffering from PTSD, some very severe cases, and each of them still was able to distinguish the difference between right and wrong.

According to an email that the suspect sent his wife, he apparently feared that because his command has ordered him into counseling, that they were trying to drive him out of the Army. Knowing how much emphasis the Army and the entire military as a whole is putting on mental health services and how much they are encouraging Soldiers to seek help for mental health problems, I’m not so sure that’s what was intended at all. So many times, with the appropriate treatments, Soldiers can continue to serve in the military, even if they have been treated for PTSD. I’m sure when everything is said and done that there were many factors that were involved in this situation, some that Sgt. Russell may never tell to anyone about.

Having had the experience of working closely with Army CID in my current job, I know that they’re very thorough in their investigations and that they will not leave any stone unturned. They will do everything necessary to get to the truth behind what happened.
According to information that has been released, Sgt Russell was serving his 3rd deployment in Iraq and was only 6 weeks away from redeploying back to the US. Here are the facts that are currently known:

1. Sgt. Russell initially was an Army National Guard in 1988 where he served until 1994. He then enlisted in Active Duty, stationed in Germany with his wife.
2. A few days before the shooting at Camp Liberty, his commanders grew concerned about his mental state and confiscated his weapon. (This is a precaution that commanders take downrange whenever they become concerned).
3. He was referred to counseling at the Combat Stress Center the week prior to the shooting.
4. He got into an argument with someone at the Combat Stress Clinic and was asked to leave.
5. He overpowered his escort and took his weapon from him, returning to the combat stress center and opening fire.
6. Sgt Russell was arrested outside the clinic, shortly after the shooting.

According to an interview that his father did with a local new station, counselors at the Combat Stress Clinic were conducting testing on his son, and he claims that his son was not aware that they were just tests. He’s gotta be kidding, right? His father further stated that his son emailed his wife telling here that his life was over as far as he was concerned and that his son wasn’t a violent man. Something else come to light thought that I found interesting and really gives me a different perspective into this man. Sgt. Russell was married once before. In 1991 his ex-wife filed for divorce, and filed for a restraining order against him. In the divorce petition, his ex-wife stated that he had committed acts of family violence (not a violent man, huh?) and should be barred from having contact with her and their child who at the time was 2 years old. About a month after the divorce was finalized in 1993, Sgt. Russell was charged with misdemeanor assault by threats, though those charges were later dropped.1 Somehow, I just didn’t get the picture of a non-violent man, when I read these things about his past.

This is a horrific incident, which affected the lives of many, many innocent people and ended the life for 5 of our brave Soldiers. The military is reviewing the mental health services, to ensure that the appropriate services are available to Troops while deployed as well as when they return home. Please keep the families of Army Maj. Matthew Houseal, Army Sgt Christian Bueno-Galdos, Army Spc Jacob Barton, Army Pfc Michael Yates Jr and Navy Cmdr Charles Springle, in your thoughts and prayers as they lay their loved ones to rest, as a result of this senseless tragedy. The family of Sgt. Russell is suffering and coming to grips with what he did as well. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as well. It’s only natural that they support him, as this situation unfolds, and I feel for them, as they come to grips with the kind of monster he truly is. As for Sgt. Russell, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him. In fact, I’d say I pretty much agree with everything that CJ at A Soldier’s Perspective had to say about it. My hope that as his Courts Martial unfolds that he will be found guilty of the crimes that he committed and that he will be given the harshest punishment possible, which in my opinion should be the death penalty.

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New Educational Opportunities For Military Members & Their Families

May 3, 2009

Obtaining a college education is important in today’s world, in order to learn skills that will make a person marketable in American society. The military has recognized this and has made things like the GI Bill available to help military members obtain a college education. Location of higher educational institutions hasn’t always been optimal when a service member or their family has been exploring obtaining a college education. Sometimes, it has required a move in order for them to obtain a higher education. That has however eased with the advent of online courses that many colleges offer, but it still can be difficult for some.

Dr. Mike McKinney,(left), Chancellor of Texas A & M University, and Army Secretary Pete Geren, sign a transfer of land agreement, April 30, at the Brumidi Room on Capitol Hill. The agreement will allow for 662 acres of federal land to be used by Texas A & M to build a Central Texas campus in the city of Killeen for Soldiers and family members stationed at Fort Hood. Photo credit C. Todd Lopez

In the Fort Hood area, it will soon be much easier for military members and their family to obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. On April 30th, Army Secretary Pete Geren signed a transfer of land agreement with Texas A & M College. The Army officially gave more than one square mile of land from Fort Hood to the college, for them to build a new college campus near Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. Not only will this gift of land to Texas A & M mean more opportunities for military families in the area, but it will also offer more opportunities for the greater Fort Hood area as a whole, as well as provide employment opportunities in the area, for the military families and civilians in the area as well. This will also just enhance the relationship that has existed for many years between Texas A & M and the Army, that has spanned more than a century.1

“The long-term payoff for the Army is going to be the educational opportunity that our Soldiers and their families, their spouses and their kids, are going to have at their doorstep,” said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. “It builds on a shared rich history that Texas A&M and the Army have — it goes back to the founding of Texas A&M — Texas A.M.C. This builds on that rich history and it’s an important initiative for Texas A&M to be able (to bring) this great institute to central Texas.”2

The new college, to be known as Texas A & M University-Central Texas will allow first class educational opportunities for people residing in the greater Fort Hood area. For myself, this is a plus, as I’ve been considering going back to school to finish up my Masters Degree. This will make it that much easier for me to do so. For military spouses in the Fort Hood area, this will provide them with even more opportunities to obtain an education that will enable them to obtain employment, not only in the Fort Hood area, but elsewhere, as their spouses PCS to other installations. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Present at the signing of the land transfer, were Army Secretary Pete Geren, Texas A & M Chancellor Dr. Mike McKinney and Texas Congressman Chet Edwards. Edwards expressed his approval and pleasure in the transfer.

“It’s a win for Army Soldiers and their families who will have an opportunity to get a world class education at an affordable price right here in the backyard at Fort Hood,” Edwards said. “It’s a win for central Texas because having a higher education instution of this caliber is always a great investment in a community’s future.”3

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100 Years Of Warrior Care

May 2, 2009

May 1, 2009 marks 100 years in which Walter Reed Army Medical Center has provided medical care for literally thousands of US Servicemembers. Walter Reed opened it’s doors on May 1, 1909, as an 80 bed facility in a time of peace, before our country became involved in World War I. Shortly afterwards, the beds began to fill with casualties from injuries sustained during World War I.

“There was no ceremony, no dedication and no fanfare,” Walter Reed historian Sherman Fleek said. “Medical treatment and care commenced quietly.”1

As our country became involved in various conflicts, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, the number of beds at Walter Reed grew to 2,500. Always in the forefront of medical care, Walter Reed has adapted as the needs of wounded warriors has changed. Currently Walter Reed is a 247 bed major medical center and one that is in the forefront of medical advances. At Walter Reed, there are currently 60 out patient clinics, 16 operating suites and it’s staff is dedicated not only to caring for their patients, but teaching and research as well.

Oldest known photo of Walter Reed from 1909

Most recently, a state of the art, 31,000-square-foot rehabilitation center and gym has been added to better provide for the needs of the servicemembers that Walter Reed serves. Since it opened in September 2007, troops who have undergone amputations have used the center’s computer- and video-monitoring systems, infrared camera-assisted motion analysis and other sophisticated technology to help them adapt to new prosthetic limbs.2

Along with the wonderful things that Walter Reed has provided our Troops, as well as several US Presidents, in medical care, there have been some rough spots along the way. We’re all very familiar with the reports that were published in early 2007, in the Washington Post that shed light on poor conditions at the hospital’s facilities, describing America’s wounded warrior outpatients living in moldy rooms laden with belly-up cockroaches and stained carpets, and soldiers forced to face a cumbersome bureaucracy at the hospital.3

Aerial Photo of Walter Reed in the 1990s

Despite these setbacks, the staff at Walter Reed has remained dedicated to providing the best care possible to our wounded warriors. Because of these reports, many new programs and services have been initiated to ensure that our wounded warriors receive the best and most efficient medical care possible.

“So many great initiatives have developed out of that crisis,” Coots said via e-mail. “National and military leadership from around the world come to Walter Reed to see and earn about all of the great things that are being done in this world-class facility.”4

As many of us know, Walter Reed is scheduled to be moved to Bethesda Naval Medical Center in 2011 as part of the BRAC realignment and will then be transformed into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. I’m sure even after the move, top quality medical care for our wounded warriors will be the standard. Visiting the Walter Reed website and reading about the rich history of this facility is quite amazing. I encourage you to do so.

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National Veterans Convention

April 29, 2009

Veterans Rights is a topic that is near and dear to many of us in the MilBlog world. The issues that our Troops and Veterans face are multi-faceted ones and often they aren’t aware of exactly what organizations and agencies they can turn to for help. The issues can be numerous and some are dealing with several issues at the same time. Not knowing where they can turn to, can lead to desperation and despair. We’ve told you about many of the agencies, those in the government, as well as those in the private sector, who make it their mission to assist our Troops and Veterans in need.


On May 13th and May 14th, one of these agencies, Circle Of Friends For American Veterans will be hosting a National Veterans Convention in Washington D.C. to discuss and advance veterans’ issues and hopefully raise more awareness to issues that our Veterans face. This event will feature members of the US Congress, as well as speakers with expertise on the subject of Veterans’ Advocacy. Registration for the Convention is free of charge. If you’re in the Washington D.C. area or plan to be, during that time period, I highly encourage you to participate in this event. On Wednesday May 13th, convention hours are from 8am to 6pm and on Thursday, May 14th, hours are from 9am to 5:30 pm.

According to the Circle Of Friends For American Veterans website, 14 members of Congress have already expressed interest in the convention and 7 of those have already confirmed that they will be attending. I would hope that even more will recognize the importance of the issues that face our Veterans and that many more will plan to attend. Below, you’ll find the details about the convention with instructions on how to register.


You are cordially invited to attend and participate in the National Convention for Veterans to be conducted in the distinguished Reserve Officers’ National Headquarters, a block from the US Capital in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, May 13th & Thursday, May 14th. The Convention will advance a comprehensive veterans’ platform and raise the priority for veterans in our nations’ agenda. The two day program will feature the following:
Leading Members of the United States Congress
Highly Credentialed and Outspoken Speakers & Panel Members on the Subjects Veterans’ Advocacy, National Defense and Budgetary/Spending Reform
Continuous Media Opportunities with National & Regional Outlets, Especially Live National Talk Radio

Complimentary morning and afternoon passes each day are issued until the hall is booked up. Complimentary tickets for Veterans’ Leaders Luncheon on Wednesday May 13th, Congressional Leaders’ Luncheon on Thursday May 14th and cocktail receptions are available to those with personal and institutional standing in support of American Veterans, a fiscally sound budgeted economy and a strong national defense. Confirmation numbers for all tickets will be issued until all events are filled.
To RSVP For This Event Click Here
Having problems registering online? Contact us at (800) 528-5385 and we will register you personally.
For More Regarding the Circle of Friends for America Veterans Visit Our Website

Circle Of Friends For American Veterans

Our nation is as strong as the core. Veterans are the core. We take care of the veterans and we take care of the core. May God Bless American Veterans and Continue to Bless Our Great Country.

We owe it to our Veterans and our Soldiers to ensure that they are receiving the very best when it comes to services and care, both during and after their time in service. These men and women have sacrificed so much for this country, for you and I, to ensure that we can continue to live our lives as we see fit. If you can’t attend the convention, please visit the Circle of Friends for American Veterans website to find ways that you can help to ensure that our country’s Heroes receive the very best. They deserve no less than that.

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