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Monthly Archives: October 2008

October 31, 2008
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the men and women who in defense of our freedom have bravely worn the uniform of the United States.

From the fields and forests of war-torn Europe to the jungles of Southeast Asia, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, brave patriots have protected our Nation’s ideals, rescued millions from tyranny, and helped spread freedom around the globe. America’s veterans answered the call when asked to protect our Nation from some of the most brutal and ruthless tyrants, terrorists, and militaries the world has ever known. They stood tall in the face of grave danger and enabled our Nation to become the greatest force for freedom in human history. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard have answered a high calling to serve and have helped secure America at every turn. Our country is forever indebted to our veterans for their quiet courage and exemplary service. We also remember and honor those who laid down their lives in freedom’s defense. These brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for our benefit. On Veterans Day, we remember these heroes for their valor, their loyalty, and their dedication. Their selfless sacrifices continue to inspire us today as we work to advance peace and extend freedom around the world.

With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor America’s veterans.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2008, as Veterans Day and urge all Americans to observe November 9 through November 15, 2008, as National Veterans Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of our veterans through ceremonies and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to support and participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with commemorative expressions and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

Go to Veterans Day Main Page


From Roger Simpson, PIO: Saluting is an Obligation and Right, not a Privilege

I received dozens of emails about the left-handed salute photo included yesterday in the official VA announcement about veterans now having the lawful right to salute our flag.

Saluting our flag is an obligation of men and women who actively serve, whether or not they are in uniform. As announced yesterday, military veterans now have the lawful right to salute. Non-military Americans do not have share in that right. Non-military Americans continue the privilege (in some places they are required) of placing their right hand over their heart. However, because unidentified veterans in civilian dress now have the right to salute our flag many non-military Americans who witness unidentified veterans saluting will mistakenly believe they also have the right to salute.

Military veterans can help police the law and maintain their exclusive right to salute, while at the same time educate non-military Americans simply by ensuring that when you attend a public gathering where the National Anthem is played you ALSO wear a military item, such as a medal, ribbon, Association cap or other item that clearly identifies you as a military veteran. Congressionally chartered veterans organizations have the responsibility to educate crowd announcers to correctly inform attendees that ONLY the military and military veterans may salute while non-military attendees should place their right hand over their hearts.

Saluting our flag is a obligation and now a right extended only to those who are serving or have served. Let’s all work together to ensure our right (and obligation) is not abused, while at the same time serving as a highly visible encouragement to young people to join our military in order to gain our right to salute.

Lastly, veterans who are unable to salute with their right hand are permitted to salute with their left hand. Again, please wear a medal, ribbon or other item that clearly identifies you are a veteran so that non-military Americans who witness your legal right to salute will not be misled to believe they share your rights.

Contact Person for this posting: Roger Simpson, PIO
Public Information Office: http://www.13105320
The American War Library: http://www.amervets .com/
16907 Brighton Avenue
Gardena CA 90247-5420
Phone / Fax: 1-310-532-0634

New law: Veterans can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem

WASHINGTON (Oct. 30, 2008) — Veterans and active-duty military not in uniform can now render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem, thanks to changes in federal law that took effect this month.

“The military salute is a unique gesture of respect that marks those who have served in our nation’s armed forces,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. “This provision allows the application of that honor in all events involving our nation’s flag.”

The new provision improves upon a little known change in federal law
last year that authorized veterans to render the military-style hand
salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag, but it did
not address salutes during the national anthem. Last year’s provision also applied to members of the armed forces while not in uniform.

Traditionally, members of the nation’s veterans service organizations have rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag while wearing their organization’s official head-gear.

The most recent change, authorizing hand-salutes during the national
anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel, was sponsored by Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, an Army veteran. It was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct.

The earlier provision authorizing hand-salutes for veterans and
out-of-uniform military personnel during the raising, lowering or
passing of the flag, was contained in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, which took effect Jan. 28, 2008.

Visit iVeteranUS at:


Section 301(b)(1) of title 36, United States Code, is
amended by striking subparagraphs (A) through (C) and inserting the
following new subparagraphs:

`(A) individuals in uniform should give the
military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that
position until the last note;

`(B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who
are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the
manner provided for individuals in uniform; and

`(C) all other persons present should face the flag
and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men
not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their
right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the
heart; and’.

Help looking for Veterans who served in Berlin Germany between 1958-63

Re-Post Please

Help looking for Veterans who served in Berlin Germany between 1958-63 in the Northland K.C. area for newspaper interview . All KS and MO vets who are interested please contact me at 716-708-0130 or 716-720-4000.

Sean Eagan

American Cold War Veterans, Inc.

Web: .http://americancoldwarvets. org/

Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog….
Email: Sean. Eagan@gmail. com….

Phone: .
716 720-4000
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile

Veterans of the former 664th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron and local dignitaries will gather at the entrance of the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, 2280 State Route 540, at 9:30 a.m. Monday for the dedication of a marker commemorating the base’s 18 years of service to national security.

Base veterans commissioned the sign at their own expense to keep the memory of the base alive and to honor those who served here and dedicated a part of their life in service to their country, as the marker reads.

This generation doesn’t really know that the base was here or what (it) did, said veteran Larry Lewis, who spearheaded the acquisition.

The radar towers of the former 664th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron base are pictured at the peak of Campbell Hill.

Personnel of the former 664th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron base, located on the current site of the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, line up in front of barracks.

(The base) should be remembered for generations to come.

For nearly two decades, Campbell Hill was home to the radar station and some 1,700 servicemen and servicewomen and civilian employees who passed through its gates from 1951 to 1969.

As Ohio’s highest point, Campbell Hill was chosen by the federal government to be part of the North American Air Defense Command during the Cold War era.

An Ohio historical marker at the peak of Campbell Hill relates how base military and civilian operators used sophisticated radar and computer equipment to locate and identify aircraft as friendly or suspicious and then relayed their information to a central base in Michigan.

The base was not only a great asset to national security, but a source of pride and income for the local community.

(The base) put a lot of money in this town, related Mr. Lewis.

After the base closed in 1969, many staffers chose to stay and make Bellefontaine and Logan County their permanent homes and some continue to reside here.

Base veterans reunite annually at the center and they sponsor a scholarship program at the career center.

Those efforts underscore another sentiment on the marker:

Long live the memory of those who served.

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2008 – The next president will “take a fresh look” at plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today, but he dismissed Russian objections to the system as politically based.

Gates said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace he’s confident the Russians know the proposed missile defense system in Eastern Europe does not threaten them. He called objections that 10 missile-defense interceptors would jeopardize Russia’s arsenal “laughable.”

“I think we’ve leaned forward pretty far and have been open with them about what we intend to do,” Gates said. “I think we have gone a long way toward providing the necessary assurances to Russia that this system is not aimed at them, but is aimed at a very limited threat coming from Iran.”

Gates noted proposals the United States has offered to help reassure Russia. One would allow Russia to have representatives at each site, if the host nation agreed, to provide technical monitoring of activities. Another would be to base a common-data-sharing center in Moscow.

He said he assured Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when Putin was president that the United States would not make the sites operational until the Iranians had tested a missile that could reach most of Western Europe, including parts of Russia.

“We have provided transparency in a number of ways,” Gates said. While the Russian military “has shown some interest in this,” Russians have “chosen to make an issue of the notion,” for political reasons, he said.

Meanwhile, Gates said, he believes it’s likely the United States and Russia will arrive at an agreement when the Moscow Treaty expires. President Bush and Putin signed the Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions in 2002, calling for both countries to reduce their strategic nuclear warheads to a level of 1,700 to 2,200 by 2012.

Gates said he believes there’s “a willingness and ability to make deeper reductions,” but said any new agreement must include the same verification procedures included in previous arms-control agreements.

But Gates said he’d like to see one big difference. “I’m not sure agreements the size of a telephone book that take years and years to negotiate are in the interest of either party,” he said. “It ought to be an agreement that is shorter, simpler and easier to adjust to real-world conditions than most of the strategic arms agreements that we have seen in the last 40 years.”

Robert M. Gates

Related Articles:
Gates Calls Nuke Capability Critical to Deterrence, Reassuring Allies

Update from Operation Continuing Promise 2008

U.S. Navy Captain Fernandez "Frank" Ponds
U.S. Navy Captain Fernandez “Frank” Ponds
U.S. Navy Capt. Frank Ponds, the commodore of the USS Kearsarge, gave an update from Operation Continuing Promise 2008, which has been underway in the Caribbean and Central and South America since August. The operation provides humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the region, Ponds said, and has been successful thus far. “Continuing Promise ’08’s primary principles are to establish, reestablish, and reinforce the security, stability, and prosperity within the region,” he explained. Audio(Mp3)

by Calvin Johnson
October 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 11th is Veterans Day!

“No arsenal, or no weapons in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”—The late President Ronald Reagan

On the 11th day and 11th hour of November, the parade will stop and the bugler will play taps in honor and memory of the men and women who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy. Please take a few minutes on the 11th to thank a Veteran. You may also wish to do this in person at the many Veterans Day parades held around this great nation.

As we elect a new American president, let´s remember those who stood for liberty that we may continue to freely exercise our right to vote.

During July 2008, a California newspaper article caught my eye about a World War II Veteran, John Finn, of San Diego . The San Diego News described Finn as not only the first recipient in World War II to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor but, at 99 years old, also the oldest recipient of the military´s highest award. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor , Finn found whatever weapon he could find to fight back despite being wounded 21 times.

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Veterans Day, to me, is about American patriot Patrick Henry who said, “It can not be emphasized too strongly are too often that this great nation was founded not by the religionists but by Christians, not on religion but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Can you imagine what people might say today about such a bold statement as this? There was a time when his words were the soul of our nation.

And let us remember that General George Washington led his troops in prayer before they crossed the Delaware River on a cold-snowy night to surprise the British and Hessian troops on December 26, 1776. They gained a great victory in the worst of conditions.

Our children should know of Andrew Jackson and a ragtag army who defeated the British at New Orleans in 1815. A young officer named Wade Hampton of South Carolina rode 750 miles in ten days to Columbia, South Carolina, and then to Washington, D.C. to tell President Madison and the country of the great victory.

We shall never forget that in March, 1836, a small band of men at the Alamo stood between Santa Anna’s 5,000 man army and the unprepared small army of Sam Houston. In the lonely monastery were Davy Crocket, Jim Bowie and less than two hundred men. Just three days before Santa Anna’s final assault, these men came into the Alamo , knowing they might die.

On their last night on earth the Alamo men prayed that their battle would, somehow, lead to victory even though they might die. Their prayer was answered. A few days later at San Jacinto, Houston defeated Santa Anna with the battle cry of, “Remember the Alamo !”

Let us remember 1861 when our nation became two nations. The South under President Jefferson Davis and the North under President Abraham Lincoln, fought for four long, bloody years to decide our future. Both armies prayed to the same God for guidance. This war has many names but the United States Congress would officially name it “The War Between the States.” Since 1865, the Confederate Battle flag has been the blood brother of the Stars and Stripes as Southerners have taken their place at the front in all our nation’s wars.

Let us remember that in February of 1898 the American Battleship Maine blew up in Havana Harbor with nearly 300 dead. The Spanish-American War brought Teddy Roosevelt’s “Roughriders” to Cuba to charge up San Juan Hill to victory. Old Joe Wheeler, an ex-Confederate Cavalry General, was there with him. Wheeler got so excited that he forgot which war he was in. He shouted, “There they are, go get those Yankees!”

In Greensboro, North Carolina a six year old girl named Mary Frances Barker awoke to the shouts of a boy far down the street. It was 5 A.M., November 12, 1918. It was the paper boy shouting, “The War is over, the war is over!” World War I had finally ended on the 11th day of the 11th hour of the 11th month of November in 1918.

The United States Congress proclaimed “Armistice Day” a year later on November 11, 1919.

On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the first word of the attack on Pearl Harbor came by radio. Newspapers did run “extras” that Sunday with little information and a lot of fear. This Sunday would become “a day of infamy.” On Monday the 8th President Franklin D. Roosevelt, during a special session of congress, told of the attack and declared war on Japan . His speech was broadcast on the radio.

F.D.R.’s closing words were: “With the abounded determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God!” Since that time there has been Korea , Vietnam , Grenada , Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Iraq .We can not forget that we were attacked again on September 11, 2001.

We have, since World War II, seen prayer taken out of our schools and “Under God” in the pledge of allegiance under attack. Are we still a nation of God as we once were during the times of our founding fathers and mothers? With all that is happening in the world today, it seems to me that we may need God more then ever.

In 1954, The United States Congress passed Bill HR7786 and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

America must remember those who served our nation! To forget is dishonor., in just over 2 months, already features over 22,700 Member Profiles – More than 8,000 Soldiers joined the site in the last 30 days! Log in today to see if anyone you served with is now on board and looking for you!

This month marks the 25th Anniversary of the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon on 23 Oct 2008.
-They Came in Peace…

On Sunday, October 23,1983 at approximately 6:20 a.m. 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed and hundreds of others were wounded or disabled. This was the result of a suicide truck, laden with explosives carrying the equivilant of 20,000 pounds of TNT that detonated on the ground floor of BLT 1/8 headquarters barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The largest non-nuclear explosion of its time. Other servicemen from 1982-1984 perished from sniper fire and other atrocities. Others died years later or are permantly disabled as the result of their wounds. This makes a total of 270 Marines, sailors and soldiers that died during a peacekeeping mission.

We honor the memory of those Marines who paid the ultimate price on that dreadful day and pray for peace and healing for their families on this difficult anniversary.

Click this link to the Tribute in this month’s newsletter.

US considering implications of nuclear decline

WASHINGTON (AP) — The mighty U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons, midwived by World War II and nurtured by the Cold War, is declining in power and purpose while the military’s competence in handling the world’s most dangerous arms has eroded. At the same time, international efforts to contain the spread of such weapons look ineffective.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for one, wants the next president to think about what nuclear middle-age and decline means for national security.

Gates joins a growing debate about the reliability and future credibility of the American arsenal with his first extensive speech on nuclear arms Tuesday. The debate is attracting increasing attention inside the Pentagon even as the military is preoccupied with fighting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. The unconventional tools of war there include covert commandos, but not nuclear weapons.

Gates is expected to call for increased commitment to preserving the deterrent value of atomic weapons. Their chief function has evolved from first stopping the Nazis and Japanese, then the Soviets. Now the vast U.S. stockpile serves mainly to make any other nation think twice about developing or using even a crude nuclear device of its own.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, wrote in the current issue of an internal publication, Joint Force Quarterly, that the United States is overdue to retool its nuclear strategy. He referred to nuclear deterrence — the idea that the credible threat of U.S. nuclear retaliation is enough by itself to stop a potential enemy from striking first with a weapon of mass destruction.

“Many, if not most, of the individuals who worked deterrence in the 1970s and 1980s — the real experts at this discipline — are not doing it anymore,” Mullen wrote. “And we have not even tried to find their replacements.”

Gen. Kevin Chilton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, which is responsible for maintaining the nation’s nuclear war plans, told Congress last spring that technical nuclear expertise also is lagging.

“The last nuclear design engineer to participate in the development and testing of a new nuclear weapon is scheduled to retire in the next five years,” Chilton said.

Of the two senators competing to succeed President Bush, Democrat Barack Obama is most unequivocally against building new nuclear weapons. Both he and Republican John McCain say in their campaign materials that they support the long-standing U.S. commitment to eventually do away with nuclear arms. Neither says explicitly that the safety or credibility of the arsenal is in question; that’s an argument made most frequently by congressional Republicans.

Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., for example, said in a speech Sept. 15 that the network of laboratories and industrial plants that produce and maintain U.S. nuclear weapons is, in some cases, “simply falling down from age,” and that this amounts to an alarming national “emergency.”

Some private experts dispute Kyl’s assessment.

“It’s completely overblown,” said Hans M. Kristensen, who tracks nuclear weapons developments for the Federation of American Scientists. The advocacy group opposes the Bush administration’s proposal to develop a new nuclear weapon design.

The number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal is a state secret. But Kristensen and a fellow expert, Robert S. Norris, estimate that the total stood at nearly 5,400 warheads at the start of this year. That includes an estimated 4,075 ready for potential use and 1,260 in backup status.

In an interview, Kristensen argued that even though the number is declining, the capability of remaining weapons is increasing as older missiles, for example, get new engines, guidance sets and computer software.

Gates takes a different view. He has expressed concern about lack of official attention to the nuclear arsenal.

“Even though the days of hair-trigger superpower confrontation are over, as long as other nations possess the bomb and the means to deliver it, the United States must maintain a credible strategic deterrent,” he said Sept. 29 in a speech at the National Defense University.

Gates tied the question of credibility to well-publicized slip-ups in Air Force nuclear operations. In June he fired the Air Force’s top general, Michael Moseley, as well as the top civilian, Michael Wynne, after an outside investigation concluded that the Air Force had not adequately heeded warning signs that its nuclear expertise, performance and stewardship were eroding over a period of years.

In August 2007, a B-52 bomber flew from an Air Force base in North Dakota to a base in Louisiana with nuclear warheads that neither the bomber’s pilots nor its crew knew were aboard. Then came the revelation that electrical fuses that trigger the detonation of strategic nuclear missiles had been shipped mistakenly to Taiwan — and the mistake was not discovered for months.

Richard Wagner, a physicist who worked in the government’s nuclear weapons laboratories for many years, told a conference in Washington this past week that the August 2007 incident was “the worst breach of security of nuclear weapons that the United States has ever had.”