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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Body of missing Vietnam Soldier returned home

09/27/2011 02:30 PM CDT

SPC Marvin Phillips was buried next to his parents , exactly 45 years to the day and hour he was killed in combat.


Navy to Commission New Guided Missile Destroyer Spruance

The Navy will commission the newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, Spruance, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, during a 6:30 p.m. EDT ceremony at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.

Designated DDG 111, the new destroyer honors legendary Adm. Raymond Spruance, whose calm and decisive leadership at the Battle of Midway contributed to a pivotal American victory during World War II.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark E. Ferguson III will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Ellen Spruance Holscher, granddaughter of the ship’s namesake will serve as the sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when she gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Born in Baltimore, July 3, 1886, Spruance graduated from the Naval Academy in 1906. His Navy career was extensive, including command of five destroyers and the battleship Mississippi. Spruance led Task Force 16, with two aircraft carriers, during the 1942 Battle of Midway, where his disposition of forces and management of aircraft was crucial to a victory that is regarded as the turning point in the Pacific war with Japan. He later directed campaigns that captured the Gilberts, Marshalls, Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa and defeated the Japanese fleet in the 1944 Battle of Philippine Sea. After commanding the Pacific Fleet in 1945-46, Spruance served as president of the Naval War College until retiring in 1948. In 1952-55, he was ambassador to the Philippines. Spruance died at Pebble Beach, Calif., Dec. 13, 1969.

Spruance, the 61st Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Spruance will contain myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare and be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously.

The ship will be the second ship named for Spruance. The first USS Spruance (DD 963) was the lead ship of Spruance class destroyers serving from 1973 to 2005.

Cmdr. Tate Westbrook, a native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., will become the first commanding officer of the ship and will lead a crew of 285 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Spruance was built by Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. For more information on Arleigh Burke class destroyers, visit .

VA News : Health Care Leaders Discuss Next Generation of Quality and Value Metrics

WASHINGTON – Top health care industry leaders from around the country
joined for a two-day roundtable discussion about the next generation of
health care quality and value metrics. The meeting allowed leaders to
compare and contrast how they use metrics to enhance quality of care and
value for patients.

 "We greatly appreciate the time, commitment and expertise of these
health care leaders, who shared thoughtful and powerful insights on how
to better measure quality, safety and performance," said Secretary of
Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "I believe strategic partnerships
with our health care colleagues, public and private, are invaluable."

Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, president of the Institute of Medicine and
former provost of Harvard University, moderated the discussion. The
meeting created a dialogue across major health care systems in order to
work toward two primary goals: to identify the next generation of
performance metrics to assess population health, patient experience and
health care value, and to explore opportunities to develop and use these
new measures.

Last year, VA launched its ASPIRE for Quality initiative, aimed at
making data and outcome information available to the public in such
areas as inpatient and ambulatory care, prevention, and chronic disease.
More information on ASPIRE is available at

Attendees Included:

*         Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs

*         Harvey V. Fineberg, MD, PhD, President of the Institute of

*         Brian Alexander, MD, MPH, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's
Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School

*         Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President for Performance
Measures, National Quality Forum

*         Francis J. Crosson, MD, Senior Fellow, Kaiser Permanente
Institute for Health Policy

*         Douglas Eby, MD, MPH, Vice President of Medical Services for
Southcentral Foundation, Alaska Native Medical Center

*         Richard J. Gilfillan, MD, Acting Director of the Center for
Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

*         Lt. Gen. Charles B. Green, MD, Surgeon General of the Air

*         Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Health Policy at
the Harvard School of Public Health; Associate Professor of Medicine at
Harvard Medical School

*         Thomas Lee, MD, Network President, Partners Healthcare System

*         Elizabeth A McGlynn, PhD, Director of the Kaiser Permanente
Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research

*         David B. Pryor, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Ascension Health

*         Stephen Swensen, MD, Mayo Clinic Director of Quality

*         Robert Petzel, MD, VA Under Secretary for Health

*         Robert Jesse, MD, PhD, VA Principal Deputy Under Secretary for

*         William E. Duncan, MD, PhD, VA Associate Deputy Under
Secretary for Health for Quality and Safety

*         Peter Almenoff, MD, VA Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for
Health for Quality and Safety

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Face of Defense: Airman Survives Wounds to Save Others

By Air Force Capt. Kristen D. Duncan
Air Force Special Operations Command

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla., Sept. 27, 2011 – When Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez Jr. was shot in the chest during a mission in Afghanistan, he knew he may have only minutes to live. He also knew that as the only qualified joint terminal attack controller there, he had to stay alive for the sake of his battle buddies.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez was awarded the Air Force Cross for actions during a 2009 operation in Afghanistan. U.S. Air Force photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Gutierrez recovered from his wounds from two years ago, and recently was awarded the Air Force Cross for extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, according to the medal citation. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, announced the award Sept. 20 during the Air Force Association convention in National Harbor, Md.

Gutierrez was a Special Operations Command combat controller on Oct. 5, 2009, when an armor-piercing round entered his left shoulder and wreaked havoc throughout his chest.

"I've seen those types of injuries before, and time isn't your friend," he said later. "I thought, 'I have three minutes before I'm going to die. I've got to do something big. Based on that time frame, I'm going to change the world in three minutes.'"

The team of 30 U.S. Army Special Forces and Afghan army commandos was surrounded in a Taliban-sympathetic village in western Afghanistan's Herat province. According to official reports, enemy fighters were positioned on rooftops just 10 feet from the team's position inside a neighboring building. Gutierrez was shot during the four-hour firefight that included sniper and small-arms fire, as well as rocket-propelled grenades.

As the combat controller, Gutierrez was the only qualified radio operator communicating with airmen overhead to provide close air support and real-time battlefield surveillance that was critical for the team mission and to be able to evacuate their wounded.

"Combat controllers are the air-to-ground interface, bringing the firepower and communications links to the ground force commander," Gutierrez said. "We bring an extraordinary amount of firepower in a small package able to shoot, move and communicate at the same time."

Believing he was about to die, the San Diego native refused to remove his body armor, which held his radio, despite two medics repeatedly ordering him to take it off so his wounds could be treated. Gutierrez only relented momentarily, allowing the medic to insert a needle decompression tube just below his collarbone.

A sucking chest wound, which is common in gunshot victims, fills the chest cavity with blood, collapsing the lungs. The medic's procedure released the growing pressure on his collapsed lung, allowing Gutierrez to breathe and speak � enough so that he got back on the radio. He continued to advise the ground force commander and request close air support of F-16 Fighting Falcons and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs overhead.

The A-10 pilot said Gutierrez's voice was calm the entire time, and he only knew of his injuries when the team was moving to the medical evacuation landing zone.

"I realized he was shot after the third [and final] strafe pass," said Air Force Capt. Ethan Sabin, then assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. "He said he would be off of the mic for a few to handle his gunshot wounds. Until that point he was calm, cool and collected."

"There is no doubt his heroic action under extremely dangerous circumstances, and despite being wounded, [he] saved the lives of his teammates," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command. "His courage and character is unsurpassed. While I know he is a humble person that does not seek the spotlight, he is so deserving of the Air Force Cross. His actions are just a snapshot of what AFSOC airmen are doing everyday in our current theater of operations."

In all, Gutierrez incurred a gunshot wound to the upper shoulder and triceps and left chest and lateral muscle that resulted in two broken ribs, a broken scapula, a softball-sized hole in his back, a collapsed lung and multiple blood infections, which required three chest tubes, three blood transfusions and seven surgeries. To top it off, the 30 mm strafing runs ruptured both of his eardrums.

Despite losing five pints of blood and walking about a mile, Gutierrez stayed on the radio calling for his own medical evacuation and ensuring surveillance coverage for the safe return of the ground-force team.

Gutierrez credits the Special Forces medic and an A-10 pilot with saving their lives. "I don't care if I get an award or not," he said in a 2010 interview. "The team was outstanding. I'm just a product of what I've been taught and a product of AFSOC."

Since 9/11, four Air Force Cross medals have been awarded, all to AFSOC airmen. Gutierrez is the second living recipient to receive the medal. Staff Sgt. Zachary Rhyner was awarded the Air Force Cross while assigned to the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, N.C., for actions as a combat controller April 6, 2008, in eastern Afghanistan's Nuristan province. Gutierrez was a teammate during that operation and received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and the Purple Heart.

Gutierrez was assigned to the 21 STS during the 2009 operation and now is assigned to the Air Force Special Operations Training Center here, instructing future special tactics airmen.

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for Congress Endorse Justin Bernier (CT-5)

Dear Patriots:

Justin Bernier, a Navy Intelligence officer and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for Congress (AIVC) endorsed candidate, is hosting a major fundraising event on Friday September 30th (see details below).   If you cannot attend but would like to support Justin’s campaign before the crucial September 30th fundraising deadline click here.

Justin Bernier  volunteered for military service after 9/11 and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer.  Bernier served at the Defense Intelligence Agency and, in 2007, was mobilized for a tour of duty in Afghanistan.  He was stationed on the ground in Kabul and was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his service. After returning home from Afghanistan, Bernier was named Executive Director of the Office of Military Affairs by Governor M. Jodi Rell, and was unanimously confirmed by the state senate.  Under Bernier’s leadership of the Office of Military Affairs, the State of Connecticut reached a historic agreement with the U.S. Navy in order to improve Submarine Base New London and avoid a future shutdown.  Bernier also battled to pass legislation that would allow U.S. service members to vote electronically when deployed overseas. Bernier was Chairman of Connecticut's Military and Defense Advisory Council, an unpaid group of experts committed to helping the state's workers, veterans and military families.  He also served on the state's Council on Education for Children in Military Families. Bernier is currently a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy reserve.  He remains active in the veteran community as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, an organization widely recognized for its charitable activities across Connecticut.

Bernier Event September 30th, 2011
Jim Campbell, Chairman, Greenwich Republican Town Committee
Senator L. Scott Frantz
Representative Fred Camillo
First Selectman Peter J. Tesei
Selectman David N. Theis
Fmr. First Selectman John B. Margenot, Jr.
Fmr. First Selectman Tom R. Ragland
Fmr. First Selectman James Lash
Fmr. Selectman Peter Crumbine
Greenwich RTC Chair Jim Campbell
Mr. Malcom Pray

Cordially invite you to a fundraiser in support of Justin Bernier, Republican Candidate for Congress in Connecticut’s Fifth District.

September 30th, 2011
6:00 – 8:00PM

Pray Automotive Museum
16 Bedford Banksville Road
Beford, New York

(The center is located diagonally across from the Lendl Tennis Center – Bedford Banksville Road is an extension of North Street just across the state line)

$100 Friend / $250 Donor / $500 Sponsor

Please RSVP to Megann O’Malley at (860) 949-0926, or

Afghanistan & Iraq Veterans for Congress PAC (AIVC) is a federally registered political action committee supporting the congressional campaigns of conservative veterans. AIVC looks for veterans who are determined to become a voice for our troops, military families and hardworking patriotic Americans who believe that our country, our Constitution and our way of life are worth fighting for. AIVC was founded in 2007 by Kieran Michael Lalor, a Marine Corps Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This email is paid for and authorized by Iraq Veterans for Congress PAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
105 Stony Brook Road
Fishkill, NY 12524

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

AFN-Iraq ‘Freedom Radio’ Goes Off Air

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2011 – The soundboard lights went dark for the last time when American Forces Network Radio�Iraq "Freedom Radio" went off the air at midnight Sept. 23, after an eight-year run in Baghdad.

The station's ending closed a chapter in the final 100 days of the U.S. drawdown of Operation New Dawn in Iraq.

Operated by Army Reserve broadcasters, AFN-Iraq hit the airwaves in March 2003, when a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq to oust dictator Saddam Hussein.

Since that time, the team of Army announcers kept service members entertained and informed with a variety of music, chat and news.

"It's … a morale boost for the troops," Army Staff Sgt. Brad Ruffin, an AFN-Iraq announcer, said of the broadcasts. "That why we're here. We do it for them."

Army Sgt. Adam Prickel called entertainment an important factor in AFN-Iraq programming, "to get [the troops'] minds off something that might be stressing them out a little too much."

Emails from listeners came in every day to say they enjoyed the music AFN-Iraq played, announcer Army Staff Sgt. Jay Townsend said.

The final broadcast that began at 6 a.m. Sept. 23 was filled with listener requests, entertainment and special interviews.

"We had shout-outs from celebrities, interviews with military leaders and the famed Adrian Cronauer," Sgt. 1st Class Don Dees said during his on-air shift.

Cronauer is the former AFN radio broadcaster who was the inspiration for the 1987 Hollywood film, "Good Morning, Vietnam."

Coming up on midnight for the final time, AFN-Iraq Freedom Radio played its most-requested song: "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," by Toby Keith, Dees said.

Radio programming now gives way to AFN signals from other locations, he said.

AFN-Iraq, an Army Reserve 206th Broadcast Operation Detachment in Texas, will become AFN-Europe out of Germany, officials said.

"We lived by the motto, 'Always there, on the air,'" Dees said.

The station also plans to keep its Facebook page, which has 5,400 "friends," active. "We have decided to keep this page running indefinitely," according to a post on its wall.

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

The Cold War Times
Volume 11, Issue 3
Where Cold War History Lives
Cold War Museum Logo

The Cold War Times
Volume 11, Issue 3

In This Issue…

. A Message from Chairman John Welch

. Berlin Chapter is on the Move

. Midwest Chapter Finds a Home

. Doing His Job: A Cold War Submariner looks back

. Cold War Memories: Anyone Lose an F-106?

From the Editor: Observing the Cold War from Afar

since 1995

At an EAA AirVenture forum last month someone from the audience asked what was left of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall, erected 50 years ago this month (pictured above), was arguably the most notorious symbol of the era but long gone. Today there are few reminders of the Cold War around, save for perhaps Cuba, the 38th parallel, and some significant holdovers in Russia and China. But the audience was reminded that one large-scale Cold War relic continues to be used today: the United States Interstate system. The Cold War is still alive in our memories as well. We invite you to share your perspective in the Cold War Memories section, and consider submitting a Cold War article to enhance our publication.

WarBird Doctor Diaries

There is an amazing military blog being written out of Afghanistan by Army Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Mark Duber called: WarBird Doctor Diaries.
The blog, which launched in late July, chronicles the deployment experiences of Capt. Mark Duber.  
Capt. Duber’s frontline blog has even caught the attention of, which recently ran a story called: “A voice from the medical front in Afghanistan”.
(More here >>>)

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000

First Lady Praises Military Families, Lauds Efforts to Help Veterans

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2011 – First lady Michelle Obama praised military families and applauded a Navy veteran who is working to help homeless women veterans in Fayetteville, N.C.

Writing in an op-ed piece published today in the Fayetteville Observer newspaper, Obama said the strength, courage and patriotism of military families took her breath away, inspired her and motivated her to learn more about them.

Military families are "your neighbors who raise children and manage households by themselves while their loved ones are deployed," she said in the op-ed. "They're military kids who have lived most of their young lives with our nation at war and Mom or Dad overseas. They're our wounded warriors or survivors of our fallen who continue to serve their community every day."

Her piece appeared before broadcast of an Extreme Makeover television show in which hundreds of people worked this past summer to build a state-of-the-art facility for Jubilee House, an effort led by 15-year Navy veteran Barbara Marshall, of Fayetteville, as part of the Steps 'N Stages program for homeless female veterans.

"She's doing it in an unconventional way: by welcoming these struggling women and their families into her own home," Obama said of Marshall. "The Marshalls — Barbara; her son, Bert; and her daughter, Maya — are perfect examples of how much our military families give to our country each and every day. And this summer, a whole busload of people stepped up to give the Marshalls something back.

"For one week in the sweltering heat, local volunteers and the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition cast and crew worked around the clock to transform Barbara's home into a beautiful, state-of-the-art dream house and resource center," Obama said. "I was thrilled to help out with some of the finishing touches, and I'll never forget the look on Barbara's face when the bus pulled away to reveal her new home."

The first lady said the Fayetteville community's "warm embrace of this family and our homeless veterans," was her strongest memory of the event.

"I saw neighbors grabbing shovels and picking up scraps around the worksite.�I saw business owners and local organizations pitching in. Even folks around the country got involved, donating logs online to help build the beautiful cabin," Obama said.

The first lady said the compassion she witnessed in Fayetteville is alive and well in every community across this country.

"That's what compelled Dr. Jill Biden and me to launch our Joining Forces initiative this spring," Obama said. "This is a national initiative to address the unique needs of, and expand opportunities for, our remarkable military families."

The initiative seeks to bring together businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, and ordinary citizens to do whatever they can for service members, veterans and their families. "And it's about everyone no matter where they come from or their station in life stepping up to give something meaningful back," she said.

Obama congratulated the people of Fayetteville for serving as an example to the rest of the country, and she asked all Americans to go to to see how they can also help.

Related Articles:
Reality Show 'Joins Forces' With First Lady to Aid Veteran

Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans

Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000