09 September 2013

Healing 4 Heroes Assists Veterans with Service Dogs


Healing 4 Heroes is a nonprofit group based in Peachtree City whose mission is to train and place psychiatric service dogs to veterans with PTSD.  What makes this group so special is they train shelter dogs to become companions to the vets.  The dogs are trained to assist the veterans with up to seven tasks.  This year alone, Wounded Warrior has referred 12 veterans for a service dog and there are currently 8 veterans waiting for their "battle buddy".

Seeing the veterans with their "battle buddy" in action is awe inspiring.  These once unwanted dogs are now the best friends of our veterans in need.  Veterans return home in body, but sometimes, the effects of war remain with them.  Whether it is a loud noise, or loss of hearing from their service, the veterans can have difficulty in returning to life as they knew it before their service to our country.

At a recent fundraiser for Healing 4 Heroes, we ran across the combination of veterans helping other veterans, volunteers helping with dog adoptions and the spirit of America. 

Mike Quinn, a local Newnan Vietnam Vet who was at the fundraiser, urges others to get involved with Healing 4 Heroes as the veterans with PTSD need our help and support.

Shanon Clay of Williamson, GA, commented she is proud to support Healing 4 Heroes in their mission to help wounded veterans through training and supplying of service dogs for all their individual needs.  In addition, she encourages others to support our troops, support their families as our heroes are important to us.

 What can we say?  Saving two lives just touches our heart.

To learn more how you can help, follow Healing 4 Heroes on Facebook or send an email to healing4heroes@aol.com .  Or better yet, pick up the phone.  Call 678-364-9993 and ask Piper how you can become involved.

16 May 2012

Celebrate Armed Forces Day (Gwinnett)

Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation is pleased to host Armed Forces Day Remembrance on Sat., May 19 to pay tribute to men and women who have served or presently are a part of the United States’ armed forces.

The event will be held on the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse grounds in downtown Lawrenceville from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Displays will feature mock military campsites, uniform clad military reenactors, and military vehicles. There will be food concessions, music, and entertainment in the gazebo for all to enjoy. This free family event is made possible by the generous sponsorships of Tom Wages Funeral Service and Conder Flags of Atlanta.

A Breakfast with the Veterans will be held at 8:30 a.m. that same day for those pre-registered. The cost for the breakfast is $9 per person and will allow participants the opportunity to meet with veterans, hear presentations by active duty and retired U.S. military, and take a guided tour of the Gwinnett Veterans Memorial Museum. Registration for the breakfast must be made in advance by calling the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse at 770-822-5450.

12 May 2011

National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA, To Host Gulf War 20th Anniversary National Tribute 9AM May 26 To Honor Service Members, Unveil Stones To Those Who Lost Lives in Decisive Military Action

/PRNewswire/ -- The National Infantry Museum, located adjacent to Fort Benning in Columbus, GA, will host a Gulf War Twentieth Anniversary National Tribute to the men and women killed in service during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm on Thursday, May 26, from 9-10:30AM, leading off Memorial Day Weekend. The event will include participation by the top service commanders from the conflict and will feature laying commemorative granite paved stones for each of the men and women who died. Families and unit members will attend and thousands are expected.

"We won rapidly in the Gulf War; 382 men and women gave their lives," says Col. Greg Camp (Ret), Executive Vice President of the National Infantry Foundation. Infantry Foundation Chairman Lieutenant General Carmen Cavezza added, "This event is a long overdue national tribute to the sacrifices our military heroes made to enable a clear victory by the United States and coalition forces. This will be the first official recognition of all Gulf War men and women who died in service."

The event's emcee will be retired Four-Star General Barry R. McCaffrey, a division commander in the Gulf War. The top Air Force and Navy commanders in the Gulf War have already indicated participation, Gen. Charles Horner (Ret), and Admiral Stanley Arthur (Ret), as well as LtGen. William M. Keys, USMC (Ret.), who commanded the 2nd Marine Division in the Gulf War. Other leaders from all branches are expected. In addition to the stone pavers and speeches, a military honor guard will march. Taps will be played following the unveiling of the stones and the raising of a new, special, dedicated flag for the Gulf War.

McCaffrey stated, "The Gulf War was a decisive military action. Anyone who comes to the Infantry Museum and sees the powerful exhibits from all of America's wars will understand how appropriate it is that the Gulf War commemoration be hosted here. As a participant in the Gulf War, I am proud that America is giving recognition to those who served and died for their country."

The National Infantry Museum and Foundation continues to seek information from families and unit members of the service members killed in the Gulf War to include at the event. All are invited to come. Persons with information or photos of the 382 are asked to send them to Cyndy Cerbin at ccerbin@nationalinfantryfoundation.org or contact her. "We want families and friends to feel that this is home for recognition of their heroes," said Ben Williams, Executive Director of National Infantry Foundation.

In partnership with the Army and the Maneuver Center of Excellence, the Gulf War ceremony will be a special event included at the conclusion of the graduation of a company of new Infantry School soldiers, a powerful message of continuity for the graduates. Four-Star General BB Bell (Ret), who was General Norman Schwarzkopf's executive officer in the Gulf War as a colonel, will deliver the graduation address. The class then march the short distance to the granite pavers for the unveiling.

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08 April 2011

As Government Threatens to Shut Down, The American Legion Reaches Out to Military Families

PRNewswire - As the threat of a shutdown by the federal government looms, the nation's largest veterans service organization is offering support to military families who may suffer stress due to its effects.

If families of military personnel – especially those deployed overseas – are affected adversely by a government shutdown, they are encouraged to seek assistance from The American Legion's Family Support Network (FSN). FSN's function is explained on the program's web page at www.legion.org/familysupport. Electronic applications for help can be submitted immediately and 24/7 via a link on the page. The Family Support Network's phone center will be manned as of 8:00 a.m. Monday. "We are ready to help in any way we can," said Jimmie L. Foster, National Commander of The American Legion.

"Our Family Support Network cannot take the place of a paycheck," said Foster, "but we can help those families – especially those with deployed loved ones – take care of needs such as the provision of groceries, car repair, help with fix-it-up projects, advice and counsel, and perhaps, intercession with local businesses to extend payment terms and such. We are not the government," he continued, "but we are a good neighbor who can help some families get through this situation if it does happen."

To members of the armed forces, a government shutdown would mean that they would be issued promissory notes rather than paychecks while the work stoppage continues. "The problem is, an I.O.U. doesn't satisfy a mortgage company, or a utility company, a bank officer or even a grocery clerk," said Foster. "That's why we have strongly encouraged the Department of Defense to continue troops' pay uninterrupted. As I have said, 'The troops are either engaged in combat or supporting those who are. They don't need to deal with this uncertainty. We don't think our elected leaders should allow it to go that far.'"

As for military veterans and their families, the benefits and services offered to by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will remain, for the most part, unaffected by a government shutdown. However, some impact will be felt. The American Legion has posted a presentation by the VA on the subject at: www.legion.org/veteransbenefits/99722/va-provides-answers-shutdown-concerns.

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31 March 2011

Georgia Loses Another Soldier: Pvt. Jeremy P. Faulkner, Griffin, GA

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Pvt. Jeremy P. Faulkner, 23, of Griffin, Ga., died March 29 of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire in Konar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.

21 January 2011

Airman Missing in Action from Korean War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, has been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Air Force 1st Lt. Robert F. Dees, 23, of Moultrie, Ga., will be buried Jan. 22 at the Longstreet Historical Cemetery in Ozark, Ala. On Oct. 9, 1952, he was flying an F-84 Thunderjet, attacking several targets in North Korea. After he and three aircraft from the 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron completed their attack on their primary target, they began their bombing run against enemy boxcars on the railroad near Sinyang. Other members of his flight reported seeing an explosion near the target they were attacking. They believed it to be the crash of Dees' aircraft and could not raise any radio contact with him. Airborne searches over the battlefield failed to locate him or his aircraft.

Following the armistice in 1953, the North Koreans repatriated 4,219 remains of U.S. and allied soldiers during Operation Glory. In November 1954, they turned over remains which they reported were recovered from Sinyang. Accompanying the remains were portions of a pilot's flight suit and a pneumatic life preserver. But after two attempts, the Army's mortuary at Kokura, Japan, was unable to identify the remains. They were buried in 1956 as "unknown" at the Punch Bowl Cemetery in Hawaii.

Beginning in the late 1990s, analysts from DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) undertook a concentrated review of Korean War air losses, as well as a review of the Kokura mortuary files. They made a tentative association to Dees, based on U.S. wartime records as well as the information provided by the North Koreans. These remains were disinterred from the Punch Bowl Cemetery in June 2010.

Dees' remains were identified by making extensive dental comparisons with his medical records.
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11 January 2011

Veterans Sue Obama Administration Over 76 Year Old War Memorial: VFW Wants Obama to Restore Mojave Desert Cross

/PRNewswire/ -- Liberty Institute, representing the VFW Department of California and VFW Post 385, just filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration because it refuses to transfer ownership of the land on which stood the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial to the VFW, as directed by a 2003 Act of Congress. The Obama Administration also refused to allow the VFW to rebuild the memorial after vandals destroyed it in May 2010, and it opposed the VFW's intervention into the lawsuit brought by the ACLU. The ACLU is attempting to permanently remove the VFW's Memorial as the case returns to the district court at the U.S. Supreme Court's direction.

"The way our government has treated the veterans in this case is a disgrace to their service and dedication," said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute. "Members of the VFW and those this Memorial represents paid for this land with their own blood, sweat, and tears."

The U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in April 2010 reversed the rulings of the district court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which had demanded the removal of the Mojave Desert Memorial, and sent the case back to the district court for further consideration.

As Justice Kennedy observed in the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Memorial, the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial "evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten."

The VFW then filed a motion to intervene in the district court case, which was denied after the Obama administration and the ACLU together opposed the veterans' attempt to defend their own Memorial on land transferred to them by an Act of Congress. The Memorial remains in a vandalized state since criminals tore it down on May 9, weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling protecting the Memorial.

"This land belongs to the VFW, and the court should honor the congressional act that conveys the land and the memorial to the veterans," said Ted Cruz, a Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and co-counsel with Liberty Institute. "The veterans have an acute interest in restoring and preserving this 76-year-old memorial to those brave American soldiers who gave their lives in World War I."

"This is our land, our memorial and we want it back," said James Rowoldt, State Adjutant/Quartermaster of the VFW Department of California. "To deny the veterans a chance to defend our own is to continue to dishonor those for whom the Memorial stands."

In a disturbing trend, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the same court that originally ruled against the Mojave Desert Memorial, recently ruled that the Mount Soledad Memorial, a 43-foot-tall veterans memorial in San Diego, is also unconstitutional. Liberty Institute represents The American Legion as an amicus in the case, and launched a petition at www.DontTearMeDown.com asking President Obama to appeal the disgraceful ruling.

Liberty Institute works to uphold Constitutional and First Amendment religious freedoms and free speech in the courts. Liberty Institute represented all the major veterans groups as amici in the Supreme Court case of Salazar v. Buono involving this 76-year-old war memorial.

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Defense Official Outlines Pay Freeze Details

Defense Department civilian employees affected by the federal pay freeze for 2011 and 2012 will still have the opportunity to receive performance awards, promotions and normal longevity increases, a senior defense official said.

Pasquale "Pat" M. Tamburrino Jr., deputy undersecretary of defense for civilian personnel policy, told American Forces Press Service in a recent interview that senior leaders are working to ensure that employees are treated fairly during the freeze.

"We value the contributions of our career federal employees, and we value their service to the nation. Nothing has changed there," he said. From the time the pay freeze was announced, Tamburrino added, the emphasis has been on ensuring all federal employees receive equal treatment.

"Whether you're the most junior civil servant on the first day of the job or you're a member of the executive leadership team, it applies to you," he said. Defense leaders, he noted, have been "very clear" in directing that the freeze should affect all employees equally.

"Not everything is covered by statute," he said, noting that heads of agencies have some administrative discretion in some dimensions of pay. But guidance on the pay freeze instructs agency heads to manage administrative privileges the same way the president treated general pay increases in the executive order, he added.

"You should not use that privilege to grant a pay raise," he said.

Tamburrino said he encourages managers to use the tools that always have been available to them -– and still are -– to reward employees.

"When it's appropriate, you give somebody a performance award," he said. "If you tell them the organization has five or six goals, and they do a lot of heavy lifting to help you get to those goals, then I think you should sit down as a leader and say, 'We have to recognize that.'"

Most employees, he said, want three things: clear guidance on the management team's priorities, the tools and resources necessary to complete their work, and coaching and feedback.

"Financial compensation is important because it is; we all have financial obligations that have to be satisfied," he said. "But what's really important as well is [that] you want to tell your employees, 'You're doing a really fine job.'"

President Barack Obama announced his intent for a two-year pay freeze for federal civilian workers Nov. 29. Congress approved the proposal, and Obama signed it into law Dec. 22.

The Office of Personnel Management issued a memorandum Dec. 30 to heads of executive departments and agencies, detailing how the freeze applies to the federal work force in accordance with existing law and presidential guidance. The Defense Department issued guidance in line with OPM's the same day.

"It's a response to the difficulties the country is facing, and I think what's really good about it is [that] it's universal," Tamburrino said. "You have to have a very clear understanding of what's in and what's out, because that's what affects employees."

The freeze covers what have traditionally been known as general pay increases, he said, which normally take effect each January and consist of a combination of base pay and locality pay increases for most civilian employees. Federal civilian pay increased an average of 3.5 percent in 2008, 3.9 percent in 2009, and 2 percent in 2010, according to government figures.

"The president determined, based on the state of the economy, that those pay raises that are statutory in nature should not be granted [during the two-year freeze]," Tamburrino said.

According to the OPM guidance, the freeze, which extends though Dec. 31, 2012, affects some 2 million federal civilian employees in most pay systems: general schedule, executive schedule, senior executive service, senior foreign service, senior-level and scientific, and professional. Postal employees and military service members are not affected by the freeze.

However, OPM officials said, the pay freeze policy may not apply to any increase that is required by a collective bargaining agreement that has already been executed.

Except for minor instances in Alaska, Hawaii and other nonforeign areas, locality pay also is frozen, Tamburrino said. "I think everybody recognizes [the pay freeze] was a really difficult decision," he said. "I think we did a tremendous job in issuing some very clear guidance, and I think the leadership of the Department of Defense did a really good job in making it very level and even across the department."

 By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

President Signs Defense Authorization Act

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2011 - Noting his objection to two of its provisions, President Barack Obama signed the fiscal 2011 defense authorization act into law Jan. 7.

The Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 is named for former U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, longtime chairman the House Armed Services Committee, who lost his House seat in November's election.

"The act authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs," the president wrote in a statement accompanying the signing's announcement.

Obama registered "strong objections" to two of the act's provisions related to transfer of detainees from the U.S. facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One prohibits the use of funds appropriated by the act to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States, and the other bars the use of certain funds to transfer detainees to the custody or effective control of foreign countries unless specified conditions are met.

But despite his objections to the two sections, the president said in his statement, "I have signed this act because of the importance of authorizing appropriations for, among other things, our military activities in 2011." The act governs a wide range of Defense Department activities, including procurement; research, development, testing and evaluation; equipment operation and maintenance; military personnel authorizations and policy; and reserve-component management.

09 January 2011

Georgia loses another brave soldier...

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Lance Cpl. Joseph R. Giese, 24, of Winder, Ga., died Jan. 7 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.