30 September 2008

Isakson, Chambliss Praise Passage of Legislation Creating Commemorative Coin for National Infantry

Will Support National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning

U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today praised passage of legislation establishing the minting of a commemorative coin honoring the U.S. Army Infantry. The legislation, which now goes to President Bush for his signature, will support the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Ga.

“I’m pleased the Senate has passed this legislation supporting the new National Infantry Museum,” Isakson said. “The infantry deserves an appropriate place to showcase its rich history and to make people aware of the immense sacrifices its soldiers have made for our nation.”

“The National Infantry Museum will provide a vivid reminder of the sense of duty, bravery, and honor our service members and Infantrymen have demonstrated throughout military history,” said Chambliss. “It is important to capture and preserve this history to teach future generations about the sacrifices required to defend our values and freedoms.”

The legislation would mint 350,000 silver coins, which would be issued in 2012, honoring soldiers and commemorating the construction of the National Infantry Museum. Money raised through the sale of the coins will go towards establishing an endowment to support the maintenance of the new museum.

The National Infantry Foundation, in coordination with the United States Army, has broken ground on a new National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Ga. The 200-acre site will hold the museum, a storage and restoration facility, a parade field and a memorial walk.

The oldest and largest branch of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Infantry was established on June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress ordered the formation of ten companies of riflemen. The National Infantry Museum is a permanent historical and educational public institution providing education and training to soldiers and their family members and the general public.
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29 September 2008

HHS Announces $36 Million to Help Older Americans and Veterans Remain Independent

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced
$36 million in new grant programs to 28 states to help older Americans
and veterans remain independent and to support people with Alzheimer's
disease to remain in their homes and communities. Just over $19 million
of this funding involves a new collaboration with the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA).

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and VA Secretary James Peake, M.D., announced
the joint effort to provide essential consumer-directed home and
community-based services to older Americans and veterans of all ages, as
part of a Nursing Home Diversion (NHD) grants program. The new
initiative builds on the similar missions of HHS and the VA with regard
to caring for the populations they serve. In addition, Secretary
Leavitt announced a $17 million investment to improve the delivery of
home and community-based services to people with Alzheimer's disease and
their family caregivers.

In announcing the collaboration, Secretary Leavitt said, "This historic
HHS-VA initiative combines the expertise of the HHS' national network of
aging services providers with the resources of the Veterans Health
Administration to provide more people, including our nation's veterans,
with improved long-term care options. This unique effort supports the
President's New Freedom Initiative which calls upon all federal agencies
to help people who need long-term care and prefer to live in their own
homes and communities to do so. Through this joint program, many people
who would have previously been placed in nursing homes will be able to
remain at home."

"Our mission is to honor and support America's veterans, and this
collaboration provides an additional opportunity to do that by offering
more services, choices and control over decisions to veterans in the
least restrictive environment consistent with their needs and
preferences," Secretary Peake said.

The new program will be administered by HHS' Administration on Aging
(AoA) in collaboration with the Veterans Health Administration. Under
the program, $10.5 million is being provided by HHS through AoA, and
$5.7 million by the states. VA estimates purchasing at least $3 million
in veteran-directed home and community-based services for older veterans
and for recently returned veterans with long-term care needs. The
number of veterans over age 85 has tripled during the past decade,
creating a significant expansion in the need for long term care.

"The HHS funding is specifically designed to reach people who are not
eligible for Medicaid, but who are at high risk of nursing home
placement and spend-down to Medicaid -which often occurs when private
pay individuals enter a nursing home," said Assistant Secretary for
Aging Josefina G. Carbonell. "The program will also offer consumers
more control over their long-term care, including the ability to
determine the types of services they receive and the manner in which
they receive them, including the option of hiring their own care
workers."

The $17 million for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their
caregivers involves grants to 22 states under AoA's Alzheimer's disease
demonstration programs. States were able to apply for two types of
grants: Innovation Grants and Evidence-Based Program Grants. Innovation
Grants will demonstrate new approaches to delivering services and
supports, and the Evidence-Based Grants will support the replication of
science-based interventions that have already proven to be effective at
helping people with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders to
continue to live in the community.

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27 September 2008

Honor Flight Fayette Day Proclaimed October 8



At their September 25th meeting, the Fayette County Commissioners honored the upcoming and 2nd flight organized by Honor Flight Fayette to send World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., at no charge to them, to visit their memorial and share memories with their comrades in arms from that war.

Plans have been in the works for this trip literally since the return of the inaugural flight of HFF last May. Board members, guardians, medical personnel and volunteers have worked consistently to raise the necessary funds needed to make this trip a memorable one for the veterans, who will be provided with plane tickets, meals, snacks, and motor coach transportation. Also, a guardian will be assigned 2-3 veterans for the day, and their job is to make sure that each and every need of the vets is being met.

The public is encouraged to participate in this exciting day by either seeing the veterans off at 7:00 a.m., or welcoming them back about 10:00 that evening at the Fayetteville First United Methodist Church. The veterans from the May trip were very touched by those who came out to honor them, in their own community, by cheering and waving flags and banners.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization led by a dedicated board of directors, Honor Flight Fayette is committed to this labor of love and determination to take as many veterans as possible as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we are losing these brave men and women at a rate of over 1,400 per day, so time is definitely of the essence. And we must ask ourselves, "at what cost did they secure my freedoms and how can I repay them?"

If you would like to know more about this organization or make a donation toward the next flight, please visit honorflightfayette.org or call 770-719-1024.

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26 September 2008

A Brighter Future For Blinded Veterans

MMF Note: This initiative earns the Fayette Front Page's coveted four chocolate covered strawberries award. Great idea!!


(NAPSI)-There's promising news for American veterans of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan who have lost part or all of their sight.

That's because there's a host of services available that provide educational programs, career options, emotional support and technology designed to improve their quality of life.

While thousands have already been helped, an organization called Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) believes even more individuals could be receiving services.

According to the organization's executive director, Tom Miller, of the estimated 165,000 veterans who are blinded as a result of disease or age-related factors, only about a third are aware of the resources available to them.

Recently, it created Operation Peer Support. In the project, blinded veterans of past wars interact with newly blinded veterans to help them adjust to new challenges.

To learn more, visit www.bva.org.

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24 September 2008

Coast Guard Embraces 'Social Media' to Tell Its Story

The Coast Guard's top officer discussed plans to adopt social-media practices to modernize the Coast Guard and increase the organization's transparency in a teleconference yesterday with bloggers and online journalists.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad W. Allen spoke about ways the Coast Guard plans to use social-media tools to get the broadest representation of the Coast Guard to the public.

"We're going to be moving from (Web) 1.0 to 1.2 to 2.0 to 2.5, and ... the challenge and the problem is we shouldn't take the status quo as an acceptable position," Allen said. "We need to keep improving wherever we can, whether it's my presence inside or outside the Coast Guard, how we deal with the American public, but more importantly, how we deal with the folks in the Coast Guard."

Making the organization more transparent comes at a crucial time, especially during hurricane season, when communication is extremely vital.

"If you look at the recent coordination in our response to Hurricane Ike, I knew from my own experience as the principal federal official in Hurricane Katrina that we can only be effective to the extent that we empower our leaders on scene and make what they are doing visible to senior leaders without endless routing of information through echelons," Allen said. "[And] what they are doing has to be visible to us, and using things like chat rooms among senior leaders at the same time we're using conference calls, to using all the modern [information technology] tools we have within the Coast Guard suite to simultaneously make all senior leaders aware of the situation and the operational picture down there is what we've got to do."

While the Coast Guard won't constrain itself to any particular social media platform, Allen said, officials initially will use one tool he has been experimenting with personally for the past few months.

"We will be standing up what I would call a semi-official Facebook site for me to be able to communicate and make available content to the folks that are working online," Allen said. "I have been working a personal Facebook account for a couple of months just to experiment myself with the dynamics associated with dealing with the Facebook community. It's been a very rich and rewarding experience for me."

Allen added that the need for institutionalizing this tool and others is important to allow for equal access for everybody. While the Coast Guard's current push is to become more intertwined in the social-media realm, Allen said, this initiative isn't about recruiting, but rather providing new recruits access to the tools they already are using.

"Young kids coming into the Coast Guard today demand parity with what they've been using all their lives and growing up with," he said. "And to the extent they enter an organization that's not evolving and upgrading the technology and the access and the social networks that they're used to, there's no incentive for them to join."

Allen said he encourages everyone in the Coast Guard community who is interested in blogging to remember that interacting in the blogosphere should be seen as no different from operating on a Coast Guard base.

"Whether you're a civilian, auxilarist, reservist, active duty, contractor or retiree, to understand that when you're blogging, that's no different than operating in a social environment on a Coast Guard base or anyplace else," he said. "We have a duty to the American public; we have a duty to each other to be guardians of each other. And to the extent that we have core values, I think we need to demonstrate that as we operate on a daily basis in the blogosphere."

Author Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.
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Defense Department, Services Launch New 'e-Library'

Who goes to the library at 2 a.m.? Anyone can now, thanks to an initiative that makes Defense Department library materials available online.

The new initiative, soft-launched in July and formally announced Sept. 18, expands DoD's library program beyond the 197 libraries located on military installations.

Officials said the new endeavor will bring library materials to military members and their families, including those in the National Guard and Reserve, wherever they live and whenever they want -- at no charge.

"Libraries have long been considered mission-essential, supporting recreation pursuits, off-duty education, spouse careers and education and life-long learning," said Leslye A. Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy. "For quite some time now, we in the Department of Defense have been looking for effective ways to deliver services to all our servicemembers and their families, regardless of location, service or component. This is a huge step in the right direction."

The new library initiative is the result of a Lean Six Sigma study that showed DoD could provide more high-quality library materials with joint procurement, Arsht said. Lean Six Sigma is a widely used business management strategy.

"We were able to not only enhance the services' online library portals, but also to create an entirely new resource on Military OneSource," Arsht said. Military OneSource is a DoD initiative that provides a consolidated starting point for a wide variety of life issues for servicemembers and their families.

The new online library will offer resources and services in electronic and hard-copy versions. The Military OneSource Online Library Resources are links to electronic databases, e-books and audio books, including:

-- EBSCO's Do-it-Yourself guides for auto repair, which feature more than 31,600 vehicles from 1945 to the present with more than 205,000 drawings, step-by-step photographs and 130,000 wiring diagrams, specifications, maintenance schedules and labor time guides, as well as a labor estimator and quick tips;

-- EBSCO's home improvement reference center, with 26 full-text major reference works and full-text magazines such as "This Old House." Materials offer assistance with maintenance, remodeling, electrical work, plumbing decorating, and home and garden needs;

-- Peterson's Educational Life Long Learning Resource, in which service and family members can practice Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery tests and tests used for college entrance and course credits, and search through a list of nearly 4,200 two- and four-year accredited schools;

-- Career Library access for comprehensive information for career and college research;

-- NetLibrary, with more than 2,650 full-text electronic versions of published books such as the "ASVAB Core Review," computer books, resume books and 213 CliffsNotes;

-- MyILibrary, which includes more than 400 e-books, including Encyclopedia Britannica, 95 books covering legal issues, 24 foreign language guides and 169 "For Dummies" books;

-- Safari Books Online, an e-reference library that allows access to books from O'Reilly, Addison-Wesley, Cisco Press, MicroSoft Press and more for users who register;

-- EBSCO's small engine repair reference center, with 410 full-text reference books with original photos and illustrations for small-engine repair assistance for all-terrain vehicles, commercial mowers, generators, motorcycles, marine and outdoor power equipment, personal watercraft, snow blowers, tillers, and other items with small engines;

-- A teacher reference library with index and abstracts for more than 270 of the most popular teacher and administrator journals and magazines to assist educators;

-- Tumblebook Library e-books for children ages 4 to 12, Tumblebook Readables with adjustable online text and complete audio narration, Tumble Talking Books, which are unabridged, high-quality audio versions of classic literature, nonfiction fiction books and books for children and teens; and

-- Playaway talking books, which are pocket-sized current and popular titles in audio book format, complete with head-set and battery, and paperback books, both of which soon will be available upon request from Military OneSource.

Program managers said that even though they haven't been advertised, the new resources already have been popular. Since the soft launch in July, Military OneSource has distributed 8,723 e-books and 1,860 audio books. New accounts through Military OneSource and the service library portals show a 68-percent increase in new accounts with Peterson's Lifelong Learning Database, a 33-percent increase in the number of online CLEP tests taken, and a 115-percent increase in the number of practice ASVAB tests taken.

Arsht said that beginning this summer, a variety of Playaways have been sent each month to troops deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other remote locations. They are especially popular in remote locations, where access to electricity may be limited, she noted. A variety of paperback books also are distributed each month.

"This is a wonderful example of what joint collaboration can do as we strive to improve the quality of life for all our servicemembers and their families," she added.

Service librarians agree. They say that military libraries are some of the busiest places on their installations, and that expanding the reach of these resources to those with limited library access because of duty requirements, who are far from home, or are assigned away from an installation is the right thing to do. They see libraries as a key link in today's networked world.

"Some books in our installation libraries are in such high demand – especially the CLEP materials," Army librarian Barbara Christine said. "We are pleased and excited to be able to offer all these resource materials when people need them."

Author Barbara A. Goodno works in the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy and Office of Children and Youth.

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21 September 2008

Chairman Reaffirms Commitment to Health Care for Veterans

As chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen worries a great deal about the systems in place for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans transitioning out of the military, he said today during a visit with health care providers and social workers at the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System here.

"One of the priorities for me is [the welfare of] the wounded coming out this war and the families of the fallen," Mullen said. "These people are so precious to us, and [the military] doesn't have contact with them any more after they're pushed back into society."

Once servicemembers separate from the military, they can register with the Veterans Affairs Department, which is responsible for helping them integrate back into society. VA assists veterans with health-care needs, entitled benefits and finding employment.

But what happens to those who don't register and suffer physical injuries? What happens to those who received physical treatment but were too embarrassed to seek mental help?

Some may get on with their lives without any issues. Others may suffer from depression, alcoholism or drug addiction. Many may have difficulties holding a job, and some end up in jail. Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries have become more and more common for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The single biggest issue Mullen has noticed during visits with wounded servicemembers at polytrauma medical centers, such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., is that they want their lives back, he said. They're eager to get back to their units or shift back into society and just move on with their lives, he added.

Unfortunately, many servicemembers are so eager to separate from the military that they'll forego seeking psychiatric care for possible PTSD or TBI. For these reasons, there are significant issues with veterans struggling or becoming homeless due to undiagnosed, service-related disabilities, he said.

In the Los Angeles area, around 35,000 veterans have been treated through VA systems. However, only some veterans took it upon themselves to seek help. Many veterans were sought out in jails and on the streets here by VA social workers, said Bill Daniels, community care chief here.

The relationship and interface with between VA and the Defense Department is a challenge in itself, said Ron Norby, director for the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network, which provides services to more than a million veterans across southern California and Nevada.

Norby has been working with veterans and servicemembers since serving in the Vietnam War as a Navy nurse. The current military-to-civilian transition system is pretty much the same as when he was discharged, he said. Once he finished his paperwork and left his unit, that was it, he added.

But the problem with identifying mental disorders doesn't fall on the military checking up on people after separation, he said. Rather, the screening process needs to be more extensive to catch PTSD or TBI.

Norby and his staff agree that anyone discharged from the military or who has ever been in a theater of war should have a one-on-one consultation with a physician. Many suggest that everyone returning from deployment should be screened before they get back to the United States, he said.

"The faster we can catch the symptoms, the more we can help," Norby said.

During the chairman's visit here, he met with several veterans being treated for mental disorders. He expressed his gratitude for their service and let them know that taking care of them is a priority of the Defense Department.

One former Army reservist, who asked not to be identified, has been attending group sessions and speaking to psychiatrists here for a little more than a month for PTSD from combat in Iraq in 2004, he said. He's been battling alcoholism, unemployment and depression since 2005.

"The care is great, and I'm slowly getting back on my feet," the veteran said. "I didn't think talking to a shrink or group therapy would help."

The veteran said he enjoys being part of a group again, and that it's one of the things he misses most about the military.

"Everyone comes from different situations and have different needs, but we all deal with our anger or depression or alcoholism together," he said.

According to the annual consensus produced by VA homeless centers nationwide in 2007, an estimated 154,000 veterans in the United States are homeless. About 51 percent of those veterans served in the armed forces after the Vietnam War. About 45 percent indicated substance abuse and medical problems. At least 20 percent saw combat.

Mullen said the nation owes its veterans the care they need.

"We as a country have to figure out a way to have a system that is integrated and [in which] we know where everyone is," the admiral said. "We need to make sure those who've sacrificed so much are taken care of."
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19 September 2008

Honor Flight Fayette Sponsors 2nd Trip to Washington October 8


Standing (l-r) are guardians Col. Doug Pearson, Sue Memmer and Medical Coordinator Linda Payne. Seated (l-r) are Honor Flight Fayette President Gail Sparrow reviewing plans with Guardian Dan Lorton.

After a successful inaugural flight last May, and positive feedback from the veterans on the flight, excitement is building as final arrangements are being made by Honor Flight Fayette board members, guardians, volunteers and supporters.

Preparations are in the works to take a 2nd group of World War II veterans from Fayette County to Washington, D.C., free of charge to them, on a one day trip to see their memorial on October 8th.

Many veterans stated that this was a trip they never thought they would get to make and were so grateful to have gone, and some shared stories they had never spoken of before the trip. Likewise, guardians for the veterans said it was a moving experience that they would never forget, in part because of the many stories they heard from the veterans. However, all agreed that it was a day unlike any other that they still speak about often, with excitement and gratitude.

Honor Flight is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose only mission is to say thank you in a small way to the men and women of the "greatest generation" who made our way of life possible at enormous cost to them.

If you would like to be a part of Honor Flight Fayette as a guardian, volunteer or to make a donation, please visit honorflightfayette.org or call 770-719-1024.

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18 September 2008

Coalition Targets Foreign Terrorist Flow, Finds Caches, Disarms IED

Coalition forces in Iraq disrupted the foreign-terrorist facilitation network, found enemy weapons stockpiles and disarmed an improvised explosive device in operations over the last two days, military officials reported.
Soldiers detained four suspected terrorists during operations today to disrupt the al-Qaeda in Iraq foreign terrorist facilitation network in northern Iraq.

In Mosul, coalition forces captured two wanted men and one additional detainee reportedly tied to the part of the al-Qaida in Iraq network that smuggles materiel and foreigners into the country for terrorist attacks. One of the men is believed to conspire with senior al-Qaida in Iraq leaders in Mosul, officials said.

Another operation targeting al-Qaida in Iraq's foreign terrorist facilitation network in Beiji, about 100 miles south of Mosul, netted one suspect.

A "Sons of Iraq" citizen security group member and Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers combined their efforts to uncover weapons caches yesterday.

A tip from a sheik who serves as a Sons of Iraq member led soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, to the seizure of seven 57 mm rockets northwest of Baghdad.

Later yesterday, soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division's Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, found a munitions cache north of Baghdad. The munitions included a 152 mm high-explosive projectile, five sticks of TNT, 15 pounds of TNT charges, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and a rifle.

In southern Baghdad's Rashid district early yesterday, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers disarmed an improvised explosive device. Soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division's Troop B, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, notified an explosives ordnance disposal unit of the IED – made from a 155 mm artillery round with a timer and battery pack -- in a street in the district's Hadar community.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)
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Home Repair Scam Appears to Target Military Families

The letter that appeared in a soldier's mailbox promised an offer almost too good to be true: a home improvement loan approved by Congress and backed up by a government agency. Officials at the Federal Citizen Information Center fear it's a scam targeting military members that uses the center's credibility to lure victims in. An eagle-eyed soldier notified the Federal Citizen Information Center after receiving the ad from the "Home Information Center" linked to post office boxes in Dallas and in Owasso, Okla. The letter included a reference to FCIC's Web site in an apparent attempt to show a federal endorsement.

"The thing that immediately sends up a red flag is the fact that [the advertisement] says these loans are approved by the U.S. Congress," said Mary Levy, director of consumer education and outreach in the FCIC's Office of Citizen Services. "Congress would absolutely never approve any particular home improvement loan."

In addition, she said, the Federal Citizen Information Center has no association with the Home Information Center. Levy emphasized that home improvement services are regulated at the state and local level, not by the federal government.

Levy expressed concern that the letter might be one of many floating around that are targeting military homeowners who, like many of their civilian neighbors, are struggling with financial concerns. Many are prime candidates for scams because they're young and relatively inexperienced in handling money, they're away from their extended families, and often have no roots in their new communities, she said.

"That may make them particularly susceptible to these kinds of scams," Levy said. Unscrupulous people have long focused their schemes on servicemembers and their families. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission and American Red Cross warned consumers about an identity-theft scam targeting families of deployed troops. That scam involved someone calling a military spouse, identifying herself as a representative of the Red Cross, and notifying the woman that her husband was hurt in Iraq and had been medically evacuated to Germany. The caller then said doctors could not start treatment until paperwork including the husband's Social Security number and birth date was completed.

The FTC called this scheme a variation of "phishing" – a technique identity thieves use to get personal or financial information from unwary consumers. The identity thief claims to represent a trusted source – a bank, a government agency, or in this case, the American Red Cross – to get someone to divulge personal information.

"Military families can become targets of scams, especially when the soldier is deployed thousands of miles away and the family is here," Levy said. "That's why it's so important that they have the information they need to protect themselves."

The Federal Citizen Information Center offers consumers tips for selecting a contractor to make home improvements and repairs:

-- Get recommendations and references. Talk to friends, family and others who have used the contractor for similar work.
-- Get at least three written estimates. Insist the contractors come to your home to evaluate what needs to be done. Be sure the estimates are based on the same work so that you can make meaningful comparisons.
-- Check contractor complaint records. Your state or local consumer protection agency or Better Business Bureau can provide this information.
-- Make sure the contractor meets licensing and registration requirements. Your state or local consumer protection agency can help you find out what these requirements are.
-- Get the names of suppliers and ask if the contractor makes timely payments.
-- Contact your local building inspection department to check for permit and inspection requirements. Be wary if the contractor asks you to get the permit; it could mean the firm is not licensed.
-- Be sure your contractor is insured. They should have personal liability, property damage and worker's compensation insurance for workers and subcontractors. Also check with your insurance company to find out if you are covered for any injury or damage that might occur.
-- Insist on a written contract that states exactly what work will be done, the quality of materials that will be used, warranties, timetables, the names of any subcontractors, the total price of the job and the schedule of payments.
-- Try to limit your down payment. Some states have laws limiting the amount of down payment required.
-- Understand your payment options. Compare the cost of getting your own loan vs. contractor financing.
-- Don't make a final payment or sign a final release until you are satisfied with the work and know that subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. Some state laws allow unpaid subcontractors and suppliers to put a lien on your home for bills the contractor failed to pay.
-- Pay by credit card when you can. You may have the right to withhold payment to the credit card company until problems are corrected.

The FCIC warns consumers of red flags that could indicate a fraudulent operator, including soliciting door-to-door, offering a quote out of line with other estimates, using pressure tactics or asking for the entire payment up front.

The Consumer Action Handbook, published annually by the FCIC, offers additional consumer information covering a wide range of topics. The FCIC Web site provides ordering information.
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16 September 2008

More Veteran Bricks Are On the Way in Peachtree City

Bob Konrad, Quartermaster of Peachtree City VFW Post 9949 reports that he has negotiated a second delivery of Veterans Bricks for this year. The deadline for ordering bricks that will be placed around the Peachtree City Veterans Memorial during the week before Veterans Day is October 20. The brick applications must be in the hands of the Quartermaster on that date.

New applications may be downloaded from the VFW web site www.vfw9949.org or picked up at the Peachtree City Library. Older applications may still be used, however the limit on letters, symbols and blank spaces is now 18 (originally limited to 14 and most recently 17). Please be sure to indicate whether the Veteran being honored is deceased.

Bricks for family members, relatives and friends may be ordered for Veterans from any era, including those currently in the Armed Forces. It does not matter where the Veterans live.

If two bricks are ordered they will be placed adjacent to each other; for larger quantities the bricks are contiguous. Brick locations are documented and retained by VFW Post 9949 Quartermaster, Bob Konrad. The location of each brick may be found by using the “brick locator” on the Post web site (www.vfw9949.org). The brick price remains $30.00

Currently 25 bricks are on order. The vendor indicates he needs a minimum of a 50-brick order and preferably 60 to make it an economic production run for him. The VFW is asking that orders be made promptly to assure they will be able to place two orders in future years.
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15 September 2008

"I Saw the Walking Dead" Lecture September 16

In partnership with the ongoing “Anne Frank: A History for Today” exhibit, the Ingram Library at the University of West Georgia will host Dr. Leon Bass, a veteran who helped liberate the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. “I Saw the Walking Dead” will be presented on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom. The event is free and the community is invited to hear this remarkable story.

Bass, an African-American, served in the 183rd Engineer Combat Battalion during World War II and described what he saw at Buchenwald to be “the walking dead.” A retired principal at a high school in Philadelphia, Bass has become a national speaker on the subject and was featured in the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II.”

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10 September 2008

National Museum of the Marine Corps Thrives

BUSINESS WIRE --Amidst celebrations for the millionth visitor and continuing rave reviews from visitors, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Heritage Foundation announce expansion plans. The announcement comes after the release of results from a visitors’ survey made available through the American Association for State & Local History. The survey found that the National Museum of the Marine Corps exceeded results of the top three museums previously measured in the AASLH survey in overall visitor experience, visitor expectations, impact, value, visitor return, visitor recommendation and reputation.

The Museum will soon expand to include three additional galleries with exhibits interpreting the periods from 1775 through World War 1. The galleries will feature immersive experiences for which the Museum is world-renowned. Construction on the new galleries will begin in October with the opening expected in the spring of 2010.

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s fundraising campaign to complete the Museum is also under way. New components that the Foundation and its supporters will fund include over 80,000 square feet of additional historical galleries, a large-screen theater, a permanent art gallery and artist studios, a performance space, classrooms and a display-storage gallery for many artifacts currently not accessible to the public.

With funding provided by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and its supporters, the adjacent Semper Fidelis Memorial Park also continues to expand. Additional trails and overlooks are already lined with 10,000 commemorative bricks and another 2,000 are reserved for new trail segments. Memorial benches and monuments will be installed in the next phase of development, along with the construction of a new chapel slated to begin in October. The nondenominational chapel will be a quiet,contemplative space where visitors can remember the sacrifices of Marines. Designed by Fentress Architects, the structure will evoke images and memories of improvised field chapels familiar to combat Marines.

In the less than two years since dedication, the Museum has become recognized as a top Virginia destination for families across the region and throughout the nation. Recent surveys found that 75% of visitors to the Museum were from outside the state of Virginia.

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08 September 2008

Coalition Forces in Iraq Seize Bomb-Making Components

Iraqi citizens of Babil province yesterday led U.S. soldiers to the seizure of a huge amount of components suitable for the construction of deadly explosively formed penetrator-type bombs, military officials reported.

Acting on a tip from local Iraqi citizens, the U.S. soldiers discovered more than 2,500 bomb-making components at three separate locations in an area southeast of Samrah Village in Babil province. Officials believe this discovery will significantly disrupt explosively formed projectiles attacks within central Iraq.

U.S. soldiers found the cache after a group of local Iraqi citizens informed them of a suspected cache location that had recently received more munitions. The Iraqi citizens gave the soldiers a notebook with sketches of the munitions and its general location and led them to the site where the cache was located. The soldiers used metal detectors to discover three separate locations where parts of the cache were located.

An explosive ordnance disposal team searched the cache sites and found complete components for EFPs along with C-4 explosives. The Diwaniyah Peninsula and the Samrah Jungle are known historic weapons trafficking locations in the area. Included in the cache were 414 blocks of Iranian M112 C-4 explosives, 860 copper plates, 501 back plates, 529 retaining rings and 157 steel bodies, which were all the type commonly used by the enemy to make EFPs.

"The Iraqi citizens made a significant decision to support their government and security forces when they provided the information that led to the discovery of this cache," said Army Lt. Col. John Casper, Multinational Corps Iraq's chief of operations. "In doing so, they removed devastating weapons from the hands of terrorists and placed their trust and confidence in a future for Iraq."

During other operations yesterday:

-- A vehicle-born improvised explosive device was discovered in Kirkuk. Coalition forces discovered the constructed car bomb in Kirkuk City and later disarmed it.

-- Three suspected insurgents were killed and a house was destroyed in Mosul when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated Sept. 6. The suspected insurgents were constructing the VBIED when it detonated prematurely. The blast also damaged four local civilian homes.

In Sept. 5 operations:

-- U.S. soldiers captured a suspected criminal during an operation in the Rashid district of southern Baghdad. The detainee is a reputed explosives expert suspected of using explosively formed projectile IEDs against Iraqi and coalition forces.

-- U.S. and Iraqi soldiers confiscated explosives and other ordnance during searches in Baghdad. While searching a street in the Mansour district of Baghdad, Iraqi soldiers serving found nine blocks of dynamite hidden inside an empty store.

-- Acting on a tip from a local sheik, U.S. soldiers patrolling northwest of Baghdad seized a cache that included 12 cases of ammunition, two 122 mm canisters, a large amount of .50-caliber ammunition and a heavy machine gun barrel.

-- A Sons of Iraq militia member thwarted the emplacement of an improvised explosive device and U.S. soldiers arrested a Special Groups criminal in Baghdad's Rashid district. A Sons of Iraq member reported to U.S. troops that an individual had just emplaced an IED. An explosives ordnance disposal unit sent to the site detonated the device. U.S. soldiers captured the suspected Special Groups criminal in the Risalah community. The detainee was transferred to a forward operating base for further processing.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)
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Honor Flight Fayette Walks to Support American Freedoms


Honor Flight Fayette World War II veterans, board members, supporters and other veterans made the 1 mile walk/ride on Saturday, September 6th, in rememberance of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and to renew the spirit of American patriotism that immediately followed those attacks.

A program was held in the Commemorative Air Force Hangar at Falcon Field where the World War II veterans were recognized as the Greatest Generation and received a standing ovation. The 2nd Washington, D.C. trip for Honor Flight Fayette will take place October 8th with approximately 70 veterans taking the one day trip which is free of charge to them.

Honor Flight Fayette is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, staffed solely by volunteers, whose sole purpose is to raise funds to take the veterans to see their Memorial and receive recognition for their bravery and sacrifices. For more information about Honor Flight Fayette, or to make a donation, visit www..honorflightfayette.org or call 770-719-1024.

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06 September 2008

Fayette County Citizens Have Opportunity to Pledge Support to the Constitution


Pictured is Stephen McMinn who was one of the first Fayette County citizens to pledge his support.

Drop by the Fayette County Public Library in Fayetteville and pledge your support to the U. S. Constitution in honor of the 221st anniversary of the signing of the U. S. Constitution.

The exhibit runs through the end of September and is sponsored by the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. The James Waldrop Chapter, chartered in 2007 as the first Fayetteville chapter of the DAR, received a 2007 national award for their efforts in educating the public about the Constitution.

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Andersonville National Historic Site, Rolling Thunder Georgia Southwestern State University to Honor Nation’s POWs/MIAs

Rolling Thunder’s 2008 Ride Home – a multi-day annual activity held in conjunction with the National Park Service’s Andersonville National Historic Site and Georgia Southwestern State University to recognize and honor the nation’s Prisoners of War (POW) and those Missing in Action (MIA) – will be held in Andersonville and Americus, Ga., Sept. 17-20, 2008.

“The 2008 Ride Home, which is supported this year by Rolling Thunder® chapters from 11 states, is part of a series of events conducted jointly with the National Park Service in Andersonville to honor those former POWs from all wars who have returned home and remember those who are still listed as MIA,” said Jim Moyer, Ride Home board chairman.
According to Moyer, more than 1,000 Rolling Thunder members are expected to gather in Andersonville and Americus to honor an estimated 100 former POWs scheduled to attend this year’s program of events as guests of Rolling Thunder.

While Friday, Sept.19, is the official National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the four days of recognition activities begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a convocation sponsored by the National Park Service and hosted by Georgia Southwestern State University at the Student Success Center in Americus.

The guest speaker will be Joseph Hudson of Alamogordo, N.M. He was a 23-year-old U.S. Army specialist with the 507th Maintenance Group, Fort Bliss, Tex., who was shot three times, captured and held by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Army from March 23, 2003 until April 13, 2003.
On Thursday, Sept. 18, through Saturday, Sept. 20, the Park Service will host Bataan Death March survivor Colonel Glenn Frazier at the National Prisoner of War Museum at the Andersonville National Historic Site. Frazier, who was an underage U.S. Army volunteer from Fort Deposit, Ala., in 1941, will be autographing his book, “Hell’s Guest”, which is his account of three harrowing years as a prisoner of war.

On Friday, Sept. 19, the official National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Rolling Thunder’s formal activities will begin at 10 a.m. with a tribute service, “Keeping the Promise, We Will Not Forget” at the First Baptist Church in Americus.

Scheduled speakers include: U.S. Air Force Major General Albert G. (Jerry) Rogers whose final active duty assignment was Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics at Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley, AFB, Va.; U.S. Navy Captain Ronald Harrell, Commander of the FFG (Fast Frigate) Class Squadron 14 at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.; Stephen E. Thompson, Family and Veteran Liaison for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii; and, Dr./Rev. Chuck Gass, the staff chaplain at the VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla.

A Rolling Thunder escort to the tribute service for the former POWs is scheduled to depart for the Baptist church from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Americus at 9 a.m.

At 1 p.m. that afternoon the National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville will unveil a commemorative plaque honoring POWs from the U.S. Army’s 42nd “Rainbow” Division.

Formed in August 1917, the “Rainbow” nickname was given to the division after Colonel Douglas MacArthur, the new division's Chief of Staff (and ultimately its commander), remarked that "the 42nd Division stretches like a Rainbow from one end of America to the other" because it was comprised of National Guard units from 26 states and the District of Columbia.

The division, which saw service in both World Wars was deactivated in 1946; however it returned in 1947 as a National Guard Division for New York, the state of its birth. Currently headquartered at the Glenmore Armory in Troy, N.Y., the division includes Army National Guard units from 14 states: Connecticut, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Activities on Friday will continue at 4:30 p.m. with Rolling Thunder’s annual tribute dinner followed by a candlelight remembrance ceremony scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Both activities will be at the Windsor Hotel in Americus.

The Missing Man Table, which honors the nation’s POW/MIAs, will be the focal point of the evening. The single round table with six empty place settings symbolize Americans from each of the five services - - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard - - and civilians who cannot attend and will be participating in the evening’s activities in spirit only.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, Rolling Thunder’s Annual POW Recognition will begin at 10 a.m. at the Rostrum at Andersonville National Cemetery. The ceremony honors POWs who have returned home from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars.

A Rolling Thunder Heroes Escort Ride is scheduled to depart for the Andersonville National Historic Site from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Americus at 9 a.m.

The 1-14th Aviation Regiment from Fort Rucker, Ala., will open the10 a.m. ceremony with a helicopter flyover of an AH-64D Apache Longbow and an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

A Roll Call of former POWs attending the ceremony will precede a special presentation to each.
Music will be provided by the U.S. Marine Band stationed at the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base, SSgt Kristine Streng conducting.

Rolling Thunder chapters sponsoring the 2008 Ride Home are located in Melbourne, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Inverness and Sanford, Fla.; Waverly Hall, Ga.; Hartland, Mich.; Oxford, Miss; Neshanic Station, N.J.; Newburgh, N.Y.; Statesville, Fayetteville, Franklinton, Wilmington, Morrisville and Jacksonville, N.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Coweta, Okla.; Cheltenham, Penn; Shelby and North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The national organization, Rolling Thunder, Inc. was organized in 1987 to raise awareness of POW, MIA and Veterans rights issues. It is known for its annual demonstration “Ride For Freedom” in Washington, D.C. during Memorial Day weekend.

For more information visit both www.POWRideHome.org and www.nps.gov/ande/planyourvisit/things2do.htm
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04 September 2008

USAA Aligns the Stars to Salute the Troops on ABC, Sunday, September 7

(BUSINESS WIRE)--A diverse cross-section of America’s most popular performers and entertainers – including Toby Keith, Janet Jackson, ZZ Top, Jessica Simpson, Snoop Dogg and others – are coming together on the same stage for one night only at an all-star salute to the nation’s military men and women.

USAA, a diversified financial services firm, is honored to present America United In Support of Our Troops, airing on ABC Sunday, September 7, at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central.

Other performers and celebrities slated to appear include country musician Clint Black, comedians Carlos Mencia and Kathy Griffin, and many more. Filmed in front of audiences in Iraq, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Fort Campbell, Ky., the show features popular music, celebrity cameos, tributes to the troops, and heart-warming stories.

“America United in Support of Our Troops - is all about standing together as a nation to say a very heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the men and women of the U.S. military,” said USAA President and CEO Joe Robles. “USAA has proudly served our nation’s military families for 86 years, and it is our honor to sponsor this tribute. We hope Americans will tune in this Sunday, support our troops and enjoy this terrific show.”

The show will be re-broadcast Monday, Sept. 8 for military members serving overseas and on ships at sea through the American Forces Radio and Television Service.

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03 September 2008

VA Awards $2.2 Million to Georgia Veterans Home

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To make sure the state veterans home in Augusta remains a comfortable and safe residence for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is awarding a grant worth $2.2 million for improvements at the Georgia state facility.

"These grants honor our commitment to care for the men and women of Georgia who have served in uniform," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "Our federal-state partnership helps to provide comfortable and safe housing for Georgia veterans in a caring community."

VA's grants will cover 65 percent of the total cost of the projects. Total cost for the life patient and safety upgrades to the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in Augusta are expected to total nearly $3.5 million.

The Augusta state veterans home is a 192-bed skilled nursing care facility located adjacent to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Augusta Medical Center.

In fiscal year 2007, VA spent nearly $2.2 billion in Georgia to serve more than 760,000 veterans who live in the state. VA operates major medical centers in Atlanta, Dublin and Augusta (a two-division facility: downtown and uptown) with outpatient clinics and Vet Centers across the state.

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01 September 2008

Coalition Forces Capture 18 in Baghdad, Tikrit

Coalition forces captured 18 suspected terrorists, including several wanted men, during operations throughout Iraq today, military officials reported.
An alleged terrorist leader overseeing al-Qaida in Iraq operations in the Jazeera desert was captured with one suspected associate during an operation in Tikrit. The wanted man also is believed to have organized terrorist forces in Mosul after several leaders there were captured or killed, including the Mosul "emir," Abu Khalaf, who was killed by coalition forces June 24.

Operations in Baghdad netted two wanted men and four additional suspects. One of the wanted men is assessed to be part of the al-Qaida foreign terrorist facilitation network, and conspiring to acquire chemicals and poison for use in attacks. The other wanted man reportedly is an associate of an attack leader within the network.

During a security sweep in Biaj, about 130 kilometers southwest of Mosul, coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists.

Coalition forces detained five suspected criminals today in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad, including an alleged leader within the Iranian-backed "special groups" criminal ring.

Several suspects already in custody identified the targeted individual as a logistician and financial manager for Asaib al Haq, a Shiite group that broke away from cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia. In this position, he is believed to provide funds and materials, including vehicles, for criminal operations, officials said. He is believed to have knowledge of illegal smuggling activities that support Asaib al Haq finances.

Coalition forces entered the target building, where the wanted man identified himself as the suspected criminal, and they detained him with four alleged associates.

Coalition forces detained three suspected Kataib Hezbollah associates during operations yesterday in New Baghdad. Kataib Hezbollah is reported to receive funding, logistics, and weapons such as improvised rocket-assisted mortars from Iran. The group also is believed to receive guidance or direction from the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Kataib Hezbollah suspects already in custody and sensitive intelligence allowed coalition forces to identify the suspected location of an alleged administrative cell leader, officials said. Reporting indicates the targeted man performs information-gathering activities for the network, conspires with several known Kataib Hezbollah criminals and is believed to be involved in a June 4 rocket-assisted-munition attack that killed 18 Iraqi civilians and injured 29 more.

Coalition forces entered the target building and detained three suspected Kataib Hezbollah associates without incident.

In other operations yesterday:

-- A suspected al-Qaida leader in Sharqat, about 90 kilometers south of Mosul, is in coalition custody after an operation targeting him. Intelligence reports indicate the man is a longtime al-Qaida in Iraq member and has ties to several networks in northern Iraq, officials said.

-- Coalition forces detained six suspected members of an al-Qaida in Iraq bombing network in the Tigris River Valley. One of the detainees allegedly is a cell leader in Beiji, about 160 kilometers south of Mosul.

-- In Mosul, three suspected terrorists were detained during an operation targeting members of the al-Qaida network responsible for murders and moving foreign terrorists into the country. In a separate operation in the city, coalition forces detained four suspects during an operation targeting a bombing network that attacks Iraqi and coalition forces.

-- A coalition forces raid in the Hamrin Mountains region netted six suspects. Coalition forces were targeting members of a kidnapping cell that finances terrorist attacks.

-- Coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists in Baghdad while targeting al-Qaida in Iraq senior leaders.

-- Iraqi soldiers discovered a weapons cache hidden under a floor in a house in southern Baghdad's Rashid district. The unit was conducting clearing operations in southwestern Baghdad when they found four 60 mm mortar rounds, a 60 mm mortar tube with base plate, 2,000 rounds of PKC ammunition, four rocket-propelled grenades, four RPG launchers and three hand-held radios. Iraqi soldiers from the same unit discovered a 60 mm mortar round rigged as an improvised-explosive device. A coalition forces explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed the munitions from both cache sites.

-- Responding to a citizen's tip, soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's Company A, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, detained two suspected criminals in the Aamel area.

-- Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, conducted a targeted raid and captured a suspected criminal in the Aamel area.

In operations Aug. 29:

-- Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, arrested a suspected special groups member in the Abu Tshir community of southern Baghdad's Rashid district. The individual is wanted for committing acts of sectarian violence against Iraqis and conducting a roadside-bomb attack against coalition forces, officials said.

-- A concerned Iraqi citizen called soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division's Troop C, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, to turn over possible bomb-making materials in southern Baghdad's Rashid district. The Iraqi, from the Saha community in southeastern Baghdad, brought bottles of liquid and a timing device to a combat outpost.

-- Iraqi National Police, acting on a tip from an Iraqi citizen in the Bayaa community, seized a weapons cache of two mortar tubes, eight 120 mm mortar rounds, two hand-held radios, two homemade bombs, four bombs designed to pierce armor-hulled vehicles, a block of TNT, three rolls of copper wire and 200 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition. They also discovered three flash cameras, miscellaneous wires and bomb-making materials at the site.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)
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Andersonville National Historic Site, Rolling Thunder Chapters from 11 States, Georgia Southwestern State University to Honor Nation's POWs/MIAs, Sept

MMF Note: Sounds like a moving memorial to those who didn't come home, or who suffered at others' hands.

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rolling Thunder's 2008 Ride Home -- a multi-day annual activity held in conjunction with the National Park Service's Andersonville National Historic Site and Georgia Southwestern State University to recognize and honor the nation's Prisoners of War (POW) and those Missing in Action (MIA) -- will be held in Andersonville and Americus, Ga., Sept. 17-20, 2008.

"The 2008 Ride Home, which is supported this year by Rolling Thunder(R) chapters from 11 states, is part of a series of events conducted jointly with the National Park Service in Andersonville to honor those former POWs from all wars who have returned home and remember those who are still listed as MIA," said Jim Moyer, Ride Home board chairman.

According to Moyer, more than 1,000 Rolling Thunder members are expected to gather in Andersonville and Americus to honor an estimated 100 former POWs scheduled to attend this year's program of events as guests of Rolling Thunder.

While Friday, Sept. 19, is the official National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the four days of recognition activities begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, with a convocation sponsored by the National Park Service and hosted by Georgia Southwestern State University at the Student Success Center in Americus.

The guest speaker will be Joseph Hudson of Alamogordo, N.M. He was a 23-year-old U.S. Army specialist with the 507th Maintenance Group, Fort Bliss, Tex., who was shot three times, captured and held by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army from March 23, 2003 until April 13, 2003.

On Thursday, Sept. 18, through Saturday, Sept. 20, the Park Service will host Bataan Death March survivor Colonel Glenn Frazier at the National Prisoner of War Museum at the Andersonville National Historic Site. Frazier, who was an underage U.S. Army volunteer from Fort Deposit, Ala., in 1941, will be autographing his book, "Hell's Guest," which is his account of three harrowing years as a prisoner of war.

On Friday, Sept. 19, the official National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Rolling Thunder's formal activities will begin at 10 a.m. with a tribute service, "Keeping the Promise, We Will Not Forget" at the First Baptist Church in Americus.

Scheduled speakers include: U.S. Air Force Major General Albert G. (Jerry) Rodgers whose final active duty assignment was Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics at Tactical Air Command Headquarters at Langley, AFB, Va.; U.S. Navy Captain Ronald Harrell, Commander of the FFG (Fast Frigate) Class Squadron 14 at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.; Stephen E. Thompson, Family and Veteran Liaison for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii; and, Dr./Rev. Chuck Gass, the staff chaplain at the VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla.

A Rolling Thunder escort to the tribute service for the former POWs is scheduled to depart for the Baptist church from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Americus at 9 a.m.

At 1 p.m. that afternoon the National Prisoner of War Museum in Andersonville will unveil a commemorative plaque honoring POWs from the U.S. Army's 42nd "Rainbow" Division.

Formed in August 1917, the "Rainbow" nickname was given to the division after Colonel Douglas MacArthur, the new division's Chief of Staff (and ultimately its commander), remarked that "the 42nd Division stretches like a Rainbow from one end of America to the other" because it was comprised of National Guard units from 26 states and the District of Columbia.

The division, which saw service in both World Wars, was deactivated in 1946; however it returned in 1947 as a National Guard Division for New York, the state of its birth. Currently headquartered at the Glenmore Armory in Troy, N.Y., the division includes Army National Guard units from 14 states: Connecticut, Main, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Activities on Friday will continue at 4:30 p.m. with Rolling Thunder's annual tribute dinner followed by a candlelight remembrance ceremony scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Both activities will be at the Windsor Hotel in Americus.

The Missing Man Table, which honors the nation's POW/MIAs, will be the focal point of the evening. The single round table with six empty place settings symbolize Americans from each of the five services -- Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard -- and civilians who cannot attend and will be participating in the evening's activities in spirit only.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, Rolling Thunder's Annual POW Recognition will begin at 10 a.m. at the Rostrum at Andersonville National Cemetery. The ceremony honors POWs who have returned home from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars.

A Rolling Thunder Heroes Escort Ride is scheduled to depart for the Andersonville National Historic Site from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Americus at 9 a.m.

The 1-14th Aviation Regiment from Fort Rucker, Ala., will open the 10 a.m. ceremony with a helicopter flyover of an AH-64D Apache Longbow and an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

A Roll Call of former POWs attending the ceremony will precede a special presentation to each.

Music will be provided by the U.S. Marine Band stationed at the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Base, SSgt Kristine Streng conducting.

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