Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today's Top News 30 June 2010

General David Petraeus is the new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Plus, Army officials address the problems at Arlington National Cemetery.

New "Green Ammo"

The Army has started shipping "green ammo" to troops in Afghanistan. Over 1 million rounds were fired to make sure the ammo met or exceeded expectations.

Hurricane Alex

Hurricane Alex is being monitored by meteorologists at the Pentagon.

SECARMY on Arlington

Secretary of the Army John McHugh says the Army is doing everything it can to correct the reported management issues at Arlington National Cemetery.

Afghan Airfield Attack

NATO and Afghan forces repelled an insurgent attack on an airfield Wednesday outside of Jalalabad City in eastern Afghanistan.

Wind Turbine Problems

Government officials say the rapid increase in wind turbine construction could interfere with the military's long-range radar systems.

Ready for Battle

The commander of U.S. Forces Korea says American and South Korean forces are ready to fight against North Korea if deterrence fails.

Hurricane Alex Preps

Tropical Storm Alex is now Hurricane Alex and the Texas National Guard is getting ready.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Today's Top News 29 June 2010

GEN David Petraeus has been tapped by President Obama to replace GEN Stanley McChrystal, who the Associated Press reports has submitted retirement papers.

Rules of Contracting

Defense officials say the DoD has learned some important things from years of hiring contractors.

National Guard Deploy

More than 2,000 National Guardsmen along with eight helicopters and three C-130 aircraft are preparing to deploy as Texas gets ready for Tropical Storm Alex.

Female Vets

The VA is making room for increasing numbers of women seeking care at its medical centers.

Petraeus Confirmation

Confirmation hearings began Tuesday for GEN David Petraeus, who was nominated to take over as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Hurricane Preps

Officials prepare for future storms in the Gulf of Mexico in what is predicted to be a busy hurricane season.

Alex May Affect Oil Spill

Tropical storm Alex may miss the Gulf oil spill area but experts warn strong swells and winds could disrupt cleanup efforts.

DoD Budget Concerns

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton Carter says the DoD has been charged with eliminating excess spending.

Oil Cleanup Latest

The wind and waves generated by tropical storm Alex aren't affecting the oil cleanup response in the Gulf of Mexico.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Today's Top News 28 June 2010

The U.S. will retain control of all military forces in the Republic of Korea, and the DoD is going to do more without increasing the budget.

Increase Military Ability

The DoD plans to increase military capabilities with no increase to the budget.

Army to Close Bases

The Army is beginning a three-phase plan to consolidate bases in Mannheim and Heidelberg, Germany.

Oil Spill

Cleanup from the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico continues.

Maj Gen Burnett Retires

The Adjutant General of Florida's National Guard retired over the weekend after more than 47 years of military service.

HIMARS Rocket Test

Army officials tested a new HIMARS rocket system Saturday at Fort McCoy, WI.

Purple Heart Recipients

Over 100 servicemembers received a Purple Heart Friday afternoon in New York.

CJCS Meets Barak

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs ADM Mike Mullen met Sunday with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to discuss Iran's nuclear program.

Mullen in Afghanistan

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen was in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday for meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Sen. Robert Byrd has died.

West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress, has died, the senator's office said. He was 92.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Today's Top News 25 June 2010

Top DoD officials say GEN David Petraeus' knowledge of operations in Afghanistan will allow him to take charge of the Afghan campaign quickly and efficiently.

Rumsfeld Portrait

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on hand Friday at the Pentagon to help unveil a portrait honoring former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Oil Spill Latest

National Incident Commander ADM Thad Allen says the relief wells being drilled in the Gulf of Mexico are nearing the broken oil well.

Electronic Health Records

AHLTA, DoD's electronic health records system, has made significant advancements since its unveiling a half decade ago.

Intrepid Center Opens

A new medical center built specifically to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury and psychological disorders in war veterans opened Thursday in Bethesda, Maryland.

Guard Flood Response

The National Guard is on duty in three states providing assistance to communities hit hard by heavy rains and flooding.

Korean War Anniversary

The Pentagon Thursday marked the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

Obama on Unity

President Barack Obama says he insists on a unity of purpose from all branches of the U.S. government in Afghanistan.

Gates on GEN Petraeus

Top Defense officials say General David Petraeus' familiarity with military operations in Afghanistan will allow him to take charge of the Afghan campaign quickly and efficiently.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today's Top News 24 June 2010

Defense Secretary Gates voices his support for General David Petraeus as the next U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Also, the National Intrepid Center of Excellence opens its doors.

ADM Mullen on Changes

Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen announces plans to travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the wake of General Stanley McChrystal's resignation.

Gates on GEN Petraeus

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is voicing support for General David Petraeus, nominated by President Obama to succeed General Stanley McChrystal as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

Confirmation Hearings

The Senate Armed Services Committee held confirmation hearings Thursday for General Raymond Odierno and Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin.

Oil Spill Response

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen says there has been no delay in deploying National Guard troops responding to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Intrepid Center Opens

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Maryland, opens its doors.

GEN McChrystal Resigns

President Barack Obama accepted General Stanley McChrystal's resignation Wednesday as the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

Wanat Review

Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced Wednesday the Army has completed its review of the battle at Wanat, Afghanistan.

Border Security

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a series of initiatives on Wednesday she says will strengthen and expand efforts to secure the U.S. border with Mexico.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Today's Top News 23 June 2010

President Barack Obama accepted the resignation of the commander of U.S. and NATO Forces in Afghanistan, GEN Stanley McChrystal, on Wednesday.

GEN McChrystal Resigns

GEN Stanley McChrystal tendered his resignation as Commander, U.S. and NATO Forces in Afghanistan after he made comments critical of President Obama and some of his aides.

McChrystal Resigns

Commander in Chief Barack Obama has accepted the resignation of U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.

GEN David Petraeus is the new commander in Afghanistan

Previously General David H. Petraeus assumed command of the United States Central Command in October 2008, after serving for over 19 months as the Commanding General of the Multi-National Force-Iraq during “the surge.” Prior to his tour as MNF-I Commander, he commanded the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, during which time he oversaw the development of the Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Before that assignment, he served for over 15 months as the first Commander of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and the NATO Training Mission-Iraq. That deployment to Iraq followed his command of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), during which he led the “Screaming Eagles” in combat during the fight to Baghdad and throughout the first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His command of the 101st followed a year deployed on Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia, where he was the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of the NATO Stabilization Force and the Deputy Commander of the US Joint Counter-Terrorism Task Force-Bosnia. Prior to his tour in Bosnia, he spent two years at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, serving first as the Assistant Division Commander for Operations of the 82nd Airborne Division and then as the Chief of Staff of XVIII Airborne Corps.

General Petraeus was commissioned in the Infantry upon graduation as a “distinguished cadet” from the United States Military Academy in 1974. He has held leadership positions in airborne, mechanized, and air assault infantry units in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East, including command of a battalion in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and a brigade in the 82nd Airborne Division. In addition, he has held a number of staff assignments: Aide to the Chief of Staff of the Army; battalion, brigade, and division operations officer; Military Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander-Europe; Chief of Operations of the United Nations Force in Haiti; and Executive Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

General Petraeus was the General George C. Marshall Award winner as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Class of 1983. He subsequently earned MPA and Ph.D. degrees in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and he later served as an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the US Military Academy. He also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University.

Awards and decorations earned by General Petraeus include two awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal for valor, the State Department Distinguished Service Award, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, the Gold Award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm, the French Légion d’Honneur, the Polish Order of Merit, the Order of Australia, and the National Defense Cross of the Czech Republic. He is a Master Parachutist and Air Assault and Ranger qualified. He has also earned the Combat Action Badge and French, British, and German Jump Wings. In 2005 he was recognized by the U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s 25 Best Leaders, and in 2007 he was one of four runners-up for Time Person of the Year. In 2009, he was selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals and by Esquire magazine as one of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century. Most recently, he was awarded the George Kennan Award by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the 2010 James Madison Medal by Princeton University, and the 2010 Intrepid Freedom Award by the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

Obama will relieve McChrystal of command

Obama shall relieve Gen. McChrystal of is command, in the incoming announcement at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Arlington Call Center

Officials at Arlington National Cemetery say they've received hundreds of calls from family members concerned about the possible mishandling of their loved ones' remains.

BG Blotz Interview

ISAF Spokesman BG Josef Blotz says there are sixty percent more troops in the Helmand River Valley than there were in February.

Warlords Hearing

Defense Department officials say they will not tolerate corruption and will address any allegations appropriately.

Military Suicide Hearing

New research shows a decrease in suicides among active duty Soldiers in 2010.

ADM Thad Allen Briefing

The man in charge of coordinating the government's oil spill cleanup effort says federal officials are weighing new options for collecting oil in case of a hurricane.

Obama on GEN McChrystal

Commander in Chief Barack Obama is meeting today in Washington with the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal.

Should be McChrystal fired ??

Keith Olbermann Special Comment

Special Comment on the self-destruction of General Stanley McChrystal. "We have the highest respect for General McChrystal and honor his brave service and sacrifice to our nation. General McChrystal`s comments, as reported in ` Rolling Stone,` are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between Commander-in-Chief and the military." Senators Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, and John McCain said that. They left out the far greater truth, that the comments are inappropriate and inconsistent with the traditional relationship between military and civilian authority and are thus intolerable. We can honor his service, the way we honor the service of General Curtis LeMay, or the way we honor the service of General Douglas MacArthur, forever blemished, forever compromised, forever instructive that however much credit each heroic soldier deserves, he and his comrades are not the masters of this country, but its employees. It is the fundamental tenet on which this nation rests; it is what has kept us from any serious dalliance with a militaristic government in all our long history; it is the simple balanced poetry that has saved us from the threat of military overthrow and dictatorship for 234 years, while nearly all the other great nations of the world, from Germany to Japan, have succumbed to it, again and again.

And what happens next should be no surprise to anybody: General McChrystal will walk into the White House tomorrow and offer his resignation, not just from his leadership position in Afghanistan, but from military service itself. And that, Mr. President, is when you should thank him for that service. And you should thank him for whatever admission he makes about the chain of command. And that is when, Sir, presuming he recognizes his rank stupidity and his erasure of that inviolable line between the military and the civilian, you should say you are heartened that he realizes the depth and breadth of his idiocy. And that is when, Sir, you should take General McChrystal`s resignation, and fold it up, and put it in your top drawer, and tell him that that is where it will remain, and that as of now you are not accepting it. Correct. He tenders his resignation. You tell him to get the hell back to Afghanistan because he`s not getting out of this morass he helped create, and tell him to make sure we get the surge troops withdrawn on time or faster if he can. And then, Sir, you sit back and watch the political world`s collective jaw drop. This would not be mere contrariness, nor even the satisfying destabilization of the entire political climate, although those would be fun, too. Consider the last Administration. Let`s look at the list alphabetically. General John Abizaid of CentCom expressed public skepticism about the Bush surge in Iraq, replaced. General George Casey, Iraq, expressed public skepticism about the Bush surge in Iraq, replaced. Admiral William Fallon, ex-head of CentCom, told " Esquire Magazine" we should not use force against Iran, retired by Mr. Bush. Dr. Larry Lindsey, director of the National Economic Council, told Mr. Rumsfeld estimated that war in Iraq would cost 60 billion dollars. He said, no, 200 billion. Rumsfeld called that "baloney." Lindsey was fired. It was "baloney." It cost three trillion dollars. General Eric Shinsecki, Army Chief of Staff, warned that the Rumsfeld troop estimates were disastrously low, hundreds of thousands would be needed for occupation, "vilified, then marginalized" by Bush. General Anthony Zinni, Marines, Retired, Middle East Envoy, said that the President had far more pressing foreign policy priorities to face than Iraq, and that the trouble would start in Iraq after the war itself ended, not reappointed. Remember, this from the previous President whose empty, but lovely- sounding catchphrase was `I listen to the commanders on the ground.` It was true. He did listen. And then he fired all the ones who dared to tell him the truth. It cannot be argued that General McChrystal has said anything as controversial, as jarring, as upsetting to the status quo as any of the men Bush ignored, and in ignoring, led to the deaths of Americans, and to the wasting of money and our international goodwill. McChrystal made, to be blunt about it, a fool out of himself. He called a lot of people names. He has previously been involved in the leak of his own complaints demanding more troops and faster decisions in Afghanistan. And most heinously -- and this is the toughest part of this pill to swallow -- he was the facilitator in the cover-up of the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman. It is difficult to bypass an opportunity for retribution and humiliation against such a man. But more opportunities for that will come in time. It is not McChrystal that matters right now. It is doubtful he is an irreplaceable general officer. It is doubtful he will influence Afghanistan much one way or the other. That mistake has been made already by this military and this President. But, Mr. President, consider the after-math of McChrystal`s resignation or firing. If, in the America of 1951, the dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur, a strutting peacock of a soldier with a corncob pipe prop and a messianic complex, could turn the politics of the time on its head because Harry Truman had had the temerity to fire him after he said we should use nukes against the Chinese and create an impassible radioactive zone in the Far East-- if that happened then, what exactly will the ouster of General McChrystal provoke, no matter how justified, in our stupid, under-informed, constantly propagandized America of 2010? Who will be the first to identify McChrystal as a martyr to the evil Obama Administration? How many Americans, still looking for a rationalization to justify their rage at a Democratic president, or a black one, or an intelligent one, will have new fuel to feed their blind hatred? Keep him, Mr. President. You will not merely neuter the political blowback, you will present a front of force and calm and intelligence and a willingness to, dare I use the phrase Sir -- a willingness to listen to the Commanders on the ground, even when they shoot off their big brass-covered bazoos. You can own this man, Mr. President, and own the political aftermath, which is now pregnant with opportunities for your critics. The General can be your voice to speed up the de-escalation. My goodness, he could be your mouthpiece if you suddenly saw the morass for what it is and decided to declare victory and get the hell out now. Who would fight with you on that, Sir? You would be the President who defended General McChrystal after he humiliated himself. You would be the leader sensitive to the military, and its needs, and its failures, and its pressures. President Obama has pushed the Abraham Lincoln thing from the day he declared his candidacy. It may serve him well tonight to consider the third of the eight generals Lincoln employed to run the Union Army during the Civil War. After the Antietam disaster, Mr. Lincoln cashiered General McClellan, the hugely popular "Young Napoleon," promoted John Pope of Illinois. His advisors were horrified. Pope, as Shelby Foote recalled in Ken Burns`s documentary, was a liar and a braggart. Yes, said Lincoln, in fact I knew his family back in Illinois. All the Popes were liars and braggarts. I see no particular reason why a liar and a braggart shouldn`t make a good general. Pope did not win the Civil War, but in appointing him, Lincoln made it plain that what he needed from his Generals was usefulness, not etiquette. And which is more useful to this President and this nation right now? A martyred ex- General, around which an irresponsible and potentially dangerous opposition can coalesce? Or a spared and humbled General, surely no worse than any potential replacement, whose retention can recalculate the political formula, without a drop of blood, or a drop of tears, being shed? Good night and good luck.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today's Top News 22 June 2010

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says GEN Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, made a significant mistake criticizing White House officials during a magazine interview.

Change of Command

Military officials say there was a change of command at Regional Command North in Afghanistan.

Military Suicides

Suicides among members of the military remain at historic highs - despite the increase in awareness and treatment programs.

Gates on McChrystal

Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a statement Tuesday regarding General Stanley McChrystal's comments in a Rolling Stone magazine story.

Gen Amos Nominated

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recommended to President Obama that he nominate Gen James Amos as the new Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Oklahoma Mast Returns

A mast from USS Oklahoma was flown from Pearl Harbor to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, Monday to become part of a war memorial.

National Guard Responds

More than 30 Florida National Guard Soldiers arrived in Panama City Monday to support cleanup operations for the Gulf oil spill.

Iraq Ready to Takeover

The spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq says the Iraqi security force is ready to take over the country's security.

Korean War Vets Tribute

The commander of U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus, paid tribute to veterans of the Korean war during a ceremony Monday in Independence, Missouri.

Marine Missing in Action From World War I Identified

No. 519-10 June 22, 2010

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War I, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Marine First Sergeant George H. Humphrey of Utica, N.Y., will be buried on Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery. On Sept. 15, 1918, Humphrey participated in the first U.S.-led offensive of the war under the command of Gen. John J. Pershing. The battle with the Germans became known as the St. Mihiel Offensive. There were 7,000 Allied losses during this offensive and it was the first use of the American use of the term "D-Day" and the first use of tanks by American units.

Humphrey, a member of the U.S. 6th Marine Regiment, attached to the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, was killed in action during the battle and his remains were buried by fellow Marines the next day. In October 1919, a Marine who witnessed the death wrote a letter to Humphrey's brother recounting the attack near the village of Rembercourt. He included a map of his recollection of the burial site.

Attempts to locate Humphrey's remains by U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel following the war were unsuccessful. In September 2009, French nationals hunting for war relics found artifacts near Rembercourt-sur-Mad they believed to be those of a World War I American soldier. A month later, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command excavated the area, recovering human remains and military-related items including a marksman's badge with Humphrey's name engraved on the back.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC laboratory also used dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call 703-699-1169.

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Today's Top News 21 June 2010

Top stories from around the military.

Ft. Carson 9/11 Memorial

Soldiers on Fort Carson join New York firefighters to dedicate a new 9/11 memorial to remember the men and women who gave their lives that day and in the years since.

Progress in Iraq

The spokesman for U.S. Forces Iraq, MG Stephen Lanza, says all al-Qaida can muster in Iraq are poorly planned, badly executed attacks.

Warrior Surf Camp

The Wounded Warrior Project teamed up with clothing manufacturer Billabong on Sunday to give injured servicemembers a day at the beach.

Veteran Father

Parenting for one former Soldier is much tougher after he lost an arm and leg from an IED attack in Iraq.

Oil Spill Response Latest

The Coast Guard took reporters to one of the two rigs drilling relief wells which officials hope will stop the oil that's been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for the last two months.


Defense Secretary Gates says it is up to Congress to change the military's ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' policy concerning gays and lesbians serving in the military

Montana Tornado

National Guard troops and police are patrolling the damaged streets and businesses of Billings, Montana, after a huge tornado barreled through the city on Sunday.

SECDEF on Oil Spill

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says there is nothing more the DoD could be doing to help combat the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gates on Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says it's too early to tell whether the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan is succeeding.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today's Top News 18 June 2010

National Guard members are activated after tornadoes hit Minnesota, and a senior U.S. general says Iraqi security forces will be ready to take responsibility for Internal Security Sept 1st.

Toys for Tots and Disney

For more than sixty years, the Toys for Tots Foundation and the Walt Disney Company have been partners in helping make the holidays brighter for children in need.

Mood Altering Substances

The Air Force bans the use and possession of any substance that is ingested to alter mood or function.

Changing Face of the V.A.

The Veterans Administration is preparing for the influx of thousands more female patients over the next few years, primarily due to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

LTG Barbero Briefing

U.S. military officials say Iraqi security forces will be ready to take full responsibility for internal security on September 1st.

Soldier Shoots a Soldier

An Army Reservist in Georgia surrenders after shooting another Soldier Thursday.

Preparing to Deploy

Training, packing your bags, family vacations. There are many things on your mind as you prepare for deployment, but what about a financial plan?

Afghanistan Security

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell says the U.S. has established a contiguous zone of security in Afghanistan.

Oil Spill Response

President Obama met with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus Thursday at the White House to discuss a Gulf Coast restoration plan.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today's Top News 17 June 2010

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell says the clock is ticking for U.S. and coalition forces to make progress in Afghanistan.

START Treaty Update

Pentagon officials are urging lawmakers to ratify the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.

Gates on START

Pentagon officials say the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty will strengthen the stability of America's relationship with Russia by reducing the nuclear forces of both nations.

Healthy Travel Tips

With summer, the travel season heats up, but moving from state to state and country to country is a way of life for members of the military.

Flood Response

More than 500 National Guard troops remain on duty in three states hit by massive flooding earlier this week.

Ft Gordon Arrest

A former National Guardsman was charged with pretending to be a Soldier after authorities say he persuaded an officer at Fort Gordon, Georgia, to give him a sophisticated laser sight.

Afghanistan Goals

The commander of U.S. Central Command, GEN David Petraeus, says one of the main goals in Afghanistan is preventing the re-establishment of Taliban sanctuaries.

Mullen on Budget

Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen says the 2011 defense budget addresses the needs of America's servicemembers and their families.

Remarks by the Vice-President Biden on Memorial Day transcript

This is the greatest honor of my public life as have ever been given to me, have the opportunity to address all of you on Memorial Day on this hollow ground. To the superintendent Mestler, thank you for your care and attention to these hollow grounds and thanks to the Old Guard who stand watching over those who gave their lives standing watch over us and thanks to all the service member responsible and representative of every branch of the military, all across America. We’re sure that on this day, those who served under our flag have a flag standing proudly before their headstones, a decoration worthy of their dignity.

Collectively, the generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have served and sacrificed for us are the heart and soul, and I would say, spine of this nation. And as a nation, we pause today to remember them. They gave their lives fulfilling their oath to this nation and to us. And in doing so, they imparted a responsibility on us to recognize, to respect, to honor and to care for those who risked their lives so that we can live our lives.

Moments ago, I had the distinct honor and high privilege of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This morning, I welcomed to the White House the Gold Star families, who know all too well the price of their loved ones’ patriotism. I met Ruth Stonesifer, the current President of the Gold Star Mothers, who lost her son Kristofor on the first night of major operations in Afghanistan on October of 2001; and Emogene Cupp, the mother who played a pivotal role in the early stages of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and unveiled the first panel; to Terry Davis, a remarkable champion of Gold Star families. Terry, God love her, is a Gold Star sister, a Gold Star wife, and a Gold Star mother -- none should be asked to sacrifice that much.

And I met the parents, the brother, and the beautiful widow of John Hallet. I had the privilege of meeting this family when I attended the memorial service at Fort Lewis in Washington State. John served in a Stryker Brigade that was among the hardest hit in Afghanistan. He left behind a wife, two young sons, and an infant daughter who he never got to meet -- but who I hope will grow up with the pride in her father filling part of the void that’s left by his loss.

Each of the Gold Star families embodies, in the words of John Milton, “Those also serve who only stand and wait.” Many of you in this amphitheater here today have stood and waited, relieved -- as Jill and I were -- at the return of a loved one, in our case our son from a year in Iraq. Many of you are now waiting, with family members still overseas, many in harm’s way. And some of you have stood and waited for a loved one that did not return and live now with the knowledge that your will one day be reunited with him, with our heavenly Father.

To those who have lost a loved one in the service of our nation, I recall a famous headstone in Ireland. And the headstone reads as follows, “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” No one can steal the memory from you. I can tell you from my own personal experience that eventually the pain and heartache you now feel will eventually, God-willing, be replaced by the joyful memory of the son or daughter or husband and wife or father or mother that you loved so dearly and lost. Jill and my prayer for you is that that day will come sooner rather than later. But it will come, I promise you.

Today is a day with sorrow mixed with incredible pride. We mourn those we’ve lost and we hold fast to their memories and we take pride, great pride in the lives they lived, in the service they provided, in the nation they created, saved and strengthened. Early this month, Steven Banco was kind enough to send my wife Jill some of the speeches right after we were elected. Steven Banco who won two silver stars, four bronze stars air medal and four purple hearts, all in Vietnam, spoke at the dedication of the Purple Heart Memorial, in Buffalo, New York, and he said and I quote “Most people think of the battle field as a province of hate, fear and anger. When you’ve fought, and you’ve bled and you’ve risked and you’ve survived, you recognize it is something entirely different.

Hatreted would hardly be enough to make a soldier leave a safe position to rescue a buddy; fear would never make one share his last sip of water with a dying comrade; and anger would never motivate a nurse to stand tall in a bloody operation room for half a day or longer to put a blasted soldier or marine back together. No, only love, only love can motive that kind of heroism, only love can trigger that kind of courage. Only love. Love is why we’re here today, to show our love for the men and women who died showing their love for this great country and to honor the families who shared that love even more deeply. As I look over the headstones of those who gave their lives to win our independence, to save our nation, to save our Union, to defend against fascism and communism, I wonder. I wonder what they’d think of this nation and of this world today, I wonder what they’d think of this new generation of warriors. For the forces of globalization have made the world across which they must fight much smaller. And as the world around us shrinks, it means trouble half way around the globe can and will visit us, no matter how high our walls or how wide our oceans. Our men and women in uniform know full well that the promises and the perils of this time have never been greater. The threats to American security are more widely spread geographically than never before and the spread of weapons of mass destruction and dangers, diseases, economic dislocation and the growing gap between the rich and the poor, ethnic animosity and failed states. The challenges the freedom and security and we face radical fundamentalism. Now, this new generation of warriors stands watch, protecting America all of these new treats and it will take and it has taken equally great sacrifice as those who have gone before them. From Fallugia to Margia, from Bagdad to Kandahar, from Basra, Basra to the Conar Valley, from Helmond to Anbar. Our nation has lost 4.391 service men and women in Operation Iraq Freedom, 1.074 in Operation Enduring Freedom, in Afghanistan. They were the best of us, they were blood, they were bones of our bones, blood of our blood, they were our treasure. The force of arms that won our independence and throughout our history it has been the force of arms that has protected our freedom. That will not change. Nor will our sacred obligation, the only obligation a government has that is truly sacred, our sacred obligation to provide these warriors with everything they need to complete their mission and everything they need, and I might add, deserve when they come home.


But these new warriors are a special breed, they’re warriors, but they are also bright, educated and committed by those who have gone before. They understand that the example of our power must be matched by the power of our example. And we owe it to them, to the capture of the totality of America strength. For all of you know our elementary strength lies in our values. That’s what brought every one of the men and women in this hollowed cemetery, to untimely, give their lives, upholding our values and in upholding our values we’re made stronger. The objective of our new enemy is to change what we value, to change how we live our lives, to change what it means to be an American. It has been my honor over the last two decades to visit our troops from Bosnia to Kosovo, to Iraq, to Afghanistan, from six young warriors in a fore operating base high in the mountains of northeast Afghanistan, in the upper Counar Valley to a crowded mess halls, in Camp Liberty, in Iraq. And every time, every time I can say without a fear of contradiction I come away impressed with the intelligence, the grip, the resolve and the patriotism of these young women and men. These are the finest military the world has ever produced, period.


And if anyone has ever had a doubt about that should have come with me three days ago when that conviction was reinforced when I had the great privilege and honor to addressing this year graduating class at the Naval Academy. As part of that service there was an award given to someone, young Marine, showing the qualities will make him a future leader of the Marine Corps. The award was named for a Marine named Dough Zambick. Major Zambick was a captain at Eco company during Operation Vigilant Resolve, in 2004. Because of his heroism, in the early ground assault, he became know as the lion of Fallugia. Three years ago, this month, Dough was shot and killed, while leading Iraqi troupes he was helping train. It was his fourth tour. Silver Star, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, Dough was a warrior, a warrior of whom this nation can be proud. Major Zambick is buried just on the hill from here, in section 60, site 8621. And when he was laid to rest, his best friend read from Dough’s personal notebook, in which Major Zambick wrote this words encapsulating his philosophy, he said “be a man of principle, fight for what you believe in, keep you word, be brave, believe in something bigger than yourself, serve your country, teach, mentor, give something back to society, lead from the front and conquer your fears”. These words, in my view, convey the character and the purpose of all of those we remember today. They lived with integrity, they served nobly, they gave everything, they fought for what they believe in, and maybe, most important, they believed in something bigger than themselves. They believed in all of you, they believed in all of us and they believed in America. So on this day, this solemn day, let us try once again to be to be individuals in a nation worthy of that belief. May God bless you, may God protect our troops and may continue to bless the memory of all those who have died so that we may live.

Thank you.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Today's Top News 16 June 2010

Secretary Robert Gates recommends a modest increase of the defense budget and General David Petraeus says Afghan security forces are in the lead in Kabul.

START Treaty Testimony

Defense officials told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday the Pentagon fully supports the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia.

Gates on Defense Budget

Defense Secretary Robert Gates testified on the 2011 defense budget before lawmakers Wednesday.

Jobless Veterans

The May jobless numbers follow earlier reports this Spring in showing a growing number of young veterans among those out of work.

Petraeus on Afghanistan

The Commander of U.S. Central Command says Afghan security forces are in the lead in Kabul as well as in a number of other missions.

Old Ammunition

Defense officials are stressing the dangers of old ammunition stockpiles.

Flournoy Testifies

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy says she expects to hear more ideas from Afghan President Hamid Karzai on tackling corruption in his country.

Obama on Oil Spill

President Barack Obama has tapped Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to develop a long-term restoration plan for the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Today's Top News 15 June 2010

Progress is being made transferring security responsibilities to Afghan national forces. And, the Army releases suicide data for May.

Afghanistan Minerals

New data gathered by U.S. geologists is showing evidence of large deposits of valuable minerals in Afghanistan.

Obama at NAS Pensacola

President Barack Obama addressed troops at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, during his trip to the Gulf Coast.

Deployment Preps

Making sure personal matters are in order - both legal and financial - should be high on the list of priorities as servicemembers prepare to deploy.

Focus Shifts to Kandahar

General David Patraeus says the focus in Afghanistan is shifting to the Kandahar Province.

Flournoy Testimony

A top Pentagon official says progress is being made on all fronts in the U.S. and NATO effort to begin transferring security responsibilities to the Afghan national forces by July 2011.

Manas Air Base COC

The U.S. air base in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, held a change of command ceremony on Tuesday.

National Guard Responds

The National Guard responds to flooding in Nebraska and West Virginia. No flood-related deaths are reported in either state.

Warrior Care

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs ADM Michael Mullen says America needs to do a better job caring for its wounded warriors.

MacDill AFB Arrests

Two people are in custody after trying to gain unauthorized access to MacDill Air Force Base outside Tampa, Florida.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Today's Top News 14 June 2010

With Iraqi draw-down continuing they need to become more self-sufficient and the U.S. Army turns 235!

Iraq Equipment Drawdown

The spokesman for U.S. Forces-Iraq, MG Stephen Lanza, says the transfer of bases and supplies as part of the responsible draw-down is no small undertaking.

Camp Pendleton

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to Marines and their families Monday while visiting Camp Pendleton, California.

MG Lanza Briefing

U.S. Forces-Iraq spokesman MG Stephen Lanza says it is vital to ensure the Iraqi government is capable of sustaining security gains in the country.

National Guard Oil Spill

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is calling the work of the National Guard a key part of the state's progress against the spread of the gulf oil spill.

SORS Oil Recovery

The Coast Guard Cutter Juniper is employing its spilled oil recovery system to combat the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Training for Disasters

The Illinois National Guard is helping emergency personnel train in the Chicago area to sharpen their skills for a disaster.

FLOTUS in California

First Lady Michelle Obama visited Camp Pendleton over the weekend, where she spoke to troops and their families.

Oil Spill Response

President Obama is making his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast Monday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Today's Top News 11 June 2010

National Guard deploys a Blackhawk to support rescue operations after a flash flood and the British Prime Minister David Cameron visits Afghanistan for the first time.

Military Families

Defense Secretary Robert Gates thanks military families for their sacrifices.

Oil Vacuum Barges

The Louisiana National Guard has received approval from the U.S. Coast Guard to field ten additional vacuum barges, bringing the number approved to thirteen.

Post-Deployment Health

The Air Force post-deployment health reassessment is designed to identify Airmen's health issues that can emerge in the months following their most recent deployment.

Gates Signs Agreement

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has signed an agreement with the Czech Republic paving the way for science and technology cooperation.

NDU Graduates

Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen stresses the importance of military force and national power to graduates at the National Defense University.

Arlington Reforms

The Army is promising major reforms at Arlington National Cemetery after an investigation found the remains of more than 200 service members may have been misplaced or misidentified.

Root of Terrorism

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy says understanding the root of terrorism is a key to stopping it.

Arlington Investigation

Secretary of the Army John McHugh has released the results of an investigation he ordered into mismanagement at Arlington National Cemetery.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Today's Top News 10 June 2010

Army Secretary John McHugh announced sweeping changes at Arlington National cemetery after allegations of lost accountability of some graves.

Arlington Cemetery Reform

Army Secretary John McHugh announced sweeping changes at Arlington National cemetery after allegations of lost accountability of some graves.

Oil Spill Response

About 200 Alabama National Guard troops are working with local officials to ensure victims of the Gulf oil spill have the forms they need to file claims against British Petroleum.

Taliban Under Pressure

Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, GEN Stanley McChrystal, says as the U.S. has increased its force size, the Taliban has done the same.

McChrystal Interview

The U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, is predicting heavier fighting and higher casualties ahead.

Mercy Mission

The hospital ship USNS Mercy is in Vietnam participating in Pacific Partnership 2010.

Heroes Magazine

Stars and Stripes is publishing a ''Heroes'' supplement honoring men and women in uniform and, in particular, those who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Petraeus in London

The Commander of U.S. Central Command , General David Petraeus, was in London Wednesday where he met with the new British Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Oil Spill Response

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is calling the National Guard the real heroes of the state's oil spill response.

CJCS On Asia Relations

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ADM Mike Mullen says relationships with India and Pakistan will play an important role in securing the country of Afghanistan.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Today's Top News 09 June 2010

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the weak global economy is forcing American allies to make some hard budget decisions.

Gates Arrives in Brussels

Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Brussels, Belgium Wednesday for meetings with NATO defense ministers.

USNS Mercy's Mission

USNS Mercy starts its 5-month humanitarian mission in Vietnam.


Take some heat, add a helmet, lots of hills, and 350 miles of asphalt, and you have this year's Ride 2 Recovery - an annual bicycling event for wounded service members.

Mustard Gas Exposure

The Coast Guard and National Guard are working with the EPA to decontaminate a clamming vessel exposed to mustard gas from WWI-era munitions found off the Massachusetts coast.

Oil Spill Update

BP says its cap is now capturing more than 600,000 gallons of oil daily from the ruptured wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico.

Helicopter Crash

The Associated Press reports four Americans were killed Wednesday when their helicopter was shot down in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Shaping a Peaceful World

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead says the President's National Security Strategy will shape a peaceful world.

Troops Patrol Kandahar

Canadian troops patrolled Kandahar, Afghanistan, Tuesday as NATO prepares for the U.S.-led initiative in that area this summer.

Gates on Global Defense

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the weak global economy is forcing America's allies to make hard decisions on how to fund their militaries.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today's Top News 08 June 2010

The Coast Guard expects to be able to contain more of the oil flowing from the ruptured wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico and a Taliban Commander is reportedly killed.

Kandahar Initiative

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says one challenge that remains in Afghanistan is getting and keeping the country's citizens on the coalition side.

Midshipmen Tackling Obstacles

DNU Flash - Midshipmen and cadets tackle an obstacle course during a visit to Africa.

Gates in London

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in London for a second day of meetings with top British officials.

Sailors Compete In Captain Cup

DNU Flash - Sailors compete in the Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., captain's cup competition.

Headlines for Tuesday, June 8, 2010

DNU Flash - Headlines from around the fleet: The Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead speaks at the Current Strategy Forum 2010; The Navy christens its newest destroyer, precommissioning unit Spruance (DDG 111).

Hockey in Iraq

Official NHL street hockey equipment and apparel was donated to Soldiers in Iraq in celebration of the Army's 235th birthday.

Base Handed Over to Iraq

Forward Operating Base Normandy has now been formally handed over to the Iraqi Army.

Containing More Oil

In the last 24 hours, BP officials say they've siphoned nearly 15,000 barrels of oil from the ruptured wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico.

USCG Rescues Boaters

Coast Guard crews rescued five people from a sailboat Monday near Deweese Island, SC, after it ran aground.

Employer Partnership

As the U.S. economic crisis lingers, veterans are finding it difficult to translate skills learned on the battlefield onto a resume.

NG Helps with Oil Spil

National Guard units from Florida and Illinois are helping Louisiana protect its fragile coastline from the encroaching oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

ISAF Casualties

Two servicemembers with NATO's International Security Assistance Force were killed Tuesday in Afghanistan.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Today's Top News 07 June 2010

7 ISAF servicemembers die in Afghanistan. Also, the cap on the BP oil well is now capturing up to 460,000 gallons of oil a day.

Oil Spill Response

National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen says efforts to contain the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico may stretch into the Fall.

Exercise Dawn Blitz 2010

DNU Flash - USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) completes training exercise Dawn Blitz 2010.

The Battle of Midway

DNU Flash - Service members remember the 68th anniversary of the Battle of Midway in San Diego.

Medical Readiness

DNU Flash - Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam Robinson speaks about medical readiness in the Pacific region.

Sea Services Leadership Symposium

DNU Flash - Sea Services Leadership Symposium highlights the role women play across the services.

Support for Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says nations such as Azerbaijan are making contributions to the war in Afghanistan by allowing the U.S to use their roads and airspace.

Fleet and Family Support Centers

DNU Flash - Navy releases NAVADMIN 195/10 addressing Fleet and Family Support Centers helping family needs.

Headlines for Monday, June 7, 2010

DNU Flash - Headlines from around the fleet: A ceremony at Midway Atoll commemorated the 68th anniversary of the Battle of Midway; Exercise Dawn Blitz ends June 5 off the coast of California; Surgical teams begin performing surgeries as part of Pacific Partnership 2010.

Basra River Patrols

Marines and Iraqis patrol the waterways surrounding the city of Basra, looking for illegal weapons.

Oil Collection Update

Admiral Thad Allen says the oil collecting from the damaged wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico continues to increase.

Gates on Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he won't be asking Britain to provide more troops to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

D-Day Remembrance

Hundreds of people gathered at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA, Sunday to remember the 66th anniversary of D-Day.

Oil Leak Cap

The cap placed over the broken Gulf of Mexico oil well siphoned nearly double the oil Saturday compared to Friday but it's not clear how much is still escaping.

DoD Contacts with China

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the DoD wants sustained and reliable military-to-military contacts with China.

Gates in Azerbaijan

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan on Sunday.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Appointed Forever

Wicked: Defying Gravity Lyrics

(spoken) Elphaba - why couldn't you have stayed calm for once, instead of flying off the handle!
(sung) I hope you're happy!
I hope you're happy now
I hope you're happy how you
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you're clever!

I hope you're happy
I hope you're happy, too
I hope you're proud how you
Would grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition

So though I can't imagine how
I hope you're happy right now

(spoken) Elphie, listen to me. Just say you're sorry:
(sung) You can still be with the Wizard
What you've worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted:

(spoken) I know:
(sung) But I don't want it -
No - I can't want it

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!

Can't I make you understand?
You're having delusions of grandeur:

I'm through accepting limits
''cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down:
(spoken) Glinda - come with me. Think of what we could do: together.

(sung) Unlimited
Together we're unlimited
Together we'll be the greatest team
There's ever been
Glinda - Dreams, the way we planned 'em

If we work in tandem:

There's no fight we cannot win
Just you and I
Defying gravity
With you and I
Defying gravity

They'll never bring us down!
(spoken) Well? Are you coming?

I hope you're happy
Now that you're choosing this

(spoken) You too
(sung) I hope it brings you bliss

I really hope you get it
And you don't live to regret it
I hope you're happy in the end
I hope you're happy, my friend:

ELPHABA So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I'm flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!

I hope you're happy!

Look at her, she's wicked!
Get her!

:Bring me down!

No one mourns the wicked
So we've got to bring her



Friday, June 4, 2010

Today´s Top News 04 June 2010

The Pentagon takes steps to reduce overhead and become more efficient, and the Navy holds ceremonies honoring Sailors who perished in the Battle of Midway.

Gates on Japan

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is emphasizing the importance of America's strong relationship with Japan during an unsettled period in the Asian region.

Operation Overlord

DNU Flash - Operation Overlord was the largest amphibious operation in history and a major turning point of World War II.

Battle of Midway

DNU Flash - The final combat action in the Battle of Midway took place 68 years ago.

Naples Promotion Ceremony

DNU Flash - Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus holds a promotion ceremony at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy.

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