Back at it yet again- Legion in Minneapolis for Wednesday
Posted By Mr Wolf
Update 7: Bill Simon, CEO of Walmart US. Imagine, you're the CEO of one of America's largest companies. Here to 'ask something of the Legion'. He served, and says it left a lasting impression on him. One surprising statement- how people line up at midnight at the end of the month, to shop for food at midnight when the electronic benefits hit their cards, and they can get formula and diapers. Says the economy is bad- not Pearl Harbor or 9/11 bad, but it's 'man made' problems. They are solvable. He says they will open 100 new stores, hire 15k new employees, and concentrate on veterans. Claims that they are the largest employer of veterans in the US (likely, given that they are so large. However, I know Home Depot and others do as well.) He introduced a former Army captain that served in Iraq who manages a store in Streamwood, IL and does very well. Says they love veterans- they are smart, educated, and team players. Have performance under stress in their backgrounds. They have a website, www.careerswithamission.com, that allows veterans to get into their job pipeline quicker.
Update 6: Rep Nancy Pelosi is here to address us. Surprisingly, she's a fairly strong vet supporter, whatever you may think of the rest of her politics. (go back to my previous post on how they can support vets and yet look at legislation that destroys the rest of the country. The response is somewhat tepid, but polite. She's congratulating Chet Edwards, former congressman, for his distinguished service medal. So far, she's only thanking others for stuff they've done. Yes, Chet was a Democrat. She's now estolling the 'call to service' of the Legion, and its members. She's now talking about Marine Capt. Brian Stand, and how he 'won' a Silver Star for his actions. Capt Stand wanted to find a way to honor those who fell, and served with him. She's showing how this work is in conjunction with the 'Hire Heroes Act' that is going forward. Also, how 'we' have demanded that the USG use it's contract power to work to hire veteran companies in contracting (as it should). Another act, the 'Make It In America' act, works to prevent jobs from going overseas- 'green energy' jobs. (Well, we know how well THAT works.) As I expected, she's going into President Obama's initiatives, and how his are 'better public policy' going forward. She's the third person this morning that has mentioned 'moving America forward' in her comments. 'America's veterans will not be short-changed' in fixing our budget, she says. And, addressing how 'we will not be whole until every American who fought overseas can come home and have a job.' It's going to be interesting how these comments will fit in with the rest of the agenda they have once they return to work after the Labor Day break.
Update 5: Rep Jeff Miller of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Chairman of the committee, is now addressing. He works closely with Sec'y Shinseki, as you can imagine. He opens his comments with how, 2 days after the Chinook attack that took the 30 forces out, he was on the tarmac in Baghram at the memorial ceremony that occurred there. He's the first Republican to address the Legion so far. He's talking about trimming the budget, and that 1.2 trillion needs cut asap, but 'the miltary and the veterans that have served it will remain one of the highest priorites we have'. He's now onto the 'veterans back to work' line as well. 'No veteran who returns from service deserves to be standing in an unemployment line'. Another nice platitude that, given the economy, is not likely to work well. He terms this the 'VOW Act' (Veterans Opportunity to Work). He does, rightly, state that 'government does NOT creat jobs, but the environment for jobs.' The website for this info is www.veterans.house.gov.
Update 4: Sec'y Shinseki is now preparing to address the Legion. This is the third address I've heard from him at the Legion. As TAH says, he's the king of the Black Beret. Seems he cannot get by that little 'misfit'. OOH- someone misspelled his name on the slide in front of the entire floor. Oops! (they spelled it 'Shineski') I'm waiting to hear something 'new' - he's pushing the Presidents effort to give tax credits for hiring vets- of about 9k per person from what was said here. He's pushing a veteran's preference in hiring initiative. To hire/train 100k vets into the workforce; and to increase the percentage of veterans hired at VA to 40% of all hires. He wants to continue reducing VA backlog of cases, get more homeless vets off the street, and get more and better care for vets with PTSD and TBI. 5 new VA hospitals under construction, and 30 new patient facilities. He's rattling off stuff faster than we can keep up with and track as to what he's saying. I'm going to have to get his prepared remarks, plus notes, to get this tracked and on here... UPDATE: he claims that by 2015, they will have that 'visual' of homeless vets sleeping on grates 'gone'. This one, I don't believe. While it's a very noble goal, and is needed, one has to remember that many, if not most, of those 'homeless vets' have two problems- one is many are not even VETS. They only claim it in order to try to build sympathy and get money. Second, many have such problems with substance abuse and mental health, they cannot adequately be helped. VA is developing 5 core new values: Integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence (I CARE). These ideals is where he's trying to steer the VA.
Update 3: They are playing a video provided by SecState Hillary Clinton. She could not join the convention, but sent a video to address the floor with. She's thanking the soldiers, and the Legion, for their service and dedication. A short video.
Next, is the US Chamber of Commerce. A retired Marine LtCol - Kevin Schmiegel is the representative. He served 20 years active duty, and retired 2 years ago. Says he still misses it (that, I can understand) and understand what the Legion means. Says he is here to describe a program on what IS being done to help those coming home- 'Hiring Our Heros'. To help in 100 communities across the country. He cites 12m veterans in the workforce; 1m are unemployed. 160k leave the service and return to the workforce EVERY year- not counting the reserve forces that return from deployments. The unemployment rate for current vets is 13.4%. If that rate is as 'different' as the overall unemployment rate, then we're looking at a better than 17% rate for Iraq/Afghanistan veterans (some sources say the overall rate is not 9.1 but 13.4%) Veterans have directly transferable skills, too. The chamber, he says, has a civic responsibility to ensure veterans get employed. They've conducted 19 fairs across the country, of the 100 communities planned. They do plan to be in the 81 other cities by next March. Chicago had 1200 veterans, and placed 200 of them. Better than nothing, but not quite enough especially in a large city. They are working on plans to expand it to several hundred cities by 2012 and thru 2013.
Update 2: Cong. Tim Walz is here addressing- seems the only 'legion' here is the legion of politicos who want to address the convention. He's talking about visiting Walter Reed and the soldiers there. Rep. Walz is a retired Sergeant Major, and how, during the visit, a soldier commented "sorry to hear about your demotion to Congress, sir..'' He's getting animated about conduct in the Congress, and how they need to hold themselves to a higher standard. A standard the Legion and our veterans hold themselves to. ''We could not hold a vote today and agree it's Wednesday.'' Well, one problem is, this Congressman is the one with a bit of an 'exaggerated' record- claiming to 'serve supporting Afghanistan' when he was serving, actually, in Italy. Great service, but he treads a thin line on what he says...
Update 1: Ms Godin, the Holocaust survivor is speaking now. Survivor of both the camps and a death march, she's now relating what she saw as a young girl at the time. Speaking of the ghettos, of preparing, somehow, for the family to be separated. She was in 4 different labor camps, after losing her father during the 'kinder selection', when they pulled children out away from families.
Original Post: We're here again, in the giant hall of the convention center in Minneapolis. Today, as in yesterday, we'll have live-blogging as it happens. Also like yesterday, we'll have a plethora of speakers and visitors coming in to address the convention. Scheduled is Rep. Nancy Pelosi later this morning. Another interesting one will be Holocaust survivor Nesse Godin, who should provide an interesting talk. Visiting us again will be Sec'y Eric Shinseki, who makes his annual appearance to report on DVA changes.
Miss America Needs Help! Last night, we were at a reception for the Commander when I had a chance to chat with Miss America Teresa Scanlan. I asked her if she had been overseas to see the troops in either Iraq or Afghanistan yet. She told me that no, they had not even scheduled anything, and wasn't aware of any request to do so. Ok guys, here is your chance- I imagine ONE unit over there is willing to 'sponsor' a visit by such a lovely lady as Miss America! Who's gonna step up? I have escorted 2 Miss Americas in theater, and arrange visits for them to troops. It's worth it.
Because of error on the part of a TAC and the Marines refusal to assist, SOCOM (USAF) pilots take matters into their own hands. This is the third part of the NRA Life of Duty Series "The Special Forces of ODA 574" and is a MUST WATCH VIDEO:
On November 14, 2001 a U.S. Special Forces team of Green Berets known as ODA 574 infiltrated the mountains of southern Afghanistan to carry out a tribal revolt against the Taliban. Learn more about ODA 574 in The Only Thing Worth Dying For by Eric Blehm and look for the fourth installment of this incredible story in September.
LIVE Blogging from Legion Convention- President's Speech
Posted By Mr Wolf
NOTE: I've added pictures from yesterday into the post in an update
Now, back to our 'normal' updates...
Update 10: Our final update of the day, I've been watching the procession of the 'lesser politicos' take the stage- from the Governor of Minnisota to the Mayor of Minneapolis, and others. To me, the most important one after the President's address was the presentation of the Legion Riders' checks to the Legacy Fund- and to date, total $632,666 in collections this year! That's an enormous amount in such an economy. I shudder to think what it would be in one that was near-normal.
I promise to have pictures and videos added here shortly to go along with the updates. I have quite a few to put up. Again, be sure to see TAH for other updates as Jonn posts them...
Update 9: Congressman Keith Ellison, from Minnesota has now taken the podium. Oh, and boy, did they change that podium quickly. Previously, they had the Presidents podium up for the morning, and now, they have the 'normal' one for the remaining speakers. Interesting. Rep Ellison speaks on those who want to become Americans, and how veterans have protected those people to have that chance. How each that enjoy that right owes a debt to veterans for that chance. (While I realize that no politician will stand up here and say much against Legion and Legion supporters, I still have to question how they can be in favor of so much that is in direct conflict with these ideals and still say 'thank you' to us for what we've done, and will do. Can someone explain this to me?)
Update 8: Here we go- Sen Al Franken is up. This should be good. Mentions sponsoring service dog act, one of his first pieces of legislation. His remarks are not 'sharp'- he seems off his game for some reason, and very unenthusiastic. I have to hand it to Sen Franken- I've been with him when he's toured Iraq, and met him on his way thru Kuwait a few times prior to his becoming a Senator. He does support veterans, that much I know. Its a puzzle how they can support veterans, while supporting things that undermine them in other ways. He's no Blue-Dog type. He does pass a good joke from a wounded warrior- one who lost his leg in an IED attack, and was missing a leg. He mentions how he asked how the soldier was doing, and the soldier replies, 'well sir, I just came in here for a vasectomy...' BA-doomp boomp...
He now quotes Reagan- and how in 1985 he said those who died gave up two lives- they one they were living, and the one they would have lived. It is a poingnant quote and quite appropriate.
Update 7: Sen Nancy Klobuchar is speaking- and is addressing veterans issues. Speaking mainly on keeping vets off the streets and getting them a home. She says that many come home, shortchanged in benefits. What goes unsaid is- those benefits are 'shortchanged' not because there ARE NO benefits, but because the administration of the VA can't get its act together...what would they expect? I must say, it's hard to follow an act such as the POTUS speaking- the hall is far more empty than when the POTUS was in here.
I'm looking over the press updates across NYT, WaPo, and others, to see what they are saying about the presidents remarks. So far, only CNN and USA Today has covered it 'live' from here with bloggers. The rest have only published his prepared statements released by the WH press office. None seem to have been here to record what ACTUALLY happened and how it was received...
Updating: He's finished the stage meets, and is now walking the floor up front; many people have moved forward to greet/get a chance to shake his hands, but its not a bum-rush up. The SS is keeping people quite at bay for this. He's up in the front rows of the crowd- moving patiently down the row. He's being quite congenial to everyone here and appears to be enjoying himself. Had I been on stage, I'd likely have shook his hand, but I'm not making any move forward at this time. I might stand up if he walks by... but like any good soldier, that's respect for the position, right?
He has finished his remarks, shaking the hand of the Commander of the Legion again, and I must say- the applause was short, mild, and less than I would have considered for the CinC. The hall has fallen silent..totally, except for the organist who's playing music for the background. He's taking the time to shake the hand of everyone on stage now. He's crossing both sides of the stage, not missing anyone that I can see. He pledged to veterans in his closing that 'America will never leave your side- and will always appreciate you, and stand behind you..'
Does not want to do these things for veterans only when its easy, only when the US is flush with cash, but 'always'. Now mentions Frank Buckles, the last WWI veteran who died at 110, and his incredible life after the military. How he continued to give back even after turning 100. How he was a member of the Legion for 80 years.
'After a decade of war, need to concentrate on nation building here at home'. Now, brings in the line 'Moving America Forward'. That's a campaign reference, if you don't remember that one (google it). Wants to tap the talents of veterans, and help them find the jobs, and help with career development and job searches. To prepare for transition to civilian sector jobs. Wants to encourage private sector to emply '100k veterans and/or their spouses' for jobs, and has been working with VP Biden to push this. To give tax credits to those that hire vets, and more for those that hire wounded vets. Wants this to be at the top of the agenda when Congress returns from recess.
'The constant threat of IED's and the warfare they experience brings traumatic injury to our current generation, the 9/11 generation, of veterans.' He talks about TBI, and the need to help families care for those who have been injured. PTSD has also received mention, treating more and bringing in more counselors. Removing the stimitization of those that have TBI and PTSD. ''Americans did not die because they are weak, they died because they are warriors...doing what they needed to do.'' (good round of applause).
Mentions that 'because 3 diseases are presumed to be caused and related to exposure to Agent Orange- we are paying benefits on those... and for those from Desert Storm and the 9 diseases presumed to be caused by exposure (to what?-W) there..'' ''We will keep on it until we have an electronic medical card that you can keep for your lifetime''. Wants Shinseki to keep increasing what is need so that we dont' have to FIGHT for those benefits for which we've fought for. To end homelessnes for veterans, 'and for taking tens of thousands of homeless vets off the streets'.
Says its a moral obligation to take care of those who have served. That his budget he signed had the largest increase in veterans benefits ever. Tough choices as we 'put our fiscal house in order, we must NOT, will NOT, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans and those who have served (largest applause to this point, by far).
Promises to bring home 33k troops and more in the coming years... moving to a support role, letting the Afghans take over for their own security and growth. He says they have put an end to stop-loss, and reduced time in deployments. And says 'America's military is the best it's ever been'. Then goes on to say how we helped stop Gaddafi and liberate Libya. And pledges to 'keep our military the best trained and best equipped'.
The President is now talking about those who have served, and sacrificed in the war on terror. His speech, to this point, has been fairly good, better than I have expected. Given the audience, one would have to tread lightly, but the speech writer for this particular speech has done some homework. Even going so far as to give us credit for reducing violence. Think the press will pick up on it? Speaking of which, I'm going to peruse the press outlets after this, and see what they say, versus what I experienced here. He now mentions, of course, the Bin Laden takedown. He asks those who he call the '9/11 Generation' to stand and be recognized.
We are in a pause as the President prepares to enter.... more as we can get them...
President has arrived- and has been introduced by Legion Commander Foster. I will say his reception was mixed- a few cheers, huzzahs, and polite applause. His key points, applauded by a few. He comes across as trying to be warm, and receptive. He thanks the Legion for the partnership in taking care of veterans.
Next, he addresses Hurricane Irene- and those that need help in recovering. While it's for a national audience, it's not the job of the Legion.
Now, he talks about the 'backlog' in the Congress in moving forward with trying to achieve progress in 'saving America'. Funny now, he uses the Nazi control of the German congress now. To me, its' an oblique reference to our current congress- weirdly, its not one that would be totally appropriate.
He goes on to say that, our Vietnam Vets 'won the war, every single one of you', and 'welcome home'. It is a nice gesture that is nicely received by the audience. He is going thru each conflict- from the VN war, to Desert Storm, and now to 9/11. (as an aside- the rememberances and commemoration of 10 yrs is approaching... I'll have some links to what's going on around the nation soon).
Update 5:Miss America, Teresa Scanlan, is addressing the floor- and indeed what a lovely speaker she is. Very outspoken, beautiful, and graceful. She's been here several days, and I have passed her a few times, not realizing she truly was THE Miss America. She's not wearing the crown 24/7, at least not here. I thought she might have been a past Miss America rather than the current one. Her ambition? To become a lawyer, of course. Please, does anyone NOT want to become another unemployed lawyer?? The M-A website lists her age as 18, but that has to be quite old- she could easily pass for 24 or 25 (no, I'm not saying she's 'old' looking- just far more mature than just 18..)
Update 4: Next up is a really special speaker- Mr Nick DelCalzo, who you may recognize as the author/photographer of the book Medal of Honor-Portraits of Valor, and a photo book on Holocaust survivors, is presenting information on his next project, In Honored Glory which is a tribute to those who have served. It is also to inspire younger Americans to serve, and to show them who has served and how. A gifted photographer, find more information about it here: http://www.inhonoredglory.com/
Update 3: Up next is former Congressman Chet Edwards. He's receiving the Legion's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal. (Not to be confused with DoD's medal of the same name.) Mr Edwards is being recognized for his championing of veteran's issues. Two of which include raising money for veterans benefits, as well as helping re-write the GI bill for veterans and those in the services.
Update 2: "They don't care what you know, they just care what you stand for.. and we stand for a lot." - Daniel Eugene "Rudy" Ruettiger, who is speaking at the convention currently. Wonderful speaker.
Update 1: Who needs politicians, anyway? There is an article up at Fox and others regarding the 'snub' the VFW is feeling because the administration isn't offering up any speakers. Apparently, they did, but the VFW turned them all down. All of this hubub may just be window dressing, if you recall the snafu of the VFW PAC in the runup to the 2010 electoral season. By this, I mean that most of those addressing the VFW this convention are Republican, while ALL, or nearly all, of the speakers addressing the Legion, are Democrats. This is certainly an interesting situation.
Sitting in Bloggers Row here in the convention center with Jonn from TAH; supposedly, Ed Morrisey from HotAir is supposed to join us, but no sight of him yet. Place is getting busy early and quickly. Magnetometers all over; lines queued up to get thru;
inspections that would make the TSA jealous. But no scanners? WTH?
I will make one observation- they have a room set aside for 'Law Enforcement' that's as big as any of the other breakout rooms in the building. Not that they don't deserve one mind you, but holy crap, how MANY do we have here? Oh right- we have a Special Guest coming in. Or two.
I just go back to my time in Baghdad, in a war zone, where few things were truly secure, and all the visits I handled, to include some serious 'visitors'. Not once was my weapon even mentioned, nor even glanced at; no one asked me to remove so much as a bullet. But here, in my own damn country, I've nearly got to strip just to get into a PATRIOTIC groups meeting. Respectful fellow, every one.
Sad, truly sad, what we've devolved into here in the USA...
Anyway, I digress. I'll post up vids and pics as they get developed. Videos likely much later today.
Be sure to see Jonn's posts over on TAH- and MOTHAX, from BurnPit, won't be with us today as he's getting ready to do some judicial stuff in PA. He gets the important stuff.
Another middle finger "you're number 1" salute from an administration that can't be bothered to stop playing golf and that never cared about us veterans anyway. Nobody I know is voting for this cat, so it is probably a good thing he and his administration officials stayed in D.C. anyway.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars convention this week will not feature a top-tier official from the Obama administration, a breach in tradition that the group’s commander described as an “insult of the highest magnitude.”
However, an administration official claimed Monday that the White House made “every effort” to provide a speaker for the event, offering up a range of top officials.
“In all instances, the VFW declined those offers,” the official said.
So, we are down to debating the definition of "top official" I guess. I would define that as "someone who sits at the meeting table when the President holds Cabinet meetings." My bet is that the Administration tried to send the Assistant Executive Undersecretary for Domestic Transportation Affairs in order to ensure that the President whose style of "leading from the rear" wouldn't have to plant his rear end in his seat on Air Force One and fly out there to talk to a bunch of people that really don't like his John Brown hindparts in the first place. He, of course, has a date with those super important people that keep this country free and safe, like the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, La Raza, and attending 35,000 dollar and plate fundraisers in the vain hope of actually being re-elected.
Of course the VFW declined to have someone from the very back row of the room who can barely qualify to sit in on a presidential briefing, let alone speak at one, come and address their convention. Despite this president's complete lack of respect for those that protect our freedom, and the freedom of others around the world, the VFW still salutes the office and have some expectation that the man who is at the top of the food chain (militarily speaking) would visit, or send someone of importance (SECDEF, Under SECDEF, DVA Head, CIA Director etc.) and bestow upon them some kind words and thank them for their service to this great nation.
The OinC found time in 2009 to address them VFW, and the VP, Mr. Gaffetastic, found time to do it in 2010. Now, they are both not very gifted speakers (the OinC can't go anywhere and speak without someone writing it down for him and if you hadn't noticed, Mr. Gaffetastic has athlete's tongue from how much his foot has been in his mouth), but perhaps they could throw something up on the prompter that talks about respect for their service, the burdens they have borne for their friends and their country, and how the nation is free and great because of their service.
You know, just read the words on the screen and act interested. Maybe a little something like that, if they can be bothered to do it. I think it might be the least you can do for the people that made your freedom possible through their blood, sweat and tears.
But if you can't be bothered, or you think that is too much to ask, then shove off, and we will meet again in November of 2012.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Rodolfo R. Delvalle, center, marches with honor guard members as he holds the U.S. flag after it was lowered for the final time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Aug. 27, 2011. Delvalle is Walter Reed's command sergeant major. DOD photo by Sebastian J. Sciotti Jr.
Turns out, due to the downed Chinook, that August 2011 is the worst month for casualties in Afghanistan since the invasion nearly ten years ago.
The United States has suffered many losses this year, but we are not alone. According to the Associated Press:
...In addition to the 66 Americans killed so far this month, the NATO coalition suffered the loss of two British, four French, one New Zealander, one Australian, one Polish and four other troops whose nationalities have not yet been disclosed.
So far this year, 402 international service members, including 299 Americans, have been killed in Afghanistan...
John McCain led an effort to stop the use of enhanced interrogation techniques during the Bush administration. His opinion carries more weight than most due to the truly exemplary way he handled himself as a prisoner of war during Vietnam where he suffered horrendous torture. But former VP Cheney's new book points out the problem with following his advice.
Despite the invaluable intelligence we were obtaining through the program of enhanced interrogation, in 2005 there was a move on Capitol Hill, led by Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, to end it and require that all U.S. Government interrogations be conducted under the rules of the U.S. Army Field Manual. As one of the CIA interrogators explained to me, the Field Manual is adequate for interrogating run-of-the-mill enemy soldiers. “If one guy doesn’t want to talk to you, you can say, fine and move onto the next, until you get to one who will talk.” But a detainee such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is different. He wasn’t talking, but there was no one comparable to move on to. For the safety of the nation we needed him to talk, and that happened after we put him through the enhanced interrogation program.
When you capture someone as valuable as KSM, you are duty bound to extract every ounce of actionable or useful intelligence out of his carcass before you toss it into a deep dark hole to await any other use we may have for it. You cannot and should not simply hope that you can make friends with someone so deeply committed to a cause. h/t NRO
Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another big blow to a terrorist group.
The Libyan national, who was the network’s former operational leader rose, to al-Qaeda’s No. 2 spot after the US killed Osama bin Laden during a raid on his Pakistan compound in May.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last month thatal-Qaeda’s defeat was within reach if the US could mount a string of successful attacks on the group’s weakened leadership.
The problem is that simply killing individuals doesn't kill an ideology. Remember how many times we killed al Qaeda's #2 guy in Iraq? It got to be a running joke that it was the worst job in the world, #1 or #3 fine, but that #2 guy was a JDAM magnet. It is certainly true that we have dealt a bunch of blows to AQ and that every one of the scum we have sent off to 72 goats cannot cause any trouble. But we still have no end game or even a serious strategy that addresses Islamist extremism and so we squeeze the water balloon and whack the moles, only to see heads pop up elsewhere. Kinda frustrating, but congrats on the ventilation of another evil bastard anyhow.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
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Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
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Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
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Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
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Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
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Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.