Posted By Blackfive U.S. Navy Seabee Petty Officer 3rd Class Denim Pettit lets a fellow squad member push off his arm during a six-hour endurance course at the Marine Corps Jungle Warfare Training Center at Camp Gonsalves at Okinawa, Japan, on Sept. 22, 2013. More than 60 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 are attending the 8-day training course to sustain the battalion’s overall readiness as the Pacific Region’s primary forward-deployed construction battalion. DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Fahey, U.S. Navy. (Released)
Gold Star Mother's Day will be observed Sept. 29, 2013, around the nation. Here, during Gold Star Mother's Day in 2012, electric candles light each of the 295 luminaries representing Soldiers from South Carolina who died while on active duty since 2001. The event was hosted by the Survivor Outreach Services, Fort Jackson, S.C.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 25, 2013) -- This Sunday, the Army and the nation will, for the 77th time, turn their attention to mothers who have lost sons or daughters while fighting America's wars.
The Congress first created "Gold Star Mother's Day" in 1936 to honor those women whose children were taken from them as a result of war.
"The Gold Star Mothers, as well as all family members who bear the enormous burden of loss, will always be cherished members of our great Army family. We maintain our commitment to support these families while honoring the legacy of our fallen Soldiers," stated Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III in a tri-signed letter to the Army.
Donna Engeman, program manager of the U.S. Army Survivor Outreach Services, is also a "Gold Star Wife." She lost her military husband. She said just the letter from Army senior leadership -- proof that the Army recognizes the heartache of those who lost their loved ones -- is meaningful.
"The feedback we get is that this is very important to our Gold Star Mothers," said Engeman. "They tell us it's very heartwarming to them, it's comforting to them to be remembered and recognized by the Army."
The Army's Survivor Outreach Services provides access to support, information and services for those who have lost a Soldier. The services are provided at the closest location to where the survivor resides, Engeman said, and for as long as they desire.
In the nation's capital, the Army will join all Americans in support of the 2013 Gold Star Mother's Day. Memorial events will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns. Army leaders are also encouraging Soldiers, their families, and Army civilians to take time to remember both those who have given their lives in service to their country and the loved ones they have left behind.
Around the Army, Engeman said, many installations are having events to honor and recognize Gold Star Mothers. Included are various picnics, luncheons, and breakfasts.
"Gold Star Mother's Day is important because it's a day set aside to recognize mothers who have lost a son or daughter on active-duty service," Engeman said. "If you think about it, we have Mother's Day, every May. But when you have lost a son or daughter in service to our nation, Mother's Day is not the same. This day, Gold Star Mother's Day, is set aside to honor mothers who have lost a son or daughter who made the ultimate sacrifice. And it recognized the loss of our mothers."
Survivor Outreach Services works with more than 56,000 "survivors." That includes not just Gold Star Mothers, but also spouses -- like Engeman -- and other family members, including children.
"The Survivor's Outreach Services is kind of a big process, but a simple concept," said Hal Snyder, chief, Wounded and Fallen Branch, U.S. Army Survivor Outreach Services. "It's to continually link our surviving families to the Army for as long as they desire; that they remain part of the Army family. That is a promise that has been made to our surviving families and it is part of the job of SOS to honor that promise and to provide the services and support that link these families to the Army."
Engeman said services to Gold Star mothers and other surviving family members are provided by local resources such as support groups. The SOS works to put surviving family members in touch with those services, and can also coordinate counseling.
"Many of our survivors have asked for and sometimes need some financial counseling and education on how best to care for their families after the loss of their Soldiers," Engeman said. "We have extensive financial counseling and education available. Our job is really to get to know our survivors and develop a personal and professional relationship with them, and help them walk through their grief journey. As you get to know your survivors, you find out or you come to understand what they are looking for and what their needs are and we help them navigate that."
The SOS is available to surviving family members of Soldiers across the total Army -- including the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.
During World War I, families would hang flags in their windows that were white with red borders. Inside, a blue star would represent each family member who was serving in the military. When a service member was killed, the blue star was changed to a gold star. In 1947, the Gold Star Lapel pin was designed and created to be presented to eligible surviving family members of service members who died while deployed in support of overseas contingency operations, or who died from wounds sustained in theater.
(For more ARNEWS stories, visit our homepage at www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService)
Posted By BlackfiveU.S. Marines and Georgian soldiers exit an MV-22 Osprey aircraft during an operation in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Sept. 23, 2013. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 165 provided the service members with aerial support during the operation. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ashley E. Santy
Former Rams Practice Squad Player Rips Military Via Tweet
Posted By Maj Pain As I sit back in America, enjoying a nice cigar and jack I look
around and watch people and shake my head. So many people take for
granted for what we have in the US. So many think expect the luxuries we
have here. Forget the nice things like electricity and fresh water but
no many demand all of the additional luxuries we have that so many do
not. Yet, they forget so quickly who paid that price to go and keep evil
away from America.
On Facebook this morning, I asked for people to put forward ideas on how we fix the problem of the troops being treated as infants. In my previous post here you (our readers) posted comments discussing all the ways this was being done -- and the problems created by the practice. Deebow had a comment that included a suggestion I liked, which was to get Gen. Mattis involved in the reform.
So, sound off! What suggestions do you have to fix the problem?
Posted By BlackfiveA U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter prepares to taxi to the helicopter landing zone before conducting a personnel movement mission on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 17, 2013. The helicopter crew is assigned to the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Peter Smedberg
The Sizemore/Andre Missing Man Formation Flyby by Warrior Aviation and assorted other folks went off pretty much without a hitch yesterday. A B-25 (from the Delaware Aviation Museum) led the fly by. Next came the A-26 "The Spirit of North Carolina", based out of Wilmington, NC with a pair of P-51s on its wings. Finishing up was a 4-ship of L-39s with a missing man pull (I was in that jet - tres cool!).
Aside from a few timing glitches and a delay of the time-on-top time of about 13 minutes, from all accounts it went off very well.
It was a gratifying and distinct honor to be able to participate in these honors for Majors Sizemore and Andre. Theur family have closure after 44 years and they can rest at night knowing their country honored and respected their loved one.
Holding over southern Maryland.
Overhead Pentagon - the big brown patch at center right WAS where the old Navy Annex stood. Its supposed to become more Arlington space, I believe.
A-26 Invader and 2 P-51s pass over.
Thansk for your support everyone! Talk amongst us was that we'll probably see more of these civvie-led honors for our servicemen. I'll keep you up on anything I hear.
“Never leave your brother behind, and do your best to keep him alive.” - Joseph Cordileone, Silver Star recipient (Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1967), when asked for advice for new recruits.
Tony Perry, at the LA Times, has a great story about two very un-recognized heroes finally getting recognition for their valor during the first Battle for Khe Sanh in 1967. With seventy-five percent of the Marines were either killed or wounded, two privates (also wounded and refusing evac) saved the day and many Marine lives:
...So many officers were killed in Vietnam that spring that the paperwork needed to officially acknowledge the courage of the two young Marines -- one from San Diego, one from Morro Bay -- was lost in the fog and blood of war.
At a recent reunion of Khe Sanh veterans, a retired major general heard of the oversight and vowed to make things right.
So on Friday morning, in a solemn ceremony at the San Diego boot camp, Joseph Cordileone received a Silver Star and Robert Moffatt received the Bronze Star...
As for the meaning of Semper Fi, aside from the quote up at the top of this post from one of the two Marines in the story, there's another example of Semper Fidelis in the story. A retired Major General righted a wrong for those two privates...
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
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
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...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
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.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
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.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
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.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
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.