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March 2012

Lying about PTSD and getting arrested

Not Stolen Valor, but just as sleazy and low.

Her hair hung askew in curlers. Her shoes and reindeer socks mismatched. Heavy makeup was smeared on her face.

Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield — presiding over jury selection June 28 — quickly dismissed the woman, who explained in disjointed speech, "I broke out of domestic violence in the military. And I have a lot of repercussions. One is post-traumatic stress disorder."

Now Juror No. 4361 — published author and Denver cosmetologist Susan Cole — faces felony charges after allegedly bragging months later on a radio program that she fabricated the elaborate ruse to duck jury duty.....

Months later, on the evening of Oct. 17, Mansfield was listening to callers describe avoiding jury duty on 850-KOA's Dave Logan Show and heard a familiar tale.

A woman identifying herself as "Char from Denver" related how she'd shown up to court disheveled in an attempt to appear mentally ill, according to the affidavit....

What she couldn't produce, according to the affidavit, was proof she'd been diagnosed with PTSD.

"Char went on to describe how she shared this experience with clients at her hair styling business, and that they all found the story amusing," according to the affidavit written by an investigator for the Denver District Attorney's Office.

So his pathetic yotch in question is actually a hairdresser and author of a fruity self help book. She makes some claims about being manipulated by the military or that bad things happened while she was overseas with her husband.The bottom line is she was full of sh*t and disrespectful to those who actually do suffer with PTSD.

So good on the judge for jack-slapping her and I hope Char Cole (seriously lady?) enjoys a few days in jail to ponder her sorry behavior.


Miracle Soldier Survives Bullet To The Head

Soldier Survives Miracle Head Wound
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Farrukh Daniel

Panjwa’i District, AFGHANISTAN – Warriors are famous for their superstitions. They train tirelessly to prepare for any eventuality, but like athletes and gamblers, Soldiers still believe in luck. Most people can’t appreciate the role luck plays in war. A misplaced step, a five-minute delay…there are millions of tiny little factors that can make the difference between life and death. Sometimes, it can come down to millimeters.

1st Lt. James Elkins is a lucky man. He found out first-hand how fickle fortune can be on the battlefield. “I still can’t believe it, how close I came to dying.”

Early on the morning of March 7, Elkins, a platoon leader with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division was a month into his first deployment and still getting to know the platoon. He and his soldiers set out to conduct a routine clearing operation, a type of combat patrol. Although this was only Elkins’ third patrol with his platoon, the men were intimately familiar with the area they were searching, they had covered it dozens of time. As they crossed the familiar, rugged terrain toward their objective, weighed down by their heavy gear, they surveyed the area. They searched for anything out of the ordinary, tell-tale signs of IED’s, people or vehicles that didn’t belong; anything seemingly out of place. They were looking for signs that they might find trouble. They found it.

The platoon uncovered three pressure plate IED’s and went about blowing them up in place. As they dealt with the dangerous explosives, hidden insurgent snipers began firing at their position. The soldiers took cover until the threat diminished, then finished removing the threatening roadside bombs. Once cleared, they moved to investigate a nearby series of farm buildings.

The second building in the chain was distant and exposed. Elkins, still concerned about the sniper threat, directed his team to cover, then took a small, 4-man element to search the second building.
“Once the route was cleared we began to search the compounds. The second building was a grape hut out in a field to the south. It was in a very vulnerable location so I decided to only take a small element out from cover,” recounted Elkins. “We moved up and cleared the perimeter around the building for any command wired IED’s. We moved up to the door, and realized it was locked, so I had a Soldier breach it. As soon as he did, small arms fire opened up on us. As I turned and pushed my men into the room for cover, I was shot.”

The bullet struck him in the back of the head and knocked him off his feet...

Continue reading "Miracle Soldier Survives Bullet To The Head" »


Honoring LCpl Guido Farinaro – And All Who Paid the Ultimate Sacrifice

This is a special for BlackFive.net:

“Honoring LCpl Guido Farinaro – And All Who Paid the Ultimate Sacrifice

by

JAN SCRUGGS

General Peter Pace served this country for 40 years, from Vietnam to the Pentagon, where, as the first Marine to be named Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he advised the President and Secretary of Defense on American military operations around the globe. 

On the day that he retired, once the speeches were concluded and the bands stopped playing, the first thing Pace did in civilian life was pay a visit to the Vietnam Memorial – “The Wall.”

He didn’t notice that a passerby had watched him as he walked from panel to panel and solemnly placed his own tribute on the ground next to The Wall.  Only after the retired General had left did anybody see what it was he’d placed there.

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It was a simple index card with four silver stars attached – the stars that mark the highest rank any American military member can achieve and, for Peter Pace, the crowning achievement of a lifetime of military service.

Thanks to this anonymous bystander, we now know what was written on that index card – a note penned in Pete’s handwriting.  It read, “1 October, 2007:  For Guido Farinaro, USMC These are yours – not mine!  With love and respect, your Platoon Leader, Pete Pace.”

The bystander took a picture of Pace’s card and stars, and posted it on the Internet, where it quickly was circulated from veteran to veteran, all across the globe. 

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On July 30, 1968, 19-year-old Lance Corporal Guido Farinaro had been in Vietnam for less than 7 months when he was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Quang Nam Province.  His Platoon Leader was a 22-year-old Peter Pace, then just one year out of the Naval Academy and fresh from The Basic School at Quantico. 

Farinaro was the first Marine under Pace’s command to sacrifice his life in combat, and Pace never forgot him.  Even at the pinnacle of his career, he kept a photograph of Farinaro under the glass on his desk in the Pentagon, to remind him that his service in Washington should remain focused on the young troops in harm’s way.  Pace never forgot Guido Farinaro – or any of the other Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice following the orders of 2dLt Pace.    

Throughout our history, Marines have served bravely, knowing that their fellow Marines would never leave them behind.  Semper Fidelis, says the Marine Corps motto: “Always Faithful.” 

Today, a new effort is underway to keep their memories alive and, of course, retired Marine General Peter Pace is an important part of it.

It’s an undertaking to build an “Educational Center at The Wall” – a living memorial to all Americans who served in uniform, from Bunker Hill to Baghdad. For example, the more than 6,500 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan will be honored at the Education Center for what they did for America and the price they paid for freedom

At the Education Center, there’ll be permanent, rotating displays of some of the thousands of items that loved ones have placed at The Wall over the years: the teddy bears, the high school diplomas – even General Pace’s four stars.

Most inspiring will be a multi-media “Wall of Heroes” featuring photographs of the 58,272 men and women whose names appear on The Wall.  The display will share their images and their stories for all who come to visit.  We will learn so much more than just their names carved on granite.

Like The Wall itself, the Education Center is conceived, designed, and funded by veterans and ordinary citizens who want to honor the memories and sacrifices of those who served.

With groundbreaking for the new Education Center rapidly approaching, General Pace is asking all of us – veterans and non-veterans alike – to join him in supporting the effort by taking part in the “Service Branch Challenge”, more a tribute than a contest.

As Pete recently told me: “Etched in Panel 50W, Line 37, is the name Guido Farinaro – the first Marine who died following my orders in Vietnam.  Each name carved in that black granite represents a life sacrificed in service to something greater than self.  The Education Center at The Wall will share the stories and honor the memories behind these names.  Marines throughout the ages have served bravely, knowing their fellow Marines would not leave them behind.  This is our chance to pay tribute to Guido and thousands of others, and to preserve their legacy for future generations.”

The Service Branch Challenge is an opportunity for each of us to honor the centuries-old tradition of the American military service – the same one General Pace was keeping the day he laid his stars at The Wall – never to leave the memories of our fallen brothers and sisters behind.

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Scruggs is the founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Find out more about the Education Center at The Wall at www.BuildTheCenter.org


New Army APFT?

In my time in the Army I went through more versions of the APFT than I care to remember.  From the run-dodge-and-jump and grenade throw to the inverted crawl to the current one they’ve all been purported to be better than the last in measuring the fitness of Soldiers.

We’re about to see another new one.  As the Army Times reports, these will be the events:

• Two-mile run. The initial plan was to cut the run to a mile and a half, which is considered the best measure of cardiovascular fitness. But the rank and file sounded off and said the extra half-mile measures the heart.

Maj. Gen. Richard Longo, who as deputy commanding general of Initial Military Training was responsible for designing the new test, said leaders may toughen the scoring scale to ensure better fitness.

• Pushups for one minute. This event was nearly replaced with dead-hang pullups, which are a better measure of functional upper body strength. Pullups were included in more than 1,000 pilot tests conducted at Fort Bliss, Texas. The scoring discrepancy between men and women was so great that different events would have been required to keep it fair. For example, Marines test men with dead-hangs and women with a flex-arm hang.

Army officials are adamant that the new test remain gender-neutral. That means identical events with different scoring standards for men and women.

“If we did the pullups, it would disadvantage the female soldiers, and I’m just not comfortable with that,” Longo said.

• Rower for one minute. Officials looked hard at doubling the rower from one to two minutes. Evaluations showed that the shorter version had a steep bell curve with little variation. But the Fort Bliss evaluation showed the two-minute rower brought little change to the results.

• 60-yard shuttle run. The big change is that this event will be pass/fail, for now. The same is true for the fifth and final event.

• Standing long jump. Soldiers have been less than enthusiastic about this event and the shuttle run. Officials opted for the pass/fail scoring to allow sufficient time for both events to settle into the ranks.

Now I’ll leave it to others to explain to me why if a mile and half is a better measure of cardiovascular fitness, the Army is going to do two-miles.  And perhaps you can also explain why the “comfort” of leadership is more important than using an event that better measures functional upper body strength.  Oh, and what a standing long jump has to do with much of anything?

As an old guy, I’m not familiar with the “rower” and if it is simply a rowing machine, one assumes it too will measure cardiovascular fitness, but why I’m not sure, given the run.

And the 60 yard shuttle?  I assume that’s a measure of agility, so in essence we’re back to run-dodge-jump?

Comments?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Rescue Swimmer Quals

Rescue 545154_q75A U.S. Navy Search and Rescue swimmer waits inside a MH-60S Knighthawk after finishing his qualification jumps in the bay of North Island in Coronado, Calif., March 15, 2012. The Navy SAR swimmers are preforming their final qualifications before they will be deployed to the fleet. Photo by USAF Tech Sgt Chris Hibben.

 


Marines Openly Insulting the President

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It's nothing new. Soldiers have been making fun of the President since after the Revolution ...here's the take from Battle Rattle:

The Marine Corps depends its chain of command structure, especially in a time of war. Some Marines say Stein and other vocal Marines like him are undermining that system.

It's also the second story in this week's Military Times editorial video:

I guarantee that this isn't just a Marine Corps issue. 

That said, when you sign up, you don't get to choose which President's orders you follow and which ones you don't...you just hope the people at home make a good choice at the polls.


The Gift of Eleven Months - Sergeant Jamie Jarboe

RE:  Spiritual Warfare - Sergeant Jamie Jarboe

[Hanky alert]

Go over to the Unknown Soldiers blog and read about the latest news from the Jarboes. Be proud of this American family and pray and/or think positive thoughts for them.

From my Book of Common Prayer (Korean War Edition), that I carried with me throughout my service:

FOR A DAY OF BATTLE

Heavenly Father, on a day of battle I commit myself body and soul to thy keeping. When I am in peril of life give me courage to do my duty. When I am tempted to sin give me strength to resist. If I am sick or wounded grant me healing. If I fall, of thy mercy receive me to thyself, forgiving me all my sins. Bless all who are near and dear to me and keep them in thy fatherly care. And in thy good providence, out of this evil bring a lasting peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Bless all who are near and dear to Jamie...


The Pathfinders

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Pfc. Samuel Corsolini, a gunner assigned to F Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, pulls security with other Pathfinders as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter takes off after unloading his team and members of 2nd Afghan National Civil Order Patrol Special Weapons And Tactics Team during a vehicle interdiction as part of Operation Pranoo Verbena in order to disrupt Taliban operations in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, March 16. Photo by SGT Daniel Schroeder.