Archive for the ‘Airmen’ Category

Veteran’s Day: Remember Their Health Care

November 11, 2008

While fixing the economy will certainly be a dominant issue for both President-elect Obama and the 111th Congress, we hope, on this Veterans Day, that health care for our wounded warriors will also be a top priority. Regrettably, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to continue to add to the numbers of veterans in need of mental and physical treatment and rehabilitation.

To meet this need, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must have sufficient resources provided in a timely and predictable manner next year, and for years to come.

About 18 percent of men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have already returned home at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, according to a recent study by the Rand Corp.

By Raymond Dempsey
The Washington Times

Another 19 percent are estimated of having experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by improvised explosive devices that “rattle” the brain. In total more than 300,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may already be suffering from these often invisible wounds of war.

In too many cases, the VA is unable to properly treat the physical and mental scars of war, in part because its budget has been late for most of the past two decades, and the amount of funding – which has thankfully grown in the last two years – is wildly unpredictable from year to year.

The result is that the VA is severely constrained in trying to plan or manage its budget. Robert Perreault, a former Veterans Health Administration chief business officer, has rightly noted in congressional testimony that “VA funding and the appropriations process is a process no effective business would tolerate.”

Such haphazard financing can directly affect the quality of care at VA hospitals and clinics across the country. Insufficient or late funding can mean an increase in waiting times for appointments. Purchasing new and replacement medical equipment may be put on hold, further delaying the delivery of needed medical treatment. And life-altering conditions such as PTSD and TBI may go undertreated or are not treated at all if specialized mental health care personnel cannot be hired when needed.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
nov/11/remember-health-care-for-veterans/

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Defense spending beacons

April 1, 2008

By John R. Guardiano
The Washington Times
April 1, 2008

Is America spending too much or too little on defense? That”s a fair and crucial question, especially at a time of war, when U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are dying overseas. But because advocates on both sides of the issue are asking the wrong questions, recent media analysis of the issue has been ill-informed and misplaced.
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Critics of increased defense spending argue correctly that, in absolute dollar terms, the United States spends more on defense than at any time in its history. In addition, they note, the U.S. spends more on defense than the next 10 countries combined. Therefore, they argue, defense spending is more than adequate.
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Proponents of increased defense spending counter that a dollar today is worth a lot less than in it was in previous eras. Moreover, they add, as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP), defense spending is at a historic low during a time of war.
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The United States spends less than 4 percent of its GDP on defense. By contrast, Defense spending averaged some 14 percent of GDP in the Korean War, nearly 10 percent during the Vietnam War, and more than 33 percent during World War II.
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Clearly, both sides in this debate have legitimate contextual points; however, both sides miss the mark.
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Defense spending relative to that of other nations is an unhelpful comparison because the United States isn’t like other nations. America is the world’s sole remaining superpower, with far-reaching obligations to protect U.S. national security interests worldwide.
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Moreover, American considers its soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to be its greatest military asset. Thus, we are unwilling to sacrifice their lives when technology can prevent the loss of life. That’s one important reason America has invested literally hundreds of billions of dollars in advanced weapons systems: We know dollars spent today can save lives tomorrow.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080401/COMMENTARY/129960178

They Are Spectacular!

March 24, 2008

I have been away from the U.S. Navy, the sailors, and the
men and women long enough to say, “They Are Spectacular!”

They were spectacular when I knew them up close and personal.  And they are still spectacular today!  I talk every day to to those in close contact with them. And I miss them — the finest of America’s youth.
A warplane takes off from the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier ... 
F/A-18 takes off from the U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis.

Below: My friend, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mike Mullen.

In this photo released by the Department of Defense, U.S Navy ...
U.S Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (AP Photo/Department of Defense, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley)

Below: French fghters with a U.S. recce aircraft.

Aeronavale-IMG 1437.jpg
USS Ranger (CV-61) departing from San Diego
Above: Aircraft Carrier USS Ranger (CV-61)

Freedom is about putting “stuff”‘ in the field.  Armor and men and gear.  It has to be in the air, on the land and on the sea to be credible.

Below: A-5 Vigilante

America has to be both diplomatic and stong. Condi Rice and the State Department provide the diplomacy.  The Pentagon and a slw of uniformed men and women make it real.

F-8 Crusader

The “Purple Shirts” provide the fuel.  And to a pilot, dry, this is the best.The “Red Shirts” move the weapons… The bombs and missiles…
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The “Yellow Shirts” move the aircraft.  They are the “pilots on the flight deck.”But you know what? We are all in this.  We are all Americans. Without dedicated people we will fall; we will fail.

Above: a USMC F/A-18 in flight

Americans can be proud.  And they should be.  Deterrence isn’t cheap. But it works.

This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd ...
This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd Class John Whitby operating the radar system control during a ballistic missile defense drill on February 16 aboard the USS Lake Erie. He serves here as our example of all the tough men and women: dedicated and proud, on watch and serving their country tonight.
(AFP/US Navy-HO/Michael Hight)
The USS Lake Erie launches a Standard Missile-3 at a non-functioning ... 
The USS Lake Erie launches a Standard Missile-3 at a National Reconnaissance Office satellite as it traveled in space at more than 17,000 mph over the Pacific Ocean, February 20, 2008; photo released by the U.S. Defense Department. REUTERS/Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Navy.We stop to pay tribute to all soldiers, sailors, airmen, coast guardsmen, marines and others serving our great nation tonight.

single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows an SM-3 missile being launched from the USS Lake Erie warship on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2008. The Pentagon says the missile successfully intercepted a wayward U.S. spy satellite orbiting the earth at 17,000 miles per hour, about 133 nautical miles over the Pacific ocean. (AP Photo/US Navy)
USS Kitty Hawk CV-63.jpg

Only in America: Boundless Technology; Brilliant Youth

February 22, 2008

“Never have so many owed so much to so few.”
–Winston Churchill

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Friday, February 22, 2008

Wednesday, USS Lake Erie’s sailors launched an SM-3 Missile that streaked into space to hit an errant U.S. spy satellite exactly as planned: right amidships of the 1,000 pound toxic hydrazine fuel tank.

The satellite was at about 133 miles in altitude and traveling at 17,000 miles per hour or 24 times the speed of sound.

In the twinkling of an eye, America demonstrated new, or at least unknown and unproven, technology and capability. The United States, for the first time, exploded a satellite in shallow space or just before reentry using tactical systems: ships and missiles and men trained to fight “in the air” were reaching into space: for the first time ever.

My Vietnam-born bride said, “Only in America.” Then she said, “The sailors did it.”

As she so often does, my wife Lien was making a huge statement with the fewest of words. She, in one breath, extolled the wonders of American technology as well as the devotion, care and brilliance of our American people: especially our often maligned American youth.

The next day, Serbian youths ransacked the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade and several other Embassies that violated their ideas about what was right and wrong about Kosovo.

I don’t recall America’s youth rioting to this extent for a while.

Sailors love, cherish, care for and maintain their ships and often high-tech and high-cost equipment with the greatest precision and detail. They are devoted, driven and professional.  They are both hard working and delightful.

If you have troubled kids or a dim view of American youth: visit a U.S. Navy ship.

I’ll extend this line of thinking to U.S. Army soldiers, U.S. Marines and U.S. Air Force airmen. I’m no Ollie North but I’ve been around the U.S. military and around the globe.

I have one unshakable conclusion: our young Americans are serving superbly.

We are a nation at war.

The war is a war of ideas.  We oppose no nation, no people and no religion.  Yet the people with other ideas are armed and dangerous: they use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and women and children and the mentally infirm with bombs wrapped around them. 

We are using about one percent of our population to fight, with arms, the war against terror.

“Never have so many owed so much to so few.”

That one percent is sacrificing life and limbs, and I mean arms and legs are lost every day, for You.

I am reminded every day of Sir Winston Churchill: “Never have so many owed so much to so few.”

I am moved by the wonders of the U.S. Navy reaching into space and the dichotomies of this nation.

Some geniuses at the Pentagon, as they prepared to blast a satellite to smithereens and then watch the chucks or, as military analyst John Pikes calls them, “gravel,” of the space debris reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up; said: “We need a toxic debris clean up team!”

But of course.

America needs a “Toxic Space Debris Clean Up Team.”

Never mind that junk in the form of meteors have been hitting the Earth for centuries and that satellites and their parts have been crashing to Earth since the 1950s without incident.

America needs a “Toxic Space Debris Clean Up Team.”

Funny, I don’t recall China’s “Toxic Space Debris Clean Up Team” when they blew up a satellite last year.  Do you?

They have 1.3 Billion people.  We Americans have a 0.3 Billion.  That is about 300 Million.

We stand, in terms of history and population, in China’s margin.

My wife submitted this commentary. “Only in America.”

So, with haz-mat suits at the ready, a quick response team stood on alert Thursday, the day after the satellite was destroyed, to head anyplace on Earth that the pieces of a lame satellite shot down by the U.S. Navy might fall.

And for the ultimate dichotomy: inside the “Toxic Space-Only Rocket Fuel Mop Up Kit” do you know what you’ll find?

Kitty litter.

Only in America.

Next time you have a cat stuck in a tree or sewer or a hunk of burning space debris smoldering on your lawn, dial 911.

Only in America.

American has ambulances almost everywhere.  In India, they pack you into the back seat of a taxi and hope for the best.

My friends in the world community will forgive me for this.  Others will castigate me.  But I believe in the wonder and wonders of America.

I live in a land of Boundless Technology and Brilliant Youth.

It might not always be so.

But for now, as my wife says, “Only in America.”

Diplomat Jack Croddy: You Don’t Want to Go To Iraq? Step Forward and Meet the Families of the Fallen and Those that Serve

November 4, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 4, 2007

Last Wednesday, October 31, 2007, Senior Foreign Service Officer Jack Croddy stood up at a “Town Hall Meeting” at the United States Department of State and addressed the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with these words:

“Incoming is coming in every day, rockets are hitting the Green Zone….It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”

After 36 years of service, Mr. Croddy, this is the example you set for young and eager Foreign Service Officers?

O.K., Mr. Crotty: Who will raise the children of the fallen Soldiers? Who will raise the children of the fallen Marines and Airmen, Sailors and Civilians in the service of America? Who will raise the children of the fallen from the USS Cole, from the embassy bombings at of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya? Who will raise the children of those that died in the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and on flight 93? Who raised the children of those Marines killed in the Beirut Embassy bombing?

We want you to meet all of the families of the fallen and all of the families who serve their country. We want you to explain why you take the money from the taxpayers, took the oath, and now like a mule refuse to cross the bridge.  You are now refusing to follow orders and would closely fit the military definition for a deserter or mutineer

I could go on and there are no words to express my rage.

You sir, were sworn to serve. You took the same oath military men and women take. You have taken my tax dollars for years – long enough for your hair to become grey. And now you are spitting on your flag, your oath, your fellow citizens (and taxpayers) and your president.

Mr. Bill Crystal on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” on Sunday, November 4, 2007, called you “disgraceful” and an “embarrassment.” Britt Hume said you were a “black mark on the Foreign Service.”

But these are measured and articulate men. You and your family could not bear to hear the words I have for you in my mind. My pastor would have to restrain me.

Mr. Crotty: if you feel so strongly that you are ready to refuse assignment: you should resign immediately. You have served enough. More than enough.

Do the honorable thing, man. Go home.

Related:

Halfhearted at State?

State Department Memories from The Hanoi Hilton

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

The Abyss Between State and Defense

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department