Archive for the ‘heritage’ Category

John McCain Visits “Blue Angels”

April 2, 2008

By Chris Brennaman 
KTOK, Meridian, Mississippi
March 31, 2008

John McCain’s Naval career is most defined by his commitment to service.

Following a near-death experience aboard the USS Forrestal in July of 1967, just a few months after being deployed to Vietnam, the then-Lieutenant Commander’s plane was hit by a missile. After the crash, McCain was taken as a prisoner of war for more than five and a half years.
USS Forrestal-600px.jpg
USS Forrestal

But prior to his deployment, the presidential candidate spent some time at NAS Meridian as a flight instructor.

“They were some great years,” McCain said. “I really learned to fly here. When you teach flying is when really learn to fly. I enjoyed being an instructor here.”

McCain’s connection with NAS Meridian doesn’t end with his time spent there. In 1961, when the air station was commissioned, the operations area was named McCain Field after the late Admiral John S. McCain — the grandfather of the Arizona senator.

“My grandfather was one of the early Naval aviators,” McCain said. “He was in World War II. Our family is a Mississippi family — our roots are here — so it’s a great experience to be back.”

McCain knows first-hand how much Meridian supports the military, something which he credits with keeping the base open during several rounds of base closing commissions.

He arrived at NAS Meridian Sunday in time to catch part of the Blue Angels show in between hand shakes. The Blues are known as the best of the best, and McCain says they represent the Navy well.
Blue Angels on Delta Formation.jpg

“I’m very proud of these young people that are serving,” McCain said. “They are turning out the highest quality product and the best pilots in the world. They, and our Air Force pilots are the best in the world.”

In addition to greeting those in the crowd, McCain spent some time with the Blue Angels pilots before leaving the base.

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US. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain is ... 


Missile Defense at 25

March 23, 2008

By James Hackett
The Washington Times
March 23, 2008

It is fitting that the 25th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative is on Easter Sunday, a day synonymous with peace. As a result of Reagan’s vision, and President Bush’s determination in withdrawing from the ABM treaty and fielding defenses, this Easter the world is a safer place.
Ronald Reagan
Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the danger of nuclear-armed missiles is still with us. Russia under permanent ruler Vladimir Putin still has 2,945 deployed nuclear warheads and is fielding new SS-27 Topol-M intercontinental missiles (ICBMs). And Moscow is developing a new version known as the RS-24, which has been tested with three warheads but is expected to carry as many as six.
Mr. Putin threatens to target missiles on Poland and the Czech Republic if they host U.S. missile defenses, and on Ukraine if it joins NATO.
Vladimir Putin
And in Asia, China is engaged in a massive military buildup, with new ballistic and cruise missiles designed to strike U.S. aircraft carriers, new DF-31A ICBMs aimed at the United States, and more than 1,000 short-range missiles opposite Taiwan.
Other countries are developing longer-range missiles while seeking nuclear weapons, notably North Korea’s oddball regime, which seems willing to sell nuclear technology as well as missiles to anyone, and the mullahs in Iran. Then there is Pakistan, which already has an arsenal of nuclear warheads and missiles to carry them. Pakistan is an ally today, but al Qaeda wants to seize power and control the “Muslim bomb.”

Google Earth captured an image of the new Chinese ballistic-missile submarine, docked at the Xiaopingdao base south of Dalian. U.S. officials say the new submarines may increase Beijing´s strategic arsenal.

The main value of missile defense is to deter opponents from using nuclear missiles to intimidate and achieve their goals through fear. Defenses also provide security in the event of an actual missile launch by design or accident. And as the recent shoot-down of a falling satellite showed, missile interceptors can be used for other useful purposes, including deflecting asteroids on a collision course with Earth.
The missile defense program has come a long way since Reagan’s speech 25 years ago today when he said deterrence works, weakness invites aggression, and we maintain peace through strength. He urged use of our technological strength to find a way to deter attack. It may take decades, he warned, “but I believe we can do it.”
He was right about American technology. The idea of striking a very fast missile with a fast interceptor was considered a joke by many at the time. But that technology, unmatched by any other country, is now the key element of our missile defenses. After several test failures, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has done a remarkable job of improving the program to conduct successful flight tests.
Since 2005, there have been 26 intercepts in 27 tests, an amazing record for a new weapon system. Today there are 24 interceptors in silos in Alaska and California protecting the United States, and 25 on ships in the Pacific, with more on the way. It is important to keep this successful program on track and not make changes that might jeopardize progress toward deployment of a global layered defense.
As Vice President Richard Cheney said at a recent Heritage Foundation dinner, the talk about which presidential candidate would be best to take a call at 3 a.m. reminds us that no president should ever be told that a missile is coming toward the United States and there is no way to stop it.
Missile defense can stop it.

The plan is to base 40 interceptors in Alaska, four in California and 10 in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic and a mobile radar closer to Iran. But as the threat grows, more interceptors will be needed, at least 20 in Europe and up to 100 in Alaska, given the growing threat from China.

There is some discussion of breaking up the missile defense program to separate sustaining current deployments from future development. It is natural for MDA to want to turn operational activities over to the services and concentrate on research and development. But that could lead to future budget cuts as research projects fail and the services meet their immediate needs by reducing missile defense funds.

Another issue involves moving toward a very centralized command-and-control system, which could increase the risk of systemwide failure. It is important not to tinker too much with the program that has been highly successful in producing the defenses protecting the nation today. It is up to the White House and defense secretary to keep this effort on track, finish negotiations for the bases in Europe this year, and preserve the legacy of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

James T. Hackett is a contributing writer to The Washington Times based in Carlsbad, Calif.

Vietnam veteran properly honored

October 20, 2007

By Noel Lyn Smith
Midland Daily News (Michigan)

SANFORD — The friends of Pfc. Joseph E. Robinson, the only Sanford resident killed in the Vietnam War, placed a new marker at his grave in the Jerome Township cemetery Friday.

It was to honor Robinson’s sacrifice and to present Robinson the ceremony that was missing from his 1968 funeral.
Robinson was 21 years old when he died March 21, 1968 from wounds he received when his base camp near Hue came under attack.

He was in Vietnam for four months and was assigned to Company B, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.

The granite marker has Robinson’s name in black lettering, along with his date of death, the seals of the 101st Airborne Division and the 82nd Airborne Division, and two American flags. The words, “Some Gave All,” “K.I.A.” and “Vietnam” are also written in black.

Representatives from the Sanford American Legion Auxiliary, the Blue Star Mothers of America Chapter 48 of Sanford, the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club, the Forgotten Eagles of Michigan and Sanford American Legion Post 443 were in attendance.

Sanford residents Jim Leigeb and Elliott Levely managed the fund-raising effort, which started in May 2006, to purchase the marker.

“He was a brave young man who fought for his country as hard as he could,” Leigeb said.

“Unfortunately, it took his life. I know Joe is being honored today the way he should have been in 1968.”

Levely, also a Vietnam veteran, remembers Robinson as a tough kid who lived with his family on Smith Street in Sanford.

Robinson’s mother died when he was young and his father was an alcoholic.

“He was my brother,” Levely said. “We were raised together … he was part of my family and now he is a part of our heritage.”

Pictures of the ceremony and of the marker will be sent to Robinson’s family in Ohio and California, Leigeb said.

Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy to receive Medal of Honor from the President