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Friday, July 31, 2009

Vehicle fire at Bell St. gate

A van caught fire at the Bell Street gate at Maxwell Air Force Base this morning, but from what I'm told, it was just a random vehicle fire and nothing suspicious and no injuries.

The charred van was a government vehicle and was sitting in the Visitors Center parking lot when I left base this morning.

AFROTC cadets finish field training

The summer's fourth class of Air Force ROTC cadets graduated this morning at Maxwell AFB.

About 350 cadets finished their 28-day summer field training, which included two weeks at the Joint Forces Training Center in Hattiesburg, Miss.

The cadets received their prop and wings pins during a rainy ceremony outside Maxwell's historic headquarters building and will be considered upperclass cadets when they return to their home detachments nationwide.

See next week's Advertiser for the full story, following an Auburn University cadet through the month-long program.
Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hunstville company awarded defense contract

Defense Technology, Inc. of Huntsville has been awarded a $43,460,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of four Mi-17 variant helicopters and related tool kits for the Afghan National Army Air Corps.

Work will be performed in Kabul, Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed in September 2009.

Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year.

This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; four offers were received.

The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Defense Technology, Inc. is a small business.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Air Force Culture and Language Center photo contest ends Friday

The Air Force Culture and Language Center at Maxwell is wrapping up its photo contest this week.

Here's the details:

If you are an active member, reservist or veteran of the U.S. Armed Services and have taken
pictures in a deployed environment, this is a great opportunity to compete for one of three great
prizes including a free overnight stay at Lake Martin in Alabama or MidBay Shores in Destin,
Florida. All photos must satisfy all of the following guidelines:

1) All photos submitted must be representative of culturally complex (deployed) environments and should capture the following:

-Working to train foreign civilian, defense or police forces

-Working alongside foreign forces on a mission or task

2) Photos should be sent with the highest resolution, unedited, un-cropped and in JPEG format.

3) Photos must include the following information:

-Names, positions, ranks, nationalities and ethnicities of all known persons in the photo

-A description of the action taking place in the photo

4) No “staged” photos in front of monuments, etc.

5) The photographer must sign a letter of release, ensuring custody of the photo to the Air Force Culture and Language Center.

If you are interesting in sharing your photos with us, please send them in an email to
afclc.pa@maxwell.af.mil with “AFCLC PHOTO CONTEST” in the subject line. The last photo
will be accepted at midnight on July 31. Winners will be announced on August 10. for more about the AFCLC, click here.

Hometown News: Emily Carl

Emily T. Carl has graduated from the Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) Leader's Training Course at Fort Knox, Ky.

The four-week course is a leadership internship for cadets that can lead to the ultimate goal of becoming an Army officer. College students experience and examine the Army without incurring an obligation to serve in the Army or ROTC, and are eligible to receive two-year college scholarship offers and attend the Advanced ROTC Course at their college.

Cadets are observed and evaluated during classroom and field training exercises to determine their officer potential in leadership abilities and skills. The cadets are trained to have a sound understanding of traditional leadership values during the challenging, motivating "hands-on" training. The training develops well-disciplined, highly motivated, physically conditioned students, and helps improve the cadets' self-confidence, initiative, leadership potential, decision making, and collective team cohesion. The cadets receive training in fundamental military skills, Army values, ethics, warrior ethos, rifle marksmanship, small arms tactics, weapons training, drill and ceremony, communications, combat water survival training, rappelling, land navigation, and squad-level operations field training.

The cadet is a student at Florida State University, Tallahassee.

Carl is the daughter of Col. John W. and Jennifer S. Carl of Hollis Drive, Montgomery.

Hometown News: Denver Moore

Coast Guard Seaman Denver C. Moore, a 2009 graduate of Chapman Christian Academy, Millbrook, recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Recruit Training Center in Cape May, N. J.

During the eight-week training program, Moore completed a vigorous training curriculum consisting of academics and practical instruction on water safety and survival, military customs and courtesies, seamanship skills, first aid, fire fighting and marksmanship. A major emphasis is also placed on physical fitness, health and wellness.

Moore and other recruits also received instruction on the Coast Guard's core values -- honor, respect and devotion to duty -- and how to apply them in their military performance and personal conduct. Moore will join 36, 000 other men and women who comprise Coast Guard's force.

Men and women train together from the first day in the Coast Guard just as they do aboard ships and shore units throughout the world. To reinforce the team concept, Moore, and other recruits were trained in preventing sexual harassment, drug and alcohol awareness, civil rights training, and the basics of the work-life balance, as well as total quality management.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hometown News: Shaun Norman


Air Force Airman Shaun L. Norman graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of Shannon Norman of Patrick Road, Montgomery, and Patrick Norman of Worthington Circle, Tallassee.

Norman is a 2007 graduate of Tallassee High School.

Hometown News: Terry Joiner

Army Capt. Terry L. Joiner has arrived for duty in Richmond, Va.

Joiner is a commander for Richmond Company, U.S. Army Recruiting Command. He is assigned to the Command's Beckley Battalion. Joiner has served in the military for 14 years.

He is the son of Delois Joiner of Vaughn Lane, Montgomery.

His wife, Autumn, is the daughter of Gerald Stevenson of Fort Foote Road, Fort Washington, Md.

The captain graduated in 1996 from G.W. Carver High School, Montgomery, and received a bachelor's degree in 2003 from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Md. He earned a master's degree in 2006 from Webster University, St Louis, Mo.
Monday, July 27, 2009

Local students awarded military scholarships

Four Montgomery area students received scholarships from the Scholarships for Military Children Program run through the Defense Commissary Agency. The minimum requirements for the scholarship are a minimum 3.0 grade point average, participation in school and community activities, demonstrate leadership qualities and write an essay on “What would you place in a time capsule to help people opening the capsule in the next century understand military life today?” More than 6,000 students applied for the scholarship at commissary locations worldwide.


Jessica Hoover of Montgomery was awarded a $1,500 scholarship. Jessica attends Auburn University and is a resident assistant, a Red Cross volunteer, a member of Silver Wings and Alpha Epsilon Delta and a DECA scholarship recipient.

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Daniel Teal of Wetumpka was awarded a $1,500 scholarship. He plans to attend the University of South Alabama. He was a member of the student government, Beta Club, drama club, school newsletter and played basketball.

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Daniel Broderick of Montgomery was awarded a $1,500 scholarship. He plans to attend Samford University. He served as class president, captained the football and basketball teams, is a Beta Club member, is a Wend’s Heisman school winner and organized a 30-hour famine.

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Laura Broderick of Montgomery was awarded a $1,500 scholarship. She plans to attend Clearwater Christian College. She is a Good News Club helper, church nursery and hospital volunteer, played basketball and served in student government.

License plates for OIF/OEF veterans

Someone pointed out to me that the pictures of the new OIF/OEF car tags didn't run with the story last week. I'll admit I haven't checked, but here's the designs for all of you that might be interested.

They'll be available for sale on Aug. 1.

For my story with more info, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hometown News: Kristine Andrews

Kristine E. Andrews has graduated from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Md. The graduate received a medical degree and was commissioned to the rank of captain, with a minimum seven-year active duty service commitment.

The university is a tuition-free institution which manages a graduate nursing school, a graduate school with doctor of philosophy and master's degree programs, and a medical school that prepares men and women for careers as physicians in the Army, Navy, Air Force. The medical school curriculum includes a concentration of preventive medicine, primary care, military medicine, and emergency medicine.

The captain will serve as an officer in the U.S. Air Force Medical Service. She has served in the military for four years.

Andrews is the daughter of J. David and Ildiko E. Andrews of Wiley Road, Montgomery.

She graduated in 2001 from St. James High School, Montgomery, and received a bachelor's degree in 2005 from the University of Delaware at Newark.

Hometown News: Derek Slatton

Derek R. Slatton has graduated from the Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) Leader's Training Course at Fort Knox, Ky.

The four-week course is a leadership internship for cadets that can lead to the ultimate goal of becoming an Army officer. College students experience and examine the Army without incurring an obligation to serve in the Army or ROTC, and are eligible to receive two-year college scholarship offers and attend the Advanced ROTC Course at their college.


Cadets are observed and evaluated during classroom and field training exercises to determine their officer potential in leadership abilities and skills. The cadets are trained to have a sound understanding of traditional leadership values during the challenging, motivating "hands-on" training. The training develops well-disciplined, highly motivated, physically conditioned students, and helps improve the cadets' self-confidence, initiative, leadership potential, decision making, and collective team cohesion. The cadets receive training in fundamental military skills, Army values, ethics, warrior ethos, rifle marksmanship, small arms tactics, weapons training, drill and ceremony, communications, combat water survival training, rappelling, land navigation, and squad-level operations field training.

The cadet is a student at Jacksonville State University.

e is the son of Micheal A. Slatton of S. Jordan Dam Road, Wetumpka, and Janice P. Lock of Possum Trot Road, Deatsville.

Slatton is a 2006 graduate of Holtville High School, Deatsville.

Hometown News: Steven Phillips

Air Force Airman Steven Phillips graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of Steven Phillips of Claud Fleahop Road, Tallassee.

Phillips is a 2008 graduate of Elmore County High School, Eclectic.

Hometown News: Brian Welcher

Army Pvt. Brian J. Welcher has graduated from the Infantryman One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga. The training consists of Basic Infantry Training and Advanced Individual Training.

During the nine weeks of basic combat training, the soldier received training in drill and ceremonies, weapons employment, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid skills, and Army history, core values and traditions. Additional training included development of basic combat skills and battlefield operations and tactics, and experienced use of various weapons and weapons defenses available to the infantry crewman.

The Advanced Individual Training course is designed to train infantry soldiers to perform reconnaissance operations; employ, fire and recover anti-personnel and anti-tank mines; locate and neutralize land mines and operate target and sight equipment; operate and maintain communications equipment and radio networks; construct field firing aids for infantry weapons; and perform infantry combat exercises and dismounted battle drills, which includes survival procedures in a nuclear, biological or chemical contaminated area.

Welcher is the son of Joann Golden of Richland Road, Auburn, and Keith Welcher of Cedar St., Montgomery.

The private is a 2008 graduate of Valley High School.

Hometown News: Steven Stinson

Army Sgt. 1st Class Steven P. Stinson has retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years of faithful military service.

Before retiring, Stinson was a chief instructor and writer with Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 78th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

He is the son of Veronica J. and stepson of Andrew R. DeBusk of Mount Hebron Road, Eclectic.

His wife, Christy, is the daughter of Roderick D. and Frances G. Scheinkoenig of Wilbrook Lane, Palmer, Texas.

The sergeant first class is a 1989 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School, Montgomery, and received an associate degree in 2001 from Cameron University, Lawton, Okla.

Hometown News: Amy Boyles


Air Force Airman 1st Class Amy M. Boyles graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

She is the daughter of Alan Banish Jr. of Fairview Ave., Prattville, Ala., and Cynthia Farnsworth of County Line Road N.E., Ludowici, Ga.

Boyles is a 2004 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School, Montgomery.

Hometown News: Timothy Spink

Air Force Capt. Timothy M. Spink has arrived for duty at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Spink, a network systems flight commander with five years of military service, is assigned to the 34th Combat Communications Squadron.

He is the son of Barry and Chris Spink of Pineleaf Drive, Elmore.

His wife, Brenda, is the daughter of David and Patricia Marshall of Muirfield Ave., Henderson, Nev.

The captain graduated in the year 2000 from Stanhope Elmore High School, Millbrook and received a bachelor's degree in 2004 from Boston University, Mass. He earned a master's degree in 2007 from Abilene Christian University, Texas.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Veterans and current members of 187th FW sort photos

Former members of the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard have gathered at Dannelly Field today to sort through thousands of old photos.

The retirees are helping current members of the wing identify people, places and other things in the photos for archiving purposes.

Spokesman Capt. Will Cambardella said the event has turned into a storytelling day among old friends and veterans.
Monday, July 20, 2009

World's oldest man, also a WWI veteran, died over weekend

The world's oldest man, Henry Allingham, died Saturday.

The 113-year-old was one of the last surviving World War I veterans. Just one American-born WWI veteran is still living. And one British veteran is still living.

Allingham got a lot done in his century on Earth and one British journalist wrote this great piece about the man.
Friday, July 17, 2009

Alabama companies awarded defense contracts

International Enterprises, Inc. of Talladega was awarded a $11,228,687 five-year requirements contract for repair and support of APG-68 radar shop replacement units. At this time no money has been obligated.

44th SCMG, Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity.

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Wyle Laboratories, Inc. of Huntsville was awarded a $38,647,222 contract to have reliability analysis center research, develop, and deliver data analysis, assessments and evolutions; reliability information analysis and determinations; reliability centered maintenance analysis; data element process and standardization assessments; logistics management and planning tools; systems interoperability assessments; system acquisition planning; and financial life cycle cost estimates for Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security and affiliated labs.

At this time $501,662 has been obligated. 55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, is the contracting activity.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hometown News: Chance Morrison


Air Force Airman Chance A. Morrison graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of John Moorman and Jamie Morrison-Moorman of Upper Kingston Road, Prattville.

Morrison is a 2008 graduate of Prattville High School.

More Alabama Air National Guard members deploy this week

More members of the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field are deploying Thursday for Iraq.

The 30-member advance party left last week and about 200 more airmen are leaving this week.

It's about a three-month deployment and the unit will meet airmen and planes from other Air National Guard units to provide close air support, oversight and other aerial assistance to coalition forces.
Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hometown News: Braden Stutheit

Air Force Capt. C. Braden Stutheit has been assigned to the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Wing at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. He will work in the SBIRS Space Group, a unit responsible for developing the next generation missile warning system, as a Defense Support Program (DSP) Operations Manager.

Stutheit's previous assignment was as a missileer on the Minuteman III nuclear missile, most recently as an evaluator, at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Stutheit is a Montgomery native, and a class of 2000 graduate from LAMP High School. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Saint Louis University in 2004, where he attended on an Air Force ROTC scholarship.

He is the son of Michael and Lorinda Stutheit, grandson of Arnold and Ann Brewer, and son-in-law of retired CMSgt Todd and Theresa Anderson all of Montgomery, and grandson of retired Maj. Ernest and Lola Stutheit

Hometown News: Michael Benson

Air Force Senior Airman Michael J. Benson is deploying to Iraq to support the mission of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Operation Iraqi Freedom is the official name given to military operations involving members of the U.S. armed forces and coalition forces participating in efforts to free and secure Iraq. Mission objectives focus on force protection, peacekeeping, stabilization, security and counter-insurgency operations as the Iraqi transitional governing bodies assume full sovereign powers to govern the peoples of Iraq.

Members from all branches of the U.S. military and multinational forces are also assisting in rebuilding Iraq's economic and governmental infrastructure, and training and preparing Iraqi military and security forces to assume full authority and responsibility in defending and preserving Iraq's sovereignty and independence as a democracy.

Benson, an air transportation journeyman with four years of military service, is normally assigned to the 437th Aerial Port Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.

He is the son of Sam C. Benson of Riverknolle Road, Tallassee.

The airman graduated in the year 2000 from Tallassee High School.

Hometown News: Ronald Rapp

Army Pfc. Ronald P. Rapp has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

Rapp earned distinction as an honor graduate.

He is the son of Gail Tillery of David Ave., Coosada.

The private is a 2003 graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School, Millbrook.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hometown News: Jamey Milliner

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jamey K. Milliner, son of Gwendolyn A. and Sam F. Milliner of Alexander City, along with more than 2, 500 sailors and Marines from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG), Norfolk, Va., and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU), Camp Lejeune, N. C., are currently deployed to support Maritime Security Operations, provide crisis response capability, and increase theater security cooperation and forward Naval presence in the Fifth and Sixth Fleet areas of operation.

Milliner is a 1998 graduate of Benjamin Russell High School of Alexander City and joined the Navy in July 1998.

During a port call in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, the sailors and Marines hosted tours aboard ship. They also volunteered to assist residents and refurbish the grounds at the Association Sindrome de Down de Beleares, dedicated to helping persons with Down Syndrome. The sailors and Marines also had the opportunity to participate in bicycling and kayaking tours, tours of Palma City, the Caves of Drach and Costa Nord.

Bataan also recently commemorated the Battle of Midway, wearing uniforms as they were worn in 1942 and playing Midway announcements throughout the day over the ship's general announcing system.

Four Midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., who spent three weeks aboard the Bataan, were paired with enlisted sailors who helped prepare the future officers for shipboard life and acquire tools to become effective leaders.

Bataan transited the Suez Canal and entered the Fifth Fleet's area of responsibility, relieving the USS Boxer Amphibious Group.

The 22nd MEU performed the first ship to shore emergency medical evacuation from the Bataan using the new MV-22B Ospreys. The V-22 is a joint service, multi-mission aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability and performs missions as effectively as a conventional helicopter while also having the long-range cruise abilities of a twin turboprop aircraft.

ARGs usually include an amphibious squadron (PHIBRON), an amphibious assault ship (LHA/D), amphibious transport dock (LPD), dock landing ship (LSD), embarked Naval support elements and an embarked MEU.

The BATARG is comprised of the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce (LPD 15) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43). The BATARG and 22nd MEU provide the combatant commander a versatile sea-based force that can be tailored to a variety of missions, including quick reaction crisis response options in maritime, littoral and inland environments in support of the Navy's Maritime Strategy.

The 22nd MEU includes a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its command element.

For more information on Bataan, please visit www. bataan. navy. mil and www. navy. mil/local/lhd5/
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hometown News: Allan Knott

Army Pvt. Allan R. Knott has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

He is the son of David W. Knott of Lee Circle, and Patricia A. Bowen of County Road 21 N., both of Prattville.

Knott is a 2004 graduate of Prattville High School.

Hometown News: Kristian Taylor

Kristian M. Taylor has received an Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) college scholarship offer to attend a selected host college or university.

The cadet was selected to receive the scholarship certificate on the basis of comprehensive tests, high school scholastic achievement, and extra-curricular activities. The majority of Air Force ROTC scholarships cover full college/university tuition, provide textbook allowance, and pay most laboratory or incidental fees. In addition, at least a $300 tax-free monthly allowance is paid to recipients during the academic year. The estimated value of the scholarship depends on the student's choice of school and type of scholarship offered.

Upon graduation from college and completion of the ROTC program, the cadet will receive a bachelor's degree and a commission of second lieutenant in the Air Force.

He is the son of Michael S. and Terri M. Taylor of Meredith Drive, Montgomery.

Taylor is a 2009 graduate of Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School, Montgomery.

Hometown News: Joshua Otstot

Joshua R. Otstot has received an Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) college scholarship offer to attend a selected host college or university.

The cadet was selected to receive the scholarship certificate on the basis of comprehensive tests, high school scholastic achievement, and extra-curricular activities. The majority of Air Force ROTC scholarships cover full college/university tuition, provide textbook allowance, and pay most laboratory or incidental fees. In addition, at least a $300 tax-free monthly allowance is paid to recipients during the academic year. The estimated value of the scholarship depends on the student's choice of school and type of scholarship offered.

Upon graduation from college and completion of the ROTC program, the cadet will receive a bachelor's degree and a commission of second lieutenant in the Air Force.

He is the son of Mark F. and Stephanie R. Otstot of County Road 59, Prattville.

Otstot is currently a student at East Memorial Christian Academy in Prattville.

Hometown News: Wesley Cooner

Wesley F. Cooner has received an Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) college scholarship offer to attend a selected host college or university.

The cadet was selected to receive the scholarship certificate on the basis of comprehensive tests, high school scholastic achievement, and extra-curricular activities. The majority of Air Force ROTC scholarships cover full college/university tuition, provide textbook allowance, and pay most laboratory or incidental fees. In addition, at least a $300 tax-free monthly allowance is paid to recipients during the academic year. The estimated value of the scholarship depends on the student's choice of school and type of scholarship offered.

Upon graduation from college and completion of the ROTC program, the cadet will receive a bachelor's degree and a commission of second lieutenant in the Air Force.

He is the son of Robert W. and Deborah T. Cooner of Parks Road, Pike Road.

Cooner is currently a student at the Loveless Academic Magnet Program in Montgomery.
Monday, July 6, 2009

187th Fighter Wing deploying to Iraq

The Alabama Air National Guard's 187th Fighter Wing is headed back to Iraq this week and next.

The advance party is taking off for Balad on Tuesday after a departure ceremony at Dannelly Field at 8 a.m.

The F-16 fighter wing will be providing aerial support to coalition forces in Iraq.

The ceremony for the 30-member advance party will 187th FW’s Dining Facility located at Dannelly Field, 5187 Selma Highway, Building 1501, in Montgomery.

The general public is invited to attend the ceremony. The unit’s main party will leave for Balad next week, date and time to be determined.

Veterans getting new home and cemeteries

The Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs has submitted a formal application for a state cemetery and they've heard Alabama is at the top of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs priority list.

The department will likely find out if they'll get federal funding for the 103-acre cemetery when the FY2010 budget is announced, ADVA spokesman Robert Horton said.

ADVA is also waiting to see if they'll get federal funding for the fourth veterans home, currently in the first phase. The design is nearly complete, but construction can't get underway without the $26 million from the federal VA.
The federal VA also officially opened is 129th national cemetery last month at Montevallo. The 479-acre national cemetery is expected to serve veterans for at least the next 50 years.

In October 2008, VA awarded a construction contract for $3.7 million to BSI Contracting Inc., a service-disabled, Veteran-owned small business in Birmingham, to develop a small burial area. That 12.7-acre section, with 1,095 casket gravesites and nearly 1,000 in-ground cremation sites, will provide approximately two years of burials, enabling VA to begin providing services while the remainder of the cemetery's larger first phase of development is completed.

When complete, the first phase will consist of approximately 45 developed acres with more than 6,000 additional gravesites and 2,700 columbarium niches, as well as facilities needed to operate and to provide burials for approximately 10 years. The new cemetery will include an administration and public information center complex, including an electronic gravesite locator and public restrooms, a maintenance building, an entrance area, a flag assembly area, a memorial walkway and two committal shelters for funeral services. Other infrastructure elements include roadways, landscaping, utilities and irrigation.

The new cemetery serves approximately 200,000 veterans in the region and will be the third national cemetery in Alabama. The state's other national cemeteries are in Seale and Mobile.

Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Other burial benefits available for all eligible veterans, regardless whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible decedents may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.

In the midst of the largest expansion since the Civil War, VA operates 130 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites. More than three million Americans, including veterans of every war and conflict, are buried in VA's national cemeteries on nearly 18,000 acres of land.

Vietnam-era SecDef has died

Associated Press -- Robert S. McNamara, the cerebral secretary of defense vilified for his role in escalating the Vietnam War, a disastrous conflict he later denounced as "terribly wrong," died Monday. He was 93.

McNamara died at 5:30 a.m. at his home, his wife Diana told The Associated Press. She said he had been in failing health for some time.

McNamara was fundamentally associated with the Vietnam War, "McNamara's war," the country's most disastrous foreign venture, the only American war to end in abject withdrawal.

Known as a policymaker with a fixation for statistical analysis, McNamara was recruited to run the Pentagon by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 from the presidency of the Ford Motor Co. — where he and a group of colleagues had been known as the "whiz kids." He stayed in the defense post for seven years, longer than anyone since the job's creation in 1947.

His association with Vietnam became intensely personal. Even his son, as a Stanford University student, protested against the war while his father was running it. At Harvard, McNamara once had to flee a student mob through underground utility tunnels. Critics mocked McNamara mercilessly; they made much of the fact that his middle name was "Strange."

After leaving the Pentagon on the verge of a nervous breakdown, McNamara became president of the World Bank and devoted evangelical energies to the belief that improving life in rural communities in developing countries was a more promising path to peace than the buildup of arms and armies.

A private person, McNamara for many years declined to write his memoirs, to lay out his view of the war and his side in his quarrels with his generals. In the early 1990s he began to open up. He told Time magazine in 1991 that he did not think the bombing of North Vietnam — the biggest bombing campaign in history up to that time — would work but he went along with it "because we had to try to prove it would not work, number one, and (because) other people thought it would work."

Finally, in 1993, after the Cold War ended, he undertook to write his memoirs because some of the lessons of Vietnam were applicable to the post-Cold War period "odd as though it may seem."

"In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam" appeared in 1995. McNamara disclosed that by 1967 he had deep misgivings about Vietnam — by then he had lost faith in America's capacity to prevail over a guerrilla insurgency that had driven the French from the same jungled countryside.

Despite those doubts, he had continued to express public confidence that the application of enough American firepower would cause the Communists to make peace. In that period, the number of U.S. casualties — dead, missing and wounded — went from 7,466 to over 100,000.

"We of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations acted according to what we thought were the principles and traditions of our country. But we were wrong. We were terribly wrong," McNamara, then 78, told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of the book's release.

The best-selling mea culpa renewed the national debate about the war and prompted bitter criticism against its author. "Where was he when we needed him?" a Boston Globe editorial asked. A New York Times editorial referred to McNamara as offering the war's dead only a "prime-time apology and stale tears, three decades late."

McNamara wrote that he and others had not asked the five most basic questions: "Was it true that the fall of South Vietnam would trigger the fall of all Southeast Asia? Would that constitute a grave threat to the West's security? What kind of war — conventional or guerrilla — might develop? Could we win it with U.S. troops fighting alongside the South Vietnamese? Should we not know the answers to all these questions before deciding whether to commit troops?

He discussed similar themes in the 2003 documentary "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara." With the U.S. in the first year of the war in Iraq, it became a popular and timely art-house attraction and won the Oscar for best documentary feature.

The Iraq war, with its similarities to Vietnam, at times brought up McNamara's name, in many cases in comparison with another unpopular defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld. McNamara was among former secretaries of defense and state who met twice with President Bush in 2006 to discuss Iraq war policies.

In the Kennedy administration, McNamara was a key figure in both the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of April 1961 and the Cuban missile crisis 18 months later. The crisis was the closest the world came to a nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States.

McNamara served as the World Bank president for 12 years. He tripled its loans to developing countries and changed its emphasis from grandiose industrial projects to rural development.

After retiring in 1981, he championed the causes of nuclear disarmament and aid by the richest nation for the world's poorest. He became a global elder statesman.

McNamara's trademarks were his rimless glasses and slicked down hair and his reliance on quantitative analysis to reach conclusions, calmly promulgated in a husky voice.

He was born June 9, 1916, in San Francisco, son of the sales manager for a wholesale shoe company. At the University of California at Berkeley, he majored in mathematics, economics and philosophy.

As a professor at the Harvard Business School when World War II started, he helped train Army Air Corps officers in cost-effective statistical control. In 1943, he was commissioned an Army officer and joined a team of young officers who developed a new field of statistical control of supplies.

McNamara and his colleagues sold themselves to the Ford organization as a package and revitalized the company. The group became known as the "whiz kids" and McNamara was named the first Ford president who was not a descendant of Henry Ford.

A month later, the newly elected Kennedy invited McNamara, a registered Republican, to join his Cabinet. Taking the $25,000-a-year job cost McNamara $3 million in profit from Ford stocks and options.

As defense chief, McNamara reshaped America's armed forces for "flexible response" and away from the nuclear "massive retaliation" doctrine espoused by former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. He asserted civilian control of the Pentagon and applied cost-accounting techniques and computerized systems analysis to defense spending.

Early on, Kennedy regarded South Vietnam as an area threatened by Communist aggression and a providing ground for his new emphasis on counterinsurgency forces. A believer in the domino theory — that countries could fall to communism like a row of dominoes — Kennedy dispatched U.S. "advisers" to bolster the Saigon government. Their numbers surpassed 16,000 by the time of his assassination.

Following Kennedy's assassination, President Lyndon Johnson retained McNamara as "the best in the lot" of Kennedy Cabinet members and the man to keep Vietnam from falling to the Communists.

When U.S. naval vessels were allegedly attacked off the North Vietnamese coast in 1964, McNamara lobbied Congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which Johnson used as the equivalent of a congressional declaration of war.

McNamara visited Vietnam — the first of many trips — and returned predicting that American intervention would enable the South Vietnamese, despite internal feuds, to stand by themselves "by the end of 1965."

That was an early forerunner of a seemingly endless string of official "light at the end of the tunnel" predictions of American success. Each was followed by more warfare, more American troops, more American casualties, more American bombing, more North Vietnamese infiltration — and more predictions of an early end to America's commitment.

McNamara's first wife, Margaret, whom he met in college, died of cancer in 1981; they had two daughters and a son. In 2004, at age 88, he married Italian-born widow Diana Masieri Byfield.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Hometown News: Terry Perryman


Air National Guard Airman Terry I. Perryman graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

He is the son of Joyce Perryman of Hamilton Circle, Montgomery.

Perryman is a 2008 graduate of Carver High School, Montgomery.
Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hometown News: Fred Powers

Army Pfc. Fred D. Powers has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

He is the son of Blanche Powers of Roxboro Drive, and grandson of Alice Peterson of Dyas Drive, both of Montgomery.

Powers is a 2006 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School, Montgomery.

Hometown News: John Hall

Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer 2 John D. Hall has been mobilized and activated for deployment overseas to a forward operating base in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Operation Iraqi Freedom is the official name given to military operations involving members of the U.S. armed forces and coalition forces participating in efforts to free and secure Iraq. Mission objectives focus on force protection, peacekeeping, stabilization, security and counter-insurgency operations as the Iraqi transitional governing bodies assume full sovereign powers to govern the peoples of Iraq.

Members from all branches of the U.S. military and multinational forces are also assisting in rebuilding Iraq's economic and governmental infrastructure, and training and preparing Iraqi military and security forces to assume full authority and responsibility in defending and preserving Iraq's sovereignty and independence as a democracy.

Hall, is a maintenance warrant officer with 20 years of military service, is assigned to the 498th Transportation Company, based in Mobile.

He is the brother of Robert L. Hall of Blackberry Road, Deatsville.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hometown News: Jessica McKinnon

Army Pfc. Jessica N. McKinnon has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values, physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches, and field training exercises.

She is the daughter of Yolanda McKinnon of Susan Drive, Montgomery.

McKinnon is a 2005 graduate of Jeff Davis High School, Montgomery.
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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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