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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This week in the military

Morning all.

Just a quick wrap up of this week's area military goings-on.

There's a court martial today at Maxwell. An officer is charged with five violations of four articles of the UCMJ. The charges include violating a lawful regulation, conduct unbecoming of an officer, making a false statement and fraternizing with an enlisted person.

I can't cover the proceeding since I'll be across the street at AFITC, but will update when I get any more details.

This year's Air Force Information Technology Conference is in town. I was there yesterday to hear Gen. Kehler, commander of AF Space Command, speak. He was pretty interesting and said a few notable things like disconnecting is not a response for attacks and that the acquisition process as it stands is not good enough when it comes to cyberspace and those operations.

On tap today is Gen. Lord. He was commander of the provisional Cyber Command, but is now at the Pentagon at AF HQ. He's giving remarks, then moderating a panel and then I'll be speaking wtih him, along with Scott Knuteson from the Maxwell-Gunter Dispatch.

That's all for now, more stories and updates coming soon.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hometown News: Jean Walton

Army National Guard Spec. Jean E. Walton 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.

The specialist is a military police member normally assigned to the 206th Military Police Company, based in Latham, N.Y. She has served in the military for two years.

She is the daughter of Carmen M. Santini of Topaz St., Prattville.

Walton is a 2003 graduate of Waterford High School, N.Y.

Hometown News: James Evans

Air Force Airman James A. Evans 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.

Evans earned distinction as an honor graduate.

He is the son of Kim Evans of Colonial Court, Prattville.

Evans is a 2006 graduate of Prattville High School.

Hometown News: Guillermo Aguirre

Air Force Reserve Airman Guillermo A. Aguirre 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 Charlie Nickerson of Deatsville Highway, Millbrook, and Elsa Aguirre of N. Camp St., Seguin, Texas.

The airman is a 2006 graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School, Millbrook.

Hometown News: David Curley


Air Force Airman David W. Curley 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 David Curley of Wrightsburg Circle, Wetumpka.
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Allardice takes over 18th Air Force

Lt. Gen. Robert Allardice assummed command this week of 18th Air Force at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

It's the numbered air force in charge of day-to-day operations for Air Mobility Command.

He replaces Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott III, who retired in October.

Allardice was at Maxwell in April 2008 to speak to students at Air University about his experiences. He had recently returned from a one-year tour in Iraq as commander of the Coalition Air Force Transition Team.

While Allardice and his team were in Iraq, the Iraqi force nearly doubled in size from about 750 in January 2007 to about 1,400 this spring. And there are about 400 more people awaiting training for this year.

The team Allardice commanded in Baghdad falls under U.S. Central Command, which is the joint organization tasked with operations in the Middle East and some of the surrounding area. Allardice is now moving to MacDill Air Force Base in Florida to take over as Central Command's director for strategy, plans and policy.

Now, at 18th Air Force, he's responsible for about 51,000 active-duty airmen assigned to the command's only warfighting numbered air force.

Allardice has more than 4,700 hours in C-141, C-5 and C-17 transports and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He most recently served as director of strategy, plans and policy at U.S. Central Command headquarters, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fort Rucker soldier rescues pregnant woman

A Fort Rucker soldier pulled a pregnant woman from her flipped vehicle after a wreck over the weekend.

She's due in September and he just happened to be a few cars behind the accident. Good thing, because the other car caught fire and hers was sparking and she was stuck.

Here's the whole story in the Dothan Eagle.

Some more social media for you...from military brass

Like I said, this social media thing is snowballing faster than the military can make rules for it.

Here's an article that just came out from Armed Forces Press Service, by Donna Miles.

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Got questions you'd like to pose directly to the defense secretary or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Now is your chance!

Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen have launched interactive, virtual town hall sessions through the Internet.

The initiatives are part of a broad administration effort to connect more closely with the military, the American public and people overseas. The goal, officials explained, is to provide a forum for people to ask questions or offer suggestions or insights and get direct feedback.

The new Defense Department home page that went live this week features a prominently placed "Ask the Secretary" section. Anyone visiting http://www.defense.gov -- military members, American citizens, people overseas -- can submit a question to Gates.

Questions will be accepted for two weeks, then participants in the town hall will have another two weeks to vote on the questions submitted. The secretary will answer the five to 10 questions that top the list.

Meanwhile, Mullen launched an "Ask the Chairman" venue yesterday that enables anyone to pose a question to him via YouTube. The virtual town hall is open to everyone, whether they're in the military or a military family or simply care about military issues, officials said.

Viewers can ask questions about whatever is on their minds -- the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, what the military is doing for wounded warriors and families, the new Post-9/11 GI Bill or another topic of interest -- by visiting http://www.youtube.com/dodvclips.

"The chairman really wants to have a conversation with the troops akin to the way he does all-hands calls at bases all over the world," Navy Capt. John Kirby, Mullen's public affairs officer, told American Forces Press Service. "He wanted that conversation to be as interactive as possible and reflective of what is on their minds."

Aug. 31 is the deadline to submit video questions. After the deadline, Mullen will watch questions submitted by YouTube viewers, then respond in a podcast, officials said.

Price Floyd, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said taking advantage of new media tools will enable Pentagon leaders to engage in an important two-way conversation with the public.

"We do live in a democracy, and that feedback from people is important to know what they're thinking, what they believe is important," he said. "It's their national security policy, it's not ours. It's theirs. The president was elected, and he appointed people here at the Defense Department to lead, but it starts with the American people."

The White House is planning a similar interactive venue for President Barack Obama to take questions directly from U.S. troops deployed in the U.S. Central Command area of operations.

Here's a link to the story and more information http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=55540

Alabama companies receive defense contracts

Colsa Corp. of Huntsville was awarded a $10,838,796.97 contract for the technical and acquisition management support program that provides for a wide range of diverse non-engineering, technical and acquisition management support required in the acquisition, development, production, and support of various equipment and weapon systems within the Air Armament Center and other organizations at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

At this time no funds have been obligated.

AAC/PKES, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity.

--------------------

Camber Corporation of Huntsville was awarded a $8,712,671 time-and material contract for the instructors to teach selected classes at the U.S. Army Armor Center during the period of Sept. 30, 2009 through Sept. 29, 2010.

Work is to be performed in Fort Knox, Ky., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 29, 2010.

Five bids were solicited with three bids received.

Mission and Installation Contracting Command Center, Fort Knox, Ky., is the contracting activity.

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Wyle Laboratories, Inc. of Huntsville was awarded a $14,492,743 contract for the Research Information Analysis Center to research, test, develop, and deliver Integration Requirements Reports, Systems Requirements Reports, Inventory Effectiveness Analysis Report, and Training Records Reports for the Forecasting Management Productivity Tool Analysis Program.

At this time, $72,464 has been obligated. 55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt, Neb., is the contracting activity.

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Wyle Laboratories, Inc. of Huntsville was awarded a $19,323,655 contract for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test, develop and deliver engineering and technology assessment reports, standards and specification reports, configuration assessment reports, feasibility assessment reports, and interoperability test reports for the secure site technology analysis, upgrades, installation and testing project.

At this time, $2,811,594 has been obligated.

55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt AFB, Neb. is the contracting activity/

----------------

Wyle Laboratories of Huntsville was awarded a $38,647,339 contract for the Reliability Information Analysis Center to research, test, develop and deliver concept recommendations, architecture analysis, ontological models reports, prototype development assessments, prototypes, security models and research discovery/recommendations for the Persistent Virtual Warfighting Environment Project.

At this time $543,092 has been obligated.

55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity.




Well, whatdya know...

The National Guard has joined the social media band wagon.

In fact, one of it's top leaders, Gen. Craig McKinley, is using Twitter. Follow him @ChiefNGB or www.twitter.com/ChiefNGB)

While the Department of Defense is debating whether social media should be allowed in theater or on military installations and the guidelines for troops using those technologies, the National Guard is pushing forward.

The general is documenting his activities, and the National Guard Bureau and many state Guard's are on Twitter and Facebook and other forms of social media.

The Guard is pulling significant weight in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and they want their story told, so they're telling it themselves.

By the way, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also Tweets. Follow him @thejointstaff or www.twitter.com/thejointstaff.

Most argue social media is a communication tool, useful in spreading information and good news from the military. Of course, they agree, there are security concerns. How much information can troops reveal, what if these social media platforms are hacked and government systems compromised? Real concerns, but whether they warrant a complete usage ban is still up in the air.

The Air Force has been pushing for social media, but most of the sites are banned on bases, although it depends on the base and the command.

The Army recently lifted the bans on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and some other social media sites.

The Marine Corps, however, has banned social media entirely.

So, we'll see how this unfolds, and I'll keep an eye on it. Maybe it's something the new cyber arm of the Air Force can find an answer to. The new 24th Air Force was activated this week at Lackland Air Force Base.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hometown News: Marcy Owens

Army Spec. Marcy A. Owens has deployed 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 people 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.

Owens, an ammunition specialist with three years of military service, is normally assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Division, 80th Ordnance Battalion, Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Wash.

She is the daughter of Lori Loch of Manor Road, Schnecksville, Pa., and John Burkos of Ruppsville Road, Trexlertown, Pa.

Robert Gross, her grandfather, resides on Doe Run Court, Schnecksville.

Her husband, Allan, is the son of Barbara Owens of Dark Corners Road, Tallassee.

The specialist is a 2004 graduate of Parkland High School, Allentown, Pa.
Monday, August 17, 2009

Hometown News: Traci Ayala

Army Pfc. Traci Ayala 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.

Ayala graduated in 1988 from Carver High School, Montgomery and received an associate degree in 1998 from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.
Friday, August 14, 2009

Army Wiki?

The Army is trying something new.

It's letting just about anyone in the Army offer up their opinions and contributions to Army doctrine.

The idea is to get more first-hand, battle-tested knowledge from the soldiers who have been on the front lines and had to practice Army doctrine. Those soldiers might have better ideas of how to improve or more efficient and effective ways of doing things.

The Army has been piloting the idea for a few months and seems okay with some loss of control. Perhaps they're buying into the idea that collaboration makes for better, or more creative ideas and sometimes stronger policies. But, the whole thing could go wildly out of control.

Despite potential downfalls, the project is supported from the top.

For more about the project, check out the New York Times article.

Hometown News: James Louis

Army Pfc. James Louis has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

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

He is the son of James Louis of Shadyside Lane, Montgomery, and brother of LaTonya Paige of Elsa Drive, Jacksonville, Fla.

Louis is a 2004 graduate of Carver High School, Montgomery.
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Huntsville company awarded defense contract

SCI Technology, Inc. of Huntsville is being awarded an $8,085,625 firm-fixed-price contract for Tactical Operations Center Intercommunication System (TOCNET®)-V equipment in support of the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) and Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) programs.

Work will be performed in Huntsville, and all units are expected to be delivered by March 2010.

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

This contract was not competitively procured because SCI Technology, Inc., holds proprietary rights to the design and is the sole provider of TOCNET ® Modules.

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic is the contracting activity.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hometown News: Chris Fox

Navy Seaman Chris A. Fox, a 2008 graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School, Millbrook, Ala., recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. with honors.

During the eight-week program, Fox completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Its distinctly "Navy" flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a Sailor.
Thursday, August 6, 2009

And then there's social media.

I have to say I laughed when I read that Stars and Stripes had accused the military of having "social networking schizophrenia."

First, social media was all the rage. I even wrote a story about the Air Force developing a new office for new and emerging technologies, which is located outside the Pentagon because they can't access those sites in the DOD.

The Air Force restricted most social media sites. Funny, because they had created Facebook pages, their own YouTube, known as BlueTube and were on Twitter. Plus, commanders, PAs and others were blogging. Although, I heard from some Air Force friends that access depended on your command or your base.

The Army lifted the ban about a month ago on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and a few others, encouraging soldiers to tell their stories.

It's something I heard constantly, any variation of we want our people to tell the "real story" without being filtered by the press.

And then DOD contemplated a department-wide ban on social media. That was just last week.

This week, the Marine Corps banned all social media sites, effective immediately.

It is interesting that a community that strives for standards and uniformity is having such a hard time deciding what to do with...Facebook? Sure, they could be security risks.

But, former AF PA director, Maj. Gen. Darren W. McDew told me in February when he was here, that social media is like most things, there are risks, but they need to figure out what those are and develop ways to use the applications and mitigate the dangers. By the way, he's my friend on Facebook. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Michael Mullen, has a Twitter feed.

According to a Stars and Stripes article,
Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn has set a Sept. 30 deadline to hash out the issues and decide how the DOD will move forward.

Tanker drama continues, but maybe Pentagon will gets its way

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa, has apparently backed off his tirade for a split or dual tanker buy to get the Air Force its new KC-X tanker.

The drama has been going on for years and got uglier last year when the contract was awarded to Northrop Grumman/EADs over Boeing. Boeing cried foul and the Government Accountability Officer told the Pentagon to try again.

And then politics got in the way again. Lawmakers and lobbyists in Alabama, for Northrop Gumman/EADS, and Washington for Boeing, called the other guys un-American and other variations of patriotism related insults.

When Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stopped at Maxwell Air Force Base in April to peddle his budget recommendations, which included some significant cuts in aircraft and weapons systems, additional funds in other areas like cyberspace and what could be considered a step toward all around defense spending reform, Gates was asked about the tanker deal and said he was completely against a split or dual buy.

Having two types of tankers could raise costs in terms of maintenance and parts, he said. Plus, it sounded like he didn't appreciate Congress trying to force his hand on defense matters.

Then it came out that Murtha might be involved or somehow connected to some shady Air Force contracts and sure enough, the tough rhetoric simmered a bit.

Now the defense appropriations bill is coming out and it appears that Congress might do something really novel -- let the SecDef do his job.

The House Appropriations Committee version of the 2010 defense budget seems to use loose language that allows the Pentagon to buy and spend as it deems necessary rather than being directed by Congress.

Hometown News: Wesley Gilbert

Army National Guard Pvt. Wesley Gilbert 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.

He earned distinction as an honor graduate.

Gilbert is the son of Virginia Gilbert of Meadow Lane Drive, Elmore.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hometown News: Nicole Williams

Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Nicole L. Williams 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 Haywood L. and Elizabeth S. Williams of Chappelle Lane, Montgomery.

Williams is a 2004 graduate of Taylor Road Academy High School, Montgomery.

Hometown News: Jesse Richards

Army Pvt. Jesse R. Richards 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.

Richards is the son of Bert Richards of Sweet Briar Lane, Prattville.

The private is a 2007 graduate of Prattville High School.

Hometown News: Cassini Wiley

Army Pfc. Cassini Wiley has graduated from basic infantry training at Fort Benning, Columbus, Ga.

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

He is the son of Nora Wiley of E. Dale Road, Montgomery.

Wiley is a 2004 graduate of Brantley High School, Ala.

Hometown News: Juan Sifuentez

Army Pvt. Juan C. Sifuentez has graduated from Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.

During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the Army mission and received instruction and training exercises in drill and ceremonies, Army history, core values and traditions, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, rifle marksmanship, weapons use, map reading and land navigation, foot marches, armed and unarmed combat, and field maneuvers and tactics.

Sifuentez is the brother of Juan Sifuentez Jr., and Elisa Washburn, both of Cobbs Ford Road, Millbrook.

Hometown News: Amanda Billups

Navy Reserve Seaman Amanda Billups, a 1998 graduate of Holtville High School, Deatsville, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Billups completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Its distinctly ''Navy'' flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a Sailor.

Hometown News: Shericka Brantley

Navy Seaman Apprentice Shericka L. Brantley, a 2008 graduate of Luverne High School, Luverne, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Brantley completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Its distinctly ''Navy'' flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a Sailor.

Hometown News: Derrick Franklin

Air Force Airman Derrick C. Franklin 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 David Franklin of County Road 86, Greensboro, and brother of David Franklin Jr. of Countrywood Court, Montgomery.

Franklin is a 2006 graduate of Greensboro West High School.

Hometown News: Michael Holmes


Air Force Reserve Airman Michael R. Holmes 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 Charlotte Gentry of Tanglewood Drive, Millbrook.

Hometown News: Jasmine Logan


Air Force Airman Jasmine D. Logan 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 Sofia Griffith of Inner Circle, Montgomery.

Hometown News: Phillip Brown


Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Phillip D. Brown 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 Jackie Brown of Millbrook.

Brown is a 1993 graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School, Millbrook.
Monday, August 3, 2009

Adm. Marsh first to get new OIF?OEF car tags



the new car tags for veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom are now available.

Retired Read Adm. Clyde Mash is commissioner of the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs and today, he was the state's first Iraq veteran to purchase the special plate at the Autauga County Probate Office.

The plates became available statewide today.

“I am honored for the opportunity to commemorate this special day by displaying the first Iraq Veteran license plate,” said Marsh in a release. In 2005, he commanded some 44,000 coalition forces at the outset of the Iraq war. "This is a small, but well earned token benefit that epitomizes the pride and gratitude of Alabamians for the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line in Iraq and Afghanistan in defense of freedom and democracy".

Active duty, Reserve, National Guard, and honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces are eligible for the plates with proof of service in Iraq or Afghanistan, or who were deployed in direct support of military operations in both theaters.

Veterans applying for the commemorative tags will need a letter certifying their service from the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs. Current or former service members can request a certification letter by contacting their County Veterans Service Office.

More information on the Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran License Plates is available on the Internet at http://www.va.state.al.us/tags.htm.

Hometown News: Amanda Harris

Air Force Reserve Airman Amanda N. Harris 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 Jeff Harris of Foxdale Road, Millbrook, and Peggy Smothers of Dahlonega, Ga.

Harris is a 2008 graduate of Forsyth Central High School, Forsyth County, Ga.

Photo of the day


U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Simon Trujillo runs for cover as a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter prepares to takeoff during the air evacuation of an Afghan boy in the Nawa district of the Helmand province of Afghanistan July 30, 2009.
--DoD photo by Cpl. Artur Shvartsberg, U.S. Marine Corps/Released

Hometown News: Matthew Lathan

Air Force Airman Matthew S. Lathan 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 Tracey and Shirley Lathan of First St, Montgomery.

Lathan is a 2005 graduate of Robert E Lee High School.

Alabama veterans support military voting legislation

The Alabama Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America passed a resolution earlier this year calling on the Alabama Legislature to pass HB 711, which would have made voting for military members easier.

The Legislature failed to pass the bill, due in large part to some last minute political maneuvering and the addition of what many considered and unrelated amendment.

Now the Council of Chapters has sent a letter to each Alabama state senator expressing their concern with the handling of the bill. Each chapter has signed the letter in support of HB 711.

"We have been given to understand that a single Senator helped derail passage of the bill in the Senate by attaching a politically expedient amendment to it. This caused the bill to be referred to committee where it died.

"While the actions of this Senator concern us, we are especially upset that the Senate as a whole and each senator individually did not deem this matter important enough to promptly fix the problem and get it passed as other bills were at the last minute.

"How could protecting Alabama's servicmen and women's right to vote not be at the top of every legislator's list of problems needing fixing?

"The Alabama Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America has thousands of members throughout the state. Our purpose here is to let you know that we will hold each of you personally responsible for the prompt and successful passage of this bill, or similar legislation, during the next legislative session. Our servicemen and women, particularly those deployed in harm's way, are important to us and depend upon us at home to see to the protection of their rights, including their right to vote.

"We urge you to make this a top priority. Nothing less will do. We will be watching."

Secretary of State Beth Chapman and her office have been pushing this bill for several years and have worked with other states, federal agencies and global voting organizations to draft the legislation. Chapman said earlier this year that she was disappointed the bill wasn't passed during this session, since that means the expanded voting options can't be implemented in time for the 2010 gubernatorial election, but that she plans to support the bill again next session and expects it to pass. If it does, the additional voting options will be in place for the next presidential election.

Maxwell CAP cadet wins award


Cadet 2nd Lt. Esala Wueschner of the Maxwell Squadron of the Alabama Wing of Civil air Patrol recently received the Most Improved Pilot award at the National Flight Academy, Powered, at Fort Pickett in Virginia.

Academy attendees received formal ground instruction and cockpit time with a certified flight instructor. The cadets get 10 hours of hands on flight time and 25 hours of ground instruction and can fly as an observer when another cadet is getting instruction.

Information from Maj. Patricia Mitcham, of the Alabama Wing. Pictured are (from left) David Cole of the Virginia Wing, Flight Instructor Thomas Doyle and Esala Wueschner.

Vehicle fire at Bell Street gate


Here's a picture of Friday's vehicle fire at the Bell Street gate, from Capt. Jenny Lovett.
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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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