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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Obstacle course video

video

Some obstacle course video

Here's some video clips of the obstacle course we watched soldiers go through at Fort Leonard Wood. Sort of looked like fun...if I wasn't on antibiotics that made me dizzy at the time, I'm pretty sure I would have tried at least a few of the obstacles.


video

A week with the Army

In September I spent a week at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Leonard Wood for a military-media workshop. It's organized by the University of Kansas and funded by the McCormick Foundation.

Although I've covered the military for a few years now, it was certainly great to spend time with the Army, since most of my career has been spent covering a heavily Air Force town.

During the workshop, we attended briefings -- complete with powerpoints of course -- got up early for PT with NCOs at Leonard Wood and watched soldiers go through the obstacle course as part of their basic training.

Leavenworth is the intellectual center for the Army, similar to Maxwell for the Air Force.
Leonard Wood is a training base and is the home of training schools for military police, chemical and engineers.

I've posted some videos and pictures from the week. The videos are all from Leonard Wood and the obstacle course as well as the rifle/bayonet training. My camera battery died that day and I never got around to recharging it.

But, here's what I've got. Enjoy.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Air Force releases list of potential locations for F-35

From the Pentagon today:

Air Force officials here announced today the list of candidate locations for basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The list of candidate bases was approved by the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force and identifies the first group of bases to be considered for joint strike fighter basing decisions. The selection of these bases signifies the Air Force’s determination that these locations have the greatest potential to accommodate the F-35 training or operational mission.


Eleven bases have been selected as candidate bases and include for training:
Boise Air Terminal Air Guard Station, Idaho, Eglin AFB, Fla., Holloman AFB N.M., Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and Tuscon International Airport Air Guard Station, Ariz. The six bases selected as candidate bases for operations are: Burlington International Airport Guard Station, Vt., Hill AFB, Utah, Jacksonville International Airport Air Guard Station, Fla, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, Shaw AFB, and McEntire Air Guard Base, S.C.

The Air Force will evaluate existing F-22 force structure at Holloman AFB, N.M. as it considers F35 basing.

“The selection of this candidate list is the result of a deliberate, repeatable, standardized and transparent process,” said Ms. Kathleen Ferguson, Air Force Deputy Assistant Secretary for Installations. “We are excited about the future of the joint strike fighter and look forward to working with each of the communities surrounding these bases to ensure all of their concerns are addressed.”

The list of candidate bases were selected using previously announced basing criteria such as airspace, flight training ranges, weather, support facilities, runways, taxi ramps, environmental concerns; and military judgment factors such as combatant commander requirements, aircraft retirements and delivery schedules, aircraft maintenance and logistics support, and integration with the Air National Guard and Reserve.

Now that the list of candidate bases has been released, the formal environmental impact analysis process and site assessments will begin, allowing communities around each candidate base to participate and provide input into the environmental impact analysis. Based on the results of these efforts, officials expect to announce the JSF preferred locations in late Spring 2010. Once the formal Environmental Impact Statements are complete, Air Force officials will issue the Records of Decision and announce the final basing decisions. This is anticipated in early 2011.

New Facebook page

The River Region Military blog now has a Facebook page!

Check it out at here!

And, don't forget to follow military news on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jenn822.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Holiday mail for troops

From the American Forces Press Service:

The U.S. Postal Service has released recommended mailing dates for holiday packages for troops stationed overseas.

First-class and priority mail for servicemembers stationed in Afghanistan should be sent by Dec. 4 for arrival by Christmas. The deadline for parcel airlift mail is Dec. 1, and space-available mail bound for Afghanistan should be sent by Nov. 21.

Officials recommend that parcel post mail to all military overseas locations should be sent by Nov. 13.

A chart with recommended mailing deadlines for all types of mail to various APO and FPO addresses is available at the Postal Service’s Web site.

Express mail cannot be used to mail packages to Afghanistan, but priority mail is available.

Priority mail packaging products, including priority mail flat-rate boxes, can be obtained free at any post office, or online. The priority mail large flat-rate box can be used to mail to any overseas military address, no matter the weight of the box, for $11.95.

The Postal Service offers free military care kits, designed for military families sending packages overseas. To order by phone, call 800-610-8734 and ask for the military care kit. Each kit includes two "America Supports You" large priority mail flat-rate boxes, four medium-sized priority mail flat-rate boxes, six priority mail labels, a roll of priority mail tape and six customs forms with envelopes.

Military overseas units are assigned an APO or FPO ZIP code, and in many cases, that ZIP code travels with the unit wherever it goes.

The Postal Service places APO and FPO mail to overseas military servicemembers on special transportation destined to be delivered as soon as possible.

Mail sent APO and FPO addresses may require customs forms. All mail addressed to military post offices overseas is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling. For general guidelines on sending mail to servicemembers overseas, click here.

Postal Service officials recommend taking the following measures when sending packages:

-- If you use a regular box, use one strong enough to protect the contents with no writing on the outside.

-- Cushion contents with newspaper, bubble wrap, or Styrofoam. Pack tightly to avoid shifting.

-- Package food items like cookies, fudge, candies, etc. securely in leak-proof containers.

-- Use pressure-sensitive or nylon-reinforced packing tape.

-- Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, or cellophane tape outside the package.

-- Print your return address and the servicemember’s complete name, without rank, followed by unit and APO or FPO delivery address on one side only of the package.

-- Place a return address label inside the package.

-- Stuff fragile items with newspaper or packing material to avoid damage.

-- Remove batteries from toys and appliances. Wrap and place them next to the items inside.

-- Purchase insurance and delivery confirmation service for reassurance of package delivery.

Alabamians in the military


Air Force Airman Guy T. Hughes 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.

Hughes is the son of Guy and Peggy Hughes of County Road 63, Marbury.

He is a 2009 graduate of Chilton County High School, Clanton.

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Air Force Airman Frank McQueen 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 Frank McQueen of Paul Court, Millbrook.

McQueen is a 2008 graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School, Millbrook.

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Air Force Reserve Airman Corey S. Breedlove 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.

Breedlove is the son of Scott Breedlove of Langley St., Tallassee.

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Air Force Airman Kev D. Johnson graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

He is the grandson of both Bruce Johnson of Grouby Airport Road, Prattville, and Gordon Nelson of Highway 14 E. Newton, Iowa.

Johnson is a 2009 graduate of Prattville High School.

Alabamians in the military

Roydale J. Wright graduated from the Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) Leader Development and Assessment Course, also known as "Operation Warrior Forge," at Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Wash.

The 32 days of training provide the best possible professional training and evaluation for all cadets in the aspects of military life, administration and logistical support. Although continued military training and leadership development is included in the curriculum, the primary focus of the course is to develop and evaluate each cadet's officer potential as a leader by exercising the cadet's intelligence, common sense, ingenuity and physical stamina. The cadet command assesses each cadet's performance and progress in officer traits, qualities and professionalism while attending the course.

Cadets in their junior and senior year of college must complete the leadership development course. Upon successful completion of the course, the ROTC program, and graduation from college, cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army, National Guard, or Reserve.

The cadet is a student at Marion Military Institute.

He is the son of Edna L. Frazier of State Highway 94, Grady, Ala., and Abe R. Wright of School Spur Road, Hope Hull.

Wright is a 2008 graduate of Jefferson Davis High School, Montgomery.

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Army Reserve Pvt. William Pruett 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.

Pruett is the son of Debbie Mayer of Sagewood Drive, Montgomery.

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Army Pvt. Mekahya D. Prince 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 Curtis Prince of Foxdale Road, Millbrook, and niece of George McCree of Covered Bridge Road, Montgomery.

Prince is a 2007 graduate of Stanhope Elmore High School, Millbrook.

CAVHCS offering flu shots this weekend

Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System is holding drive through clinics at the Tuskegee and Montgomery Medical Centers, as well as at Communiyt Based Outpatient Clinics in Dothan and Columbus, Ga. on Oct. 31 from 8 am – until 2 pm.

The H1N1 vaccine will not be available. CAVHCS has been providing the seasonal flu vaccine since Sept. 1, but will not provide the H1N1 vaccine while supplies are limited.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alabamians in the military


Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Earl Dickerson 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 Tommie Dickerson of Prattville.

Dickerson graduated in 1994 from Monroe County High School, Monroeville.

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Air Force Airman 1st Class Chad R. McClelland-Hall 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 Stephanie McClelland-Hall of Carson Drive, Prattville, and Rocky Hall of Arbor Trace Drive, Charlotte, N.C.

McClelland-Hall is a 2007 graduate of Prattville High School.

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Air Force Airman Jordan C. Adkins 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 Joe Adkins of Michelin Road, Greenville, S.C., and grandson of Kay Smith of Prattville.

Adkins is a 2008 graduate of Prattville High School.

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Navy Seaman Chris K. Starr, nephew of Linda Colson of Prattville, Ala., recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Starr 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.

Starr is a 2003 graduate of Stockbrige High School of Stockbridge, Ga.

Sen. Sessions on the continuing tanker saga

Back in the office after a weekend at home in Virginia and getting caught up on there. This came in yesterday from Sen. Jeff Sessions' office, regarding the tanker. Sessions and other Alabama lawmakers (Sen. Richard Shelby, Reps. Jo Bonner, Robert Aderholt, Spencer Bachus, Mike Rogers Bobby Bright and Artur Davis) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and I've included the full text below:

Dear Secretary Gates:

In late September, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bill Lynn briefed us regarding the draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for the KC-X, the next-generation aerial refueling tanker that will replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers. At that time, we were invited to provide feedback regarding the draft RFP and offer the following comments and recommendations accordingly.

Repeated delay of this program over the past decade has only increased the urgency of proceeding as quickly as possible with acquiring a new air-refueling fleet for the Air Force. Since your decision to cancel the previous contract award post-GAO protest, testimony from numerous Combatant Commanders has validated the need to rapidly modernize the fleet with enhanced capabilities. We are very troubled that the draft RFP fails to address this requirement.

We note with alarm that the draft RFP also omits an assessment of risk associated with either schedule, past performance, or price, especially given that the quantity of mandatory threshold requirements has increased by a factor of ten over the previous competition. It is unconscionable that the government would abandon its duty to assess risk on behalf of the taxpayers, particularly when cost and schedule realism proved to be significant discriminators during the last competition. Consequently, it is imperative that the source selection process be modified to protect the government interests by assessing risk and ensuring that bidders cannot buy-in or promise a production schedule that is unrealistic.

With regard to military capability, we are very concerned that the draft RFP explicitly marginalizes or eliminates 21st century performance that was highly valued during the previous competition, including capacity for airlift, passengers, and medical evacuation. As a result, most of the RFP’s requirements could be met by the KC-135 designed over 50 years ago. The draft RFP’s minimalist approach to military capability is inconsistent with statements of senior Air Force leaders, including Generals Schwartz, McNabb, and Lichte who have repeatedly stressed the importance of the KC-X as a ‘game changer’ for air mobility with its multi-role capabilities. Since the draft RFP essentially asks for another KC-135, we can only conclude that the specified tanker configuration will not meet the future needs of operational tanker commands. Future Congresses will be required to pay a premium to incorporate valued capability as upgrades once these new tankers are fielded.

In an era of acquisition streamlining and reform, we are very troubled that the draft RFP increases the number of mandatory threshold requirements from 37 to 373, and also fails to pursue a best value solution that allows for requirement tradeoffs based on importance. This approach makes a mockery of the capability that our warfighters truly value where, for example, water flow in the toilet has equal importance to fuel flow in the refueling boom.

From an acquisition policy perspective, the fact that the draft RFP locks-in schedule, price, and requirements for an 18-year period, a full 8 to 13 years longer than is current practice for major defense acquisition programs, creates an unworkable scenario. This excessive contract duration is counter to the intent of the Acquisition Reform Act since it will either facilitate technology obsolescence or encourage requirements creep and contract changes. An 18-year contract greatly exceeds the Department’s 5-year budgeting and planning process, unduly limiting Congressional oversight. From a pricing standpoint, an 18-year fixed-price contract will force industry to fully price performance risk that may never materialize, increasing the overall price of these tankers for the taxpayer. Indeed, the draft RFP’s fixed-price development approach will guarantee that the public pays more for this tanker selection than it would have for the winner in the last competition.

While we support the Department’s effort to quickly move forward with the tanker competition, this draft RFP is fundamentally flawed and does not achieve your stated objective of conducting a best value competition that is fair, open, and transparent. It fails the test of rationality.

While this letter represents our formal comments on the RFP, we fully expect you to meet with us in person to further discuss our concerns at the earliest possible date.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Alabamians in the military


Air Force Reserve Airman Justin Nettles 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 Ray Nettles of Fleahop Road, Eclectic, Ala., and grandson of Judy Hellums of King Silas Court, Wetumpka.

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Army National Guard Pvt. Joey P. Turner 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.

He is the son of Jan Murrell of Odell St., and Ronald Turner of Highway 31 N., both of Prattville.

Turner is a 1998 graduate of Marbury High School, Prattville.

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Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Grace N. Cannon 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 Lisa Kemp of Perrydale Loop, Prattville, and Ralph Cannon of Sharon Blvd., Dora.

The airman is a 2009 graduate of Prattville High School.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Alabamians in the military

Army Reserve Pfc. John W. Harder has graduated from basic military training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C., under the Split-option Enlistment Program to serve as a member of the Army National Guard or Reserve.

The program allows students between their junior and senior year of high school to attend basic training during the summer after their junior year. After completing basic training, the recruits will attend National Guard or Reserve weekend drills while still in school. The summer following graduation, the guardsmen or reservists attend advanced individual training in the career specialty they selected at the time they enlisted.

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 John Harder of Hickory Grove Road, Millbrook.

Harder is currently a student at Stanhope Elmore High School, Millbrook.

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Navy Cmdr. Nicole L. Deramus has been promoted to commander of the Tampa Military Entrance Processing Station, Fla.

Deramus has 16 years of military service.

She is the daughter of Lynn Deramus of E. Treetop Lane, Vestavia, and stepdaughter of Vonville Gregory of Emmerson St., Montgomery.

The commander graduated in 1989 from Sidney Lanier High School, Montgomery, and received a bachelor's degree in 1993 from Auburn University.

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Benjamin M. Haseltine graduated from the Army ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) Leader Development and Assessment Course, also known as "Operation Warrior Forge," at Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Wash.

The 32 days of training provide the best possible professional training and evaluation for all cadets in the aspects of military life, administration and logistical support. Although continued military training and leadership development is included in the curriculum, the primary focus of the course is to develop and evaluate each cadet's officer potential as a leader by exercising the cadet's intelligence, common sense, ingenuity and physical stamina. The cadet command assesses each cadet's performance and progress in officer traits, qualities and professionalism while attending the course.

Cadets in their junior and senior year of college must complete the leadership development course. Upon successful completion of the course, the ROTC program, and graduation from college, cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army, National Guard, or Reserve.

The cadet is a student at the University of Virginia.

He is the son of Timothy A. and Pamela M. Haseltine of Scott Lane, Prattville.

Haseltine is a 2006 graduate of Prattville High School.

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LaToya D. Davis 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, basic 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 Auburn University, Montgomery.

She is the daughter of Cynthia L. Davis of Branchway Drive, Millbrook.
Monday, October 19, 2009

Alabama companies awarded defense contracts

Sysco Foodservice of Calera is being awarded a maximum $15,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, for food and beverage service.

Using services are the Air Force, Army, and Navy.

Originally Web solicited with one response, contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Oct. 16, 2010.

The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia.

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Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, Huntsville, was awarded on Sept. 30, 2009 a $57,514,998 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract.

This contract is for a forward area air defense command and control /counter-rocket artillery and mortar (C-RAM) system integration. The C-RAM project office has a requirement for systems integration to include systems engineering and deployment of the C-RAM system.

Work is to be performed in Huntsville with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010.

One sole source bid was solicited with one bid received. U.S. Army Contracting Command Aviation & Missile, Redstone Arsenal, is the contracting activity.

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Clement Group, LLC., Montgomery, was awarded on Sept. 30, 2009 a $15,699,040 firm-fixed-price contract for the design and construction of three battalion Headquarters Buildings for the Battalion Combat Teams Complex's at Jackson Ave-Main Fort Lewis and on North Fort Lewis.

Work is to be performed in Fort Lewis, Wash., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 30, 2011.

Four bids were solicited with two bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, Wash., is the contracting activity.

Hometown News

Army National Guard Pvt. John T. Thornton 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 grandson of Toni and Ronald Ives of Blackberry Road, Deatsville.

Thornton is a 2009 graduate of Holtville High School.

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Army Pfc. Loy'Cory D. Barnett 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 nephew of Jake Hall of Rolind Drive, Montgomery.

Barnett is a 2009 graduate of G.W. Carver Senior High School, Montgomery.

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Army National Guard Pfc. Linkeyton N. Hill is currently deployed to Iraq 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 th0e 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.

Hill is automated logistical specialist normally assigned to the 129th Medical Company at Centreville. The private first class has served in the military for one years.

She is the daughter of Henry Hill of Mobile Highway, Montgomery.

The private is a 2008 graduate of Carver Server High School, Montgomery.

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Army National Guard 1st Lt. Leia A. Thornton is currently deployed to Iraq 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 th0e 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.

Thornton is a physicians assistant normally assigned to Montgomery. The 1st lieutenant has served in the military for three years.

She is the daughter of Roger and Cheryl Humber of Geary Drive, Montgomery.

The lieutenant graduated in 1996 from Montgomery Academy, and received a master's degree in 2005 from the University of South Alabama, Mobile.
Friday, October 9, 2009

Mabus in Mobile


10/07/2009 - Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus tours the Austal shipyards in Mobile, Ala., Oct. 7, 2009, to view the progress of construction on the Navy littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2) and USS Coronado (LCS 4). (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien, U.S. Navy/Released)
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Alabamians in the military

Air Force Airman Tommy J. Giles Jr. graduated from the Network Infrastructure Systems Appentice Course at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss.

The course is designed to train students to sustain network infrastructure, cryptographic equipment, and deployable switching systems and networks in a fixed and deployed environment; and sustain and operate systems through effective troubleshooting, repair, diagnostics and system performance analysis. Additional training includes installing, replacing, repairing and testing communications systems, electronic computer and associated data transmitting, processing and display equipment.

He is the son of Tommy J. and Kimberly K. Giles of Forest Hill Road, Deatsville.

His wife, Amber, is the daughter of Danny K. and Crystal L. Bass of Ski Club Drive, Wetumpka.

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Air National Guard Airman Antoine L. Craig 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.

Craig is the son of Perah Brown of Plummer Court, Montgomery.

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Air Force Reserve Airman Megan Darnell 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 Dianna B. Walls of N.W. Main St., Wetumpka, and David Friday of Central Plank Road, Eclectic.

Darnell is a 2002 graduate of Elmore County High School, Eclectic.
Friday, October 2, 2009

Hometown News: David Benton

Navy Seaman David E. Benton, son of Janet L. and William T. Benton of Brundidge, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill, with honors and was meritoriously promoted to his current rank.

During the eight-week program, Benton 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 is 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.

Benton is a 2009 graduate of Pike County High School of Brundidge.

Hometown News: Adam Shirley

Marine Corps 1st Lt. Adam D. Shirley, son of Mary and Jerry Shirley of Troy, was recently designated a Naval Aviator while serving with Helicopter Training Squadron Eight, Milton, Fla.

Shirley was presented with the coveted "Wings of Gold, " marking the culmination of months of flight training.

Shirley followed a training curriculum that included basic studies in engineering and navigation, training flights in simulators, aircraft familiarizations, basic and advanced instrument training, extended navigation flights, and landings and takeoffs aboard an aircraft carrier.

Shirley joined the Marine Corps in October 1998.
Thursday, October 1, 2009

Local organization donates to troop support project


Recently the Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers Association (ACEOA) made a donation to Strength for Soldiers, a non-profit organization that raises money for the devotional books and helps assist deployed chaplains with items they need.

The ACEOA is a non-profit organization founded by Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officers and concerned citizens whose main objective is Resource Protection through Education.

When they heard about Strength for Soldiers they quickly acted to see what they could do to help. When the ACEOA realized Audra Mickle, a Troy University student, was raising money for Strength for Soldiers they generously donated $500 dollars to the cause.

ACEOA’s Executive Director Rusty Morrow said, “It was an easy decision for us to make as an organization. It’s for a good cause and it’s something we believe in. We are even considering putting Strength for Soldiers in our annual budget.”

An article about Strength for Soldiers ran in the Advertiser in March and since that time, more than $3,000 has been donated to the project, Mickle said.

To make a donation, make checks out to Strength for Soldiers and mail to Strength for Soldiers,
209 Sweet Briar Lane,Prattville, Al 36067

Mickle said donations of any size are welcome and she will put labels inside the book covers letting the soldiers know where and who the books came from. The donations are also tax deductible, Mickle said.

Hometown News: Tobbie Moorer

Air Force Airman 1st Class Tobbie D. Moorer has graduated from the Ground Radio Communications Equipment Apprentice Course at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Miss.

The course is designed to train airmen to employ a diverse combination of communications equipment, which included fixed and mobile, low and ultra high frequency, amplitude and frequency modulation, and different modes of sideband transmission. Students learned to install, maintain, and repair high-powered ground communications equipment, including transmitters, single and multichannel receivers, and transceivers used for voice and data communications with aircraft and worldwide ground stations.

He is the son of Merlinda E. Moorer, and Felix M. Moorer, both of Pleasant Ave., Montgomery.

Moorer is a 2003 graduate of Sidney Lanier Senior 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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