Archive for Military

Navy orders Navy Lodges to put Bibles back into rooms

navy-lodge

Stars & Stripes has the breaking news:

Gideons Bibles are going back into Navy lodges.

The Navy on Thursday ordered the Bibles returned to rooms and said it is reviewing a decision by the Navy Exchange to remove them from its worldwide network of military hotels.

Atheists had cheered a victory after a complaint prompted the exchange to begin moving the Bibles to its lost-and-found bins this summer, but the Navy said the decision was made without consulting senior leadership.

“That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes.  “While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned.”

This is a loss for the Freedom From Religion Foundation and for Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

North Korea fires missiles as Pope Francis arrives in South Korea

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Pope Francis is visiting the South Korea this week so Kim Jong -un, leader of North Korea, has decided that country should conduct missile tests.

Yahoo/AP reports:

North Korea fired three short-range projectiles into the sea less than an hour before Pope Francis arrived Thursday for the first papal visit to South Korea in 25 years, South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

The apparent test firing was conducted from Wonsan on the North’s east coast and flew about 220 kilometers (135 miles), according to a ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office policy.

Annual military exercises involving the United States and South Korea start soon.

See the new Army camouflage uniform pattern

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Army officials confirmed what had been heard for the past few months:

The Army has confirmed what Soldiers have been hearing rumors of for months now — a new camouflage pattern for combat uniforms is on the way with a number of improvements.

Beginning in the fall of 2015, the Army will begin issuing to new Soldiers an Army Combat Uniform that bears the Operational Camouflage Pattern. That same uniform will also become available in military clothing sales stores in the summer of 2015.

Soldiers are expected to retire their current uniform and begin wearing the new pattern by the summer of 2018.

More from Army Times:

The Army is calling its new camo the Operational Camouflage Pattern, though it’s been referred to in previous tests as Scorpion W2. It is similar in appearance to Crye Precision’s MultiCam, but was developed by Army Natick Labs in Massachusetts.

Scorpion W2 uses a color palette of muted greens, light beige and dark brown.

The Army confirms the same fabric of the current uniforms will be used and details other changes that are happening and others that might happen:

The uniform bearing the new pattern will be largely the same as what Soldiers wear now, except that the lower leg pockets will be closed by a button instead of the “hook and loop” fabric fastener on the current Army Combat Uniform, or ACU. Soldiers complained that fastener made too much noise in combat environments, officials said. The insert pockets for knee pads and elbow pads will also be removed from the new uniform, according to Program Executive Office Soldier.

Other changes that will be considered by the 2015 Army Uniform Board include:

– elimination of the mandarin collar and replacement with a fold-down design
– change of the infrared square identification for friend or foe, known as the IFF tab
– removal of one of three pen pockets on the ACU sleeve
– elimination of the drawstring on the trouser waistband

These last four potential changes have not yet been approved but are being considered, according to PEO Soldier.

Cost estimates from the Army:

The cost of uniforms with the new pattern will be comparable to the current uniform. At the Fort Myer, Virginia, military clothing sales store, for instance, an ACU top now sells for approximately $45. The pants sell for around $45 as well. A cap sells for about $8.

According to the 2014 pay charts, online at dfas.mil, enlisted Soldiers receive between $439 and $468 annually to buy new uniforms — that includes replacing the outgoing UCP ACU with the Operational Camouflage Pattern ACU.

Army Times has more:

In another potential cost-saving measure, the Army plans to retain wearable items in the Universal Camouflage Pattern and dye them coyote brown.

The Army is seeking to over-dye existing Modular Lightweight Load carrying Equipment (MOLLE) and Improved Outer Tactical Vests (IOTV) that are the digital Universal Camouflage Pattern to create a darker color that more closely matches coyote brown.

South Carolina ranked #1 in Most Patriotic States

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Movoto (via The State) ranks the 10 Most Patriotic States:

  1. South Carolina
  2. Maine
  3. North Carolina
  4. Wyoming
  5. Virginia
  6. Florida
  7. Georgia
  8. Alaska
  9. Alabama
  10. Arizona

Maryland ranks 30th.

The criteria used for the rankings:

  • National Historic Landmarks per Capita
  • Veterans per Capita
  • Money Spent to Fund Veterans
  • Percent of Residents That Voted in the Last Presidential Election
  • People Who Google For American Flags to buy
  • People Who List America as an Interest on Facebook

Report: Email may exist proving Bergdahl swap driven by VA scandal

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Shannon Grady of Politichicks (Hat Tip: Young Cons) reports on a recent town hall held by Congressman Mick Mulvaney in South Carolina:

According to Congressman Mulvaney, there is believed to be an email from officials inside the White House exclaiming, “The VA scandal is killing us and we need to move on the Bergdahl trade without going through Congress.” If this email exist and can be brought forward as evidence it will certainly eliminate the President’s claim that he acted in the event of an emergency. Given the bi-partisan furor which ensued after he took such unilateral action, it seems clear that this would be the best path for impeachment.

Could this lead to impeachment if this email does exist?

7 Facts you should know about the U.S. Army on its 239th Birthday

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Saturday (June 14, 2014) is the 239th Army Birthday (and it’s also Flag Day.) Here are some facts about the United States Army that you may or may not know already.

  1. Almost 70% of all Medals of Honor have been awarded to soldiers in the U.S. Army. Figures from August 2013 show that 2,403 Medals of Honor had been awarded to soldiers while 3,468 had been awarded to service members in all branches combined. 1198 of the Army Medal of Honor recipients were awarded the medal for actions during the Civil War.
  2. The youngest officer to become a General in the Army was only 20 years old. Galusha Pennypacker, of Pennsylvania, enlisted in the Army at the age of 16 in 1861. He received a brevet promotion in January 1865 to Brigadier General after the Battle of Fort Fisher. He received a full promotion to that rank a month later and also received the Medal of Honor for those actions. After the war, he continued in the regular Army as a Colonel. George Armstrong Custer was also one of the youngest officers promoted to general during the Civil War. He was promoted from Captain to Brigadier General only three days before the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
  3.  Henry “Hap” Arnold was the only person to hold the rank of five-star general in two branches of the military. Arnold became a five-star general (General of the Army) and was only behind Marshall, MacArthur, and Eisenhower in seniority at that rank. He retired in 1946 and a law passed by Congress in 1949 made his last rank General of the Air Force – since the Air Force didn’t exist as a separate branch until 1947.
  4. The oldest active duty regiment in the Army is the Old Guard. The Old Guard has been designated as the 3rd Infantry Regiment since 1815. Before that, it was organized as the First American Regiment in 1784. There have been five Medal of Honor recipients who served in the 3rd Infantry Regiment – the last was during Vietnam. In addition to the ceremonial units at Fort Myer adjacent to Arlington Cemetery, 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Regiment is at Fort Lewis, Washington. That battalion is equipped with Stryker armored fighting vehicles (wheeled) and is part of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division. UPDATE: One highly-knowledgeable reader points out that the “oldest continuously-serving unit in the Regular Army is D Battery, 1st Bn, 5th Field Artillery” that was formed as Alexander Hamilton’s Battery during the Revolution.
  5. The earliest actions that an African-American soldier received the Medal of Honor for resulted in William H. Carney receiving the MOH. While he actually received the Medal in 1900, the actions he earned it for took place on July 18, 1863 at Battery Wagner on Morris Island in South Carolina. Carney served in the 54th Massachusetts, the unit immortalized in the movie Glory.
  6. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was an Army operation. Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark could choose any member of the Regular Army or the Militia to be a member of their Corps of Discovery. The expedition was funded by the War Department and the Army Quartermaster procured supplies for it. The soldiers were split into squads and were in uniform for the whole expedition.
  7. The Army Astronaut Badge is said to be the rarest badge issued by the U.S. Army. As of 2008, around 15 soldiers had earned it. Most of them have been graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

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Starbucks manager reportedly told employees to throw away military hats from display

Starbucks-Logo

WIS reports on something quite disturbing that reportedly took place at a Starbucks in Columbia, South Carolina:

Dan Ramsey noticed something was different about the Starbucks in Trenholm Plaza in Forest Acres. Military hats that used to hang on a wall in the store, were no longer there.

“One in particular is someone I know, and that person is no longer with us,” said Ramsey, a medically retired Marine.

According to a spokeswoman for Starbucks, the hats were taken down during renovation and intended to be put back up.

Two former employees, Stephanie Campbell and Andrew Moseley, said that they originally understood that the hats would be put back up too.

However, they soon found out otherwise:

Until, they say, the general manager asked employees to get rid of the hats.

“They told us to throw them away,” said Moseley. “I just took them with me. I wasn’t going to let somebody else throw them away.”

Campbell and Moseley gave the hats to Ramsey earlier this week, but Starbucks wants them back now:

The spokeswoman says the company recognizes “how meaningful the hats are to customers” and would like them to be put back on the wall.

According to the spokeswoman, they are working internally to determine what may have happened at the Starbucks branch in Trenholm Plaza.

This Starbucks location is just over a mile or so from Gate 2 at Fort Jackson, which is the most heavily trafficked entrance to the Army post. It’s already on Starbucks’ radar screen now and they are scrambling to try to fix the situation. However, if you feel the need, you can email them.

Kudos to Stephanie Campbell and Andrew Moseley for saving the hats from being thrown away.

May 27, 1942: Dorie Miller received Navy Cross for Pearl Harbor heroism

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From the AP’s Today in History article for May 27:

In 1942, Navy Cook 3rd Class Doris “Dorie” Miller became the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross for his “extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety” during Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

Dorie Miller was born in 1919 in Waco, Texas. Miller dropped out of school and was turned down for the Civilian Conservation Corps. He worked on the family farmer until his enlistment. He enlisted in the Navy in 1939 and became a Mess Attendant, 3rd Class. That was one of the only ratings open to African-Americans at the time.  After his training, he was assigned to the ammunition ship Pyro before being assigned to the USS West Virginia and eventually being promoted to Ship’s Cook, Third Class.

On December 7, 1941, Miller served breakfast and then was collecting laundry when the first Japanese torpedo hit the ship. Miller’s battle station had been destroyed so he aided officers in moving the wounded Captain and then helped man an anti-aircraft machine gun.  He also helped move wounded shipmates to the quarterdeck before eventually abandoning ship as West Virginia sank.

About a week later, he was transferred to the USS Indianapolis. A list of commendations released in January 1942 included “an unnamed Negro” and the NAACP asked President Franklin D. Roosevelt to award that unnamed man a Distinguished Service Cross. When Miller’s identity was discovered, there was legislation suggesting he be given the Medal of Honor and a newspaper pushed for him to be sent to the U.S. Naval Academy. 

On May 27, 1942, aboard the USS Enterprise, Admiral Chester Nimitz awarded the Navy Cross to Dorie Miller.

From the citation:

For distinguished devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and disregard for his own personal safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. While at the side of his Captain on the bridge, Miller, despite enemy strafing and bombing and in the face of a serious fire, assisted in moving his Captain, who had been mortally wounded, to a place of greater safety, and later manned and operated a machine gun directed at enemy Japanese attacking aircraft until ordered to leave the bridge.

Miller came back to the U.S. and went on a war bond speaking tour. He was also featured on recruiting posters. On May 15, 1943, he was promoted to Petty Officer and assigned to the USS Liscome Bay. A Japanese submarine sank the ship in November 1943 and Miller was declared missing action. A year later he was officially presumed to be dead.

There have been several pieces of popular culture focused on Miller. In 2010, he was featured on a postage stamp and in 2007 a new biography of Miller was published. In 2001, Cuba Gooding, Jr. portrayed Miller in the movie Pearl Harbor.

Watch Video of the 2014 Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage

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New Advent embeds the Catholic News Agency video below showing veterans and military personnel making a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes:

I previously wrote about this pilgrimage.

From the pilgrimage website:

The 2014 Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage for Wounded or Disabled Military Personnel for the 56th Annual International Military Pilgrimage will take place on May 13-19, 2014.

The pilgrimage, sponsored by the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and the Knights of Columbus, is the latest event in a long history of both organization’s involvement in Lourdes and in service to the military.

Wounded or disabled military personnel and their essential companion-caregivers will travel to the Marian shrine for a time of resting, praying, and healing. The five-day pilgrimage will consist of a number of spectacular and spiritual events, including: a war memorial ceremony, special Masses and events for the American pilgrims, Eucharistic procession and benediction, and a grand closing ceremony that draws tens of thousands to the sacred shrine.

2014 Memorial Day Weekend Wrap-Up

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A recap of my Memorial Day Weekend posts:

  • There are a lot of people who either don’t know the difference (or don’t want to know) between Veterans Day and Memorial Day. I addressed that issue, and since then there have been a couple of people in the comments insisting the holidays are the same. I’ll be nice and not say what I really think of that.
  • I did also write about one blogger who apparently didn’t know the difference between the two holidays and then promptly politicized it.
  • One person who got it right for Memorial Day was Senator John Cornyn.
  • I wrote about the service and sacrifice of Neil J. Damato and Anthony P. Damato. The Damato brothers were my wife’s great-uncles who gave their lives in World War II. Neil was bombardier on a B-17 that was shot down in November 1943. Anthony threw himself onto a grenade to save his fellow Marines in February 1944. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
  • I also wrote about Medal of Honor Recipient Emil Kapaun. Father Kapaun was a Chaplain who died as a prisoner of war in Korea. He has been declared a Servant of God by the Catholic church – which means he is at the first step of the journey to sainthood.
  • Clemson University has 448 fallen alumni on its Scroll of Honor. Iwrote about some of those men, including Rudolf Anderson and Jimmy Dyess. Dyess was a Medal of Honor recipient who died in the Battle of Kwajalein. Anderson was the first recipient ever of the Air Force Cross and died when the U-2 he was piloting was shot down over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • I previewed the National Memorial Day Parade and the celebrities participating in it. I also wrote about the Grand Marshal of the parade, Dick Cole, who was Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot on the Doolittle Raid.
  • I also offered a prayer for Memorial Day.