Archive for Military

Cuban MLB player joining U.S. Army Reserve

MLBBrayan Peña, a catcher and first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals in MLB tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he is joining the Army Reserve after this season ends.

Peña tweeted:

Im very proud to announce with the support of my wife & family that i will be joining the ARMY RESERVE this off season ” God Bless America “

Peña just recently came off the disabled list. He previously played for the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, and Kansas City Royals.

Peña was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. His best friend growing up was Yunel Escobar, who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels. Pena defected in 1999 at a tournament in Venenzuela. Escobar would later follow him to Major League Baseball.

Here’s Peña’s tweet from earlier today:

Other MLB players in the military

Just three days ago, the Braves and Marlins played a game on-post at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. One active-duty Army Lieutenant stationed at Bragg was featured during coverage of the game. 2LT Alex Robinette, who appears to be a field artillery officer, was profiled during and after the game. Robinette is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in June 2015 and played for the Staten Island Yankees that season. He has decided not to continue his baseball career and is focused on his career as an Army officer.

A list of other baseball players who served in the military has to begin with Ted Williams, who left baseball in the prime of his career to be a Navy fighter pilot during WWII. He later was a Marine pilot in Korea. Another World War II veteran who played Major League Baseball was Jackie Robinson. There’s a fairly long list of MLB players who have served.

 

Army spending $200K on transgender bathroom?

ArmyA congressman from South Carolina tonight posted on Facebook that the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is constructing a bathroom and shower for a transgender employee that will reportedly cost $200,000. The construction is reportedly taking place at Hartwell Dam, which is a dam in the Savannah River between South Carolina and Georgia.

Congressman Jeff Duncan made a public post on Facebook earlier this evening (screen capture below) reporting that he was informed of this news and is looking into it further. USACE’s facility at the  dam is in South Carolina’s Third District (which Duncan represents) and the nearest municipality of any size is Anderson.

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A couple of questions  come to mind:

  • Is there a women’s bathroom/shower in existence at the USACE facility at Hartwell Dam already?
  • Or is this bathroom and shower being built because there is only a men’s facility already there?

Without knowing these facts, the initial reports are hard to totally digest. No matter what your position on the transgender issues that are in the news lately, it seems like a bit of overkill financially to accomodate one person.

I hope Congressman Duncan will follow up with these details later after he speaks with the commanding general of USACE.

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DoD gives Scientology federal funding for “detox” of Gulf War vets

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Annapolis Capital Gazette:

A detoxification program in Annapolis supported by the Church of Scientology is treating veterans suffering from chronic Gulf War-related conditions.
Treatments are funded by the U.S. Department of Defense through a $633,677 grant issued in September 2010, according to Pentagon officials. The Annapolis office opened in January, Clinical Trial Coordinator Crystal Grant said.
Seven Gulf War veterans have completed the program and at least four plan to begin the regimen next year. One is currently undergoing detoxification, a treatment designed to rid the body of environmental toxins through exercise, sauna therapy and doses of vitamins.
The federal money was awarded to researchers at the University of Albany in New York state, with David O. Carpenter, the director of the school’s Institute for Health and the Environment, as the chief applicant and investigator.
Carpenter said the program is a “preliminary study” intended to find out if there is a scientific basis for the therapy developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard for the church’s detoxification program.
He said the study is the first of its kind to be done by “independent people … in a fashion that’s rigorous and objective.”

The program is also funded by a nonprofit headed by John Travolta, a noted Scientologist.

It sounds a lot like L. Ron Hubbard’s controversial Purification Rundown. More on that has been written by Tony Ortega and Daily Kos. Gulf War Illness has also been called Gulf War Syndrome.

Don Quinn’s honorable military service

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A report published earlier today (and later removed) on This Ain’t Hell (TAH) showed a FOIA reply on service records related to Don Quinn, who failed in a bid for the State Senate and currently serves on the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee. These records and the post, written by a blogger on that site, indicated (incorrectly from all appearances) that Quinn had served but had not served as a combat veteran.

Quinn posted a Release from Active Duty document today that looked legitimate (people who are guilty of stolen valor have been known to fake those sometime but Quinn’s appears to be the real deal) that shows overseas service, among other things. This contradicts the FOIA reply.

Yes, I did send the FOIA reply I obtained to TAH in an attempt to try to sort out the discrepancy between that reply that he didn’t serve overseas and the pictures online of him in DCUs (desert camo uniforms) along with a Third Army combat patch on his right sleeve in one picture. Additionally, the lack of awards and schools for someone who was a NCO seemed weird. I didn’t have any plans to publish anything here at all on the subject and I didn’t intend it as a pitch for a story to TAH unless there was actually something there (I would’ve written a post myself instead of shopping it to someone if that was my goal.)

I know there are nuances with the records from the National Guard and Regular Army based on my own records and a case earlier this year when I was shopped a story on a candidate in Washington County who had done initial entry training on active duty but no other service that was shown on the FOIA request (since National Guard service records outside of active duty days would only be at the state level.) Maybe the USAR has a similar situation or maybe there are some problems in St. Louis that need straightening out. I would urge Mr. Quinn to check that out and get it fixed.

I would also note that Quinn can authorize a release of his complete records to anyone (with personal info redacted.) Delegate-Elect David Vogt, as a part of his abortive congressional campaign, posted his whole service record online and sadly it might be a good idea if other candidates did likewise. It’s sad that this question even comes up ever but that is a byproduct of the scum who actually lie about their service. As I noted when I blogged about Anne Arundel County’s Steve Barr, who lied about being a POW in Vietnam, it would probably be a good idea if the state looked at penalizing those who receive tangible benefits from stolen valor. Another good idea might be mandating that the state MVA allow veterans to verify their service and get that status denoted on a driver’s license, like other states are doing.

I apologize to Don Quinn for setting this chain of events into motion. It was not my intent for any of this to come out unless it was  vetted further and verified. I will note that I never accused Quinn of embellishing his service. I did look into it, but with good reason honestly (based on his track record in other areas.)

Quinn’s record of apparently untrustworthy statements and actions is what caused this research to be started in the first place. The fact that he falsely claimed to have a degree when he didn’t (also reported on by The Sun and The Capital Gazette) is the only thing that made me look into this issue. Additionally, questions about Quinn’s residency and the fact he didn’t register to vote until the day he filed for office were an issue in his primary. Additionally, I noted Quinn’s involvement in a Find Local Pot website, and despite his denials and spin, the local media agreed with that I wrote.

Quinn devoted a good deal of time to writing a screed about me on his website before on the pot website issue and he ranted about me again today (understandably so in this case.) Of course, his primary opponent’s campaign ranted about what I wrote about them before as well. I won’t respond to what Quinn wrote today in the heat of the moment other than to say I don’t personally dislike him. I’d even be open to meeting him for a cup of coffee or tea to clear the air in a cordial fashion.

I don’t think he or Eric Knowles would’ve been able to beat Senator Astle. Quinn proved that he couldn’t beat Astle and Knowles couldn’t beat Quinn. I understand a potential candidate for 2018 is moving into the district and this person has actually gotten elected to office before on more than one occasion. It would be good for the GOP if they had a good candidate to face Astle. All bets would be off with a wide open field if Astle were to retire after this term.

One other thing to note: Don Quinn is a public figure. He ran for office in 2014 and is an elected member of the AA County Central Committee. He has said multiple times he is a candidate in 2018.

Ex-Coastie charged in fraud scheme

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WBAL TV reported on this story and here’s the Anne Arundel Police Department statement:

On December 2, 2014, the Anne Arundel County Police Department was contacted by the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) out of the Coast Guard Yard located at 2401 Hawkins Point Road in Curtis Bay in reference to a fraud scheme being conducted by 28-year-old Sterling Orlando Scott, a recently discharged military member. Eastern District detectives immediately began investigating and collaborating with Coast Guard Special Agents.

CGIS agents indicated that they received information from a Chief Warrant Officer on December 2, 2014, who reported receiving a phone call from an individual that identified himself as “Sergeant Major Reese from Army Emergency Relief” on December 2nd around 1:00 p.m.

The person claiming to be “Sergeant Major Reese” indicated that he had an Army member flying to Baltimore that needed emergency travel assistance. In addition, “Sergeant Major Reese” contacted the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Program at 2401 Hawkins Point Road in Curtis Bay asking for assistance for a soldier named “Orland Scott”, whose wife was reportedly killed in a car accident. The person calling was believed to be the defendant posing as “Sergeant Major Reese”. CGIS agents had developed information that the individual posing as “Orlando Scott” was actually Sterling Orlando Scott who had committed similar schemes under that name at military installations in Galveston, Texas, Yorktown, Pennsylvania, Savannah Georgia and Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

On December 4, 2014, the suspect showed up at the Hawkins Point Road location to receive the funds approved for his alleged crisis. Once he signed for the funds, he was immediately taken into custody by detectives and agents conducting surveillance. The funds the suspect was attempting to fraudulently obtain are to be provided to active military members. Mr. Scott was discharged from the military in November.

Suspect: Sterling Orlando Scott, 28, of 745 Ridge Circle, Chesapeake, VA. The suspect was charged with Theft, Fraud and Document Use to Imply Government Association.

He was charged with defrauding organizations that provide emergency financial support to service members, including his former Coast Guard comrades. Throw the book at him if he’s found guilty. After this post went up, it was written about and linked to by This Ain’t Hell.