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View Poll Results: Are you a Veteran???
I served in the Army 24 46.15%
I served in the Navy 5 9.62%
I served in the Air Force 7 13.46%
I served in the Coast Guard 1 1.92%
I'm a United States Marine 5 9.62%
I served in the Army Nat'l Guard 2 3.85%
I served in the Air National Guard 1 1.92%
I served in a Reserve Component (please specify) 3 5.77%
I served in the Armed Forces of another country 4 7.69%
Voters: 52. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:33 PM   #61
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:30 PM   #62
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I know that Veteran's Day has come and gone...
I wanted to share with you a link my dad sent to me...
Besides every day should be Veteran's Day!

If anyone is interested in the photo's that I took this last Wednesday of one of our local boys last journey home... You can find them on my FB, if you aren't a friend there and would like to be added please feel free to contact me...




http://00f2630.netsolhost.com/farewellmarine.html
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Old 12-01-2010, 12:34 PM   #63
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I was not sure where to post this article. I chose this thread out of respect for the Marine Corps and all that serve. In general, I try not to post too much of my own editorial when posting articles because I hope you will form your own opinion based on some critical analysis. Not on what I or others may think and/or what is the popular opinion.

I will admit that I come from a family with some of that Marine Corp ethos. My father is a retired Marine and served in Korea. It was my goal to be a Marine but because of physical limitations, I could not serve upon turning 18 years old.

Of course most of us here most likely believe "Don't Ask Don't Tell" should be repealed and here is yet another moment, piece of information to consider "why."

__________________________________________________ _______________

The few. The proud. The problem. Can the Corps' warrior ethos accept openly gay Marines?

By Tammy S. Schultz

Sunday, November 21, 2010; B01



Tammy S. Schultz is director of national security and joint warfare at the U.S. Marine Corps War College. The views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Marine Corps University.

After 17 years, "don't ask, don't tell" may finally be on its way out. Even if the Senate resists the latest efforts to end the policy, it appears that most members of the military - from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on down - support the law's repeal.

But there's one part of the military where resistance is greater than in any other: the United States Marine Corps.

That is clear from early reports about a survey sent to 400,000 active duty and reserve service members on "don't ask, don't tell" that will be officially released next month. More than 70 percent of respondents, spanning all branches of the military, said the effect of repealing the prohibition on openly gay troops would be positive, mixed or nonexistent. But about 40 percent of the Marine Corps respondents expressed concern about lifting the ban.

Top Corps leaders, past and present, haven't been shy about stating their concerns. While serving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said in 2007 that "homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and . . . we should not condone immoral acts." (He later clarified that the comment reflected his personal religious views.) While serving as Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James Conway told reporters in August that "an overwhelming majority [of Marines] would like not to be roomed with a person that is openly homosexual." Most recently, the current commandant, Gen. James Amos, while expressing support for the survey, echoed Conway's comments, eliciting a mild rebuke from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen.

What is it about the Marines? Compared with the other services, why do a disproportionate number of them overtly resist ending "don't ask, don't tell"?
I have studied, taught and interviewed Marines for 15 years and have gained great appreciation for the history and culture of the Corps, so much so, in fact, that I began teaching at the Marine Corps War College in Quantico almost three years ago.

Marines have survived and thrived as a service in part because they exemplify everything warrior. (I have never seen as many trucks with gun racks as I do driving on the Quantico base.) They pride themselves on being the toughest service, serving in the most austere environments under the most demanding circumstances. This pride has been forged throughout history, from Iwo Jima to Khe Sanh, from Fallujah to Helmand province.

In the Corps, the creed that "every Marine is a rifleman" means that no matter the Marine's specialty, he or she is ready to fight. Marines do battle where the stakes are high and the quarters close. Although they have individual specialties, they all have infantry in their blood.

As a rule, ground pounders are more conservative, resistant to change and likely to uphold tradition. This equates to a fear of the unknown - in this case, serving in combat with an openly gay Marine.

Every Marine sees himself or herself as on the front lines, if not at the moment, then ready to deploy at any time. The Marine Corps is a smaller service than the other branches, with a greater singularity of purpose. That attitude is part of Marine Corps exceptionalism broadly, as well as when it comes to the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." Anything that could dilute the warrior ethos will face a challenge.

I am an openly gay woman, equally comfortable at Quantico and in Dupont Circle. Each of these worlds holds negative stereotypes about the other, and like all stereotypes, they tend to break down on an individual level. Yet for some in both cultures, the notion of a gay Marine seems almost impossible, as though this most masculine and punishing service simply isn't for gay people.

You don't need to spend time with Marines, as I have, to realize how important the warrior ethos is to them. Simply turn on the television and see how the Corps markets itself: Do you have what it takes to join the few, the proud? When discussing their high retention numbers with the Marine Corps leadership a few years ago, I was told that the Corps prides itself on not having to pay big bonuses, as the other branches do, to keep people in the force - the honor of being a Marine is all the reward offered or desired. It's part of why there are no former Marines, only retired Marines. Once you've joined the tribe, unless you do something that goes against the Corps' values of honor, courage and commitment, you never leave.

In the Marines, anything that seems to contradict or challenge that warrior culture is treated like a foreign particle entering a body's immune system - it is rejected. This visceral reaction will not change if we dismiss those who value these traditions.

But the Marine Corps culture itself, I believe, will eventually lead the service to support the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

Although I am not closeted, the fact that I am gay does not come up in my job as a professor at the War College. Nor should it. I am not a Marine. I have not been in combat with Marines. The students at the college are the future leaders of the Corps, and I lead respectful debates in class on issues from grand strategy to counterinsurgency operations. I'm sure that my sexuality does not fit with the private views of every Marine. But it doesn't have to. I was hired by the college as a professional and honored as the 2010 outstanding Marine Corps University civilian professor. In my experience with the Marines, professionalism trumps sexuality.

I am very sympathetic to the strain that the Marine Corps is under and would never support a policy change that I thought would hurt the Corps in a time of war. I have researched the implications of repealing the law, willing to land wherever the facts led me. The argument that we can't repeal the policy because it would impair troops on the ground from carrying out their missions is specious; the opposition to the policy on practical or logistical grounds is surmountable.


The values of honor, courage and commitment are inseparable from the Marines. By definition, gay and lesbian Marines break one or more of these core tenets every time they have to hide or lie about who they are. Eventually, gay Marines must out themselves by upholding Corps values, or continue compromising the very values that make them Marines.

Repealing "don't ask, don't tell" would not mean that hundreds of gay and lesbian Marines would immediately come out of the closet. But it would mean that they could keep their personal and professional integrity. The examples from other countries where homosexuals are allowed to serve suggest that many will go about their lives as normal, but without the fear of being discharged if discovered.

The key to reconciling Marine culture with the open service of gay men and women will not be found among the rank and file or even among closeted service members; it must come from Corps leaders. Most research on how to integrate minority groups into the military has a common thread: the utmost importance of leadership to the process. The fact that the current and prior Marine commandants have expressed discomfort at the prospect of the demise of "don't ask, don't tell" is unfortunate because the generals risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, hurting the Corps they desire to protect.

"Don't ask, don't tell" will be reversed in time. And as the military survey indicates, a majority of the Corps does not see a risk in the repeal. How the change affects the Marines is up to the leadership. A Marine officer once told me that, besides all Marines being riflemen and riflewomen, what sets them apart is discipline: "If the law changes," he said, "we will comply with the law. You can take that to the bank."

I believe he's right. The United States Marine Corps is the most professional force in the world. There is no reason to think that it will be less adept at integrating gays than Britain, Canada or Australia (just three of the 26 countries that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network).

The current leadership should look to a fellow Marine for guidance. Staff Sgt. Eric Alva stepped on a landmine and lost his right leg only three hours into ground operations in Iraq in 2003; he was the first service member to be wounded there. He also happens to be gay. Alva received a medical discharge and has gone on to work for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." At an event in 2007, he came out publicly, saying, "I'm an American who fought for his country and for the protection and the rights and freedoms of all American citizens - not just some of them, but all of them."

The Marine Corps leadership should not only accept such sacrifices but honor those who make them. The Corps' motto, "semper fidelis," means "always faithful." There is no qualifier for sexual orientation. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?tid=obinsite
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:15 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyson View Post
I was not sure where to post this article. I chose this thread out of respect for the Marine Corps and all that serve. In general, I try not to post too much of my own editorial when posting articles because I hope you will form your own opinion based on some critical analysis. Not on what I or others may think and/or what is the popular opinion.

I will admit that I come from a family with some of that Marine Corp ethos. My father is a retired Marine and served in Korea. It was my goal to be a Marine but because of physical limitations, I could not serve upon turning 18 years old.

Of course most of us here most likely believe "Don't Ask Don't Tell" should be repealed and here is yet another moment, piece of information to consider "why."

__________________________________________________ _______________

The few. The proud. The problem. Can the Corps' warrior ethos accept openly gay Marines?

By Tammy S. Schultz

Sunday, November 21, 2010; B01



Tammy S. Schultz is director of national security and joint warfare at the U.S. Marine Corps War College. The views expressed here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Marine Corps University.

After 17 years, "don't ask, don't tell" may finally be on its way out. Even if the Senate resists the latest efforts to end the policy, it appears that most members of the military - from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on down - support the law's repeal.

But there's one part of the military where resistance is greater than in any other: the United States Marine Corps.

That is clear from early reports about a survey sent to 400,000 active duty and reserve service members on "don't ask, don't tell" that will be officially released next month. More than 70 percent of respondents, spanning all branches of the military, said the effect of repealing the prohibition on openly gay troops would be positive, mixed or nonexistent. But about 40 percent of the Marine Corps respondents expressed concern about lifting the ban.

Top Corps leaders, past and present, haven't been shy about stating their concerns. While serving as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said in 2007 that "homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and . . . we should not condone immoral acts." (He later clarified that the comment reflected his personal religious views.) While serving as Marine Corps commandant, Gen. James Conway told reporters in August that "an overwhelming majority [of Marines] would like not to be roomed with a person that is openly homosexual." Most recently, the current commandant, Gen. James Amos, while expressing support for the survey, echoed Conway's comments, eliciting a mild rebuke from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen.

What is it about the Marines? Compared with the other services, why do a disproportionate number of them overtly resist ending "don't ask, don't tell"?
I have studied, taught and interviewed Marines for 15 years and have gained great appreciation for the history and culture of the Corps, so much so, in fact, that I began teaching at the Marine Corps War College in Quantico almost three years ago.

Marines have survived and thrived as a service in part because they exemplify everything warrior. (I have never seen as many trucks with gun racks as I do driving on the Quantico base.) They pride themselves on being the toughest service, serving in the most austere environments under the most demanding circumstances. This pride has been forged throughout history, from Iwo Jima to Khe Sanh, from Fallujah to Helmand province.

In the Corps, the creed that "every Marine is a rifleman" means that no matter the Marine's specialty, he or she is ready to fight. Marines do battle where the stakes are high and the quarters close. Although they have individual specialties, they all have infantry in their blood.

As a rule, ground pounders are more conservative, resistant to change and likely to uphold tradition. This equates to a fear of the unknown - in this case, serving in combat with an openly gay Marine.

Every Marine sees himself or herself as on the front lines, if not at the moment, then ready to deploy at any time. The Marine Corps is a smaller service than the other branches, with a greater singularity of purpose. That attitude is part of Marine Corps exceptionalism broadly, as well as when it comes to the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." Anything that could dilute the warrior ethos will face a challenge.

I am an openly gay woman, equally comfortable at Quantico and in Dupont Circle. Each of these worlds holds negative stereotypes about the other, and like all stereotypes, they tend to break down on an individual level. Yet for some in both cultures, the notion of a gay Marine seems almost impossible, as though this most masculine and punishing service simply isn't for gay people.

You don't need to spend time with Marines, as I have, to realize how important the warrior ethos is to them. Simply turn on the television and see how the Corps markets itself: Do you have what it takes to join the few, the proud? When discussing their high retention numbers with the Marine Corps leadership a few years ago, I was told that the Corps prides itself on not having to pay big bonuses, as the other branches do, to keep people in the force - the honor of being a Marine is all the reward offered or desired. It's part of why there are no former Marines, only retired Marines. Once you've joined the tribe, unless you do something that goes against the Corps' values of honor, courage and commitment, you never leave.

In the Marines, anything that seems to contradict or challenge that warrior culture is treated like a foreign particle entering a body's immune system - it is rejected. This visceral reaction will not change if we dismiss those who value these traditions.

But the Marine Corps culture itself, I believe, will eventually lead the service to support the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

Although I am not closeted, the fact that I am gay does not come up in my job as a professor at the War College. Nor should it. I am not a Marine. I have not been in combat with Marines. The students at the college are the future leaders of the Corps, and I lead respectful debates in class on issues from grand strategy to counterinsurgency operations. I'm sure that my sexuality does not fit with the private views of every Marine. But it doesn't have to. I was hired by the college as a professional and honored as the 2010 outstanding Marine Corps University civilian professor. In my experience with the Marines, professionalism trumps sexuality.

I am very sympathetic to the strain that the Marine Corps is under and would never support a policy change that I thought would hurt the Corps in a time of war. I have researched the implications of repealing the law, willing to land wherever the facts led me. The argument that we can't repeal the policy because it would impair troops on the ground from carrying out their missions is specious; the opposition to the policy on practical or logistical grounds is surmountable.


The values of honor, courage and commitment are inseparable from the Marines. By definition, gay and lesbian Marines break one or more of these core tenets every time they have to hide or lie about who they are. Eventually, gay Marines must out themselves by upholding Corps values, or continue compromising the very values that make them Marines.

Repealing "don't ask, don't tell" would not mean that hundreds of gay and lesbian Marines would immediately come out of the closet. But it would mean that they could keep their personal and professional integrity. The examples from other countries where homosexuals are allowed to serve suggest that many will go about their lives as normal, but without the fear of being discharged if discovered.

The key to reconciling Marine culture with the open service of gay men and women will not be found among the rank and file or even among closeted service members; it must come from Corps leaders. Most research on how to integrate minority groups into the military has a common thread: the utmost importance of leadership to the process. The fact that the current and prior Marine commandants have expressed discomfort at the prospect of the demise of "don't ask, don't tell" is unfortunate because the generals risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, hurting the Corps they desire to protect.

"Don't ask, don't tell" will be reversed in time. And as the military survey indicates, a majority of the Corps does not see a risk in the repeal. How the change affects the Marines is up to the leadership. A Marine officer once told me that, besides all Marines being riflemen and riflewomen, what sets them apart is discipline: "If the law changes," he said, "we will comply with the law. You can take that to the bank."

I believe he's right. The United States Marine Corps is the most professional force in the world. There is no reason to think that it will be less adept at integrating gays than Britain, Canada or Australia (just three of the 26 countries that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network).

The current leadership should look to a fellow Marine for guidance. Staff Sgt. Eric Alva stepped on a landmine and lost his right leg only three hours into ground operations in Iraq in 2003; he was the first service member to be wounded there. He also happens to be gay. Alva received a medical discharge and has gone on to work for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." At an event in 2007, he came out publicly, saying, "I'm an American who fought for his country and for the protection and the rights and freedoms of all American citizens - not just some of them, but all of them."

The Marine Corps leadership should not only accept such sacrifices but honor those who make them. The Corps' motto, "semper fidelis," means "always faithful." There is no qualifier for sexual orientation. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...l?tid=obinsite
Thank you greyson!!! I agree with every word this person wrote. Very well explained , to inform a person who has no clue of the Marine Corps enviroment.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:41 PM   #65
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President Obama has pledged to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", and I just added my name to the growing list of Americans in support of repealing this discriminatory law.

Will you join me?

http://my.barackobama.com/repeal_DADT-EMS
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:48 PM   #66
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:43 PM   #67
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Send a Soldier a CARD Red Cross here.

Holiday Mail For Heroes is back for a fourth year! The American Red Cross and Pitney Bowes will collect holiday cards from regular citizens all across the country and distribute them to service members, veterans, and their families. Many active service members must spend the holidays apart from their family. Give back this holiday season by sending a card to thank those who have given a great deal to their country.

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After the mailbox closes, the cards we received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:14 AM   #68
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Today is December 7, on this date in 1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, HI.
Remembering our fallen, and our Veterans.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:13 PM   #69
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It appears the late actress Bea Arthur served as a Marine for a little over one month.

See her military file at the link below.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/file/bea-arthur-marine-file?page=0
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December 9, 2010

Celebrity Bea Arthur Was A Truck-Driving MarineDespite denial, records detail star’s military career


While she strangely denied serving in the armed forces, military records show that the actress Bea Arthur spent 30 months in the Marine Corps, where she was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and spent time as a typist and a truck driver.

The "Maude" and "The Golden Girls" star, who died last year at age 86, enlisted in early-1943 when she was 21 (and known as Bernice Frankel). In a February 1943 letter included in her Marine personnel file, Arthur gave military officials a brief account of her prior employment as a food analyst at a Maryland packing plant, a hospital lab technician, and an office worker at a New York loan company.

Arthur was due to start a new job, but she “heard last week that enlistments for women in the Marines were open, so decided the only thing to do was to join.” While she hoped for an assignment in ground aviation, Arthur noted that she was “willing to get in now and do whatever is desired of me until such time as ground schools are organized.” She added, “As far as hobbies are concerned, I’ve dabbled in music and dramatics.”

As part of the enlistment process, Arthur underwent interviews that resulted in the production of “personality appraisal” sheets. One such analysis described her conversation as “Argumentative” and her attitude and manner as “Over aggressive.” In a handwritten note, the Marine interviewer remarked, “Officious--but probably a good worker--if she has her own way!”

Arthur is pictured here in an official Marine photo taken shortly after her enlistment. A second undated portrait can be seen above.

Arthur, who was fingerprinted during enlistment, started basic training in March 1943 and was initially assigned as a typist at Marine headquarters in Washington, D.C.. Over the following two years, Arthur was stationed at Marine Corps and Navy air stations in Virginia and North Carolina. During her military career, Arthur’s rank went from private to corporal to sergeant to staff sergeant, the title she held upon her honorable discharge in September 1945, according to one document.

On a Marine qualification card that included a section titled “Talent for furnishing public entertainment,” Arthur is credited for “piano & organ 13 years” and “contralto-orchestra.” Her “active hobbies” included hunting with a .22 caliber rifle and “bow and arrow.”

A year after her enlistment, Arthur married a fellow Marine, Private Robert Aurthur, in a ceremony presided over by a city judge in Ithaca, New York. She then formally had her named changed in military records to Bernice Aurthur. It would change again, to Bea Arthur, as she started her post-military career as an actress.

The military records, released in response to a Freedom of Informaton Act request, include a single “misconduct report” filed against Arthur while she was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina. That misconduct determination stemmed from Arthur’s contracting of a venereal disease, which left her “incapacitated for duty” for five weeks in late-1944. As a result, her pay was reduced for that period.

For some reason, Arthur did not speak about her time with the Marines. In fact, in a videotaped interview (excerpted below) conducted as part of an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences archives project, Arthur flatly denied serving in the military. When an interviewer said that she had read somewhere that Arthur had once joined the Marines, the actress answered, “Oh, no. No.” She then continued a chronological review of her life by noting that, in 1947, she enrolled in dramatic school in New York. (5 pages)


http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documen...driving-marine
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:38 AM   #70
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Default DADT Repeal being signed.


I sit here watching it live on CNN.

Tears stream down my face for those who know, and those who do not. For those who ended their careers and their lives for coming out in the military.

For those who fought for this for years, and for those that have risen above and know our truth. Now we can serve openly and proud.

Honorably Discharged, but by the grace of God.

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Old 12-22-2010, 09:18 AM   #71
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I sit here watching it live on CNN.

Tears stream down my face for those who know, and those who do not. For those who ended their careers and their lives for coming out in the military.

For those who fought for this for years, and for those that have risen above and know our truth. Now we can serve openly and proud.

Honorably Discharged, but by the grace of God.


I couldn't have said it better, Tommi, thank you!!!

I wholly share your thoughts and sentiments on this important day. I am keeping, in my thoughts, all the good Marines and Sailors (and Airmen, Soldiers and Coasties), especially, whom I knew, who lost careers and lives to an unfair and discriminatory policy. I hope they can all find some kind of resolution and peace that another good Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine or Coastie won't have to endure and lose what they did.

Semper Fi......for ALL of us.



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Old 01-24-2011, 09:27 AM   #72
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Default A little tribute.....

For those of us who didn't know until now, Major Richard "Dick" Winters, who commanded Easy Company, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101 Airborne, passed away at age 92 this past January 2. He and the story of the heroes of Easy Company during WWII was immortalized in the HBO series "Band of Brothers".

Even though this very celebrated unit was so highly profiled with this wonderfully done miniseries, I think it's important that we all remember that these guys were just a handful of the men and women who so proudly served before us in our nation's wars and yes, even in peacetime. One of my most favorite and memorable quotes from this series was spoken in narrative in the episode called "The Last Patrol". I have remembered these words so often, over the years, as I've worked with so many of these wonderful, proud Veterans at the VA.

"How could anyone ever know of the price paid by soldiers in terror, agony and bloodshed if they'd never been to places like Normandy, Bastogne or Haguenau?"
--- spoken by David Webster, Band of Brothers.

You know, you could almost substitute the words of "Normandy, Bastogne or Haguenau" with almost any location where soldiers have given so much, including and up to the ultimate sacrifice.

So, here's to Major Dick Winters. May he and the so many others who passed before, rest in peace.



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Old 01-24-2011, 11:36 AM   #73
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For those of us who didn't know until now, Major Richard "Dick" Winters, who commanded Easy Company, 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101 Airborne, passed away at age 92 this past January 2. He and the story of the heroes of Easy Company during WWII was immortalized in the HBO series "Band of Brothers".
I have to blame Goofy for my watching this show at all. He kept talking about it. I finally had to see what he was all about.

It was incredibly well done. I noted Maj. Winters passing and felt both sad and proud. His group's tale made the horrors of WWII real for me. My best friend's g-father was on the beach at Normandy and survived. He still has effects from that.
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Old 04-28-2011, 12:14 AM   #74
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I found out, a few days ago, that my mother's brother, my 87 year old Uncle Bud, a WWII Veteran of the U.S. Army (European Theater), made it to Washington, DC, on an Honor Flight, to see the WWII Memorial on the National Mall. He was escorted by my cousin, Kathy.

I'm so very proud of him and even happier that he got a chance, in his lifetime, to see the memorial dedicated to him and the other servicemen/women of his generation who fought and won a World War on 2 fronts. They are, indeed, The Greatest Generation.

For those not familiar with the Honor Flight, you can find more info on this at:

www.honorflight.org



Semper Fi,
~Theo~
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:38 PM   #75
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Default VA Directive Issued on Respectful Delivery of Healthcare to Transgender and Intersex Veterans

VA Directive Issued on Respectful Delivery of Healthcare to Transgender and Intersex Veterans

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has issued a Directive to all of its facilities establishing a policy of respectful delivery of healthcare to transgender and intersex veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system or are otherwise eligible for VA care. The Directive reiterates that under existing regulations sex reassignment surgery cannot be performed or paid for by the VA and that all other medically necessary healthcare for transgender veterans is covered, including transition-related care such as hormones and mental health services. It also indicates that all VA staff must provide care to transgender patients "without discrimination in a manner consistent with care and management of all Veteran patients." (Directive on www.va.gov )

By setting an example of how healthcare providers in both the public and private sector should be treating transgender patients, this Directive is an important first step in securing equal access for transgender and Intersex veterans, and healthcare access for transgender people generally.


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Old 07-02-2011, 05:45 AM   #76
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Served in the Swedish army (as did all men in Sweden, unless you had a medical reason, or some other reason for not being able to).
Served as Kustjägare, which translated would be Coast Hunter or Hunter of the Coast, part of both army and navy, and like a Marine this is someting I Am, for life.
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:46 AM   #77
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A truly moving story about a gay soldier (openly so)who was killed in Afghanistan in February of this year. What moved me to tears was his father's comments about his son's right to die but not to marry. Click here.

Happy 4th of July, y'all. Thanks for the work you did and are doing.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:48 AM   #78
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Default Queer Discharged Vets Trying to Re-enlist

NY Times
September 4, 2011

By JAMES DAO

Discharged for Being Gay, Veterans Seek to Re-enlist

They lived shadow lives in the military, afraid that disclosure of their sexuality would ruin carefully plotted careers. Many were deeply humiliated by drawn-out investigations and unceremonious discharges.

Yet despite their bitter partings with the armed forces, many gay men and lesbians who were discharged under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy say they want to rejoin the service, drawn by a life they miss or stable pay and benefits they could not find in civilian life.

By some estimates, hundreds of gay men and lesbians among the more than 13,000 who were discharged under the policy have contacted recruiters or advocacy groups saying they want to re-enlist after the policy is repealed on Sept. 20.

Bleu Copas is one. He had been in the Army for just three years when someone sent an anonymous e-mail to his commanders telling them he was gay. After he was discharged in 2006 under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the military’s ban on openly gay troops, “It took away all my value as a person,” he recalled.

Michael Almy is another. When the Air Force began its investigation into whether he was gay, it suspended his security clearance and relieved him of his command. On his final day in service in 2006, police officers escorted him to the gate. “It left kind of a bitter taste,” he said.

Though the Pentagon says it will welcome their applications, former service members discharged for homosexuality will not be granted special treatment. They will have to pass physical fitness tests and prove that they have skills the armed services need right now. Some will have aged to the point that they will need waivers to get back in.

Even if they pass those hurdles, there is no guarantee that they will go back to their former jobs or ranks. And because the armed services are beginning to shrink, some will be rejected because there are no available slots.

People discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” who wish to return to service “will be evaluated according to the same criteria and requirements applicable to all others seeking re-entry into the military,” said Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokeswoman. “The services will continue to base accessions of prior-service members on the needs of the service and the skills and qualifications of the applicants.”

To be eligible for re-enlistment, former service members cannot have been discharged under “other than honorable conditions,” Ms. Lainez said. The majority of people released under the policy since 1993 — a significant number of them highly trained intelligence analysts and linguists — received honorable discharges.

As with all people who join the military, the reasons for wanting to rejoin vary widely. Some say they want to finish what they started, but on their own terms. Others point to the steady pay, good health care and retirement benefits. Still others talk idealistically about a desire to serve and be part of an enterprise larger than themselves.

“It’s a hunger,” said Mr. Copas, who now works with homeless veterans in Knoxville, Tenn. “It doesn’t necessarily make sense. It’s the idea of faith, like an obligation to family.”

Jase Daniels was actually discharged twice. Because of a clerical error, the Navy failed to note on his records that the reason for his first discharge in 2005 was homosexuality. So the following year, when his services as a linguist were needed, the Pentagon recalled him.

“I wanted to go back so bad, I was jumping up and down,” he said. “The military was my life.”

He was open about his sexual orientation while deployed to Kuwait for a year, he says. But a profile of him in Stars and Stripes led to a new investigation, and he was discharged a second time upon coming home in 2007.

Now 29, Mr. Daniels says that in the years since, “I’ve had no direction in my life.” He wants to become an officer and learn Arabic, saying he is confident he will be accepted because he has already served as an openly gay man.

“No one cared that I was gay,” he said of his year in Kuwait. “What mattered was I did a good job.”

The issue of rank could discourage many from rejoining. Because there are fixed numbers of jobs or ratings in each of the armed services, some people might have to accept lower ranks to re-enlist. And those allowed to keep their former ranks will still find themselves lagging their onetime peers.

“I’ve been out six years, so my peers are way ahead of me in the promotion structure,” said Jarrod Chlapowski, 29, a Korean linguist who left the Army voluntarily in 2005 as a specialist because he hated keeping his sexual orientation a secret. He is now thinking about rejoining.

“It’s going to be a different Army than the one I left,” he said. “And that’s a little intimidating.”

Mr. Almy, 41, Mr. Daniels and another former service member have filed a lawsuit asserting that they were unconstitutionally discharged and should be reinstated, presumably at their former ranks. A former major, Mr. Almy, who was deployed at least four times to the Middle East, was among the highest-ranking members removed under the ban.

But even advocates for gay and lesbian troops say it might not be practical for the military to adopt a blanket policy of allowing all service members discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” to return to their previous ranks.

“You have to think long and hard from a policy perspective whether you want to put somebody who’s been out 5 or 10 years back into the same billet just because an injustice was done,” said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, a gay rights advocacy group. Mr. Nicholson, 30, who was discharged in 2002, is considering going to law school and trying to become an officer.

For Mr. Copas, who is 35, age could be a factor in whether he gets back in. An Arabic linguist during his first enlistment, he is thinking of learning Dari or Pashto so he can go to Afghanistan. He also is a musician and has a master’s degree in counseling.

But the Army may consider him too old and demand that he get a waiver. Even as he searches the Web for potential Army jobs, he worries that he will jump through many hoops only to be rejected again.

“It almost feels like I’m getting back in bed with a bad lover,” he said. “I’m still dying to serve. But I don’t know how realistic it is.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/us/05reenlist.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2&pagewa nted=print
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:17 PM   #79
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Default Marines Seeking Recruits at Tulsa, OK. LGBT Center

NYTimes
September 20, 2011
By ELISABETH BUMILLER


Marines Hit the Ground Running in Seeking Recruits at Gay Center
TULSA, Okla. — Master Sgt. Anthony Henry, a top Marine recruiting trainer for the southwestern United States, pulled up to Tulsa’s biggest gay community center on Tuesday morning and left his Chevy where he could make a fast getaway. “I have an exit strategy,” he said. “I know where my choke points are, I’ve strategically parked my car right on the curbside, I have an out.”

But as it happened, one of the strangest days in the history of the United States Marine Corps unfolded without the protests and insults that Sergeant Henry had feared. Sergeant Henry, who had been invited to set up a recruiting booth on the first day of the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in downtown Tulsa, instead spent it in quiet conversation with a trickle of gay women who came in to ask about joining the Marines.

“It’s your business and you don’t have to share it,” Sergeant Henry told Ariel Pratt, 20, who asked whether she would face discrimination in the military as a lesbian serving openly. “But you’re also free to be at the mall with your girlfriend.”

Ms. Pratt, 20, asked Sergeant Henry what he liked about the Marines.

“It’s like a little family,” he said. “We get mad at each other, we joke with each other, but we don’t let anybody else make fun of us.”

“That’s pretty cool,” she said.

The Marines were the service most opposed to ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but they were the only one of five invited branches of the military to turn up with their recruiting table and chin-up bar at the center Tuesday morning. Although Marines pride themselves on being the most testosterone-fueled of the services, they also ferociously promote their view of themselves as the best. With the law now changed, the Marines appear determined to prove that they will be better than the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in recruiting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.

Still, judging by the traffic at the gay rights center on Tuesday, there will not be an immediate flood of gay and lesbian Marine applicants. By 3 p.m., more than four hours after the Marines had set up their booth opposite the center’s AIDS quilt, only three women had wandered in, none ideal recruits. The local television crews who had come to watch the action — or inaction, as it turned out — easily outnumbered them.

The first potential recruit, First Lt. Misty McConahy of the Oklahoma National Guard, asked if the Marines had openings for any behavioral health officers, her specialty in the guard. She was told no, the Marines use the Navy for medical care. (Later, Sergeant Henry said that he should have sent her to a recruiter for Marine Corps officers, given her rank.)

“It’s a lot of courage for her to come out like that,” Sergeant Henry said, after watching Lieutenant McConahy surrounded by reporters. “Her commander is probably going to see that on TV tonight.”

The second potential recruit, Ms. Pratt, the niece of a late benefactor of the gay rights center, had scars up her left arm from cutting herself in high school — an almost certain medical disqualification for the Marines. “I’ve been recruiting for a very long time,” Sergeant Henry told her, gently. “Those are very tough to deal with.” He took her name and number and said he would make some calls to see what he could do.

The third potential recruit was a 25-year-old overweight high school dropout. Sergeant Henry told her, again gently, that she should come back after she got her diploma and got in shape.

Not that getting into the Marines is easy for anyone right now. As the Marines tell it, only one in 10 applicants qualify for service, with most turned away for a variety of afflictions: asthma, attention deficit disorder, overweight (a 5-foot, 8-inch, 18-year-old male can’t weigh more than 180 pounds before boot camp), excessive tattoos, joint injuries, lack of a high school diploma and a history of drugs beyond infrequent marijuana use.

A bad economy has made jobs in the Marines all the more desirable, at a time when Marines anticipate shrinking their force — down to an undetermined number from the current 200,000 on active duty — as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down. Beyond the economy, said Sergeant Henry, a veteran of three tours in Iraq, the other motivator is the same as always: “They want to be a Marine and they want to blow stuff up.”

The Marines were at the gay rights center at the invitation of Toby Jenkins, the center’s executive director, who said he saw no better way to celebrate the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a conservative state that strongly supports the military.

“If we’ve been fighting for 15 years for the right to be in the military, we said, ‘Let’s just ask military recruiters if they’d be available,’ ” he said. “But no one was prepared for that question. It was like I was talking to people like they were deer in the headlights.”

The Marines did in fact think that Mr. Jenkins’s invitation might be a hoax, so they checked him out and talked to their superiors, who talked to their superiors. Then they took a deep breath and decided to go. As the day wore on, the Marines said the bust in recruiting had been made up for in media exposure and public relations. Sergeant Henry and his public affairs officer, Capt. Abraham Sipe, gave interviews at the center with five local television stations, three print reporters and one correspondent for National Public Radio. In between, gay rights supporters stopped by to shake their hands.

“Toby said there were cute guys in uniform here,” said Cecilia Wessinger, 46, a longtime friend of the center, who wandered in about 2 p.m. She thanked Sergeant Henry for coming and acknowledged that she was surprised to see him. A few hours later, Kelly Kirby, 57, a retired Air Force sergeant, thanked Captain Sipe. In the 1970s, he said, his boyfriend had been discharged from the Air Force, but he himself had not been discovered, and the memory still haunted him.

“I appreciate you being here,” Mr. Kirby said.

By 5 p.m. the Marines had packed up their booth and chin-up bar and headed out, with plans to come back later to attend a panel discussion. It was all uncharted territory. As Sergeant Henry had said the day before of the new world the Marines now inhabit, “At first it’s going to be kind of shock and awe.”

But like a good Marine, he was with the program: “My take is, if they can make it through our boot camp, which is the toughest boot camp in the world, then they ought to have the opportunity to wear the uniform.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/21/us...-oklahoma.html
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:26 AM   #80
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I found this site while surfing the web today. I thought that some of the Vets here might be able to use the information to obtain benefits from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA). It's some pretty useful information. Hope it helps some here.

http://www.jimstrickland912.com/BenefitsGuide.html

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