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Congress' little-known power to help constituents

Each year, members of Congress exercise a little-known power to help constituents obtain a nomination to one of the country’s four elite service academies, which prepare future officers for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Merchant Marine. In doing so, they are helping the nominees obtain a highly sought college education worth nearly $500,000 while shaping the leadership of the military. Those nominations are often secret, sometimes political and always prestigious. In some cases, a USA Today examination shows, they go to children of friends, political supporters and donors to the lawmakers’ campaigns. At a time when the public ranks Congress’ performance at all-time lows, lawmakers have retained this 171-year-old perk described by historian Lance Betros as “a prized currency of patronage, a means of pandering to political favorites.”

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Ex-West Point Cadet Loses Suit Vs. LaBelle's Staff

A former West Point cadet has lost a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against members of R&B singer Patti LaBelle's entourage whom he accused of beating him as he waited for a ride outside a Houston airport terminal. In his lawsuit, Richard King alleged he was attacked without provocation by LaBelle's bodyguard and two others while waiting outside Bush Intercontinental Airport in 2011. King had just arrived in Houston, his hometown, while on spring break from West Point. After five days of testimony and 10 hours of deliberation, a federal jury in Houston on Tuesday night absolved Zuri Edwards, LaBelle's manager and son; Efrem Holmes, her bodyguard; and Norma Harris, her hairdresser. LaBelle had been dropped from the suit early in the trial.

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As cyber force grows, manpower details emerge

The military will need to expand its force of cyber warriors beyond plans for 6,200 personnel, and the individual services are hammering out the manpower-related details of precisely how to build that force from the ground up, according to a new Pentagon report. The emerging requirements have the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps developing an array of new recruiting tactics, extended service commitments, training programs, retention bonuses and unique career tracks for the cyber career field, says the report, a copy of which was obtained by Military Times. The document outlines the service-specific efforts to meet U.S. Cyber Command’s current requirement to stand up a “Cyber Mission Force” with 133 teams of cyberwarriors by the end of 2016. That’s just the beginning for a career field that is likely to see dramatic growth despite budget cuts affecting most of the military. The Army is modeling part of its cyber recruitment and training efforts after its Special Forces model, the report says. It is also working with the U.S. Military Academy to identify soldiers who might have educational backgrounds well suited to a cyber career.

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Army Wins All Four Matches Against Navy

WEST POINT, N.Y. -After day one of the Army Navy golf Star Match, Army holds a strong 4-0 lead after winning all four-ball matches Saturday under blue skies at the West Point Golf Course. The Black Knights go into Sunday’s singles round needing only two of seven points to claim their third-straight star. “Today was phenomenal,” said head coach Brian Watts. “For the guys to go out and compete as hard as they did and come away with four points is a big deal, a big lead in Ryder Cup format. Tomorrow we aren’t going to change anything in regards to a game plan, we are just going to go out and try to hit fairways and greens. Everyone has their own way to get around our golf course so I’m going to step aside and let the guys play and hopefully come away with a win.”

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Retired general talks about book at Rotary meeting

At the recent 2014 Patriot’s Day meeting of the Harker Heights Rotary Club, the guest speaker was retired Lt. Gen. Dave Palmer, who graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1956 and had a military career that almost spans the Cold War era. Six of those years were spent at Fort Hood. He was superintendent of West Point and has been retired from the military since 1991. “When I received the invitation to speak from Rotarian Dan Nicholas, I thought he told me to share about my latest book and I told him give me three to four hours and that’ll be no problem,” Palmer said. “He said ‘No, you’ve got 20 minutes.’ So I guess I’m locked into that time frame.” Palmer has written many history books, but the book he selected to talk about is what he described as more of a mystery: “George Washington’s Military Genius.”

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Army concert bands visits Woolsey Hall Friday night

There’s plenty of occasion for pomp and circumstance this weekend as Army visits Yale in football at 1 p.m. Saturday during the Yale Bowl’s centennial year. But the celebration (and thrills even) begin Friday night, when the U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point and the Yale Concert Band join together in a free, “collegial” concert of some stirring music at Woolsey Hall on College Street. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. for the 8 p.m. event. The concert formally kicks off the gala side of the centennial season of the Bowl, says Thomas Duffy, the longtime director of Yale bands.

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Army football travels to historic Yale Bowl

The Army football team will conclude its three-game road trip this week when the Black Knights travel to Yale and compete in the historic Yale Bowl. Army is 1-2 following a 24-21 loss at Wake Forest. Yale opened its season with a 54-43 victory against Lehigh last weekend. Fox College Sports Atlantic will carry the game as will the Army Sports Network. Army and Yale are meeting for the 46th time and first since 1996. Yale leads the all-time series 21-16-8 but Army has won the last four contests. The Yale Bowl, the first football stadium to completely surround the playing field, was the largest athletic venue in the world when it opened in 1914. One hundred years later it's a national historic landmark with plenty of great stories to tell during the anniversary campaign.

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Jay Leno plays West Point

Most people tend to slow down when they retire. Then again, Jay Leno isn't most people. Throughout his years with the "Tonight Show," Leno managed to squeeze in at least 100 standup shows every year. Now that Jimmy Fallon has picked up the mantle of "Tonight Show" host, Leno is "kicking back" by adding yet another multitude of live comedy shows, keeping busy with his popular web-based show, "Jay Leno's Garage," and writing a monthly column for "Popular Mechanics." The Emmy winner also was chosen by Harris Poll as the most popular personality on television, has a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame and was the first to have driven the pace car in all of NASCAR's biggest races. This whirlwind of activity will be spinning into our area Sept. 19 for a show at West Point's Eisenhower Hall Theatre. He has three cousins who have graduated from West Point and he will also be traveling to Afghanistan next week to entertain the troops.

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The Man Who Will Lead the War on Ebola

The man tapped by President Obama to lead the war on Ebola is a long-time Army leader who has experience on the battlefield, in Africa, and the medical arena. Major General Darryl A. Williams just took over command of U.S. Army Africa, in June, and on Tuesday it was announced that he would set up a command center in Monrovia, Liberia, and oversee as many as 3,000 military personnel who will help with training new health workers and setting up new facilities. "He just arrived today and is now on the ground in Liberia," Obama said of Williams and "Operation Unified Assistance" on Tuesday. "And our forces are going to bring their expertise in command and control, in logistics, in engineering." After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1983, Williams became a field artillery officer and platoon leader based in Scheinfurt, Germany, according to his Army bio. He then had assignments in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before being deployed to the Persian Gulf for Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the early 1990.

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WP cadet charges Patti LaBelle ordered attack

Now we all love Auntie/Mama Patti. But we can’t help but notice that she certainly deals with her fair share of drama, even in past few years. Remember the instance where she allegedly assaulted a woman and her young daughter? Patti eventually settled but there seems to be some more trouble coming her way with another, more severe violent attack. According to the Associated Press, an ex-West Point cadet is claiming that LaBelle ordered her bodyguard, Efrem Holmes, to beat him up. The beat down allegedly resulted in a brain injury, forcing him to drop out of military academy. his past November Holmes was acquitted for misdemeanor assault. But King filed a countersuit. The case went from civil to federal court. The trial is expected to last a week and LaBelle, who was in court on Tuesday, is expected to testify.

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West-Point.Org (WP-ORG), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization not affiliated officially with the United States Military Academy, provides an online communications infrastructure that enables graduates, parents, and friends of the military academy to maintain and strengthen the associations that bind us together. We will provide this community any requested support, consistent with this purpose, as quickly and efficiently as possible. WP-ORG is funded by the generosity of member contributions. Our communication services are provided in cooperation with the AOG (independent of USMA) and are operated by volunteers serving the Long Gray Line. Contents of and comments on this web site do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy or the Department of the Army.  For questions or comments, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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