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California Guardsmen Ordered to Pay Back Bonuses
The U.S. Defense Department is ordering almost 10,000 one-time National Guardsmen from California to pay back enlistment bonuses, according to a news report.

Many of the veterans have to pack back the bonuses, totaling as much as $15,000 or more, or face such penalties as interest charges and tax liens, according to an article published Saturday by David Cloud, a reporter for The Los Angeles Times.

Like other branches of service, the Guard used enlistment bonuses to entice more people to enter the ranks a decade ago during the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, California Guard officials were found guilty of mismanaging the program.
Carter in Irbil for up-close account of Mosul fight
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited Irbil on Sunday for a closer assessment of the fight against the Islamic State group in northern Iraq and to hear from Kurdish leaders whose forces launched a new offensive in the operation to wrest Mosul from the militants' control. 

Carter met with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani, as well as U.S. service members who are not far from the battle.

The Pentagon chief praised the efforts of the Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, and acknowledged their battle losses.
They fight extremely well. But because they're fighting hard, they suffer ... casualties," said Carter, who spent Saturday in Baghdad getting updates from his military leadership and meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The U.S. is prepared to provide additional support for the fight if requested by Iraq and U.S. commanders, Carter said in the capital.

Peshmerga Brig. Gen. Halgord Hekmet, a spokesman for the Kurdish forces, told reporters that 25 of their troops have been killed since the battle to retake Mosul began and a "large number" had been wounded. Speaking through an interpreter, he said the peshmerga have had good coalition air support, but could use more military resources, especially armored vehicles.
Coalition Strikes Continue to Hit ISIL Terrorists in Iraq, Syria

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Oct. 22, 2016 — U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Iraq and Syria yesterday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

 Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted six strikes in Syria:

-- Near Abu Kamal, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.

-- Near Shadaddi, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.

-- Near Ayn Isa, three strikes engaged two ISIL-held buildings and destroyed two fighting positions.

-- Near Washiyah, a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.

Strikes in Iraq

Attack, bomber, fighter, remotely piloted and rotary wing aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 12 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:


GEN Robert Cone, USMA '79, dies at 59


General Robert W. Cone died on September 18, 2016.  No cause of death has been reported at the time of this writing.

His WP-ORG eulogy page may be found here:

2019 Cadet Dies in Auto Accident on 9/11/16
Brandon T. Jackson, 20, from Queens, New York,.died in a single-car accident at about 1:50 a.m. in Croton, New York. According to reports. his car hit a guardrail and flipped over.

CDT Jackson was a defensive back for the Army Black Knights. He wore No 28. He played in all 14 games since his arrival in 2015 and finished with 68 career tackles and three interceptions, two of which came against Wake Forest in 2015.

West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr. said, "We will honor his life as we mourn the untimely death of a young man who had a promising future as a leader in service to our nation. Brandon internalized our watch words, Duty, Honor, Country."

Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen. Diana Holland released a statement, saying, "The Corps of Cadets is very saddened by the loss of their teammate, Cadet Brandon Jackson, who was a proud and committed member of Echo Company, 2nd Regiment. We extend our deepest sympathies to Brandon's family and friends during this most difficult time."

“Words cannot describe the grief that our team is feeling over the loss of our brother and friend, Brandon" said head coach Jeff Monken. “He was a beloved teammate and our hearts are with his family at this time of tragedy.”

“We are heartbroken for Brandon's family, the team and all those who had the pleasure of knowing him," said Army West Point athletic director Boo Corrigan. “We will always remember Brandon for his kindness and do our best to honor his memory.”

Brandon's Mother was an Iraq War veteran and served in the Army Reserves.
Army Pentagon personnel remember 9/11
fter 15 years, the number of those injured on 9/11 and still working in the Pentagon is dwindling.

Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell, who suffered third-degree burns on over 60 percent of his body, is now a state senator in Granbury, Texas.

Sgt. 1st Class Chris Braman, who pulled numerous casualties out of the Pentagon's smoldering embers, is now retired in California. Doctors have told him that his lungs, which were damaged by the toxic smoke on 9/11, would do better in the low humidity out west.

"Most people I know have either retired or gone on," said Carl Mahnken.

Mahnken is one of those deeply affected by 9/11 and still working in the building.

At 9:37 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, Mahnken was blown backward in his chair after American Airlines Flight 77 hit the side of the Pentagon just down the hall from where he sat at his computer.

"I got thrown directly backward," he said. Then his computer monitor landed on his head, causing a contusion about the size of a golf ball.

"It happened real quick, in the blink of an eye -- it happened that quick," he said.
Concerns about prayer after Army football game
The top general at the U.S. Military Academy said that “valid concerns” about separation of church and state were raised by people who questioned why the Army football coach asked a staff assistant to lead his team in prayer after an upset victory last week.

The issue emerged after Coach Jeff Monken was shown in a video produced by West Point celebrating with his players and directing a member of his staff to lead a prayer after an upset victory Sept. 2 over Temple University. The video was taken down at the direction of Athletic Director Boo Corrigan after West Point received complaints because it was offensive to some people and leaving it online would have been “like grinding salt into the wound,” said Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, the superintendent at West Point.
“Maybe 90 percent of the people who were out there supported the prayer,” Caslen said. “But, when you look at it from a legal basis and from a legal standpoint, and then you look at it from a leadership standpoint, there were some concerns, and I think they’re valid concerns.”
Teamwork key to preventing Soldier suicides
Staff Sgt. Miguel Sierra vividly recalls himself and his staff handling logistical matters in the aftermath of a sailor committing suicide.

As a behavioral specialist and the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Army Health Clinic at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Sierra said this experience impressed upon him the importance of teamwork and the need for Soldiers to maintain awareness of signs of distress among their fellow Soldiers.

Sierra recalls that just nine years ago, Soldiers would receive "after the fact training," meaning that units provided suicide education only following a suicide. 

"When that happened enough times, people realized the issue was more serious than it was," he said. "Now, commanders and NCOs are getting the word out about suicide prevention. They're being more proactive and less reactive.

These days, commanders are more respectful of the advice of psychologists, psychiatrists and other health professionals who are trained to identify suicide risk factors and conditions that can serve as precursors to suicide like traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.
Supporting and Developing Veterans
The Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point (TLDG) is leading an extraordinary Veterans' Initiatives program, which kicked off this week with a special supplement of the September issue of TD Magazine.

We are asking your help to spread the word about this initiative in support of veterans and for you to take some simple actions that will be a force multiplier.

This 32-page publication was developed in partnership with the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the world's largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. TD Magazine is their award-winning flagship magazine. This was distributed this morning to 40,000 talent development professionals across America, and is available for free at .
George S. Patton Diaries 1910-1945 Available Online

The diaries of U.S. army officer George S. Patton (1885-1945) are part of a larger collection of Patton papers available for research use onsite in the Manuscript Reading Room of the Library of Congress. The entire collection spans the years 1807-1979, with the bulk of the papers concentrated from 1904 to 1945.

Read more... 


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