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Fallen West Point cadet honored
Hundreds of Family, friends, comrades and supporters attended a memorial held for Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey, 21, at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel, June 9.

Winey, of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, was one of nine victims when flood waters took his life, and the lives of eight Soldiers, while conducting convoy operations with 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, June 2.

"We are here on a solemn day, to pay tribute to a fallen comrade," said Maj. Gen. J.T. Thomson III, 1st Cav. Div. commanding general. "Today's ceremony allows Mitch's fellow cadets to honor him.

"To Mitch's Family," he added, "thank you for being here, and more so, thank you for allowing Mitch to serve our nation."

Winey's memorial was held ahead of the other eight fallen at Fort Hood as post officials wanted Winey's brothers- and sisters-in-arms to be able to attend. The cadets returned to New York Saturday. The memorials for Fort Hood's eight Soldiers will be held today at the Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel.

More than 100 cadets from West Point have been at Fort Hood since late May for their Cadet Troop Leadership Training -- a course all West Point cadets go through during their time at the academy.
 
USMA Cadets Shooting Down Drones With Cyber Rifles
Tall grass hid the advancing cadets from my perch in building 7. The tall grass hid nothing from the drone the defenders flew over their position, a Parrot AR 2.0, a common model used by civilian fliers. A minute later, after the drone pilot filmed the crawling cadets, instructors called in mock artillery fire. The cadets' position was compromised, and while the rest of their platoon advanced to take the buildings, these 10 cadets instead spent an hour in the sun contemplating what they could have done about the drone.
 
The answer was standing right behind them. As the smoke grenades denoting artillery landed nearby, a supporting electronic warfare officer aimed a rifle-shaped antenna at the drone. The drone crashed to the ground instantly, its camera going fuzzy and then only showing the pilot a close-up of asphalt.
 
The rest of the battle was a success for all involved: the defending squad of cadets successfully retreated, that attacking platoon took and held the buildings, and the Army Cyber Institute gave the Army’s next generation of leaders a taste of the complexity that cheap commercial technology can bring to modern war.
I, a non-combatant, am here at this rural training site near the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, on this June Thursday at the invitation of the Army Cyber Institute.
 
Part of the Army’s larger cyber complex, the Institute is a sort of internal think-tank at West Point, trying to figure out what the cyber component of warfare looks like in practice. “Cyber” is a broad term, and it mostly brings to mind people sitting at desks slinging code across the internet.
 
“Cyber electromagnetic activities,” says the definition in an Army field manual on the same, “are activities leveraged to seize, retain, and exploit an advantage over adversaries and enemies in both cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, while simultaneously denying and degrading adversary and enemy use of the same and protecting the mission command system.”
 
From Wounded Warrior to Warrior Angel
When Andrew Marr left his home of Argyle, Texas, to compete at the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games, winning his respective events of discus and shotput was not the first thing on his mind.

"Winning is a byproduct," said Marr, a medically retired Special Forces combat engineer. "I always try to contribute and perform to the best of my abilities and by doing that, my hope is that it will inspire and encourage others to know that they can do the same."

Marr's journey toward becoming an inspiration to other wounded warriors began years ago when he suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after receiving enemy 107mm rocket fire during a combat mission in Wardak, Afghanistan.

"I came back to and we were in a fight, so there wasn't really any time to think about it or talk about it," said Marr. "And it was just part of the job, so I didn't think much about it after that.

In addition to the rocket attack, Marr was continuously exposed to blast waves while performing his functions as a combat engineer.

"I was a breacher for our team. So, that means I put surgical explosive charges on denied points of entry," said Marr. "Being that my specialty was explosives, I was around countless explosions -- hundreds, if not thousands. Back then, we never made any correlation between head trauma and blast waves. It just wasn't a thing, nobody knew anything about it."

Eventually, the symptoms of his injury -- memory loss, vision issues, migraines, lost vocabulary, and depression -- led him to seek treatment for his TBI. During his journey, Marr says he crossed paths with a neuro-endocrinologist who not only drastically helped improve his condition, but in doing so inspired him to try to help others with the same condition. 
 
Army officer killed in Orlando attack

The Army Reserve officer killed Sunday morning in the Orlando nightclub massacre had been in uniform for nearly eight years, deployed to Kuwait for 11 months during the drawdown from Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was remembered by his commanding officer as a leader who "truly cared about the Soldiers in his charge."

Capt. Antonio D. Brown, 30, was one of 49 victims in the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. Twenty-seven others who were injured when a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub remained hospitalized as of Tuesday afternoon, USA Today reported, including six in critical condition. The gunman reportedly died in a shootout with police.

Read more... 

 
 
 
Army's 241st birthday 2016
Happy birthday to the U.S. Army.

The Army's 241st birthday is June 14. The day will be marked with celebrations and traditional cake cutting ceremonies held around the country.

"The U.S. Army's 241st Birthday is...a day we celebrate the Total Army Force comprised of multi-component Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians and their contributions to national defense. The American Soldier trains, deploys, engages, and destroys enemies of the United States in combat operations as the world's premier land force," Army officials said.

In additional to local events at military installations around the country, there will also be a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on June 14; Twilight Tattoo and Capitol Hill Cake Cutting on June 15; Pentagon Cake Cutting on June 16; Army Staff Run on June 17; and the Army Birthday Ball on June 18.
 
Warrior Games at West Point
When the Warrior Games kick off Wednesday on the historic grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. some 250 injured and ill servicemembers and veterans will begin their gold medal quests in eight adaptive sports.

But for the people who have spent the last year preparing for the first Army-sponsored Warrior Games, the event is about much more than winning, said Col. Thomas Sutton, the planning and operations chief for Army Warrior Transition Command, which led the games’ preparations.

“It’s really about these athletes and their families who have overcome so much adversity,” Sutton said. “It’s about recognizing these men and women and continuing to build awareness and understanding – bringing into the spotlight their resiliency.”

The 2016 Warrior Games, the second games planned by the Defense Department and the sixth annual event, will run through June 21. The events include sitting volleyball, track and field, archery, cycling, wheelchair basketball, shooting and swimming.

Adaptive sports are a major part of the military’s programs to help injured troops rehabilitate as they transition back into service or into civilian life. Often athletics help the servicemembers gain confidence and, for many of them, provide an activity they can compete in the rest of their lives, Sutton said.

West Point was the obvious choice for the Army to host the games, he said.
 
Visiting West Point - "Real I.D." required
U.S. Citizens: All visitors age 16 and older signing up to take a bus tour of West Point MUST provide valid photo identification such as; a current valid driver's license or passport, or school ID (must be school-age). Each individual, age 16 and older, must present their own form of identification. No tour guide may bring in ID bundles for the group. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Effective Jan. 10, 2016, people using a driver's license from the states of Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico or Washington will have to use another form of identification in order to enter West Point and all other military installations. Enhanced driver's licenses from these states are acceptable. If you possess a valid Department of Defense issued identification card this new requirement does not affect your ability to enter military installations.

Acceptable alternate forms of identification are a U.S. passport, a permanent resident card/Alien Registration Receipt (form 1-551), a foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp or visa or an employment authorization document that contains a photograph (Form I-766).
 
Cadet training a long-standing tradition
Sending cadets to learn from military officers has deep-seated roots at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The academy has been sending cadets to train with active duty officers under the Cadet Troop Leader Training program since at least the 1920s, said West Point spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker.
 
In nearly 100 years of sending cadets to military installations, 21-year-old Cadet Mitchell Alexander Winey is the only cadet in the academy’s records to have died during the mandatory three-week course, he said.
 
Winey and eight active duty soldiers died when their vehicle overturned in flood waters June 2. Three soldiers were rescued and were able to return to work.
Putting cadets with a mentor began with installations along the East Coast and then grew to encompass installations across the continental United States and abroad during the 20th Century, Kasker said.
 
“Cadets attend Cadet Troop Leader Training once during either of the final two summers at the Military Academy, and it’s a graduation requirement for cadets,” he said. “Having the opportunity to work with soldiers, a platoon sergeant, company commander, first sergeant and other leaders in a company provides an experience that will shape and influence the rest of a cadet’s time at West Point. It provides cadets a foundation to inform their self-development and how they want to grow as a leader.”
 
Just about every Army post supports the cadet training, Kasker said. The Academy submits a request to the Department of the Army in October of each year requesting support, posts report the number of cadets they could support to the Army and then the Academy assigns the cadets to a military installation based on a number of factors — to include class rank, post preference, desired branch and summer schedule.
 
New AER website built around online assistance
A new Army Emergency Relief website is now up and running with an online assistance tool that is easy to navigate on mobile devices.

"It now works well from a smart phone, tablet, desktop, laptop, whatever device," said retired Col. Guy Shields of AER.

AER conducted a "soft launch" of the website last month to insure that it was working smoothly prior to making an announcement. It was important to work through any issues to insure that the back-end processing of online assistance applications was functional, Shields said. But he added that the new site is now up and running like a champ.

The website offers new features to Soldiers and families that they can easily negotiate, said retired Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Durr, AER assistance officer.

It provides a loan calculator, AER news and videos, and portals to apply for scholarships or loans.

"The thing that I'm really excited about is the online assistance feature -- which really is all about providing a more streamlined assistance process for our Soldiers and their families," Durr said. "It will enable them to execute that with ease, anytime, anywhere, by use of any electronic device, and it can be executed securely in a matter of minutes."
 
Carter Wants to Push Harder in Counter-ISIL Effort
hough significant progress that is being achieved, Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to push harder in the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters today.

“The secretary has not been satisfied with the pace, which is why he's always talking about accelerating [it],” Cook said. “He is satisfied we are making progress in Iraq and Syria, but the secretary's view is the sooner this threat is defeated, the better.”
 
Carter will continue to push coalition partners, U.S. forces and commanders to see what else can be done to accelerate ISIL’s defeat further, he added.
ISIL Fight Needs Close Coordination

“We've seen [significant] developments on the ground in Iraq and Syria, but this is a fight that requires careful coordination,” the press secretary said. The coordination is daily between Iraq’s government and the U.S.-led coalition to drive ISIL out of Fallujah and liberate the city’s residents, he added.

“We continue to provide support, airstrikes being the most obvious example of support for the fight in Fallujah,” Cook said, adding that Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve commander, remains the U.S. military’s point person with the Iraqis in Baghdad, providing advice and counsel to government officials.
 
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