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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.
 
Army steps up partnerships in Africa
The Army has built critical partnerships across the African continent, but there is still work to be done especially as armies across the region continue to fight threats such as Boko Haram and al-Shabaab, the outgoing commander of U.S. Army Africa told Army Times.

“Africa matters,” said Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams. “We’ve learned a lot, and we continue to learn. The enemy knows no boundaries, so it’s important to have good partners on the African continent.”

It’s more important than ever to continue working with partners, not just in Africa but around the world, Williams said.

“One of the things that strikes me is the interconnectedness of these fights, these threats that we face, whether they be in Africa or Europe,” he said. “All of the combatant commands, and certainly the [Army service component commands], we’re working the same mission sets. It’s important now more than ever that we continue to work together and communicate.”

Williams relinquished command to Maj. Gen. Joseph Harrington on June 1 during a ceremony in Vicenza, Italy, where U.S. Army Africa has its headquarters.
 
White House threatens veto of defense policy bill
The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama will veto the Senate's version of the annual defense policy bill, objecting to provisions that would bar the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and limit the size of the National Security Council staff.

An 18-page statement from the Office of Management and Budget listed the Obama administration's serious reservations with the legislation, which also denies the Defense Department's request for a new round of military base closings.

"The bill would undermine expert judgments of the department's civilian and military leadership and constrain the ability of the president and the secretary of defense to appropriately manage and direct the nation's defense," the statement said.

The Armed Services Committee passed the defense policy bill last month. The full Senate is now considering the bill, which authorizes $602 billion in military spending for the fiscal year than begins October 1.
 
Superhuman Hearing Technology to Soldiers
nfantry combat is loud, and gunshots are an occupational hazard of being a soldier. A single gunshot can temporarily blow out a soldier's hearing, reducing situational awareness and the ability to overhear commands. Prolonged gunshot noise exposure over a soldier's career can do irreparable harm to hearing. 

Which is why the U.S. Army has developed an all-in-one hearing system that not only boosts the hearing of troops in the field, it also acts to cut down the noise of battle. The system, known as Tactical Communication and Protective System (TCAPS), is currently rolling out to units in the field.

In the past, protecting a soldier's hearing has traditionally come with a trade-off: the inability to hear quieter sounds, particularly human voices. Ear protection also deadens sounds to the point where the wearer can't figure out where they're coming from—a necessity when someone is shooting at you and you need to figure out where they are. 
 
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