WP-ORG status update:

The most recent System Status updates are as follows:

* SFTP is in trial status. Contact feedback@west-point.org if you wish to update your personal, class web page (current class webmasters only), Society or Parent Club website.
* User admin pages (email routing) may now be changed, but at this time, only by WP-ORG employees. If you wish a change in your email routing, please contact: feedback@west-point.org
* Eulogy pages are now being generated. Please be patient as we catch up with class member deaths.

For a full status report, please CLICK HERE

WP-ORG FD 46: Understanding. Patience. Generosity.

Our fund drive is in its fourth week (http://www.west-point.org/donate). Each of the previous three fund drive notes explained the ransomware attack from the programming side of WP-ORG, and the difficulties encountered. I saw it exclusively from the user side. The moment things stopped working, the office phone started ringing, my private messages ramped up, calls and texts to my cell phone started to flow, and even a secondary email address of mine lit up.  Our users were trying to get answers. Classes couldn’t communicate, email addresses did not work, and WP-ORG completely ceased to exist for everyone except the programmers, who smartly detected small signs of life, and put WP-ORG on life support. The patience of our users was astounding.  I expected to be the messenger everyone wanted to kill. The response was far different than my expectations. Understanding. Patience. Generosity. These were the responses I received to giving out terrible news, and very little in the way of information. For the most part, all I could offer was a “we’re doing all we can”, knowing that if I sent messages to those who were busy rebuilding, I took them away from important work that required every ounce of their attention.

Many of our class list moderators gathered up all of the email addresses they could from their own address lists, and started privately notifying their class members, which saved me a great deal of typing and talking. Many of them stayed in touch with me as the days went by, if only to ask “any new news?”, so that they could update their classmates.  Never in my life have I been so glad that every email I have sent through the years, had the office phone and my cell phone number on them. This was one effective way that our users had to contact us.  While our programmers were scrambling and spending sleepless nights recovering WP-ORG, I was, in essence, sitting at a front desk in an empty building, answering largely unanswerable questions. To make matters worse, I was scheduled for surgery a few weeks into our outage, and knowing my phone was in nearly non-stop use, when I went into surgery, I handed my cell phone to my daughter (USMA 2002), briefed her to the best of my ability, and asked her to do what she could to help answer our users. I can not thank our moderators enough for the work they did keeping their classmates updated until we could get the lists back, and for the kindness extended to this bearer of bad news.

Here are a few facts you may find interesting: Our servers are in Austin TX. The day we were attacked, twenty-three Texas towns were struck by a “coordinated” ransomware attack. The attack instigated a statewide disaster-style response that included the National Guard and a wide F.B.I. inquiry. I found through research, that a new organization will fall victim to ransomware every 14 seconds, and by 2021, that will likely change to every 11 seconds. According to a new study from Sophos, the average cost per ransomware attack to businesses last year was approximately $133,000.

WP-ORG’s recovery still has a way to go. Sadly, among a few other things, our eulogy entry tools are still down.  Old eulogies (going back some 24 years) are up and working, but we are unable to create new eulogy pages at this time. Our security has changed so much that a great deal of the programming needs to be re-written in order for that tool to work. Classes have noticed that they have received no notices of created eulogy pages for their deceased classmates from WP-ORG. I have saved over 2 months of death notices from the WPAOG and from our moderators who have sent them to us, and as soon as we have the ability, those will all be entered and ready for use. The eulogy pages are the heart and backbone of this organization and are as important to us, as they are to you.

Our bi-annual fund drive came right on the heels of our coming back from the brink of death. Our resources are stretched thin, and it could not be delayed. As you know, our budget is frugal, and designed to only take us as far as the next fund drive. We are at a low percentage of donors as compared to past years. We need you now, more than we have ever needed you. Please consider rewarding the tireless work of a small organization to recover from this attack, in order to keep WP-ORG serving you. We all got a terrible view into what it would look like if WP-ORG ceased to exist.  Please consider even a small donation to make it even better than it ever was.
http://www.west-point.org/donate

As always, with heartfelt thanks to each of you,
Dian Welle
WP-ORG, Inc.
208-263-8063(office)
661-917-2441(cell)

Donation page linking to all payment methods (credit card, check or PayPal):
http://www.west-point.org/donate

        By check, please indicate class year and affiliation:
        WP-ORG
        23802 Oscar Road
        Spicewood TX 78669

  By PayPal::
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=GXGCWRKX48UHY
**After entering Donation Amount, login to PayPal account. On next screen, please click on “Add special instructions to the seller”; enter class year and affiliation, and comment if you wish.

Fund Drive Donation Report, sorted by WP-ORG member group, etc.:
https://secure.west-point.org/donate/report/

WP-ORG Budget April 19, 2019 – September 19, 2019:
http://www.west-point.org/budget

WP-ORG Budgets, FD8 – FD45:
http://www.west-point.org/service/fd45/program/BudgetPlotFD8-FD45.JPG

What is WP-ORG & Why Donate?:
http://www.west-point.org/why_donate/

WP-ORG Member Information Privacy Policy:
http://www.west-point.org/privacy-statement/

IRS Letter Confirming WP-ORG 501(c)(3) Status:
http://www.west-point.org/publications/501SUMMARY.PDF

West Point says a cadet and a rifle are missing

(CNN)A West Point cadet is missing along with an M4 rifle, the military academy said after military, federal, state and local agencies conducted extensive searches to locate the man.

Authorities don’t believe the cadet has any magazines or ammunition or poses a threat to the public. He may be a danger to himself, the military academy said in a statement.
The academy will be operating normally with “an increased force protection status,” the statement said, including more police presence at sporting events and across the academy.
The cadet, a member of the class of 2021, was last seen on Friday around 5:30 p.m. on West Point grounds. When he didn’t show up for a military skills competition, his teammates began looking for him immediately, the academy said.

READ MORE…

Time, Talent, Treasure

Fund Drive 46 Donation Link: https://secure.west-point.org/donate/

As we enter WP-ORG’s 24th year and consider the future, we find ourselves in need of more than simply financial help from our members. WP-ORG was built by a core group of volunteers with varied skill sets who came together to create this non-profit organization that enables graduates, parents, and friends of the military academy to maintain and strengthen the associations that bind us together. We strive to provide this community any requested support, consistent with this purpose, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In recent years, death, career transitions, and health concerns have whittled away at our Board of Advisors. Our technical bench has suffered similarly. To be clear, WP-ORG is a non-profit with a very small budget. We are not hiring. Rather, we are looking for those who wish to volunteer their time and talent in support of a little organization that has had a big footprint in the West Point community for nearly a quarter of a century. We’ll outline a few places where interested individuals might be able to help:
Technical operations: The hardware of WP-ORG lives in a data center in Austin TX. It consists of network attached storage (NAS) servers, Linux servers running on VMWare ESXi for virtualization, rsync for backups, a MariaDB MySQL database, HP Switches and a Fortigate firewall. Some of this hardware was obtained via in-kind donations from grads and it has served us well. As the hardware ages, we are considering moving some or all of our operations to the cloud.

  • We have a Fortigate Firewall running the latest OS. We are looking for experienced volunteers to help set up and secure our network.
  • We run our current on-premise virtual machines using VMWare ESXi as hosts and our Synology NAS for disk space. We are looking for experienced volunteers to help us set up, maintain, and upgrade these VMs as well as develop and execute disaster recovery plans.
  • We will be evaluating various cloud providers in the near future as our current hardware ages. We are looking for experienced volunteers who have moved on-premise to either a hybrid- or full-cloud structure.
  • We can find projects for anyone experienced with Linux system administration, LDAP, MySQL, and web development.

Financial: From a business perspective, WP-ORG is looking for a volunteer CFO and a volunteer bookkeeper with QuickBooks skills. 501(c)(3) experience in both of these roles would truly be an asset.
If you are interested in donating time and talent to fill any needs outlined above, please respond to this message.
We also still enthusiastically accept donations of treasure!https://www.west-point.org/donate
Ring Recovery: Ring Recovery is a group under WP-ORG’s umbrella with the mission to find and repatriate lost USMA class rings. They’re looking for help too: Like a well-worn ring, the founders of West Point Ring Recovery are starting to show a little wear. We would welcome a few volunteers who wish to assist us in our efforts to save and protect West Point rings. Contact Michael McGurk ’85 at USMArings@west-point.org.
Thank you, 
Megan Klein & Warren Hearnes
WP-ORG
~~~Donations by check, please indicate class year and affiliation:
WP-ORG
23802 Oscar Road
Spicewood TX 78669

WP-ORG Budget for the next six months: https://www.west-point.org/budget

What is WP-ORG & Why Donate?: https://www.west-point.org/why_donate/
Fund Drive 46 Donation Report:  https://secure.west-point.org/donate/report/

IRS Letter Confirming WP-ORG 501(c)(3) Status:
https://www.west-point.org/publications/501SUMMARY.PDF

Army M1 Tanks Are Getting the Ability to Locate and Destroy Enemy Missiles

U.S. Army M1 tanks will soon be equipped with anti-missile protection systems, now that the service has taken delivery of the Israeli-made active protection systems.

Leonardo DRS, Inc. and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. of Israel announced today that the team had delivered the first Trophy Active Protection Systems to the Army, roughly two years after the service began searching for ways to protect its tanks and armored vehicles from anti-armor missile threats from potential adversaries such as Russia and China.

“This delivery marks the first of several that will ultimately outfit four brigades of tanks,” a release states.

In May of 2018, then Army Chief of Staff told Congress that the service planned to begin equipping the four heavy brigades with APS with in two years.

The Army’s Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems awarded the two firms an initial contract worth up to $193 million for Trophy in June of 2018.

READ MORE…

US Special Forces Unit Under Fire from Turkish Shelling in Syria

Turkish cross-border artillery fire hit a northern Syria town where a U.S. Special Forces unit was operating as fighting escalated between the invading Turkish military and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, as first reported by Newsweek Friday.

The shelling took place in the mostly-Kurdish town of Kobane, west of the Euphrates River and about 45 miles from the scene of the ground incursion in northeastern Syria,

In a statement, a Pentagon official confirmed that the Turkish military had shelled within “a few hundred meters” of U.S. troops.

“U.S. troops in the vicinity of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions at approximately 9 p.m. local Oct. 11,” Navy Capt. Brook DeWalt, director of Defense Press Operations, said in a statement to Military.com. “The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present.”

READ MORE…

Veterans Transition Survival Guide

Getting out of the military is a big deal, about as big a deal as going in. It’s not something you just want to up and do one day. If all you do is fill out a checklist and then go back to your hometown and think everything is just going to work out, you’re gonna be in for a big surprise. There are actually some things you’ll want to think about before you go back to the block. Starting with what exactly you want to do when you get out of that uniform.

READ MORE…

Pentagon scientists are making talking plasma laser balls for use as non-lethal weapons

Talking lasers and endless flashbangs: Pentagon develops plasma tech

Instead of beaming a flashing light or shouting over a loudspeaker to keep people away from sensitive areas, new technology being developed could allow troops to fire a laser that can form a “plasma ball” that talks to the potential intruders.

The Laser Induced Plasma Effect program is part of the Joint Non-lethal Weapons Directorate program to find ways to deter, stun, basically stop adversaries short of killing them.

Use of directed energy, or lasers, includes heating up a target’s skin to extremely uncomfortable levels without burning them, blasting confusing noises or giving voice commands such as, “Stop or we’ll be forced to fire upon you.”

READ MORE…

Acting Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper’s meeting with German Minister of Defense Ursula Von der Leyen

Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan R. Hoffman provided the following readout:

Acting Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper met yesterday with German Minister of Defense Ursula Von der Leyen on the margins of the NATO Defense Ministerial. 

READ MORE…

D-Day 75th Anniversary: Trump, Macron And Other Leaders Mark A Historic Day

“They won back this ground for civilization,” President Trump said of the Allied troops who took part in the massive D-Day invasion 75 years ago today. Trump stood on a stage near Omaha Beach in northern France, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and other world leaders who thanked U.S. veterans and their allies for preserving liberty.

The commemoration in Normandy, France, marks the 75th anniversary of the massive amphibious invasion, in which more than 150,000 U.S., British and Canadian troops forced their way onto France’s shores to bring the fight to Adolf Hitler. They were supported by nearly 7,000 naval vessels and more than 11,000 aircraft in one of the most important operations of World War II

More than 160 World War II veterans sat in rows on a red-carpeted stage during the ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. They included dozens of men who landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

“You are the pride of our nation, you are the glory of the republic, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Trump told the veterans.

READ MORE…