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VA News

Post 9-11 Vets who are married face higher suicide rate, UConn/VA study finds

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Military News

 

A new survey of post 9-11 Vets found that those who are married or in a live-in relationship are, as a group, at greater risk for suicide than those who've never been married. Older female Vets who are married are at the greatest risk, according to the survey from the University of Connecticut and Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Air Force Accidentally Dropped A Humvee Over North Carolina

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Humvee Dropped

A military vehicle was mistakenly dropped from a plane over Harnett County on Wednesday, but no person or property was damaged, according to Fort Bragg officials.

The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, better known as a Humvee, was to be dropped via parachute as part of a routine test at Fort Bragg, which is known as the Home of the Airborne.

The testing involved a pallet onto which the Humvee was loaded.

Tom McCollum, a post spokesman, said the vehicle was prematurely dropped from an Air Force C-17 about 1 p.m.

The plane was about a mile from Sicily Drop Zone, flying at an altitude of 1,500 feet, when the Humvee and pallet were dropped about a minute too early, McCollum said.

All three parachutes opened, he said, and the vehicle landed in a wooded area between two homes on Walter Lane, off Gilchrist Road, which is between Johnsonville and Spout Springs, a little more than seven miles north of Fort Bragg’s drop zones.

There was no damage to any of the homes or residents. The only damage was to several trees and the vehicle itself, McCollum said.

James Grant, 78, lives in one of the homes. He said his wife was outside, saw the parachutes opening and yelled for him.

Grant heard the crash as the load, weighing a total of 3 tons, hit the ground.

“It sounded like a car crashing,” Grant said. “When it happened, my wife and I went to see. We saw a parachute laying on the road.”

The couple initially was concerned that a soldier might have been making a jump and was injured. Grant called 911, he said.

“That’s when everybody came,” Grant said, referring to firefighters and law enforcement.

“A few minutes later, they told us there might be explosives and had us all move back.”

Bobby Brown and his wife live on Gilchrist Road, on the opposite side of Walter Lane.

The Browns were inside the residence when they saw parachutes coming down behind a relative’s home across the road. Then, Brown said, they heard a crash. He, too, said it sounded like a car crash.

The Humvee landed about 300 feet behind a home.

The heavy drop was being conducted by soldiers from the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, McCollum said. The unit tests new equipment and procedures to support the aerial delivery and transportation of military equipment.

A crane was brought to the site to lift the Humvee and pallet onto a large flatbed truck.

Because the equipment was being tested, it was considered classified, McCollum said.

Military personnel and Harnett County Sheriff’s Office deputies kept spectators at a distance as the Humvee was removed from the site.

The Humvee and pallet were wrapped in a green tarp and strapped to the truck bed, which hauled them back to Fort Bragg.

The incident is under investigation, McCollum said.

Humvees are manufactured by AM General. Each vehicle weighs more than 5,000 pounds and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Source

Air Force Stops Ordering $1,280 Coffee Cups

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Coffee Cups

 

The Air Force has pumped the brakes on units trying to order its infamous $1,280 coffee cup “until further notice,” according to Air Force Times.

  • The move comes days after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) received a response to his query on why the Air Force was spending that much on a so-called “hot cup,” which heats up liquids on KC-10 aircraft.
  • “While I appreciate that the Air Force is working to find innovations that would help save taxpayer dollars, it remains unclear why it cannot find a cheaper alternative to a $1,280 cup,” Grassley said in a statement on Friday.
  • Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson wrote Grassley in an Oct. 17 letter that he was “right to be concerned about the high costs of spare parts” while explaining that some of the contractors who supply the cups have gone out of business or don’t still manufacture them.
  • Amid media scrutiny (including here at Task & Purpose), an Air Force spokesman on Tuesday told the Air Force Times that units trying to order a hot cup through its supply system will see a message telling them, “do not order until further notice.”
  • “Everyone recognizes that the costs are excessive,” Col. Chris Karns told The Times. “That’s why the change came about. I don’t think you can find a single person who believes what was paid was an acceptable cost.”
  • The Air Force has been working to adopt more widespread use of 3D-printed handles for the cups — the most breakable element that required a full, and far pricier, replacement — which it has offered through its Rapid Sustainment Office in some cases.
  • A 3D-printed replacement handle costs roughly 50 cents.

Source

Keeping aircraft in the fight

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Keeping Aircraft in the Air

 

U.S. Army aviation faces a diverse threat environment, spanning broad categories of threats from ballistic munitions and guided missiles to directed energy and cyber weapons. It also spans generations of technology, ranging from constantly evolving sophisticated systems to widely proliferated legacy equipment. The modern threat environment presents both a technical challenge and a moving target to Army aviation. Historically, the science and technology (S&T) community has played an important role in developing advanced technologies to outpace the evolution of the threat. In an increasingly challenging threat environment, S&T is now even more critical.

The Army Tried To Bury A Critical Report On All Its Failings In The Iraq War

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Army Logo 001

 

An unclassified 1,300-page “unvarnished history” of the Iraq War is at the center of a heated debate among Army leaders and historians over who gets credit for what, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The infighting has reportedly stalled the publication of the study, which was commissioned in 2013 by then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and remains unpublished. Sources told the Journal that Odierno urged a team of researchers consisting of some of the Army’s “brightest officers” to work expeditiously so that the history could publish while the lessons of the war “were most relevant.”

But it seems not everyone is convinced the general’s motives were pure.

  • A chief concern of those who took issue with the first draft of the history — which was completed in 2016 — is how the authors chose to portray Odierno.
  • According to the Journal, the study “hails President George W. Bush ‘surge’ of reinforcements and the switch to a counterinsurgency strategy overseen by Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Odierno.”
  • Odierno also apparently circumvented the standard process for “publishing the Army’s official conflicts,” after the Army’s Center of Military said the history would take five to 10 years.
  • Time seemed to be of the essence. “Some of the officials foresaw trouble if the study wasn’t published before Gen. Odierno retired, which he did in August 2015,” the Journal writes.
  • Furthermore, the study team was originally helmed by Army Col. Joel Rayburn, who served as an advisor to Petraeus in Iraq, according to the Journal.
  • The tangled web of loyalties reportedly prompted one Army historian to draft a memo proposing major revisions to the study and raise the question of whether it was intended to “validate the surge” and thus, as the Journal puts it, “burnish Gen. Odierno’s and Gen. Petraeus’s legacy.”
  • The 2007 surge coincided with a dramatic decline in the sectarian violence that had surged across Iraq the previous year, leading many to conclude that the extra troops and the counterinsurgency strategy Petraeus employed had succeeded in winning a seemingly un-winnable war. That narrative lost some of its luster in the ensuing years as the results proved temporary.
  • But the history commissioned by Odierno has plenty of champions while Rayburn “defended the study’s portrayal of the ‘surge’ as a success,” according to the Journal.
  • Meanwhile, retired Gen. Dan Allyn, who served as Army vice chief of staff when the history was completed in 2016, told the Journal that the brass sought to distance itself from the study in part because “senior leaders who were in position when these things happened, and they were concerned on how they were portrayed.”
  • Among the many mistakes identified in the study, according to the Journal, are a chronic shortage of boots on the ground, heavily lopsided contributions by the various coalition partners, the consolidating of troops on large forward operating bases from 2004 to the troop surge, and the failure to prevent Iran and Syria from bolstering their favored militant groups in Iraq.
  • Despite all the drama, however, the Army finally came around. Last week, the current Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told the Journal that he had discarded plans to tweak the study and said it will be released in its original form — and with his stamp of approval — hopefully by Christmas.

Source

Army Veteran returns to annual TEE tournament in Iowa

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TEE tournament

 

Army Veteran Joni Mulvania (above, left) got a birdie on the first hole. No, really. Her tee shot hit a bird in mid-flight.

“The bird was not injured but my game never recovered.” That good-natured approach and her considerable athletic ability earned Mulvania one of the top awards at last year’s TEE tournament. She will be back this week. All birds are duly notified.

The TEE tournament is an annual golf rehabilitation program for Veterans who are legally blind, amputees, those who use wheelchairs and Veterans with other disabilities. It’s underway this week in Iowa City, Iowa.

The award Mulvania received was the 2017 Wayne Earle-Hampton Hill Award given to the Veteran who best exemplifies the spirit of the games. And there are numerous other awards in her golf bag. Her teams were the champions in 2008, 2009 and 2015.

The event provides legally blind Veterans and those with other disabilities an opportunity to participate in a therapeutic golfing event as well as other sports activities. The games enable Veterans to develop new skills and strengthen their self-esteem.

Mulvania, a retired Army Veteran who served three tours in South Korea lives in Rock Island, Illinois, “With my min pins Bonnie and Scooby Doo.” She has been diagnosed with PTSD, Military Sexual Trauma, seizure disorder and chronic pain, but never misses the TEE tournament because she enjoys encouraging other Veterans and building her endurance and strength through swimming, biking and golf.

“I love sports. My favorites are swimming, golf, and riding my trike. I also co-sponsor a women’s softball team. I enjoy cooking and barbecuing with friends and family. I also enjoy attending Veterans’ events and spending time with my best friend, my mother.”

TEE is an acronym for Training, Exposure and Experience. Participation is open to Veterans with visual impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, psychological trauma, certain neurological conditions, spinal cord injuries and other life changing disabilities.

The TEE Tournament uses a therapeutic format to promote health, wellness, rehabilitation, fellowship and camaraderie among its participants. This is the 25th year of the tournament.

Mulvania encourages Veterans to contact their local VA. “There are a lot of amazing opportunities out there.”

Source

Anna Mae Hays, nurse who became U.S. military’s first female general, dies at 97

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Anna Mae Hays

 

Anna Mae Hays, an Army nurse who served in a mud-caked jungle hospital in World War II, guided the Army Nurse Corps through the bloodiest years of the Vietnam War and became the first female general in American military history, died Jan. 7 at a retirement home in Washington. She was 97.

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