Banner Archive for March 2017

Army is hiring: Army increases end strength by 28,000 Soldiers

March, 20, 2017, WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Department of the Army will add 28,000 soldiersto its ranks by Sept. 30, 2017, officials announced today. The troop increase was directed by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017.   

 “The Army is hiring. The added end strength will allow the Army to increase manning in its tactical units, enhancing overall readiness,” said Major Gen. Jason T. Evans, Director of Army’s Directorate of Manpower and Personnel Management. “The increased manning also provides additional promotion opportunities and retention incentives for our existing Soldiers and more opportunities for those who are fit, resilient and possess character who want to join the Army.”

 Across the force, the active component end-strength authorization increased by 16,000 to 476,000; the Army National Guard increased by 8,000 to 343,000, and the Army Reserve increased by 4,000 to 199,000. The increases means the total Army will number 1,018,000 Soldiers.

 The Army will use a variety of personnel management tools to meet the troop strength requirement, including enlisted accessions, recruitment, training, and retention along with officer accessions and retention. For example, the Army will raise its enlisted accessions mission to 68,500, an increase of 6,000 soldiers in the Active Component from the original mission through FY 17. Additionally, the Army will increase the enlisted retention mission to 17,500, an increase of 9,000 Soldiers in the Active Component from the original mission through FY 17.

 With respect to officers, the Army will create additional accession and retention opportunities to increase officer strength by 1,000. And the Army will continue to leverage internal controls to increase retention of quality officers.

 The increased manning of the Army will enable it to better meet the challenges of an ever-uncertain security environment, Evans said.

 “We see a strong Army as a key factor in maintaining the security of the nation,” he said.


New credit union set to open March 20

The new Carlisle Barracks branch of Navy Federal Credit Union is set to open for business March 20, with a grand opening celebration set for March 24 at 11 a.m.

The credit union, located at 842 Sumner Road, replaces the Members 1stFederal Credit Union that closed last year.

Those eligible to join Navy Federal include:

  • Active Duty members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard
  • Army and Air National Guard
  • Delayed Entry Program
  • DoD Officer Candidate/ROTC
  • DoD Reservists
  • Veterans, retirees and annuitants
  • DoD Civilian Employees
  • U.S. Government Employees Assigned to DoD Installations
  • DoD Contractors Assigned to U.S. Government Installations
  • DoD Civilians, retirees and annuitants
  • Immediate family member who has joined or one who is eligible to join, you can become a Navy Federal member. Immediate family members include grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, grandchildren, children (including adopted and stepchildren) and household members.

The hours of operation are:

Monday- Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

March 20, 2017 --  Defense Travel System (DTS) users have reported receiving a phishing email. The scam consists of the DTS user receiving an email asking them to log into DTS at and to sign their travel authorization

immediately or their travel reservations will be cancelled or that their voucher is pending disbursement. 


This is NOT legitimate -- you can tell by the '.com'  URL. Government sites are '.mil.'


 It looks like this, below:





This notification was generated to inform you that an audit of Defense

Travel System VCH named ABYONGSANCXAR135626_V01 for you with authorization

number of 1TXJWX47 was just stamped REVIEW by the automation of DTS system.


Please to review your voucher log into DTS, select the following link with

your credentials:






Disbursing Office Voucher Number (DOV): T1625301 Disbursing Station Symbol

Number (DSSN): 1X348 Effective Payment Date: TBD


 Total Amount to Be Paid: $76.00





Note that the phishing link reflected a dot-com (.com) website address while the correct DTS website uses only a dot-mil (.mil) address. The phishing web-site accepts the user's CAC pin log-in information - which may ultimately comprise their digital certificates, which contains PII. 


Best course of action is to not click on the link and delete the email. 

'The Army is hiring' says G-1

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- "The Army is hiring," said Maj. Gen. Jason T. Evans, director of Military Personnel Management.

"We're looking for and want to retain high-quality young men and women who are resilient, fit, Soldiers of character," he said.

With the drawdown over, there are now "more opportunities for promotion and incentives as we grow the Army. We want Soldiers to take advantage of that," he said.

During the drawdown, if a Soldier was passed over for promotion, it usually meant separation, but now, good Soldiers have a better chance of re-enlisting or extending, he said, adding there are bonuses for a number of critical military occupational specialties to sweeten the deal.


On Dec. 23, the president signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017. That provided funding for higher levels of manning and set into motion the end of the drawdown, Evans said.

Costs to retain this size force in FY18 and beyond range between $3.5 and $4.5 billion, which would require additional funding later on.

Prior to Dec. 23, the Army was on a path to have 460,000 active-duty Soldiers by the end of this fiscal year, with a further reduction to 450,000 by the end of FY18. Also by the end of FY18, the Guard would have drawn down to 335,000 and the Reserve to 195,000, McConville said. That would have put the total force at 980,000.

With the drawdown stopped, and even reversed, the Army will need to grow to about 1,018,000, including 476,000 active, 343,000 Guard and 199,000 Reserve by the end of this fiscal year, he said.

Growing the active force from 460,000 to 476,000 will be accomplished by increasing the recruiting mission by 6,000 to 68,500 total, increasing the enlisted retention mission by 9,000 to 17,500 total, and increasing officer retention mission by approximately 1,000, he said.

Also, qualified prior-service Soldiers with needed skills will be welcomed back, he added. All of this increase in personnel across the board needs to happen by Oct. 1.

To help grow the Army, the pool of recruiters will grow and incentive bonuses will be available for recruiters and retention noncommissioned officers.

There's good news for captains who were twice not selected for major who would have been separated. Qualified captains will be allowed to continue to serve, and promotion rates will be less restrictive, Evans said.

Additionally, the school houses are expanding their class sizes to accommodate the influx, he added.

Where will the additional Soldiers be going?

Evans said many will go to undermanned units and some will support the ongoing unit conversion of an infantry brigade combat team to an armored BCT at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

The Army will be seeking additional funds for training and modernization to help balance the manning increase; the triad of what it takes to win wars, according to Army leaders. That will probably require an end to continuing resolutions and a predictable budget that the Army hasn't had in a number of years, Evans pointed out. Also, the Army is awaiting further guidance from the new administration.


Bonuses tend to be in critical MOSs and locations, Evans said.

Military Personnel Message 17-014, "Selective Retention Bonus [SRB] Program," of Jan. 20, spells out the qualifications for bonuses by grade, location and MOS.

For example, a FY17 ETSing infantry sergeant could receive $20,800 for re-enlisting 60 or more months, while a corporal could receive $20,100 for that time period. If that corporal re-enlisted for three years, the amount would be $10,500.

A large number of the bonuses will go to those in combat arms branches such as Special Operations Command and 75th Ranger Regiment. Those with language proficiencies will benefit as well.

Besides the SRB, an active-duty Soldier who extends for at least 12 months will receive a $10,000 extension bonus.

Dedicated team keeps roads clear during winter weather

Members of the CHIMES team were recognized by Maj. Gen. Bill Rapp, Army War College Commandant, Lt. Col. Greg Ank, Garrison commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Nelson Maldonado, Installation CSM and CSM Christopher Martinez, USAWC CSM for the recent actions in clearing the snow after a recent snowstorm that dropped more than a foot of snow on the area. Pictured are (left to right) Maldonado, Greg Shade, Rapp, Eric Engle, James Woodruff, Zach Thompson, Kurtis Miller, Scott Bowermaster, Zach Singiser, Keith Sourbeer, Ank, Josh Moomaw and Mike Bowermaster and Martinez. Not pictured is Brian Noel.

When the forecast calls for snow, many of us think about a day off of work or school and maybe even catching a few more hours of sleep.

For the members of the CHIMES team here however, it may mean long days into nights as the eight-man team works to clear the installation roads and parking lots to keep residents and employee safe. CHIMES is the contractor responsible for the roads and lands at Carlisle Barracks, under the direction of Public Works.

During the recent storm that dropped over a foot of snow on Carlisle Barracks, members of the team began work at 10 p.m. on Monday with a three-person crew to make sure the main artery of Carlisle Barracks, starting at the Claremont Road Gate, was open to ensure safe travels for emergency vehicles. The rest of the 11-person crew arrived at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning and worked around the clock, working 12-hour shifts with breaks for meals and rest, finally stopping at 7:30 p.m. IHG Hotels offered rooms for showers or overnight stays for those working to combat the snow.

The work isn’t done once the snow stars falling and the roads are cleared. After the post was reopened on March 15, the team was back to work at 4 a.m. the next day to clear parking lots and clear snow piles so operations could resume at 9 a.m.

When the snow falls also affects the priority of effort for snow removal. During the work week, the main priorities after the gates are the academic areas around Root and Collins Halls and the CDC and youth center. If the snow falls on the weekend the focus shifts to the retail area and post chapel.

While the CHIMES team does most of the heavy lifting in snow events, everyone on post plays an important role, including residents and building managers.

“Residents really help us out when they move their vehicles off narrow roads like Forbes Avenue and Garrison Lane before the storms hit,” said Tom Kelly, director of Public Works. “This allows us to plow this roads much more quickly and safely.” Kelly also said that building mangers, who are responsible for clearing the sidewalks and areas around their building, also put in long hours during a snow event.




Robert Martin, USAWC Public Affairs
Colombian General inducted into the USAWC’s International Hall of Fame
March 17, 2017 -- The U.S. Army War College welcomed back Gen. Alberto Jose Mejia, commander of the Colombian National Army, as he became the 63rdmember of the USAWC International Fellows Hall of Fame during a ceremony conducted here.
Gen. Alberto Mejia, speaks to the resident class of 2017, staff and faculty members during his induction into the International Fellows Hall of Fame, Bliss Hall.

Mejia spoke to current students and faculty as well as colleagues about the long history of Colombian military cooperation with the United States. Among these, he described combat operations during the Korean War, when under the direction of the 7thInfantry Division, Colombian soldiers earned more than 500 decorations while serving alongside US Army Soldiers.

“This college made an incredible change in me in the way I approached strategy, critical thinking and especially the way I learned campaign planning,” said Mejia. “It was here that I started to study and research, while completing my SRP paper, on how the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) was a system of systems and I enjoy investigating and seeing the enemy from a different approach,” he said.

He is the eldest son of Gen. Nelson Mejia Henao, commander of the Colombian National Army from 1988 to 1990. Mejia is an infantry officer and holds a master's degree in national security from the Naval Post Graduate School and a Master’s of Strategic Studies from the USAWC. He has been the commander of the Special Forces Battalion No. 2 and the Army's Aviation and Air Assault Division. His career culminated in his promotion to Commander the National Army in July 2015.

The Class of 2017 stand at attention as Maj. Gen. William Rapp and Gen. Alberto Mejia depart Bliss Hall after Mejia's inducttion into the International Fellows Hall of Fame.

He was one of the key leaders of the strategic review committee responsible for revising the Colombian Army’s counter-guerrilla strategy that focused on small unit engagements rather than concentrating on large groups of enemy combatants.

The International Fellows Program was established for mutual understanding and good working relationship between senior U.S. officers and senior officers of select foreign countries -- to offer an opportunity for senior military officers from allied and friendly countries, to study, research, and write about subjects of significance to the security interest of the their own and allied nations; and to enrich the educational environment of the USAWC and to improve the International Fellows’ firsthand knowledge of U.S. culture and institution through study and travel in the United States.

Weather Delays are always publicized HERE, and at

Snow pile safety

For the safety of children and personnel plowing snow, residents are asked to keep their children from playing on or tunneling through snow piles.

Tips to prepare for unexpected emergencies --

Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know  how  you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.

  • A NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts alerts and warnings directly from the NWS for all hazards. You may also sign up in advance to receive notifications from your local emergency services.
  • Download FEMA’s Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings for a summary of notifications at: Free smart phone apps, such as those available from FEMA and the American Red Cross, provide information about finding shelters, providing first aid, and seeking assistance for recovery.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
  • Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
  • Requires supervision – Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.


Carlisle Rotary  creates $25K donation for Veterans

Carlisle, PA. - The Rotary Veterans Initiative (RVI), a project of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, donated $25,000 to Penn State Harrisburg and $10,000 to the Central Penn College Education Foundation in recent weeks  to fund scholarships and textbooks for military student veterans.

For more:

The RVI donation will fund six scholarships at Penn State Harrisburg---three for $1,500 to entering student veterans (need based) and three for $1,500 to continuing student veterans (need and performance based).  The remaining $16,000 will enable 32 student veterans to each purchase $500 worth of course textbooks.

RVI presented the check at the weekly meetings of the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg North and the Rotary Club of Carlisle.  The RVI donation will fund two scholarships at CPC---one for $1,500 to an entering student veteran (need based) and one for $1,500 to an continuing student veteran (need and performance based).  The remaining $7,000 will be used to enable student veterans to purchase digital devices for downloading textbooks.

Noah John Roufos-Abbey, director of major gifts with Penn State Harrisburg’s Office of University Development, said, “Since Penn State Harrisburg's founding 50 years ago on the grounds of decommissioned Olmsted Air Force Base, the college has a proud history of serving veterans and reservists as they pursue their educational goals.  We are exceedingly grateful for this powerful new partnership with the Rotary Veterans Initiative and The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.  It has been a pleasure to work alongside them, and this generous commitment will create many new opportunities for deserving individuals on campus.”

Penn State Harrisburg representatives at the check presentation included student veterans Michelle Becraft and Mike Raymond.

 Michelle Becraft served eight years on active duty with the U.S. Army as an ammunition specialist, achieving the rank of staff sergeant.  She served two tours in Afghanistan, one with the 1st Air Calvary Brigade from Ft. Hood, Texas and one with the 45th Sustainment Brigade from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.  Having earned an associate’s degree in electrical engineering technology, Michelle is working toward a bachelor’s degree in the same field.  She has three children and is an active member of Chi Gamma Iota (XGI), a scholastic honor society and veteran’s organization at Penn State Harrisburg. 

Mike Raymond attained the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Army, served two tours in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division as a forward observer, has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, and is now a criminal justice major with a 3.88 grade point average.  Currently serving as the president of the Penn State Harrisburg chapter of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society and as the social media/public affairs Officer of XGI, Michael has an infant son, expects to graduate in one year, and seeks a career in federal law enforcement.   

Rick Coplen, chair of the Rotary Veterans Initiative, said, “We believe in the young men and women veterans at Penn State Harrisburg.  We believe in their hopes and dreams and we are investing in them.  Our mission is to help veterans succeed by supporting their education, training, and job search opportunities.  We will soon announce initiatives supporting veterans attending other colleges, acquiring valuable trades skills and certifications, and starting new small businesses.  As we invest in these veterans and their families, we also strengthen the economic vitality of our local communities.”

The RVI grew out of the Central PA Chapter of Helping a Hero, which was initiated in 2010 by Bob Egley and Don Jacobs, and has funded the construction of two specially adapted homes for severely wounded U.S. veterans injured in Afghanistan or Iraq.  These homes are for Dennis Leonard (Sergeant, U.S. Army, Retired) and Jeffrey Campbell (U.S. Navy, Petty Officer First Class, Retired).  Leonard moved into his home in 2013; the Campbell family moved into their new home in February.

The RVI is led by members of the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg North and the Rotary Club of Carlisle.  RVI Steering Committee members include Egley, Jacobs, Coplen, John Anthony, Clarence Asbury, Bill Blankmeyer, Ed Blum, Marsha Burkett, Alden Cunningham, Ed Fetrow, Dave Haag, Carol Lennon, Ray Millen, and Dwayne Parrish.  To date, the Rotary Veterans Initiative has donated a total of $60,000 to support veteran education at Penn State Harrisburg, Central Penn College, and Harrisburg Area Community College.

The RVI encourages golfers, volunteers, and sponsors to participate in its next golf tournament fundraiser on July 28, 2017---shotgun start at 1 p.m. at the Carlisle Barracks Golf Course.  Additionally, if people or organizations wish to collaborate with the RVI to serve our military veterans, please email  For those who wish to donate, please write the check to “Rotary Veterans Initiative” and mail it to RVI at P.O. Box 303 Carlisle, PA 17013.

Army Wellness Center offers free screenings as part of ‘Healthy Heart’ month

The Carlisle Barracks Army Wellness Center wrapped up Healthy Heart month by providing the community biometric screenings (resting heart rate and blood pressure measurements) at the Exchange Feb 27. Matt Zlogar, Wellness Center Director, and Dottie Wilkinson provided blood pressure screenings to more than 20 individuals and hope to continue the service on an on-going basis.

“We want to bring awareness to the community and ensure they have access to improve their health and wellness,” said Zlogar. “This allows us to get a snapshot of what our community looks like at a whole and what may be trending with simple things such as resting heart rate and blood pressure. This way, we are able to hone in on what may be more of an opportunity for us (the wellness center) to promote for good health and prevention of chronic disease.”

USAWC Press publishes new edition of Parameters
March 8, 2017 -- The latest edition of Parameters is now available online, with a range of articles, commentaries, and book reviews of note to national security professionals.
See in particular the article by Maj. Gen. Rapp entitled "Ensuring Effective Military Voice." 
Here's the abstract:  "Culture, psychology, and decision-making structures place limits on the development, delivery, and impact of effective military voice in national security policy discussions.  Only by working together and overcoming theses limits will both military and civilian leaders ensure the robust dialogue necessary for solvent national security policies and successful waging of wars."
See also Brig. Gen. George Schwartz's commentary on a previous Parameters article entitled "Rightsizing the Army in Austere Times."
This edition of Parameters includes book reviews by Dr. Steve Metz, Dr. Marybeth Ulrich, Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, Andy Terrill, Prof. Al Lord, and Dr. Jim Scudieri.
See also the reviews of Drug Trafficking and International Security by Dr. Paul Kan (DNSS) and Drawdown: The American Way of Postwar, edited by LTC Jason Warren (CSL).

Carlisle Barracks offering unique movie experience for special needs children

Cassie Villalobos, Emily Brown,Samantha Villalobos and Carsten Bridges pose for a photo during a recent sensory free movie showing at Reynolds Theater. Lights are kept on, the sound is lowered, and kids are free to get up and move around and talk, which is helpful for children with special needs.

A new program at Carlisle Barracks has opened the doors for children with special needs in the community to enjoy a movie going experienced designed just for them.

Reynolds Theater has hosted two “sensory friendly” showing of new kids movies to allow children with special needs to enjoy watching a movie in the theater with their friends and family.

“Parents have come to me and said that they wished they could take their kids to the movies but it just wasn’t possible,” said Kelly Villalobos, director of the post Exceptional Family Member Program. “I thought it would be a great idea to offer something here for the kids and their families.” She has partnered with AAFES to hold two sensory free movie experiences in the last few months.

“Carsten enjoyed the experience,” said Lt. Col. Chad Bridges, an Army War College student whose son attended a recent screening of Moana. “The staff was terrific. The sensory friendly atmosphere provided an environment where he could watch a movie in a theater where in traditional theaters, he could not.”

The program has been a great success, with 78 people attending the first movie, a showing of Trolls and a recent showing of Moana brought 91 people to Reynolds Theater, from as far away as York, Pa.
“The event is sensory friendly to meet the diverse needs of this population,” said Villalobos. “Lights are kept on, the sound is lowered, and kids are free to get up and move around and talk.”

When movies are scheduled, email invitations are sent to each family with a special needs child. Movies are held on Saturdays on a quarterly basis at noon.  Villalobos also provides the information to local agencies who work with special needs children to make the event available to them as well.

Plans are being developed for the next movie, for more information contact Kelly Villalobos at 717-245-3775.

Eagle View Middle School offering senory free showing

Eagle View Middle School will present a dress rehearsal of Beauty and the Beast for our Exceptional Family Members on April 27.  The show will begin at 6:00 PM and run until 9:00 PM.  This showing will provide two roped off sections in the rear of the auditorium one of these sections will have the lights turned up.  Children will be free to move around and talk during this showing.

 Prior to the showing there will be a meet and greet for families to meet the lead characters in the show.  Families should be advised that because this is a dress rehearsal that there may be times where the production stops and restarts, however the ultimate goal will be to run the show in it’s entirely on this evening. Eagle View Middle School will collect a $5.00 admission fee per person upon entry.

This event is not sponsored or endorsed by the United States Army. All money collected will go to the Eagle View Middle School.  This information is provided solely for the consideration of military families of EMFPs who have limited opportunities for their childrencto enjoy the arts.

U.S. Army War College mourns the passing of 2016 graduate

Col. Jon Thaddeus Blatt passed away at the Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord on February 4, 2017, in Tacoma, Washington, at the age of 54.

Jon was born on January 18, 1963, in Huntington, W.Va., to Thaddeus and Carolyn Blatt. Jon is survived by his wife, Victoria; his children, Michael, Kathleen and Alex Blatt, whom he shar ed with former spouse Susan Blatt; his grandson, Jonathan Copley; his parents, Thaddeus and Carolyn Blatt; his sister and brother-in-law, Michele and Charlie Rappold; his sister, Teresa Blatt; his sister and brother-in-law, Becky and Chris Stanfield; his brother and sister-in-law, Eric and Sarah Blatt; his brother, Andrew Blatt; other aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews; and many, many friends. He is also preceded in death by his brother, Joey Blatt.

Jon's primary and secondary education in Huntington included St. Joseph Central Catholic School, along with Huntington High School. Jon graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Marshall University in December 1987. He received his Master's Degree in Strategic Studies from The United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., in 2016. He worked as the Operations Manager for his father's business, LJ Navy in Huntington, W.Va., throughout his high school and college years. He continued on to work for the United States Postal Service as the Delivery and Customer Service Programs Manager in Charleston, W.Va. Jon was also a proud member of the Knights of Columbus in Huntington, W.Va.

He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States (US) Army Reserve through the Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Ga., in August 1988. Upon graduation from the Ordnance Officer Basic Course at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., in May 1989, he was selected for an initial active duty assignment in Germany for three years. While there, he was assigned as an Ammunition Platoon Leader for the 23rd Ordnance Company in Kriegsfeld, Germany, with follow on assignments as Maintenance Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer. Col. Blatt spent his remaining active duty tour at Fort Lewis, Wash., where he served as the Assistant S3 and Conventional Ammunition Officer for the 80th Ordnance Battalion.

Upon his release from active duty, Col. Blatt rejoined the US Army Reserve in Charleston, W.Va., where he served as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander for the 38th Ordnance Group. Following Company Command, he served as the S3 and Materiel Officer for the 332nd Ordnance Battalion in Kenova, W.Va. He subsequently returned to Charleston, W.Va., where he served as the Materiel Officer for the 321st Ordnance Battalion and deployed with the unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in April 2003. He returned from deployment in April 2004 and was assigned as the Materiel Officer for the 38th Ordnance Group prior to being selected as the Commander of the 321st Ordnance Battalion.

Following Battalion Command, Col. Blatt served as the S3 for the 38th Regional Support Group and was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 38th Regional Support Group/316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Mission Support Element. He was later mobilized with the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) in Coraopolis, Pa., as the Mobilization and Readiness Chief and subsequently served as the Chief of Pre- and Post-Mobilization Training at the US Army Reserve Command in Fort McPherson, Ga., and Fort Bragg, N.C.

Col. Blatt was mobilized as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G5, for the 364th Sustainment Command (Rear) in Marysville, Wash., through September 2012, prior to being selected as the Commander, Army Sustainment Command, Army Reserve Element at Fort Bragg, N.C. He served as the Commander at Fort Bragg until his assignment as the Assistant Chief of Staff, G4, for the 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Fort Hood, Texas, followed by his assignment as Commander, 4th Special Troops Battalion (R)(P). Col. Blatt distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of critical leadership positions of great importance and increasing responsibility culminating as the Brigade Commander of the 304th Sustainment Brigade at Riverside, Calif.

Col. Blatt's military awards include: Legion of Merit (Posthumous), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 oak leaf clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with 4 oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with 2 oak leaf clusters), US Army Reserve Achievement Medal (with 4 oak leaf clusters), National Defense Service Medal (with bronze service star), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with silver hourglass and M device), Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon.  

Col. Blatt was deeply loved and respected by his family and the soldiers whom he served with compassion. His leadership will leave a lasting impact on all who had the pleasure of serving with him. Funeral Liturgy was conducted by Father Dean Borgmeyer at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, February 16, 2017, at St. Joseph Catholic Church followed by a burial at Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar, W.Va. Memorial contributions may be made to Swedish Medical Center, Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment, Swedish Neuroscience Institute Cherry Hill, 550 17th Avenue Suite 540, Seattle, WA 98122, Online condolences may be made to the family at

Chief of Chaplains honors Chap. Greg D’Emma with Order of Aaron and Hur

Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Paul K. Hurley presents the Order of  Aaron and Hur to Chap.(retired Col.) Gregory J. D'Emma. Knights of Columbus stand by during the award of the prestigious honor, following Mass at the Army War College Memorial Chapel, Feb. 23.



















March 2, 2017 -- Throughout 37 years as a Catholic priest, Chaplain and retired Col. Gregory D’Emma compiled quite a few stories and sermons to share. Through seven years as chaplain to the Army War College and Carlisle Barracks community, he developed quite a list of friends and colleagues to whom he served as priest, mentor, advisor and friend.

D’Emma responded with the spirit of the Aaron and Hur award when Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Paul K. Hurley presented to him “the most perfect recognition for Father D’Emma’s enduring devotion and service,” at a ceremony following Mass at the Army War College Memorial Chapel here, Feb. 23.

 “As important as it is to hold up the staff over your head, as Moses did, more important are the people who hold up the person holding the staff and I thank them, sincerely and from the bottom of my heart for all they have done for me and the Chaplain Corps,” said D’Emma.

The citation for the Order of Aaron and Hur tells the story of Moses, prayer, and the Israelites.  As long as Moses held up his arms with the staff of God in prayer, his people prevailed against the Amelekite warriors. But when he lowered weary arms to rest, the soldiers of Amalek prevailed. Noting this, Moses’s top leaders Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on; they stood on each side, holding his arms steady and high.  The Israelites overcame the army of Amalek.

“For enduring devotion and service … this award recognizes the significant contributions that you have consistently and generously made for years in support of the Army Chaplain Corps. A caring and compassionate leader, you modeled technical excellence, exceptional wisdom, faithful calling in assignments around the world.”

“It is the most prestigious award that the Chaplaincy can give,” said Chap. (Lt. Col.) T.J. Wood, who assisted at Mass. The Order of Aaron and Hur recognizes those who in some remarkable way supported “the arms of the Chaplaincy.”

“The truth of the matter is that if I have accomplished anything over these years, it has not been accomplished alone,” said D’Emma.  “No one can do that, no matter how good, great, or important.”

Noting the contributions of many chaplains who have supported him, he focused especially on the many assistants who have not gotten the recognition they deserve for what they do, for all the work that nobody sees.  He recognized several enlisted military chaplain assistants from this and past assignments.  

Father D'Emma recognizes those who stood by him, after being honored with the Order of Aaron and Hur, which he wears. A host of chaplain collagues at the ceremony included Chap. (Lt.Col.) T.J. Wood, right.

“They have walked the path with me and who have, in a very real sense, lighted my way,” he said, naming sergeants Wicks, Forbes and Heikkinen, Spec. Mallard, and Pvt 1stClass Price. “These young men and women took care to ensure that things would go well, the chapel would look good, that the chaplains would look good….”

“If I had to list the names of all the people who have helped and worked here, then we would not have enough time this afternoon,” he said, as he recognized civilian assistants Maureen Cantwell, Lisa White, Cindy Barbee, Darlene Meier and Brittany Clements who have worked hard to make this place great.

Local Army Emergency Relief campaign kicks off March 1

Since its incorporation 75 years ago, Army Emergency Relief has helped the Army “Take Care of its Own” by providing more than $1.7 billion in assistance to over 3.7 million Soldiers and their Families.  AER was established on Feb 5, 1942, to collect and hold funds to relieve distress of members of the U.S. Army and their dependents. This guiding principle remains true today and is reflected in their motto of “Soldiers Helping Soldiers.”

The Carlisle Barracks Campaign will run March 1- May 15. Carlisle Barracks/Army War College keypersons are being identified but if you have questions contact Capt. Jordan Sorrenti at (717) 245-3244 or Sgt 1st Class Eric Towns at (717) 245- 3296.

AER, funded completely by donations, exists solely to provide assistance to active duty and retired Soldiers and their Families. Financial assistance through interest free loans and grants from more than 30 eligible categories of assistance, along with scholarships for dependent children and spouses, help ease the financial burdens on the lives of Army Families every day.

Financial assistance is available at 76 AER sections located on Army installations worldwide. Army Soldiers and their Families can also apply for assistance through reciprocal agreements with Air Force Aid Society, Navy Marine Corp Relief Society, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, and the American Red Cross.  In addition, by visiting AER’s website,, active duty and retired Soldiers can find information on available programs, learn about categories of assistance, complete an online application, apply for a scholarship for a child or spouse, make a donation, and read financial statements.

In 2016 alone, AER provided $54M in assistance to more than 1,100 Wounded Soldiers and over 36,000 Soldiers and their Families - including almost 7,000 Retired Soldiers and their Families. AER’s Scholarship program awarded in excess of 4,000 scholarships to dependent children and spouses. Of all scholarships awarded, dependents of Retired Soldiers received 1,800 scholarships worth $3.9M.

Carlisle Barracks to celebrate Women’s History Month March 20

March is National Women's History Month, and the U.S. Army joins the nation in an amplified celebration of women's contributions to this nation and its Army. The Army honors the sacrifices and accomplishments of the women who have helped shape not only the service but the country.

Carlisle Barracks will recognize the accomplishments of women’s contribution on March 20, 1-2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at the Army Heritage and Education Center, located at 950 Soldiers Drive in Carlisle.

The event will include guest speaker Patricia Jordan who is an accomplished actress, operatic singer, and historian. She will perform a living history presentation of Civil War nurse and American Red Cross founder, Clara Barton, through a first person interpretation.    

The event is open to everyone, bring family and friends.

What is the Army doing?

Women play vital roles in today's Army; they are leaders overseas and at home; they are Soldiers, Army Civilians, as well as Family members who are all critical members of the Army team.

The Army honors all women for their military and civil service, their support and strength, and their sacrifices to help ensure the freedom and liberty cherished by all Americans.

Army leaders across the department continue to set the conditions for all Soldiers to reach their full potential and, as such, must assign tasks and jobs throughout the force based on ability, not gender. For the first time in history, the Army has fully integrated women into all military positions, which contributes to a stronger force.

Women Soldiers have recently made historic strides, from graduating from Ranger School to the appointment of the first black female Army surgeon general to the Department of Defense opening up all military occupational specialties (MOS) to women.

  • Pvt. 1st. Class Katherine Beatty became the first female cannon crew member (2016).
  • Maj. Gen. Linda Singh, the first woman and the first African-American to serve as adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard, took command of the Maryland National Guard (2015).
  • Brig. Gen. Diana Holland was named the first female commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York (2015).

What continued efforts are planned for the future?

Women's History Month stands as a further reminder of the strength the Army has gained and will continue to gain through having a high quality, diverse, all-volunteer force standing ready to answer the nation's call.

Women Soldiers help to make the Army the finest fighting force in the world, and Army leadership will continue to shape policy that ensures the force of the future remains so.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army is proud of today's women Soldiers who serve with distinction and are role models exemplifying the highest values.

Fully integrating women into all military positions will allow women to contribute in all aspects to the armed forces, which will facilitate improvement throughout the organization.