Banner Archive for June 2008
 

Post pool open for business
The "Splash" Facts

 

Post youth and thier familes take a break from the heat at the Splash Zone, the  Carlisle Barracks pool. Photo by Theresa Pace.

 June 19, 2008 -- Splash Zone, the Carlisle Barracks' pool is now open and ready for swimmers and families of all ages to enjoy a break from the heat.

    The pool is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11:50p.m. for lap swimming and then 12p.m.- 7p.m. for open swimming. Times are subject to change based on participation.  Lap swim policy may change from day to day depending on the number of swimmers and the weather. 

    Pool memberships are available at various prices, and daily passes can be purchased at the door. Children ages 5 under swim for free; children ages 6-17 cost $3 for ID card holders and $4 for guests; Adults 18 and older cost $4 with an ID and $5 for guests; Seniors 65 and older cost $3 with an ID and $4 for guests; and lap swimming is $3.

    Splash Zone will also have swim lessons available starting June 16. Lessons are $40 a session unless they are a member of the Youth Services Day Camp then it is $35. You can register at the pool or the Root Hall Gym room 120, or call 245-3560 or 245-4029.

    Eligible Users: Active duty military, national guard, reserves, retired military and their family members who are in possession of a valid DoD ID card; civilian employees and their family members who are in possession of a valid DoD ID card or Community Operations/Recreation ID card (CBKs Form 834R).

     Guest Policy: Only eligible users, 12 years of age and older, may bring one guest per visit to the pool.  Guests must sign in on appropriate forms and abide by all pool rules.  Guests must leave the pool when the sponsor leaves.

    Appropriate Attire: Bathing suit is required at all times (i.e., no one will be permitted in the pool with cut-offs or t-shirts). Shoes, flippers or shower clogs are not permitted on the pool deck or in the pool.

     Weather: Once lightning or thunder is observed, or it starts to rain, the pool will be emptied.  The pool will not be reopened until there is a 45-minute period that has been lightning and/or thunder free.  If swimming cannot be continued for the day, season pass holders will be issued a pass for a free game of bowling at the Carlisle Barracks Strike Zone Bowling Center for that day.

     Refund Policy: Refunds will only be made for persons who become physically incapacitated and have purchased seasonal passes, pool rental and/or lesions.  All refunds will be charged a $15 processing fee.  There will be no refunds for daily passes, pool equipment rental and food and drinks purchased at the "Splash Zone" snack bar.  Pool rental must be canceled within seven (7) days of the rental date in order to receive a refund.

 Fees 

 Season Pass

Individual Enlisted

$65

Enlisted Family of 2

$90

Enlisted Family of 3

$95

Maximum

$120

Individual Officer

$85

Officer Family of 2

$120

Officer Family of 3

$145

Maximum

$185

Other:

$95

Other Family of 2

$145

Other Family of 3

$165

Maximum

$205

Two Month Pass

Individual Enlisted

$40

Enlisted Family of 2

$60

Enlisted Family of 3

$70

Maximum

$90

Individual Officer

$60

Officer Family of 2

$80

Officer Family of 3

$100

Maximum

$140

Other:

$80

Other Family of 2

$100

Other Family of 3

$120

Maximum

$160

 One Month Pass

Individual Enlisted

$20

Enlisted Family of 2

$30

Enlisted Family of 3

$40

Maximum

$60

Individual Officer

$30

Officer Family of 2

$60

Officer Family of 3

$80

Maximum

$120

Other:

$40

Other Family of 2

$80

Other Family of 3

$100

Maximum

$140

Daily Pass

(AGE)

(I.D. Card Holder)

(Guest)

Five and Under

Free

Free

6-17

$3

$4

18 and older

$4

$5

Seniors (65+)

$3

$4

Lap Swimming

$3

 

 Swim Lessons- There is a maximum of 10 students per class. Each lesion is 50 minutes in duration and two weeks long.  Sessions begin June 16.  A $40 per student, per session fee must be paid at the time of registration.  Carlisle Barracks Youth Services' Day Camp Children will be given a $5 discount when registering for their swimming lessons.  Registration will be accepted by calling 245-3560/4029/4343. You may also register at the Sports Office or at the swimming pool during regular hours.  Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Rules…Ya Gotta Have 'Em! – Complete list of rules will be posted at the pool

1.    Children nine (9) years of age and younger MUST BE ACCOMPANIED and supervised at all times by a parent or family member 16 years of age or older.

2.    Smoking IS Not permitted in the pool are all tobacco use must be 50' from the building

3.    Food and beverages are only permitted on the cement patio are and on the grassy areas surrounding the pool.  No glass containers are permitted in any area of the pool.

4.    Guests are not permitted to sign for equipment.

5.    Patrons must shower before entering the pool.

6.    Adult swim is conducted 10 minutes before every hour for a 10 minute period.  No one under the age of 18 is permitted in the pool or on the pool apron during this time.

7.    Pets are not permitted inside the fenced area.

 

Location: Behind Letort View Community Center

Telephone: 245-3560/4029        

Duration of Season: May 29 through Labor Day  

 


Tori Hennigan, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Carlisle Barracks celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month

 

Attendees of the Carlisle Barracks Asian Pacific Heritage Month observance grab a bite to eat in the 
LVCC June 10. 
Photo by Scott Finger.  
   

June 10, 2008 -- In honor of the Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Carlisle Barracks proudly celebrated with an event June 10, in the Letort View Community Center.

    Edward T. Rios, guest speaker for the event, began by asking those present who were Asian or Pacific Islanders to stand.

   "We honor you as citizens whose families have come from halfway around the world, but are now an integral part of America.  Thank you for celebrating with us today," Rios is a native of Guam and retired Army Soldier.

    The theme for this year's celebration was "Leadership, Diversity, Harmony- Gateway to Success" and Rios spoke about all of these qualities in his speech.

    "Asian and Pacific Islander Leaders are represented in all fields of life to include musicians, athletes, scientists, business entrepreneurs and government officials.  All these leaders come together with the strong desire to improve our country," said Rios. 

    Refreshments and ethnic food were provided during the ceremony, including huli huli chicken, jasmine rice, hunan beef, and shrimp with snow peas.

    "I think it was very interesting he put on a really good program and the food was delicious," said Kay Preslar, Secretary for the Deputy Commandant for International Affairs, "I come to these ceremonies because they are always uplifting."

   

Edward T. Rios was the guest speaker at the event. Photo by Scott Finger.

   Rios provided a display of items from Guam, including woven palm frond baskets and sandals. After the ceremony Lt Col Sergio Dickerson presented Rios with a U.S. Army War College Mug and thanked him for his service and providing the ethnic objects.

    "They represent one of the diverse cultures of America and it is clearly represented in the United States army, because of that we honor that heritage month to represent those individuals, said Dickerson 

    During his speech Rios said he swelled with pride as he spoke about the achievements and integration of cultures.

    "As we celebrate our rich collection of cultures through events like Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, let us not forget that while we are a diverse nation, we are also a united one.  Let us celebrate our differences but also appreciate our union as a country founded on the belief that all are equal, and all are deserving of liberty and freedom."


Theresa Pace, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Carlisle Barracks recognized as a Tree City USA 

Smokey Bear and Lt. Col. Sergio Dickerson, garrison commnader, hold the Tree City USA flag during the 2008 Tree City USA celebration on Carlisle Barracks on June 18. Photo by Tori Hennigan.

 

June 18, 2008 -- June 18 was declared Arbor Day on Carlisle Barracks in celebration of the post's Tree City USA Certification.

    Outside of the chapel, a crowd of children gathered in the grass, all holding trees or water to celebrate Tree City USA.

    "Tree City USA recognizes Carlisle as a good environmental steward," said Tom Kelly, Department of Public Works Director.

    Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Sergio Dickerson read the Arbor Day proclamation. He explained all the benefits that trees bring to a community from, oxygen for animals and for people to trees being, a source of joy and spiritual renewal.  He ended by declaring June 18th as Arbor on Carlisle Barracks.

    Dickerson was followed by Zach Roader, Forester, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. He presented the installation with a new Tree City USA flag, and congratulated the 17th year of Carlisle Barracks being named a Tree City USA community.

    "After 17 years you needed an extension for the plaque," joked Roader.

The CDC children sung, "This Land is Your Land."

     After the singing, the kids were all given little shovels, and four golden shovels were placed next to a brand new tree. Kids and adults together planted a new tree in honor of Tree City USA.

     "The number one thing trees bring to the community is beauty," said Kelly. "They enhance the beauty of Carlisle Barracks."

     Attendees said they enjoyed watching the children sing and plant trees, but they also took away with them a new knowledge of what trees bring to a community.

    Debbie Teague, a Chapel employe, said she learned the importance of keeping the environment intact and planting trees to keep erosion at a minimum.  


Theresa Pace, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Education center moves to new location

     

The post Education Center has moved to 532 Wright Ave. Photo by Theresa Pace.

 

June 19, 2008 -- The Carlisle Barracks Army Education Center has moved to a new location, but they are still offering the same great programs for military personnel to continue their education.

    The center provides a wide variety of information on classes that Soldiers and their families can take. They offer help and advice to Soldiers who are interested in furthering their education.

    "More Soldiers than ever before are using the tuition assistance to earn a degree," said Susan Ziegler, Education Services Specialist.

    Ziegler is one of the talented professionals who provide educational counseling. They sit down with individuals to help set their personal education goals.

   The primary purpose of the Ed Center is to help create higher learning opportunities for Soldiers, said Christine Sibert, administrative assistant and counseling support.

    The center offers a multiple requirement exams, from military classification tests to language aptitude tests.  The education center is there to serve the Soldiers, said Sibert.

    "The staff is willing to work with them, and work with their educational institutions to better help the Soldiers' needs," she said.

    Soldiers enrolled in college courses have the option of taking their examinations through the education center.

    "I used the Ed Center once and that was to take a final exam, said Sgt. George Frame Jr., Human Resources Specialist. "They made the process very painless by asking a few questions and set me up a date to take my exam. When I took my exam, everything I needed was laid out for me."

    The center is offering E-learning classes for Soldiers. The different E-Learning classes cover a variety of topics from computer technology to foreign languages. Soldiers can take courses they want absolutely free, and some courses can earn college credit or promotion points, said Ziegler.

    Visit the new Education Center at 632 Wright Ave, across from its former location, or call 717-245-3943. The center is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Gerry Gilmore, American Forces Press Service
General Cites Challenging Recruiting Environment

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AFPS, June 18, 2008) - The Army is now exceeding its recruiting requirements, but that force may contain more soldiers who needed waivers to sign up in the years ahead, a senior U.S. military officer said here today.
    But, he added, that may not be as bad as it sounds.
    Each year, the Army recruits about 80,000 new soldiers who join an all-volunteer force that also includes sailors, airmen and Marines and is universally recognized as "a national treasure," Army Lt. Gen. David P. Valcourt, deputy commanding general and chief of staff of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, told attendees at the 2008 Joint Warfighting Conference.
    However, although the Army currently is exceeding its recruiting goals for active duty and reserve component soldiers, a looming recruiting crisis is on the horizon, Valcourt said.
    "Today, seven out of 10 American citizens between the ages of 17 and 24 that are walking the streets of America can not quality for entry into our services without some form of a waiver, ... and that is a national crisis," the three-star general said. Prospects within that group, Valcourt said, require medical, physical or moral waivers to enter the military.
    The Army has received criticism from some quarters, Valcourt said, because soldiers being enlisted today have twice as many waivers compared to soldiers who enlisted a year ago. Valcourt indicated such criticism may be misplaced, especially if someone wants to serve his or her county during wartime.
    "If somebody has 'a little stain on their shirt' and they want to raise their hand and come serve their country in a time of war -- knowing not if, but when they are going to deploy in harm's way -- where would you rather them be?" Valcourt asked.
    Such enlistees, he said, can benefit from Army training "under the watchful arm of one of our sergeants who is a professional at instilling values and discipline and taking care of business that hadn't been done in the last 18 years."
    Another way to look at the waiver issue, Valcourt said, would be to thank the armed services "for giving those folks who may have a slight stain on their shirt an opportunity to come in our services and find their way to fulfill their call of duty and serve and protect our freedom."
    Existing programs, such as the Junior ROTC, help young people to consider joining the military or to make it a career, Valcourt noted. There's also a new proposal being coordinated with the state of South Carolina, he added, to establish an Army preparatory school for young people without high school diplomas.
    The bottom line, Valcourt said, is that the current recruiting environment for a volunteer force is what it is.
    "And, the answer is not the draft," Valcourt emphasized, noting that his experience with a conscripted Army that ended in 1973 "was not a fun thing." 

 


Suzanne Reynolds, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Age doesn't matter when it comes to Sports Competitions

 

Mary Lou Loomis competes in the 2008 Senior Games football throw on Indian Field, June 12, 2008. Photo by Suzanne Reynolds.

June 12, 2008 -- It doesn't matter how old you are – competing in sports is always fun as evident on the faces of participants in the 2008 Senior Games on Thursday, June 12.

  Presented by the Cumberland County Aging and Community Services and hosted by Carlisle Barracks, the 2008 Senior Games events were held in various locations on post.  

  According to Heather DeWire, Cumberland County Office of Aging and Community Services, more than 120 Pa. residents 50 and older participated in events ranging from track and field to bowling, pinochle, darts and more.

  According to organizers, the goal of the Senior Games is to stimulate active lifestyles, promote healthy living, build lasting friendships and create fond memories.

  After participating in the morning track events which included the softball and football throws, 5K run/walk, 400M run, 100M run and 1600M run/walk, 83-year old Charles Laverty, Jr. of Enola said that he was going to relax for the rest of the day and maybe take in a movie.

  On the other hand, Hugh and Connie Satterwhite, also from Enola, said that they prefer the less physically demanding events. 

  According to participants, the Senior Games combine sports, recreation, friendly competition and fellowship into one fun-filled day.  "The Senior Games are very good for gathering and to compete with people in your own age group," said Hugh Satterwhite.

  

 

Marge Bessler and Chris Kusmiesz, Army Physical Fitness Research Institute, demonstrate flexibility exercises to 2008 Senior Game participants in the Letort View Community Center on June 12. Photo by Suzanne Reynolds.

    Non-sports events, such as ballroom and line dancing, Zumba, and Tai Chi demonstrations, were also a part of the event.  Flexibility exercises were demonstrated by the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute's Marge Bessler and Chris Kusmiesz who also provided participants with handouts for exercise that they can do at home.

  The 2008 Senior Games came to a close with an ice-cream social and the presentation of awards categorized by gender and age in each event.

   

 


Pfc. Jennifer Rick, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Lopez to become Command Sgt. Maj. of CBRN school

Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Lopez speaks at in informal farewell with the Soldiers of Carlisle Barracks' Headquarters Company June 12. Photo by Charity Murtorff.

June 13, 2008 -- Twenty-nine years in the Army and still going strong, Post Command Sgt. Maj. Ted Lopez will be leaving Carlisle Barracks in July to become the Command Sgt. Maj. of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

    Lopez arrived at the War College in early April, coming here after an assignment at Fort Polk, La.

    Lopez has spent most of his military career in the chemical field, working his way up from training Soldiers as a battalion CBRN non-commissioned officer to platoon sergeant, first sergeant and command sergeant major, he explained.   

    He was selected for the position by Brig. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, commandant of the school.

    "I will be responsible for Chemical Soldiers…including training, mentoring, coaching and teaching," he said.

    He will have a hand in the school's curriculum, making sure it is current and prepares the Soldiers for combat.

    "It's going to be a great challenge," he said. "I get to concentrate on my background, share my experience with Soldiers, and help the Army transition into the future."

    In his new position, Lopez will be supervising approximately 7,000 Soldiers, compared to the mere 66 on Carlisle Barracks.

    "I'm so proud of our Soldiers here at Carlisle," he said. "Carlisle has special departments, clinics, sections, units and teams that are made up of civilians, military and retirees. I am impressed with how they accomplish their unique missions. The leadership here at Carlisle is truly the best I have served with."

    Originally enlisting in 1979, Lopez has served in numerous areas of the United States and abroad, including: Fort Jackson, S.C., Fort Benning, Ga., Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., the Pentagon, Fort Polk, La., and Camp Henry, Korea. He has been deployed to South West Asia, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bogram, Kuwait and Iraq.

   


 Carlisle Barracks celebrates Army birthday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Army War College Commandant Maj. Gen. Robert Williams gets an assist from Pfc. Jennifer Rick, kicking off the post's Army Birthday celebration with staff, faculty and students. Photo by Megan Clugh.

 

Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Sergio Dickerson keeps almost everyone enraptured with the Army birthday storybook. Photo by Tom Zimmerman.

 

A junior member of the team helps blow out 233 years
worth of candles for the Army.
Photo by Tom Zimmerman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Youth Services kids show their excitement at their Army Birthday celebration. Photo by Tori Hennigan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ann Marie Wolfe Army Substance Abuse Program
Summer Sense Campaign: Prescription Medicine Abuse

 What can you do? Tips for preventing RX abuse

    Think about your home. What prescription and over-the-counter drugs do you have? Where are they kept? Would you know if some were missing? The good news is that you can take steps immediately to limit access to these drugs and help keep your teen drug-free.

1. Safeguard all drugs at home. Monitor quantities and control access

    Take note of how many pills are in the bottle or pill packet, and keep track of refills. This goes for your own medication, as well as for your teen and other members of your household. If you find you have to refill medication more often than expected, there could be a real problem – someone may be taking your medication, and monitor dosages and refills.

2. Set clear rules for teens about all drug use, including not sharing medicine and always following the medical provider's advice and dosages.

    Make sure your teen uses prescription drugs only as directed by a medical provider and follows instructions for OTC products carefully. This includes taking the proper dosage and not using with other substances without a medical provider's approval. Teens should never take prescription or OTC drugs with street drugs or alcohol. If you have any questions about how to take a drug, call your family physician or pharmacist.

3. Be a good role model by following these same rules with your own medicines.

    Examine your own behavior to ensure you set a good example. If you misuse your prescription drugs, such as share them with your kids, or abuse them, your teen will take notice. Avoid sharing your drugs and always follow your medical provider's instructions.

4. Properly conceal and dispose of old or unused medicines in the trash.

    Unused prescription drugs should be hidden and thrown away in the trash. So that teens and others don't take them out of the trash, you can mix them with an undesirable substance (like used coffee grounds or kitty litter) and put the mixture in an empty can or bag. Unless the directions say otherwise, do NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet because chemicals can pollute the water supply. Also, remove any personal, identifiable information from prescription bottles or pill packages before you throw them away.

5. Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs as well.

    Make sure your friends and relatives, especially grandparents, know the risks, too, and encourage them to regularly monitor their own medicine cabinets. If there are other households your teen has access to, talk to those families as well about the importance of safeguarding medications. If you don't know the parents of your child's friends, then make an effort to get to know them, and get on the same page about rules and expectations for use of all drugs, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Follow up with your teen's school administration to find out what they are doing to address issues of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse in schools.

    Talk to your teen about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter drugs. These are powerful drugs that, when abused, can be just as dangerous as street drugs. Tell your teen the risks far outweigh any "benefits."

    The above information provided by PARENTS the Anti-Drug. For additional information contact the Army Substance Abuse Program at 245 – 4576.

     To learn more about Rx & OTC health risks, visit www.TheAntiDrug.com

 

 

 

 


Theresa Pace, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Post pool open for business 

Post youth and thier familes take a break from the heat at the Splash Zone, the  Carlisle Barracks pool. Photo by Theresa Pace.

June 12, 2008 -- Splash Zone, the Carlisle Barracks' pool is now open and ready for swimmers and families of all ages to enjoy a break from the heat.

    The pool is open daily from 11a.m. to 11:50p.m. for lap swimming and then 12p.m.- 7p.m. for open swimming.

    Pool memberships are available at various prices, and daily passes can be purchased at the door. Children ages 5 under swim for free; children ages 6-17 cost $3 for ID card holders and $4 for guests; Adults 18 and older cost $4 with an ID and $5 for guests; Seniors 65 and older cost $3 with an ID and $4 for guests; and lap swimming is $3.

    Splash Zone will also have swim lessons available starting June 16. Lessons are $40 a session unless they are a member of the Youth Services Day Camp then it is $35. You can register at the pool or the Root Hall Gym room 120, or call 245-3560 or 245-4029.

 


Theresa Pace, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Raymond set to guide DDE second year students

Col. Dwight Raymond, Director of Second Year Study for the Department of Distance Education, talks with Kathy Ramsey in her office June 12. Photo by Theresa Pace.   

June 12, 2008 -- As a West Point and US Army War College graduate, Col. Dwight Raymond brings a wealth of knowledge and professionalism to his position as the Director of Second Year Study for the Department of Distance Education.  

The Department of Distance Education (DDE) is one of two main programs designed for students to earn their War College Degree. Most people are familiar with the residential program the USAWC offers, but hundreds of students are getting their War College experience through DDE. Raymond's job is to oversee the courses for the students who make it past their first year in the program. He also is a primary instructor for one of the seminar groups.

    "The distance education program is a heavier percent of national guard and reserve," said Raymond. "Students don't come and get relieved of responsibilities; they still have to do their jobs and the course in their spare time."

   Raymond describes how the work is parallel to the residential program, but the students are balancing their jobs, their families and their course load.

     "I think it is fair to say it is tougher because it is the nature of the beast," said Raymond.

    Raymond finds many areas of common ground with the distance learning students. Many have been or are currently deployed. Raymond spent a year in Iraq and understands the pressures and stress that bringing deployed brings.

    "At any given time twenty percent of the students are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan," explained Raymond. "We have things in common we can talk about."

    Raymond is currently preparing for the last two weeks of June where the distance learning students will meet up for the first residence course. This is where distance learning class will be able to meet each other, attend seminars together and participate in discussion groups.

    "Once they come here for the first residence course, said Raymond. "They will be formed into a seminar with 15 other students."

    Raymond job is to "Shepard them through the second year." He is in charge of the five online courses that students have to take to complete their second year, and he oversees all the second year course authors.

    Thanks to technology Raymond and other faculty members can work directly with their students. Raymond believes the new innovations are making the distance learning a greater experience.

    "This year we do a lot collaborating face-to-face with web cams," said Raymond.

    Raymond also explained that in the next coming years distance students may even be able to take online electives.

    "They would be similar to the electives resident students take," noted Raymond.

    Raymond has been in the Army for 29 years and has been an instructor for the DDE at the USAWC for the past four years. He is married to Youngae Raymond, and they have two sons, Scott and Sean.

 


Theresa Pace, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Stodter continues family tradition at USAWC

 

Col. Dean Stodter, course author for 'Regional Issues and Interests' in the Department of Distance Education, poses for a photo in a Root Hall seminar room. Photo by Theresa Pace.

June 12, 2008 -- Being a student in the US Army War College's Distance Education program takes hard work and determination.

    These two words are no strangers to Col. Dean Stodter, course author for "Regional Issues and Interests." 

    Stodter grew up in a military family. His father was in the military for thirty years and a graduate of West Point and the USAWC Distance Learning Program.

    Stodter followed in his foot steps and graduated West Point in 1982 and the War College in 2005. After spending a year in Afghanistan, he returned  to the War College two years ago as a DDE faculty member. This past month marks his 26th year of service, said Stodter.

    The experiences of his military career help him to relate to the Distance Learning students, he said.

    "In general, deployment experiences help me to connect with students," explained Stodter.

    Working with distance learning students is different because they are all over the world, he said. There are some that are deployed, some that have just returned from deployment, and others are military or civilians who work full time jobs.

   "Having experience helps me to have empathy for the students," said Stodter. "Distance education requirements are strenuous and challenging."

    Even though the distance learning program spans two years, Stodter believes that the program may be more challenging than the residential program.

    "There is much more writing," he said. "It is a tough program; it makes students work."

    Stodter acknowledges the work load but as a War College graduate, he knows the school experience and information will help the students in their military futures.

    "This course is at a strategic enough level to help me appreciate my War College experience," said Stodter. "And it helps to keep the material at a level that will be useful for strategic leaders."

    Stodter's class on "Regional Issues and Interests" helps give students insight into military interests across the globe. The class looks into different international concerns, from crime and poverty to the water scarcity problems in Africa. Students examine how these conflicts affect U.S. international relations.

    "I want them to take away an understanding of non-traditional security threats," said Stodter. "They also will take away an in-depth appreciation for U.S. interests in a specific region."

    Stodter is more than qualified to teach this course. His background as a Foreign Area Officer and his graduate studies in international relations from John Hopkins University make him a well-suited instructor. He also said he has fun teaching the course.

    The week of June 16, the distance learning student will meet for their first of two residential sections.

    "This is the first time in their seminar learning environment," said Stoudter.

    Stodter and other faculty members will first get to meet the students when they attend seminars at Carlisle Barracks. The week of June 16 marks the first of two in-resident phases.  

    The students and faculty will participate in seminar discussions, battlefield staff ride, and a visit to agencies in Washington D.C. The resident phase allows  and resident phase allows students to learn from both instructors and fellow students.

    "A lot of the students have not been to the nation's capital," said Stodter. Interagency visits, offices in the Pentagon, Congressional offices or an embassy are among the opportunities.

    Proud to be part of the Department of Distance Education, Stodter said he enjoys the intellectual environment and the challenge of helping the 450-500  students get through their requirements.

    "I can't think of anywhere else I would want to be," said Stodter.

 

 

 

 

 


Carlisle Barracks to hold 20th annual Job Fair

June 10, 2008 -- Carlisle Barracks is slated to host the 20th annual Job Fair on Thursday, August 28 at the Letort View Community Center, building 313, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    The job fair will give employers the opportunity to meet a wide range of professionals with a variety of experience and employment goals who seek permanent, long-term career opportunities as well as flexible and temporary appointments.

    If you have any questions, contact Jeffrey Hanks at (717) 245-3684/3685, fax (717) 245-4679.

 


Tom Zimmerman, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Local officer shares memories of 'true hero'

 

President George W. Bush leads the applause to honor Pfc. Ross A. McGinnis after presenting the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to his parents, Tom and Romayne McGinnis, of Knox, Pa., June 2, at the White House. Photo by Chris Greenberg, White House.

 

June 5, 2008 – A U.S. Army Soldier who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, June 2, is remembered by a local officer for a singular moment of bravery and the Soldier's life of honor and sacrifice. 

     On the afternoon of Dec. 4, 2006, Spc. Ross McGinnis' platoon was on mounted patrol in Adhamiyah to restrict enemy movement and quell sectarian violence, according to the official report of the McGinnis' act of bravery.

    During the course of the patrol, an unidentified insurgent positioned on a rooftop nearby threw a fragmentation grenade into the Humvee. Without hesitation or regard for his own life, McGinnis threw his back over the grenade, pinning it between his body and the Humvee's radio mount. McGinnis absorbed all lethal fragments and the concussive effects of the grenade with his own body. McGinnis, who was a private first class at the time, was posthumously promoted to specialist.

    "By that split-second decision, McGinnis lost his own life, and he saved his comrades," said President George W. Bush during the Medal of Honor Ceremony.

    It wasn't just the act of bravery that set him apart from others according to Col. Eric Schacht, deputy director for the Army Physical Fitness Research Institute.

    "Ross was a humorous young man that could put a smile on anyone's face, but he also had a very serious side and knew his job, as an M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gunner on an Up-Armored HMMWV, and did it well," said Schacht.

     "Ross McGinnis was assigned to 1st Platoon, Charlie Company. He served with the Blue Spaders for about a year prior to the events on Dec. 4," said Schacht, who knew McGinnis when Schacht was Task Force Commander for Task Force 1-26 Infantry "Blue Spaders."

    He said he will always remember certain things about McGinnis.

    While attending the ceremony, Schacht noted the reactions of McGinnis family.

    "I will remember is the sense of pride that you could see in Tom and Romayne McGinnis and his two sisters," he said. The sense of pride in their son was evident in a statement released by his parents shortly after his death:

    "Ross did not become our hero by dying to save his fellow Soldiers from a grenade. He was a hero to us long before he died, because he was willing to risk his life to protect the ideals of freedom and justice that America represents" said his parents.

    "He has been recommended for the Medal of Honor… That is not why he gave his life. The lives of four men who were his Army brothers outweighed the value of his one life. It was just a matter of simple kindergarten arithmetic. Four means more than one. It didn't matter to Ross that he could have escaped the situation without a scratch. Nobody would have questioned such a reflex reaction. What mattered to him were the four men placed in his care on a moment's notice. One moment he was responsible for defending the rear of a convoy from enemy fire; the next moment he held the lives of four of his friends in his hands," they said.

    "The choice for Ross was simple, but simple does not mean easy. His straightforward answer to a simple but difficult choice should stand as a shining example for the rest of us. We all face simple choices, but how often do we choose to make a sacrifice to get the right answer? The right choice sometimes requires honor."

    McGinnis is the definition of a true hero according to Schacht.

    "My son, who is 12, and generally up until this week thought that heroes were sports stars, singers, skateboarders and the like. He now understands what a real hero is and what is important." 

    "I think it is important that we recognize the sacrifices that all the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guard are making to ensure that we continue to live in a nation that believes in and protects our freedom," said Schacht.  

 

 Spc. Ross McGinnis profile

    Ross Andrew McGinnis was born June 14, 1987 in Meadville, PA. His family moved to Knox, northeast of Pittsburgh, when he was three. There he attended Clarion County public schools, and was a member of the Boy Scouts as a boy. Growing up he played basketball and soccer through the YMCA, and Little League baseball. Ross was a member of the St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Knox, and a 2005 graduate of Keystone Junior-Senior High School.

    Ross's interests included video games and mountain biking. He was also a car enthusiast, and took classes at the Clarion County Career Center in automotive technology. He also worked part-time at McDonald's after school.

    Ross wanted to be a Soldier early in life, his mother, Romayne, said.  When asked to draw a picture of what he wanted to be when he grew up, Ross McGinnis, the kindergartner, drew a picture of a Soldier.

   On his 17th birthday, June 14, 2004, Ross went to the Army recruiting station and joined through the delayed entry program.

    After initial entry training at Fort Benning, Ga., McGinnis was assigned to 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment in Schweinfurt, Germany. He loved Soldiering and took his job seriously, but he also loved to make people laugh, according to fellow Soldiers.

    The unit deployed to Eastern Baghdad in August 2006, where sectarian violence was rampant. Ross was serving as an M2 .50 caliber machine gunner in 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment is support of operations against insurgents in Adhamiyah, Iraq.

     His Medal of Honor headstone is in the Arlington National Cemetery.

    (Editors note: Some information used in this story came from the Medal of Honor website http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/mcginnis/index.html )

 

    

 

   

 

 


 

Col. Gordon Roberts, USAWC graduate, receives the AWC Board of Visitors Outstanding Leadership Award.  

 

 

Williams speaks during the ceremony.

 

USAWC students wait to hear their names called.

 

 

USAWC Class of 2008 President Col. Robert Risberg receives the AWC Alumni Association Lifetime Membership Award.

 

 


Carol Kerr, Public Affairs Office
 'Top Speaker' urges USAWC students to take lead in mental health awareness

 Lt. Col. Nikki Butler, top-placing speaker, hefts the USAWC trophy that boasts 10 years of Top Speakers at the Army War College. Photo by Lizzie Poster. 
   

June 1, 2008 -- "You can and must make a difference in the lives of soldier with traumatic brain injury," said Lt. Col Nikki Butler in a speech that won top billing in the Army War College's 10th Annual Speaking Competition.

    "Persistent headaches, memory loss, inability to sleep, inability to do daily tasks are all signs and symptoms of what has become known as the signature injury of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: mild traumatic brain injury," she revealed in the first minutes of her speech.  She referred to a recent Rand study that estimated nearly 320 thousand servicemembers are suffering from some form of MTBI. These are due to increased exposure to blast injuries, improved body armor and better medical care in the field, resulting in higher rates of survival than previous conflicts.

    "As opposed to the physical injuries that you can see, she said, "MTBI affects  moods, thoughts and behaviors, often going unrecognized and unacknowledged and thereby remaining invisible to family members, fellow servicemembers and society in general." Very often … service members will deny or     delay  seeking assistance because of that perceived stigma of asking for mental healthcare."

   "Mild traumatic brain injuries are cumulative.  Troy Aikman, Mohammed Ali, Steve Young all professional athletes, all had repeated blows to the head that left them dazed, confused and sometimes unconscious, she said, noting long term effects on their careers and health.  "The effects of traumatic brain injury do not accrue sequentially, but exponentially. Servicemembers with MTBI are twice as likely to suffer from PTSD, four times more likely to suffer from depression.

   "What can you as leaders do to make sure your unit can accomplish its mission while protecting your soldiers?

    "Professional sports teams have their athletes tested cognitively prior to the start of every season and, each time their bell is rung, they are retested to determine if there's a change in response time. Believing that soldiers are akin to professional athletes, the 101st Airborne Division, prior to its recent deployment had all of its Soldiers tested. They will retest  those same soldiers when they return from those deployments. 

    "It is up to you to make sure your Soldiers are tested … predeployment  to establish the baseline, and  post-deployment to identify those who .. might not report because of the same

     "It is not only the Soldiers' equipment that needs resetting. It's their minds as well," she concluded. "Your involvement is crucial to get beneath the skin and identifying those invisible wounds,"

    Butler was one of eight Army War College students to address students, staff and faculty in the two-part competition that profiled skill in persuasive speaking and in delivering impromptu remarks.  The "people's choice" vote gave audience members a voice in the judging – and echoed the official judges' vote.

An audience member casts his vote for the "people's choice."

    Second place honor was earned by Lt. Col. John McPhaul whose speech described the world of 2020 when four of10 Americans will be members of minority groups, and he urged the audience to use mentorship to build a bridge to a future where the Army's strength is derived from our nation's diversity.

    Participating students represented the best of those in the USAWC Public Speaking for Strategic Leaders elective, in alphabetical order:   Lt. Col. Donald Dunne, Mr Steven Crawford, USAF Lt. Col. Jeffrey Kelly, Lt. Col. Carolyn Kleiner, Netherlands Col. Nicolaas Tak, Col. Lora Tucker.


Theresa Pace, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
NSS allows students, civilians to share ideas

Col. Benny Mehr, International Fellow from Israel, talks to Dr. Diana Putman and Bruce Harvey, guests for the USAWC's annual National Security Seminar, on June 2. Photo by Tori Hennigan.

June 4, 2008 -- The United States Army War College opened its doors   during the National Security Seminar 2008, June 2 through June 7.

    One hundred and sixty-six civilian citizens of varied professions, backgrounds and ideals first hand the life of a US Army War College student and brought their own unique experiences to the table. The seminar runs for six days in which participants spent their time attending lectures, social events, study sessions and other events.

    "It is very encouraging and informative. It is encouraging that these truly are the best and the brightest of the service," said Bruce Harvey, Attorney, Atlanta, Ga. "They are very intelligent, sophisticated and very willing to listen to views that are new and not just confined to their world but willing to learn from the outside."

    One of the guest speakers, Dr. Norman Ornstein, shared his viewpoints on the direction the political system is heading and what the American public can expect in the next few years.

    "Americans believe the political system has failed them," said Ornstein.

    He tried to give insight on why Americans have such a negative view on the country's political system. He also touched on some political hot topics such as: the presidential candidates, President Bush, American health care policies and the economy.

    "The war is an issue, but it is the economy that dominates."

Dr. Norman Ornstein, political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, speaks in Bliss Hall during NSS. Photo by Megan Clugh.      

    Ornstein gave his opinion on the upcoming elections and what he strongly believes will be a democratic victory with a win for Barack Obama. He compared the race for the Republicans as a "steeply uphill battle."

     The audience members seemed to receive Dr. Ornstein very well enjoying his humor and growing from his information.

     "He did a wonderful, excellent job of including humor and insight," said Dr. Patricia Davis, Director of Technical Training WESTAT, Rockville, Md. "He gave me a lot to think about."

    Other lectures included topics that are both and educational and interesting for War College students and the visiting NSS guests such as: the global war on terror, American foreign policy and other military focused topics.

    Professor G.K. Cunningham lectured on the "Makings of Modern Iraq" as part of the seminar. He took the audience through the history of Iraq giving informative insight on how the historical background connects with the modern-day Iraq.

    "Social progress through oil wealth guarantees neither democracy nor even stability," said Cunningham.

   During another lecture, guests and students were introduced to Ms. Sarah Sewall, who spoke on the concept of human rights and its effects in the military world today. She applied the ideas of ethics in the modern day conflicts, and left the room with many issues to think about.

    "The essence of the challenge in front of us is to stand for something," said Sewall.

    Sewall seemed to speak directly to the military officers in the room when she discussed how the war not only affects the nations involved but it especially the Soldiers fighting.

NSS guest and actor Ron Livingston makes a point during a seminar discussion. Photo by Megan Clugh.

    "In reality the country is not at war. It is a small sub segment of the population that is at war," said Sewall.

    Lectures and speakers give visiting NSS guests the opportunity to learn what the War College students learn, but to also give insight on information that is not generally known by the civilian citizens.

    "The speakers have all been fabulous," said Carole McCoy, President of Jefferson Community College, Waterford, N.Y. "It is wonderful to be exposed to these thoughts and ideas."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Theresa Pace, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Canadian fellow nets three writing awards

 

June 4, 2008- An international fellow will receive not one but three prestigious student writing awards for pieces written during his experience at the US Army War College.

    Lt. Col Ian Hope, an International Fellow from Nova Scotia, Canada, was honored with The AWC Foundation Personal Experience Monograph Writing Award for his writing on the "Coalition Fighting- Kandahar: A Tactical Experience with Strategic Import"; The AWC Foundation Anton Myrer Leadership Award for his piece, "Unity of Command in Afghanistan: A Forsaken Principle of War"; and The COL and Mrs. T.F. Bristol Military History Writing Award for "Finding Denis Hart Mahan The Professor's Place in Military History."

Lt. Col Ian Hope, an International Fellow from Nova Scotia, Canada. USAWC photo lab.      

    Hope originally started the writing process with the simple goal of just writing his assignments well.

    "Do it well, and if it (the paper) was good enough have it submitted for award consideration," said Hope.

    His advisors also suggested submitting more than one paper to increase his chances on winning an award. Hope was completely surprised when he found out he not only received one award but three.

    With his writings he said he was able to research areas and chose topics that interested him.

    "The nice thing about the War College they let you explore what you want," said Hope.

    He had different objectives behind all his pieces. One of his pieces he worked on for his doctoral dissertation, another he wrote with the desire in developing a greater understanding of Afghanistan, and his third paper had a personal motive; he wanted to write about a single day of battle with the intention of capturing the feelings of that day on paper.

    These awards did come with a price. Hope spent numerous hours studying and researching in the library and the archives. He regrets missing so many social events, but he said he was well supported by friends and family.

     "I missed a lot of golf games and socializing," joked Hope.

    Hope has been at the US Army College since June 2007, and has really enjoyed his time here and the opportunities he has received.

    "I am thankful for the IF office, Col. Crawford, Ambassador Efird for the international perspective of the War College and Seminar 17 for their understanding and support throughout the year," said Hope.

    He said he has greatly treasured the friendships he has made with his fellow international students. The 43 international fellows started last June, "and since remained friends all year."

    Hope is also taking his time in school as an opportunity to spend much needed time with his family. Hope has spent the last few years deployed so he is cherishing every moment spent with his wife and kids.

    "Five to Eight every day will be family time," said Hope. "It is an incredible opportunity to have more than one hour with them."

    Next year Hope will return to the War College as an instructor in the Department of Military Strategy, Planning on Operations.

    A complete list of winners cane be found below:

    The AWC Foundation Award for Outstanding Strategy Research Paper

Mr. Dennis R. Penn

National Security Agency

"Africa Command and the Militarization of U.S. Foreign Policy"

 

Lt. Col Norman M. Worthen

U.S. Air Force

"Retooling Deterrence for the Long War"

 

Col. Lorelei E.W. Coplen

U.S. Army

"Strategic Bridge Towards Community Building: The Military's Role"

 

Lt. Col. Michael M. Sweeney

U.S. Marine Corps

"Blue Force Tracking: Building a Joint Capability"

 

Col. Randall C. Lane

U.S. Army

"Effects-Based Planning: Time to think Anew and Act Anew"

 

Col. Roger S. Marin

U.S. Army

"Finding an Exit: Delineating Battle Handoff in Phase IV"

 

The Col.  Don and Mrs. Anne Bussey Military Intelligence Writing Award

Col. Napoleon W. Steward

U.S. Army

"Sub-Saharan Africa and the Global War on Terrorism"

 

The AWC Foundation Personal Experience Monograph Writing Award

Lt. Col. Ian Hope

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

"Coalition Fighting-Kandahar: A Tactical Experiment with Strategic Import"

 

The AWC Foundation Anton Myrer Leadership Award

Lt. Col. Ian Hope

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

"Unity of Command in Afghanistan: A Forsaken Principle of War"

 

The Col & Mrs. T.F. Bristol Military History Writing Award

Lt. Col. Ian Hope

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

"Finding Denis Hart Mahan; The Professor's Place in Military History"

 

The Association of the United States Army (AUSA)  Institute for Land Warfare Award

Brig. Gen. Ashok K. Mehta

Indian Armored Corps

"Indo-U.S. Relations: The Way Ahead"

 

The Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association Writing Award

Lt. Col. Duane T. Carney

U.S. Army

"Unmanned Aircraft Systems' Role in Network Centric Warfare"

 

The Military Order of the World Wars Writing Award

Lt. Col. Russell R. Hula

U.S. Air Force

"Stability Operations and Government: An inherently Military Function"

 

The Lieutenant General Thomas J. Plewes Reserve Components National Security Strategy Writing Award

Lt. Col. Gary B. James

U.S. Army Reserve

"A Nonlinear Approach to Strategy Formulation"

 

The U.S. Military Academy's William E. Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic (SCPME) Writing Award

Col. Jeffery A. Marquez

U.S. Army

"Reforming Army Culture for 21st Century Wars"

 

The Armed Forces Communications-Electronics Association (AFCEA) Writing

Award

Col. John R. Robinson

U.S. Army

"Mass Media Theory, Leveraging Relationships, and Reliable Strategic Communication Effects"

 

The Commandant's Award for Distinction in Research

Commander Timothy P. Day

U.S. Navy

"A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower-Then What?"

 

Col. Nico W. Tak

Royal Netherlands Army

"Hobbes Versus Locke- Redefining the War on Terror"

 

Col. Catherine A. Reese

U.S. Army

"Modifying Training Institutions and Processes to Create Adaptive Learning Organizations"

 

Col. Michael E. Culpepper

U.S. Army

"Transitioning from War to Enduring Peace"

 

The AWC Public Speaking for Strategic Leaders Competition Award

Lt. Col. Nikki L. Butler

U.S. Army

"The Invisible Wounds of War are More Than Skin Deep"

 

The AWC Board of Visitors Outstanding Leadership Award

Col. Gordon Roberts

U.S. Army

 

Capt. William W. Wilson

U.S. Navy

 

The AWC Alumni Association Lifetime Membership Award

Col. Robert H. Risberg

U.S. Army

 

 

 

         

 

 


U.S., IF soccer teams play to 2-2 tie 

Players fight for the ball during the annual U.S. vs. International Fellows student soccer game. The game was played to a 2-2 tie. The hard played game won't be forgotten by one of the U.S. students.

"It was a challenge and I love a challenge," said Lt. Col. Thomas Weiss, "Our foreign officers are known to be great soccer players and I knew it would be a good game, and it was a great game." Courtesy photo.


Tori Hennigan, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Carlisle Barracks set to become Storm Ready Municipality

     June 5, 2008 -- Carlisle Barracks will soon become the first military installation in Pennsylvania to become a Storm Ready Municipality. This is a National Weather Service program that will help prepare the community and save lives in the event of severe weather. It relies on local citizens, who train to be able to spot possible weather hazards such as storms and tornadoes.

     Storm spotters are an important aspect of this plan, and the last requirement needed to complete the Army War College's move towards weather safety, according to Barry Shughart, post force protection division. A course is being offered to anyone interested in becoming a trained weather spotter. 

    The training is scheduled for June 11th at 7:30 p.m. in the Upton Hall Auditorium.  The class is free and everyone in the Carlisle Barracks community is welcome to attend, especially those who work outdoors such as police and maintenance.

     The class will only last about an hour and will feature a presentations by David Ondrejik, a representative from the National Weather Service. Courses are planned to continue annually at Carlisle Barracks, and Cumberland County will also be offering the courses if people cannot attend the class on June 11th.   

 


Tom Zimmerman, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Class of 2008 ready to tackle new challenges

 

Soon to be U.S. Army War College graduates clap during a speech by Maj. Gen. Robert Williams, USAWC Commandant, during the graduation ceremony June 7 at Wheelock Bandstand. Photo by Pfc. Jennifer Rick.  want more photos?

June 7, 2008  --  More than 330 senior leaders marked the end of their 10-month resident course at the U.S. Army War College with a graduation ceremony June 7, on the historic parade grounds of Carlisle Barracks.

    Unseasonable warm weather bore down on the students, but nothing could put a damper on their spirits.

    "This was a good year," said Marine Lt. Col. Kenneth Olivo. "The broad perspective of issues brought out throughout the year in seminar and in other discussions was really beneficial." His next assignment is at the Office of the Secretary of Defense – Policy.   

    Maj. Gen. Robert Williams, USAWC Commandant, stressed to the students that just because their time here at the War College was done, their opportunities to continue learning was not.

   "I encourage all of you to remain engaged and conversant with what goes on at your alma mater in the years ahead," said Williams. "As you depart, always remember that the skills you have worked so hard to perfect here, ultimately must be put to work for the good of the nation and for our great service men and women and their families.  I am confident that you will succeed and we are all proud of your dedication and selfless service."

    One of the graduates looked forward to being able to call on one of his classmates during times of need.

    "It's been great all year to share and hear their insights. Each of them brought a different perspective and different options to solving problems," said Lt. Col. John McPhaul, who will report to an Army position in the Pentagon. "I know that be able to reach back and talk to my classmates and faculty should I ever need it."

    Williams wasn't the only one that had high hopes for the graduates.

    "There are tremendous challenges ahead for the U.S. Armed Forces and our Allies," said Lt. Gen. David Huntoon, Director of the Army Staff and former USAWC Commandant, after the ceremony. "This class is prepared for what the future holds for them." 

    One of those students, Lt. Col. Maria Lopez, said she was eager to tackle the future.

    "I think I'm prepared and am ready to graduate and tackle the next challenges that lie ahead," she said. Lopez is taking a position on the Joint Staff, Logistics.  

    Keynote speaker, Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stressed that as senior leaders, they have much work to do.

Adm. Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks during the ceremony.

    "Two weeks ago, I stood before the graduating class of the Naval Academy, and I told them to question you, their seniors, about the way we do things. Today, I urge you, in turn, to listen to them, your juniors. Learn what's on their minds, come to know their concerns.

    "We need your help in bringing these issues to the forefront of a system that is mired in peacetime and must fundamentally change, one that puts our people at the center of the universe, he said."

    Today's Soldier, while young in years, have invaluable amounts of experience and knowledge that should be acknowledged, he said.

    "They are wise beyond their years," he said. "War has a way of doing that. We owe them our attention and our time. We owe them the opportunity to think and to speak. They are out there making a difference."

    Mullen also thanked the families who continue to support the Soldiers.

    "Thank you to our families," he said. "You enable us to give more than we could ourselves. You deserve more credit and you don't always receive it. Thanks for your commitment and sacrifice."

    The chairman noted that today's military is out of balance and that some changes are needed.

     "Quite frankly, I don't believe our armed forces are as balanced as they need to be for that future," he said. "That's why I have so strongly argued for a renewed debate in this country about the level of defense spending."

    Mullen called for a renewed dialogue on how the defense budget is being spent to meet the threats of today and tomorrow. Currently, about 4 percent of the gross domestic product is spent on defense.

    "Whether we stay at that level or rise above it is, of course, for the American people to decide, but we ought to have that discussion," he said. "Maintaining a force that is correctly shaped, sized, trained and equipped so that we may adequately defend our nation is our most pressing long-term problem."

Friends, family and USAWC faculty members sit in the crowd.

 

    Mullen left the graduates with a final charge.

    "Lead well and with high standards," he said. "The success of our all-volunteer force lies within you."

Class of 2008 background

    The graduating Class of 2008 consists of 339 students, which include 162 Army, 19 Army Reserve, 19 Army National Guard, 25 Air Force, three Air National Guard, four Air Force Reserve, 13 Navy, one Navy Reserve, 13 Marines, three Marine Reserve and one Coast Guard Officer.

    Thirty-three civilians from the Department of the Army, Defense Leadership and Management Program, Department of State, National Security Agency, and Department of Homeland Security, are also in attendance, as well as 43 International Fellows, foreign officers from – Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand,  Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

    The U.S. Army War College, educating senior leaders since 1901 – in Carlisle since 1951--was established "not to promote war, but to preserve peace."

 

 

   

 

 


Public Affairs staff report
Education Center on the move

    June 3, 2008 -- The Carlisle Barracks Education Center is moving to their new location at 632 Butler Road and will be closed June 4-6.

    The Education Center will be re-open at their new location, co-located with Morale, Welfare and Recreation June 9. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday - Friday.   

    Availability of on-line testing, with The Army Personnel Testing program and Proctored College Testing will depend on re-installation of connectivity in the Classroom. 

For more information call 245-4943.

 


 


Severe weather possible today

June 4, 2008 -- A tornado watch is in effect until 8 pm tonight, June 4, for the following locations: Adams, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster and York.

 


Ann Marie Wolfe, Army Substance Abuse Program
Summer Sense Campaign: The new party drugs

    June 4, 2008 -- Prescription medication abuse by teens and young adults is a serious problem in the United States.

·         1 in 5 teens has abused a prescription pain medication

·         1 in 5 report abusing prescription stimulants and tranquilizers

·         1 in 10 has abused cough medication

Why is this increase in teenage prescription and OTC drug abuse happening now?

    Awareness and access. Mainly for good reasons, our society is very familiar—and more and more comfortable—with prescription pharmaceuticals and OTC medicines. Products come to market, their images advertised in newspapers, magazines, and on television and the Internet, with educational programs to raise our understanding of the conditions they treat. Many new drugs replace older ones with safer and more effective formulations.

 Caught in the Web

    Then there's the Internet, which has been at the center of an explosion of information of all kinds, good and bad. You can find useful information on the Web about the risks from the nonmedical, recreational use of prescription and OTC drugs. But you can also learn how to abuse them. Many websites describe for would-be abusers what kinds of cough syrup they should buy, how much to take, and how to extract its intoxicating ingredient.

   Most disturbingly, it is as easy for a teenager to buy narcotic pain relievers like Vicodin or stimulants like Adderall or sedatives like Xanax over the Internet as it is to buy a book or CD. Enter "no prescription Vicodin" in your Web browser's search bar, and you'll find numerous websites ready to sell your son or daughter various prescription drugs—without the nuisance of an actual prescription or even asking your child's age—delivered to your home in an unmarked package. But the most immediate source of prescription and OTC drugs is your own medicine cabinet or the medicine cabinets in the homes of your child's friends. New and expired or forgotten prescriptions or last winter's OTC flu medicines could be inviting targets for the teenager looking to get high.

What to Do?

    Some parents need to consider their own drug behavior. If you're casual about using prescription or OTC drugs, even if you're not looking to get high, you can set a bad example. Medications should be used by the person for whom they're prescribed, to treat the conditions for which they're prescribed. Don't use your kid's Ritalin to give you the energy and focus to complete a difficult work assignment. Regard these drugs seriously, and it's a good bet your child will, too.

    Start by taking an inventory of the drugs in your medicine cabinet. It's up to you to educate yourself about the real dangers of prescription and OTC drug abuse and to discuss these risks with your teen. Kids need to hear from parents that getting high on legal prescription and OTC drugs is not safer than getting high on illegal street drugs. And reaching out to have that discussion is not just an idle suggestion. It works. Research shows that kids who learn a lot about drug risks from their parents are up to half as likely to use drugs as kids who haven't had that conversation with Mom and Dad. Unfortunately, research also shows that fewer parents today are talking to their teenagers about drugs than they were only a few years ago. It's time to turn that stat around. Additional Information can be found on the website of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America — www.drugfree.org. Quite simply, if you're not educating your children about any health risk they may encounter, you are not providing the protection they need in today's changing world. What could be more basic to being a parent than protecting your child from harm?

    For additional information contact the Army Substance Abuse Program at 245 – 4576.

    Information taken from "The Partnership for a Drug-Free America."

 

 


Tori Hennigan, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
New commander slated for Dunham Army Health Clinic

    Carlisle Barracks, Pa. –  Col. Thomas H. Chapman Jr. will take command of the Dunham U.S. Army Health Clinic at a change of command ceremony here Wednesday, June 4 at 10 a.m. in Reynolds Theater.  Col. Laurie Cummings, the MEDDAC Commander at Fort George G. Meade, Md., will officiate. 

    Col. Chapman was previously assigned as the Deputy Commander for Allied Services at Dunham Army Health Clinic.  Col. Chapman served as Chief Nurse in the 344th Combat Support Hospital before coming to Dunham Army Health Clinic.

    Col. Chapman's education includes a Bachelor's of Nursing from Hampton University and a Master's of Arts and Health Services Management from Webster University.  Col. Chapman is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, and the Defense Strategy Course of the United States Army War College.  He holds several professional certifications: Certified Critical Registered Nurse, Medical-Surgical Nursing, and Medical-Surgical Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist .

    The outgoing commander, Col. Ronald Smith Jr., will take command of the 21st Combat Support Hospital in Korea.  

 


Tom Zimmerman, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
DC trip opens students' eyes to interagency world

 

U.S. Army War College students meet with Rep. Ralph Regula of Ohio during the 2008 National Capital Region Academic Trip to Washington, DC, May 15. Photo by Tom Zimmerman.  

May 20, 2008 – Anyone who has ever said, "This is much better than the book," will understand the Army War College students' response to government agency visits after nine months of studying interagency and multi-national coordination.  

    During the college's annual National Capital Region Academic Trip, more than 300 USAWC students traveled to Washington DC to talk with Members of Congress, directors within the State Department, and representatives of key government agencies and non-governmental organizations, May 14-17.

    "Interagency focus is the key aspect of one of the DC trip's two learning objectives, and emphasis on interagency visits guided the organizational visits we chose to do this year," said Col. Mark Eshelman, the faculty lead for the trip.

    Eshelman added that the college reviews annually the organizations to be visited, but key factors determine the "keepers."

    The most significant criteria for academic value is whether we consider the visit to contribute to the interagency education of the War College students, he said. "We did that to highlight the importance of these visits and to help focus our selection of which departments and agencies we ask to host us."

       Ten students made a visit to the U.S. Agency for International Development and spoke with Dr. James Derleth, Senior Strategic Planner and Conflict Specialist, about USAID missions and interagency relations, especially with the military.

USAWC students talk with Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas. Photo by Tom Zimmerman.

   "The USAID brief was time well spent but proved to me that there is much work yet to do," said student Col. Jeffrey Marquez. "We need to get to a point where Army leaders and interagency experts work together to establish support networks while gaining a better understanding of each others' capabilities and limitations. We need a broad-based US competence deeply embedded in professional relationships, rather than the current ad-hoc 'assembly required' interagency organization."

    Learning more about the relationships between organizations was an eye-opening experience for USAWC students who group visited the Government Accountability Office, also.

    "It was helpful to see the relationship between the GAO and the military and how it can be beneficial," said Col. Anthony Skinner, USAWC student. "Their job, as mandated by Congress, is to help make sure the government is spending money wisely, and understanding their role in the overall scheme of the government really helps." 

    'Relationships' became the running theme for all interagency and intergovernmental visits, and especially meaningful for the International Fellows of the class. 

    "You don't always get the opportunity to see how these relationships work," said Moroccan Fellow Lt. Col. Faycal El Alami, who said that the USAID experience was valuable.

Students talk with Dr. James Derleth, U.S. Agency for International Development, Senior Strategic Planner and Conflict Specialist. Interagency relationships were on of the key focuses of this years trip.  Photo by Tom Zimmerman.

    Visits with the Members of Congress opened students' eyes through dialogue that ranged from education, the Department of Defense budget and the programs for Wounded Warriors.

    "The best parts of the trip were the Congressional visits," said student Lt. Col. Maria Lopez.

     "It's a great opportunity to talk face-to-face with them," said Air Force Lt. Col. Nathan "Lothar" Hill, after meeting with Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.

    A highlight of the visit was to witness House debate from the gallery.

    "We were guests of Rep. Darrell Issa in the House Chamber as the House voted on the Iraq supplemental bill," said faculty member Col. Zak Grogan.  "All three days were truly noteworthy."

       The Army War College class visits Washington, DC each year to provide students a broader perspective of domestic organizations that effect national security policy and military strategy.  USAWC students find learning opportunities in small-group visits to Capitol Hill and to these national agencies:  Department of State, Department of Commerce, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Transportation, National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Middle East Institute, Department Health & Human Services, National Security Council, Rand, USAID, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, FBI, Department of Justice, Security & Exchange Commission, Progressive Policy Institute, Department of Treasury, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Institute for Peace, Congressional Budget Office, Office of the U. S. Trade Representative & Brookings Institute, Government Accountability Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Interior.  

  Col. Zak Grogan, USAWC faculty member and Moroccan Fellow Lt. Col. Faycal El Alami pose for a picture in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC. Photo by Tom Zimmerman.

 

 

 


Col. Eric Ashworth, Center for Strategic Leadership
U.S. Defense Policy elective visits Washington

 

Students and faculty of the U.S. Defense Policy elective pose in front of the photographs of the current Combatant Commanders during their day spent visiting the Pentagon.  Photo by Col. Eric Ashworth.

     May 28, 2008 -- On April 30 and May 1, ten students and faculty from the U.S. Defense Policy: Strategy and Issues elective visited Washington, DC to learn from and discuss with staff officers the development and implementation of defense policy. 

    The two-day trip included a visit to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense to dialogue on current processes used to coordinate operations between the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security. 

     The group also examined issues facing stability and reconstruction operations during a visit to the J3/J5 office (Iraqi Study Group).  The group had the opportunity to talk national strategy and defense issues with Michelle Flournoy at the Center for a New American Security and with Michael O'Hanlon at the Brookings Institution. 

    Finally, the group visited the operations and planning cells of the State Department and met with the staff members working on Project Horizon. Students received the State Department's perspectives on key issues facing today's military and foreign diplomatic missions. 

 


Pfc. Jennifer Rick, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Local volunteers recognized at post ceremony

Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Sergio Dickerson, Debbie Teague, Post Memorial Chapel, and Jeff Hanks, Army Community Service with a check totalling $1,870,016.40, the dollar equivalent for more than 106,000 hours of volunteer service from the last year. Photo by Megan Clugh.

May 28, 2008 -- The 19th annual Volunteer Recognition Ceremony was held at the Letort View Community Center May 22 to honor the men and women who donate their time and energy to better the post and the community.

    "We need to make sure they know that they make a difference and they are appreciated," said Linda Slaughter, Army Community Service.

    Guest speaker, Brig. Gen. John Johnson, Deputy Commanding General for the Army's Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Command, also spoke of the value of volunteer work.

    "With a nation at war," he said, "it's more important than ever to volunteer for the military. Soldiers, civilians, spouses, retirees and youth all volunteer at military installations. Your example of participation is motivation for others."

        Jeff Hanks, Army Community Service, and Debbie Teague, post Memorial Chapel, presented a "check" to Johnson and Dickerson, totaling $1,870,016.40, the dollar equivalent to the more than 106,000 volunteer hours from the last year.

       Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Sergio Dickerson also commented on the importance of volunteering, and the contributions made by local citizens.

   

 

Nick Mineo receives his Volunteers of Distinction award during the ceremony. Mineo received his award for his volunteer work at the post bowling alley and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Photo by Megan Clugh.

 

 

 

 

The following people were recognized as Volunteers of Distinction at the ceremony, for their service to the military and local community.

  • Mary Harter, Red Cross
  • Col. (Ret.) William Seely, Association of the United States Army
  • Leslie Drinkwine, Spouses Club
  • Don Schultz, Post Memorial Chapel
  • Mickey Oman, Thrift Shop
  • Nick Mineo, VITA/bowling

   

Attendees at the ceremony were treated to music from the all-volunteer Carlisle/Shippensburg Band. Photo by Megan Clugh.

Several people are being recognized as a Volunteer of Distinction, but were not able to attend the ceremony.

  • Flem Walker, Youth Sports
  • Dara Stockwell, Youth Services
  • Sally Brooks, Girl Scouts
  • Cmdr. (Ret.) H.C. Ted Kelley, Retiree Council
  • Jacquelyn Syverson, Child Development Center
  • Tracie Evans, Senior Tea
  • Beth Woods, International Fellows

     The ceremony also included a performance by the all-volunteer Carlisle/Shippensburg Band.


Tom Zimmerman, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Carlisle Barracks catches a glimpse of Future Combat Systems

May 28, 2008 -- Carlisle Barracks hosted a rare opportunity at a glimpse into the future of Army Combat Systems in the Root Hall Gym on May 28. Program Manager U.S. Army Future Combat Systems personnel and displays showcased the most recent developments and equipment currently being used by Soldiers in the field.

Also part of the event was a panel discussion in Bliss Hall for USAWC students and faculty.

"Having worked in Army Transformation, Army G3 and with Army Public Affairs at the Pentagon, I know a lot about FCS along with its challenges," said Col. Hershel Holiday, USAWC student. "Overall I thought this was a good '101-level' presentation."   


Open house showcases new post housing

 

Ty McPhillips, Project Director for Balfour Beatty Communities, talks with Rhonda Readshaw in 10,000 A Chickamauga Drive at the Meadows on May 22 during an open house. During the four-hour open house visitors had an opportunity to take a look at the first completed, new construction housing unit built as part of the Residential Communities Initiative. Photo by Pfc. Jennifer Rick.

    "The open house was a huge success with over 100 people visiting," said McPhillips. "We got questions like what are the size of the units?, who will live in the homes?, when will they be ready?, these are beautiful homes and can I live in one even if I am retired or work on Post as a civilian?"

    Also, according to McPhillips, due to popular demand the house will again be open May 29 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. 

The first new housing neighborhood scheduled to be completed is "The Meadows," which is located off of Claremont Road, adjacent to the Skill Development Center and the Vehicle Access Control point. The neighborhood will have 46 new homes. The housing will be for U.S. Army War College students.

    "Right now we're working on painting the homes, starting the exterior landscaping and finishing the interiors," said McPhillips. The homes are slated to be complete in time for new U.S. Army War College students when they arrive in July.

     "We are installing a wrought-iron looking fence along Claremont and Jim Thorpe Roads and a white vinyl privacy fence along the north and east sides of the neighborhood," said McPhillips.

Heidi Puente, Balfour Beatty Community Manager, talks with a Soldier during the open house. Photo by Pfc. Jennifer Rick.


Theresa Pace, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs Office
Outdoor Recreation office open for business

Post families take a break and take a look at the services and equipment available at the grand opening of the Carlisle Barracks Outdoor Recreation office May 22. Outdoor Recreation is located beside the commissary in the ITR offices. They are open Monday through Friday 9am to 5:30pm. Photo by Theresa Pace.

May 22, 2008 -- Carlisle Barracks Outdoor Recreation celebrated their grand opening Thursday, March 22 with free food, raffle prizes and other fun activities.

     A camper parked near the commissary drew people's attention to the grand opening and gave people the opportunity to see some of the equipment that is now available to rent.

    The camper was fully loaded and open for people to tour. Tent, grills and canopies were also set up to give visitors a taste of what Outdoor Recreation has to offer.

    "My husband's family does a big fourth of July camping trip each year. He has a big truck and using a camper instead of a tent would be nice," said Lizzie Poster, a METRO Contractor.

    Dawn Hall visited the camper and is interested in one of the deals the Outdoor Recreation offers.

    "They have permanent campers at campgrounds in the area that people can rent." She said she and her husband do not do much camping, but now they want to start.

    The event also offered free hot dogs and sodas; a bouncy castle for children; and a raffle where people could win coupons, free rentals and a family season pass to splash zone.

    Outdoor Recreation, a branch of a MWR, rents a number of outdoor items from camping equipment to dunk tanks. Their prices to rent are compatible with other installations and are lower than other prices in the area, said Johnson.

    "Name it and we are ready," said Chad Johnson the Outdoor Recreation Manager.

    Many families while stationed in Carlisle like to camp in areas such as Gettysburg, the Pocono Mountains or Mt. Holly. In past summers many people have asked about renting tents on post, and now they can, said Johnson.

    "I believe this will be a success because this area is rural. In the summer people will be looking for equipment and now we have it," said Johnson.

    Outdoor Recreation is located beside the commissary in the ITR offices. They are open Monday through Friday 9am to 5:30pm.

 

 


Carrie McLeroy, Army News Service
Pa. native second OIF Soldier to receive Posthumous Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 23, 2008) - President Bush has announced that Spc. Ross McGinnis will posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony June 2, two weeks shy of what would have been his 21st birthday.
    McGinnis will be just the second U.S. Soldier to receive the medal for actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom and a special Web site dedicated to his heroics has been created by the Soldiers Media Center at www.army.mil/medalofhonor/McGinnis. The site includes a profile on the 1st Infantry Division Soldier, battlescape, background on the medal, video news reports and a number of other resources.

Story of a Hero
    McGinnis began his transformation from scrawny boy to standout Soldier at 17, enlisting in the Army through the Delayed Entry Program in June 2004. Although not remembered as a troublemaker, McGinnis was not interested in school, and spent his teen years struggling to eek by.
    "He put us through our trials, definitely. From little up, he liked to push the limits," his mother, Romayne, said. "You never knew what was going to come out of his mouth or out of his actions."
   In high school, McGinnis never made the honor roll or played sports. According to teachers, he made his mark, but in ways that were uniquely Ross.
    "He stood out, but just by bits and pieces," said Franki Sheatz, McGinnis's 9th and 11th-grade French teacher at Keystone High School. "When he stood out, a lot of times it was because of his wit, or because he was trying to get away with something. He never did any more or less than a lot of the other kids I had in class, although he was charming in his little way."
    His parents and teachers agreed that the catalyst that sparked a change in McGinnis was his decision to join the military.
    "He came to us and said he wanted join the Army, and we accepted that," said McGinnis's father Tom. The way we looked at it was that he had no intention of going to school, and there really aren't very good jobs for a person that doesn't have higher education. The Army was an opportunity for him to be able to get the kind of education that he wanted."
    The younger McGinnis had aspirations of one day becoming an automotive technician. The Army, in his eyes, was a means to that end - a place where he could serve his country as an infantryman, but receive an off-duty education that would prepare him for a future career.
    Once McGinnis made the decision to join the Army, that became his focus. "The different conversations I had with Ross sometimes were over academics and encouraging him to do his best and that he had goals in mind," Vicky Walters, Keystone High's principal said. "We were encouraging him to complete those goals...He indicated he would do what it took to get the job done." He would finish high school so he could join the Army.
    His parents shared concerns about their son enlisting during a time of war, but knew if he stayed in Knox, his odds of making something of himself were limited. "He had just as much chance at home of ending up dead as he did in Iraq at that point," Tom said. "When young men get out of school and they don't have an education, it's a dangerous life for them for several years. Something could happen at home as quick as it could over there. I knew that in the Army he was going to have a serious discipline. He was going to be trained, and that would help him stay on the right path."
    McGinnis left his rural Pennsylvania town for basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., within days of graduating from Keystone High School, just before his 18th birthday. During the first stage of training, McGinnis's parents received a phone call from him. "He said the first week was boring, a lot of, 'Hurry up and wait,'" Romayne said. In subsequent calls, he conveyed his increasing enthusiasm.
    "He really liked the physical part of the training. Ross wasn't one to push a pencil. He wanted to be actively involved," she said. "He was really excited about the weapons training. While in Boy Scouts, they went to a shooting range once and he really liked that, so it didn't surprise me when he said he wanted to go with the gunner position."
    According to reports from fellow Soldiers, McGinnis's interest in weapons was crafted into a skill set that would serve him well in his position as an.50-caliber machine gunner.

Soldier Among Civilians
    McGinnis finished basic and then infantry training in Georgia and headed home to Knox on leave before reporting to his first assignment in Germany. The changes in him were evident, and shocking to some.
    "He looked so much taller. He wasn't. I think it was the uniform really," Romayne said. "But it was,     'Yes, ma'am,' and, 'No, ma'am." And I was like, 'Who is this kid?' He had a lot of respect, not that Ross ever disrespected us, but there was definitely that attitude that the Army had bred into him already in that short amount of time."
    Tom echoed his wife's feelings about the new Soldier. "When he came home on leave and he was around civilians, he felt uneasy because other people seemed to be sloppy and lazy as compared to what it was like in the military. He was definitely different and thought differently after he'd gone through the training. It was surprising, because I don't know if I ever knew anyone like that before, especially my own son. He had learned and grown quite a bit."
    His former teachers saw maturity in him that didn't exist before he became a Soldier. "He has been described as a 100-percent guy or a zero-percent guy," Erik Sundling, Ross's 12th-grade English teacher, said when he talked about the effort McGinnis put forth if he was interested in something, and the lack thereof when he wasn't. "He came back in uniform and he was the 100-percent Ross. He was very proud to wear the uniform."
    When his family learned that McGinnis's first assignment would be to a Germany-based infantry regiment scheduled for an Iraq deployment, they worried but wished him well. "I told him, 'Be safe. Think before you act.' Any parent would say that to their child, I'm sure. We thought he was coming back," Romayne said.

Soldier's Soldier
    McGinnis arrived in Schweinfurt, Germany in November 2005 and reported to 1st Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment with an influx of Soldiers as the company was preparing for its upcoming mission to Iraq. According to retired Staff Sgt. Ian Newland, he immediately became in instrumental part of the team.
    "His personality and humor made him stand out. He was the comedian out of everybody," Newland, a squad leader with 1st Platoon at the time, said. "You could be having the worst day in the field, or the worst day in the rear "D", and Ross would come in a room and everybody would be laughing within three minutes."
    Ross was known as the funny guy with an infectious smile from the day he joined the unit, Newland  said. "I have this image of him, even today. We were in Germany and he was up on a .50-cal gunning. We had been doing a convoy for probably around eight hours. I was in the vehicle behind him and he turned around and smiled at my gunner. His teeth were just covered in dirt from being up on the gun, but he's just still smiling ear to ear. That right there was just him."
    His gifts extended beyond platoon funny man according to his leaders, who said he was also a top-notch Soldier.
    "I had four platoons, roughly 190 Soldiers in my command. There were certain Soldiers that would stand out. McGinnis was definitely one of those Soldiers," said Maj. Michael Baka, commander of C Company from June 2005 to March 2007. "He was one of the top members of his platoon. His platoon sergeant handpicked him to serve as the machine gunner on his Humvee, which speaks highly of his performance." McGinnis excelled in weaponry, marksmanship and physical training as well.
   He was also a born leader, Newland said, who knew how to read and react to different Soldiers in a variety of situations. "People responded to him, and he knew how to respond to people's personalities and characters. That is one of the hardest traits to build as a leader, to be able to adapt, per Soldier. He had that naturally."

Adamiyah
    The first unit from the battalion on the ground, C Co. arrived in Iraq Aug. 4, 2006 following a week of training in Kuwait. Combat Outpost Apache in Adamiyah, a northeast section of Baghdad steeped in sectarian violence, was to be their home. The area had lacked a U.S. presence for eight months.
    "There were a lot of kidnappings, killings and a lot of enemy activity in our sector," Baka said. Insurgent attacks, sniper fire, grenade contact and IEDs were all part of daily life in Adamiyah.
    In October, just two months into the deployment, C Co. had already lost two of its Soldiers; Staff Sgt. Garth Sizemore to a sniper's bullet, and Sgt. Willsun Mock in an IED explosion. In November, after Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity, the battalion fought a five-hour battle against enemy insurgents who attacked the outpost.
    By December, the men of 1/26 were battle hardened, but McGinnis had a way of taking the focus off the tragedies.
    "He was constantly motivating and positive all the time, and that really helped the platoon out a lot. He was key in our platoon because of that," Newland said. "Right after we lost Sgt. Sizemore, we were all really shocked - it really hit home. And then Sgt. Mock - we were getting pretty depressed. But Ross, he knew how to take our attention off of that - all of us - from senior leaders to your private Joe. He knew how to respond."

That Fateful Day
    Dec. 4, 2006, 1st Plt. was gearing up to patrol the streets of Adamiyah and deliver a 250-kilowatt generator to provide increased electricity to the area. Insurgents had been lobbing grenades at vehicles on patrols, and in response the platoon had honed it's reaction skills through a series of training scenarios Newland likened to fire drills. He had experienced such an incident nine days earlier on patrol, but the grenade turned out to be a dud.
    As they rolled out of Apache's gates, the men in the six-vehicle patrol felt up to their mission, despite ever-present dangers, as they did each time they patrolled Adamiyah's streets, Baka said. "We had only just left the gate. We were moving deliberately down the streets, and had just taken a left-hand turn on a main road just south of Abu Hanifah mosque."
    Baka's was the fourth vehicle in the order of movement. The platoon sergeant's vehicle was the last, as is typical for a standard patrol, and McGinnis manned its machine gun.
    According to official statements from Sgt. Lyle Buehler (the driver), Sgt. 1st Class Cedric Thomas (platoon sergeant and truck commander), Spc. Sean Lawson (medic) and Newland, McGinnis sat in the gunner strap, .50-cal at the ready, facing backward to ensure rear security. Buehler and Thomas rode in the front of the vehicle, and Newland and Lawson in the back.
    As the sixth vehicle made the left turn, Baka heard a loud explosion. His initial thought was that a grenade had exploded outside his own up-armored Humvee. Baka's machine gunner got on the intercom and said, "Sir, it looks like our last vehicle got hit." All four of the Humvee's doors had been blown off. Baka ordered his vehicle and the one behind it to turn around. "Once I saw the vehicle I knew right away that we had a hand grenade that had entered the vehicle, and that we had a large number of casualties," he said.
    Baka got a new driver for the crippled but still running Humvee, and they headed back to Apache. He said he knew the Soldiers had sustained injuries, but did not know to what extent until arriving at the outpost. He didn't know that McGinnis was dead, or that he died a hero.
    Thomas pulled Baka aside within minutes of arriving at Apache and said, "Sir, McGinnis saved our lives today." Then he told the story that would support that statement.
    An insurgent on a nearby rooftop threw a grenade at McGinnis's vehicle. He unsuccessfully attempted to deflect the grenade, and it entered the vehicle behind him. McGinnis quickly announced, "Grenade!"
    According to official accounts by survivors, McGinnis stood up and was preparing to jump out of the vehicle. "That is what the machine gunner is supposed to do," Baka said. "He's supposed to announce the grenade, give a fair amount of time for people in the vehicle to react, and then he's supposed to save himself. No one would have blamed him if he did that, because that is what he was trained to do."
    This time, the 19-year-old Soldier would not heed his training.
    The other Soldiers asked, "Where?" McGinnis's response - "It's in the truck!"
    McGinnis saw the grenade sitting on the radio mount behind him and realized the others weren't aware of its location. They were combat-locked in the Humvee and would not have time to escape. As he gave his response, he pushed the gunner strap out from under him and laid his back on top of the grenade. It detonated, killing him instantly.
    Buehler and Thomas received minor shrapnel injuries, and Lawson suffered a perforated eardrum and concussion. Newland received more of the blast and was severely wounded, but would survive. "The driver and truck commander I am certain would have been killed if that blast had taken full effect," Baka said.
    Newland, who was medically retired because of his injuries, was able to protect himself because of McGinnis's warning. "He put his arm over his face, which I think saved his life, because a piece of shrapnel hit him in the arm. Another hit him in the chin and some in his legs. But he's alive today," Baka added.
    Within 24 hours of McGinnis's sacrifice, Baka gathered statements from the survivors and wrote the recommendation for his Medal of Honor. He received the Silver Star, the third-highest award for valor, as an interim award.

Magnitude of his Sacrifice
     "The first time it became full magnitude for me was when we were loading his body onto the helicopter for the hero flight - that's standard," Baka said. The unit held a small, informal ceremony and Baka led them in a prayer, as there was no chaplain at the combat outpost. As the helicopter flew away, they saluted the young man who laid down his life so the men he loved and served with could live.
    "We have hero flights for every Soldier, and every Soldier that gives his life's a hero. But McGinnis, in my mind, is the definition of hero," Baka said. "From this day forward if anyone ever asks me to define the word hero, I would simply tell them the story of Spc. Ross McGinnis and the actions he took that day to save four of his brothers."
    For the men who survived, each breath they take serves as a reminder of McGinnis's courageous sacrifice.
    "By all means I should have died that day. He gave me a life that he can't have now," Newland said. "There isn't a single day or hour that goes by that I don't take in everything. The smell of my daughter's hair, the smile my son gives me out of nowhere, the soft touch of my wife's hand just driving in the car. Normally those are things people might take for granted. I'm able to appreciate and have these things all over again, every day, every hour, because of what Ross did."

Regular Guy Who did an Extraordinary Thing
    Tom McGinnis is still adjusting to the fact that his son, who he described as average, often to the point of being an underachiever, is receiving the Medal of Honor.
    "I never pictured what a Medal of Honor winner is supposed to look like, but I guess I would think of somebody like a John Wayne character in the movies, where the guy is macho and tough and fear is nothing," Tom said. "But of course, that's not anywhere close to what my son, Ross, was like. Although he had very little fear in him, he wasn't a tough, macho type of person. He was just like you and me." For those outside the Army closest to McGinnis, he was a regular guy who came through for his friends when it mattered.

Remembering Ross McGinnis
    For his brothers in arms, the best way to remember McGinnis is to tell the story of what he did for them Dec. 4, 2006, and to live their lives every day with purpose and meaning.
    "I think for me to thank him, is to do everything I can to live my life to the fullest," Newland said. "Because if he can have courage like that, if he can give up his 19-year-old life, then I can live the rest of my life, however long it is, to every day's fullest."
    The family McGinnis left behind still wrestles with his hero status and the wounds that haven't had a chance to heal. Tom and Romayne said the constant focus on their son and what he did honors his memory, but keeps already raw emotions on the surface.
    "It's been good, because people want to keep his memory alive, and people do things to show you that it really meant a lot to them," Tom said. "But at the same time, it doesn't give us a chance to just drop it for a while...it keeps that wound fresh. It's painful, but eventually once everything dies down, then I think that the healing process will start."
    The McGinnis's remember their son as an average kid who made mistakes but found purpose and direction as he became a young man, just like many other kids out of high school. For them, it is difficult to think of Ross as the larger-than-life character others may see him as because of his sacrifice.
    "I've had people ask me if I'd like a book or a movie written about him, and I say, 'No." They would have to write so much into this to make it readable or viewable that Ross wouldn't even be in there. It wouldn't be him," Tom said. "It would be somebody else, because his life was dull, boring and nothing to write about. He was just an ordinary person who, when it came time, did the right thing, and that's the most important thing to remember about him."

    (This story was written from videotaped interviews of the sources. Sgt. 1st Class Pete Mayes and Staff Sgt. Ray Flores of Soldiers Radio and Television conducted the interviews.)

 

 


Mary Gasper, Army Heritage and Education Center
TWIAH: The first Memorial Day

California National Guard, Memorial Day Parade in San Francisco, 1st Regiment, May 30, 1883. Photo California National Guard Collection.

May 29, 2008 -- Every year, American families come together to honor those fallen service members, men and women, who have given their lives to make all future Americans' lives better. Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who were strong and fought the good fight. The holiday and remembrance, however, did not start off as the honorable event it is seen as today.
    For the first twenty years Memorial Day was initially a spiritual practice, remembering the dead and what they died for. After all, 620,000 soldiers gave their lives; the immediate legacy of the war was its slaughter and how to remember it. During the war soldiers, after countless remote skirmishes and awful battles, had gathered to mourn and bury their comrades. Women had begun informal rituals of burial and remembrance well before the war ended, both in home towns and at the battlefront. Americans carried flowers to graves or to makeshift monuments representing their dead, and so was born the ritual "Decoration Day," eventually known as Memorial Day.
    Black South Carolinians and their Northern white abolitionist allies were primarily responsible for the first Decoration Day. In Charleston, South Carolina, where the war had begun, the first collective ceremony involving a parade and the decoration of the graves took place on May 1, 1865.
    As a Northern ritual of commemoration, Memorial Day officially took hold in May 1868, when Major-General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the veterans organization the Grand Army of the Republic, called on all Union veterans to conduct ceremonies and decorate the graves of their dead comrades. On May 30, 1868, in 183 cemeteries in 27 states, funeral ceremonies were attended by thousands of people. In 1873 the New York Legislature designated May 30 a legal holiday, and by 1890 every other Northern state had followed its lead.
    As the years have come and gone, remembrance has become difficult for some, but still for many Americans their friends and loved ones will never be forgotten. A speech given by a Rev. Dr. Brown in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Saturday, May 30, 1868, best represents this thought. "We have come to do honor to the noble dead -- to strew up with flowers the graves of those who died that we and the nation might live. We have come not in midwinter or with cypress wreaths, but in Springtime, when the fields are green, and the flowers blooming, and birds singing, that, in sympathy with universal nature, we might bring our grateful offering of reverence and affection….
    The noble dead, who fell here and on these neighboring hills, need no eulogium from our lips. They have secured the proudest of all earthly honors, and their tombstones bear the inscription: They Died for their Country. There is no danger that they will be forgotten…."

 


Dunham change of command set for June 4

   The Dunham US Army Health Clinic Change of Command Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 4 at 10 a.m. in the field adjacent to the clinic (Commandant's Grove).

    The clinic will be closed during the ceremony and for refreshments afterwards. The doors will be locked from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.