Army Joins Forces with French Company on Zika Virus


By Debbie Gregory.

French drugmaker Sanofi has reached a research and development deal with the U.S. Army to develop a vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

A vaccine to combat Zika, which has been linked to birth defects and neurological disorders, is currently not available.

The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. For this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause the birth defect microcephaly, or small heads in babies, as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder.

Sanofi is the only major drugmaker working on a vaccine.

The collaboration with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) gives Sanofi access to a promising new vaccine, made from inactivated virus, that has already produced impressive results in mice, and could be ready for testing on humans in October.

WRAIR is a biomedical research facility administered by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Zika virus, which has caused a major outbreak that began in Brazil last year, has spread to many countries in the Americas.

A single dose of the WRAIR’s experimental vaccine was shown to give 100 percent protection in mice against the Zika virus, according to a study published in Nature last week, boosting hopes that it will also work in humans.

Sanofi is developing another Zika vaccine based on its own know-how in battling established mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever.

However, that vaccine will take longer to develop and Sanofi said earlier this year it did not expect to start clinical trials on its in-house Zika candidate until 2017.

Sanofi’s factory in Lyon is capable of producing 100 million doses per year of its four-strain dengue shot, which could be adapted if needed to make even more doses of a single-strain Zika product.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Status Could Give Veterans a Chance Instead of a Cell


Most veterans are strengthened by their military service, but in many cases, the combat experience has left veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.

One in five veterans has symptoms of a mental health disorder or cognitive impairment.  One in six veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom suffer from a substance abuse issue.

Left untreated, mental health disorders common among veterans can directly lead to involvement in the criminal justice system. Veterans’ treatment courts are hybrid drug and mental health courts that use the drug court model to serve veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders.

These specialized courts promote sobriety, recovery and stability, and substance abuse or mental health treatment is offered as an alternative to incarceration and punitive punishments. This is accomplished through the cooperation and collaboration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care networks and the Veterans’ Benefits Administration, and at times, volunteer veteran mentors and veterans’ family support organizations.

Veterans Treatment Courts are tapping into the unique aspects of military and veteran culture and using it to the benefit of the veteran. They act as a “one-stop shop,” linking veterans with the programs, benefits and services they have earned.

Veterans Treatment Courts are being established in jurisdictions across the country, and by utilizing the same rigorous protocol of treatment and personal accountability, they are keeping eligible Veterans out of jail or prison and making sure they get needed treatment and support.

Contact your local court system to determine if your community has a Veterans Treatment Court already. If not, be sure to ask if one is in the process of being started.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Vet Uses Skills to Free Bald Eagle


By Debbie Gregory.

A U.S. army veteran saved the life of a bald eagle by using a semi-automatic rifle and his sharp-shooting skills to free the bird, which was trapped in a tree.

Jason Galvin and his wife, Jackie, noticed the eagle ensnared in rope around its leg, hanging 70 feet above ground from a tree, near Rush City, Minnesota.

Galvin used a borrowed .22-caliber rifle with a scope to sever the four inch thick rope after firing 150 shots. Galvin never hit the eagle.

The bird tumbled 75 feet to the ground. The couple wrapped it in a blanket and took it to the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center.

“We named the eagle Freedom and hope to be able to release him near his home once he is back to health!” Jackie Galvin wrote on Facebook.

Although Galvin was facing windy conditions which made the shot difficult, he was determined to free the bird.

“It was a good weekend for it to happen,” Galvin said. “Fourth of July, you know, that’s our bird. I can’t let it sit there.”

Since June 20, 1782, the bald eagle has been the emblem of the United States of America, chosen because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks, and also because it was then believed to exist only on this continent.

The Galvins initially called the police and fire departments after spotting the bird, but because it was so high up, the agencies were not able to help and “deemed this was going to be a loss.”

Before taking aim, Galvin also cleared his plan with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Phil Mohs, a conservation officer from the department, gave Galvin the go-ahead, believing the eagle would die in the tree if left alone.

The federally protected bird has been eating and drinking, although its long-term prognosis is unclear.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Plan to Attend Boys & Girls Club Pacific Military Youth of the Year Event

B&G Club

By Debbie Gregory.

The annual Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Pacific Military Youth of the Year event will take place on July 29th in San Diego.

The event will celebrate the accomplishments of seven military teens from across the region, and one will be named the Pacific Military Youth of the Year. The winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship, renewable up to four years, and will go on to vie for the National Military Youth of the Year title, and ultimately National Youth of the Year. The Pacific Military Youth of the Year event is sponsored nationally by Disney, Toyota, Taco Bell Foundation and University of Phoenix, along with Diamond sponsor Sony.

For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The youth advocacy organization is proud to partner with the U.S. Armed Services to also support military kids and families. Affiliated Youth Centers on installations around the country and abroad serve more than 500,000 youth each year.

The Pacific Military Youth of the Year program is part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national Youth of the Year program, an inspiring journey that begins at the local Club level. In addition to having the honor of serving as Boys & Girls Clubs’ teen spokesperson, the National Youth of the Year receives an additional $100,000 scholarship, a potential visit with the President of the United States, and the opportunity to serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, representing four million Club kids and teens.

For more information on the Youth of the Year program visit


The Boys & Girls Club Code

I believe in God and the right to worship according to my own faith and religion.
I believe in America and the American way of life…in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
I believe in fair play, honesty and sportsmanship.
I believe in my Boys & Girls Club, which stands for these things.


Destroyer Named for MoH Recipient Michael Monsoor


By Debbie Gregory.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor was described by his mother as being “very loyal, silent and determined,” but a character none the less.

Michael Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2008 for his actions in Iraq

On September 29, 2006, an insurgent threw a grenade onto a rooftop where Monsoor and several other SEALs and Iraqi soldiers were positioned. Monsoor quickly smothered the grenade with his body, absorbing the resulting explosion and saving his comrades from serious injury or death. The 25 year old died about 30 minutes later from serious wounds caused by the grenade explosion.

“The grenade hit him in the chest and bounced on the ground before he dove on it,” U.S. Sen. Angus King said. “It was knowing and deliberate. He was completely conscious of the sacrifice he was about to make.”

At Monsoor’s funeral, as the coffin was moving from the hearse to the grave site, Navy SEALs were lined up forming a column of twos on both sides of the pallbearers route. As the coffin passed each SEAL, they slapped down the gold Trident each had removed from his own uniform and deeply embedded it into the wooden coffin. For nearly 30 minutes the slaps were audible from across the cemetery as nearly every SEAL on the West Coast repeated the act.

President Bush, who attended the funeral, spoke about the incident later, saying: “The procession went on nearly half an hour, and when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.”

The future USS Michael Monsoor , a DDG 1001 guided-missile destroyer, was christened by Michael’s mother Sally, before a crowd gathered next to the Kennebec River at Bath Iron Works named for the Medal of Honor recipient.

Sally Monsoor, her daughter and her daughter-in-law were escorted to the bow of the destroyer by members of SEAL Team 3, Delta Platoon, with which Michael served.

The 610-foot-long destroyer features two advanced gun systems that fire long-range, land-attack projectiles up to 63 nautical miles, designed to support ground troops.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.


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