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Meet the First Female Air Force Air Commando General

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Meet the First Female Air Force Air Commando General

Meet the First Female Air Force Air Commando General

By Debbie Gregory

Breaking another gender barrier, Col. Brenda Cartier will soon become the Air Force Special Operations Command’s (AFSOC) first female air commando brigadier general, according to Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of AFSOC.

Col. Cartier was the first female to command an Air Force Special Operations Command flying squadron when she took command of the 4th Special Operations Squadron Ghostriders in 2009.That designation came just 16 years after the Air Force first allowed women to fly combat missions.

Col. Cartier graduated from undergraduate navigation training the same year women started flying combat missions, but missed the cut by a couple of months. She navigated E-3 AWACS her first four years, which included deployments to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

“The Air Force knows new potential female recruits and future leaders are out there,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. “It’s just a matter of time before they come forward.”

Wilson believes that getting more women into military specialties may require focusing more on the protector role of troops than the macho stereotype emphasized in the past.

“We’re trying to change a little bit the way we talk about who the protectors are in this country,” Wilson said. “I think sometimes the way we talk about the services may appeal more to boys than to girls. It’s important the way we talk about things.”

And the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services’ annual report said thaty the military needs to better tailor marketing efforts if it hopes to attract more women toward military service.

“Although a marketing strategy focused on patriotism may have been successful at recruiting men in the past, current data indicate that strategy does not align with the motivations of prospective female military members, and the data also illustrate more effective ways to recruit women.”

Wilson believes that instead of changing policy, the national conversation around military service needs to change to convince more women to consider it as a career.

Flawed Gold Star Access Bill Ignores Some Surviving Families

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Flawed Gold Star Access Bill Ignores Some Surviving Families

 

Flawed Gold Star Access Bill Ignores Some Surviving Families

By Debbie Gregory

On the surface, a proposal making its way through Congress that would create a standard system for families of some fallen troops to access military bases seems like a great way to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Gold Star Family Support and Installation Access Act of 2017 allows installation access so that families can visit gravesites and attend memorial events, as well as accessing other benefits they are eligible to receive.

The act was introduced on October 2, 2017 and passed the House with 89 bipartisan cosponsors.

The problem is who “some fallen troops” excludes: those who are killed in training accidents, those who died by suicide or those who died from a medical emergency outside deployment. It only applies to the families of troops who were killed in combat or by terrorists.

While the surviving spouse and children of any military member killed in service, regardless of where or how they die, are eligible for military survivor benefits, the term “Gold Star” is a specific designation set by law.

Tragic death and loss are a fact of military life, and no matter what the circumstances are, surviving family members should be treated the same.

The Gold Star first made an appearance during World War I after being placed over a service flag’s blue star when a service member was killed in combat. The Gold Star signified the family’s pride in the loved one’s sacrifice rather than the mourning of their personal loss.

In 1947, Congress authorized the military to present a gold star lapel pin to the family members of those killed in action. It was a simple gold star on a purple background with a laurel wreath around the star. Another pin, a gold star with a gold background and four oak sprigs around the star, was authorized in 1973.

 

Ejection Seat Concerns Ground B-1 Bomber Fleet

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Ejection Seat Concerns Ground B-1 Bomber Fleet

 

Ejection Seat Concerns Ground B-1 Bomber Fleet

By Debbie Gregory

The U.S. Air Force has grounded its fleet of B-1B Lancers after an ejection seat malfunction last month, forcing an emergency landing at Midland Airport in Texas.

The malfunction forced the pilots to try to land the plane from Dyess Air Force Base with a blown emergency hatch after one of the aircrew was unable to eject. The plane was not carrying weapons when it requested to land because of “an engine flameout.”

The safety stand-down, official language for the grounding of an aircraft type, will remain in effect until the issues are resolved, according to Air Force Global Strike officials.

This type-specific safety stand-down of the B-1B heavy bomber follows a one-day operational safety review ordered by USAF Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein directed to all Air Force wings with flying and maintenance functions

Images that appeared on Facebook showed tail number 86-0109 with a burnt-out engine and a missing a ceiling hatch. The unofficial Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page reported on May 21 that one of the bomber’s crew had tried to eject after an engine fire but his ejection seats malfunctioned.

While no official report has been issued surrounding the cause and specific events of the incident, the flight pilot in command and the crew are being hailed as “heroic” for saving the aircraft and the lives of all on board.

Nicknamed the “Bone”, the B-1B is a four-engine, supersonic, variable-geometry swept wing heavy bomber capable of Mach 1.2. The aircraft first flew in 1974, but was  cancelled in 1977 during the Carter administration. The program was later restored under the Reagan administration in 1981.

It is in operational use with the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command and has been used extensively in the Global War on Terror. Expected to remain in service until the early 2030s, the B-1B is a critical part of the nation’s arsenal.

With the Stroke of the Presidential Pen, VA Choice Program is Replaced

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With the Stroke of the Presidential Pen, VA Choice Program is Replaced

With the Stroke of the Presidential Pen, VA Choice Program is Replaced

 

By Debbie Gregory

On June 6th, President Donald Trump signed the VA Mission Act, replacing the Veterans Choice Program.

The Mission Act consolidates seven programs. It expands private health care options, expands caregivers assistance to the families of disabled veterans, and orders the Department of Veterans Affairs to inventory its 1,100+ facilities with a long-term view to downsize.

“This is a very big day,” said Trump, who made veterans care one of the signature issues of his run for the White House. “All during the campaign, I’d say, ‘Why can’t they just go out and see a doctor instead of standing on line?'”

American Legion spokesman Joe Plenzler said, “The American Legion worked very hard on this legislation with the administration and with Congress.” He added, “We were very pleased that the president signed it, and we look forward to implementing every piece of this legislation as discussed and negotiated.”

“We’re allowing our veterans to get access to the best medical care available, whether it’s at the VA or at a private provider,” said the president.

The bill will address the restrictions in the current caregiver program that provides stipends to family members who care for severely disabled veterans. The current program has been limited to post-9/11 veterans, but the bill was aimed at expanding caregivers assistance to veterans of all eras, possibly adding more than 41,000 caregivers.

The price tag for the VA Mission Act has been estimated to be between $52 billion and $55 billion. Members of Congress still haven’t fully figured out how they’ll pay for the Mission Act.

Direct patient care, suicide prevention, medical research, job training and many more vital veterans programs could face cuts in funding in order to pay for care in the community under this new plan.

Some Interesting Information about Marine Robert Mueller

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President Barack Obama, right, listens to outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller, left, during Obama's announcement at he will nominate James Comey, a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to replace Mueller, as director of the F.B.I., in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, June 21, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

 

Some Interesting Information about Marine Robert Mueller

By Debbie Gregory

Most of us are familiar with Robert Mueller due to his appointment as special counsel overseeing the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But there is a lot more to the man than this one responsibility.

A graduate of Princeton University, Mueller served as a Marine Corps officer during the Vietnam War. He said he was inspired to serve in Vietnam because of the combat death of Princeton classmate and friend David Hackett. Mueller attended training at Parris Island, Officer Candidate School, Army Ranger School, and Army jump school.

Mueller was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” for heroism and the Purple Heart. He was also awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat “V”, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Parachutist Badge.

Mueller went to Vietnam in 1968, and served as a rifle platoon leader with Second Platoon, H Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He earned the Bronze Star for rescuing a fellow Marine who was wounded by enemy fire during an ambush. Half of Mueller’s platoon became casualties.

Mueller said that nothing he ever confronted in his career was as challenging as leading men in combat and watching them be cut down.

In April 1969, Mueller himself was wounded. After he recovered, he returned to lead his platoon until June 1969.

“I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have made it out of Vietnam” said Mueller. “There were many many who did not. And perhaps because I did survive Vietnam, I have always felt compelled to contribute.

Mueller left active-duty service in 1970.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame.

         

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