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Navy Using New System to Remotely Control Fighter Jets

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Navy Using New System to Remotely Control Fighter Jets

By Debbie Gregory.

 

Not to be confused with the arcade game company, the United States Navy is testing a new system called the ATARI, which stands for aircraft terminal approach remote inceptor. ATARI hands control of an aircraft that’s on approach to an aircraft carrier over to the Landing Signals Officer (LSO).

 

Developed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), ATARI was originally tested in a Learjet in 2016, performing shore-based low approaches. In 2017, F/A-18s were fitted with the technology and after extensive testing and quality assurance, was ready to be tested at sea..This was done for the first time in March on the on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72).

 

“I was really impressed with LSO’s ability get me to touch down,” said Lt. John Marino, a carrier suitability pilot from the “Salty Dogs” of Air test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, and the first pilot to land on a flight deck using ATARI. “There was some nervousness because the sea state was so bad,” said Marino. “Back on the airfield, testing was benign.”

 

Despite the tough conditions, the ATARI performed well.

 

“The deck was pitching significantly and yawing and rolling,” said Naval Air Systems Command engineer Buddy Denham, the creator of ATARI. “It was particularly difficult to land that day, and we showed it’s possible to use this system even when the conditions aren’t ideal.

 

LSOs are capable of taking over an aircraft from up to five miles away using the ATARI system, a potential method for recovering an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) by utilizing an LSO’s ability to observe and fix glideslope and lineup errors. This provides a relatively inexpensive backup system in the event an LSO needs on to step in and use their expertise and training to safely guide an aircraft.

 

“You’re effectively using little joystick controllers to guide a 40,000 lbs. airplane, and it’s almost like you’re playing a video game,” Denham said.

VA’s Caregiving Program Is Still Dropping Veterans with Disabilities

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VA’s Caregiving Program Is Still Dropping Veterans with Disabilities

VA’s Caregiving Program Is Still Dropping Veterans with Disabilities

By Debbie Gregory

In 2015, veterans and their caregivers began sharing reports about being cut from the VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). The program pays a stipend to family members, often a wife or mother, of a disabled Post 9/11 veteran, who provide care. The stipend ranges from a a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars a month depending on the severity of the disability and the market rate for caregivers. The program also provides medical training and access to other services.

In April of 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs suspended revocations initiated by VA medical centers based on eligibility for the PCAFC, in order to conduct an internal review that would evaluate the consistency of the program nationwide.

Then-VA Secretary David Shulkin took action by ordering an internal review that was intended to evaluate the consistency of program revocation, and also standardize communication with veterans and caregivers nationwide.

“It became very clear to me that we had inconsistencies in this program and that it wasn’t working the way that we thought it should,” said Shulkin. “There were rates of revocations that were in the very, very high levels (which) other programs didn’t have and that was really unacceptable.”

Based on their review, the VA has made significant changes to the program that will affect policy and execution moving forward.

The VA will make sure that a consistent message is sent to those veterans discharged from the program, while also providing plain language explanations for the reason behind the revocation.

The VA has also updated its Roles, Responsibilities, and Requirements document that will be used in the execution of the PCAFC. This document, posted on the VA website, will ensure compliance with current regulations. This document will be used  to maintain consistency across the program, and caregivers will have the opportunity to walk through the document upon entry into the program.

Twin Brothers Reunited after WWII Deaths at Normandy

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Twin Brothers Reunited after WWII Deaths at Normandy

 

Twin Brothers Reunited after WWII Deaths at Normandy

By Debbie Gregory

Identical twins Julius “Henry” Pieper and Ludwig “Louie” Pieper from Creston, Nebraska were inseparable, which is why the 19-year-old brothers died together at Normandy. While their service on the same ship ran against standard military policy, they had pleaded with their father to approve their service together.

Their father wrote a letter to their commanding officer saying, “My boys came into the world together, they want to serve together, and if they go down together, so be it.”

Their tank landing craft was shattered while trying to reach Utah beach on D-Day.

While Louie’s body was found, identified and laid to rest, his brother’s remains were not recovered until 1961, and not identified until 2017. As technology advanced, the Department of Defense increased its efforts to identify the thousands of lost American service members from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Julius was previously buried at a World War II American cemetery in Belgium. In 2015, Pentagon officials decided to dig up the unknown remains buried within all of the American Battle Monument Commission’s cemeteries.

The twins final reunion, 74 years in the making, is due to Nebraska high school student Vanessa Taylor doing a history project. She was able to conclude what the military had not: same last name, same birth date, and same date of death. Julius was moved and laid to rest beside his twin brother.

The Pieper twins were both radiomen second class enlisted together in the Navy. Both were on the same flat-bottom boat, Landing Ship Tank Number 523 (LST-523), making the crossing from Falmouth, England, to Utah Beach 13 days after the June 6 D-Day landings. Their mission was to deliver supplies at the Normandy beachhead and remove the wounded.

But the vessel struck an underwater mine and sank off the coast, killing 117 of the 145 Navy crew members aboard.

The Pieper twins were given full military honors.

Inseparable in birth, in life and now, finally, in death.

Deployment Tips for Guard/Reserve Spouses

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Deployment Tips for GuardReserve Spouses

Deployment Tips for Guard/Reserve Spouses

By Debbie Gregory

If you’re married to a member of the National Guard or a Reserve servicemember, you probably already know that deployment may happen without a lot of advance notice. Since knowledge is power, here are some tips to help you through the process:

Many people are surprised to discover how many in their community have some connection to a deployed service member. Networking to find neighbors, co-workers, school personnel, etc. will provide the opportunity for mutual support on a very local level.

The Department of Defense and each branch of the military Services provide online information for military families, including those in the Guard and Reserve. National Guard families can take advantage of the Guard Joint Services Support site for information on resources at https://www.jointservicessupport.org/fp/default.aspx. Military Reserve families can obtain information from the Joint Service Support site at https://www.jointservicessupport.org.

Referrals for a wide range of needs for each stage in the deployment cycle are available through Military OneSource, by phone at 800-342-9647 or online at www.militaryonesource.mil .

Yellow Ribbon events and family readiness activities help families prepare for and stay strong during and after a deployment. Pre-deployment events will offer information about family support in areas such as education, counseling, child care and religious support. During deployment, families are assisted with handling the impact of separation. Upon the servicemember’s return home, post-deployment activities help families reconnect.

Immediate family members of active duty Guard or Reserve members can avail themselves to the services at military installations including Army Community Service Centers, Fleet and Family Support Centers, Airman and Family Readiness Centers, and Marine Corps Community Services.

Unit family readiness groups and other programs rely on the voluntary efforts of family members, so once you become a pro at deployment, pay it forward and help someone take their first steps on their journey.

Family readiness is not only as critical to mission success, but also to quality-of-life issues for those who serve and the ones who offer the most support, their families.

Veterans Groups Adopt New “Veteran’s Creed”

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Veterans Groups Adopt New “Veteran’s Creed”

 

Veterans Groups Adopt New “Veteran’s Creed”

By Debbie Gregory

Eleven veterans organizations have annouced the adopted a “Veteran’s Creed.”

The creed, which is similar to the Army’s Soldier’s Creed, was presented by the participating organizations at an event on Flag Day, June 14th. It is meant to inspire veterans to continue to serve and lead in their communities, as well as throughout the country and the world.

Each element of the Creed is rooted in shared military tenets, the missions of participating veterans and military service organizations, and in the altruistic ethos of veterans themselves.  It reminds the civilian population that the principles and values veterans learned in the military – integrity, leadership, teamwork and selfless service add great value to the contributions those who serve make to society.

“I believe the Veteran’s Creed could remind veterans of what they miss about their service and encourage them to continue to make a difference in their communities and across our country,” said Retired Army Gen. George W. Case, Jr., the former Army chief of staff and commander of Multi-National Force Iraq. “We need their talents.”

The Creed states:

  1. I am an American veteran
  1. I proudly served my country
  1. I live the values I learned in the military
  1. I continue to serve my community, my country and my fellow veterans
  1. I maintain my physical and mental discipline
  1. I continue to lead and improve
  1. I make a difference
  1. I honor and remember my fallen comrades

The eleven veterans organizations that have come out in support of  the Creed are as follows: AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, HillVets, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Reserve Officers Association, Student Veterans of America, Team Rubicon Global, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Wounded Warrior Project.

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