The Defense Logistics Agency is committed to providing American troops around the world with a traditional Thanksgiving meal and this year is no exception.
In Afghanistan, there are 10,277 active duty troops serving, according to Defense Department statistics. In Afghanistan, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq there are nearly 12,000 troops deployed. These numbers don’t include other countries or the service members at sea.
Understandably, getting ready to deliver that many Thanksgiving feasts takes time and skill.
There are, according to DLA, 34,760 pounds of turkey, 21,450 pounds of ham and 32,550 pounds of beef to be prepared! Not to mention the 28,980 pounds of shrimp, 9,114 pounds of stuffing mix and 879 gallons of eggnog.
That is a lot of food to prepare and it takes expertise to get it organized.
Organizing the food support for troops in Afghanistan is Army Warrant Officer Raul Lewis. Lewis stated, “It is an honor to serve my country. But it is an even greater honor to serve my fellow service members an outstanding meal. There is nothing more comforting when you are far away from home and missing your loved ones than to sit in front of a hot meal and share a few laughs and moments of joy.”
Another member of the DLA family is Anthony Amendolia who stated, that in order for our troops to get a little taste of home it takes a lot of planning in order to insure everything is delivered in time. “Thanksgiving is so important to us, and such a priority, that we have to start in the April, May timeframe. It is a long process but we think service members really enjoy having a great Thanksgiving meal with their troops.”
If you are a soldier with a meal card, there is no charge for this feast. Soldiers with an E-5 and below, and their families, pay $6.80 per person. Enlisted E-5 and below, and their families, along with officers, pay $9.05 per person.
There will be all the fixings for our troops from collard greens, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes to cheesecake for desert.
Thanks to the Defense Logistics Agency, our troops around the world will be enjoying a warm Thanksgiving meal and while it will not in the least compare with being home for the holidays it will at least give them a warmth in their hearts and a small taste of home.
We thank each and every one of our brave heroes who put their lives on the line every day, though ‘Thank you’ will never be enough!
A Defense Department directive was approved on Nov. 18 allowing U.S. military members to carry concealed handguns for protection at government facilities.
The directive was approved by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and is a blue print for the policy that allows “DoD personnel to carry firearms and employ deadly force while performing official duties,” reports Military.com.
The policy, however, allows “soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard personnel to carry privately owned firearms on DoD property, according to the document.”
As part of their job requirements, service members already are permitted to carry weapons but the new policy allows them to carry their personally owned guns.
According to the directive this move is “for personal protection not associated with the performance of official duties.”
Maj. Jamie Davis, a DoD spokesperson, stated, ““Commanders have always had that authority to arm recruiters. Some of the wording wasn’t very clear, so they’ve gone through and cleaned it up so it is very clear now that the commanders have that authority to use at their discretion.”
In order to qualify to carry a concealed weapon on DoD property the applicant must have a valid license to carry and be 21 years of age.
The document states, “Written permission will be valid for 90 days or as long as the DoD Component deems appropriate and will include information necessary to facilitate the carrying of the firearm on DoD property consistent with safety and security, such as the individual’s name, duration of the permission to carry, type of firearm, etc..”
Not everyone is happy about this new concealed carry policy. Arguing against the new policy, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley stating that during shootings such at the Nov. 5, 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, police were on the scene and had it secured in a very short time. Milley is not convinced that soldiers being armed would have stopped Nidal Hasan from killing 13 people and injuring 42.
Lawmakers, however, disagree and have questioned whether military members might have been able to stop Hasan, and other previous military shootings, had they been armed.
After an argument in April, 2014, Spc. Ivan Lopez-Lopez went on a killing spree at Fort Hood killing three soldiers and wounding 12 others.
July 16, 2015, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, killed four Marines and a sailor at two military bases in Chattanooga before being shot to death by police.
Any service member who is authorized to carry a privately-owned gun will “acknowledge they may be personally liable for the injuries, death, and property damage proximately caused by negligence in connection with the possession or use of privately owned firearms that are not within the scope of their federal employment,” the document states.
Perhaps loss of life will be kept to a minimum the next time a terrorist decides to open fire on DoD property.
Stewart Perry, a former Marine, along with his wife and daughter, were on an American Airlines flight last Monday to pick up the remains of their son, a soldier who was recently killed in Afghanistan. Their solemn flight took an even more grievous turn, however, when passengers allegedly booed the family while on the flight.
According to Associated Press, the family “were on an American Airlines flight Monday from Sacramento to Philadelphia with a transfer in Phoenix to receive the remains of his son, Sgt. John Perry, of Stockton, when the flight was delayed…The flight to Phoenix was 45 minutes late and the crew, fearing the Gold Star family could miss their connecting flight, made an announcement for passengers to remain seated to let a “special military family” deplane first.”
First class passengers reportedly complained and booed saying that letting the Gold Star family deplane first was ‘baloney’ considering what they had paid for their first-class seats.
Perry stated that he was unaware if those sitting in coach had complained or booed or if any of them knew there was a Gold Star family on the plane.
The 30-year-old Army soldier died on November 12 at Bagram Airfield from injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device, an attack by a suicide bomber. Perry was one of two killed that day. He was honored in Lodi and will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Perry said of his son, “He made a decision that saved a lot of people. I was told that he was found protecting a female soldier… He didn’t get to live a full life, but he lived.”
“It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see.”
Perry leaves behind a wife and two young children.
He died a hero, his father said.
Sgt. John W. Perry, left, who died recently in Afghanistan, and his father, Stewart Perry,
on the right. (DoD photo via AP)
The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is dedicated to helping different charities that help our four-legged friends. Donations to the CFC help organizations such as Pets for Patriots and this goes a long way in caring for our veterans.
Pets are known for helping symptoms such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and actually boosting the immune system, according to Elements Behavioral Health.
“Pets have measurable positive impacts on the humans who care for them.”
Having a pet to care for helps take the focus off the experiences the veteran has gone through by focusing on the pet’s needs.
Pets for Patriots mission is to help “veterans from WWII to active duty find a new pet friend while giving the most overlooked, undervalued shelter animals hope and a home.”
CFC founder and executive director, Beth Zimmerman, stated that the foundation is a lifeline of support for both the pets and the veterans who adopt them.
The foundation began in 2010 and have helped to give “the most overlooked and undervalued dogs and cats a home,” Stated Zimmerman.
MilitaryTimes reports, “It’s the fourth-year Pets for Patriots has been part of the CFC, she said, and the group has seen donations grow exponentially. Pledges in 2015 topped $162,000, more than double the nearly $70,000 raised in 2014. This year, Zimmerman said, the goal is to reach $200,000 in pledges via the CFC, which is the official workplace giving campaign of the federal government. It runs from Sept. 1 through Dec. 15, but each area campaign designates the time frame within those months to conduct its local campaign.”
Though the veteran is responsible for the adoption fee, discounts and waivers are offered. When a veteran adopts one of these ‘last-chance’ pets, a gift card of about $150 is sent to them. Also, available to the veteran and their new pet is “ongoing veterinary care from veterinarians in the network who agree to give a discount of at least 10 percent” as well as other retailer discounts.
Since 2010 many lower-income veterans and elderly veterans have been involved in the adoption of over 1,209 pets. If they cannot afford to pay for their pets needs because of a temporary hardship, there are programs to assist them.
Through their various programs last year, 447 who needed assistance with adoption where helped. The price tag for that assistance was $72,640.
So far, this year Pets for Patriots has spent $11,300 for veterinary care alone.
The foundation is growing leaps and bounds. According to Zimmerman, joining the CFC has helped to reach people who are inspired by our work, and who may not otherwise know about us.”
Zimmerman goes on to say, “As we grow more robust, we’re getting more requests. There are also a lot more therapies available for pets. The good news is it helps more pets; the down side is, it’s more expensive.”
Pets can be a huge part of a veteran’s healing process. There are no prejudices from a pet and they will accept the owner without noticing or caring if their human is disabled or impaired in any way. Their devotion is 100 percent and an incredible source of comfort and attention.
If you are interested in either giving to or adopting a pet from Pets for Patriots click here.
A bill to renew an Iran sanctions law and go after supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government has been approved by the House on Tuesday.
The bill calls for punishing those who financially back the Syrian government and “maintaining economic pressure on Tehran,” according to Associated Press.
The violence in Syria is in it’s sixth year and has seen almost 500,000 people killed. This has contributed to “Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II and given the Islamic State group room to grow into a global terror threat.” The Assad government now stands accused of war crimes.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, stated, “What we have now is a grim lesson in human suffering. We can see the ethnic cleansing going on. Even the United Nations calls this ‘crimes of historic proportions.’ Enough’s enough.”
The bill would sanction countries like Russia and Iran that provide funding or do business with the Syrian government.
“Anyone that provides aircraft to Syria’s commercial airlines, does business with the transportation and telecom sectors controlled by the Syrian government, or supports the country’s energy industry also would be subject to sanctions, according to the legislation.”
Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry wanted an investigation into Russia and Syria for war crimes, “a move that escalated already heated rhetoric against Moscow for its part in a deadly military offensive in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and its longstanding support of Assad,” reports AP.
In 2014 a Syria defector testified before the Foreign Affairs Committee that he bore witness to a ‘genocidal massacre’ of over 10,000. He is said to have images of the slaughter.
Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J, stated, “Sanctions work. Now is not the time to ease up on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”
President Barack Obama, according to Kerry, will sign the renewal bill. If approved the bill, which first passed Congress in 1996, will extend the law to 2026. If it is not signed it will expire come years’ end.
Should the bill be extended, the U.S. will be allowed to punish Iran if they fail to live up to the terms of last year’s Iran Nuclear Deal.
Should Tehran agree to rolling back its nuclear program, the U.S. and other world powers agreed to suspend wide-ranging oil, trade and financial sanctions that had choked the Iranian economy.”
Earnest Walker, 47, and his service dog, Barack, arrived at Chili’s Grill & Bar in Cedar Hill to claim his free Veterans Day meal and what happened next is inexcusable.
According to Walker, a Chili’s customer claimed he was not ‘a real soldier’ because he was wearing his hat indoors. After being questioned Walker provided ID as well as his discharge papers.
Walker’s waiter allegedly indicated that he had been in Germany and that blacks were not allowed service there. It just so happens that Walker is a black man.
The manager of Chili’s then came to the table and told Walker that his dog was not a service dog, reported Dallas News.
Not sure exactly what was going down, Walker decided to turn his cellphone camera on.
At this point a waitress had boxed up Walker’s left-overs but the manager grabs the to-go-box and walks away from Walker saying, “You have a great day.”
What transpired Walker plastered all over Facebook. Walker wrote, “Barack had his red service vest on, and his certified service tags. I was sitting for 35 minutes prior with Barack beforehand. At this point I was grossly offended, embarrassed dehumanized and started recording.”
Watch what goes down:
The National Archives and Records Administration verifies that Walker served proudly in the Army from 1986 to 1988. He was stationed in Hawaii, 25th infantry Division.
The Mayor of Cedar Hill, Rob Franke stated:
“My concern for the veteran is paramount, but we must also consider the manager and how he can become a better person and perhaps do better the next time he is put in a difficult situation. People do best and learn the most from experience. To learn requires patience and grace, neither of which can occur in the heat of emotion, demonstration, and anger.”
Walker’s attorney, Kim Cole, stated that Chili’s called and apologized to Walker. The manager was put on leave and would not comment on the incident.
Due to the inability to come up with a cohesive plan to cover the exorbitant cost, the VA has squashed the rule change that would have allowed gender reassignment surgeries.
According to Military.com, the Department of Veteran Affairs covers the expense of mental health care and hormone therapy for the preoperative qualified gender reassignment veterans. “The change would have added gender reassignment surgery to that list.”
The VA stated, “VA has been and will continue to explore a regulatory change that would allow VA to perform gender alteration surgery and a change in the medical benefits package, when appropriated funding is available. Therefore, this regulation will be withdrawn from the Fall 2016 Unified Agenda.”
President of the pro-LGBT Amirian Military Partners Association, Ashley Broadway-Mack, said that the decision is ‘deeply disappointing.’
“All of our nation’s veterans, regardless of their gender identity, deserve access to the medical care they earned serving our nation,” Broadway-Mack said. “This is a deeply disappointing setback in making sure an often medically necessary procedure for transgender veterans is part of that care. Moreover, as we face a new incoming administration, we implore fair-minded Americans to stand united in holding our new administration officials accountable by insisting this be fixed. The medical care of all our nation’s heroes, including transgender veterans, must be a priority.”
Gender reassignment is a very expensive undertaking and, according to the Transgender Law Center, surgeries can be between $25,000 and $100,000. Taxpayers have very mixed feeling on the issue and just how their tax dollar are and should be spent.
In 2011 President Barack Obama made clear that costs were to be taken into consideration when suggesting rule changes. Because the VA did not submit a plan to cover the cost of the reassignment surgeries the rule was scrapped, though plans for funding are still in the works.
No view has been stated by the Trump administration on the issue of government-funded gender reassignment surgeries or their care.
The California National Guard finds itself in the news once again as those enlisted by them come forward with accusations of non-payment.
Last month the California National Guard was in the hot seat when the Pentagon demanded repayment of reenlistment bonuses they gave to almost 10,000 National Guard soldiers as incentive during the height of the Afghanistan and Iraq war 10 years ago.
Now, others are coming forward with accusations of more California National Guard wrongdoings.
In frantic need of interpreters to go with troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, the California National Guard also guaranteed enlistment bonuses to “dozens of Arabic, Dari and Pashto speakers” of up to $20,000 each, according to Tribune News Service. It was called the 09 Lima program.
The Pentagon was so desperate for interpreters in battle that they were utilized whether they were or were not qualified or even if they were in failing health. Now many are complaining of combat injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and that they can’t work.
As far as the interpreters are concerned, the Pentagon broke their commitments.
Khatchig Khatchadourian, an Arabic interpreter from Los Angeles, stated, “As far as I know, it’s only the interpreters who didn’t get paid. They think we’re stupid because we are immigrants.” The California Guard has not paid Khatchandourian the remaining $10,000 he says is owed him.
According to Col. Peter Cross, a spokesperson, there are 44 interpreters affected by this non-payment.
In an email Cross wrote, “The complexity arose in cases where neither the soldier nor the Guard could locate a copy of any agreement, although work was done by the soldier that likely would have given rise to a bonus payment.”
The Pentagon needed these interpreters in the field as soldiers so that they could not quit or refuse to go into dangerous situations like contractors could. “To meet that goal, the Pentagon in 2006 ramped up the 09 Lima program. It offered special bonuses, eased enlistment standards and even accelerated U.S. citizenship applications for immigrants who agreed to join the Army,” reports Tribune News Service.
Many who were promised bonus, however, were told they were no longer eligible because they had failed some aspect of required recruitment testing, such as the aptitude test or the physical fitness test. Yet, these soldiers were sent to war and performed their duties…they did their time.
The California National Guard and the Pentagon made promises to brave soldiers who put their lives on the line and then ripped then away. The country and the world are watching. If we have no integrity within our military where does this leave us as a country?
Today we honor all those who serve this great nation of ours – past, present and future. Thank you for your selfless service and many sacrifices…sacrifices that most will never fully understand.
Veterans, today we honor you!
The following is a list of deals and steals was compiled by WTHR News. We hope you take advantage of the various places of business who wish to honor you.
Applebee’s – Applebee’s is offering a free meal to all veterans and active duty military personnel on Veteran’s Day. See the menu here.
Bob Evans – Bob Evans Restaurants are offering free select menu items to Veterans and Active Duty Military on Veterans Day, Friday Nov. 11, 2016. In addition to the meal, Bob Evans will offer a 10% discount from November 12 – December 31 for both dine-in and carryout meals. Read more here.
Chili’s – Chili’s is offering a free meal from a special menu of five choices, and is available for not only veterans but also active duty military members.Read more here.
Chipotle – Chipotle plans to honor veterans and active military personnel with a buy-one-get-one (BOGO) deal on Friday Nov. 11. All active duty military, reserves, national guard, military spouses, and retired military will receive a free burrito, burrito bowl, order of tacos, or salad when they purchase an entree and show a valid US military ID or veterans ID at Chipotle locations nationwide. The deal is good from 3pm (local time) to close. Read more here.
Chuck E. Cheese – Chuck E. Cheese is offering multiple deals involving pizza and tokens. Read more here.
Denny’s – Denny’s offers afree “Build Your Own Grand Slam” on Nov. 11 from 5 a.m. to noon for active duty, retired and other veterans. Includes four breakfast items such as buttermilk pancakes, eggs cooked to order, bacon strips, seasonal fruit or hash browns. Show a military ID. Available at participating locations.
Famous Dave’s – Get a free Two Meat BBQ Salute, your choice of two from ribs to cod, on Nov. 11.
Golden Corral – Golden Corral will be offering a free “thank you” dinner on Monday Nov. 14. Any person who has served in the US Military (retirees, veterans, active duty, National Guard or Reserves) is eligible. Learn more here.
Hooters – Hooters is offering a free meal to all active duty and retired military on Nov. 11. Click here to read more.
IHOP– IHOP will be serving free Veterans Day Pancakes on Friday, Nov. 11. This year IHOP will be honoring veterans and active military men and women with a free stack of Red, White, and Blue pancakes. To donate and read more, click here.
Krispy Kreme – Krispy Kreme offers veterans a free doughnut and a small coffee.
LongHorn Steakhouse – LongHorn Steakhouse will offer a free appetizer or dessert (no purchase required, no restrictions) to anyone showing proof of military service. In addition, LongHorn Steakhouse will offer 10% off for guests that dine with Veterans on November 11.
Olive Garden – Olive Garden has a special menu features six of Olive Garden’s most popular items. Entrées are served with unlimited homemade soup or famous house salad and warm, garlic breadsticks. At participating locations only.
On the Border – On the Border will be serving free lunch to active and former military members.
Outback Steakhouse – Outback Steahouse is offering a free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage for military personnel. All military members and their families also get 15% off their entire check from November 12 to December 31, 2016.
Perkins – Vets get a free Magnificent 7 breakfast.
Twin Peaks – Twin Peaks is giving a free menu item to veterans on Nov. 11.
Cabela’s — Increased discount for military personnel as well as law enforcement, irefighters and Emergency Medical Service personnel.
Great Clips – Great Clips is offering a free haircut card to veterans who come in to a Great Clips salon. Veterans can choose to get a haircut that day or at a later date with the card. Read more here.
Home Depot — Home Depot offers a 10 percent discount to all veterans. Home Depot offers 10 percent discount year-round to for active duty and retirees.
Lowe’s – All veterans receive a 10% discount on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The offer is available in stores only.
Meineke – Meineke will be offering a free basic oil change for veterans and active duty personnel on Nov. 11. Click here for more info.
National Parks – On Veterans Day, veterans will have free access to over 100 national parks that require entrance fees.
Rack Room Shoes – Military personnel and their dependents get a 10 percent discount off entire purchase Nov. 11.
Sport Clips – Participating locations are offering veterans and active duty service members free haircuts on Nov. 11.
Last night, in an epic upset, Donald Trump took out his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and will become the next president of the United States.
On Jan. 20, Trump will take the helm of this country and our military. Joining Trump on this new page in history are at least 27 veterans who won their congressional races last night and more presumably to come as the votes continue to be counted.
The majority are veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according toMilitaryTimes. There are 26 veterans from those same wars currently with seats in Congress.
Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who served in the Army, was successful in bid for a Senate seat as well as decorated former Navy SEAL, Eric Grietens “who served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, [who] won his election for governor of Missouri as a Republican against Democrat Chris Koster, the former State attorney general,” reports Military.com.
Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, a reservist in Afghanistan, was the only incumbent veteran to lose his Senate seat. Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in 2004, won the seat over Kirk. Duckworth’s helicopter was shot down over Iraq.
A Florida Republican, Brian Mast, who also lost both of his legs to war, will be seated in Congress come January. In 2010 Mast unsuccessfully tried to defuse a bomb.
Republican Scott Taylor is another veteran heading to Congress to fill the Virginia Beach seat. Taylor is also a former Navy SEAL.
“Some 14 veteran incumbents kept their seats, including defense leaders Duncan Hunter, a Republican of California, Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, and Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona,” reports Military.com.
These are just a handful of last nights winners. Here is a full list of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who ran for Congress this cycle.
Congratulations to all the veterans who won their seats in Congress. Since 2006 the number of veterans in Congress has increased each election. However, for the first time since the 1950’s “the total veterans count in the House and Senate appeared poised to drop under 100,” according to MilitaryTimes.