Four Fort Hood Army Soldiers Convicted For Illegal Immigrant Smuggling

Border Patrol Checkpoint

Border Patrol Checkpoint

August 27, 2015

By Lorra B.

In Brownsville, Texas a fourth Fort Hood Army soldier has plead guilty to helping smuggle illegal aliens into the United States. She is one of four to be convicted for smuggling undocumented aliens north of the Texas Boarder checkpoints.

Going before U.S. district Judge Andrew Hanen on Wednesday, 25-year-old Yashira Marie Perez-Morales admitted to the human smuggling charge. Perez-Morales, according to prosecutors, drove through Sarita’s Boarder Patrol Checkpoint with immigrants hidden in her vehicle.

Three other soldiers, 20-year-old Brandon Troy Robbins, 21-year-old Christopher David Wix, and 20-year-old Eric Alexander Rodriguez were also convicted for their roles in the human smuggling scheme which began in the Spring of 2014. These three soldiers, convicted in the city of Harlingen, on several occasions hid the illegals under their military gear.

“On three separate occasions,” according to RGVproud, “occurring on April 13, June 21 and Sept 11, 2014, authorities discovered the aliens with Robbins, Wix, and Rodriguez, respectively. That prompted Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) to further the overall investigation which led to the identification of Gracia and Perez-Morales.”

While Rodriguez and Robbins await sentencing, last month Wix was sentenced to a year and one day in federal prison.

Another civilian man, Arnoldo Gracia, was charged with provided immigrants to the four soldiers and has pleaded guilty. Gracia is awaiting sentencing on smuggling-related count.

By Lorra B

Do Females Belong in Combat Arms? Latest Army “Experiment” Suggests, NO.

(Screenshot credit, Mad World News)

(Screenshot credit, Mad World News)

May 13, 2015

Mad World News: by Shae Weatherall

Opinions vary widely on whether military women belong in direct combat positions while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The most touted justification for allowing females in combat is simply because they want to. The majority reason is purely anatomical and physiological for those who do not support combat Military Occupation Specialties (MOS’s) to be open to women.

Many critics of allowing women in a combat MOS claim that women can’t physically perform the same rigorous tasks as their male counterparts, nor do their normal bodily functions allow for them to be without proper hygiene facilities for potential months at a time while in combat situations.


Earlier this year, the United States Army allowed 138 women to attempt to qualify for the first ever gender-integrated Ranger School. Initially, all females were required to attend one of four separate qualifying Ranger Training Assessment Courses (RTAC), during which they would learn valuable skills that they may not have previously had the opportunity to acquire in preparation for the actual Ranger School which began in late April.

According to The Washington Times, only 19 females were pushed through to the next level of qualification, the Ranger Assessment Phase (RAP), which further evaluates Ranger School participants.

Just 8 of those 19 women were able to get through RAP week and continue with the Army Ranger School’s intensely rigorous, three-phase, two-month-long course.

The Army Times reported on Friday that of the 8 female soldiers who began the first phase of the physically and mentally punishing Ranger School’s combat leadership course at Fort Benning, Georgia, known as the Darby Phase, none were able to complete it.

Roughly fifty-percent of the original male soldiers and none of the female soldiers will go on to the second phase, in their quest for the coveted Army Ranger tab.

Fox News reports that all 8 women and 101 males that failed out of the Darby phase at least did well enough that they are being “recycled,” meaning they have the opportunity to try the Darby phase again, beginning on May 14th at Fort Benning.

At this time, the standards for female soldiers participating in the Army Ranger School have not been lowered in comparison to the standards expected of the male participants, nor do I believe that the women who are actually involved desire that to happen. Typically, it’s the feminist special interest groups who have no tangible investment that try to push their own agenda with those sorts of demands.

According to Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, he expects the same standards to be met, regardless of gender.

“I want to make it really clear. If they do not meet the prerequisites at the RTAC, I’m not recommending them to move forward to the Ranger course,” Miller said. “We’re trying to set the soldiers up for the best possible chance of success as we go forward. This is soldiers being afforded the opportunities commensurate with their abilities.”

Although I agree wholeheartedly that Ranger School standards should never be adjusted for women, I give much respect to the female soldiers who have attempted to earn their Ranger tab in going through this grueling school. I look forward to hearing how the remaining 8 women fare in their next go at the Darby phase beginning later this week.

More at Mad World News

Disclaimer: This was not written by Lorra B.

Would-Be Suicide Bomber Targeted Kansas Army Base

dApril 11, 2015

The Counter Jihad Report:

IPT, by Abha Shankar  •  Apr 10, 2015

A year ago, he wanted to join the U.S. Army to kill his fellow soldiers. When that didn’t work, 20-year-old John T. Booker repeatedly expressed his desire to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or commit a suicide attack in the United States on the terrorist group’s behalf.

Booker, a convert to Islam who changed his name to Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, said American soldiers are enemies to Muslims, and the Quran sanctions killing enemies anywhere.

FBI agents arrested Booker Friday morning just outside Fort Riley, a military base near Manhattan, Kan. He was driving a van loaded with what he thought was 1,000 pounds of explosives. In fact, the bomb was rendered inert by FBI agents and informants. He ischargedwith attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to blow up government property and providing material support to the Islamic State.

In conversations with an FBI informant, Booker repeatedly expressed his intent to kill. “I will kill any kuffar. I will follow any place … if I was with [the Islamic State] and they said look, we are going to the White House right now … I would go with them without any question,” he saidin November.

He was rejected by the Army in March 2014, after someone alerted authorities to Facebook posts extolling violent jihad and expressing his desire to kill American soldiers. “I will soon be leaving you forever so goodbye! I’m going to wage jihad and hopes that I die.” In another post the same month, he said: “Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!!! I am so nervous. NOT because I’m scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord.”

Booker told FBI agents at that time he wanted to enlist “to commit an insider attack against American soldiers like Major Nidal Hassan had done at Fort Hood, Texas.”

For reasons that aren’t clear, Booker was left alone until October, when an informant started talking with him. Booker suggested several ideas for terrorist attacks, mentioning Fort Riley as an attractive target “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there.”

He also said “he wanted to see the fear in the kuffar’s eyes as he pushed the button and they ran for their lives,” the criminal complaint filed Friday said.

Last month, Booker said he wanted to emulate a suicide truck bombing by an American known as “Jihadi Joe.” Booker bought supplies to make a car-bomb from a list the informants provided. He made two martyrdom videos, including one in which he gave his bayah [pledge of allegiance] to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and urged Muslims to support them.

The other video, recorded Wednesday, shows Booker describing his 1,000-pound ammonium nitrate bomb. “Inshallah, this will kill many kuffar [nonbelievers]. This message is to you America. You sit in your homes and you think that this war is just over in Iraq . . . we today we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep. You think this is just a game … when this bomb blows up and kills as many kuffar as possible, maybe then you’ll realize it.”

Agents arrested him just outside Fort Riley, at a little-used gate Booker thought would get him onto the base.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.

Watch As Army Vet, Noah Galloway, Wows The ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Crowd With His Tango!

April 2, 2015,


Dancing with both an arm and a leg missing can be difficult, but Noah Galloway somehow seems to make it look easy.

For week three on “Dancing With The Stars,” it was Latin Week, and the military community’s favorite couple were assigned the tango.

Dancing with his partner, Sharna Burgess, Galloway was able to pull off choreography that most people couldn’t do even with all their limbs, with some especially impressive lifts that had the crowd cheering.

More at Rare

Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.

The Bergdahl Trade And The Partisan Polarization Of America’s National Security

dMarch 26, 2015

Fox News:

On June 30, 2009, a young solider, Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, decided that the Army life just wasn’t for him and after writing several missives to spell out his disdain for his current circumstance at his post in Afghanistan and mailing off his kit to family and friends, he decided to go on an unaccompanied (and unauthorized) “walk-about” in Afghanistan. This was generally regarded by all as a “bad career move.”

The young private was swiftly captured and made a prisoner of war by the Taliban. He was moved to Pakistan for safe keeping as a guest of the Haqqani terror network (as so designated by the U.S. government on September 6, 2012). This transfer to Pakistan placed Bergdahl out of touch from U.S. forces due to the artificial U.S. limitation to not pursue terrorists across the Durand Line from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Bergdahl, sadly, is simply a pawn in a much larger game of badly played chess.

Significant resources in manpower and surveillance technology was utilized to try to find and return Bergdahl. This action diminished the U.S. military’s operational capability to attack the Taliban in other parts of Afghanistan. It also resulted in the loss of life, at the hands of the Taliban, of his fellow soldiers who were sent out to find him.

Over his years of captivity the Army saw fit to promote Bergdahl not once but  twice – first to E-4/Specialist and then to his current rank of E-5/Sergeant.

Years later President Obama, with other options on the table, decided in December 2013, that the best political option was to trade five senior Taliban detainees (two of which were material supporters of Al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks) for the return of Sgt Bergdahl.

I was briefed in December 2013 that a decision had been made to make a “trade” over other options and the trade was confirmed to me by senior leadership in the Defense Department.

Again – this was a political option – not an operational one.  There were at least three other viable operational options for the live return of Bergdahl that did not include the return of the five Taliban leaders. Those options were ignored by President Obama.

The five Taliban leaders were traded for the release of Sgt Bergdahl on May 31, 2014.  The five Taliban were sent to reside in Qatar, in luxury conditions, for one year. After one year they would be allowed to go about their business as they saw fit.

These five Taliban leaders will soon, in May 2015, be allowed to return to Afghanistan to what will no doubt be a “rock star” welcome, and resume their efforts to both fight U.S. forces still in the country and work to destabilize the central Afghan government. (A government that, according to the White House, is what we’ve invested 13 years of blood and treasure to establish and protect.)

By the way, we will have no ability to track or monitor these five “enemy combatants” once they arrive in Afghanistan and who will no doubt resume their effort to kill American and Afghan government forces immediately.

Does this sound like a national security policy conflict?  You betcha!  Why? Because And the political objectives, in the eyes of this White House, trump all other policies – even if it means damage to our national security interests.

The reason that the option to swap Bergdahl for the five Taliban senior leaders was so appealing is because President Obama wants to close the military prison at Guantanamo, period. No matter the real world harm such a move will cause to our allies and to the operations of our military forces.  This political narrative, above all else, has drove the horrid and dangerous decision to release the five Taliban leaders.

Further – legally, the president violated the law in authorizing the trade of the so-called Taliban Five for Bergdahl.

Under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014, the president is required to provide Congress with 30 days notice of any release of detainees from Guantanamo; no such notification was made. There was no justification for the president to have violated this law. To date, Congress has failed to hold the president accountable for his actions.

Bergdahl, sadly, is simply a pawn in a much larger game of badly played chess.  He was inappropriately praised by the president in the May 31, 2014 Rose Garden press conference marking his return (a blatant attempt to influence the Army chain of command regarding the disposition of Bergdahl’s desertion from his post in combat) and by NSC Advisor Susan Rice who called him a “hero” in a lame attempt to build up Bergdahl to justify his importance in the trade.

Two investigations, one conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in 2009 and a second AR 15-6 conducted in 2014 by Maj. Gen Kenneth Dahl, have reached the factual conclusion that Bergdahl violated punitive article 85 – desertion, of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

More at Fox News

Disclaimer: This was not written by Silent Soldier.

Too Fat? Army Says Only 30% of Americans Are Eligible to Join

imageedit_6_4706954043October 28, 2014

Stars and Stripes: JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The U.S. Army now says that seven out of 10 young people between the ages of 17 and 24 are ineligible to become soldiers.

The alarming reduction in the pool of prospective soldiers worries Army brass, and they largely attribute it to three issues: obesity or health problems; lack of a high school education; and criminal histories.

“There’s a reliance on an ever-smaller group of people to serve and defend the country,” said Maj. Gen. Allen Batschelet, commanding general for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky. “What do we do about that and how do we address that concern?

“That’s the big national security question that I’m struggling with today.”

Facing challenges like more restricted access to schools and technological changes that require hiring for positions with very specialized skills like cyber warfare, the Army is preparing for a recruiting offensive using new tools and techniques to redefine the 21st century soldier.

“I would say it’s modernizing, or defining in a more precise way, what is considered quality for soldiers,” Batschelet said.

The current state of Army recruiting remains solid.

Influenced by budget cuts and the drawdown of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with a still sluggish economy, the Army has been able to tighten requirements while still meeting its manpower needs.

ArmyIn 2011, after surging during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the active-duty Army swelled to over 561,000 soldiers.

“Today, the Army is at about 500,000 troops,” Batschelet said. “Given the current guidance that we’re getting from Congress, the chief of staff of the Army’s plan is that he has to take the Army down to about 450,000.”

The result has seen the Army drawing its most highly qualified soldiers, according to current Army standards, in recent memory.

“This last year we recruited 96,000 young men and women for both the active and reserve [Army],” Batschelet said. “The quality was some of the highest we’ve experienced in many, many years.

“We had almost 95 percent of our regular Army recruits who were high school grads.”

In fact, with the current educational requirements of a high school diploma, two of the most-decorated soldiers of World War I and World War II, Alvin York and Audie Murphy, would be ineligible to join the Army today.

“We’re looking for America’s best and brightest just like any Fortune 500 company out there,” said Lt. Col. Sharlene Pigg, head of the Jacksonville-based 2nd Recruiting Brigade. “We’re looking for those men and women who excel in science, technology, engineering and math.”

However, the Army may be pricing itself right out of the market.

“That three in 10 number that I mentioned, we think that number is headed to two in 10 by 2020,” Batschelet said.

army2‘Family business’

Along with so many young people ineligible to serve, the Army is also becoming more of a “family business,” he said.

“We know that about 79 percent of our recruits report that they had a family member who served or was currently serving,” Batschelet said. “That’s a little troubling to us because we want to broaden those opportunities and get other young Americans to join.”

From baby boomers to young millennials, nearly everyone had a father, grandfather or other family member who served in the military.

However, as the Greatest Generation passes away, that is no longer the case.

“The fewer people who serve, the more troubling that becomes for the nation,” Batschelet said.

In addition, the general also acknowledged that, in some areas of the country, recruiters see less access to high school students due to a variety of factors.

“We’re seeing an increasing trend with schools shutting us out from access or making access pretty restricted,” Batschelet said. “Then the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Test) test itself, schools are either choosing to not administer the ASVAB or withholding results from recruiters.

“There are unintended consequences there, because we think that is indirectly sending the signal that service to country in the military is not an honorable profession or something to which you should aspire.”

Army 3Limiting opportunities

In Batschelet’s view, this serves to limit opportunities for high school students. “It denies young people an opportunity to hear about some of the benefits, both tangible and intangible, of serving in the Army,” he said. “That’s an issue for the other services also, I believe.”

However, in the Southeast — what one might call the “Solid South” — that seems to be less of a problem.

Historically, the Southeast has punched above its weight for soldiers per capita and still does.

“They are at a higher propensity even in the face of lower unemployment numbers for the youth there is, in the Southeast, a higher propensity broadly for young people to consider joining the Army,” Batschelet said.

Recruiters in Jacksonville have noticed this as well.

“I would say that overall we have had great access to all of our school districts,” Pigg said. “We have a great rapport with the faculty, we have access and, as a whole, I would say they’ve embraced our recruiters on the school campuses.

“Also, there is just the overall South having a high propensity to serve.”

In many other areas of the country, the same does not hold true and Army policymakers are putting forth never-before-seen proposals to try to combat the dwindling pool of recruits.

“The two definitions of quality today, which are doing well on the ASVAB and a high school diploma, maybe that’s not holistic enough for the future,” Batschelet said. “So we’re moving into the arena of non-cognitive testing and personality testing.

“Maybe your academic scores aren’t all that great, but you’ve got some characteristics that would allow you to perform well as a soldier.”

Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking ideas, especially for hard-line Army traditionalists, is a changing of standards for certain roles inside the Army.

imageedit_2_4211911864Rise in obesity

Obesity alone, according to numbers cited by the Army, has risen in children ages 12 to 19 from 5 percent in 1980 to 17.6 percent in the 2006, the most recent year available.

The current Army policy is that every recruit, whether enlisting for infantry or graphic design, has to meet the same physical requirements to join — that may be changing.

“Today, we need cyber warriors, so we’re starting to recruit for Army Cyber,” Batschelet said. “One of the things we’re considering is that your [mission] as a cyber warrior is different.

“Maybe you’re not the Ranger who can do 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups and run the 2-mile inside of 10 minutes, but you can crack a data system of an enemy.

“But you’re physically fit, you’re a healthy person and maintain your professional appearance, but we don’t make you have the same physical standards as someone who’s in the Ranger Battalion.”


Batschelet admitted that such a drastic change may be hard for some to swallow.

“That’s going to be an institutional, cultural change for us to be able to get our heads around that is kind of a different definition of quality,” he said.

“I would say it’s a modernizing, or defining in a more precise way, what is considered quality for soldiers.”

However the Army chooses to adapt, the central problem remains that the service is facing a shortage of eligible soldiers unlike it has faced since it became an all-volunteer force in 1973.

“Societally, the bottom line is that the Army had a demand-based model under the all-volunteer force for the last 40 years,” Batschelet said. “We didn’t have to worry too much about it because supply was adequate to demand.

“It just doesn’t look like that is going to be the case going forward.”

Written by Clifford Davis, Stars and Stripes


Lorra B. Chief Writer for Silent Soldier

Transgender, Formerly Army Private Bradley Manning, Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Government

imageedit_2_4927925840September 23, 2014

Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Army private Bradley Manning, is back in the news from her prison cell stating that the military is just giving her “lip service” and not addressing the gender-reassignment treatment she asked for last year.

In August of 2013 Manning was found guilty of 20 charges that ranged from espionage to theft. For the disclosing of hundreds of thousands of classified documents Manning received 35 years imprisonment at Fort Leavensworth.

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” Manning stated. “Given the way that I feel, and felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transaction.” It has been a year since she made those statements. 


On Tuesday, Manning stated that the military has failed to provide her with the medical treatment for the condition she has been diagnosed with, Gender Dysphoria.

“Gender identity disorder (GID), also known as gender dysphoria, is the formal diagnosis used by psychologists and physicians to describe persons who experience significant dysphoria (discontent) with the sex they were assigned at birth and/or the gender roles associated with that sex,” according to Wikipedia.

Manning was diagnosed with GID in 2010. According to the suit, the American Civil Liberties Union states that it was the Army medical personnel who diagnosed her.

Because of the pending litigation, Army Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, a spokeswoman from the Pentagon, stated that she could not comment of the situation.

Filed in U.S. District Court, the lawsuit points out that Manning is a high risk of ‘self-castration.’ The suit also indicates that if she does not receive the proper treatment for her gender dysphoria she is at a high risk for suicide as well.


ACLU attorney Chase Strangio stated, “Such clear disregard of well-established medical protocols constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.”

Grooming principles are also at the heart of the lawsuit. Manning is seeking the right to groom herself according to female standards, including the length of her hair and her attire. She would like to use cosmetics and receive hormone treatments “in order to express her female gender,” the suit explains.

Manning’s lawyers stated that she “will suffer continued pain, depression and anxiety…,” all of which can to lead to suicidal inclinations.

Excited that she had been granted the rights to be formally know as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, she said, “I’ve been working for months for this change, and waiting for years.”

“I requested that the military provide me with a treatment plan consistent with the recognized professional standards of care for trans [gender] health. They quickly evaluated me and informed me that they came up with a proposed treatment plan.

“However, I have not yet seen their treatment plan, and in over eight months, I have not received any response as to whether the plan will be approved or disapproved, or whether it follows the guidelines of qualified health professionals,” Manning said.

The truth is, having never dealt with this type of situation, that the Army has struggled with just how to handle Manning’s situation. Federal prisons have the ability to handle cases of transgender inmates. Military prisons, on the other hand, do not. Technically, a person who is transgender would not even be able to serve in the military.

Manning, according to the Army, is still considered a male and she will continue to be held with male inmates.

Read Chelsea Manning’s ‘The Fog Machine of War.’


By Lorra B. Chief Writer for Silent Soldier

A Code of Silence

Sgt. 1st Class Micheal Barbera. Photo courtesy of

Sgt. 1st Class Micheal Barbera. Photo courtesy of

A recent survey found that only about 55 percent of soldiers and 40 percent of Marines in Iraq would report to a superior officer if a fellow soldier hurt or killed an innocent civilian.

Micheal Barbera, formerly a Staff Sgt. in the Army, was accused of shooting and killing two deaf and unarmed Iraqi boys in March of 2007. It’s not surprising, given those percentages, that of the remaining six team members of Barberas’ unit, not one of them reported the brothers’ killings to their commanders.

The team members were fearful of  jeopardizing their military careers or breaking rank, let alone getting retaliation for their actions.

“I think there is a natural tendency among soldiers to band together and not be viewed as malcontent…It’s inherent in the culture,” stated Morris Davis. Mr. Davis is a retired Air Force Col. and, according to Stars and Stripes, is an “officer with the Judge Advocate’s Corps for 25 years and former director of the Air Force legal system.”

Davis reported that, as a commander, divulging bad news wasn’t exactly the thing to do if you planned on moving ahead in your military career.

From September 2005 until his resignation in October of 2007, “Davis was chief prosecutor of the joint military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” reports Stars and Stripes. Davis said “He quit the post because superiors overruled his policy not to consider evidence obtained through waterboarding.” Davis retired in 2008 but was director of the Air Force judiciary system a year prior to his retirement.

It was almost two years, and not until safety back in the United States, before then-Sgt. Ken Katter came forward about the boys Barbera had killed in Iraq. Katter was the first to come forward but it wouldn’t be until he was ready to medically retire that he felt comfortable enough to do so. It was then that three others from Barbera’s team came forward to testify that it was indeed Barbera who shot and killed the children while they were in the field tending to their cattle, although one of the members only heard the shot but didn’t know where it landed.

Reviewing allegations of bad behavior, the report stated, “Evidence exists that service members at the point of contact, or their leaders, have been reluctant to inform the command of reportable incidents. This reluctance may be attributed to any number of potential factors, including a feeling of justification in connection with the actions taken, fear of career repercussions, loyalty to fellow service members or the unit, or ignorance.”

Although the report encourages that the military make changes in its justice system and how it handles the coverage of abusers, injuries and civilian killings, a member of the subcommittee, Fidell, doesn’t believe the Army is acting on the changes being suggested.

In an interview with the Tribune-Review, Fidell stated that congress was concentrating more on sexual assault issues than on a much-needed overall reform in the military’s justice system. He went on to say “the Defense Department’s former ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy involving gay troops recognized the kind of cohesion in the ranks that contributes to non-reporting of reporting civilian injuries or deaths.”

The Barbera court case is of great importance, according to Fidell. First, “it goes to the overall military justice operation. Secondly, and this is just as important, some people died.”

By, Lorra B. Chief writer for Silent Soldier



Mars, U.S. Troops to Become First Settlers!

images (1) MarsArmy Chemical decontamination platoon leader, Lt. Heidi Beemer, was more than intrigued when she read about the Mars One Project. To her, and many like her, space exploration was simply a dream and certainly not attainable, or was it?

Just like straight out of a Science Fiction novel, the Mars One program aspires to send many spacecrafts to Mars and is already gaining the attention of many who are eager to sign up as volunteers.

Not everyone who signs up for this opportunity of a lifetime will make the cut but Beemer, along with over 1,000 other U.S. troops, did. The first cut is a big step toward the crew choice to begin settling on Mars, hoping to inhabit it by 2025.

The 24-year-old Beemer enthusiastically stated, “When this opportunity opened up to me…there was no looking back, no second guessing. This is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life.”

According to DefenseTech, “Not all the applicants have released their names and profiles to the public, but Kraft [Dr. Norbert Kraft, formally with NASA and now chief medical officer for Mars One] said they include a combat engineer, a CV-22 Osprey pilot, several fighter pilots, flight surgeons, a Navy Seal, a UH-60 Blackhawk mechanical test pilot and a Navy journalist.”

Each of the spacecraft’s crews of four, if things go according to Mars One’s plan, will begin landing on Mars in 2025 and then every two years thereafter.

Anyone who is accepted in the Mars One program does so knowing there is no coming back, it’s a one way ticket boys and girls.

“The first one there will be [permanent] Mars settlers. Mars has only 38 percent of Earth’s gravity. There will be a point of no return, where they can’t come back. Their bones would crumble in the heavier Earth’e gravity,” said Kraft.

There are many who said they would leave Earth behind and never look back, that they didn’t feel that this embark of a new life adventure meant they were leaving behind their old life.

“If I were to get selected and was on the first crew [in 2025] I’d be 54 years old when we landed. So I’d have pretty much lived a full life here on Earth, and so the opportunity to spend the rest of my life doing something so unique – Not many people who reach retirement age will get to do that.” Those were the words of CW4 David Woodward as he talked by phone to in Afghanistan.

It was Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders [formerly a NASA physicist] who founded the Mars One project and have raised the funds through sponsorship and fund raising projects. No government has any affiliation with Mars One, which was founded in 2011.

According to DefenseTech, the cost is staggering. Just to get the first crews on Mars will cost around $6 billion. Each crew going after that will be less, but still an unbelievable $4 billion.

When talking about her father, Beemer said he has been very supportive though very “taken aback” but not entirely surprised because she seemed always to have an interest in space. “If somebody’s going to do this it may as well be my kid,” she said of her father.

The once only dreamed about spaceships and Martians may come to fruition in my lifetime, something I would be honored to witness.

By, Lorra B. Chief writer for Silent Soldier


Army Dog Given Highest Honor For Her Service

Sasha is the 65th animal to be awarded the PDSA's Dickin Medal since 1943

Sasha is the 65th animal to be awarded the PDSA’s Dickin Medal since 1943

Another American Army hero, 4-year- old yellow Labrador, Sasha, is to be honored with the highest military award an animal can receive.

From ancient times dogs have been used in combat, from being used as trackers and sentries to scouts. Dogs have played a major role in our military history and continue to do so in today’s military. Their roles have changed significantly as warfare has progressed, however.

In the Mid-7th century BC dogs were used in war by being released ahead of the warriors to break the enemy’s ranks. In 231 BC dogs were used to seek out the enemies that would hide in caves. As we move forward to the 1500’s, dogs were bred to be much larger. Mastiffs and other large bred dogs were used against native Americans.

By the early 1900’s dogs were being used for important missions such as delivering vital messages.

Between 1914 and 1918, almost a million war dogs were killed in action including an American Pit Bull Terrier that was World War l”s most decorated dog. Sgt. Stubby was captured but not before alerting allies of a German spy in the immediate area.

Although the U.S. Army didn’t retain records before 1968, about 5,000 U.S. dogs served in the Vietnam War and it’s estimated that over 10,000 human lives were saved because of them. During World War ll an estimated 232 war dogs and 295 servicemen dog handlers lost their lives.

Today, there are over 2,500 working military dogs (MWDs) on duty. Sasha was one of them.

Sasha had been deployed with The Parachute Regiment with her handlers from the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. It was her job to find safe routs for soldiers and to smell out things like weapons and IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).

Sasha will be given the PDSA Dickin Medal which is compared to the Victoria Cross award, according to BBC News.

It was during a Taliban attack in 2008 that Sasha died, right beside L/Cpl Kenneth Rowe. During her short life she was credited for saving many civilians and soldiers alike.

“Sasha’s determination to search and push forward – despite grueling conditions and relentless Taliban attacks – was a morale boost to the soldiers who entrusted their lives to her weapon-finding capability,” said the PDSA.

The PDSA went on to say, “On one occasion recalled by regimental colleagues, Sasha was searching a building in Garmsir when she detected two mortars and a large quantity of weaponry, including explosives and mines. This find alone undoubtedly saved the lives of many soldiers and civilians.”

It was during a routine patrol that they were ambushed by a grenade attach, July 24, 2008. They died together.

Sasha’s handler, L/Cpl Rowe, was from West Moor near Newcastle. He was worried about his comrades not having enough coverage to complete a mission and decided to stay instead of returning home the way it had been planned. The day before he died was the day he was due to go home.

Rowe was proud of Sasha. She had 15 IEDs finds, mortars and hidden weaponry, according to BBC News, before her life was taken.

“This prestigious award recognizes how her devotion and skills undoubtedly saved the lives of many troops in Afghanistan, and acknowledges the excellent work our military working dogs and their handlers do. Sadly, this award is posthumous as both Sasha and her handler, Lance Corporal Ken Rowe, were killed in enemy action in Afghanistan in 2008,” stated Col Neil Smith QHVS, director of the Army Veterinary and Remount Services.

Since introduced in 1943, Sasha is the 65th animal to be given the Dickin Medal award.

General Jan McLoughlin, the PDSA director, stated, “This medal, recognized worldwide as the animal’s Victoria Cross, honors both Sasha’s unwavering service and her ultimate sacrifice. Her story exemplifies the dedication of man’s best friend and reminds us all of the amazing contribution they make to our lives.”

We salute you.

By Lorra B. Chief writer for Silent Soldier