Tags Posts tagged with "Military"

Military

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Inappropriate Picture
Hey Private, what do you have there?

A first sentence has been handed out in a widening scandal centered on Facebook page, “Marines United”. The 30,000 strong group with several active-duty marines claiming membership was apparently being used as a forum for circulating explicit pictures of female service members and other women.

The story first hit media attention back in March when a report published by investigative journalist and former Marine, Thomas Brennan, detailed the sophisticated and disturbing nature of the groups’ activities.

“What made this different was the volume of photographs and the details: names, ranks, duty stations.”

According to Brennan, the intelligence gathering methods employed here were similar to tactics at play in Afghanistan and Iraq. In other words, the group had evolved far past glorified locker room antics, and specific women were being targeted and exposed.

One such woman is former Marine Corporal, Ella Audra. Ella suspects that her pictures were leaked to the group as she began to receive messages through her social media profile a few years after leaving active duty. To Ella’s surprise, some of the messages she got even included specific details about her deployment and members she’d served with.

For their part, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service were quick to respond to the growing calls for justice, launching an investigation into the group and encouraging any victims to get in contact.

Marine Corps Representative Maj. Christian Devine had this to say,

“As a father of a young lady growing up in today’s digital information environment, I find this type of voyeurism disturbing and the subsequent justification of it to be repulsive.”

“People who do this to others, regardless of their proclaimed affiliation to military culture, are cowards. Their actions are inconsistent with the Marine Corps’ values and team building, and it impedes our collective ability to perform our mission and win.”

Further investigations in March revealed that the ring extended to a dedicated online image hosting site for military personnel known as AnonIB. Inside were rows of threads requesting “wins”, nude photos of specific female service members, often posted alongside images from their targets’ Instagram accounts with deployment details and full names also provided to aid identification.

Such threads often ran for several months with victims shutting down their social media accounts multiple times to avoid harassment, before nude photos would eventually be posted.

After posting one such image a member purporting to be an ex-boyfriend wrote,

“She knows how to end it all. If she does get in contact with me I won’t post anymore. So get it while it’s hot!”

Cadets from military academies seemed to be involved in the activities as well, one academy related thread started with the challenge,

“Bumping all 3 service academies’ threads to see who can post the best wins in the next 7 days.”

The anonymous nature of the hosting site and its user base posed several problems for investigative efforts. With the website hosted in the Bahamas, and no real names provided on the site itself, it was near impossible to identify any of the major culprits involved in the scandal. Getting the site itself shut down would also be an uphill task due to jurisdictional issues, so any images could be archived and moved elsewhere.

A culture of heroism and honor distinguishes the USMC from other branches of the military, the bonds of loyalty forged in the heat of battle are well known to those who have served. In light of this, the actions of this group seem to fly in the face of many of these values. With female integration in both combat and non-combat roles still moving forward, it remains to be seen if greater female participation can even be possible in such an atmosphere.

The dominoes have fallen quickly as the story has gained prominence. In March Marines United was finally shut down and in May the House passed the PRIVATE act, criminalizing the sharing of sexually explicit photographs.

Now the first sentence has been handed down with one marine receiving 10 days of solitary confinement, a rank reduction and a month forfeiture of salary. 22 others have received administrative action to date with a further seven receiving non-judicial punishment.

It is obvious that the establishment is treating this issue with the seriousness it merits, with more sentences seemingly following – let’s hope that the message sent to the perpetrators of these cowardly acts is clear. The only people our Marines target are those that seek to harm the interests of the United States of America.

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Wacky Uniform
Where we're going we don't need camouflage!

Apparently, the Pentagon is much focused when it comes to fashion. A report released by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) highlights that the the Pentagon has flushed down $28 million over the decade, in their efforts to purchase camouflage uniforms for our Afghan soldiers present within a very tiny fraction of the worn torn country’s landscape.

In an interview with USA Today, John Sopko, the special inspector general expressed his content:

“My concern is what if the minister of defense liked purple, or liked pink?” he said.

And added, “Are we going to buy pink uniforms for soldiers and not ask questions? That’s insane. This is just simply stupid on its face. We wasted $28 million of taxpayers’ money in the name of fashion, because the defense minister thought that that pattern was pretty. So if he thought pink or chartreuse was it, would we have done that?”

In his interview with NBC News, Spoko stated that there was no point in the Pentagon spending such high sums of money purchasing uniforms “based upon camouflage purposes, especially when the soldiers are present in only two percent of a “desert country. He said, “You don’t pick a proprietary pattern for an arid desert country based upon fashion. You want to pick it based upon camouflage purposes. If you were fighting away in Germany or Maine, where you have forest, then this makes sense.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican and senior member of the Budget and Finance committees, also did not stand back to express his disappointment, “You’d think the Pentagon would have had a good handle on how to pick the right camouflage for uniforms,” he said, and that “Instead, the Defense Department gave up control of the purchase and spent an extra $28 million on the wrong pattern just because someone in Afghanistan liked it. It’s embarrassing and an affront to U.S. taxpayers. Those who wasted money on the wrong camouflage uniforms seem to have lost sight of their common sense.”

The report presented by the SIGAR, also included a statement form a veteran and camouflage consultant Timothy O’Neill, who explained that perhaps the uniform change was an important decision, as “Desert designs don’t work well in woodland areas and woodland patterns perform poorly in the desert,” he said. However, he identified that

However, the reports point out that, “The U.S. government already had rights to multiple uniform patterns that were not in use by U.S. forces, which could have been used by the (Afghan National Army) at no cost, and may have been equally effective in the Afghan environment.”

As NBC states: “The decision to go with that particular style instead of one already available to the U.S. government reportedly cost an extra $26 million to about $28 million.”

Therefore, the Pentagon could have saved taxpayers hard earned money had then not been so eager to work with private companies to cater their specific tastes in fashion.

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sniper of mosul

Nobody really knows who the Sniper of Mosul is, but his killings have made him a hero and his latest kill will make him a legend.

The Sniper of Mosul is a hero to the people of Iraq that are under ISIS rule. He is a one-man army who is responsible for the deaths of many ISIS top members in the city.

The ISIS killing sniper just killed a jihadi executioner, as the man was about to cut the head off of a young boy for not supporting ISIS.

As the man raised his arm to kill the child, a sniper’s shot rang out and killed the executioner.

The Sniper of Mosul struck again.

The remaining ISIS members that had gathered to watch the beheading ran wildly and shot blindly in return.

The young boy was shot and killed by terrorists trying to escape, but the heroic efforts of the Sniper of Mosul bring hope to the embattled people in Iraq.

Iraq needs more heroes like the “Sniper of Mosul”, because he is inspiring the people to stand up.

There are reports that women with pistols hidden under their Burkas are shooting ISIS members at checkpoints.

Local children and brave men and women are working with Iraqi military and the US coalition by providing Intel and even working undercover in some cases.

In order for the good guys to win and ISIS be destroyed in Mosul, we’re going to need the help of the people that want a better life.

That same philosophy should be applied to the entire fight against ISIS, but we just need more people like the Sniper of Mosul.

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vets

This is possibly the worst way to treat our Vets, and it is our government who is doing this. We can’t treat heroes like this.

In California, almost 10,000 of our bravest men and women who served combat tours over seas are being told to pay up.

The government made a mistake, the local recruiting offices paid to much for re-enlistment bonuses and now they want their money back.

California Guard deputy commander Matthew Beevers even admits that the government made a mistake and it is the Veterans that are hurting the most.

“At the end of the day, the soldiers ended up paying the largest price. We’d be more than happy to absolve these people of their debts. We just can’t do it. We’d be breaking the law.”

Most of the cases happened a decade ago, but the soldiers that fought for our freedom have to pay back a bonus they were promised.

Many of the Veterans were paid $15,000 to sign back up for another tour. Only $15,000!!!

It would take a lot more than $15,000 to get most Americans to just visit some of the places our Veterans fought.

If the Vets don’t pay, interest charges, the government will add wage garnishments and tax liens until they get their money.

How is this even possible? Last year, Obama recorded a record amount of taxes collected and we can’t let 10,000 of our combat Veterans keep $15,000?

Susan Haley, a former Army master sergeant and mother is heartbroken. She is paying $650 a month to the government, which is a quarter of her family’s monthly income.

She wants to know if she will get her time back?

“They’ll get their money, but I want those years back.”

The real question is, would most of these soldiers signed back up for another tour if they were not promised $15,000 to enlist?

To the government, $15,000 is not a lot of money, but to retired Veterans who have families and mortgages and college tuitions, $15,000 is a lot of money.

Some of the Veterans are also forced to pay back some of their college loans.

This is tragic. We cannot treat our military like this.

If there government didn’t have oversight on the recruitment process, then that is on the military. They need to buy one less drone, not force combat Veterans to sell their homes to pay back a bonus they were promised.

How does this story make your feel? Let us know in the comments below.

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chemical weapons

Currently we have about 5000 troops in Iraq that are attempting to take back ISIS controlled land, but now the job just got a lot harder.

According to the Pentagon, ISIS has fired a chemical weapon onto U.S. troops.

The attack happened in Mosul Iraq as a coalition of forces work together to push ISIS back.

Many territories and cities that were controlled by ISIS have now been taken back over by the Iraqi government, but there are still some rough spots.

Mosul was one of the worst places to recapture, but now it is back under Iraqi control as well.

The airstrip where the attack occurred is vital to ISIS and they are attempting to get it back.

The chemical weapon that was fired at our troops was crude in nature and wasn’t very effective.

A mustard agent was fired and detonated, but the chemical weapon didn’t do any damage to any troops. The weapon wasn’t very sophisticated, but it is a banned chemical agent.

The use of the weapon does signal a growing arsenal of weapons and hints to possible future chemical attacks.

What this means for America and our troops is that we have to make sure that our soldiers have the proper equipment to deal with this developing enemy. That means that we are going to spend more money and troops are going to have to carry more gear into the field.

It also means that ISIS is not worried about America’s response or their standing in the world.

Saddam Hussein used the same chemical weapon on his people in the 80’s and 90’s, and the world was outraged.

Now ISIS is doing the same thing and even the Pentagon is trying to downplay the significance.

As our enemy grows in their ability to conduct terror, we should not downplay their intentions. That is how we got in this mess in the first place.

What do you think about ISIS using chemical weapons? Let us know in the comments below.

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anthrax

The Pentagon revealed this past week that one of its Utah labs accidentally shipped “live anthrax” bacterial spores capable of infecting anyone exposed to them in as many as nine states across the country over the past year.

Authorities do not believe the samples, which should have been “deactivated” or rendered inert before shipment to other labs for study, did not infect those who came in contact with them.

In briefing the media on the series of incidents, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said “there is no known risk to the general public” and that an investigation into the multiple shipments over a period of a year was under way.

In addition, even though no anthrax infections are suspected or been reported, precautions are being taken to screen potentially exposed workers in labs where the samples were sent.

A U.S. official told Fox News that four people known to have come in contact with the samples are being treated for “post-exposure” and have been prescribed prophylaxis – measures designed to prevent the spread of disease.

All of the anthrax samples involved in the series of incidents are being collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for processing and storage. According to a Fox News report:

“The material in question was prepared at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, as part of what was described as a “routine” research process.

It was then sent out to Defense Department and commercial labs in nine states between March 2014 and March 2015 — and the shipments were supposed to include only inactive, or dead, anthrax when they were transferred.”

“These were supposed to be dead spores anthrax, called AG-1,” a defense official said.

Despite this designation, a private lab in Maryland informed the CDC on May 22 that their tests showed that the samples anthrax spores that were thought to be inert were alive instead. Upon confirming the error, the CDC informed the Defense Department.

According to the Associated Press, the government confirmed that the Maryland lab’s findings were accurate where upon the Pentagon expanded its search to other labs that received similar shipments “out of an abundance of caution” that all the shipments were live. In a statement, Col. Warren said

“The Department of Defense is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their investigation of the inadvertent transfer of samples containing live Bacillus anthracis, also known as anthrax, from a DoD lab in Dugway Utah, to labs in nine states…”

“There is no known risk to the general public, and there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers,” he added. “The DoD lab was working as part of a DoD effort to develop a field-based test to identify biological threats in the environment.”

After learning of the error by the CDC, the Army notified the eight companies that received the samples across the nine states instructing them to lock down the samples.

The states that received the anthrax shipments were Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, California and Virginia.

This isn’t the first time the Pentagon has made a potentially catastrophic mistake with a weapon of mass destruction.

In 2007, a B-52 bomber mistakenly armed with six Advanced Cruise Missiles with nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana overflying more than half a dozen states during a three-hour flight.

At the time, then Representative Edward Markey, a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee said that the incident was “absolutely inexcusable” adding:

“Nothing like this has ever been reported before and we have been assured for decades that it was impossible…”

0 781
nfl-patriotism

In 2014, the National Football League (NFL), which fields 32 teams with a combined value of almost $46 billion and $9.5 billion in revenue, charged the United States Military $5.4 million to hold ceremonies at NFL games to honor our troops serving here at home and overseas.

The NFL, which operates as an unincorporated nonprofit 501(c)(6) association that does not pay income taxes (although the teams do) reportedly paid 14 NFL teams $5.4 million over a three-year period to honor our troops during football games.

The fourteen teams involved in “Pay for Patriotism” scheme are:

1. Atlanta Falcons $1.05 million
2. Baltimore Ravens $884,500
3. Buffalo Bills $679,000
4. Indianapolis Colts $620,000
5. Minnesota Vikings $605,000
6. Green Bay Packers $600,000
7. New York Jets $377,500
8. Kansas City Chiefs $250,000
9. Cincinnati Bengals $138,960
10. Dallas Cowboys $62,500
11. St. Louis Rams $60,000
12. Pittsburgh Steelers $36,000
13. Cleveland Browns $22,500
14. Miami Dolphins $20,000

The National Journal’s based its report on the payments on the agreement the military had with the New York Jets’, the Department of Defense and the New Jersey Guard.

The agreement included a “Hometown Hero” segment, in which the Jets feature a soldier or two on the big screen, announce their names and ask the crowd to thank them for their service. The soldiers and three friends also get seats in the Coaches Club for the game.

In addition to the “Hometown Hero” portion of the agreement, the relationship included advertising and marketing services… a kickoff video message from the Guard… digital advertising on stadium screens… online advertising… and meeting space for a meeting or event.

Soldiers also attended the annual kickoff lunch in New York City where they are given a chance to meet and take pictures with the players for promotional purposes and to participate in a charity event in which coaches and players build or rebuild a playground or park.

Upon learning of the “Pay for Patriotism” arrangement, Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said:

“It is an egregious and unnecessary waste of taxpayer dollars.” “They realize the public believes they’re doing it as a public service or a sense of patriotism…” and “It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”

One only needs to think back to the sacrifice made by Patrick Daniel “Pat” Tillman – a destined for stardom, multimillion dollar, long term contract football superstar who gave up his chance at riches and fame to serve in the United States Army out of his sense of duty to country following the September 11, 2001 attacks on our nation.

Tillman joined the Army Rangers and served several tours in combat before dying in the mountains of Afghanistan on April 22, 2004 in a friendly fire incident.

The Army posthumously promoted Tillman from Specialist to Corporal. He also received posthumous Silver Star and Purple Heart medals. The Silver Star is the third-highest military decoration for valor awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces.

Maybe the NFL could dedicate the proceeds from the unpaid portion of the NFL contract he gave up to serve his country to honor the men and women who serve in our nations’ military today to keep us free.

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troop-morale-down

The U.S. Army is under attack and commanders do not know how to deal with it.

The problem is pessimism and 770,000 soldiers – more than half of the army’s military strength – are unsure about their future in the military and unhappy about their jobs – despite a six-year, $287 million campaign to improve troop morale and resiliency according to findings obtained by USA TODAY. Data going back twelve months and ending in early 2015:

“…show that 403,564 soldiers, or 52%, scored badly in the area of optimism, agreeing with statements such as “I rarely count on good things happening to me.” Just as badly, 48% say they have “little satisfaction in or commitment to their jobs.”

The startlingly negative results come from “resiliency assessments” that soldiers have been required to take every year for each of the last six years to help commanders measure the mental and physical health of their troops.

In addition to low optimism and poor job satisfaction, more than half also reported poor nutrition and sleep with only 14% saying they are were eating well and getting enough rest.

The Army’s assessment program and “positive psychology” training began in 2009 at a time when the country was fighting two wars with suicide and mental illness rates on the rise.

Because Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues carry a measure of stigma among soldiers who pride themselves on endurance and strength, data was collected through a confidential, online questionnaire that all soldiers, including the National Guard and Reserve, must fill out each year.

In 2014, Army specialists applied formulas to measure service-wide morale and the results revealed that positive psychology techniques and methods “has not had much impact in terms of overall health” according to David Rudd, president of the University of Memphis who served on a scientific panel to assess the success of the Army’s resiliency program.

Under questioning by USA TODAY, Sharyn Saunders, chief of the Army Resiliency Directorate that produced the data, initially disavowed the results. Saunders said in March that she “sat and looked at (USA TODAY) numbers for quite some time and our team can’t figure out how your numbers came about…”

When USA TODAY gave her the supporting Army documents, she acknowledged the data but said the formulas used to produce them were obsolete saying “we stand by our previous responses.”

Following USA TODAY’s inquiry, the Army analyzed the findings using a lower threshold to define a positive result. Using the new methodology, the army reported that only 9% of 704,000 enlisted men and scored poorly in optimism.

Without explaining how the Army changed its evaluation criteria, the Army said in a statement that “We continue to refine our methodologies and threshold values to get the most accurate results possible.” According to USA TODAY,

“the Army’s effort to use positive psychology to make soldiers more resilient has been controversial since its inception in 2009. A blue-ribbon panel of scientists from the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded last year that there is little or no evidence the program prevents mental illness.”

Nevertheless, the Army moved ahead with its positive psychology program at a cost of more than $50 million a year.

“The Army funds this program because the Army values the lives of soldiers and wants to instill skills and competencies that will enhance their connections, relationships and ability to mitigate stressors and exercise help seeking behaviors through their life,” says an Army statement released last month.

Results of the Army’s “Don’t worry, Be happy” program also show that:

• 370,000 soldiers showed a lack of commitment to their job or would have chosen another if they had it to do over again. Only 28% felt good about what they do.

• 300,000 soldiers or nearly 40% didn’t trust their immediate supervisor or fellow soldiers in their unit or didn’t feel respected or valued. Thirty-two percent felt good about their leaders and peers.

• A positive trend showed more than 400,000 soldiers or 53% said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their marriage, personal relationship or family. About 240,000 expressed dissatisfaction. And;

• Nearly 40% of soldiers felt they were in good physical shape, 28% felt they were borderline, and 33% felt they were in poor physical shape.

It is not known if Army personnel were asked, as part of the assessment, if the quality of their civilian leadership had a causal impact on their low and worsening morale.

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