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Archive for the ‘military’ Category

Vets eligible for stop loss pay, but must apply NOW

Posted by Charles II on September 24, 2010

Those Eligible Must Submit a Claim By Oct. 21, 2010

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP), providing $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status. Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of servicemembers whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009 are eligible for RSLSP.

To receive this benefit, those who served under stop loss must submit a claim for the special pay. Throughout the year, the services have been reaching out to servicemembers, veterans and their families through direct mail, veteran service organizations, and the media. But there is still money left to be claimed, and the deadline is approaching. The average benefit is $3,700.

General Procedure
Individuals who meet eligibility criteria may submit an application between Oct. 21, 2009 and Oct., 21 2010. By law, there is no authorization to make payments on claims that are submitted after Oct. 21, 2010.

Eligible members should print, complete and sign Department of Defense Form 2944, Claim for Retroactive Stop Loss Payment.

Next, choose the appropriate method for submitting the claim form and available supporting documents based on your service specifications. This information can be found on your service’s stop loss Web site.

The following documents are examples of authorized source documents but may not be comprehensive, depending on specific status and service.

Note on Eligibility
Effective Dec. 19, 2009, per the Defense Appropriations Act, stop-lossed servicemembers who voluntarily reenlisted or extended their service, and received a bonus for such reenlistment or extension of service, became no longer eligible to receive retroactive stop loss special pay.

If you know someone who separated/retired and may be eligible, remind them to submit a claim before the deadline!

Posted in Good Things, Iraq war, military | 1 Comment »

WAAAAH! Obama Won’t Let Us Have Our Religio-Racist Traitor Party!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 6, 2009

When reading this Daily Kos diary on President Obama upholding the separation of church and state with regard to a planned B-2 flyover and Christian ceremony, this passage leapt out at me:

Concerns had been raised about one event in particular — an annual event held at Stone Mountain in Georgia.

Those of you who’ve been reading Mercury Rising for a while now have seen me use the term “religio-racist right” to describe the Neo-Confederate dominance within the conservative wing of American Protestant Christianity, and how the forces of bigotry have mastered the use of evangelical religion as a cloak to disguise their true aims. Just look at the self-styled leaders of the movement: Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and several dozen other lesser lights. All of these men owe more than a smattering of their style — and their following — to a conflation of evangelicalism and racism. (Remember, the whole reason there is a “Southern Baptist Convention” in the first place is because they split from the main Baptist church in the 1840s rather than tolerate the main church’s antislavery stance. And while other Protestant denominations saw their Southern branches split off before the Civil War and then reunite with their main branches afterwards, the SBC never did so.)

Now, what’s this have to do with Stone Mountain? Oh, nothing much — it’s just that Stone Mountain happens to be a shrine to the KKK.

Oh, and one of the other flyovers? In Nampa, Idaho. While Nampa is itself a decent town, the state of Idaho is notorious for being a longtime haven for white supremacists, especially the Hayden Lake area. James von Grunn, the guy who shot the guard at the Holocaust Museum, lived in Hayden Lake from 2004 to 2005.

This boil has needed lancing for some time.

Posted in military, neo-Nazis, President Obama | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Well, Well

Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 22, 2009

The surprise isn’t that some right-wing yahoo is going around spreading a bogus e-mail — an e-mail in which he claims to have detailed knowledge of how Captain Phillips was rescued from the Somali pirates, and that President Obama had allegedly opposed the Pentagon’s plan to rescue him. The surprise is that a mainstream media entity is actually bothering to debunk it:

Two senior military officials who talked to NBC about this both said essentially they have no reason to carry President Obama’s water on this, but that he and the White House responded quickly and positively to the military’s request.

Given some of the details included in the email, military officials say it could very well have come from a “disgruntled” Navy SEAL who had no idea what the White House and senior commanders were planning or executing.

In addition, the email was originally passed around by a former admiral who retired in 1982 who told Navy officials he doesn’t know any Navy SEALS and has no idea where the original email came from.

This has been duly passed along to the fine folks at

Posted in liars, military, mythmaking, President Obama, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, WTF? | 4 Comments »

Traumatic brain injury affects 45-90K troops

Posted by Charles II on March 8, 2009

Some of the symptoms are relatively mild– headaches or vision problems. Others are as severe as coma. It is Traumatic Brain Injury, and up to 90,000 young Americans who served in the military may have it.

Kelly Kennedy, Army Times:

Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, said between 10 percent and 20 percent of soldiers and Marines – about 180,000 people – have screened positive for TBI.

Yet military doctors still fight a culture in which some troops believe they can head right back into the fight after being exposed to a blast – even though high school football players know better than to play again for a few days – and commanders may decide to risk sending someone outside the wire after an injury because there aren’t enough people to make up a patrol team.

Experts at the U.S. Military Academy have said it’s important for someone who has suffered even mild TBI to avoid the risk of re-injuring the brain – especially the not-yet-fully-grown brain of someone younger than 24 – because a second injury can lead to permanent damage or even death.

Posted in military | Comments Off on Traumatic brain injury affects 45-90K troops

More Excellent News

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 14, 2009

Remember how I said earlier that the selection of John Berry to head OPM might be a sign of the beginning of the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell at the Pentagon?

Well, guess what:

President Obama will end the 15-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that has prevented homosexual and bisexual men and women from serving openly within the U.S. military, a spokesman for the
president-elect said.

Obama said during the campaign that he opposed the policy, but since his election in November he has made statements that have been interpreted as backpedaling. On Friday, however, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, responding on the transition team’s Web site to a Michigan resident who asked if the new administration planned to get rid of the policy, said:

“You don’t hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it’s ‘Yes.’ “

There you go. It’s not really correlation implying causation — for one thing, Obama has maintained for some time now that DADT had to go — but simply indicative of the fact that times and attitudes (and presidents) are changing, and the GLBT community now can expect friendlier conditions in the Federal government.

Posted in Barack Obama, gay rights, Good Things, military | Comments Off on More Excellent News

Post-Traumatic Screw-’em Discharge

Posted by Charles II on January 11, 2009

RDan at Angry Bear links to an Army Times article on the mistreatment of troops with PTSD:

Last year, after a number of troops diagnosed with PTSD were administratively forced out for “personality disorders” following combat deployments, the Defense Department changed its rules: The pertinent service surgeon general now must sign off on any personality-disorder discharge if a service member has been diagnosed with PTSD.

“Not even a year later, they’re pushing them out administratively for ‘pattern of misconduct,’ ” said Carissa Picard, an attorney and founder of Military Spouses for Change, a group created in response to the personality-disorder cases. “I’m so angry. We’re seeing it all the time. And it’s for petty stuff.”…Retired Army Lt. Col. Mike Parker, who has worked as an advocate for service members going through the disability retirement system, said the cases are frustrating because veterans’ groups just fought to get the military to automatically award 50 percent disability ratings for people with PTSD severe enough to force them to leave the service, as is required by law. Many troops with PTSD had been receiving far lower ratings.

“Even though they have this new regulation saying they can’t kick them out for personality disorders, they can still kick them out for misconduct,” he said. “Everything they say, they have an escape clause.”

The guy with PTSD featured in the article, Sergeant Adam Boyle– well, him they forced to pay back his re-up money, and refused to give him his leave money and his last paycheck. “Thanks for getting shot at for your country, now f–k you.”

It’s all about money. Let’s hope this ends with the demise of Bushco.

Posted in BushCo malfeasance, military, wrong way to go about it | Comments Off on Post-Traumatic Screw-’em Discharge

Defense Experts To Obama: Don’t Let The Brass Roll You

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 17, 2008

As Spencer Ackerman states:

During his July trip to Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama met with a man who represents both an opportunity and an obstacle to his presidency: Army Gen. David H. Petraeus. Petraeus, a hero to many Americans for his management of the war in Iraq, argued in a private briefing that military commanders should be given wide latitude in handing the future course of the war — though Obama was running for president on a platform calling for a withdrawal of combat troops in 16 months.


“If I were in his shoes, I’d probably feel the same way” about preserving flexibility for military operations, Obama said of Petraeus after the meeting ended. “But my job as a candidate for president and a potential commander in chief extends beyond Iraq.”To Peter Feaver, one of the leading scholars of civil-military relations, that comment was auspicious. “Obama had it pitch-perfect,” said Feaver, a professor of political science at Duke University and a national-security staffer for both Clinton and George W. Bush. “Obama was right to signal to the military, ‘I want your military advice, and I will factor it into my strategic decisions, where military advice is one of my concerns.’”

Whether a Commander-in-Chief Obama can continue the tone that Candidate Obama sounded in July remains to be seen. According to interviews with active and retired military officers, Obama and the military can have a productive relationship, provided that Obama operates along some simple principles. Consult, don’t steamroll — and don’t capitulate. Be honest about disagreements, and emphasize areas of agreement. Make Petraeus a partner, not an adversary.

Similarly, the uniformed military will have to keep certain principles in mind as well. There’s only one commander in chief, and you’re not him. Don’t substitute military judgment for strategic judgment.

The dangers of a POTUS letting the brass roll him or her were shown by Bill Clinton’s being cowed by the Pentagon on the issue of gays serving openly in the military: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, military | 1 Comment »

Until We Get Really Good Batteries…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 17, 2008

this may well become one of the main ways that our military and commercial jets will be powered:

Tyson Foods and Syntroleum Corp. have approved plans to build and fund Dynamic Fuels’ first renewable synthetic fuels facility in Geismar, La., clearing the way for construction to begin.

Dynamic Fuels is a 50-50 joint venture between Tyson and Syntroleum to convert low grade, inedible fats and greases into renewable transportation fuels for the military and civilian markets.

I’ve noticed two distinct mindsets among military types. The one that gets the most press is of course the Rumsfeld-Cheney “invade our way to energy security and devil take whoever stands in our way” mindset.

The other one is the one that led a number of top brass to buy Priuses instead of limos or SUVs as soon as the Priuses were available (and has led to other military personnel making solar-based Prius conversions), and the one behind the Tyson Foods synthetic fuels plant, and the one behind this waste-to-energy refinery supplying an Army base in Baghdad (the more garbage they can turn into fuel, the less truckloads of diesel coming and garbage going out, and the fewer targets for insurgents). It’s the one that’s led the Navy to put solar-power systems in Naval housing in Hawaii. It’s the one that led the Air Force to install the country’s biggest solar-power system at Nellis AFB, along with wind power, geothermal and even biomass facilities.

In the meantime, the Navy’s investing in battery reserarch. They understand Peak Oil, even if Bush doesn’t.

Posted in energy, environment, military, Oil, saving the earth, solar, supporting the troops, sustainability, technology | 2 Comments »

Study: Gay Troops Don’t Hurt Unit Cohesion

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 8, 2008

From the AP’s Anne Flaherty:

Congress should repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy because the presence of gays in the military is unlikely to undermine the ability to fight and win, according to a new study released by a California-based research center.

The study was conducted by four retired military officers, including the three-star Air Force lieutenant general who in early 1993 was tasked with implementing President Clinton’s policy that the military stop questioning recruits on their sexual orientation.

“Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion,” the officers states.

To support its contention, the panel points to the British and Israeli militaries, where it says gay people serve openly without hurting the effectiveness of combat operations.

Cue the wingnuts howling in 5…4…3…2…1…

Posted in gay rights, military | 4 Comments »

For a fistful of dollars

Posted by Charles II on January 21, 2008

This is the kind of story that has me spitting nails. Karen Jowers, Military Times (via t/o):

Retired Army Gen. Tommy Franks was paid $100,000 – out of donations made to wounded veterans – for allowing his name to be used on fundraising appeals by a charity that has come under increasing scrutiny for the way it handles its money.

Lawmakers questioned the ethics of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes Foundation not only for using donors’ money to pay Franks, but for failing to disclose to potential donors who received the mail solicitations that Franks was paid for his endorsement.

…    “If we disclose, we’d be out of business,” [president Roger] Chapin said.

“Your words are wonderful, because if the public knew, they wouldn’t donate,” said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.

Chapin acknowledged that his organization has used inflated numbers in its mailings when describing what percentage of donations actually helps veterans.

While some mailings have stated that 92 percent or even 100 percent of donations have gone to veterans, the real figure is closer to 25 percent, according to a congressional study.

Franks, a Bush crony and sycophant, helped put those veterans into hospitals. The least he could have done is donate a very little bit of time to help get them out.

Posted in Busheviks, corruption, cronies, military | 7 Comments »

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