This is certainly NOT the message we hear from President Obama today as the world faces barbaric terrorism that is only spreading… – Roger Young, co-editor
Please also see our Daily Veterans Newsletter
This is certainly NOT the message we hear from President Obama today as the world faces barbaric terrorism that is only spreading… – Roger Young, co-editor
As a veteran, you are probably aware of some of the benefits to which you are entitled. Most veterans know about the medical care services that you can receive through a VA hospital, and you might already be familiar with education programs that you can apply for through the G.I. Bill.
These more common programs are at the tip of the veteran benefit iceberg. From help with mortgages, to assistance with figuring out your taxes, and even identity theft protection, there is a nice variety of benefits that veterans can and should take advantage of.
As a veteran, both you and your spouse are eligible for long-term medical care. You already know about medical benefits, so the keywords here are “long term.” As the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs notes, should you ever become housebound due to medical issues, you might be eligible for additional payments in addition to the monthly pension you are already receiving. The Aid and Attendance program applies to veterans who need help from others to do basic everyday tasks like bathing and dressing, as well as veterans who are in a nursing home, and/or have limited eyesight. In addition, the Housebound program involves an increase in your monthly pension when some type of disability confines you to your home for most of the time. Your surviving spouse may also be eligible to receive funds to cover long-term costs. In order to apply for these benefits, write to the Veterans Affairs office that handled your initial pension claim.
As a veteran, you spent part of your life protecting our country. Thanks to a discount that is available through LifeLock for Veterans of Foreign Wars members, the identity theft protection company will protect your personal information and private data. Right now, members of the VFW can save 10 percent on new identity protection services, which will keep vital information like your Social Security number, military ID, and other account numbers safe both here and overseas.
As a side note, the VFW website is an outstanding resource for veterans; its Member Benefits page lists dozens of discounts that you will receive for being a member. These include deals on everything from travel-related services to haircuts.
As anyone who has ever tried to organize piles of receipts and W2s knows quite well, preparing taxes is a cumbersome and confusing job. As Military Benefits notes, veterans and their families can get help with their taxes—all at no cost. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance offices are typically found on military bases and are staffed with people who can help prepare your tax return. In addition, the IRS offers free tax returns for elderly veterans who need help figuring out the complicated military tax forms.
As a veteran, you can also get help to become a homeowner through the VA. Active service members and surviving spouses can also fulfill their American dreams of homeownership. In addition to various programs like refinances, interest rate reductions, and guaranty benefits, the VA website features helpful information and advice on how to apply for the various benefits. VA Home Loans are funded through many traditional private lenders like banks and other financial institutions.
If you are a first-time home buyer and have questions about the process, Veterans United Home Loans is also a terrific resource that can help guide you through everything and offer accurate advice on your various mortgage-related benefits.
Joining the military is an honored and respected tradition in this country, often following from generation to generation as children see the good that their parents are doing and seek to emulate that sense of duty. Training to join the military can be, however, a challenge. The physical fitness requirements of military service are demanding and grueling.
Take the U.S. Marine Corps, for example: the physical assessment for a young man in his early 20s includes running three miles in under 28 minutes, doing 50 crunches in under two minutes and nine unassisted full-body pull-ups. This may not sound like a lot on paper, but if you haven’t practiced and conditioned your body for these challenges, they will be more than difficult.
Take the proper steps and get prepared. Joining a gym or hiring a trainer is an option some take, but for the truly dedicated one of the best options is to build your own backyard boot camp that you can use whenever you want. Below are a few tips and suggestions to help you get started.
This classic exercise requires taking used tires (at least 10) and staggering them so that as you run your feet land within the tires. Place your hands behind your head and lift your knees as high as you can to work not only your thighs but your core and stomach as well.
Use a long row of elevated bars to help strengthen your forearms, shoulders, biceps and triceps, as well as get your body used to supporting itself in that position. For increased difficulty and training, do the bars one at a time with a pull-up at each bar.
While most backyards don’t allow room for a full track, set up an area to do wind sprints. Practice these high-speed, short-distance runs to quickly increase speed, stamina, and strength. To take it to the next step, consider getting a harness and attaching a tire or other weight behind you as you run.
This simple but effective exercise requires a great deal of upper body strength and coordination, and help to increase strength and stamina in your forearms and grip.
These are great for increasing your balance as well as working your core. For greater difficulty, increase your speed across the beam or hold weights out to either side of your body.
This exercise requires you to alternate jumping over a hurdle and crawling under an obstacle. This is a full-body workout, and is great for working your core and increasing all-around stamina and endurance.
Many of these obstacles like the wall or the monkey bars require you to build large, durable structures that can withstand the strain you put on them during training. If you are comfortable doing it yourself, rent a scissor lift and other equipment that can make the task much easier. If construction isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to hire someone to assist.
Whatever service you are going into, remember that the biggest advantage you have is mental discipline. Be sure to prepare your mind as well as your body, and know that your service and dedication is always appreciated.
President Barack Obama announced this past May that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan would be reduced from 32,000 to 9,800 by the end of 2014. That means over 20,000 veterans will be returning to their homes and re-acclimating to civilian life in the coming months. But this transition can be a difficult process for some.
A 2011 Pew Social Trends survey found that 44 percent of U.S. service members who returned from deployment after 9/11 reported having a difficult time readjusting to civilian life. It can be challenging for returning combat veterans to reconnect emotionally and socially with family and friends after experiencing the ugly realities of war.
Fortunately there are social and economic opportunities, along with common everyday activities, that can ease the transition process and help build a strong support group.
Washington State’s total population is 9 percent veterans, more than the 7.7 percent average of all states, according to Governing. Unfortunately the unemployment rate for Washington veterans is nearly twice the rate of the general population. Endless free time and no job are an awful combination that will only exacerbate an already difficult situation for returning veterans.
Former Governor Christine Gregoire created a task force known as the Veterans Employee Resource Group (VERG) to address this issue before leaving office last year. The idea behind the initiative is to bring together representatives from every state agency to create jobs that veterans pre-qualify for based on their military training. Gregoire said the initiative would set an example private sector employers would eventually follow. Oregon’s Work Employment Tax Credit also seeks to encourage employers to hire veterans with tax incentives from $2,400 to $9,600 for every eligible service member hired.
Several private companies in the northwest have also enacted measures to help veterans find meaningful work. Microsoft’s Elevate American Veterans initiative invested $12 million for job training, placement, child care, and counseling services for returning veterans. Puget Sound Energy is listed on Military.com’s Top 35 Veteran-Friendly Employers. JP Morgan Chase, State Farm, Cintas, and several other companies formed the 100,000 Jobs Mission in 2011 and has since hired over 161,000 veterans.
The aforementioned Pew survey found that veterans who are actively involved with church and other religious activities have the easiest time transitioning back to civilian life by far. Keith Ethridge, director of the VA’s National Chaplain Center, told Christianity Today that it’s not enough for an institution of God to simply advertise itself as “military-friendly.” Ethridge has since held training sessions for clergy all across rural America so they can better understand the challenges veterans face upon returning from deployment.
The VA maintains a list of churches (organized by city, state, and denomination) that are led by chaplains who either have military experience or have gone through one of the training sessions. Veterans who don’t necessarily consider themselves religious can still attend churches as places of refuge in difficult times. Churches are also great places to meet new friends and share your experiences with people who care.
President Barack Obama spoke about the mental health challenges veterans face upon returning home from combat in his 2014 State of the Union address. Dr. Keith Tidball of Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources not only agreed with the president, but believes a study he’s been working on can help address this issue.
Dr. Tidball, who is also a veteran, said in a press release that the “Returning Warriors: Outdoor Recreation, Restoration, and Resilience” (REWORRR) study by Cornell demonstrates that outdoor activities provide numerous therapeutic benefits to returning veterans. He said the study has shown that connecting with the natural living world in turn helps combat veterans rebuild those intimate bonds with family and friends that have been damaged by their experiences overseas.
Fishing, hiking and hunting are the three most obvious activities. The Wounded Warriors Project has an office in Seattle. The nonprofit arranges two to three day outdoor sport excursions for small groups of veterans with similar experiences. Another idea is to treat yourself to a new pair of motorcycle riding boots and join a riding club. You’ll be able to soak up the outdoors while also meeting new people with a similar recreation interest as your own.
The transition from active duty back to civilian life is not easy even for the toughest minded of soldier. The kind of people you choose to work for and associate with will go a long way in determining how seamless your experience will be.
Americans hold a special place for vets returning from active duty. Even closer to our nation’s heart are female veterans who often return from combat duty to take up lives as mother, wife, and friend. Though no more or less difficult than a male’s transition into civilian life, studies show female vets experience unique challenges and need special assistance. Research published in the Journal of Women’s Health found women use more outpatient services than men, while men use more inpatient services. One interpretation of this is that women, if given the right assistance, can come back to a state-side life without needing large interventions. As loved ones, we can help make the transition easier.
If your returning vet was a desk jockey at Fort Drum then civilian life may not be a stretch, but a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan needs a veneer of mindfulness to keep her safe. The safety habit can turn into ungrounded fear and paranoia if not properly focused. At home, an alarm system will allow her to get a good night’s sleep. Since the first six months back may be filled with forms, documents, and signatures as the veteran reestablishes her new life, identity theft protection will help her stop looking over her shoulder. With time and a loving environment, she will be able to leave some of the fear overseas.
She does not need you to fix her problems. A therapist can handle mental trauma and a physician can prescribe medication. What she needs from you is a support network. The lack of social support is one of the biggest factors in the mental decline of veterans suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and a variety of other military service-related mental health issues, reports the American Psychological Association. Studies show that vets with good friends have less severe symptoms, are able to transition into civilian life easier, and are more likely to avail themselves of help if they need it. Be a source of laughter and a shoulder to cry on.
At the 2013 American Public Health Association conference, panelists discussed the importance of allowing a soldier the opportunity to define her own perception of combat. Many women in the military services hold caretaking roles and never lift a gun. For these women, combat means caring for the wounded and potentially seeing them die. Though they have never pulled a trigger, their experiences are no less horrific, traumatizing and significant as a front line soldier’s. Whatever experiences your vet has, acknowledge them as uniquely hers.
Sometimes laughter, conversation, and a hug are not enough. Almost 3 percent of female veterans are diagnosed with an eating disorder, reports Psychology Research. About one-third are diagnosed with PTSD and nearly half are at high risk of drinking abuse, notes Veterans Affairs Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health. This is where friendship has its benefits. You cannot make your veteran get help but you can be a resource for her. The Veteran’s Administration website is filled with helpful resources, advice and interventions that you can use to support the well-being of our returning military personnel. With the right care, returning female veterans do not need to struggle to have a new, happy life.
This video was sent to me and is one of the most inspirational videos I’ve ever seen! The video producer writes:
“On June 6th, 2014, my 11 year old son wanted to say thank you to the soldiers who fought and died on Omaha beach on D-Day morning 70 years earlier. This is how he did it.”
Parade of ships & aircraft, Seafair Fleet Week. Video by Pam Young:
When we talk about our fellow veterans, especially returning vets, one size does not fit all. Some vets return willing and able to find a job and go back to domestic life. Others want to go back to school. Some returning vets need more assistance, especially if they are suffering from physical or mental health complications. These are some of the factors that need to be addressed when deciding where to live.
For the returning veteran, the housing market may be the determining factor in the house buying decision. Of course, these are the same motives for people that have not served in the military but VA loan caps give housing price a different significance. Lenders will typically make VA loans up to $144,000 without a down payment. Over that amount, the government still guarantees but there may be a down payment. To get the best bang for your buck, Forbes recommends Fort Worth, Texas as the best place to buy. The average house in the area is a little under $170,000 with a reasonable prediction of market growth.
If you are looking for a place to contribute some sweat equity then Madison, WI should catch your eye. Madison is a hotbed of economic development in the housing sector. As the capital of Wisconsin, small renovations to your property become multiplied by the economic growth of the city. Home exterior improvements such as new roofing, window replacements or additions like sunrooms are more than just renovations, they are a statement for community growth, bringing up the value of your home and the area in which you live. Madison is a place where your service skills can build a city.
Not everyone is coming back with a marketable skill set. The GI Bill has made it easy for service people to go back to school, to the tune of more than 800,000 vets in school. If you are planning on joining academia then U.S. News and World Report says that Massachusetts has two out of ten of the best college towns with Amherst being one of the best. This small East Coast town has three schools, including the University of Massachusetts. Since you are competing with students for jobs, this is a place where your military skills and training will put you a step above.
If you are returning to the loving arms of spouse and children then Fayetteville, North Carolina is the place for you. This is one of the largest military communities in the nation. The citizens of the city have a true affection for those that are or have served our country. Being the home of Fort Bragg, employers are accustomed to working with ex-military and vets are able to get access to services. This is the kind of place where families hang together, help each other on home improvement projects, and watch each other’s children.
For those that need some assistance then the Veteran Administration’s medical facilities are important resources. According to the Veteran Administration’s website, the Portland, Oregon VA Medical Center has been rated as a Top Performer for two years running. Portland is also the home of the Returning Veteran’s Project which offers counseling and other health care services free or at a reduced rate. As a community, Portland takes care of their service people. For home buying, the city’s housing market has flattened without some of the radical ups and downs of other markets in the country. No matter where you decide to go, remember that you are not alone and that there are people in this country that are thankful for the time that you spent protecting our country.
An OUTSTANDING video on the Vietnam Veterans Monument in Austin, Texas, brought to my attention by Spur 3, Chuck Oualline:
Produced by Pleasant Valley Middle School:
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working with Logos Technology to develop a near-silent hybrid-electric motorcycle for military use. This technology could not only create a stealthy weapon for the military, but also a new way to combat greenhouse gas emissions for everyday riders.
These hybrid motorcycles could serve a multitude of uses, but the main reason they are being developed is to be as compact and silent as possible — they would be able to cruise into hostile territory virtually undetected. Though not much is known about the motorcycle as of yet, there is some exciting speculation on the plans that have been revealed so far.
The bike will likely be based on the BRD RedShiftMX Electric Bike, a true electric machine. Not only will it run on electricity and gasoline, but it will also utilize other fuels like diesel, JP 8 (jet fuel), and more. This multi-fuel strategy will enable soldiers to use any available fuel source when in the field, a massive advantage in rural areas far from base. The bikes will be two wheel drive, which maintains far better control and traction in difficult conditions, like the winding mountain roads of Afghanistan or places where a lot of rain falls.
The goal is to reduce the noise level of the motorcycle to 55 decibels while running only on electric and 75 decibels while running normally. This noise output compares to just below a normal conversation to just below a telephone dial tone.
The RedShiftMX that this motorcycle is based on currently has an electric running time of two hours and can reach a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour.
This motorcycle opens the door for more silent and compact military vehicles in the future. Military technology often makes its way into civilian technology. For example, things you may see or use every day that were originally developed for the military include GPS, duct tape, the microwave, and even cargo pants!
Once this technology hits the consumer market, manufacturers and parts makers will need to adopt entirely new parts standards. Even though the bikes are being developed, it’s only a matter of time before civilian and private pursuits start outfitting motorcycles with similar aftermarket parts to modify and improve these incredible vehicles.
With prototype production slated to begin in a few months, the developments of these hybrid-electric motorcycles will be entertaining. We don’t know how long it’ll take to perfect what the United States military is looking for, but we know one thing for sure: It’s going to be an awesome piece of machinery that’ll make us proud.
A great video honoring a great American hero:
The lead P-51 below flew four sorties over Normandy on D-Day and was recently restored:
When AM General rolled out the Hummer line based on the military HMMWV, there was a childlike squeal from grown men. The idea of owning a car that looked like it once had gun turrets was a huge draw. Even the Terminator turned governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had an one. But the play toys that we get as non-military consumers are nothing compared to the real thing. Playing soldier and being one are two very different things.
Don’t tell anyone, but Hummers are not bulletproof. This really is not a secret since the AM General comparison sheet shows this as one of three substantive differences between the Hummer and the HMMWV. The HMMWV comes with ballistic protection and chemical resistant coating. Even if the Hummer does not come with these features, it is fun to pretend. Knowing that both vehicles can climb a 60 percent grade and go over a 22-inch step makes the fantasy complete even if you are stuck in city traffic.
Watch a child play with a toy tank and you will see all of the key components of tank awesomeness. The kid will run it through a wall of blocks to crush the enemy under the tracks. Traction is one of the most important parts of military vehicle power. Combining skid resistance with heavy weight is what makes them unstoppable. Anti-skid technology has become important as we look at military threats in cold weather terrains. The same technology that is used in Afghanistan is not right for snow and ice. The research around militarized anti-skid equipment is focused on directly linking the drive cylinder to the tire mounts so that the vehicle gets the maximum amount of grip.
Stealth technology has made some huge leaps in the last couple of years. Where once the military wanted equipment to be invisible to radar and sonar, it looks like we will have vehicles that are unseen by the human eye. Canada seems to be pushing the boundaries of quantum stealth technology, which means that the heavy military cars of the near future will have light bend around them, rendering them effectively invisible to soldiers.
Motorcycles are known for their maneuverability and speed but not necessarily their silence. Looking at modern motorcycle exhaust and mufflers, noise reduction is the key issue. For commercial motorcycles, looks are also a consideration. Military vehicles need to be quiet and have power. The newest military endeavor is a hybrid motorcycle that can use electricity to move silently. The motorcycle is a sleek, light-weight machine that looks more like a dirt bike than a hog. The bike will be stealthy when in electric mode and very fast in fuel mode. With hybrid cars all the rage for commercial use, we can expect to see this military application being duplicated for non-military sales.
We don’t want your pity, we want your help to put to rest the continued betrayals by our own government. Our military veterans deserve better:
Newsletter suggestion: I say we put former military with administrative skills in charge of every VA facility with the full authority to hire/fire and start legal proceedings against ANY employee that games the system. That will put a fire under the rears of the federal employees. My beef is NOT with the doctors and nurses at VA, it is with those administrators that game the system for their own personal gains. – Roger
One of the biggest adjustments newly-minted veterans can face is getting approved for loans. Once you’re out of the service, you’ll probably want, if not need, a reliable car. Even if you already have a car, it’s a good bet it isn’t the one you see yourself in over the next few years.
With car loan interest rates at reasonable levels, this is a good time to think about getting a new car or truck, or a new late model. But if you have bad credit, or very little credit, it’s hard to take advantage of these rates. Here are some tips for getting a fair shot at car financing:
This may sound like advice from Captain Obvious, but a car brings more than a loan to your financial picture. There’s insurance, which varies across the country. FastQuotesDirect tracks average yearly car insurance costs for each state, ranging from $2700 in Louisiana to less than $1000 in Maine.
You also need to set money aside for maintenance. Maybe you know how to change the oil and filter (and be sure that this is permitted where you live; many home owner associations and apartment complexes don’t allow car maintenance on their grounds!), but do you know how to rotate and balance tires, replace brake pads, and flush out the transmission?
Make a list of yearly car expenses outside the payment you’ll undertake. Call around or go on the Web find out local costs for each of these:
Add these costs to your budget and you’ll have a good idea of how much you really have for a car and its associated expenses.
Look at your credit rating before you apply for car loans. As Cars.com, points out, lenders will look at these and you should, too. You can request a free report from the three major credit bureaus each year at Annualcreditreport.com. You may be a little relieved to see that these reports look at a few things, including how long you’ve had credit, your on-time rate for paying bills, and how much of the credit available to you is used.
If your first job was with the service, you may not have a lot of credit built up just yet. Or maybe your credit is less than sterling. If you aren’t satisfied with the rates you’re being offered, consider going to a lender that specializes in credit repair and working with so-called credit risks. Reputable lenders like Drive Time report to credit unions, which helps their customers, and has very high (4.5 stars) ratings, according to information at Drivetime.com.
Another benefit of working with dedicated car loan services is that you can get pre-approved for loans, learn how much you can borrow and finalize payment terms before your heart is set on a vehicle. Shopping within realistic boundaries is more rewarding and less frustrating. Edmunds.com points out that it also makes it easier to negotiate with the salespeople: just ask “what’s the out-the-door price?” It also eliminates any delivery complications resulting from loan complications.
Updated 27 February 2015:
Hillary Clinton’s Top Aides Knew from First Minutes that Benghazi Was a Terrorist Attack, E-mails Disclose by Andrew McCarthy – 26 Feb 2015
Another Benghazi Cover-Up – Judicial Watch – Posted 3 Feb 2015
Benghazi Bombshell: Clinton State Department Official Reveals Details of Alleged Document Review by Sharyl Attkisson – 15 September 2014
Top CIA officer in Benghazi delayed response to terrorist attack, US security team members claim – FoxNews – 5 September 2014
Sources: Militia blamed for Benghazi attack moved next door to US Consulate before strike by Adam Housley – 22 July 2014
Different attackers in Benghazi? – ArmyTimes – 9 July 2014
Benghazi attack suspect captured by American team, en route to US – FoxNews – 17 June 2014
Criminal complaint against Benghazi terror suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala – FoxNews – 17 June 2014
US spy agencies heard Benghazi attackers using State Dept. cell phones to call terrorist leaders by Bret Baier, James Rosen, 11 June 2014
Fact Check: Hillary came up with Benghazi video explanation by Catherine Herridge, 11 June 2014
Boehner to appoint select Benghazi committee – ArmyTimes – 2 May 14
Benghazi emails suggest White House aide involved in prepping Rice for ‘video’ explanation by Catherine Herridge – 29 Apr 14
Clinton calls Benghazi terror attack ‘biggest regret’ on her watch - FoxNews – 25 Apr 14
Ex-CIA chief confirms he ignored Benghazi guidance from top officer on ground – FoxNews – 2 Apr 14
Newsletter comment: I listened to some of the testimony by former CIA assistant director Morrell on Benghazi today.
It is clear to me that the brass pays far more attention to what some analyst in Langley believes, then what a station chief or other eyewitnesses are reporting on the ground. That’s messed up.
He also explained that the Langley analysts were not privy to what those on the scene were reporting in real time. Knowing that it begs the question, why is their analysis given so much weight?
Of course this is nothing new. LTC Hal Moore’s after-action report on the battle of the Ia Drang Valley in Nov ’65 were ignored by McNamara and his “whiz kids” for what they WANTED to believe. Little changes! – Roger Young, co-editor
Sources on ground during Benghazi attack slam ex-CIA boss Morell’s testimony by Adam Housley – 2 Apr 14
‘Very upset': CIA sat on Benghazi investigation, US personnel fuming by Adam Housley – 13 Mar 14
Did CIA official suppress Benghazi narrative? Accounts raise new questions –
FoxNews – 14 Feb 14
House GOP’s new Benghazi report lays blame on WH, State – ArmyTimes – 11 Feb 14
Commentary: Benghazi Testimony One Year Later: Hillary Clinton Declares “What Difference Does It Make” by Katie Pavlich – 23 Jan 14
Gregory Hicks: Benghazi and the Smearing of Chris Stevens – WSJ – 22 Jan 14
Opinion by the uncle of Sean Smith: Mrs. Clinton, the truth about Benghazi does make a difference By Michael Ingmire - 16 Jan 14
Senate Intelligence Committee releases comprehensive Benghazi report – FoxNews – 15 Jan 14
“The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a comprehensive report on the Benghazi attack finding the tragedy was ‘preventable’ and the administration failed to respond to ‘ample’ warnings that security was deteriorating before Sept. 11, 2012…”
The Benghazi Transcripts: Did White House exaggerate Obama’s preparation for 9/11 anniversary? by James Rosen – 14 Jan 14
The Benghazi Transcripts: US military woefully unprepared for attack, documents show by Jennifer Griffin – 13 Jan 14
|Newsletter comment: It would appear that everyone in any authority dropped the ball leading up to the attack in Benghazi. A complete failure by all involved from the State Dept, White House, and military commands. Incompetence and arrogance cost the lives of four brave Americans.What was the purpose of establishing AFRICOM when they apparently had no real assets available in Africa? As we know from earlier reports, everyone had to know there were serious security issues in Libya yet NO action was taken at any level to enhance security or position forces! – Roger Young, co-editor|
State Department names groups behind Benghazi strike – FoxNews – 10 Jan 14
Families of Benghazi victims press for House select committee to investigate attack – FoxNews – 7 Jan 14
CIA Benghazi team clash led to ‘stand down’ report by Kimberly Dozier – 14 Dec 13
‘Pleading’ distress calls made from US consulate on night of Benghazi attack by Catherine Herridge – 20 Nov 13
Congressman: Benghazi attackers knew location of ambassador’s safe room By Catherine Herridge – 15 Nov 13
Memo to Speaker Boehner — time to appoint a Select Committee on Benghazi By John LeBoutillier – 14 Nov 13
Intelligence Warnings On Benghazi Were Loud And Clear by Susan Katz Keating and Richard Miniter – Posted 13 Nov 13
Opinion: Why is Team Obama so afraid of Benghazi survivors’ stories? By K.T. McFarland – 5 Nov 13
Justice and State departments blocking access to survivors of Benghazi attack by Catherine Herridge – 31 Oct 13
Administration making excuses to block Benghazi survivors? – FoxNews – 31 Oct 13
Exclusive: Benghazi Whistleblower Says He Was Smeared by Eli Lake, Josh Rogin
Former Guantanamo detainee was on ground in Benghazi during terror attack, source says by Catherine Herridge, Pamela Browne – 25 Oct 13
Opinion: The Benghazi Nightmare Revealed by Roger Young – 19 Sep 13
Commentary: A ‘rigorous and unsparing’ review? ARB Benghazi report full of gaps, unanswered questions by Victoria Toensing – 17 Sep 13
Team involved in tracking Benghazi suspects pulling out, sources say – FoxNews – 23 Aug 13
Kerry clears State officials faulted in Benghazi report, allows them back on job – FoxNews – 20 Aug 13
US files charges against Benghazi attack suspects, official says – FoxNews – 6 Aug 13
CNN Exclusive: Exclusive: Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack – CNN – 1 Aug 13
Newsletter comment: With this revelation by CNN, the evidence of a widespread cover-up is only growing…
State Department official says he was scapegoated by bosses over Benghazi - FoxNews – 21 May 13
White House’s Benghazi documents – FoxNews – 15 May 13
Cover Up by Oliver North – 10 May 13
The Benghazi Scandal Grows by Stephen F. Hayes – 10 May 13
Note: Mr. Hayes was the first to report on the internal memos indicating just how the original intelligence assessment was altered.
Benghazi memos reportedly revised 12 times, official ‘concerned’ they would hurt State – FoxNews – 10 May 13
Newsletter comment: I’ve never seen such cowards in the White House & State Department. They want to shift the blame on the intelligence community when Mr. Hicks in Tripoli was reporting from the start of the attack in Benghazi that it was a terrorist attack on that facility as reported to him by Ambassador Stevens.
In my opinion, the talking points were changed to give Sec. Clinton and the White House cover for their actions of cutting security at the facility, period. And they both went out before the television cameras when the bodies of our brave Americans were returned to U.S. soil and in front of the families with the caskets in the background, continued to lie to the families, the American people, and the entire world. And they continue those same lies today. This is an absolute disgrace! – Roger
Whistle-blower: Botched talking points hurt FBI probe of Benghazi attack - FoxNews – 8 May 13
Special ops called for military backup during Libya attack, sources say – FoxNews – 2 May 13
Newsletter comment: From Vietnam until the present the State Dept. has not cooperated well with our military. The fall of Lima Site 85 in Laos, SOG missions compromised in Laos & Cambodia – a case can certainly be made that our inept State Dept. played a hand in those failures and lives were lost. Lessons are never learned when denial is the norm – Roger Young, co-editor
Commentary: Boehner Must Impanel Special Committee to Investigate Benghazi by Terry Jeffrey – 1 May 13
Obama administration officials threatened whistle-blowers on Benghazi, lawyer says – FoxNews – 29 Apr 13
Commentary: BENGHAZIGATE: Obama’s Secret Gun-Running Program by Katie Kieffer – 29 Apr 13
Lawmakers demand access to survivors injured in Benghazi attack – FoxNews – 6 Mar 13
Opinion: Obama AWOL during Benghazi Attack by Bob Beauprez – 9 Feb 13
7 Feb 2013:
It is clear after listening to SECDEF Panetta and Gen. Dempsey today at hearings, and listening to some of the questioning of CIA candidate Brennan today before the Senate, there is NOT going to be any accountability regarding the tragedy in Benghazi. And it is equally clear that this President is incapable of leading during a crisis. – Roger Young
Panetta on Benghazi: We did all we could do – ArmyTimes – 7 Feb 13
Opinion: The pygmies vs. the Zulu warrior — how Republicans missed a big opportunity with Clinton by K.T. McFarland – 24 Jan 13
Newsletter closing comment: I believe it is clear that just like Fast & Furious we are never going to get the truth, nor will anyone ever be held accountable for what happened in Benghazi. And the GOP doesn’t have the stomach to ask the tough questions to uncover the truth. It was just another dog & pony show to appease the American people. – Roger Young
Clinton lashes out at senator over Benghazi questioning – FoxNews – 23 Jan 13
Newsletter comment: After listening to Secretary Clinton testify today, apparently what happened in Benghazi, stays in Benghazi.
Like Fast & Furious and many other investigations, we never get any answers from this “transparent” administration. – Roger Young
Senate committee report on Benghazi terrorist attack faults State Department – FoxNews – 31 Dec 12
Opinion: The lessons of Benghazi by Sen. Marco Rubio – 26 Dec 12
State Department official suggests Libya warnings went to the top – FoxNews – 20 Dec 12
Report on Libya attack cites ‘systemic failures’ in security, confirms no protest – FoxNews – 19 Dec 12
Accountability Review Board report on Benghazi attack – Courtesy of FoxNews – 19 Dec 12
State Department officials resign after scathing report on security lapses in Libya – FoxNews – 19 Dec 12
U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis’ Hands – New York Times – Posted 6 Dec 12
Special OPs Vets Demand Benghazi Answers – WND – Posted 6 Dec 12
White House denies suggestion it scrubbed terror threat from CIA Libya account – FoxNews – 17 Nov 12
Petraeus testifies CIA’s Libya talking points were changed, lawmaker says – FoxNews – 16 Nov 12
Newsletter comment: Is this all the good General could offer? I don’t care who changed his memo! I don’t care about what Susan Rice said on network TV. These are the questions I want answers for:
1) Who repeatedly denied requests for increased security and why?
2) Who told the SEALS to “stand down” and not go to the aid of the Consulate under attack and why?
3) Who denied them help when they were fighting for their lives at the annex and why?
This is the usual Potomac two-step, just pointing fingers at various agencies without ever getting to the truth. We are being led down rabbit trails in my opinion. – Roger Young, editor
Newsletter comment: Perhaps if the President would answer any direct questions concerning Benghazi, except “it’s under investigation,” we could get some real answers to why four Americans died and their repeated requests for increased security before the attack were denied, and why their requests for help during the attack went unanswered.
It is clear to me that this President does not feel he is obligated to answer any questions to the American people. – Roger
Petraeus agrees to testify on Libya before congressional committees – FoxNews – 14 Nov 12
Three key questions on the Benghazi scandal by Arthur Herman – 13 Nov 12
Newsletter comment: Excellent questions, but the focus has/will turn to the Petraeus scandal. How convenient. Nothing like a good sex scandal to divert the mainstream press and congress from a national security fiasco in Benghazi. – Roger
Petraeus Just Another Mystery Victim in the Benghazi Triangle by John Ransom – Posted 12 Nov 12
“…Cross the Benghazi Triangle and mysterious, unexplainable things begin to happen.”
EXCLUSIVE: Petraeus mistress may have revealed classified information at Denver speech on real reason for Libya attack By Jennifer Griffin, Adam Housley – 12 Nov 12
Military timeline from night of Benghazi attack begs more questions – FoxNews – 11 Nov 12
Petraeus quits over extramarital affair – ArmyTimes – 9 Nov 12
U.S. general: Obama paralyzed by fear by Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, U.S. Army (ret.) – 4 Nov 12
Security officials on the ground in Libya challenge CIA account – FoxNews – 2 Nov 12
Opinion: Benghazi: The Set-Up and the Cover-Up by Clare M. Lopez – Posted 2 Nov 12
Sources, emails point to communication breakdown in Obama administration during Libya attack by Jennifer Griffin – 2 Nov 12
FBI granted access to Libya consulate attack suspect detained in Tunisia – FoxNews – 2 Nov 12
Editorial: Benghazi blunder: Obama unworthy commander-in-chief – Las Vegas Review-Journal – 1 Nov 12
‘Troubling’ Surveillance Before Benghazi Attack by Harald Doornbos, Jenan Moussa – 1 Nov 12
Classified cable warned consulate couldn’t withstand ‘coordinated attack’ by Catherine Herridge – 31 Oct 12
Republican senators accuse Obama administration of ‘stonewalling’ on Benghazi – FoxNews – 31 Oct 12
Opinion: Lingering questions about Benghazi by David Ignatius – 30 Oct 12
Opinion: To live and die in Benghazi, Libya without leadership from America by Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (ret.) – 30 Oct 12
Early briefings on Libya strike focused on Al Qaeda, before story changed – FoxNews – 29 Oct 12
Head of AFRICOM Fired for Wanting to Assist Personnel in Benghazi by GerardDirect Staff – 28 Oct 2012
Posted on YouTube on 28 Oct 12:
Posted on YouTube on 27 Oct 12:
Obama: ‘Not personally aware’ of security requests before Libya attack – FoxNews – 26 Oct 12
EXCLUSIVE: CIA operators were denied request for help during Benghazi attack, sources say By Jennifer Griffin – 26 Oct 12
Newsletter observation: We now know since this deadly attack the following:
1) Leading up to the attack, the State Department repeatedly denied official requests to increase security as recommended by the Ambassador and his security team on the ground in Libya. In fact, the State Department reduced the security prior to the attack according to earlier hearings in the House that took place following this tragedy.
2) As the attack was underway, Jennifer Griffin reported above that the CIA reportedly refused multiple requests for help by its operatives under attack at the annex. The CIA denies those reports – Roger Young
Clinton asked for more security in Benghazi, Obama said no by Christopher Collins – 25 Oct 12
SecDef: Lack of info hampered Benghazi response – ArmyTimes – 25 Oct 12
Clinton downplays emails implicating Al Qaeda-tied group within hours of Libya strike – FoxNews – 24 Oct 12
Newsletter comment: It is long past time that our President addressed the American people on this issue which claimed the lives of four American patriots. You decide if this adminstration has been playing it straight with us. – Roger Young
State Department emails from day of Libya attack show Al Qaeda-tied group on radar – FoxNews – 23 Oct 12
‘Annex’ hit in Libya terror attack was CIA post, officials say – FoxNews – 22 Oct 12
Consulate attack may have been aimed at driving US out of eastern Libya, sources say – FoxNews – 18 Oct 12
I’m not big on Super Pac ads, but this video from a GOP Super Pac raises very valid questions that deserve to be answered to the American people from the White House. This President has the time to go on comedy shows to talk about Libya, but somehow cannot address the American people thus far?:
Opinion: Who is responsible for the mess in Libya? by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano – 18 Oct 12
Opinion: Hillary takes responsibility for Libya but Obama’s terror policy is real problem by K.T. McFarland – 17 Oct 12
Opinion: Leaks, Lies, and Libya: How Not to Inform a Nation by Larry Bailey (USN, Ret. SEAL) – 17 Oct 12
Clinton takes responsibility for consulate security, blames confusion on ‘fog of war’ – FoxNews – 16 Oct 12
Rice blames intel talking points for faulty Libya story; lawmakers raise new questions – FoxNews – 16 Oct 12
Opinion: It’s time for Hillary Clinton to testify about what happened in Libya by K.T. McFarland – 12 Oct 12
Newsletter comment: The debacle in Benghazi which cost the lives of four American patriots, reminds me of a similar debacle during the Vietnam war which led to the fall of Lima Site 85 in Laos. In Benghazi there were repeated requests to the State Department by their U.S. security teams on the ground for additional personnel to guard the vulnerable Consulate at Benghazi. Those requests were denied according to recent House testimony.
At Lima Site 85, a top-secret radar installation manned by U.S. Air Force personnel disguised as civilian contractors, in early March 1968 MACV in Saigon knew the installation was in imminent danger of attack by the NVA and the U.S. Ambassador in Laos rejected MACV’s evacuation request and the site was overrun on 11 March 1968 and 11 Americans were killed.
Our State Department has many dedicated and brave Americans serving our country around the world. Unfortunately, far too often, the bureaucrats in D.C. who are career driven guided by politics call the shots from the safety of their desks which can have disastrous outcomes for those in harms way. Without personal accountability, we are likely doomed to see more such bad calls around this increasingly turbulent world. - Roger Young
White House moves to insulate Biden, Obama on Libya security question – FoxNews – 12 Oct 12
Ex-security officers testify about frustration at State Department over Libya security – FoxNews – 10 Oct 12
Diplomats asked repeatedly for more security before Libya attack, lawmakers claim – FoxNews – 2 Oct 12
“…’Based on information provided to the committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012,’ they wrote. ‘In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi. The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington’…”
Opinion: Obama Miscalculated Politics of Terrorism by Chris Stirewalt – 28 Sep 12
No threat assessment in Benghazi prior to ambassador’s arrival, source says – FoxNews- 28 Sep 12
Opinion: Could the Benghazi attack be Obama’s Tet? by Earl Tilford – 28 Sep 12
Comment: As the author pointed out, it is unlikely that the Obama administration will take any blame for the deadly attack in Benghazi or the way this tragic event was initially “spun” by the administration and mainstream media. During Vietnam we had a media that was critical of the strategy unlike today a media that avoids asking the tough questions or holding this administration accountable for any of their decisions.
Our individual freedoms have always hinged on a free and independent press that would question power and seek the truth. Unfortunately those days appear to be behind us. Sometimes like the ’68 Tet the press got it wrong – Tet was a major defeat for the Viet Cong, not a military victory – but at least they were asking the tough questions and had every right to question the Johnson/McNamara strategy of ‘escalated response’ that would not take the war to the North or their sanctuaries in Cambodia & Laos
Roger Young, co-editor
US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm – FoxNews – 27 Sep 12
Obama: U.S. Consulate attack was terrorism – ArmyTimes – 26 Sep 12
Libya latest example of administration downplaying terror strike – FoxNews – 24 Sep 12
Lawmakers urge Obama to clarify Libya attack details, as Clinton calls strike terrorism – FoxNews – 21 Sep 12
White House: Libya was a ‘terrorist attack’ – ArmyTimes – 20 Sep 12
President Obama Speaks at Ceremony for Benghazi Victims – White House – 14 Sep 12
Colleges are enrolling veterans at record numbers in 2014 and much of that is thanks to the assistance our country gives to veterans who want to pursue an education. But returning to college after a life in the service is no easy feat. There are social and academic challenges the typical high school graduate doesn’t have to face, but there are advantages for veterans as well.
Paying for college is one of the most lucrative benefits from military service. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers the GI Bill to veterans who want to pursue a higher education. This often covers most, if not all, of their tuition. But veterans who need more aid have plenty of resources for tuition assistance. Federal Student Aid, which is part of the U.S. Department of Education, offers financial aid to veterans with significantly better interest rates and repayment plans than standard student loans. And if you choose to return to public service after graduation, those loans are eligible for forgiveness after 10-20 years.
Veterans enter college with a specialized skill set, which can be an advantage when compared to high school graduates with no skill set. Veterans don’t just have experience that could aid in areas like criminal justice and technology, but also have leadership skills which give them a huge advantage in collaborative programs like project management. Penn Foster even offers a gunsmith program which could be perfect for veterans with exceptional experience with firearms.
But college (and the career that follows) doesn’t need ties to your military experience. Some veterans want to break ties with their time in the service and major in a creative study (English, art history, etc.) and earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Because tuition is mostly taken care of, this is a great time to pursue alternative opportunities.
Getting thrown into the epicenter of the ultimate social experience for young adults is never easy. You’ll likely be at least four years older than every other freshman on campus. And most them who are living away from their parents for the first time won’t understand your experiences fighting overseas. There are two ways to make your social experience in college the most rewarding it can be:
1. Seek out other veterans on campus. You’re not the only one and there will be at least one campus group for you to seek and and meet new friends. The common ground shared with these fellow veterans will be a great way to create a social base when you’re just starting your first semester.
2. Don’t leave civilians out of your social circle. The college experience is about expanding your horizons and excluding your friends to fellow veterans would be robbing yourself of the opportunity to meet new people with different backgrounds and experiences from your own.
In college, you’ll run into two scenarios that could baffle you, annoy you and possibly even anger you — the maturity level of 18-year-old freshmen and the anti-military views that college campuses often carry. The first thing to remember is that college is not split into veterans and non-veterans. There are dozens of demographics and you should do your part to experience all of them.
Author: Ruth Coleman, Lecturer, academic advisor, avid hiker