7 Medal of Honor recipients to speak at California State University, San Bernardino

 MEDAL OF HONORThere are three present day variations of the Medal of Honor. (L to R above): A wreath version designed in 1904 for the U.S. Army; the original simple star shape established in 1861, which the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard have retained; and an altered wreath version for the U.S. Air Force, designed in 1963 and adopted in 1965.


Something very rare is happening next week in the Inland Empire.

Seven Medal of Honor recipients are scheduled to speak Tuesday, March 12 at California State University, San Bernardino as part of the 6th Annual Stater Bros. Charities Dave Stockton Heroes Challenge Golf Tournament.

The Medal of Honor, the country’s highest military decoration, is bestowed on a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and  beyond the call of duty.”

The men will share their stories of heroism and gallantry and the importance of teamwork, leadership, and dedication to America, and answer questions from local Jr. ROTC Cadets and members of veterans’ organizations from across the Inland Empire Region.

“It is an honor and a privilege to host this event for our community,” Jack H. Brown, Chairman of the Board and Chief Financial Officer, Stater Bros. Markets said in a news release announcing the event.

Photos of the men below include a link to their individual Medal of Honor citations at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.

Harvey C. Barnum Jr., 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam War

Salvatore A. Giunta, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, War in Afghanistan

Robert J. Modrzejewski, Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam War

Robert M. Patterson, Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Vietnam War

Ronald E. Ray, 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Vietnam War

James A. Taylor, 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Vietnam War

Jay R. Vargas, Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam War

Medal of Honor History

On Dec. 9, 1861 Iowa Senator James W. Grimes introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate  designed to “promote the efficiency of the Navy” by authorizing the production and distribution of   “medals of honor.” On Dec. 21, 1861 the bill was passed, authorizing 200 such medals be produced “which shall be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen and marines as shall distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities during the present war (Civil War).” President Lincoln signed the bill and the (Navy) Medal of Honor was born. The same medal is bestowed to members of the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard.

The U.S. Army Medal of Honor was established in 1862.

The U.S. Air Force Medal of Honor was authorized in 1956, and adopted in 1965.

Union Army soldier Jacob Parrott / Source: http://www.locomotivegeneral.com

The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to U.S. Army Private Jacob Parrott, who served with the 33rd Ohio Infantry during the Civil War.

The last award of the Medal of Honor was made Feb. 11, 2013 to U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Clinton L. Romesha.

Medal of Honor Statistics

  • Since 1863, here have been 3,460 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
  • Today, there are 80 living recipients of the Medal of Honor.
  •  World War II
    • There are 11 Living Recipients who performed actions in the World War II.
    • There are 456 Deceased Recipients who performed actions in the World War II
  • Korean War
    • There are 11 Living Recipients who performed actions in the Korean War.
    • There are 125 Deceased Recipients who performed actions in the Korean War.
  • Vietnam War
    • There are 54 Living Recipients who performed actions in the Vietnam War.
    • There are 195 Deceased Recipients who performed actions in the Vietnam War.
  •  War In Iraq
    • There are 4 Deceased Recipients who performed actions in the War In Iraq.
  • War In Afghanistan
    • There are 4 Living Recipients who performed actions in the War In Afghanistan.
    • There are 3 Deceased Recipients who performed actions in the War In Afghanistan.
  • At one time, there were as many as five Medal of Honor recipients living in the Coachella Valley

Medal of Honor Memorial at Riverside National Cemetery

Sources: Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Doug Sterner, Home of Heroes website

Two servicemen competing in Modern Pentathlon World Cup

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Herbert Temple, Jr. meets with service members and Team USA pentathletes and Olympians Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher (left) and Air Force Reserve Maj. Eli Bremer (right) after the opening ceremony of the 2013 World Cup of Modern Pentathlon in Palm Springs, Calif. on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

A pair of servicemen, both Olympians, are competing in this week’s World Cup of Modern Pentathlon, currently underway in Palm Springs.

Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher and Air Force Reserve Maj. Eli Bremer are set to compete in this week’s event.

They carry on a legacy of service member pentathletes in a list that includes Gen. George S. Patton, who competed in modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Helen Patton, the general’s granddaughter, offered the keynote address at Tuesday’s opening ceremony.

After the opening ceremonies, both Bowsher and Bremer were greeted by retired Army Lt. Gen. Herbert Temple, Jr. who also spoke at the competition’s kickoff. During his speech, Temple challenged all the athletes to “be audacious.”

Throughout the week athletes will compete in five events including epee fencing, 200mm freestyle swim, show jumping, laser shooting, and a 3km cross-country race.

Bowsher, who is stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado, competed for Team USA in London at the 2012 Olympic games and placed 32nd overall with a point total of 5324. He is training for the next 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Bowsher completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and is trained as an Army 88M Motor Transport Operator for his occupational specialty.

He applied for and is now part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) which offers elite-level athletic training to soldier-athletes in Olympic sports. Soldiers are selected from active duty, Army Reserve, and the National Guard. On the Army WCAP website, the program is described as “A program that provides outstanding Soldier-athletes the support and training to compete and succeed in national and international competitions leading to Olympic and Paralympic Games, while maintaining a professional military career and promoting the U.S. Army to the world.” The program falls under the Army’s Recruiting Command and is an outreach tool to promote a positive image of the Army.

Bremer competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and comes to the Palm Springs event from Colorado Springs. According to his website, Bremer is a 2000 Air Force Academy graduate and competed for the Academy in swimming and fencing. After graduating, he was part of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program, which is similar to the Army’s WCAP detailed above. He earned an MBA from University of Colorado in 2006 and co-founded a corporate motivational training company, 5Ring Insight, in 2008. He continues to serve as a reservist and reports to Robins Air Force Base in Georgia when not in Colorado Springs.

Both athletes will compete in the Men’s Qualifying Round on Wednesday at venues located at Sunrise Park in Palm Springs. During the qualifiers, athletes compete in four out of five events with equestrian show jumping left for the finals and mixed relay days only.

Military deaths: December 5, 2012 – February 14, 2013

The following is a listing of military deaths between December 5, 2012 – Feb. 6th. The Debrief‘s last casualty post was December 5. This post is broken into sections including Operation Enduring Freedom deaths as well as other military deaths due to on and off duty mishaps.

Department of Defense announced the following military casualties which occurred during deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

No OEF deaths have been reported by the DoD thus far in February.

20 Jan. 2013: Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38, of Plainwell, Mich. died Jan. 20, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device on Dec. 15, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 32nd Transportation Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

16 Jan. 2013: Sgt. David J. Chambers, 25, of Hampton, Va., died Jan. 16, in Panjwai District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised explosive device while on dismounted patrol.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

10 Jan. 2013: Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, of Chester, Va., died Jan. 10, in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when he was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade while on mounted patrol.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

29 Dec 2012: Army Pfc. Markie T. Sims, 20, of Citra, Fla., died Dec. 29 in Panjwal, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

• 24 Dec. 2012: Army Sgt. Enrique Mondragon, 23, of The Colony, Texas, died Dec. 24, in Baraki Barak, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by small arms fire while on dismounted patrol. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany.

• 22 Dec. 2012: Navy Cdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa., died Dec. 22 of a non-combat related injury while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Price was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit in Virginia Beach, Va.

14 Dec. 2012: Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin E. Lipari, 39, of Baldwin, N.Y., died Dec. 14 in Logar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to HHC 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany. This incident is under investigation.

14 Dec. 2012: Marine Corps Sgt. Michael J. Guillory, 28, of Pearl River, La., died Dec. 14 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif. This incident is under investigation. The Naval Safety Center posted a mishap summary involving a Marine killed during an ATV rollover in Afghanistan on the same day and with the same rank (E-5).

13 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid, 26, of Rochester, N.Y., died Dec. 13 in Landstuhl, Germany from wounds suffered on Dec. 9, in Sperwan Village, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 53rd Ordnance Company (EOD), 3rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

13 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Nelson D. Trent, 37, of Austin, Texas, died Dec. 13 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Fort Worth, Texas.

10 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Wesley R. Williams, 25, of New Carlisle, Ohio, died Dec. 10 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

8 Dec. 2012: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa., died of combat related injuries suffered Dec. 8, while supporting operations near Kabul, Afghanistan. Checque was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit. Checque was a Navy SEAL and died during a mission to rescue Dr. Dilip Joseph, who was abducted by Taliban insurgents, CNN Reports.

As of 10 a.m. EST, Thursday, Feb. 14, U.S. casualties during Operation Enduring Freedom totaled 2,168 including 2,047 in Afghanistan, 118 in other locations, and 3 DoD civilians. 18,255 military personnel have been wounded in action which is an increase of 146 WIA from statistics cited in The Debrief’s previous casualties post last on Wednesday, December 5.

The following on-duty non-OEF related military deaths have been reported for December – present.

15 Jan 2013: (FLORIDA) An Army National Guard Soldier died Jan. 15, from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash. The 20-year-old Soldier was driving a HMMWV on a Florida highway when he lost control of the vehicle while attempting to change lanes and the vehicle overturned. HMMWV is the acronym for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, also known as a “Humvee” tactical vehicle. According to police, the soldier was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. He was air evacuated from the crash but died following the medical transport at the hospital.

14 Jan 2013: (MacDill AFB, FL) Air Force Staff Sgt. Emily Elizabeth Clayburn, 29, of Palatine Bridge, N.Y., died in an industrial area accident. She was assigned to 6th Logistic Readiness Squadron, 6th Air Mobility Wing,

09 Jan 2013: (Abilene, TX) Marine Corps E-7 died on 18 Jan from injuries sustained in a multi-vehicle mishap. He was driving a government vehicle.

09 Dec 2012: (Camp Pendleton, CA) Navy E-4 was killed after he was ejected during a HMMWV rollover. HMMWV is the acronym for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, also known as a “Humvee” tactical vehicle.

The following off-duty military deaths have been reported for December – present. This list includes all deaths and mishap investigations The Debrief has access to, but does not include all PLRs posted by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness / Safety Center.

06 Feb 2013: (Camp Pendleton, CA) Marine Corps E-3 died in a single-vehicle mishap.

05 Feb 2013: (Meridian, MS) Navy E-5 passenger died on 07 Feb from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle mishap.

24 Jan 2013: (Naples, Italy) Navy E-4 died in a multi-vehicle mishap.

20 Jan 2013: (St. Lucie County, FL) Navy E-6 died in an automobile mishap.

20 Jan 2013: (Hawaii) Army soldier Trevor McGurran, 23, of Wahiawa, Hawaii died in a motorcycle accident. He was assigned to 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

20 Jan 2013: (Houston, TX) A 38-year-old Soldier died Jan. 20 from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash while on leave in Houston, Texas. The Soldier was driving his vehicle at a high rate of speed through a construction zone when he lost control, struck a curb, and slammed into a concrete pillar. He was evacuated to a local medical center where he was pronounced deceased.

19 Jan 2013: (Georgia) A 47-year-old Army officer died Jan. 19 from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash in Georgia. He was driving his vehicle when he lost control in a curve. The vehicle exited the roadway and struck a tree. Seatbelt use has not been reported but initial reports indicate he was ejected from his vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

13 Jan 2013: (Jacksonville, FL) Navy E-5 found deceased in hotel hot tub.

06 Jan 2013: (San Diego, CA) Navy E-4 died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle mishap.

03 Jan 2013: (Newport News, VA) Navy E-5 killed in motorcycle accident involving a tractor-trailer.

27 Dec 2012: (Beaufort, SC) Marine Corps E-4 died in a motorcycle mishap when he was struck head on by another vehicle.

27 Dec 2012: (Wichita, KS) Marine Corps E-3 passenger died in a single-vehicle mishap after the vehicle hit a ditch, went airborne and overturned.

24 Dec 2012: (Pagat Caves, Guam) Navy E-3 drowned while swimming.

19 Dec 2012: (Escondido, CA) Marine Corps E-5 motorcyclist died in a multi-vehicle mishap.

01 Dec 2012: (Mission Bay, CA) Marine Corps E-3 died in a recreational diving mishap.

Sources: Department of Defense, Naval Safety Center, Air Force Safety Center, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.

Expanded role of women in combat: complete DoD statement

Pfc. Samone Molock, a Soldier with the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, listens to Afghan women and children during a women's meeting at the Spin Boldak District Center, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2012. The meeting, led by female Afghan leaders from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, non-government organizations and other local professional women, was held in conjunction with the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign which runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10. Women discussed topics such women's rights, education, access to medical care and hygiene. This week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced approval for expanded roles of women in combat. Photo by 1st Lt. Veronica Aguila, 117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (Hawaii) / Released

Below is the full text of the Department of Defense statement released this morning regarding approval to expand the role of women in combat.

At the end of the release is a direct link to the Joint Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Women in Service Review Memorandum signed today by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Also linked is the Chairman’s Women in Service Review Memorandum, which was written to Panetta by Dempsey on January 9, 2013 and outlines implementation plans.

January 24, 2013
Defense Department Rescinds Direct Combat Exclusion Rule; Services to Expand Integration of Women into Previously Restricted Occupations and Units

Today, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey announced the rescission the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women and that the Department of Defense plans to remove gender-based barriers to service.

“Women have shown great courage and sacrifice on and off the battlefield, contributed in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission and proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles,” Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said. “The Department’s goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender.”

Today, women make up approximately 15 percent, or nearly 202,400, of the U.S. military’s 1.4 million active personnel.  Over the course of the past decade, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today’s announcement follows an extensive review by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who unanimously concluded that now is the time to move forward with the full intent to integrate women into occupational fields to the maximum extent possible.  It builds on a February 2012 decision to open more than 14,000 additional positions to women by rescinding the co-location restriction and allowing women to be assigned to select positions in ground combat units at the battalion level.

“The Joint Chiefs share common cause on the need to start doing this now and to doing this right.  We are committed to a purposeful and principled approach,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

The Department of Defense is determined to successfully integrate women into the remaining restricted occupational fields within our military, while adhering to the following guiding principles developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

  • Ensuring the success of our nation’s warfighting forces by preserving unit readiness, cohesion, and morale.
  • Ensuring all service men and women are given the opportunity to succeed and are set up for success with viable career paths.
  • Retaining the trust and confidence of the American people to defend this nation by promoting policies that maintain the best quality and most qualified people.
  • Validating occupational performance standards, both physical and mental, for all military occupational specialties (MOS), specifically those that remain closed to women.  Eligibility for training and development within designated occupational fields should consist of qualitative and quantifiable standards reflecting the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for each occupation.  For occupational specialties open to women, the occupational performance standards must be gender-neutral as required by Public Law 103-160, Section 542 (1993).
  • Ensuring that a sufficient cadre of midgrade/senior women enlisted and officers are assigned to commands at the point of introduction to ensure success in the long run.  This may require an adjustment to recruiting efforts, assignment processes, and personnel policies.  Assimilation of women into heretofore “closed units” will be informed by continual in-stride assessments and pilot efforts.

Using these guiding principles, positions will be opened to women following service reviews and the congressional notification procedures established by law.  Secretary Panetta directed the military departments to submit detailed plans by May 15, 2013, for the implementation of this change, and to move ahead expeditiously to integrate women into previously closed positions.  The secretary’s direction is for this process to be complete by Jan. 1, 2016.

The Joint Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Women in Service Review Memorandum can be viewed at:  http://www.defense.gov/news/WISRJointMemo.pdf 

The Chairman’s Women in Service Review Memorandum can be viewed at: http://www.defense.gov/news/WISRImplementationPlanMemo.pdf

–end of release–


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifts military ban on women serving in combat

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood arrive on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, for the Presidential Barack Obama's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, in one of his final acts before stepping down from his post, announced Wednesday he was lifting the military’s ban on women serving in combat, The Associate Press reports.

The move overturns a 1994 Pentagon policy that barred women from serving in direct ground combat units.

In one of the more recent moves toward integrating women into forward-deployed combat positions, the Marine Corps opened its Infantry Officers Course to women, planning to admit up to 100
women in a one-year experiment. Two female Marines have so far signed up and begun training;neither completed the grueling 13-week program.

On Dec. 13, the Congressional Research Service issued the report: Women in Combat: Issues for Congress, authored by David F. Burrelli Specialist in Military Manpower Policy

Here’s an abbreviated timeline of the changing status of women in the military, from the early 1900s, pulled from Burrelli’s report:

In 1908, Congress enacted language which lead to the creation of the Navy Nurse Corps.

In 1918, the Secretary of the Navy allowed women to sign up for clerical duties in the Marine Corps;

In 1918, the Secretary of the Navy allowed women to enroll for clerical duty.

In 1942, Congress opened the Naval Reserve to women

In 1942, the Coast Guard created the women reserves know as SPARs.

On May 14, 1942, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was created “for noncombatant service with the Army of the United States for the purpose of making available to the national defense when needed the knowledge, skill, and special training of the women of this Nation.”

More than a year later, the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was made a part of the regular Army on a temporary basis.

In 1943, the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was established

In 1948, Congress made women a permanent part of the military services. The Women’s Armed Services integration Act of 1948 limited the proportion of women in the military to two percent of the enlisted force and 10 percent of officers. This limit was repealed in 1967.

In the years that followed the passage of the Women’s Integration Act of 1948, women made up a relatively small proportion of the armed forces—less than one percent until 1973. By 1997, women accounted for 13.6 percent of the active duty end-strength, increasing to 14.5 percent by September, 2011.

Two major factors led to the expansion of the role of women in the armed forces. First, after the end of the draft and the beginning of the All-Volunteer Force in December 1973, the military services had difficulty in recruiting and retaining enough qualified males, thereby turning attention to recruiting women. Second, the movement for equal rights for women, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, led to demands for equal opportunity in all fields, including national defense, and a gradual removal of the restrictions against them.

In 1974, the age requirement for women enlisting without parental consent was made the same as for men.12 In the next year, legislation was enacted that allowed women to be admitted to the three service academies.

In 1977, Congress directed the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a definition of the term “combat” and recommendations for expanding job classifications for female members of the armed forces.

In 1978, women were permitted to be assigned permanent duty on noncombatant Navy ships, and up to six months of temporary duty on other ships.

The Senate Armed Services Committee commented on women in combat in its report concerning the re-institution of registration for the Selective Service in 1979. Citing military and other reasons for differential treatment of men and women by Selective Service, the Committee stated:

The committee feels strongly that it is not in the best interest of our national defense to
register women for the Military Selective Service Act, which would provide needed military
personnel upon mobilization or in the event of a peacetime draft for the armed forces.

In February 1988, the Department of Defense adopted a “risk rule” that excluded women from noncombat units or missions if the risks of exposure to direct combat, hostile fire, or capture were equal to or greater than the risks in the combat units they support.

The GAO reported that approximately one-half of the active duty military positions were opened to women.

On April 28, 1993, then-Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin, released a memorandum directing the Services to open more positions to women and establishing an implementation committee to review and make recommendations on such implementation issues.

On January 13, 1994, Secretary Aspin lifted the 1988 risk rule. Effective October 1, 1994, he approved a new assignment rule:

A. Rule. Service members are eligible to be assigned to all positions for which they are
qualified, except that women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade
level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground, as defined below.

B. Definition. Direct ground combat is engaging an enemy on the ground with individual or
crew served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct
physical contact with the hostile force’s personnel. Direct ground combat takes place well
forward on the battlefield while locating and closing with the enemy to defeat them by fire,
maneuver, or shock effect.

In 2006, Congress enacted language prohibiting any change in existing policies without the
Secretary of Defense first notifying Congress of such changes followed by a waiting period.

In 2010, the Navy notified Congress that it was modifying its policy to allow women to serve as permanent crew members aboard submarines.

The Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 contained language establishing the Military Leadership Diversity Commission. Among its duties, the Commission was to conduct a study and file a report regarding diversity issues in the Armed Forces with attention to the “establishment and maintenance of fair promotion and command opportunities for ethnic- and gender-specific members of the Armed Forces at the O-5 grade level and above.”

During hearings held in 2010, Defense Department officials stated that they were looking at the assignment issue regarding women as part of their three-year cyclic review and expected to make their recommendations to their leadership within a few months.

In March, 2011, the Commission released its report, “From Representation To Inclusion:
Diversity Leadership and the 21st-Century Military.” Among its recommendations
relevant to the issue of women in the military:

DOD and the Services should eliminate the “combat exclusion policies” for women,
including the removal of barriers and inconsistencies, to create a level playing field for all
qualified service members.

DOD and the Services should take deliberate steps in a phased approach to open
additional career fields and units involved in “direct ground combat” to qualified

Some provisions of the Ike Skelton National Defense Act for Fiscal Year 2011:

(a) REVIEW REQUIRED—The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretaries
of the military departments, shall conduct a review of laws, policies, and regulations,
including the collocation policy, that may restrict the service of female members of the
Armed Forces to determine whether changes in such laws, policies, and regulations are
needed to ensure that female members have equitable opportunities to compete and excel in the Armed Forces.

(b) SUBMISSION OF RESULTS—Not later than April 15, 2011, the Secretary of Defense
shall submit to the congressional defense committees a report containing the results of the review.

In February 2012, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) released its report.46 In the conclusion, it stated:

The Department intends to:
1. Eliminate the co-location exclusion from the 1994 policy;
2. As an exception to policy, allow Military Department Secretaries to assign women in open occupational specialties to select units and positions at the battalion level (for Army, Navy, and Marine Corps) whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground;
3. Based on the exception to the policy, assess the suitability and relevance of the direct
ground combat unit assignment prohibition to inform policy decisions; and
4. Pursue the development of gender-neutral physical standards for occupational specialties closed due to physical requirements.

Jan. 23, 2013, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifts the military ban on women serving in combat.

“This ruling allows women to serve in combat and creates tens of thousand of new
jobs for women in the military,” said Melinda Tremaglio, of Palm Springs, who formerly served in the U.S. Army.  ”It also leads to career advancement and higher pay.”

Tremaglio serves as president of the Palm Springs chapter of the National Organization for Women.

“I joined the military right out of high school in 1960 during the Cuban missle crisis and I was stationed at Fort McClellan in Alabama,” she said. “I was not allowed to join the men in some training sessions because of this ‘no women in combat rule.’ I believe you should be allowed to serve in combat, if you are fit and qualified, regardless of gender.”

“I was thrown out of the military for being gay in 1962. Fifty years ago I wanted to join the men in combat and fight for my country. Today, 50 years later, I want an end to all wars and violence.”


Service members to share a dance with Obamas, Bidens tonight

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dance during the 2009 Commander-in-Chief's Ball. Tonight they will each share the first dance with a service member. Photo by SRA Kathrine McDowell, US Navy (Released)

As the day-long inaugural festivities carry on into the night, four service members are preparing their dress uniforms and slipping on their dancing shoes.

Joint Task Force – National Capital Region released the names and biographies of the personnel representing each service who will share the first dance at tonight’s Commander-in-Chief’s Ball one each with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.

According to the press release, more than 50 names were submitted of service members to partner up on the dance floor with the country’s senior leadership and wives. Using criteria like records and accomplishments, combat experience and volunteerism, the group was whittled down to four.

Here are their bios, as distributed by the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region.

Staff Sergeant Bria Nelson (USAF) will dance with President Barack Obama. Nelson, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., enlisted July 31, 2002, as a medical technician. She deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Her awards include the Air Force Commendation Medal. She is currently assigned to the 579th Medical Operations Squadron, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., as the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Explorer Family Health Element.

Gunnery Sergeant Timothy D. Easterling (USMC) will dance with First Lady Michelle Obama. Easterling, a native of Barnwell, S.C., enlisted Aug. 21, 2000, as a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense specialist. He deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. His awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. In 2009, Easterling helped plan and execute the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force’s participation in the Presidential Inauguration and four subsequent Presidential State of the Union addresses and Joint Sessions of Congress. He is currently assigned to Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., as a distance learning instructor.

Staff Sergeant Keesha Dentino (USA) will dance with Vice President Joe Biden. Dentino, a native of Homestead, Fla., enlisted July 6, 2004, as a military police officer. She deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan.in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Her awards include the Bronze Star Medal and four Army Commendation Medals. She is currently assigned to the 947th Military Police Detachment, Fort Myer, Va., as a patrol explosives detection dog handler and is working on her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

Petty Officer Patrick Figueroa (USN) will dance with Dr. Jill Biden. Figueroa, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, enlisted Dec. 16, 2008, as a hospital corpsman. He deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While there, Figueroa rescued Marine Corporal Hoffman, who is now a Wounded Warrior at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. His awards include the Presidential Unit Citation and Navy Unit Commendation. Figueroa is currently assigned to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., as a manpower transfer clerk.

The Commander-in-Chief’s ball will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The Presidential Inaugural Committee offers complimentary tickets to invited military guests. The committee announced Friday that the Pentagon Channel would live stream the ball online at www.PentagonChannel.mil and broadcast to military installations worldwide. Scheduled performers at the ball include Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Chris Cornell, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, and Marc Anthony.

Military participation in Inauguration Parade

The Ceremonial Honor Guard marches past the presidential reviewing stand during the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington. More than 5,000 men and women in uniform provided military ceremonial support to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, a tradition dating back to George Washington's 1789 Inauguration. Photo by Master Sgt. Gerold Gamble, US Air Force (Released)

The military will be well represented as the Inaugural Parade wends its way this afternoon from the U.S. Capitol building to the White House.

On the Department of Defense Support to the 57th Presidential Inauguration website, military support is listed from all five services. Each branch’s participants will be clustered together in the following order of appearance:

  • U.S. Army Staff
    U.S. Army Field Band
    U.S. Military Academy
    U.S. Army, 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
    U.S. Army Color Guard
    District of Columbia Army National Guard
    U.S. Army Reserve 200th MP Command
    Caisson Platoon, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment;    Fort Myer, Virginia
  • U.S. Marine Corps Staff
    U.S. Marine Band “The President’s Own”
    U.S. Marine Corps Active Company
    U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard
    U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Company
  • U.S. Navy Staff
    U.S. Navy Band
    U.S. Naval Academy
    U.S. Navy Active Company
    U.S. Navy Color Guard
    U.S. Navy Reserve Company
  • U.S. Air Force Staff
    U.S. Air Force Band
    U.S. Air Force Academy
    U.S. Air Force Active Company
    U.S. Air Force Color Guard
    District of Columbia Air National Guard
    U.S. Air Force Reserve Company
  • U.S. Coast Guard Staff
    U.S. Coast Guard Band
    U.S. Coast Guard Academy
    U.S. Coast Guard Active Component
    U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard
    U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Component
    U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Staff;    Kings Point, New York
    U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Band;    Kings Point, New York
    U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Color Guard;    Kings Point, New York
    U.S. Merchant Marine Academy;    Kings Point, New York

In addition to DoD support to the parade, 60 applicants were selected out of the more than 2,807 applications submitted to participate in the parade, according to the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee’s website.

Those selected with military ties include:

  • 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment
    Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts wiki
  • 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment Company B
    Silver Spring, Maryland website
  • 81st Regional Support Command Wildcats
    Fort Jackson, South Carolina website
  • Military Spouses of Michigan
    Michigan website
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Washington, District of Columbia website
  • Native American Women Warriors
    Pueblo West, Colorado  website
  • Norwich University Regimental Band
    Northfield, Vermont website
  • Punahou Band and JROTC
    Punahou School, Honolulu, Hawaii website
  • Union High School Air Force Junior ROTC
    Tulsa, Oklahoma website
  • United War Veterans Council
    New York, New York website
  • Virginia Military Institute Marching Unit
    Lexington, Virginia website

U.S. Air Force journalists create Inauguration app – with livestream video

Two members of the U.S. Air Force have designed the app, “Inauguration,” an  ”everything you need to know” resource for the 57th Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 21. You’ll even be able to access a live-stream of the event via a redirect from CNN.

Click here to get the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region 57th Presidential Inauguration app.

Joint Task Force National Capitol Region Public Affairs

WASHINGTON — Apple Inc. released a cellphone application Monday designed by two airmen currently supporting Joint Task Force – National Capital Region Public Affairs.

The program, called “Inauguration,” is a free, user-friendly app that compiles news and other material related to the 57th Presidential Inauguration from a variety of official websites.

“Inauguration,” which was designed to distribute Department of Defense-released information on the inauguration, collects real time updates from websites linked to it, offering the latest press releases, videos and photographs covering the historic event and preparation for it. It contains a map of the inaugural parade route, complete with global positioning that automatically orients the map based on the user’s location, and icons that pinpoint medical stations, and indicate road closures and walking route.

The app also includes security information released by the secret service and lists items event-goers are prohibited from bringing with them on site.

On Inauguration Day, “Inauguration” will provide a live video stream of the event via a redirect from CNN.

Senior Airman Daniel Burkhardt, who codesigned the app, has been apart from his home station, Joint Base Andrews, Md., for the last week as just one of hundreds of Department of Defense military and civilian personnel sent to JTF – NCR in support of the inauguration.

To encode the app, Burkhardt harnessed the knowledge and skill he gained while completing a degree in network engineering prior to joining the Air Force more than two years ago. His supervisor from Joint Base Andrews, Staff Sgt. Christopher Bevins, created the graphics and videos for the program and gathered information for Burkhardt.

The program took them less than a week to create.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” said Burkhardt, a native of Perkasie, Pa., and a broadcast journalist assigned to 11th Wing Public Affairs. “I’m super excited that I could lend the experience I gained over six to eight months.”

Burkhardt based the application off one he has been working for the last few months to produce that will offer essential information on Joint Base Andrews to newcomers, visitors and family members.

“A lot of Airmen have smart phones,” said Burkhardt. “It’s a central place for all information regarding Andrews.”

Senior Airman Daniel Burkhardt (facing) and Staff Sgt. Christopher Bevins are Air Force broadcast journalists. The duo created the "Inauguration" app.


Military well-represented at Tournament of Roses Parade

The U.S. armed forces were front and center on the national stage on this first day of 2013.

For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Defense had a float in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade: “Freedom is Not Free” – a replica of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

This is the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War and the Department of Defense’s  Korean War Commemoration Committee has launched a website honoring those who fought in the “Forgotten War,” waged from 1950 – 1953.

Most of these photos were taken right from my TV, so although the quality isn’t stellar (on my part), the images were, in my opinion, very gripping and I wanted to share them.

For more information about this float, visit the Pasadena Tournament of Roses website.

The Associated Press

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc.’s salute to U.S. Military Working Dogs was also featured in today’s parade of floats line up … with a special surprise. A U.S. Army vet, returning from military service – who was riding on the float – was reunited with his family during the parade.

Here’s the official description from the Tournament of Roses Parade line up:

The 5th annual Natural Balance float showcases an exact replica of the United States Military Working Dog Teams National Monument.

“It is the first time in the history of our nation’s U.S. military that an animal, a dog, has been elevated to National Monument status by U.S. Congressional Law (Public Law 110-181, Section 2877).” (-John Burnam). The float theme, “Canines with Courage”, was selected to honor our nation’s four-footed hero soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen and coast guards for saving countless thousands of American lives since World War II.

“Canines with Courage” portrays four-footed heroes who go above and beyond to serve and defend our country and our freedom. This relates to the Parade theme “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” as it inspires all to reach for the skies and to live life to the fullest. The Military Working Dog Teams are trained and ready to go around the world to serve and protect.

Natural Balance is honored to salute “Canines with Courage”, the Military Working Dog Teams and the National Monument in their honor. Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods is privileged to share with everyone how magnificent these canines are and to honor them and their handlers.

For more information about this float, visit the Pasadena Tournament of Roses website

U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color GuardU.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, and a fly over by a U.S. Air Force B2 bomber rounded out the military presence – not withstanding the hundreds of men and women in uniform – who participated in or watched from curbside – during the 124th Tournament of Roses Parade.

And here’s a special shout out to Korean War veterans, especially my Dad, Chuck Goolsby, who served in the U.S. Navy. Thanks for your service to our country, Dad!

Chuck Goolsby, Boot Camp, San Diego, April, 1952




See the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument on Tues-Weds in Pasadena

This undated publicity photo provided by John Burnam Monument Foundation, Inc., shows the frontal view of the U.S. Military Working Dog Teams National Monument. It is the first national monument ever to pay tribute to dogs and honors every dog who has served in combat since World War II. (AP Photo/John Burnam Monument Foundation, Inc.)

Today and tomorrow, the public can get a first glimpse at the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument in Pasadena before it starts a cross-country road trip to Texas for permanent installation later this year.

The bronze sculptures of a military dog handler and four working dogs — each canine standing about 5′ tall — are scheduled to be displayed on a vehicle parked next to the Natural Balance Pet Foods “Canines with Courage” float following the 124th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Each was created by sculptor Paula Slater.

In this undated publicity photo provided by Natural Balance, a rendering of a float called "Canines with Courage," the Natural Balance entry for the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2013 is shown. War handler veteran, John Burnam, and dogs and handlers from every branch of the service will ride the float. (AP Photo/Natural Balance)

The float features a floral replica of the bronze monument and including working dog teams walking along side. Also riding on the float was Lucca, a working dog with three combat deployments, who lost her front left leg during a roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan last March. Natural Balance’s Rose Parade annual canine star, Tillman, was also on the float. This year, the skateboarding and surfing bulldog traded in his sports equipment for Marine Corps dress blues. Tillman was made an honorary Marine Corps Private First Class during an October ceremony in Dallas.

The post-parade Showcase of Floats is open to the public on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013 from 1-5 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The showcase offers a chance to see the floats up-close and often speak with volunteers or staff who worked on them. Tickets for the float viewing are $10. Click here for more information, directions, and tips for the post-parade event.

The Military Working Dog Teams National Monument will be permanently installed and dedicated in late summer at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, where military working dogs are trained.

In this Aug. 2, 2012 publicity photo provided by Natural Balance, war handler veteran, author and designer, John Burnam, left, and veteran portrait sculptor, Paula Slater, stand with the silicon bronze 9.5-feet tall military dog handler that is part of the U.S. Working Dogs Teams National Monument shown in the Sculptor's Studio in Hidden Valley Lake, in Calif. (AP Photo/Natural Balance)