Northwest Military Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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August 28, 2014 at 7:04am

Thursday Morning Joe: Russian forces are in Ukraine, Islamic State terror, changing memories to treat PTSD, Ramones film ...

Sailors assigned to Weapons Department wait for the command to toss their coffee pots during a live training exercise on the fantail aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. Original photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.28.14 >>>

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared today that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine" and called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council to respond to what he said was a "sharp aggravation" in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian armed forces are battling separatist rebels.

According to a pro-Russian rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, between 3,000 and 4,000 Russians have joined the separatist ranks.

China said it will continue responding to U.S. military surveillance flights off its coast, rejecting American accusations that one of Beijing's fighter jets acted recklessly in intercepting a U.S. Navy plane last week.

Islamic State fighters have executed dozens of members of the Syrian army they took hostage after capturing an air base in the northeast of the country.

Militants with the Islamic State are increasingly relying on terror tactics and suicide squads, and the method was key in their recent capture of one of Syria's largest air bases.

American forces face formidable challenges as President Obama considers an air assault on Islamist fighters in Syria, including intelligence gaps on potential targets.

Pressure from the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue is mounting on President Barack Obama to seek congressional approval before launching military strikes inside Syria.

The U.S. airstrikes targeting Islamic extremists in northern Iraq have probably cost about $100 million since they began three weeks ago, according to a defense budget analyst.

The Obama administration is investigating reports from Syria that a second American was killed over the weekend while fighting alongside Islamist State extremists.

Sen. Lindsey Graham says all U.S. citizens who join Islamist militant organizations in the Middle East should be defined as enemy combatants and subject to capture or death. 

As fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continue to seize territory, the group has quietly built an effective management structure of mostly middle-aged Iraqis overseeing departments of finance, arms, local governance, military operations and recruitment.

Ground teams planned to resume searching today for a pilot who went missing after an F-15 fighter jet crashed in a remote, heavily wooded area of western Virginia.

Opinion: A new era in anti-submarine warfare.

The Obama administration is considering launching a humanitarian relief operation for Shiite Turkmen in northern Iraq who have been under siege for weeks by Islamic State militants.

Changing memories to treat PTSD.

Novel: Fives and Twenty Fives tells how members of a Marine Road Repair Platoon in Iraq deal with the war and its aftermath.

A team of researchers thinks they've found the best explanation yet to how the great pyramids were built.

Here's a list of the 50 best garage rock songs.

Robert Plant talks about his new record.

Reunited Ramones estates plan big comeback including Martin Scorsese film.

Twitter finally lets you see just how few people are faving your tweets.

The moon smells like spent gunpowder.

Scented duct tape for half-assed repairs that at least smell good.

It's now time for Angry Dogs in Cute Costume ...

LINK: Original photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

August 7, 2014 at 7:36am

Thursday Morning Joe: ISIS captures, Khmer Rouge in prison, Al Qaeda's how-to manual, new Terminator movie ...

1st Platoon Delta Company with The Basic School throw coffee pots during the Squad Weapons Munitions Field Firing Exercise. Original photo by Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.7.14 >>>

The deadly insider attack that killed an Army major general and wounded more than a dozen other troops has led to questions about the way ahead in Afghanistan and the strength of the partnership between coalition and Afghan troops.

Sunni militants from the Islamic State group today seized Iraq's largest dam, placing them in control of enormous power and water resources and access to the river that runs through the heart of Baghdad.

Militants from the so-called Islamic State have taken over the largest Christian town in Iraq, Qaraqosh, and sent tens of thousands fleeing as a result.

Russia's "provocative actions" in neighboring Ukraine are prompting NATO to re-examine its relevance.

Decades after terrorizing Cambodia in the 1970s, the two most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge were found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison today.

U.S. lawmakers continue reacting skeptically to the Obama administration's quiet U.S. military and intelligence pivot to Africa, this time holding up millions to counter violent extremists there.

Veterans are expected to have an easier time getting government-paid health care from local doctors under a bill that President Obama is set to sign into law today. The $16.3 billion measure also allows the Veterans Affairs Department to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics nationwide.

Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson: Wait times can be fixed in two years.

A primer on why the U.S. military puts Israel and the Palestinian territories in European Command.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl this morning again faced more questioning, which so far has not been confrontational. Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl began interviewing Bergdahl at Fort Sam Houston in Texas yesterday. That session lasted from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dahl has been tasked with looking into the nature of Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance from his Army base in Afghanistan. 

Captured letters reveal Al Qaeda's how-to manual.

The White House proposed a plan two months ago for the Pentagon to train and equip vetted Syrian rebel forces in that nation's civil war. But, since then, there's been lots of talk and not much action

The U.S. Army is seeking "one-way" tracers that can only be seen from the vantage point of a shooter.

The Navy's latest 30-year shipbuilding plan calling for a fleet size of more than 300 ships and submarines is at risk because of budget cuts.

The Navy and NASA wrapped up the second round of practice recoveries of the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to bring humans to the moon, asteroids and, eventually, to Mars.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently rolled out the first comprehensive two-year integrated priorities list to strategically order funding of sustainment, restoration, modernization, environmental and demolition projects across the Air Force portfolio.

Marine vet paddles away two tours in Afghanistan on the Mississippi River.

The Army National Guard is ending its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Indy Racing League driver Graham Rahal.

This animation video explains everything you need to know about Earth.

What?: Rick Springfield and Meryl Streep? There's a pairing we never expected to see.

There's no need to freak out about an Annie Hall sequel.

Time has a fascinating graphic that illustrates Hollywood's movie calendar.

This cool feature compares cartoon characters in the first and last episodes of their series.

Really? A fifth Terminator movie?

Yes please: R2-D2 kitchen timer.

Finally: All the sounds in the Matrix replaced with 8-bit sounds.

How to stop a baby from crying

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos

July 28, 2014 at 7:08am

Monday Morning Joe: Congress VA deal, drone traffic jam, spy satellite upgrade, Spider-Man punches cop ...

Headquarters Company 34th Combat Aviation Brigade throw practice coffee pots from the standing position at Camp Ripley, Minn. Original photo by Spc. Jess Nemec

GRAB THE COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.28.14 >>>

House and Senate lawmakers will announce an agreement on veterans' legislation during a press conference today.

North Korea defies U.N. censure to fire missile into sea.

As fighting abates in the Gaza Strip for now, the road forward to a more durable ceasefire will be rocky at best

The Obama administration has quietly moved an additional 62 advisers to Iraq over the past three weeks.

Possibility for another volley exists: U.S., Iranian drones crowd Iraqi air space.

The U.S. Air Force will soon have new spy satellite capability that will provide oversight over other objects in space.

What a war in Europe really looks like: Headless body in the street, bombed summer cottages, gunmen at the morgue ...

U.S.-supplied weapons vulnerable after Afghanistan withdrawal.

The New York Times: It's putting its weight behind a bill that will be introduced in the Senate this week to rein in the National Security Agency.

Republican lawmakers are challenging Obama over a plan to expand the use of bases to house illegal immigrant children.

Rough ride for the F-35: Congress is still pouring money into a program that is intended to produce more than 2,400 F-35s for the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines through 2037.

The Marine Corps needs 38 amphibious assault ships for crisis-response missions, but will likely have to settle for 33.

The U.S. Air Force missileers to work with Navy in morale-improvement effort.

Court: U.S. must explain why it rejects foreign deals.

Defense bill amendment: Effort advances to add names of 74 sailors to Vietnam Memorial.

War and games: Ex-Army helicopter pilot heads Washington Redskins special teams.

This ATM that plays DOOM would make trips to the bank so much better.

Mark Hamill talks about returning to Star Wars.

Princess Leia is getting her own comic-book miniseries.

Watch the trailer for Kevin Smith's new film, Tusk.

Stephen Colbert hosted the Hobbit panel at Comic-Con in Hobbit costume.

The New York Times: Spider-Man punched a police officer in the face in Times Square over the weekend ...

It's been a while since we had a good dominoes toppling ...

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Jess Nemec

June 30, 2014 at 7:09am

Monday Morning Joe: New VA leader, Tikrit turmoil, Blackwater threat, Army armored anger, Army blimp, Seinfeld turns 25 ...

1st Platoon, Blackjack Troop, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry, trains Afghan National Army soldiers how to throw coffee, Camp Clark, Khowst province, Afghanistan. Original photo by Spc. Kimberly Trumbull

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 6.30.14 >>>

President Obama has picked an Army veteran and retired chief executive of Proctor & Gamble to head the embattled VA.

Iraqi troops battled to dislodge an al Qaeda splinter group from the city of Tikrit after its leader was declared caliph of a new Islamic state in lands seized this month across a swathe of Iraq and Syria. 

North Korea fired two short-range Scud missiles into its eastern waters Sunday.

The US Army is threatening to slash modernization funding for Stryker, Abrams and Bradley vehicles if the service is forced to halt a $10 billion program to replace thousands of M113 infantry carriers.

Magic Money: DoD's overseas contingency budget might dry up.

A State Department investigation of Blackwater's activities in Iraq was abandoned after the company's top manager there threatened "that he could kill" the chief U.S. investigator.

Sneak peak into Marines' quiet mission in Central America.

Marine corporal who disappeared nearly a decade ago and faces a desertion charge has turned himself in to the military.

Army's Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System blimp has been placed in a "strategic reserve."

The Navy is implementing specific design and engineering improvements to its Littoral Combat Ship.

Tactile belts let soldiers feel their way through the field.

The nearest Earth-like planet is only 16 light-years away from us.

A machine that can disintegrate any tree in seconds.

Disco Game of Thrones.

Chef Gordon Ramsay scares us.

New York magazine has a story about the 25th anniversary of Seinfeld.

Could Phil Collins be mulling a comeback?

Here's a great piece about one writer's cinematic road trip.

See Jack White cover Metallica's Enter Sandman.

Good News: What Sharknado 2 looks like ...

Finally: Weird things you can buy on Amazon.

RIP Bobby Womack ...

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Kimberly Trumbull

June 26, 2014 at 7:37am

Thursday Morning Joe: No Bergdahl evidence, Militants near Baghdad, $60 billion military, Artic Army, Amazon takeout food ...

B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment throw coffee to conceal their movement during a platoon live-fire certification at Yakima Training Center. Original photo by Spc. Kimberly Hackbarth

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 6.25.14 >>>

The U.S.-led international coalition in Afghanistan says one of its servicemembers has been killed in an attack in the country's south.

Militants take Iraqi gas field town, close in on Baghdad.

There is no evidence that during the five years he was held captive that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl helped the Taliban.

The White House will ask the US Congress for $60 billion to fund military operations in Afghanistan and other global contingencies.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Russia to disarm separatists in Ukraine within "the next hours" as the European Union prepared to discuss deeper sanctions against Moscow.

History's Warning: A U.S.-China war is terrifyingly possible.

More than six in 10 people believe the captured Benghazi attack suspect is an enemy combatant who should be tried by military commission. 

Veterans who suffered brain injuries while in the service were more likely to develop Alzheimer's decades later.

Two more high-ranking Veterans Affairs officials announced plans to step down from their leadership roles.

Libya has become a "magnet" for terrorists since the U.S.-led ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Artic warriors summit Mount McKinley, put Army gear to test.

The commandant of the Marine Corps pushed back on criticism of the Marines' amphibious combat vehicle, calling development of the vehicle his top priority for the remainder of his tenure.

The military is about to get new spy glasses.

Moto 360 Hands-On: This smartwatch will make you swoon.

Read a paper's lengthy apology to David Bowie.

The A.V. Club is holding a "Tournament of Episodes" where, say, Breaking Bad goes up against Community.

Amazon is launching a food takeout service.

Finally: An anatomical chocolate skull for sweet-toothed cannibals.

Greet every personwho walks into your office today with the Red Tail Hawk Scream!

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Kimberly Hackbarth

June 18, 2014 at 7:19am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Sending in the CIA, Iran vs Iraq, Hillary in hot seat, YouTube threatens musicians ...

Spouses of the 3rd battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment toss coffee. Original photo courtesy of 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 6.18.2014 >>>

The CIA and other spy agencies are scrambling to close intelligence gaps as they seek ways to support possible military or covert action against the leaders of the al-Qaida-inspired militant group that has seized parts of Iraq and threatens Baghdad's government.

ISIS hits Iraq's biggest oil refinery.

Iran's president vowed to defend Shi'ite holy sites in Iraq as Sunni fighters hold control of the main cities across the north. 

Why Delta Force waited so long to grab a Benghazi ringleader.

Former deputy CIA director Mike Morell suggested the sooner Benghazi suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala gets to the United States, the more likely he will have provided intelligence to U.S. officials. 

Iraq: Exhibit A for why Obama's new counterterrorism strategy won't work.

Iraqi premier Maliki gaining strength as Shiites rally behind him.

Opinion: US air power won't defeat ISIS.

Hillary Clinton: She warned the Obama administration against working with Iran to handle the unraveling situation in Iraq and attributes Banghazi statement to "fog of war."

The latest international crisis may be a terrorist land offensive in Iraq, but concerns about China's ambitions clearly dominate those thinking about strategies for the US Navy.

Issues await next U.S. Marine Corps commandant.

Lockheed F-35 bulkhead cracks solution proposed.

Defense giants score poorly on arms development.

Army senior leaders posit that communications technology is being developed and put into use inside the Army before its vulnerability to cyber-attacks has been fully evaluated.

Air Force C-130s land at Lielvarde Air Base for first time.

Incredible video of wild Alaskan brown bear chilling out with a camper.

Here's how to cut a cake perfectly, according to science.

Audiences are liars, and the media organizations who listen to them without measuring them are dupes.

YouTube will begin pulling indie musicians from the site blocking any artist on a label that refused the company's licensing terms for its forthcoming subscription music service.

Boardwalk Empire to jump ahead seven years for its final season.

In many ways, Season 4 of Louie felt like a call and response between Louis C.K. and the Internet.

So good ...

LINK: Original photo courtesy of 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

June 5, 2014 at 9:51am

Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Ty Carter discusses character at Lakes High School

Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, Medal of Honor recipient, spoke to social studies students at Lakes High School. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The Lakes High School students sat and listened carefully to Staff Sgt. Ty Carter.

A Medal of Honor recipient, Carter talked about his life experiences in pointing out to his young audience the attributes of true character.

"I am no different than you," he began. 

Bringing Carter, who currently serves at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, to Lakes was the idea of Republican State Senator Steve O'Ban.

The majority of students attending acknowledged that they had a family member serving at JBLM.

O'Ban sponsored Senate Resolution 8713 to honor Carter's valor in Afghanistan was instrumental in bringing him to Lakes High School to give the students the opportunity "to meet a genuine hero and to learn from his life experience."

He also pointed out that Carter is the first Medal of Honor recipient to be honored by the legislature.

When Carter spoke, he did not disappoint.

At ease with the students as he paced back and forth across the stage, Carter briefly told them of his service in the Marine Corps and the Army.

Then he turned to his point - the value of character.

"You must understand what you do with your future," Carter stressed.  "You control what you do in your future."

>>> Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, recipient of the Medal of Honor, shakes hands with a Lakes High School student. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

At times he alluded to the Oct. 3, 2009 battle at Combat Outpost (COP) Keating in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province. 

More than 300 insurgents had surrounded the COP and the 53 soldiers stationed there.  Eight soldiers were killed; 25 were wounded, including Carter.

During the fight, Carter engaged enemy troops, resupplied ammunition to his fellow soldiers, rendered first aid and risked his life to save an injured soldier who had been pinned down by barrage of enemy fire.

"You work for and with each other," he explained at one point.  "Everyone has to work together," he added when asked about the fight.

Students soon engaged Carter with questions.  One question addressed an issue of concern to Carter.

Post Traumatic Stress.

"My goal is to remove the D from PTSD," Carter said.  "It's not a disorder. It's a normal human reaction to trauma."

Another question centered the wearing of the Medal of Honor.

Carter's answer is character revealed.

"It is a representation," he began.

"Behind it is every man who fought, behind it are the eight men who died and the Gold Star families.  And every time I make a mistake while wearing the medal I have insulted the memory of those who fought and died."

May 30, 2014 at 6:47am

Friday Morning Joe: Shinseki storm, Army complexity, Galactic cleared, scary Robo-Raptor ...

Marines from Air Station Cherry Point throws grenades and coffee during a visit to the explosives ordnance disposal range. Original photo by Lance Cpl. Unique Robert

GRAB A COFFEE AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 5.30.14 >>>

At least 100 members of Congress have called for the resignation of Eric Shinseki, the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, over mismanagement of veterans' health care, but so far the White House is unmoved.

Hagel says "indispensable" U.S. still not the world's police.

A House bill that passed will restore autonomy to a Gulf War illness board that had been stripped away by the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year.

U.S. House defense appropriators moved one step closer to approving $570.4 billion in base and war spending for the Pentagon, including funds for an 11th aircraft carrier and electronic-attack planes.

The move to bring all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan at the end of 2016 will mean major cuts in supplemental funding.

Senate Democratic leaders are planning a two-pronged legislative response to the scandal embroiling the Veterans Affairs Department, which has become an issue in several Senate races.

The gap between supply and demand for spy planes just got bigger.

The U.S. Marine Corps cannot meet its amphibious assault needs with its current stable of ship-to-shore connectors.

Problem solvers tackle Army complexity.

There have now been 12 successful coups over the past eight decades of Thailand's modern monarchy. But the latest, on May 22 did not follow the usual script, which runs: lock down Bangkok while the rest of the country watches.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has rejected the notion that the U.S. is politically exhausted during his visit to the United Arab Emirates this week.

Lockheed Martin reached an agreement to purchase the Space Operations arm of Astrotech, a move that should help the largest defense company in the world grow its launch capabilities.

Virgin Galactic cleared by FAA.

Species of plants and animals are going extinct about 10 times faster than biologists had previously believed.

This terrifying Robo-Raptor will hunt you down at 29 mph.

Led Zeppelin vs. the Beattle: Whole Lotta Helter Skelter

Lukewarm review of Halt and Catch Fire, which premieres Sunday on AMC.

Nice: Dick Van Dyke is still a great dancer.

Cool: The Wonder Years cast has reunited!

The geekiest wedding ever.

List: best sequels of all time

Finally: A GWAR-themed bar.

Finally: Maps of where bars outnumber grocery stores.

Let's call it a day ...

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Unique Robert

May 20, 2014 at 7:21am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Military pay raise, Special Ops funding, the spy who vaccinated, McDonald's creepy new mascot ...

615th Military Police Company, 18th MP Brigade, fires a M203 coffee launcher practice round down range at the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command's Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. Original photo by Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauche

GRAB A CUP AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 5.20.14 >>>

The House this week will vote onlegislation that tacitly approves a 1.8 percent pay raise for service members next year.

The Pentagon still plans to increase funding for special operations equipment in the coming years, but after years of plus-ups, that trend is expected to flatten.

America still has way more air power than any rival.

Thailand's army declared martial law nationwide to restore order after six months of street protests that have left the country without a proper functioning government, but denied that the surprise move amounted to a military coup.

A top White House official has promised that the CIA would no longer use vaccination programs as a cover for spying.

The White House is threatening a veto of the House version of a $601 billion defense bill over election-year moves to spare weapons systems and popular programs in the face of limited budgets.

President Obama is relying less on drones and more on foreign governments in the global fight against terrorists.

Retired Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, 24, will receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in Afghanistan in 2010.

The United States invented the Internet, but we may not rule it any more.

Navy officials expect ship defenses to get a boost following the introduction of the Block 2 Rolling Airframe Missiles.

Turns out a littoral combat ship will be headed to Hawaii this summer after all.

A new bill would allow members of the military and their families to keep their current auto insurance policy if they are ordered to relocate to a new state.

House approves Congressional Gold Medal for Civil Air Patrol.

A small, easy-to-use and lightweight explosive screening kit continues to move forward toward full fielding as a means to provide soldiers with the capability to screen for suspected homemade explosive materials.

Army PULSE-W watercraft proves ability, benefit of enduring presence in Pacific.

Veterans remember historic Strike Brigade deployment.

This looks like some end of the world type weather.

Spielberg's masterful use of the long take is one of the things that make him so great.

"Fangirl" and "unfriend" are among the new words Merriam-Webster is adding to the dictionary.

McDonald's has a creepy new mascot.

How much money is it possible to win on Jeopardy!?

Here's a tribute to Road House for its 25th anniversary.

And finally, this story is for all the drummers.

Back To The Future love song ...

LINK: Original photo by Visual Information Specialist Markus Rauchenberger

April 28, 2014 at 1:09pm

Words & Photos: Seattle Mariners 13th annual Salute to Armed Forces

Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza received a commemorative plaque by the Seattle Mariners in appreciation for the service of the U.S. Army. Members from all six branches received a plaque. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Seattle Mariners professional baseball team hosted its 13th annual Salute to Armed Forces event April 26 during a game against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field.

The festivities kicked off an hour prior to the game, with a special pre-game program that honored U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and military service supporting organizations.

"We feel strongly that it is appropriate and important to pay tribute to the men and women who serve our country in the military," said Seattle Mariners Director of Public Information Rebecca Hale.  "The biggest change over the years is how inclusive it has become to all the branches of the military, as well as veterans and disabled veterans groups now being represented. Our goal is to be as inclusive as we can be and to pay tribute to as many individuals and organizations as we can."

A member from each branch of the military - Army Staff Sgt. Rodney Greenway; Marine Corps Sgt. Ariel Hargave; Navy Master at Arms 1st Class Joseph Reyes; Air Force Reserve Maj. Marc Miller; Coast Guard Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Jason Gale; and Washington National Guard Staff Sgt. Jason Fox - lined up along the baseline prior to the game to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"It feels pretty good right now, knowing that I will be throwing out a first pitch," said Fox, who works with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment.  "It will be a little interesting, trying to throw a pitch in my service uniform, but I think I can get it accomplished."

>>> Col. William Krueger receives a commemorative plaque on behalf of the U.S. Air Force from the Seattle Mariners during the Salute to Armed Forces Night at Safeco on April 26. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Col. Jeremy Horn, Washington National Guard, receives a plaque from the Seattle Mariners. Photo credit: Gary Lott

This was just the beginning of a night dedicated to America's men and women in uniform.

The Mariners also presented officers from each of the U.S. military branches with a  commemorative plaque. Those receiving plaques were: Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, U.S. Army; Maj. Gen. David Berger, U.S. Marine Corps; Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, U.S. Navy; Col. William Krueger, U.S. Air Force; Capt. Matthew Miller, U.S. Coast Guard; and Col. Jeremy Horn, Washington National Guard, on behalf of Brig. Gen. John Tuohy.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord I Corps Army Band performed the National Anthem, and the colors were presented by the U.S. Joint Service Honor Guard. "Taps" was performed by Army Spc. Raymond Deleon, and during the 7th Inning Stretch, Tech. Sgt. Alfredo "Freddie" Garza of the U.S. Air Force Reserve performed "God Bless America."  

Along with the many military representatives on the field, organizations including the Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Washington State Guard and Reserve and the USO were introduced during the pregame ceremony.

Organization representatives handled the honorary duties of delivering the lineup cards and game balls.

Fans had the opportunity to support the USO by bidding on silent auction items such as autographed baseballs, game-used items and other memorabilia.

>>> Joint Base Lewis-McChord's Army I Corps Band performs the National Anthem before the Seattle Mariners played the Texas Rangers April 26. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Washington National Guardsmen Staff Sgt. Jason Fox, Bravo Company, 1-161, throws out one of the six ceremonial first pitches at the 13th Annual Mariners Salute to Armed Forces. Photo credit: Gary Lott

"Because we are located in a community that is close to so many military installations, we recognize that there are a lot of fans who are associated with the military," Hale said. Discounted tickets for the game - as low as $11 - were available to members of the military.

 "This year, we have made the discount a blanket 10 percent for all remaining games. So if you're coming from Whidbey, or Bremerton or JBLM, it might be a little easier to come on a Friday night or a weekend than a week night," Hale continued.  "Offering a discount is one small way we can show our appreciation to the men and women, and their families, who have served our nation."

Military personnel receive 10 percent off select main, terrace and view-level seats for all home game tickets on the Mariners 2014 home schedule. Tickets are available at mariners.com/tickets.

"I'm honored and blessed that I'm actually able to come out and do something like this to support my unit," Fox said. "A lot of us have been out on deployments overseas and seen some bad things. It's nice to see that [the Mariners] recognize what we have done, as well as what the service members in the past have done." 

SEE ALSO McChord security forces reservist sings during Mariners' Salture to Services game

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