Northwest Military Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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September 29, 2014 at 1:25pm

Military veterans receive Brandman University scholarships named after former sailor

Darcy Bockman-Wright

A Madigan Army Medical Center employee has received a military veteran scholarship from Brandman University. In honor of graduate Bryan Fazio, Brandman University has awarded four $1,000 scholarships, and 11 $250 scholarships to military veterans who have a medical condition or disability and currently attend the school.

The Bryan Fazio Scholarship was recently established to honor the perseverance and triumph of one of Brandman's most inspirational graduates. Fazio was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Hodgkin's lymphoma while serving in the Navy. Doctors told him that he had just nine months to live, yet, upon hearing the news, Fazio doubled up on his graduate level courses and received his MBA in August 2013. He is currently attending Law School at Whittier College.  

Darcy Bockman-Wright, a veteran who attends class at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord campus, was one of those chosen to receive the inaugural $1,000 scholarship. She joined the Army in 1993, serving until 2002 in a variety of MOS fields, including an eye specialist, a combat medic and a truck driver.

"I am still in shock that I was the only Washington Brandman University student chosen," she said. "The belief that they have in me has helped me re-focus and stay dedicated. I am honored to be the first to receive such an award, especially as a fifth-generation veteran." 

The winners were chosen after each applicant submitted a 500-1000 word essay detailing where they see themselves in five years and how their Brandman education will help them achieve their goals.

Bockman-Wright, who currently works as a civilian in the Ophthalmology department at Madigan Army Medical Center, is working towards her bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership and is slated to graduate in spring of 2015.

"Once I reach my goal, I will do as Mr. Fazio has and pass it on. Veterans have enough to deal with from doctor appointments, families, bills, work or everyday life," explained Bockman-Wright, who has personally lost 170 pounds with the help of gastric bypass surgery, a desire to be healthy and the support of her husband and children.

"The money helps of course, so I will take this gift but in the future I want to help ease the financial burden of a fellow veteran to make sure he/she achieves their goal of graduating," she shared.

That dramatic weight loss gave the older student more confidence and the drive to finish her college degree ... not that her dreams end there.

"I don't think I'll stop at my Bachelor's degree. Long-term, I know I can finish my Master's in Organizational Leadership too. I want to be a leader on base, whether it's at Madigan, the VA or a unit attached to JBLM," Bockman-Wright said. "I hope to use this degree to help institute a better organizational process for veterans to receive the aid they deserve."

Brandman University, which serves 12,000 students annually, offers more then 50 undergraduate, graduate, credential and certificate programs across its schools of arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and health. For more information, go to www.Brandman.edu.

September 6, 2014 at 1:30pm

Armed Forces help Seattle Seahawks kick off the 2014-15 NFL Season

Washington National Guard receives high-fives before unveiling the Seattle Seahawks' new 80-foot Vince Lombardi Super Bowl banner. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Seattle Seahawks are World Champions, and now, in part with the military's help, have the banners up in CenturyLink Field to prove it.

The team made the military an integral part of its NFL Kickoff celebration Thursday as members from each branch took part in the National Anthem and the Super Bowl banner presentation as well as reenlistment and promotion ceremonies.

"The Seahawks and our fans recognize the essential role and amazing service provided by America's military personnel," said Seattle Seahawks Community Relations Vice President Mike Flood. "We're proud to feature service members from all branches as we display the World Championship banner and begin the 2014 NFL season."

The amount of inquiries for support has increased significantly with the Seahawks' super success. However, the organization continues to involve the military throughout the year - even in one of the most popular games of the entire NFL season. In fact, support is increasing.

"That effort will continue every year because it's our opportunity and duty to give back," Flood said. "Our coaches, players and staff have a year-round dedication to partnering (with) service members and supportive causes."

>>> U.S. Navy member LCDR Jay Hyler shows off the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Championship Ring before his on-field promotion ceremony before the NFL Kickoff game against the Green Bay Packers Sept. 4. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>> Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ballesteros is all smiles during his re-enlistment ceremony on the field of the Seattle Seahawks during their military pre-game celebration Thursday. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Flood and Seahawks Fan Development Assistant Director Armando Mejia lead the critical relationship between the Seahawks organization and the military. They work with bases throughout the Pacific Northwest to create new ideas every year, such as the 80-feet high Super Bowl banner, which was held by members of the Washington National Guard during the Seahawks NFL Kickoff game against the Green Bay Packers Sept. 4.

"It was really neat to see them unfold the Super Bowl banner in rehearsal, and it sent the message that we finally did it," said Spc. Josh Medford, JFHQ, 2-146 Artillery, Washington National Guard, prior to the game. "I've got a pretty critical role in the presentation, as I'm the one who grabs the flag by the top and walks it all the way down to the bottom."

>>> Fireworks burst into the sky as 50 members of the Washington National Guard hold a brand new 80-foot Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy banner during the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl celebration. Photo credit: Gary Lott

>>>Pop sensation Ariana Grande joins members of every service branch to sing the National Anthem before the Seattle Seahawks took on the Green Bay Packers. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Along with an on-the-field presence of the military this season, the Seahawks are also implementing a #SeahawksSalute campaign, which will feature photos of deployed service members demonstrating their "12th Man" spirit.

>>> Various members of military branches hold up a camouflage "12s" Flag during various military pre-game ceremonies. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Seahawks organization is using the popularity of social media to enhance its connection between "12s" and the team, to include the military.

"One of our most recent programs is the Seahawks adopted military unit," Flood explained. "The Army was our first, in 2012, then the Air Force was last year, and now the Coast Guard will carry the football and "12 Flag" for 2014."

The selected unit participates in special team events and carries the "12 Flag" to locales worldwide throughout the season.

During the summer, the Seahawks made it a priority to bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the "Heroes of 12 Tour" to bases across Washington state, to include last year's adopted unit at the 446thAirlift Wing.

"We made it a point to begin the Lombardi Trophy tour at military bases to demonstrate our appreciation for the selfless service they give to America," Flood said. "It was a pleasure for us to see the smiles of thousands of service members at every base on the trophy visit."

A large part of the #SeahawksSalute program success relies on servicemembers.

Medford said the Seahawks Salute is both important and fun. Thursday's game was Medford's first Seahawks event, but he's done similar salute ceremonies for both the Sounders and Mariners.

A variety of military involved events took place throughout the NFL Kickoff game.

"During our break ... we actually got a chance to watch Pharrell during his rehearsal," said Medford.  "He actually came right over and gave us high-fives and posed in several pictures for us."

Entertainment wasn't the only thing taking place on the field before the big game, however.

Now Navy Lt. Comdr. Jay Hyler was promoted directly on the field before the game and even had the honor of having his daughter pin on his new rank.

"It was such an honor to have my daughter alongside of me while I get promoted," Hyler said. "It's her first game ever, and she even got to try on a Super Bowl Ring.  How amazing is that?"

Along with Hyler's promotion, Army Capt. Paul Ballesteros re-enlisted during the pregame ceremonies.

"This is my home state, so it means a lot to me to re-enlist indefinitely," said Ballesteros, who has been a Seahawks fan since wearing a Steve Largent jersey when he was only 5 years old.

"I feel great about this event," he added. "This shows me that the Seahawks work well with the Army by providing amazing opportunities for a homegrown soldier such as myself to do something like this."

It's hard to forget one's first-ever NFL game.  It will be especially hard for Tech Sgt. Matt McKenna, who's stationed on the McChord side of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

It was his first Seahawks game, and he found himself standing only a few feet from pop sensation Ariana Grande while she performed the National Anthem.

McKenna recently received a Silver Star and a Bronze Star for his ground combat heroics in Afghanistan in 2012.

"It's incredibly humbling to receive this honor," he said of being awarded the medals. "It's really recognition of the team's work and combined efforts with the Army on one pretty tough day."

Stories such as McKenna's show the importance of supporting, showcasing and allowing the military to be a part of every Seattle Seahawks home game.

"We may not be able to touch everyone through Seahawks programs, but we will do our best to honor those who have given so much for the freedoms we enjoy," Flood said.  "We remain committed to dozens of programs that strive to help military personnel, veterans and their families."

September 5, 2014 at 7:34am

Friday Morning Joe: Ukraine Russia cease fire, Allies vs ISIS, Omar Khalid Khorasani, asteroid on its way ...

Petty Officer 2nd Class Douglas Knapp, from Renton, Wash., tosses a training coffee pot during an Army Warrior training course. Original photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Walter Wayman

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 9.5.14 >>>

Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists meeting in Minsk agreed today on a conditional cease-fire only hours after NATO approved plans Friday for a new rapid response force to counter future Russian aggression in the region.

The Obama administration accelerated efforts today to build an international coalition to combat the Islamic State, winning pledges of support from nine allies but leaving questions about the extent of possible expanded military force.

Britain has pledged to commit 1,000 troops to a new NATO spearhead force expected to be announced by alliance leaders on the second day of the summit, according to Prime Minister David Cameron.

Secretary of State John Kerry: ISIS a long, must-win fight.

Democratic lawmakers are beginning to describe the Obama administration strategy for fighting the Islamic State, a plan Republicans say is nonexistent.

Islamic State, fighting to redraw the map of the Middle East, has been coaching Egypt's most dangerous militant group, complicating efforts to stabilize the biggest Arab nation.

Drones and the context of the conflict with ISIS.

A founding member of the Pakistani Taliban, Omar Khalid Khorasani is an uncompromisingly brutal jihadist with a rapidly rising profile.

A Massachusetts man could be running social media for the ISIS, according to multiple reports.

The friendly fire incident that killed five American soldiers and one Afghan soldier in June was caused by failures from the "key members" of the ground team who called in an airstrike from a B-1B Lancer.

U.S. commandos who tried to save Ambassador Chris Stevens and another Americans during the 2012 Benghazi attack write in a new book that the CIA station chief held up the rescue attempt.

How does the warfighter launch a grenade at the enemy and ensure that it hits the target if the enemy is defiladed, or concealed, behind natural or artificial obstacles? Use Small Arms Grenade Munitions, or SAGM.

The Navy officially accepted delivery of the USS North Dakota, signalling the arrival of a new high-tech fast attack submarine equipped with improved missile tubes, computers, electronics and sonar technology.

Veterans: The new "in-state tuition" protection that Congress approved last month won't take effect for another year.

Close call: Keep your helmet nearby! A newly discovered asteroid will zip by Earth  on Sunday.

Ja Rule is getting his own TV show. Follow The Rules is a docu-comedy series on MTV that follows Ja and his large family - a "modern day reality rap star version of Bill Cosby's role from The Cosby Show."

NBC is developing a live comedy from Chris Moynihan, Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner. Hospitality will take place in a downtown hotel and air live every week with live commercials.

The creators of The Good Wife sold a pilot to CBS titled Brain Dead, which is described as "The Strain meets The West Wing." We have no idea what that could possibly mean.

Sneaky Rabbit: When the going gets tough, sometimes you gotta break the rules. Or something like that.

No, Human, No! Husky throws a tantrum when playtime is over.

Girls Gone Wild: Robert Downey Jr. went to South Korea. Then this happened.

Meet Chica the DogSpider

LINK: Original photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Walter Wayman

August 29, 2014 at 8:02am

Friday Morning Joe: Obama's ISIS world plea, U.S. tanks to Europe, VA improving, world's prettiest woman ...

49th Military Police Brigade, California Army National Guard, toss coffee pots down range during warrior task training at Camp Roberts, Calif. Original photo by Spc. Edward Siguenza

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.29.14 >>>

Obama calls on other nations to fight Islamic State.

U.S. fighter planes conducted five airstrikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq on Thursday, continuing a limited campaign aimed at helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces retake key territory and degrade the militants' capability.

The Islamic State group killed more than 160 Syrian government troops seized in recent fighting, posting pictures Thursday of terrified young conscripts stripped down to their underwear before meeting their deaths in the arid Syrian countryside.

With only about a dozen legislative days left before November's midterm elections, a U.S. congressional debate and vote on a Syria strikes authorization measure could further delay work on two defense bills.

Why Obama backed off more ISIS strikes: His own team couldn't agree on a Syria strategy.

At least four hostages, including slain American journalist James Foley, were waterboarded in the early part of their time being held captive in Syria by ISIS.

On The Origin Of ISIS: Why has a terrorist state blossomed in Syria and Iraq?

Alarmed members of the U.N. Security Council demanded Thursday that Russia remove its fighters from a new front in the Ukraine crisis, while the U.S. ambassador accused Moscow of having "outright lied."

Russia's President Vladimir Putin today called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. Army troops equipped with tanks will head to Eastern Europe soon to reassure NATO allies anxious over Russia's intervention in Ukraine, Pentagon officials said Thursday.

Ukraine plans to seek NATO membership after what Kiev and its Western allies say is the open participation of the Russian military in the war in Ukraine's eastern provinces. 

Putin Ends The Interregnum: The West needs to reevauate everything it thought it knew about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Admirals want to buy more Landing Craft Air Cushions in light of the increased global missile threat in the Pacific.

Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian: It culminates this week in South Korea, is helping strengthen U.S. partnerships in the Pacific, said Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, the commander of U.S. Army I Corps.

Officials confirmed today the pilot was fatally injured in the Aug. 27 crash of an F-15C Eagle in the remote mountains near Deerfield Valley, Va.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced by half the number of veterans waiting more than three months to see a doctor since a scandal erupted at the agency in spring over delays in health care.

Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney is close to performing tests on a potential design change for its F135 engine following a June incident that led to the devastation of an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel has taken the helm of U.S. Special Operations Command located at MacDill Air Force Base.

Eight in 10 of the U.S. Army majors being dismissed from the service had poor evaluations or otherwise bad marks.

Jack White had fun with Eddie Vedder and Paul Simon at a Seattle Mariners game.

See the new teaser for Foxcatcher with Steve Carell and Channing Tatum.

TV Tango round up more than 350 TV marathons airing this weekend.

Fans try to re-edit Star Wars to make it look like the hard-to-find original version.

Denny's has arrived in New York with style (in the form of a $300 brunch).

Finally: Eight of the world's prettiest women merged into one (perfect?) being.

Let's look at horses wearing costumes ...

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Edward Siguenza

August 27, 2014 at 7:37am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Obama wants ISIS plan, war crimes confirmed, China threat, honest Ghostbusters trailer ...

9th Mechanized Brigade and the 307th Marine Battalion, Naval Infantry out of Babadag, Romania, participated in coffee pot competition against Marines with Black Sea Rotational Force 14. Original photo by 2nd Lt. Danielle Dixon

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.27.14 >>>

President Obama's New VA Initiatives: Many of the 19 "new executive actions" aren't as novel as presented; just over a quarter represent fresh efforts while the remaining either have been in the works for months or were introduced by Congress and now have White House support.

The United States said it would not coordinate with the government of President Bashar al-Assad on targeting Islamic State militants on Syrian territory, as preparations for possible air strikes gathered pace.

Obama wants new ISIS war plan, ASAP.

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.) said President Obama must convince lawmakers that airstrikes in Syria are the "only alternative" available for defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria before expanding military operations.

United Nations investigators have concluded that both the Syrian regime and ISIS are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, concluding that both should be brought before the International Criminal Court.

An open-ended ceasefire in the Gaza war between Israel and the Palestinians held as Prime Minister Netanyahu faced strong criticism in his country's newspapers over a campaign in which no clear victor emerged.

Afghanistan's election stalemate this summer hurt progress in training the country's military, and resolving the political chaos will be key to that military's success in 2015, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said as he stepped down as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

A U.S. man believed killed in Syria was there to fight alongside an extremist militant group, most likely the Islamic State.

The Islamic State militant group is holding hostage a young American woman who was doing humanitarian aid work in Syria.

Ukraine accused Russian forces of launching a new military incursion across its border today, a day after the leaders of both countries agreed to work towards ending a separatist war in the east of the country.

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates secretly carried out airstrikes against Islamic militias inside Libya.

U.S. Giant Slumbers: The U.S. could check China, but our leaders need to wake up to the threat.

Army Professionalism: Why the Army needed to cut officers.

Tracking Space Junk: Defense Department officials announced additions to its space situational awareness program's Space-Track.org website.

Two soldiers who served in Vietnam will receive the Medal of Honor. A third soldier, who fought in Gettysburg during the Civil War, will also receive the top valor award.

The USS America is configured with more deck space than previous ships of its kind to accommodate a range of aircraft.

The Future Is Scary: Video shows Israel's Iron Dome intercepting 15 rockets at once.

Jet skiing through a canyon looks a lot like podracing in Star Wars.

Watch John Malkovich play a vampire in this French commercial.

We can watch this time-lapse video of the Panama Canal's ship traffic forever.

H. Jon Benjamin has launched a hilarious Kenny Loggins-related Kickstarter.

NPR is streaming Interpol's new record.

This guy watched the Simpsons marathon for 24 hours straight.

David Lynch does the Ice Bucket Challenge, David Lynch-style.

Finally: Here's an honest trailer for Ghostbusters.

We dare you to watch the whole thing ...

LINK: Original photo by 2nd Lt. Danielle Dixon

August 26, 2014 at 7:17am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Fixing VA delays, surveillance flights over Syria, ISIS tough to beat, best concert films ...

The Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, Kentucky Army National Guard toss coffee pots at the Harold L. Disney Training Center in Artemus, Kentucky. Original photo by Sgt. David Bolton

GRAB A POT OF COFFEE AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.26.14 >>>

The White House is unveiling a slate of executive actions today designed to ease troops' transition from military to civilian life and boost veterans medical-care options in the wake of scandals at the Veterans Affairs Department.

The U.S. has begun surveillance flights over Syria after President Obama gave the OK, a move that could pave the way for airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets there.

Obama's Iraq-Syria Dilemma: No force now on the ground can beat ISIS.

Ukraine released a video of captured Russian soldiers, escalating a dispute over Moscow's alleged backing for separatist rebels in the east of the former Soviet republic

Israel bombed more of Gaza's tallest structures today, bringing down a 13-story apartment and office tower and destroying most of a 16-floor residential building.

According to Gaza's Health Ministry, more than a quarter of those killed in Gaza so far during the war have been children.

After 49 days of war, the armies of Israel and Hamas appear to have run out of new ideas - but not bombs. They are now slugging it out in a lopsided war of attrition.

Sgt. Christopher Waugh Mulalley's death in Afghanistan is under investigation.

A female solider died of a self-inflicted gunshot at the U.S. Army base at Fort Lee, Virginia.

Nearly two-thirds of the public say governments shouldn't pay ransoms to terrorists in exchange for hostages, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey released today. 

It's time to sink the Littoral Combat Ship.

The Pentagon wants next-generation armored vehicles that are more mobile, maneuverable and survivable, but without more armor.

The U.S. Army's new Advanced Hypersonic Weapon failed during an early morning test Monday.

End Of An Era: There have been 20 rotations of more than 600 explosive ordnance disposal technicians who have left their mark in the history of Operation Enduring Freedom since the 2004 inception of the 466th EOD Operating Location Bravo Flight.

Enjoy this cool video of some Royal Danish Air Force's F-16s flying low level over Greenland.

Six months after the Olympics and Sochi looks like a ghost town.

Birds are awesome creatures, but seeing huge flocks of them - like these pelicans diving into a feeding frenzy - both amaze and scare the bejesus out of us.

Watch Billy Crystal's tribute to Robin Williams from last night's Emmys.

Can Game of Thrones be explained in a two-and-a-half-minute video?

Prince has two new albums on the way in September.

What are the greatest concert movies of all time?

One morning we would be preparing our usual gigantic breakfast assortment of tropical fruits, whole-grain toast points and pricey organic cereals, when a wee voice would issue from your little feathered head and you would finally say to us, "Race me!"

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. David Bolton

August 25, 2014 at 7:10am

Monday Morning Joe: ISIS myths, Russian tanks cross, US ultra-high speed missile, Twinx candy ...

Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team throws coffee pots at the off-base firing range near forward operating base Mehtar Lam. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.25.14 >>>

American Peter Theo Curtis held captive for two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria was released Sunday.

Islamic State fighters captured a major military air base in northeastern Syria, eliminating the last government-held outpost in a province dominated by the extremist group, activists and state.

The nine biggest myths about ISIS.

The Ukrainian military said today a group of Russian forces, in the guise of separatist rebels, had crossed into south-east Ukraine with 10 tanks and two armored infantry vehicles, aiming to open a new front in the separatist war.

While the rest of the country took to the streets to celebrate Kiev's 23 years of independence from Moscow, rebels in the east dragged out prisoners of war for a "parade of shame."

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said it has brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the center of the country.

As the United States military's intervention in Iraq intensifies, so does the debate between legislative and executive branch officials about President Barack Obama's muscular use of war powers.

As the Obama administration weighs further action against the Islamic State, one of the top defense voices on the Hill is sending clear signals he expects action soon. "To the terrorists organizations who wish us harm, we're about to come after you again, all over, and we're gonna beat you, yet again," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said if Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants pose a direct threat to the United States, he would recommend that the U.S. military act against the group in Syria.

Iran unveiled a new generation of short-range marine missiles and aerial drones, as President Hassan Rouhani said its military doctrine was based on deterring and countering threats from unnamed foreign powers.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh: Expect further integration of active, guard and reserve components

American and Chinese companies are getting caught in the crossfire of a brewing cyber war.

The Pentagon will conduct a crucial flight test of a new ultra-high speed missile this week that is a key part of the strategic weapons program of preparing arms that can attack any point on earth in 30 minutes.

U.S. submarine fleet set to shrink by 25 percent.

Osprey crew members recognized for actions during ambush.

Unexpected Pressure: Research raises concerns for new Army helmet design.

How one female officer won over her skeptical combat-arms Marines.

California's drought is so bad its mountain rose a half inch.

Maybe you don't want to commit to a playground friend for life. Maybe you just wanna meet new people, just have a casual game of hopscotch. Thankfully, there's a new app that's disrupting online playdating.

Little girl's reaction to rocket launch is awesome.

Mark David Chapman, now 59, has been denied parole for the eighth time. Chapman shot and killed John Lennon in 1980.

Richard Attenborough has died. He was 90.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For didn't do well at the box office.

Finally: A Twinx = a Twinkie stuffed with a Twix bar, wrapped in bacon, fried and doused in chocolate-caramel sauce.

John Daker!

LINK: Original photo by Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane

August 19, 2014 at 7:33am

Tuesday Morning Joe: US blows up its tanks, Russia in Ukraine, Camp Grayling is bad news, best CGI films ...

The 299th Eng. Co., 463rd Eng. Bn., 411th Eng. Bde., perform the coffee pot throw segment of Mystery Event 1, during the Best Warrior Competition at Fort Devens, Mass. Original photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lyndon Miller

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.19/14 >>>

As many as 700 heavily armed Taliban insurgents are battling Afghan security forces in Logar, a key province near the capital Kabul in a test of the Afghan military's strength as foreign forces pull out of the country.

U.S. spends millions to blow up its own tanks.

President Barack Obama promised that while the U.S. would use its formidable air power to help Iraq push back extremist Islamic State fighters from Erbil and other key northern Iraqi cities, Baghdad shouldn't count on the U.S. "being the Iraqi Air Force."

Russia invaded Ukraine early in the spring. They started with the so-called "little green men" - Russian soldiers without insignia on their green uniforms -- then proceeded with uniforms with epaulets and the annexation of Crimea. Russia has been the force behind, and on the ground, with the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Despite sanctions relief, Iran aids Hamas with missile technology.

The U.S. Navy destroyed the "most dangerous chemicals in Syria's declared stockpile," aboard a ship in the Mediterranean.

Will the U.S. defend Japan? More of a definite maybe.

First Time: It was one small button push for man and one giant catapult launch for the Navy's unmanned air combat program Sunday as the X-47B flew its first takeoffs and landings with F/A-18s on the aircraft carrier Roosevelt.

The Defense Department awarded 78 contracts potentially worth $5.6 billion in the week ending Aug. 15.

A backpack able to lower its wearer down the side of a building could become must-have gear for troops in urban combat.

A Michigan National Guard investigation produced allegations of widespread theft, moonlighting, destruction of government property and nepotism at an equipment maintenance facility at the Camp Grayling military training base.

Report: Army Olympian cited for hunting deer at car dealership.

Interesting: This neat short film explains the evolution of film opening titles throughout history.

The 10 most visually striking movies that are filled with CGI.

Here's a recipe for fun: Go up to the 48th floor of a skyscraper in London. Enjoy a beer at the rooftop bar. Change into your base jumping gear in the restroom. Make a beeline for the balcony and jump into the heart of London.

This is sad: Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo died. He was 96.

How Would They Know?: Children reenact Emmy-nominated shows like Game of Thrones, House of Cards and True Detective.

Tom Hanks' typewriter app is a hit.

Legendary American singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks invites fashion designers and stylists across the world to design a show-stopping shawl inspired by her mystical visual style and symbolic lyrics.

Max-imize your day ...

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. 1st Class Lyndon Miller

August 11, 2014 at 7:35am

Monday Morning Joe: US arms Kurds, Israeli and Palestinian talks, new Army PT uniform, Spin profiles Olympia band ...

343rd Training Squadron Basic Officer Course trainees throw coffee pots under the instruction of Tech. Sgt. Jeffren Reyes, 343 TRS Basic Officer Course instructor, on Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis. Original photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.11.14 >>>

The U.S. government began directly arming Kurdish forces in Iraq who are battling the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, according to The Associated Press.  

The Pentagon is releasing images from a U.S. military airdrop of food and water on Saturday in northern Iraq, where thousands of Iraqi citizens are threatened by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Iraq's president appointed a new prime minister today, further complicating the country's intense power struggle amid a dire humanitarian crisis and a militant threat strong enough to draw U.S. air power back to the fray.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was battling to keep his job, as some parliamentary allies sought a replacement and the United States warned him not to obstruct efforts to form a new government. 

Navy officials said the move to position key platforms in strategically vital areas is designed for precisely this reason.

Islamic militants' growing influence in Iraq and Syria is a threat to Americans, lawmakers from both political parties agreed Sunday even as they sharply split on what role the United States should play in trying to crush them.

United States warplanes and drones pummeled Islamic State militants near Arbil in a fresh wave of airstrikes Sunday, destroying armed trucks and a mortar position, the US military confirmed.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed indirect talks mediated by Egypt today on ending a month-old Gaza war, Egypt's state news agency said, after a new 72-hour truce appeared to be holding.

The United States will monitor the South China Sea to see whether "de-escalatory steps" are being taken, a U.S. State Department official said today, a day after China repelled U.S. pressure to rein in actions in the disputed waters.

The Air Force Technical Applications Center has a welcome addition to its treaty monitoring capabilities - the Cobra King radar system aboard the USNS Howard O. Lorenzen.

A new Army Physical Fitness Uniform will become available service-wide, beginning in October next year.

The yo-yo world champ's skills are mesmerizing.

Morrissey has reportedly been dropped from his record label.

Will Elisabeth Moss co-star on True Detective?

Spin profiles up-and-coming Olympia band Naomi Punk.

Here's a list of 50 must-read books by female writers.

Hear Arcade Fire cover the Beverly Hills Cop theme.

This is good news ...

LINK: Original photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey

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

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