Thursday, January 31, 2013

Leadership and ethics 101 taught to Business Execs by Marines

Leadership and ethics for business executive taught by those who learn LEADERSHIP will be the key to success or failure.  In the missions Marines take on, failure is not an option.

SEMPER FI to our Marines.  Bravo Zulu.

Executives learn ethics the hard way: From Marines

QUANTICO, Va. – Sunlight was filtering through the trees as the team trudged up yet another hill to the final objective of the morning.

The mission was simple. The team was to meet with a local village priest and establish a relationship.

The plan quickly fell apart when the group realized the solemn ceremony they had been invited to was a forced "wedding" in which a bride whose hands were bound by rope was carried screaming into a tent.

Now they were faced with a choice. Protect the woman from possible harm and alienate an important ally or allow the wedding to take place and avoid interfering in a culture they barely understood.

"I was torn," said Elton Mile, a 28-year-old financial adviser with Morgan Stanley, who led the team.

Mile was part of a group of executives who came to the Marine Corps base here as part of a three-day course to learn ethical leadership from combat leaders. In the wake of the Enron debacle, the collapse of Lehman Bros., Bernard Madoff and other moral lapses, business schools are re-examining ethics training. Traditionally, business schools have taught the skills needed to maximize profits, and given short shrift to softer subjects, such as ethics.
Some executives are turning to the military to fill the gap. The military has long drilled values into their young leaders, emphasizing responsibility and accountability.

Apparently it's paid off. Effi Benmelech, an associate professor of finance at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, co-authored a study completed last year that looked at company chief executive officers who had military experience.

The results were stark. "People who served in the military are less likely to be involved in fraud," Benmelech said. The study looked at the top leaders of 1,500 of the largest publicly traded companies from 1980 to 2006.

The study did not address why that was the case, but Benmelech speculates it is a combination of two factors: People who join the military have a strong value system, and the training in the services emphasizes ethics and responsibility.

Executives out of their element
At Quantico the executives are issued weapons, carry packs and sleep on the cold ground. They had been up since 2:15 a.m., awakened by explosions. The instructors are young officers who have led Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. The scenarios seem to be inspired by the often ambiguous worlds Marines and soldiers navigated in those conflicts.

"The idea is to make them cold, wet, tired and hungry," said Steven Olson, a professor at Georgia State's J. Mack Robinson College of Business who runs the program that brings executives and students to Quantico for the training. The Georgia State group is one of several relationships that the Marines have established with civilian schools to teach leadership and ethics.

The stakes are rarely as high in the business world as they are in war, where lives are at risk. But that's why the military is uniquely qualified to teach ethics, executives and officers say. It is harder to maintain normal values amid the death and chaos of war.

"What combat does to you is it … corrodes that moral sense that you have about the world," said Marine Col. Todd Desgrosseilliers, commander of The Basic School at Quantico, which is where newly minted second lieutenants are trained before entering specialty schools.

Officers are responsible for setting an ethical tone that will allow Marines to keep their ethical balance amid the chaos of war. "You have to be able to return your Marines back to the United States complete, whole — their characters, their integrity, their moral fiber," said Desgrosseilliers, who earned a silver star in Fallujah, Iraq.

This is not Harvard Business School. The military is used to creating realistic training to prepare men and women for war. The training is designed to be so authentic that it triggers real emotions and fear. There are no right answers.

After one tough scenario in which the executives confronted an angry man waving around a pistol, team leader Chris Dempsey described his course of action as "the least worst decision we had."

"I expected situations, but nothing with this level of realism," said David Lyons, a 56-year-old senior vice president at Wells, a food company.

No rule book to go by
The priest that Mile's team encountered seemed welcoming at first as he invited the team to view a special celebration. Most of the actors, such as the priest, are second lieutenants training at The Basic School. They take their roles seriously.

The team was thrown into confusion when some men carried a bound and screaming woman into the tent. The woman tore out of the tent and sought protection from other members of the team.

The priest responded by demanding the team give the woman back to her groom and stop interfering in an important religious ceremony, insisting the Americans didn't understand the local culture.

The team was uncertain what to do and debated among themselves as the scene grew more chaotic.

"Please release her right now," the priest shouted. "You are ruining a great day." The bride was sobbing and clinging to a female student.

Eventually the students gave the bride back to the priest, but were clearly uncomfortable with their decision.

"It's legal in their country, so …," Mile said, his sentence trailing off as the woman was dragged screaming back to the tent were the marriage was to be "consummated" amid shrieks.

The Marine officers then took the team aside to discuss what happened.

Mile had wrestled with his decision. "We tried to prevent it, but at what end," he said in response to questions from the instructors. "I didn't feel it was our place to stop an arranged marriage."

Marine Capt. Matt Klobucher challenged his thinking. "So what happened as a result of that decision?"

"She was raped," Mile acknowledged.

Other students pointed out that they were powerless to change a culture that believes in forced marriages, and even if they stop this one incident it won't change the culture that allows it.

"But this is the first time you had an opportunity to do something about it," Klobucher countered.

Business students are often surprised to find that the military is not the rigid hierarchical organization they had expected. Instead, officers are taught to think for themselves.
Ironically, it is the civilians who try to fall back on the rule book when struggling for a decision, Olson said.

"They want to fall back on the narrow technical definition of the mission they receive from higher, just like they do in the corporation," Olson said. "They can't believe the Marines shove it back in their face and say, 'Wait a minute. You're falling back on the rules, and you've missed the values and the ethics in play here.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Award for being clueless goes to 2 car jackers from Florida

This is brilliant.....Hats off to the guy who owns this Corvette - Driving cars that are undrivable by dip-shite thieves is an awesome win-win for guys like him.

Florida thieves forced to shift gears during Corvette carjacking

A Florida Corvette owner said he was almost carjacked at gunpoint, but the would-be thieves ran away because they couldn't figure out how to drive his car.

Randolph Bean was sitting in his bright yellow 2002 Corvette when two men took him by surprise, reports. It was parked outside Orlando Regional Medical Center in downtown Orlando.

Bean said the two came from behind, and he "barely caught them in the mirror."
According to the police report, one of the men had a gun.

"He started yanking on the door and made me open the door. He kind of flung it open and dragged me out and demanded that I get on the ground... face down, so I couldn't look at him, of course," Bean told

Bean, 51, said one of the thieves pointed a gun at him while asking how to use the car.
"They apparently couldn't start it," Bean said. "I had to tell him four different times to push in the clutch, because it's a standard transmission."

The suspects reportedly gave up and ran away, leaving Bean on the ground. Police tried searching for the suspects, but they took off.

"My first thought was I guess we don't have driver's ed in school anymore because no one knows how to drive a stick," Bean said. "And my second thing was, don't shoot me because you can't start the car. I'm trying to help you out here."

Though the thieves left the Corvette, they still made off with Bean's phone, keys and wallet.

Read more:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Maria Goodavage pens a tribute to our K9 Warriors - "Soldier Dogs"

Here's a book that should be on the reading list of all who value the special relationship we share with man's best friends, our K9 companions.

WAR DOGS - an amazing tribute to man's best friends in peace and in war. Bravo Zulu to our troops and their 4 legged shipmates.

An excerpt from Maria Goodavage's book "Soldier Dogs"


7 a. m., just north of the town of Safar, Afghanistan, and Fenji M675 is already panting. Her thick, black German shepherd coat glistens in the hot August sun. Fenji is out in front of ten marines, leashed to a D-ring that’s attached to the body armor of her handler, Corporal Max Donahue. He’s six feet behind her and holds his rifle ready.

Fenji leads the marines down the flat dirt road, past the trees and lush vegetation in this oasis amid the deserts of southern Afghanistan. She ignores the usual temptations; a pile of dung, a wrapper from a candy bar. Her mission doesn’t include these perks. Her nose is what may keep them all alive today, and she can’t distract it with the trivial: Coalition forces have been sweeping Safar of insurgents and their bombs, allowing the Safar Bazaar marketplace to reopen and locals to start living normally again. The Taliban had to go somewhere else. So they headed north. And they planted improvised explosive devices (IEDs) like seedlings, among the poppy fields and grape fields and off to the sides of roads, under thick weeds.

Around here, any step you take could be your last.

And that’s why Fenji is in the lead, walking point. IEDs are the top killer in Afghanistan— even with the highest technology, the best mine- sweeping devices, the most sophisticated bomb- jamming equipment, and the study of “pattern of life” activities being observed from remote piloted aircraft. But there is one response that the Taliban has no answer for: the soldier dog, with his most basic sense— smell— and his deepest desire— some praise, and a toy to chew.

“Seek!” Donahue tells Fenji, and they continue down the road, leading the men from the 3/ 1, (Third Battalion First Marines). She walks with a bounce to her step, tail up and bobbing gently as she half trots down the road. Every so often she stops and sniffs a spot of interest and, when she doesn’t find what she’s seeking, moves on. She almost looks like a dog out on a morning stroll in a park. Donahue, in full combat gear— some eighty pounds of it, including water for his dog— keeps up with her.

Fenji stops at a spot just a foot off the side of the road. She’s found something of great interest. Without taking her eyes off the spot, she sniffs around it swiftly and her tail starts to wag. Suddenly she goes from standing up to lying down, staring the entire time at the spot. The men have stopped walking and are watching her. Her wagging tail kicks up some dust. Everything is silent now. No more sniffing, no crunching of boots.

Suddenly a hushed, enthusiastic voice cuts through the dead quiet. “Fenjiii! That’s my girl!” In training exercises, Donahue is a lot more effusive, but out of the respect for the bomb, he makes his initial praise short and quick, calls her back, and they “un-ass” from the area. It could be the kind of IED someone sets off from a distance, not the type that goes off when you step on it. One of the marines marks it with a chartreuse glow stick, and they move on.

Within the next hour, Fenji alerts to three more roadside bombs. Donahue lavishes her with quiet praise every time. Twice after her finds, shortly after they get away from the bombs, he tosses a black Kong toy to his dog and she easily catches it. She stands there chewing it, reveling in the sound of Donahue’s praise and the feel of the hard rubber between her teeth and the gloved hand of her best pal stroking her head. Life doesn’t get much better than this for a military working dog. These are the moments they live for, when all the years of training, all the hard work, come together.

“I’m proud of you!” Donahue tells her, and he means it, and she wags hard. She knows she’s done well. She’s been with him for seven months now, and she has a great fondness for Donahue, her first handler, and he dotes on “my sweet girl.” She liked him from the moment they met at Camp Pendleton back in February. Nearly everyone who meets Donahue reacts the same way. There’s something about his big personality, his love of life, his dry humor, the way he looks after you. Fenji fell right in with him, and he immediately took to her. She was young, bright, eager to learn from him, and he swears she has a sense of humor. He once said that she gets his jokes before his friends do.

That’s probably because she tends to wag in his presence regardless of jokes. She’s just happy to be near him. She’s three, he’s twenty- three, and together they’re a formidable bomb- finding force.
Their bond might contribute to their success on missions. She sleeps at the foot of Donahue’s cot every night out here; she joins him for card games with the other marines; she eats next to him at the patrol base where they’ve been stationed during this mission.

He lets her have some of his food “because my girl deserves it.”

The explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) technicians usually accompany the squad but had been called to another spot this morning. They’re on their way back to investigate the IEDs and defuse them. Donahue and the other marines go into action to protect the EOD techs in case of an ambush. They take positions to secure the area.

Donahue finds a great spot for his sector of fire, at a Y in the road. Its wide open here, and he can see a few hundred meters around him. He fills Fenji’s portable bowl with water from his CamelBak. As she laps it up, he lies belly down, propped up on his elbows, and positions his rifle. He’s facing away from the field where some of the other marines are. He’s got a tiny village about two hundred meters away in his sights. If there’s trouble, that’s where it could start. A quenched Fenji lies down beside him a few feet away, and they wait.

The EOD techs arrive and get to work, carefully digging up the first IED, about one hundred meters from Donahue. One wrong move and they’re done for, and the Taliban adds another tally mark to its scorecard. One of the techs extracts the bomb from its hiding place and bends over it to take a look. Down the road, Donahue adjusts himself slightly to get more comfortable.

Three klicks south, in Safar, Corporal Andrei Idriceanu hears a terrible explosion as he and his dog sweep a building for explosives. “That could not be good,” he thinks, but he tries not to think about it too much.

Excerpt from SOLDIER DOGS © by Maria Goodavage. Published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

CNO Memo on Sequestration

This is not good.

The fools in Washington starting from the one at the White House to many others in Congress have spent us into a $16 TRILLION dollar hole.  This hole is so deep, it will put our nation in a serious "hurt locker".

But we still have millions to send to Pakistan, Jet Fighters to Egypt and wasted millions for the political crap that the politicians value more than our national security.

How bad are things??  Read the enclosed memo from the CNO.

This is about as bad as it gets.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Benghazi - Lies, Lies and more Damned Lies

I watched the hearing yesterday where Senators tried to get answers from Hillary Clinton.
Thanks to Senator John McCain and Senator Rand Paul.  They did a good job of trying to get to the truth.  The rest of those charged with investigating this tragedy were woefully inadequate.
4 good men died - Hillary Clinton and Obama lied.  That is the truth.

Monday, January 21, 2013

ALL ARE WELCOME "Run For Your Lunch" 5.5K fights hunger in Middleboro, MA

Fighting Hunger in our communities is important as too many in our own towns and cities deal with hunger on a daily basis.

One woman in Middleboro, MA is making a big difference "one meal at a time"

Road race benefits Middleboro community kitchen

Taunton, MA — Taunton Gazette 01/20/13

More than 200 participants in the second annual Run for Your Lunch raced five and a half kilometers before dining at the finish line on Sunday.

It was all to help All Are Welcome community kitchen in Middleboro, which is a type of restaurant with a policy of asking its patrons to pay what they can afford for a meal.

“I think it’s fabulous for everyone to come out and support us,” said Karen Cook, who founded All Are Welcome last year, opening it in March 2012 using funds from the inaugural Run for Your Lunch Race. “I have friends in road race community. It’s a fun thing to do. To put the community kitchen work and the running together is a lot of fun. We’ve got a lot of community support.”

Each participant paid at least $20 to run the road race and to have a lunch of clam or corn chowder, along with freshly baked bread and desserts. The race was based at the North Congregational Church.

All Are Welcome operates twice a week inside Middleboro’s Episcopal church, the Church of Our Savior on Union Street. On Thursdays a community meal is offered at lunch time, featuring soups, salads, sandwiches and special hot dishes, while breakfast is served on Saturdays.

The concept of the community kitchen is to provide restaurant-quality service while relieving hunger, Cook said. More fortunate guests pay what they feel is is a fair price and more if they wish to contribute additionally to the cause, while those who are fairing less well financially can pay what they can or volunteer.

Cook said the model has been working well since All Are Welcome opened.

“We are starting to see the need of the community and are starting to reach the community who needs us,” she said. “Whether you’re poor or not, you should be made to feel welcome and should appreciate the meal. We serve in a church, but we are definitely a restaurant. We are not a soup kitchen. We try to provide a restaurant atmosphere. For the most part, it seems to be working.”

For Paul Nickerson, of Middleboro, it was his first road race. Asked how it felt, his one-word response was “tiring.”

Nickerson said he knows for sure that the 2013 Run for Your Lunch was for a good cause, because he has eaten at All Are Welcome and said the food served there is excellent.

“This race was a good time, and there’s a sense of accomplishment,” Nickerson said. “The community kitchen is a good cause. I’ve had breakfast a few times and it’s good stuff.”

Sunday’s road race was also dedicated to Mary DuPont, a member of the board of All Are Welcome who died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 11. All Are Welcome pledged to donate $1 to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network for every pre-registered entrant in the 2013 Run for Your Lunch race.

Runners like Adam Petti, 15, of Raynham, said he knew DuPont’s story and that everyone was wearing orange in honor of her.

“It’s good when a community comes together and helps different causes,” Petti said.

One of the youngest participants in the road race was Raynham’s Gregory Melusky, who is 10 years old. Melusky said he was proud to help out All Are Welcome.

“The race was tough and it felt longer than it really was,” Melusky said. “I think the All Are Welcome is a great cause. I like to support it because there are some people out there who don’t have any food to eat. Raising money here is giving those people an opportunity to have a lunch and breakfast.”


Friday, January 18, 2013

For the love of our 4 legged pals......

My wife and I lost two of our dogs in the last year, both who were only about 12 years old.  It is tough as they come in & out of your life, always giving you the full devotion of their loyalty.

This author describes why if more of our POLS had dogs, we may have better leadership in government.  I feel he may be on to something -

America needs more dogs in politics, especially Labs

January 17, 2013 - Washington Examiner
Photo -
Former Arkansas Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee did something Thursday that ought to remind us of a crucial fact about our politics and politicians. Huckabee shared on Facebook his grief and joy in losing Jet, a handsome black Labrador retriever who was his "inseparable companion and confidante for almost 15 years."

Be forewarned: If you love dogs, Huckabee's description of himself as "inconsolable" as he and his wife, Janet, held Jet in his last moments of life will likely moisten your eyes: "Jet asked for nothing except for basic necessities and a little bit of attention. For that, I enjoyed his unflinching loyalty, fidelity, and his calming presence. I loved that dog and always will. There was never a day that Jet didn't make me laugh in the almost 15 years we were together. Only on his last day with me did he make me cry."

"Jet asked for nothing except for basic necessities and a little bit of attention. For that, I enjoyed his unflinching loyalty, fidelity, and his calming presence. I loved that dog and always will." - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Claudia and I had the same experience a year ago when we had to put down our Abby, a chocolate Lab who was my "sweetheart baby-girl Labbie" for a dozen years.

Like Jet, Abby was special, from her nose (made crooked by a mysterious incident that would have ended her life at seven weeks had Claudia not reserved her for my 50th birthday) to her long, thick tail that wagged at the slightest provocation.

Abby never met another creature, human or otherwise, that she didn't love at first sight. She exulted in running, often with her hindquarters hunkered down as only Labs can. And she loved to ride in the front seat of my truck, eager to go wherever the moment might take us.

She also had a clock in her head. Otherwise, I can't explain why, after discovering Frosty Paws at about age 5, she stood by the refrigerator pawing at the door every evening at 8 expecting the night's treat.

Then at 10, she would get up from wherever she was lying and stand there impatiently waiting for us to follow her to the bedroom for the evening's repose.

I could go on about Abby, but, suffice it to say, hardly a day goes by that I don't think about her and chuckle over something she did. And sometimes shed a little tear.

So what do Abby and Jet have to do with anything in this town? After the 2008 election, Huckabee became a cable TV personality with his successful Saturday evening show on Fox News. As it happens, I usually, though not always, agree with Huckabee on the issues of the day. But when I read about his love for Jet, I was reminded that probably anybody anywhere on the political spectrum could do the same thing, given the right circumstances.

Huckabee shared a part of himself in that post that we rarely glimpse in our public figures these days. It's easy to take them for granted because politicians take predictable positions, deliver predictable speeches, cast predictable votes in Congress.

Ditto for the people in the advocacy groups, lobbying outfits and think tanks. Predictable positions, predictable speeches, predictable, predictable, predictable ...

When everything becomes predictable, we tend to forget that out of the public eye these folks have hearts and emotions, suffer setbacks, hope for victories, and laugh and cry over big things and small, just like the rest of us.

Yes, Mr. Dooley was right. Politics ain't beanbag, but wouldn't it be great if Washington's warring parties and factions could somehow recover and nurture a recognition that we all have our Jets and Abbys?

Mark Tapscott is executive editor of The Washington Examiner

Thursday, January 17, 2013

LCDR Michael Scott Speicher, USN - lost on this day 17 JAN 1991 over Iraq

I wanted to make sure that today did not pass without a mention of LCDR Michael Scott Speicher, USN who was lost on this day 17 JAN 1991 over Iraq.  He was the first US Casulalty of the Gulf War.

I wear his name on a POW/KIA Braclet and will do so as long as I live as he was missing for 18 years, and it is my mission to make sure he is not forgotten.  He was a dedicated warrior, father, husband and shipmate to many. Bravo Zulu LCDR - Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Twists, turns snagged search for Speicher

Defense Intelligence Agency official says a number of factors led to 18-year vacuum between pilot’s disappearance, discovery of his grave
By Pamela Hess - The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Saddam Hussein was telling the truth, this time. The United States just didn’t believe him.

So it took the most powerful military in the world 18 years to find the remains of the only U.S. Navy pilot shot down in an aerial battle in the 1991 Gulf War.

Michael Scott Speicher’s bones lay 18 inches deep in Iraqi sand, more or less right where a group of Iraqis had led an American search team in 1995.

The search for Speicher was frustrated by two wars, mysteriously switched remains, Iraqi duplicity and a final tip from a young nomad in Anbar province.

U.S. officials often were blinded by the same myopia that tainted prewar intelligence — the American conviction that Hussein’s government lied about everything. As it turned out, the Iraqis lied, but sometimes they told the truth.

For more than a decade, speculation swirled that the 33-year-old Speicher, a lieutenant commander when he went missing, had been captured alive. That was disproved by the team that found and confirmed his remains.

“He wasn’t captured or tortured,” said Thomas Brown, chief of the Intelligence Community POW/MIA analytic cell at the Defense Intelligence Agency. Brown, who worked on Speicher’s case for 15 years, described to The Associated Press in an exclusive interview how the threads leading to the pilot got so tangled.

Speicher was shot down by an Iraqi MiG 100 miles west of Baghdad on Jan. 17, 1991, the first day of the war to drive Saddam’s invading forces from Kuwait. Then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney announced the pilot’s death as the first casualty of the war, but no search and rescue effort was launched.

When the war ended that March, the U.S. demanded the return of Speicher’s remains. But because of a data glitch, the U.S. erroneously pinpointed his crash site south of Baghdad.
The Iraqis were puzzled. They knew an F-18 had been shot down west of the capital. But they followed the botched U.S. coordinates and searched for Speicher’s plane in the south, finding nothing.

The search was soon complicated by the Iraqi discovery of a different crash site — of a downed Air Force A-10 fighter. The Iraqis brought the unidentified American A-10 pilot’s remains to a Basrah hospital for safekeeping, labeling them “Mickel” for a clumsy translation of what might have been the pilot’s belt buckle manufactured by McDonnell Douglas.

Just before those remains were to be handed over to the U.S., Shiites rebelling against Saddam seized the hospital, forcing Iraqi officials to make a hasty gamble.

If they didn’t turn over the pilot’s remains, they would be in violation of the U.N. resolution ending the war, and the war would not be officially over. So the Iraqis instead handed over to American authorities a 4-pound piece of another cadaver and said it belonged to “Mickel.”

U.S. officials already had accounted for the dead A-10 pilot, so the unidentified remains stumped them. Were they Speicher’s? By May 1991, DNA tests ruled that out. Iraq was being duplicitous, but the U.S. couldn’t figure out what was behind the switch.

Rumors from Hussein’s inner circle about the “Mickel” remains began to morph into whispering that the Iraqis held a live American pilot. The rumors were picked up by U.S. intelligence.

Two years later, in 1993, Speicher’s crash site was found by a party of Qatari falcon hunters. Brown believes the Iraqis already had identified the crash site but failed to come forward out of fear they would be accused of covering it up. So instead, the Iraqis led the Qatari hunters to the site, Brown said, so they would “stumble” on the wreckage.

The hunters gave the U.S. Embassy in Qatar a piece of a plane containing a serial number that matched Speicher’s F-18.

U.S. military officials began planning an operation to retrieve Speicher’s remains. The plan was dropped in 1995 when the Red Cross secured permission from Iraq for a humanitarian search team to excavate the crash site.

Shepherded by Iraqi officials, the search team was led by a local Bedouin boy to Speicher’s half-buried flight suit. Nearby were expended flares, part of an ejection seat and pieces of a life raft. But the searchers found no remains. They left suspicious, convinced that they had been set up even though Brown now says Saddam’s government was telling the truth about the site.

In January 2001, President Bill Clinton changed Speicher’s status from killed in action to missing, echoing U.S. belief he could be alive. An intelligence assessment said Speicher probably had survived the crash and Iraq was either holding him prisoner or hiding his remains.

In the summer of 2002, as the Bush administration prepared to invade Iraq, new intelligence intercepts suggested Speicher was being moved between dozens of secret sites inside Iraq.
Before the 2003 invasion, “we were positive we were getting him back,” said Buddy Harris, a Speicher friend who later married the pilot’s widow. “We were getting ready to go over and meet with him. We had the whole family prepped, with psychologists ready to help.”

At least three different times, based on U.S. government information, Speicher’s relatives thought they were getting him back, Harris said.

Brown believes the Iraqi government was trying to convince President George W. Bush that Speicher was still alive to protect Saddam from being targeted when the invasion came.
If that was the motivation, it backfired. Bush used Speicher’s case as more evidence that Saddam had to be ousted. After Bush cited Speicher in his September 2002 speech at the United Nations, the rumors of Speicher’s movements abruptly stopped, Brown said.

After the U.S. invasion, intelligence analysts searching for Speicher entered the Hakmiya jail in central Baghdad and dug up the grounds. They found remains, but none that matched Speicher’s DNA.

They did find a jail cell wall that appeared to be marked with the initials “M.S.S.” — and wondered if they had been scratched by the missing pilot.

The Army dismantled the wall section and sent it back to the U.S. for testing. That same summer a soldier discovered similar initials and what appeared to be a date— 9-15-94 — scratched into an I-beam in a parking garage in Tikrit. The FBI cut down the beam and sent it to the Smithsonian Institution for testing.

But the markings turned out to be more false leads. The museum determined the Tikrit initials were made with a special ink reserved for Iraqi religious groups — and an American prisoner would not likely have had access to such sacred ink. While other “M.S.S.” markings were found all over Iraq, the analysts were never able to tie them to Speicher.

The searchers continued to press every lead. For six years, soldiers and Marines deployed in Anbar were told to ask people there if they had heard anything about the missing American pilot.

The instructions finally paid off in July. A sheik told Marines of a Bedouin who remembered a burial 20 years earlier. The sheik couldn’t recall the exact location, but it was enough for the Marines. They returned to the old site that had frustrated the Red Cross searchers and with 100 men, bulldozers and back hoes, they turned over four football fields worth of desert, 4 feet deep.

The earth yielded another piece of a pilot’s flight suit and a jaw bone. The teeth matched the missing pilot’s dental records. Michael Scott Speicher, who reached the rank of captain because he kept receiving promotions while his status was unknown, had been there all along, Brown said.

The U.S. now says the case is closed, but Speicher’s family, from outside Jacksonville, Fla., is still unconvinced that he died in the crash.

Buddy Harris says the ending is too neat, meant to whitewash the Pentagon’s failure to launch a search and rescue mission in 1991.

“Too many people want to tie it into a nice little bow here,” Harris says. “Their motive wasn’t Scott Speicher, it was to get this thing done

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Loyal K9 attends church every day waiting owner's return after her death

There is no greater love & devotion than that of our 4 legged friends.

I would like to be able to give this pup a hug as he deserves many, many hugs.

Loyal dog attends mass every day at church where owner's funeral was held, waiting for her to return

  • Tommy, a German shepherd, had been adopted by Maria Lochi as a stray
  • He would accompany her to church everyday and sit at her feet
By Nick Pisa
A heartbroken dog whose owner died two months ago is missing her so much he is attending services at the Italian church where her funeral was held patiently waiting for her to return.
Loyal Tommy, a seven-year-old German Shepherd, belonged to Maria Margherita Lochi, 57, and had been her faithful companion after she adopted him when she found him abandoned in fields close to her home.
Mrs Lochi adopted several strays she found but friends said she developed a particular close affection for Tommy and would walk to church with him from her home every day - where the priest would allow him to sit patiently by her feet.
Pining: Tommy the German Shepherd waits faithfully during Mass at the church where his owner Maria Margherita Lochi's funeral was held
Pining: Tommy the German Shepherd waits faithfully during Mass at the church where his owner Maria Margherita Lochi's funeral was held
Following her death at San Donaci near Brindisi, a funeral service was held at which Tommy joined mourners and since then he has been a regular at the church arriving on time when the bells ring out to mark the start of services.

Father Donato Panna said:''He's there every time I celebrate Mass and is very well behaved - he doesn't make a sound, I've not heard one bark from him in all the time he has been coming in.

'He used to come to Mass with Maria and he was obviously devoted to her - I let him stay inside as he was always so well behaved and none of the other parishoners ever complained to me.
'He's still coming to Mass even after Maria's funeral, he waits patiently by the side of the altar and just sits there quietly. I didn't have the heart to throw him out - I've just recently lost my own dog so I leave him there until Mass finishes and then I let him out.
Sad: Heartbroken Tommy, a seven year old German shepherd, had been adopted by Maria Margherita Lochi, 57, after she found him wandering fields behind her house in San Donaci near Brindisi, Italy
Sad: Heartbroken Tommy, a seven year old German shepherd, had been adopted by Maria Margherita Lochi, 57, after she found him wandering fields behind her house in San Donaci near Brindisi, Italy
Routine: Tommy and Maria would walk to church together every day - where the priest would allow him to sit patiently by her feet
Routine: Tommy and Maria would walk to church together every day - where the priest would allow him to sit patiently by her feet
'Tommy's been adopted by everyone in the village now and he is everybody's friend. Everyone looks out for him and leaves food for him - although it would be nice to find a proper home for him.'

The story of Tommy is similar to the 2009 Hollywood blockbuster Hachi starring Richard Gere which told of how a faithful Akita dog waits patiently for his master after he also dies.
It was based on the true story of a Japanese Akita called Hachiko, whose owner died in 1925 but for the next nine years he waited patiently at a railway station for his owner from where they regularly caught a train

Monday, January 14, 2013

Feckless POLS want $13 BILLION more from Massachusetts Taxpayers

Gov. Deval (Spend-It-All) Patrick came out with his $13 BILLION tax wish is no surprise that there is no suggestion of cutting gold plated benefits & lifetime everything for state Hacks......This idiot who is in charge of our state is clueless - His only way to improve things is to impoverish the taxpayers while lining the pockets of Union Hacks and his buddies who will gain contracts for transportation improvements.

I have two words for you Deval, and they ain't "Happy Birthday"

Take your plan and stick it - We need to stop putting it all on the taxpayers and stop spending like there is a bottomless supply of taxpayers' $$$ - Really.

Taxpayers to pick up the tab for MassDOT's $13B transportation plan

(FOX 25 / - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has released a long-awaited plan to invest $13 billion in the state's aging transportation system over 10 years; however, in order to create the additional revenue, the report recommends certain tax increases, as well as additional fees.

The Department of Transportation initially planned to release the report earlier in the month, but Gov. Deval Patrick said he told officials that "a little more work" was needed after reviewing a draft version.

"What's plain as day is that we have to make choices. We can choose to invest in ourselves, to invest in a growth strategy that has been proven time and again to work. Or we can choose to do nothing. But let us be clear: doing nothing is a choice, too," said Gov. Patrick. "And that choice has consequences. It means longer commutes, cuts in services, larger fare and fee increases, and a continuation of the self-defeating economics of cutting off large parts of our population from opportunity and growth."

The plan calls for $5.2 billion over ten years in road, bridge and highway repair projects in order to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges and ease congestion on major arteries throughout the state. Another $3.8 billion will go to existing transit services, and $275 million for Registry and airport maintenance.

Officials said $1.02 billion will be spent annually on a number of high-impact transportation projects. Transportation officials said they hope the projects create thousands of jobs and spur economic development across the state.

The plan is also designed to address budget deficits at the MBTA, MassDOT and various other regional transportation agencies.

According to the report, the suggested revenue options, essentially certain tax hikes and fees, were proposed by members of the public and other stake holders over the last year.
"We have spent the last year engaging our customers, the business community and various stakeholders in a conversation about what kind of transportation system they want," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. "What is clear is that we can't afford the system we have today, much less the system we all want. This plan clearly articulates our vision for a 21st-Century Transportation system and the steps we must take to achieves that."

The revenue recommendations include an increase in the gas tax, payroll tax, sales tax or income tax; a new green fee on vehicle registrations; a vehicle miles traveled tax; regular and modest fare, fee and toll increases; and new tolling mechanisms. The plan also assumes that tolls are maintained on the Western portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Officials said money will go toward helping MassDOT and other regional transit authorities end their practice of paying for general operating costs with loans, a practice that costs MassDOT about $1.76 in interest for each dollar borrowed.

In order to end the practice of borrowing and inflated interest, the MassDOT will receive $371 million during the 2014 fiscal year and $4.4 billion over 10 years. The Regional Transit Authorities will receive $100 million during the 2014 fiscal year and $1.1 billion over 10 years.

Without new revenues to be generated by additional taxes and fees on state residents, the MassDOT Board of Directors will need to cut service at the MBTA and RTAs and significantly increase fares in order to approve a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins July 1

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Leadership of USMC General James Mattis, known to most as " The Warrior Monk"

Breaking the Warrior Code

What the media, both left and right, don't understand about General Mattis and the Marine Corps.
To his liberal blogger critics, he is a dangerous, cold-blooded“psychopath” who derives pleasure from sterile acts of killing. As such, he should be fired or demoted and stripped of his command. To the conservative talk radio crowd, he is the reincarnation of the late, great Gen. George S. Patton Jr., a ruthless “fighting machine” determined to wreak havoc and destruction on that thorn in our side called Iraq. As such, the United States should put him in charge and finally end this war once and for all.

But both the left and the right are wrong about Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis. He is neither the Jack Nicholson caricature of a Marine depicted in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men nor the callous and mad eccentric depicted by George C. Scott in the 1970 movie Patton.

Instead, Gen. Mattis is a remarkably learned and thoughtful man who adheres to the old-fashioned Christian, chivalric warrior code. As such, he confounds modern-day screamers on both the left and the right for whom the warrior code is unintelligible. I know because I had the privilege of serving under Gen. Mattis as a Marine in Iraq.

Moreover, while we were both in-country the General graciously took the time to engage me in an exclusive half-hour conversation. At the time, I was trying to secure a commission as an officer. The General learned that my relatively advanced age (then 35) was posing a problem and offered to help. That a three-star general with a war on his hands would take the time to assist a lowly Lance Corporal speaks volumes about the heart and character of Gen. Mattis.

I SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN surprised. I had spent the spring and summer of 2003 with the First Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment, at an abandoned pistol factory in Al Hillah, about 60 miles south of Baghdad. Gen. Mattis regularly showed up to speak with us. He would tell us colorful stories, offer tough-minded advice and counsel, and eagerly solicit our thoughts and questions. We loved him because we knew he loved us.

And Gen. Mattis didn’t just talk the talk; he walked the walk. He led from the front. Indeed, on at least one occasion that I know of, the General was bloodied from a firefight or improvised explosive device while out on patrol with junior, enlisted Marines one-third his age. That’s what makes Gen. Mattis such a great warrior: He truly respects and cares for his Marines.

“Guardiano,” he told me, “I don’t give a damn about the officers. If they don’t like what they’re doing, they can get on a plane and leave the Corps — go back where they came from. But I do care deeply about those 18- and 19-year-old Lance Corporals out on the frontlines.” The General was telling me that, as an officer, I better be concerned with helping younger, junior Marines, not advancing my own career.

That’s why all the liberal talk about Mattis being some sort of“psychopathic killer” is so ludicrous. Nor is he, as the conservative talk-show set would have it, an inhumane “fighting machine.” Psychopathic killers don’t care for their men; and machines don’t exhibit compassion for a liberated but frightened people.

Yet, I am absolutely convinced that whenever a Marine died or bled, a part of Gen. Mattis died and bled, too. And whenever an innocent Iraqi was intimidated, beaten or shot, Gen. Mattis was incensed and outraged. But because of our modern-day cultural depravity, we lack the basic vocabulary necessary to identify and understand, let alone appreciate and celebrate, warriors like Gen. Mattis.

HOW, THEN, TO EXPLAIN the General’s comment that it is “fun to shoot some people”? Is not such a sentiment “indicative of an apparent indifference to the value of human life,” as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) argues?

Unfortunately for the council and other professional grievance lobbies, context is everything, especially when it come to war and killing. Gen. Mattis clearly did not say he likes killing for killing’s sake. Instead, like most Marines, he enjoys fighting for a righteous cause. He enjoys a good “brawl,” especially when it involve shooting vermin who subjugate, beat, and abuse women.
Moreover, if the critics bothered actually to listen to Gen. Mattis’s remarks — which you can do online at NBC’s San Diego affiliate website — they would realize that he was calling for an investment in so-called soft-power resources that would help to avert combat. He was saying, in effect: “Look, I love a good fight and would enjoy shooting and killing these bastards; but we need to do the things that will make that unnecessary.”

The General was speaking at a professional conference on military transformation; and he was urging the Pentagon to invest in efforts that would “diminish the conditions that drive people to sign up for these kinds of insurgencies.”

None of the widely touted new technologies and weapons systems, he noted, “would have helped me in the last three years [in Iraq and Afghanistan]. But I could have used cultural training [and] language training. I could have used more products from American universities [who] understood the world does not revolve around America and [who] embrace coalitions and allies for all of the strengths that they bring us.”

That sure doesn’t sound like the fanatical Col. Kurtz of Apocalypse Now.

GEN. MATTIS ALSO IMPLICITLY took exception to conservative defense analysts like Weekly Standard contributor Thomas Donnelly, who seem to think that increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps will solve most of our military challenges. But a larger —and thus more bureaucratic — force structure may be exactly what is not needed to win the war against Islamic fascism.

As the General explained, “We’re seeing a re-criminalization of war. And that means we need to get small units, not big armies…Small units so capable that, as we close with the enemy, they’re transformed into something that is as capable as our air units and sea units have been in shutting down the threats to this country over the last 30 years.”

Some critics have alleged that Gen. Mattis’s’ comments reflect a dangerous military mindset that gave rise to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. However, for any of the Marines who served under him, it is impossible to imagine a scandal like Abu Ghraib happening on the General’s watch.

That’s because Gen. Mattis always made it his business to know what was happening in his command; and he did not tolerate stupidity and abuse by his Marines. We all understood this because he communicated well and often his expectations. Those expectations included his demand to “keep your honor clean” and to treat the Iraqis “as you would your own family, with dignity and respect.”
Let’s hope this reality is included in the movie, destined to come, about Gen. Mattis, the Marine Corps, and Iraq. This would be a refreshing change from Hollywood’s recent depictions of the U.S. military. And it would rightly honor a man and a warrior who is truly an American hero.

John R. Guardiano blogs at, and you can follow him on Twitter: @ResCon1.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

White House may leave no US Troops in Afghanistan past 2014

REALLY ??  The White House and the idiot-in-charge are clueless -

They will allow the Taliban bastards with guns to come back and brutalize the populace.

History will judge the Obama White House as the one that surrendered to the terrorists and put people in harm's way.  Drone strikes are good but you need to maintain a small force here if we are to support stability. US Boots on the ground are required. 

The depth of ignorance displayed by the White House is as deep as the depth of debt he is ringing up.  The President and his administrations are a clear & present danger to our national security.

US may leave no troops in Afghanistan, officials say
Administration officials said publicly for the first time Tuesday that the U.S. might leave no American troops in Afghanistan after the end of combat in December 2014, an option that defies the view of Pentagon officials who say thousands of U.S. troops could be needed there to keep a lid on Al Qaeda and to strengthen the Afghan army and police.

"The U.S. does not have an inherent objective of `X' number of troops in Afghanistan," said Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser. "We have an objective of making sure there is no safe haven for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and making sure that the Afghan government has a security force that is sufficient to ensure the stability of the Afghan government."

The U.S. now has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from a peak of about 100,000 as recently as 2010.

Administration officials in recent days have said they are considering a range of options for a residual U.S. troop presence after 2014, from as few as 3,000 to as many as 15,000, with the number linked to a specific set of military-related missions.

Asked in a conference call with reporters whether zero was now an option, Rhodes said, "That would be an option we would consider."

His statement comes just three days before Afghan President Hamid Karzai is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss ways of framing an enduring partnership beyond 2014. The two are at odds on numerous issues, including a U.S. demand that any American troops who would remain in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends be granted immunity from prosecution under Afghan laws. Karzai has resisted, while emphasizing his interest in getting large-scale U.S. support to maintain an effective security force after 2014.

Without explicitly mentioning immunity, Obama's top White House military adviser on Afghanistan, Doug Lute, told reporters Tuesday that the Afghans will have to give the U.S. certain "authorities" if it wants U.S. troops to remain.

"As we know from our Iraq experience, if there are no authorities granted by the sovereign state, then there's not room for a follow-on U.S. military mission," Lute said. He was referring to 2011 negotiations with Iraq that ended with no agreement to grant legal immunity to U.S. troops who would have stayed to help train Iraqi forces. As a result, no U.S. troops remain in Iraq.

Rhodes said Obama is focused on two main outcomes in Afghanistan: ensuring that the country does not revert to being the al-Qaida haven it was prior to Sept. 11, 2001, and getting the government to the point where it can stand on its own.

"That's what guides us, and that's what causes us to look for different potential troop numbers -- or not having potential troops in the country," Rhodes said

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Veterans Administration refuses to provide Service Dogs for Veterans suffering from PTSD

IF no other post I write ever gets your attention here at US NAVY JEEP, I pray it is this one.

The Veterans Administration has issued a ruling that states they will not provide a service dog to Veterans who suffer from PTSD.

We are talking about providing Man's Best Friends to deserving Veterans as Dogs have proven to help our Veterans, especially those dealing with PTSD.  There are dozens of non-profit organizations that are training service dogs as they have seen that the presence of a trained service dogs helps those who suffer from PTSD.

And the reason why they refuse to offer the invaluable help of man's best friends?  They say there is no "clinical evidence" that Dogs help Veterans with PTSD.  In reality, it comes down to a simple answer - MONEY.  The Government doesn't want to pay for the dogs.

These gov paperpushers will hand themselves lifetime goldplated benefits but won't provide a suffering Veteran with a trained service dog.

I find it hard to believe but these self-serving hacks have put in place a federal rule that documents their refusal to provide an assistance service dogs for Veterans unless the Veteran has mobility, hearing or sight issues. They are hiding behind the usual " Sorry, we don't agree with it, regardless of how many others have proven it " BS.

Service Dogs have been shown to provide great help to those who deal with PTSD.  The number of non-profit agencies working to train dogs for the mission of helping our Veterans are proof enough that Dogs are of great benefit to our Veterans.  These agencies have hundreds of cases where they have placed a trained service dog and it was highly beneificial to the Veteran with PTSD.

My theory is that the pencil-pushers in the beltway don't want to shoulder the cost, just like they have been denying Veterans benefits over the last 7-10 years even though the Veteran meets all the criteria for VA assistance.  No, we got ours and screw you Veterans.

The words I would use on these gutless wonders can't be printed here as it wouldn't be best but I tell you if I got to meet them face to face, I would be using some of my best Sailor/Marine words on them.

There will be a special place in Hell reserved for these dishonorable bureaucrats. I hope one day they understand how wrong they are about how Man's Best Friend's are of great benefit to our Veterans suffering from PTSD.  Of course, by then it will be too late for those who needed the service dogs.

Veteran Affairs won't cover costs of PTSD service dogs by Laura Moss -
More veterans are being diagnosed with PTSD, but there's little research about how service dogs help with this 'invisible disability.'           
The Department of Veterans Affairs will pay for service dogs assigned to veterans with impaired vision, hearing or mobility, but it will not cover the cost of dogs assigned for mental disabilities like post-traumatic stress disorder, according to new federal regulations.
Many dogs provide support to veterans suffering from PTSD, but although more veterans are being diagnosed with the anxiety disorder, the VA says there's not enough evidence that these dogs help with the symptoms of combat-related disabilities. A new Army policy has already made it more difficult for soldiers to obtain service dogs and keep them on Army bases.
There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that service dogs help veterans cope with PTSD, but research lags and the VA is skeptical.
"VA has not yet been able to determine that these dogs provide a medical benefit to veterans with mental illness. Until such a determination can be made, VA cannot justify providing benefits for mental health service dogs," the department said.
There have been no double-blind, randomized controlled trials on the benefits of service dog and PTSD patients, and there are no widely accepted standards for training dogs to alleviate PTSD symptoms.
Researchers at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Fla., are conducting the first study to look at benefits of pairing veterans with PTSD with specially trained dogs. Congress recommended the three-year study, permitting the Department of Veterans Affairs to match as many as 200 veterans with dogs, but only 17 participants are currently enrolled.
Three service dog organizations partnered with the hospital to conduct the study, but Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs (GAMSD) is the only association still involved in the research. The organization trains PTSD service dogs to perform such tasks as awakening clients from nightmares and reminding them to take medication.
Carol Borden, GAMSD’s executive director, says she’s seen dramatic improvements in veterans’ lives after they’ve been matched with dogs.
"The results are very immediate. They’re very quick. It’s not a cure, but they are able to manage their challenges much better than they have in years,” Borden told NBC News.
Demand for PTSD service dogs is high, according to Borden, who says that most recipients spend four years on her organization’s waiting list.
Determining the need for service dogs
It’s estimated that 13 to 20 percent of the more than 2.6 million Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001 have or could develop PTSD.
But unlike service dogs for people with more obvious physical disabilities, there can sometimes be confusion over who can have a dog accompany them into certain places. The American Disabilities Act requires businesses to allow people with disabilities to enter with service animals, but dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, according to the ADA, dogs that calm a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack are considered a reasonable modification to ADA policies.
Service dogs assist disabled people with specific tasks like opening doors and pulling wheelchairs. Therapy dogs, on the other hand, provide comfort, motivation and emotional support. With proper documentation they can often be taken onto planes and other spaces where animals aren’t usually allowed.
Although PTSD service dogs are trained to respond to certain cues, such as nudging an owner into a petting session if he exhibits panic attack symptoms, and to perform tasks like reminding him to take medications, some people are skeptical of the idea that a dog can assist with a so-called "invisible" disability.
However, there’s evidence that interacting with animals produces biochemical changes in some people’s brains.
Research shows that when people focus on petting a dog, it can increase oxytocin, a chemical that quiets the brain’s fear response. Caring for a pet also helps people become more secure and self-sufficient, according to Hal Herzog, a psychology professor at Western Carolina University.
Training service dogs can also be a form of therapy, according to Rick Yount, founder of Warrior Canine Connection, an organization that has PTSD patients train service dogs. After completing a 2008 training program at a veteran’s hospital, many participants reported lower stress levels, decreased depression, better impulse control and improved sleep.
Yount says that it might be most effective for veterans with PTSD to train a service dog before receiving one themselves.
"They have to convince the dog the world is a safe place, rather than letting the dog prove to them that the world is a safe place,” he told MSNBC.
For more information on service dogs, visit the International Assistance Dog Week website.