July 1, 2015

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June 30, 2015

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June 30, 2015

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Happy 240th Birthday US Army!

June 14, 2015

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The Army’s Birthday: 14 June 1775

When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies.  They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders.  The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised.  

In the spring of 1775, this “army” was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain’s seasoned professionals. Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army.  Reportedly, at John Adams’ request, Congress voted to “adopt” the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision.  Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee “to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army,” and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City.  Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia. 

George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775. 

John R. Maass
Historian
US Army Center of Military History

U.S. Marine holds the hand of his future wife, taking time to Pray before saying “I do.”

May 26, 2015

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‘I prayed to God for my beautiful wife': Couple shares story behind viral wedding photo.

Kyle Michael Miller: TODAY News

A North Carolina photographer captured a powerful image Saturday showing a touching moment between a bride and a groom just minutes before their wedding ceremony.

We were about to take our first steps in life together, and we didn’t want to take a step without it being in God’s will,” Caleb Earwood, 21, told TODAY.com. “I prayed to God for my beautiful and intelligent wife that he blessed me with and the amazing family I was marrying into.”

Because the couple didn’t want to see each other until the ceremony, Caleb stood on the staircase. Maggie, 22, leaned up against the wall to avoid making eye contact.

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“When I first grabbed his hand, he was shaking really bad, so I knew he was really nervous,” Maggie said. “It relieved me to know the person I was getting ready to marry felt the same way about God.”

Caleb and Maggie, who both grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, were friends in high school. They started dating about two years ago, and haven’t left each other’s side since.

“She’s so beautiful. I couldn’t help myself! An excited Caleb said.

Photographer Dwayne Schmidth, who has photographed about 100 weddings in his 4-year career, said this is one his most memorable experiences. Although he almost didn’t make it to wedding after having emergency surgery last week to remove a kidney stone, he gathered enough strength to be there for the big day and photograph the heartfelt moment.

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The happy couple is visiting Dollywood in Tennessee for their honeymoon. They plan to live in Jacksonville, North Carolina while Caleb is stationed at Camp Lejeune. He’s been serving in the Marines for 3 years.

“We’re thankful that our picture is able to bless so many people and touch that many hearts,” Caleb told TODAY.com

You can follow TODAY’S Kyle Michael Miller on Twitter.

Thank you to America’s Fallen, thier Families and Friends on this 2015 Memorial Day

May 24, 2015

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Troops, Veterans Honored at Armed Forces Day Ceremony

May 16, 2015

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By Shannon Collins
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ARLINGTON, Va., May 16, 2015 – As the last notes of “Taps” echoed off the stones of the Tomb of the Unknowns today, service members representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard and veterans from World War II and the Korean War slowly dropped their salutes.

Tour groups of people visiting Arlington National Cemetery witnessed the changing of the guard, followed by honor guards from each of the service branches marching up in file and rendering honors as the colors were posted.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was joined by all five senior enlisted service advisors in a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb to mark the 65th annual Armed Forces Day. Afterward, the U.S. Army Concert Band performed patriotic music at a free concert.

‘We Celebrate … with the Fallen’

The wreath will be on display for the day at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor those who gave the last full measure, “but Armed Forces Day honors all service members past and present,” Battaglia said.

We celebrate Armed Forces Day with the fallen,” the sergeant major said.

“What better place for us to thank those who played such an integral role in protecting America’s freedom and liberty? Like many national burial grounds across the globe, here are harbored and housed America’s heroes, the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have, for more than 240 years, proudly and courageously worn the cloth of our nation,” he said.

“At Arlington today, we are encircled by those brave and courageous men and women, past and present, active, reserve and National Guard, living veterans and our fallen, all who have proudly served and continue to serve our country,” Battaglia said.

Veterans Remember

For Marine Corps veteran Brian Long, who served four years as a mortarman during the Beirut Conflict with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, Armed Forces Day was a reunion with his unit and with Battaglia.

“I haven’t seen this group of Marines since 1980,” said the former sergeant. “It was an opportunity to renew some acquaintances and regain some familiarity. [Battaglia] worked for me as a young lance corporal, and 35 years later, he’s the senior enlisted advisor. We’re very proud of him.”

Long said he was honored to be at the event because he has had a member of his family serve in the armed forces in one conflict or another since World War I through Vietnam and into Afghanistan and Iraq.

“My father was a World War II veteran,” he said. “We lost him a number of years ago, but he was a [prisoner of war] who fought in Europe. It’s special to be here surrounded by what it means to be an American and to be able to share this with brothers from all of the armed forces. It’s an honor to be here for Armed Forces Day.”

Vietnam veteran Clifford Barnes arrived at Arlington via an Honor Flight from Austin, Texas. He served in the Army for 41 years and said the event was indescribable.

“You just can’t describe what it feels like to be here,” he said. “The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. I was getting butterflies. I really enjoyed it. It brought back all of the worthwhile things I’ve done.”

An Opportunity to Educate the Public

Army Sgt. 1st Class Steven Ogbuehi, a power station sergeant at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, said he was honored to attend the event as well.

He said events such as Arlington’s Armed Forces Day ceremony are important, “especially to educate our public, give them an opportunity to see some of the activities we do every day, even if it’s just a ceremony like the one today.”

The ceremony made an impression on Kensi Gray, 14, from the Concord Christian School tour group out of Knoxville, Tennessee.

“I thought it was amazing,” she said. “The discipline they had was incredible, staying out there in the sun and staying completely still. They must have had a lot of practice to be able to do that.”

She said she was surprised at seeing all of the different uniforms and enjoyed seeing the veterans rendering their salutes. She also said armed forces should be recognized.

“People give their lives for us every day. The least we can do is honor them in this way,” Gray said.

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2015 National Day of Prayer

May 1, 2015

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Investing in Hope… Transforming our Nation Through Prayer!

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. Our Task Force is a privately funded organization whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer. It exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

History of the National Day of Prayer

Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it. – Thomas Jefferson, 1808

Because of the faith of many of our founding fathers, public prayer and national days of prayer have a long-standing and significant history in American tradition. The Supreme Court affirmed the right of state legislatures to open their sessions with prayer in Marsh vs. Chambers (1983).

The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.

Significance of the National Day of Prayer

The National Day of Prayer has great significance for us as a nation as it enables us to recall and to teach the way in which our founding fathers sought the wisdom of God when faced with critical decisions. It stands as a call for us to humbly come before God, seeking His guidance for our leaders and His grace upon us as a people. The unanimous passage of the bill establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual event, signifies that prayer is as important to our nation today as it was in the beginning.

Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Every year, local, state, and federal observances were held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that over two million people attended more than 30,000 observances – organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stopped their activities and gathered for prayer.

The National Day of Prayer is Ours

The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, reminds us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”

Historical Summary

  • 1775 – The first Continental Congress calls for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting.
  • 1863 – Abraham Lincoln calls for a National Day of Prayer.
  • 1952 – Harry S. Truman declares a National Day of Prayer and signs into law an annual observance there of – United States Congress passed Joint Resolution 382 on April 17, 1952/ President Truman signs Public Law 82-324 (Public Law 82-324; 66 Stat. 64—April 17, 1952).
  • 1988 – Ronald Reagan signs into law the designation of the first Thursday in May as the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer  – President Reagan signs Public Law 100-307 January 25, 1988, in the Second Session of the One Hundredth Congress (Public Law 100-307—May 5, 1988).
  • 1998 – Pub. L. 105-225, August 12, 1998, 112 Stat. 1258: The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals. This law was signed by President Clinton.1) There have been 143 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the United States (1789-2014).3) Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.5) Records indicate there have been 1,419 state and federal calls for national prayer since 1775 and counting.
  • Fun Facts
  • 1) There have been 143 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the United States (1789-2014).2) There have been 66 Presidential Proclamations for a National Day of Prayer (1952-2014). Gerald R. Ford (1976), George H. Bush (1989-91) and Barack H. Obama (2012) are the only U.S. Presidents to sign multiple National Day of Prayer Proclamations in the same year.3) Every President since 1952 has signed a National Day of Prayer proclamation.4) 34 of the 44 U.S. Presidents have signed proclamations for National Prayer. Three of the Presidents who did not sign a proclamation died while serving in office. Two Presidents, not included in the count – William Howard Taft and Warren Gamaliel Harding, signed proclamations for Thanksgiving and Prayer.

    5) Records indicate there have been 1,419 state and federal calls for national prayer since 1775 and counting.

    You can learn more about the National Day of Prayer at their website at http://nationaldayofprayer.org.

    Today more than ever we all need to humble ourselves before God and pray for America…

Soldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For

April 30, 2015

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The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Master Sgt. Francis H. Stamer of San Fernando, California, will be buried May 6, in Arlington National Cemetery. On Nov. 1, 1950, Stamer was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, when his unit was attacked by Chinese forces at Unsan village in North Korea. This attack forced the unit to withdraw five miles southeast to Ipsok village. Stamer was reported missing in action on Nov. 2, 1950. A military board later amended his status to killed in action.

Master Sergeant Stamer was a member of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was listed as Missing in Action while fighting the enemy near Unsan, North Korea on November 2, 1950. He was presumed dead on December 31, 1953. MSGT Stamer’s name is permanently inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. His remains have been recovered and identified. ** For his leadership and valor, Master Sergeant Stamer was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

Between 1990 and 1994, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain more than 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the area where Stamer was believed to have died.

To identify Stamer’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, including two forms of DNA analysis; mitochondrial DNA, which matched his niece and Y-chromosomal Short Tandem Repeat (Y-STR) DNA, which matched his nephew.

Today, 7,852 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.

 

Daughter, Father Serve as Air Force Instructors

April 7, 2015

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By Air Force Airman 1st Class Justine Rho
502nd Air Base Wing

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2015 – When Air Force Staff Sgt. Amanda MacFarlane first donned the traditional “campaign hat” of the service’s military training instructors, she made history.

The man handing her the hat was her father, Tech. Sgt. James MacKay, a military training instructor with the 321st Training Squadron. They are now the first father-daughter duo to serve together as instructors for new recruits.

MacKay and MacFarlane have both had unique career experiences before becoming instructors, but they both noted their shared passion for mentorship and developing airmen. They both joined the Air Force Reserve as training instructors and are now training the next generation of Airmen.

“In my previous positions, I was often responsible for training new members on their on-the-job responsibilities, and to me, that was the best part of the job,” McFarlane said. “I felt like I could make a positive impact by ensuring the airmen and noncommissioned officers had the knowledge and tools they would need to get their job done and contribute to the mission. As an MTI, you have the tremendous opportunity to have a positive impact on the next generation of airmen.”

A Unique Path

MacKay entered the Air Force as a member of the Michigan Air National Guard in November 1983 and has since been a munitions systems specialist, air traffic controller and a fire protection specialist. He’s served on active duty, in the Air National Guard, and now, the Reserves.

In 2013, MacKay was accepted as an instructor candidate and transferred into the reserves. He credited his personal success to outstanding mentors who encouraged him to complete all of his goals, including graduating from the Defense Department Fire Academy at the age of 47.

“There were many times my mentors set me up for success, both personally and professionally,” MacKay said. “I hope to pay that forward and give our newest airmen the tools they need to thrive in today’s Air Force.”

MacKay, who has another daughter currently serving in the Air Force as an air traffic controller, said he feels an immense amount of pride in both of his daughter’s careers.

Family Pride in Service

“I have always been proud of my daughters and their military careers,” MacKay said. “When (Amanda) told me she had been accepted into the instructor program, I was thrilled. I think she has the same passion for teaching and mentoring others as I do, and I believe she will find this position as challenging and rewarding as anything she’s done previously.”

MacFarlane said she’s always been proud of her father’s service and professionalism and that she looks up to him for being a positive influence.

“I’m also proud to have this chance to be a part of [basic military training] and to be able to help prepare men and women for their careers as airmen,” she continued. “I get to serve alongside my Air Force family as well as my actual family, and that means a lot to me.”

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