By U.S. Army Sgt. Cesar E. Leon, 369th Sustainment Brigade
Helping our Nation’s Military & Their Families in Their Local Communities
By U.S. Army Sgt. Cesar E. Leon, 369th Sustainment Brigade
By Tim Hudak,
The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,493 individuals during 26 conflicts
The greatest commendation our nation can confer is the Medal of Honor. The first Medals of Honor were presented on March 25, 1863. To commemorate this date and all Medal of Honor recipients, Congress declared March 25th as National Medal of Honor day.
The Medal of Honor is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity.” This National Medal of Honor Day, we remember the courage and selfless sacrifice of those incredible individuals.
The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,493 individuals. There are currently 79 living Medal of Honor recipients and 19 recipients have received two Medals.
Average age of recipients at the time of the Medal of Honor action:
The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation is a educational institution organized to design, fund, build and maintain the new museum and education center that will:
Mission, Goals and Guiding Principles
To preserve and present the extraordinary stories of individuals who reached the highest levels of recognition, “above and beyond the call of duty,” in service to the nation. GoalsDesign, fund, build and maintain state-of-the-art facilities for the orientation, comfort and education of visitors. Present exhibits, programs and services designed to engage diverse audiences and enhance their understanding of and appreciation for the stories of the Congressional Medal of Honor and Medal of Honor recipients, and the values associated with the Medal. Through an Institute of Leadership, combine the legacies of the Medal of Honor and its recipients with the resources of the museum to help leaders in the business, education and government communities make decisions that will have a positive impact on their organizations’ success. Guiding PrinciplesThe museum will help visitors make personal and emotional connections to recipients of the Medal of Honor and the events that prompted their sacrifices. To facilitate coordination and communication, the museum will have sufficient space to accommodate the offices of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.
Exhibits, programs and activities will meet the highest standards for preservation, conservation and curatorial care of the artifacts and will be designed and developed with maintenance requirements in mind. They will take full advantage of scholarship, technology and learning techniques.
The museum will be designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience, exciting and inspiring visitors of all ages, learning styles, objectives and physical abilities.
Use changing exhibits, special programs and seasonal offerings to help ensure the success of Patriots Point as a premiere destination, to optimize visitors’ length of stay and to encourage repeat visitation.
Raise awareness of and support for the work of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, including its Character Development Program. Educational programs, on-site and through outreach, will focus on the values and ideals of the Medal of Honor – courage, integrity, patriotism, leadership and sacrifice.
Preserve, protect and acquire key artifacts and archival materials related to the Medal of Honor and its recipients, helping to create a tangible link between visitors and the heroes who have sacrificed for the nation.
Recognize and honor those who have served our country.
To inspire current and future generations about the ideals of courage, integrity, patriotism, leadership and sacrifice; to help them understand the meaning and price of freedom; and to encourage them to embrace their responsibilities as citizens in a democracy.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, whose membership consists of the living Medal recipients, has designated this as the National Medal of Honor Museum. Members of the Society serve on the Foundation’s board and comprise a steering committee that will review all museum exhibits and programs to ensure they are consistent with the Society’s mission. Their interest is not in a monument to themselves, but rather a learning center that focuses on sending important messages to our youth about patriotism, leadership and courage.
By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, March 24, 2017 — A third of the nation’s living Medal of Honor recipients gathered at the White House today to commemorate Medal of Honor Day with President Donald J. Trump.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also attended the ceremony, conducted in the Oval Office, which the president called a great tribute to everyone and a great tribute to the nation.
“Each of you has risen above and beyond the call of duty in defense of our country, our people, and our flag,” Trump told them. “You have poured out your hearts, your sweat and your tears like few others, and your blood — most importantly your blood — for the United States of America. We thank you, very much thank you.”
Soul of the Nation
Trump said the Medal of Honor recipients are “the soul of our nation, and a grateful republic salutes you. Constantly we’re saluting you. We have great admiration and respect, believe me, I know what you’ve been through.”
America writes the recipients’ names and deeds in its national memory, and will forever remember those who did not come home, but who died for the cause of freedom, he said.
The Land of Heroes
“In this room hangs the portrait of our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage alongside his band of Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill. … His medal, which is also displayed here, is a reminder of how blessed we truly are to live in the land of heroes. And you are our greatest heroes,” Trump told the Medal of Honor recipients.
“To all of those gathered here today, and to all of those warriors who could not be with us, we thank you. Your acts of valor inspire us — and they show us that there is always someone on the night watch to ensure a bright sun rises on America each and every morning,” he said.
Retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Skardon, 99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, walks in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March with two Army medics at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 19, 2017. This was the 10th time Skardon walked in the event.
By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, March 22, 2017 — Military readiness must be bolstered, Defense Department leaders told the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee today.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the senators that sequestration gutted military readiness and asked the committee to approve a $30 billion amendment to the fiscal year 2017 defense budget request to help the department recover.
Dunford was quick to point out that service members are sacrificing and that because of those sacrifices, “the joint forces can defend the homeland and our way of life, we can meet our alliance commitments and we maintain an overall competitive advantage over any potential adversary.”
The general does not want any potential adversary to think the United States cannot defend itself. Still, if the current budget climate is allowed to continue, the U.S. competitive advantage will continue to erode, he said.
Military actions around the globe add their own special erosion. “Fifteen years of war have also taken a toll on our people and our equipment,” Dunford said. “Many of our men and women continue to deploy as much as they are home. Similarly, our platforms, weapons and equipment are showing signs of wear. In many cases, we have far exceeded the planned service life for our vehicles, our aircraft and our ships.”
Budget battles also impose readiness blockages. “Eight years of continuing resolutions and the absence of predictable funding has forced the department to prioritize near-term readiness at the expense of modernization and advance capability development,” the general said. “We now face what has been described as a bow wave of modernization requirements for both our nuclear and our conventional forces.”
Potential foes see this, he said, and invest money into capabilities in space, cyber, electronic warfare and missile defense, again closing the gap between themselves and the United States.
“It’s important that we reverse that trend,” Dunford added.
The fiscal 2017 defense budget request is a much-needed first step and it will address the most urgent near-term readiness concerns, the chairman said. It will fund current operations, address personnel shortfalls, resource training and improve maintenance across the joint force. “The additional request for resources also allows us to procure limited quantities of needed equipment to fill holes in our deploying units,” he said.
The budget amendment also contains $5.8 billion for overseas contingency operations. This will allow the military to further accelerate the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Dunford said. “From my perspective, not having the OCO money will restrict our ability actually to accelerate the campaign and seize opportunities,” the general said. “We’ll lose some flexibility.”
The extra money is needed to buy spare parts, ammunition and for more soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. “We really do have many of our people that are home about an equal amount of time to the time they deployed,” the chairman told the subcommittee. “I visited one U.S. Navy ship last September. They were under way in a previous 12 months 70 percent of the time. They were at sea because of an important ballistic missile defense capability.”
The budget asks for some extra equipment. “We see that particularly in the case of the aviation enterprise, where units have fewer aircraft than they rate,” he said, which creates two problems.
The first is the unit doesn’t have the system needed to go to war. “The other is they don’t have sufficient aircraft to train,” Dunford said. “And so, our pilots also have degraded readiness as a result of not have sufficient aircraft.”
The chairman used a Navy squadron in Oceana Naval Air Base, Virginia, as an example. The squadron rates 10 aircraft, but actually has only five mission-ready aircraft. “You can’t get pilots to the right level of training proficiency on those five aircraft, which has two effects: one, is a readiness effect,” he said. “The other is, over time, is a morale issue. We see the same thing with helicopters in the Army.”
The chairman’s experiences over the past decade give him a much broader definition of readiness. “To me, it’s about what actions are necessary to make units whole, to allow them to be combat effective and deployable,” he said. “Today, it’s a combination not only of maintaining equipment that we have; not only addressing the spare parts shortfall, but actually … now replacing shadows [on] the ramp where equipment doesn’t physically exist in the unit at a material condition that would allow us to deploy it.”
Now is the time to address this situation, he said. Any delay just pushes the readiness problem down the road. The military will ensure that units deploying in harm’s way have the training, personnel, spare parts and equipment they need. But the units at home station will be stripped and the cost to bring readiness to acceptable levels will be much more farther down the budgetary road.
“So admittedly, some of these initiatives won’t realize a readiness benefit until 2019 or ’20, but if we don’t take the action in ’17, that will simply become 2021 or ’22,” he said.
St. Patrick’s Day – Constitution.com/st-patrick/
For many, St. Patrick’s Day is all about going green. Green hair, green flags, green clothes, green jewelry, green cookies and most importantly, green beer. Every year since 1962, Chicago dyes the Chicago River green. However, the truth and meaning of the holiday remains hidden within the green shamrock.
Patrick was born to a British Roman Catholic family towards the end of the 4th century. When he was 16, Irish raiders attacked his town and kidnapped him. Patrick was taken as a slave to Ireland where he was forced into being a shepherd.
During this time, Patrick stated, “the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God.”
After six years in Ireland, Patrick claimed the voice of God told him to leave. Without hesitation, he escaped, walking 200 miles to a port where a ship took him to Britain. However, Patrick’s journey was just beginning.
Soon after, Patrick claimed an angel visited him in a dream, this time telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He spent the next 15 years studying the priesthood. His extensive schooling partially resulted from Patrick trying to avoid his call from God, much like Jonah had done before him. His apprehension was understandable, due to his prior enslavement. Regardless, he finally put his faith in God and left for Ireland upon his ordination.
A nature-based pagan religion dominated the region where Patrick ministered. Paul instructed the Corinthians to “put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” (2 Corinthians 6:3) Patrick realized forcing them to throw away everything they knew and starting from scratch would be a “stumbling block” for most. Instead, following Paul, Patrick redefined familiar symbols with the Gospel.
The sun represented an important emblem to the people. Patrick combined a sun with a cross, creating the well-known Celtic Cross. He preached whatever life-giving powers they believed came from the sun are actually found in the cross. Thus redirecting their worship of creation back to the Creator.
However, Patrick’s most famous analogy relates to the Trinity, or Triune God.
We know from scripture there is only one God:
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
“I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 45:5)
Yet in Genesis 1:26, God says “Let US make mankind in our image, in our likeness,” denoting the plurality of God. (emphasis mine in all verses)
That plurality is found in three separate persons:
WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017 — Patrick M. Shanahan of Boeing Co. is President Donald J. Trump’s choice to succeed Bob Work as deputy defense secretary, White House officials announced today.
The announcement also lists the president’s intention to nominate five other people for senior civilian positions at the Pentagon.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement that all are “highly qualified individuals” who were personally recommended by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Mattis is grateful to Work for agreeing to continue serving until Shanahan is confirmed by the Senate, Davis said. Work’s steady leadership, he added, “is critical during this time of transition, and Secretary Mattis continues to have full confidence in him as he carries out crucial work in managing in the department.”
Shanahan, from Washington state, is Boeing’s senior vice president for supply chain and operations, responsible for oversight of the company’s manufacturing operations and supplier management functions. He came to that position from Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he served as senior vice president of airplane programs and oversaw the management of profit and loss for the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs.
Previously, Shanahan was vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems and vice president and general manager for Rotorcraft Systems in Philadelphia, where he was responsible for all U.S. Army Aviation, including the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64D Apache helicopters.
Shanahan is a Royal Aeronautical Society Fellow, Society of Manufacturing Engineers Fellow, and an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow. He serves as a Regent at the University of Washington and participates in numerous professional and charitable organizations, including the Washington Roundtable. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Selectees for other senior Pentagon posts include:
— Robert Daigle, of Virginia, selected to serve as DoD’s director of cost assessment and program evaluation. Daigle previously served in CAPE during the Bush administration as director of program resources and information systems management. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Vermont. He was granted an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School and a Master of Science degree in international security studies from Georgetown University. Daigle is a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee and was the executive director of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. He previously served in the Army.
— Elaine McCusker of Virginia, selected to serve as principal deputy undersecretary of defense, comptroller. McCusker is the director of resources and analysis for Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Previously, she served as a professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, with the Navy Department and with the DoD comptroller’s office. McCusker previously worked in the private sector and the academic community, including with Argonne National Laboratory/Department of Energy and the University of Washington.
— David L. Norquist of Virginia, selected to serve as undersecretary of defense, comptroller. Norquist is a partner with Kearney and Company, a certified public accounting firm. He has 27 years of experience in federal financial management, beginning as a federal employee in 1989 with the Army Department. He also has served on the professional staff of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee and as deputy undersecretary of defense in the DoD comptroller’s office. He was the first Senate-confirmed chief financial officer for the Department of Homeland Security, where he established a formal process to eliminate pervasive weaknesses in DHS’s financial statement and put the department on its path to a clean audit opinion. Norquist attended the University of Michigan, where he received both a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a Master of Public Policy degree in 1989. He also received a Master of Arts degree in national security studies from Georgetown University in 1995. He is a certified government financial manager.
— Kenneth P. Rapuano of Virginia, selected to serve as an assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security. Rapuano has a long career in national security and homeland security affairs in the private, public and academic sectors. He currently serves as senior vice president and director of the Studies and Analysis Group at the ANSER Corp., and previously led the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. Rapuano served as White House deputy homeland security advisor from 2004 to 2006, has served in numerous roles with the departments of Energy and Defense, and has deployed numerous times on active and reserve duty with the Marine Corps and as a civilian with the Defense Department.
— David Joel Trachtenberg of Virginia, selected to serve as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. Trachtenberg is the president and CEO of Shortwaver Consulting LLC, a national security consultancy. Prior to this role, he was vice president and head of the strategic analysis division at CACI-National Security Research. Trachtenberg previously served in several roles at the Defense Department, most recently as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, where he was responsible for issues relating to NATO, Europe, Russia and Eurasia; technology security; counterproliferation; missile defense; nuclear forces; and arms control. Trachtenberg also was a professional staff member with the House Armed Services Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from the University of Southern California and a Master of Science degree in foreign service from Georgetown University.