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Saturday, November 04, 2006

NGAUS Notes: 11/3/2006

Veterans Honored Thursday in Washington; Memorial Announced.
Lois B. Pope, a noted Florida-based philanthropist, announced yesterday plans to build a memorial near the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to honor America’s veterans.

Ms. Pope, co-founder and chairman of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Foundation, said the foundation has raised half the $65 million needed to build the marble and glass memorial. It will be located on two acres of land within view of the U.S. Capitol.

Ms. Pope said groundbreaking is set for 2008.

"It’s a salute to them, to honor their valor, their courage and their sacrifice," she said. "And it’s a way of educating the American people, that war isn’t just about bombs and bullets and death and destruction. It’s about human beings, like these young men and women here today, who stand up for the highest values inherent in all of us."

Steve D. Tough, president of Health Net Federal Services, LLC, said his company is a co-sponsor of project.

At another event yesterday, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao said veterans’ "patriotism, sense of duty, commitment and sacrifice make our freedom and way of life possible."

Ms. Chao also said all Americans owe veterans a profound debt of gratitude and that her organization is proud to play a role "in helping these courageous men and women access the resources and services to succeed in the 21st century work force."

She also spoke about the agency’s role in regulating and enforcing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which protects Guardsmen and Reservists’ rights when they return to work after active duty.

Deadlines Loom to Mail Holiday Packages Overseas.
Postal Service officials are reminding military families and friends sending holiday packages and letters to service men and women overseas, including Iraq and Afghanistan, that the deadline for the most economical shipping option is less than two weeks away.

Nov. 13 is the deadline for sending holiday packages to troops stationed overseas using Parcel Post to all Air/Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) zip codes.

Deadlines for Space Available Mail and Parcel Airlift Mail are Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, respectively.

The U.S. Postal Service is encouraging early deadlines to make sure that packages reach their destination in time for the holidays.

The U.S. Postal Service introduced a free Military Care Kit, or "Mili-kit" in 2004 to make it easier for military families and friends to send care packages overseas.

Each kit contains four Priority Mail boxes, six Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, 10 Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and 10 customs forms with envelopes.

This kit may be ordered by calling the USPS Expedited Package Supply Center at 1-800-610-8734.

The U.S. Postal Service has shipped more than 150,000 kits over the last two years.

The Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes included in the kit can be shipped to any APO/FPO in the world, regardless of weight, for $8.10.

All packages and mail must be addressed to individual service members, as required by U.S. Defense Department regulations.

A complete APO/FPO holiday mailing deadline matrix and additional information are available at USPS.

Hand-to Hand Combat Program Growing Among National Guardsmen
The Modern Army Combatives Program, based on a mixture of martial arts, is beginning to take root in the National Guard due to its popularity among soldiers and a strong belief that it teaches valuable lessons needed in combat.

The program progresses through four levels and teaches wrestling, judo, boxing, kickboxing and stick fighting, starting out with Brazilian Jui-Jitsu.

The program began in 2002 to increase hand-to-hand combat ability among soldiers.

"Combatives builds the soldiers warrior ethos but it also gives them the ability to defend themselves when they can’t use lethal force," said Sgt. 1st Class Alan Ezelle with Oregon’s 2/162 Infantry Battalion.

Sergeant Ezelle points out that the training is now mandatory for all soldiers going into theater and feels that it’s critical in helping soldiers survive in combat.

"It teaches them body mechanics and gives them the ability to detain someone physically," he said. "In combat a soldier will deal with locals at arms length, not knowing what possible situations can arise. On many occasions they may have to detain someone physically and combatives gives them that skill."

Sergeant Ezelle was a platoon Sergeant in Iraq when the unit deployed from March 2004 to April 2005. He said the battalion saw heavy fighting throughout the month of August and suffered 15 percent casualties during their deployment. He feels the program builds critical skills.

Now part of Army doctrine, the program can enhance combat skills to make Guardsmen better soldiers. For more information, please visit Modern Combatives.

Communications Dept. Seeks Seasoned Staff Writer.
The National Guard Association has an immediate opening for an experienced staff writer. Selected candidate will contribute to NATIONAL GUARD, the association’s monthly magazine, NGAUS NOTES and the NGAUS Web site.

Duties include writing short news stories and covering a variety of hearings on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. For the magazine, the successful candidate will contribute at least one substantial feature story each month and assist in editing and producing the final product. Some travel is required.

Candidates must have five years of reporting experience. Familiarity with the military and the National Guard is preferred.

Interest in writing about military/legislative topics a must. Car required. Salary: low- to mid-40s. Excellent benefits include health and dental coverage and a 401k plan. Convenient Capitol Hill location.

Please send cover letter, resume and three writing samples to:
    Communications Department, National Guard Association
    One Massachusetts Ave. NW
    Washington, D.C. 20001.
    Fax: 202-682-9358.
    E-mail: Chris Prawdzik.
Please enter "Application" in the subject line if sending e-mail.

This Week in Guard History.
Nov. 5, 1961: In the wake of the Soviet Union’s continued construction of the Berlin Wall, and a fear of possible conflict in Germany, President John F. Kennedy mobilized selected reserve-components units.

To protect Germany along with the other allies, he authorized the deployment of 11 Air Guard fighter squadrons to bases in West Germany, France and Spain. The first of these squadrons arrived in late October. By this date, several, including Missouri’s 110th and New Jersey’s 141st tactical fighter squadrons, had their ground service personnel join them and they became fully operational. They began flying patrols along the border dividing East from West Germany.

Fortunately, no war erupted and by the summer of 1962 all the Guard units were released from active duty.

NGAUS History.
Maj. Gen. Charles M. Kiefer, NGAUS president, laid the first granite cornerstone for the new National Guard Memorial during a ceremony Feb. 7, 1990. General Kiefer, speaking to a crowd of senators, congressmen, National Guard Bureau officers and NGAUS members, said the ceremony marked the end of one era and the beginning of another.

"It was not until 1959 on this very site that the association built its first building," he said. "The legacy left gave us an opportunity to nurture it, to build upon it and to leave a bigger legacy for those who follow us."

General Kiefer noted that the building was ahead of schedule and on budget.

Keynote speakers included Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., and Rep. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery, D-Miss. Other attendees included Sens. Kit Bond, D-Mo., and Mark Hatfield, R-Ore., and Reps. Robert Dornan, R-Calif., and Ike Skelton, D-Mo. The building would be dedicated Sept. 22, 1991.
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