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Friday, March 16, 2007

NGAUS Notes: 3/16/2007

Walter Reed Board Gets Mixed Views at Hearing.
Injured soldiers and their families painted widely contrasting pictures Tuesday at the first hearing of a Pentagon review board investigating conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Some of those testifying described continued bureaucratic missteps and problems with patient treatment more than three weeks after media reports questioned the care of outpatients and some living conditions at the facility.

Two Army National Guard soldiers detailed problems in the medical and physical board process. Doctors categorized their injuries as pre-existing, even though the two had been cleared for duty and had no prior record of the injuries, they said.

The wife of an Army Guard lieutenant colonel complained about transportation and housing problems.

She said no one from the hospital met her husband when he arrived at the airport in Washington, D.C., last year. Her children had to drive from West Virginia to pick him up.

He was then forced to stay in a local motel for weeks because there was no room at the center, and he still has not been reimbursed. Near tears, she said she is tired of fighting the system.

But others had nothing but praise for Walter Reed. A woman caring for her injured Army Guard stepson even said she is bothered by what others are surmising from recent media reports.

"I get phone calls and letters from family and friends daily who think that my son is living in squalid conditions here. He's not," she said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates assembled the review board two weeks ago. It's scheduled to report its findings April 16.

Air Force Expands Distance Learning Opportunities.
This month, the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, began offering its first distance learning graduate degree program.

With this pilot program in systems engineering, it is now possible for military members, Defense Department civilians and government contractors across the country to earn a master's degree from AFIT without moving to Ohio or leaving their current assignments.

"What makes our program so unique is that it is geared toward the DoD employee," said David Jacques, the curriculum chair for the engineering program. "Our faculty uses its extensive military background to create a defense-centered educational experience."

The program encourages students to address workplace systems problems, added George Mooney, director of AFIT's Center for Systems engineering. "That way, students can make strides toward obtaining their master's degree while helping the Air Force," he said.

AFIT also opened the graduate school's brand-new distance learning studio suite. After an interior construction and renovation project, the school installed new equipment in the studio suite to facilitate an expanding distance learning outreach.

"Our goal was to create a flexible toolbox that faculty members could use to create streamable content, as well as interact in real-time with the distance learning student," said John Reisner, director of AFIT's Office of Extension Services.

Previously, the school relied on video-teleconferences to deliver educational content to the remote student.

Prospective students interested in learning more about DL programs offered by AFIT's Graduate School of Engineering and Management can visit AFIT's Office of Extension Services' Web site at AFIT.edu.

Army Surgeon General Is Latest Walter Reed Casualty.
Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, the Army surgeon general under fire for shortcomings in outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, submitted his request to retire from the Army Sunday.

Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock, current deputy surgeon general, immediately assumed the surgeon general's duties.

After stories in The Washington Post showed extensive problems with outpatient facilities at the medical center housing troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey resigned March 2, and Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, Walter Reed's commander was relieved March 1.

An advisory board to recommend surgeon general candidates will convene in April.

"We must move quickly to fill this position; this leader will have a key role in moving the way forward in meeting the needs of our wounded warriors," said acting Army Secretary Pete Geren. "We have an Army action plan under way under the leadership of the vice chief of staff, Army General [Richard] Cody, and the surgeon general has a critical role in the execution of that plan."

General Kiley, who had been Army surgeon general and commander of U.S. Army Medical Command since Sept. 30, 2004, said his retirement was in the best interest of the Army.

General Pollock became deputy surgeon general in October 2006 and is a registered nurse anesthetist. She received her master of business administration degree from Boston University, a master's in health care administration from Baylor University and a master's in national security and strategy from the National Defense University.

Legislative Staff Seeks Analyst.
NGAUS is seeking a legislative analyst to work at association headquarters in Washington.

The ideal candidate will: have a bachelor's degree; be familiar with the congressional process and the military; and be able to analyze Guard-related issues. The candidate must also possess strong computer skills and be familiar with Web content management software.

The association offers a competitive salary and benefits. Interested candidates should submit a resume to retired Brig. Gen. Richard Green, NGAUS legislative director, via fax: 202-682-9358 or e-mail: Ret. Brig. Gen. Richard Green.

NGAUS History.
NGAUS hosted a special Lincoln-Grant exhibit, courtesy of the Illinois National Guard, in February 1981. The opening Feb. 3 included a reception for the Illinois National Guard, Illinois congressional delegation and members of the National Guard Bureau.

Maj. Gen. John R. Phipps, Illinois adjutant general, proposed the idea to emphasize the service of Presidents Lincoln and Grant in the Illinois state militia.

Original Lincoln and Grant uniforms were on display at The National Guard Memorial for several weeks. From there, the artifacts returned to Illinois to be used as part of a mobile exhibit to assist with recruiting.

Capt. Lincoln served with the 4th Regiment of the Illinois Mounted Volunteers. He saw action in the Black Hawk War of 1832. Col. Grant was appointed by Gov. Richard Yates to recruit and train the 21st Infantry Regiment in June 1861. Lincoln appointed Grant lieutenant general of the Army in 1864.

This Week in Guard History.
Mar. 15, 1781: Guilford Courthouse, N.C.--An American army under General Nathaniel Greene battles Lord Cornwallis, commander of the British army moving out of South Carolina. General Greene, originally a member of the Rhode Island militia, was one of General Washington's field commanders.

This battle saw some of the most desperate fighting of the war, with American troops charging into British ranks to engage in hand-to-hand combat. Cornwallis ordered his artillery to fire into the intermixed ranks, killing of a number of his own men. General Green withdrew his army in good order leaving Cornwallis with heavy causalities, to march to Wilmington, N.C., for transport by ship north to Virginia.

This delay probably cost Britain the war, as the Americans had time to shift forces into Virginia to oppose him. His army's surrender at Yorktown seven months later was a direct result of General Greene's actions during this battle.

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