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Profiles of Veterans Running for Office on the Democratic Ticket

congress

By Debbie Gregory.

Veterans who are Democrats are running for Congressional seats in record numbers. And some of them are proving to be competitive in areas previously considered as Republican strong-holds.

While veterans are traditionally considered conservative, here are some veterans running as Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections:

Josh Butner- CA

Josh’s family has a long history of service to America. On his father’s side, their service extends all the way back to the Mexican-American War and on his mother’s side, back to the Civil War. Josh served for 23 years in the United States Navy where he saw multiple combat deployments, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. Josh first came to San Diego County in 1988 for training to become a Navy SEAL and currently lives on a small ranch in Jamul where he raised his children, one of which is currently serving in the military. Josh continues his service as a Trustee on the Jamul Dulzura School Board.

Jason Crow- CO

Jason served in the Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division, leading a platoon of paratroopers during the invasion of Iraq. He earned the Bronze Star for his combat actions during the invasion, including fighting at the Battle of As Samawah. He joined the U.S. Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment, serving two additional tours – this time in Afghanistan, as part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force. Jason served on the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs, focusing on veterans homelessness and substance abuse issues.  He also has dedicated hundreds of hours mentoring individual veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.

Dan Feehan- MN

Dan served as an active duty soldier and completed two combat tours of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In Iraq, he searched for roadside bombs and pursued those threatening Americans and Iraqis alike, earning the Bronze Star for Service, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor, and the Ranger Tab. After his military service, worked for the Obama administration, first as a White House Fellow and then as an acting Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. He worked to ensure that service members were ready to fight, and that they had the tools to lead a quality life as veterans after their service was over.

Roger Dean Huffstetler- VA

Roger Dean is a Marine veteran and entrepreneur. The first in his family to graduate from college, he is committed to ensuring that every American has the chance to work hard, get ahead, and provide a better life for their children.

Dan McCready- NC

Dan is a Marine Corps veteran, business leader, husband, and father. He led 65 Marines in the 2007 Iraq surge, and was honorably discharged as a Captain.

Gina Ortiz Jones- TX

Knowing that many of the opportunities she and her family had were only possible because they were in the United States, from the time she was a young girl Gina knew she wanted to serve and give back. After graduating from Boston University with a BA and MA in Economics, and a BA in East Asian Studies, Gina entered the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Max Rose- NY

A resident of Staten Island, Max is a Democratic candidate for New York’s 11th congressional district. He is the first post-9/11 combat veteran of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to seek office in New York City. Max is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. From 2012-2013, he deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as an active duty officer, earning a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and  Combat Infantryman Badge. Max continues his service today in the National Guard as a Infantry Company Commander. He is also Ranger qualified.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Veteran Blames Shooting on PTSD

Adam Stone

By Debbie Gregory.

A U.S. Army veteran is standing trial on charges that he shot and killed another man following a confrontation at an Anaheim, California park.

Alexander Raymond McMoore was shot in the chest near the park’s basketball courts. He was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he later died.

Adam Jay Stone, 28, of Anaheim, and Ransom Lee Cook, 24, of Westminster were both arrested on suspicion of murder.According to Stone’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Robert Flory, his client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his military service, including his deployment to Iraq.

Due to the number of witnesses, the two men were quickly apprehended.

Prior to the shooting, Stone had been convicted of several local crimes and spent time in jail, according to Orange County court records.

Last October, Stone pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon, which was not a gun, vandalism that caused more than $400 worth of damage and brandishing a weapon, all misdemeanors. Stone was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation.

Cook does not appear to have a local criminal record.His charge was later reduced to accessory after the fact.

Cook said that Stone claimed McMoore, a transient with a violent temper, had tried to rip him off, forcing Stone to give him marijuana, and on one occasion, at gunpoint.

Flory has not disputed that his client shot and killed McMoore, .

Stone returned to the park with a gun. Stone believed that McMoore was armed and preparing to pull his weapon when Stone shot him.

If convicted, Stone faces up to 26 years to life in state prison.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Veteran Arrested with Massive Weapons Cache Claimed it was for a ‘Classified’ Mission

cache of weapons

By Debbie Gregory.

A 59-year-old Army veteran is facing more than 40 criminal charges and an investigation by state and federal law enforcement officials after he was arrested on March 24th in a Massachusetts hotel with dozens of weapons.

Texas native Francho Bradley told law enforcement that he assembled his arsenal as part of a “classified” mission for an unnamed government agency. But Detective Patrick Connor came to suspect that Bradley was, in fact, planning a mass-casualty event at one of the gun control marches planned for the metro Boston area the following weekend.

Bradley and his common law wife, Adrianne Jennings, were arrested with a cache including several semi-automatic rifles outfitted with suppressors and bump stocks; an AR-15 variant “with a grenade launcher affixed to the bottom”; tactical vests that appeared outfitted with military-style smoke and “flash bang” grenades; and high-capacity magazines.

In a lucky turn of events for law enforcement, but unlucky for the couple, Bradley himself called police saying that his surveillance footage of his hotel room had cut out, and he was worried that someone had broken in to steal a gun he had stored inside.

After their search turned up the massive weapons cache, the police waited for Bradley to arrive. Once he did, the Texas man presented them with a license to carry a handgun in his home state — but “it is not reciprocal in Massachusetts and he is deemed unlicensed,” the police report read.

He also lacked any military or police identification that would enable him to legally carry the weapons, law enforcement alleges.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Homeless Veterans Fastest Growing Segment Is Female Veterans

homeless female

By Debbie Gregory.

When most people picture a veteran, it’s a male. And the same holds true for homeless veterans. But the truth is that the Department of Veterans Affairs has found that female veterans, including those with children, are the fastest-growing share of homeless veterans.

Female veterans are two to four times as likely as their civilian counterparts to experience homelessness.

Most of these women, especially those with kids or histories of trauma, don’t sleep on the streets or find shelter placements. They prefer to couch-surf with friends and relatives, which more often than not, leaves them left out of the homeless count.

Far from being a well-understood phenomenon, most people would be hard-pressed to even include women veterans in the overall picture of veteran homelessness — or recognize their unique risk factors and survival strategies.

Many homeless women veterans were victims of military sexual trauma and feel resentment towards the military and the VA, and as a result do not identify themselves as being a veteran.

According to VA’s National Center for PTSD, data from VA’s military sexual trauma screening program show that about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men respond “yes,” that they experienced sexual trauma or assault while in the military.

Female homeless veterans are nothing like their male veteran counterparts in how and why they experience homelessness. Sadly, women veterans are frequently left out of the picture, intentionally or otherwise. One woman veteran in the series described it as “always being an afterthought,” whenever veterans issues are discussed.

Social health is more important to a woman’s healing process than it is to a man’s. The VA is realizing that and tailoring treatments as necessary.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Helping Teachers Prepare for the Next Mass Shooting

stop the bleed

By Debbie Gregory.

As mass shootings become more common, UAB Hospital, a Level I trauma center hospital located in Birmingham, Alabama is the first hospital in the state to offer Stop the Bleed training in schools.

Launched in October of 2015 by the White House, Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and a call to action. Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

Taught by medical professionals, many of whom served in the military including trauma surgeons and nurses, the training demonstrates how to apply tourniquets, pressure, and dressing to life-threatening wounds.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Virginia Strickland said school districts initially resisted the tourniquet training, not wanting to face the reality that it might one day happen to them.

After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, the American College of Surgeons began a campaign to improve access to tourniquets.

Bleeding can cause death in five to eight minutes, and in many situations, first responders would not be able to provide life-saving aid in that amount of time.

Advances made by military medicine and research in hemorrhage control during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have informed the work of this initiative which exemplifies translation of knowledge back to the homeland to the benefit of the general public.

Finding a Basic Bleeding Control (BCon) class is as simple as visiting the official BleedingControl.org website and clicking on the Find a Class button. From there you can filter your search results by location and date.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Captain Marvel Will Draw On Danvers’ Military Service, but Also Mourns Loss of Consultant

bagano

By Debbie Gregory.

Captain Marvel is the name of several fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Most of these versions exist in Marvel’s main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.

On March 26, Marvel Studios announced that production on Captain Marvel has officially begun. In the upcoming film, Brie Larson plays the seventh Captain Marvel, Air Force fighter pilot Col. Carol Danvers.

Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel follows Danvers as she goes from fighter pilot to living weapon, beginning prior to Danvers gaining her super powers of flight, incredible feats of strength, speed, agility, and the ability to absorb and redirect energy as she sees fit. After attaining the powers, she became Captain Marvel.

Preparation for her role included Larson taking flight in an F-16. Offering her expertise was Lt. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt, the commander of the 57th Wing, the Air Force’s first female fighter pilot.

The film is expected to  lean heavily on Danvers’ military service, from the head of security at a secret DoD missile base to a leader, strategist, and tactician to rival the likes of both Iron Man and Captain America.

Thunderbird pilot Air Force Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, who worked as a consultant on the film, was recently killed while performing a set of training maneuvers at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

Marvel Studios tweeted, ““We lost a friend yesterday. Marvel Studios is saddened to hear of the loss of Air Force Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, who we were lucky to get to know during his time as a consultant on Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel is scheduled to be released in 2019.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families

Fat Leonard’ Scandal Influences Pentagon’s pick to lead Joint Chiefs

Fat Leonard

By Debbie Gregory.

When it came time for the Pentagon to chose a new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of their top choices turned out to be tainted rattled by the “Fat Leonard” scandal.

Leonard Glenn Francis, known as “Fat Leonard” because of his size, has admitted to bribing Navy officials with more than $500,000 in cash, prostitutes and more.  He wanted classified information to help his Singapore-based company retain lucrative contracts to resupply Navy vessels in the Pacific, as it had done for more than a quarter-century.

Francis confessed to swindling the Navy out of $35 million and bribing scores of officers.

Francis confided to federal agents in early 2015 that he had paid for opulent dinners and other favors for Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, then-commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific. Locklear was one of four contenders to head the Joint Chiefs.

While the Justice Department decided to not press charges, and despite being cleared of wrongdoing by the Navy, his association with the 350-pound contractor helped sink Locklear’s chances to lead the Joint Chiefs.

The Navy has declined to disclose how many people it has kicked out of the service for taking bribes or gifts from Francis.

Locklear last served as the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command from March 9, 2012, to May 27, 2015. Prior to that, he served as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe – U.S. Naval Forces Africa and NATO’s Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples. Prior to that, he served as Director, Navy Staff from July 2009 to October 2010. He retired from the Navy on July 1, 2015, after 39 years of service.

President Barack Obama nominated Gen. Joseph Dunford to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on May 5, 2015. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and took over from Army General Martin Dempsey on September 25, 2015, and officially took office on October 1, 2015.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Operation Cold Steel II Prepares Reserve Soldiers for War

cold steel

By Debbie Gregory.

The Army Reserve is preparing 10,000 soldiers for major war with intensive training on machine guns and automatic grenade launchers.

Called Operation Cold Steel II, the first iteration spanned two months, from Oct. 12 to Dec. 15, 2017, at Fort Hunter Liggett, CA. During that time, the 79th Theater Support Command (TSC), hosted Task Force Coyote, training approximately 2,000 Soldiers on crew-served weapons including the M2 machine gun, M249 light machine gun, M240B machine gun and Mark 19 40 mm grenade machine gun. Soldiers in this iteration focused on ground qualification, expending more than 1.2 million rounds of ammunition.

The second iteration took place at Fort McCoy, WI, on Feb. 19, 2018. The third iteration began shortly after on March 1 at at Fort Knox, KY.

“Cold Steel benefits the (troop list unit Soldiers) by training them and giving them an experience that they most likely have never had in the Army Reserve or even in the history of the Army Reserve,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Freddy Trejo, Task Force Triad senior enlisted advisor, Operation Cold Steel II. “We’re putting weapons in their hands, getting them qualified, increasing their confidence as Army Reserve Soldiers and we are sending crews back to units completely qualified and trained.”

In addition to crew-served weapons qualification, an estimated 250 Soldiers are training as Vehicle Crew Evaluators. Newly-trained Army Reserve Master Gunner Common Core graduates are teaming with seasoned active-component Master Gunners to build the bench enabling units in the Army Reserve to conduct gunnery autonomously at the unit level.

The live-fire exercises are also a valuable opportunity for Army Reserve sergeants — the noncommissioned backbone of the force — to take charge of training again, after years of centralized, top-down preparation for Afghanistan and Iraq.

The soldiers will train and qualify on MK-19, M240B, M2 and M249 platforms mounted to various military vehicles, including Humvees, Medium Tactical Vehicles, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, and Heavy Equipment Transports.

“Operation Cold Steel is designed to train Soldiers on a way to effectively acquire and engage targets on a mounted platform. This is something that has not been trained on in the Army Reserve in a while other than during (pre-mobilization),” said Staff Sgt. David Jenkins, operations noncommissioned officer, Task Force Cold Steel II.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army to Redesign Basic Training Due to Low Recruit Discipline

basic123

By Debbie Gregory.

The US Army’s Basic Combat Training (BCT) will soon receive an overhaul intended to build more discipline fighting force.

By early summer, the Army’s BCT will be implemented in an attempt to instill strict discipline and pride. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t still be a heavy focus on physical fitness, battlefield first aid skills, marksmanship and communications.

The program addresses the trend of new soldiers who demonstrate a lack of obedience, a poor work ethic, and general carelessness with their uniforms and equipment.

“What leaders have observed in general is they believe that there is too much of a sense of entitlement, questioning of lawful orders, not listening to instruction, too much of a buddy mentality with NCOs and officers and a lot of tardiness being late to formation and duties,” said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commanding General of the U.S. Army Center of Initial Military Training. “These are trends that they see as increasing that they think are part of the discipline aspect that is missing and that they would like to see in the trainees that become soldiers that come to them as their first unit of assignment.”

The problem with recruits who enter their military service thinking it’s just like any other job is that without the right attitudes, they can get killed – even in training. They can’t be lazy. They can’t ignore lawful orders.

The physical fitness requirements for the course have been increased. They’ll have to qualify with firearms that just have iron sights instead of optics. Their combative training hours are increased to 33 instead of the former 22.

The new BCT has three new exercises called “Hammer, Anvil, Forge.” The Forge (FTX) concludes the training. It will be an 81 hour field training exercise that includes night infiltration, medical evaluation training, ethical decision making, resupply missions, march and shoot, communication and more.

“If you succeed in making it through the 81-hour FTX … then what will happen is you will earn the right to become a soldier. You will earn your beret, you will earn a ‘soldier for life’ certificate, you will get your National Defense Service Medal and your uniform will look exactly like a United States Army soldier.” Maj Gen Frost

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Trump Wants to Use Military to Secure Border

border wall

By Debbie Gregory.

President Donald Trump wants to deploy members of the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border until his promised border wall is built.

No time frame for the deployment has been announced.

Trump has promised to build a “big, beautiful wall” on the border since early in his campaign, claiming it will help secure the border. But Congress has yet to pass any meaningful funding for the wall’s construction, and federal law prohibits the use of active duty service members for law enforcement inside the U.S., unless specifically authorized by Congress.

Some 6,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the border in 2006, under president George W Bush. The troops did not participate in any law enforcement activity, but helped with surveillance and administrative tasks.

“We’re going to be doing things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” Trump said, calling the move a “big step.”

In addition to mobilizing the National Guard, Trump and senior officials agreed on the need to pressure Congress to urgently pass legislation to close legal loopholes exploited by criminal trafficking, narco-terrorist and smuggling organizations

Among the new measures the administration is pursuing: ending special safeguards that prevent the immediate deportation of children arrested at the border and traveling alone. Currently, unaccompanied children from countries that don’t border the U.S. are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services and undergo often lengthy deportation proceedings before an immigration judge instead of being immediately deported.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.