September 26, 2008 –, a “portal of all things military” and a corporate member of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program is pleased to be airing a Webathon that will raise funds for the Bob Hope USO. The Webathon will take place this Wednesday, October 1st from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. is proud to be joining forces with several of the premier CBS Southern California radio stations including KRTH-FM (K-Earth 101), KTWV-FM (94.7 The WAVE), KLSX-FM (91.7 Free FM), KFWB-AM (News 980) and KNX-AM (News 1070).  In addition to, the event will be live on, and and will be powered by

The Webathon will be hosted by K-Earth 101’s morning show personality Gary Bryan, and will feature other CBS Radio stars such as Lisa Stanley, “Shotgun Tom” Kelly, Leo Quinones, Adam Carolla, Brian McKnight, Pat Prescott and many others.

There will also be a golf tournament where the Webathon will be broadcast live from the beautiful Trump National Golf Club along California’s beautiful coastline.  This year’s Honorary Chairman and Celebrity Host will be Joe Mantegna, star of CBS Television’s “Criminal Minds.”  Mantegna will receive the Bob HopeThanks for the Memory” award at the event’s awards program for his dedication to the morale support of American troops.  Dozens of celebrities from film, Television, radio and stage will participate in this annual fund-raising tournament.

Debbie Gregory, CEO of Military Connection said, “It is our privilege and honor to assist an exemplary organization such as the Bob Hope USO that provides a “home away from home” for servicemembers and their families.”    Debbie added, “I invite everyone to watch this webathon on and to make donations to the Bob Hope USO.”

Donations can be made by calling 1-800-USO-8454.

9-11 Freedom Walk


September 4, 2008

* * * MEDIA ADVISORY * * *

3rd Annual 9-11 Freedom Walk

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (
) is joining forces with
to bring to our city the third annual Simi Valley Freedom Walk on
Thursday, September 11th. Please join us as we remember the victims of
September 11th, and honor our troops who continue to fight for


Pre-program patriotic music; 1st Marine Division Band, United States
Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton


Program begins, which includes:

Colonel James Seaton, Commanding Officer, United States Marine
Corps, Camp Pendleton
Army Sergeant Neil Duncan who lost both of his legs in 2005 when an
IED ripped through his humvee in Afghanistan
Brad Burlingame, whose brother, Captain Charles Burlingame III, lost
his life as the pilot of American Airlines flight 77 when it was
hijacked and flown into the U.S. Pentagon
F-18 Flyover

Walk begins – The 1.8 mile route will begin in the Reagan
Library’s courtyard and will conclude at Rancho Madera Community
Park off of Wood Ranch Parkway.

Walk concludes. Light refreshments will be offered and Air National
Guard Band of the Southwest will provide post-program musical
entertainment at the park. Complementary shuttle service will return
the participants to their cars at the Library.

To register, go to
and click on “Simi Valley Freedom Walk”, or call 805-522-2977.
The first 1,000 people who register for the walk will receive a free
“Freedom Walk” t-shirt and an American flag.

Also, from September 1st through September 30th the Reagan Library
will be collecting donations for U.S. Soldiers fighting in Iraq and
Afghanistan in the Library’s main lobby. Items must be unwrapped and
in original packaging, including: packets of trail mix, peanuts, gum,
hard candy and beef jerky; snacks that are not heat sensitive and will
not melt in hot temperatures; individual packets of lemonade or
Crystal Light for water bottles; CDs and DVDs; used video games; AA
batteries; stationery; and pre-paid phone cards. Only miniature
hygiene items will be accepted.

The Reagan Library and
would like to thank American Airlines for their generous support of
this event. Other event sponsors include:

Air National Guard of the Southwest; Black Aces of VFA-41, Lemoore,
CA; Larry Borovay of Simi Valley; The City of Simi Valley; CocaCola
Enterprises; Command Performance; The Jelly Belly Candy Company;
Rebecca Kogen; Naval Base Ventura County; Neptune Productions; Rancho
Simi Recreation and Park District; The Red Cross of Ventura County;
RoadRunner Shuttle; Starbucks of Simi Valley; The Flag Factory; USMC
Camp Pendleton’s First Marine Division Band.

Where: The courtyard of The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 40
Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, CA

About the America Supports You Freedom Walk

The America Supports You Freedom Walk was created in 2005 to
establish a national tradition of remembrance of the lives lost on
September 11, 2001, to renew our commitment to freedom and the values
of our country, and to honor our veterans, past and present. For more
information, visit

The War on Big Tobacco

Welcome back to our spotlight on military blogs or MilBlogs. This month we’re featuring The War on Big Tobacco.

Meet Tobacco.

Big Tobacco is a cigar-smoking, coffee-drinking, software-writing, graduate student who has served in the Army National Guard for over 13 years, attained the grade of E-6, and should have known better than to join the Infantry.
Big Tobacco is married and a father of 2 boys. He stared this blog to keep his friends and co-workers up to date on deployment events.

I’ll warn you now, some of his language is NSFW (not safe for work). Or small children. Or old people. But he’s hilarious and easy to read. Currently, he’s in the process of changing FOBs (Forward Operating Base) so one of his more recent posts, Telfilat HaDerech, includes a list of his “greatest hits“.

He is irreverent, insightful, crass, and dead-on-the-money more often than not.

One of my favorite posts is a recent one as well – Tobacco finally figures out who started the Global War on Terror and why. I’ll warn you now, it’s not a post you want to be reading in front of your pastor or your 7 year old. But it’s funny. And usually, for things to be funny there has to be at least a grain of truth in there somewhere.

With Big Tobacco, there always is.

In case some of his lexicon confuses you, there is a glossary to the right, a short way down. Not only is that worth the read but so are the FAQs and BT’s Ten Commandments. All are worth reading.

And, lest you think BT is nothing BUT irreverent, there is one of my favorite posts of his – For the Boys. Anyone who has been around military and military blogs will know the sentiment all too well. For the rest, it is a good insight into being separated from your children during a time of war.

Just before I went to hit “POST” for this blog post, I popped back over to Big Tobacco’s place and saw that he had another post up. The title is Split Personality and it’s probably one of his best.

Then again, I find myself saying that about much of what he writes. Go and read. It is well worth your time.

Check back in a few weeks when we highlight the next miblog on our radar. If you have suggestions for blogs you’d like to see featured, drop a comment and let me know!

Army Steps Up to Challenges Supporting Families

Did you know that the Army Family Action Plan celebrated it’s 25th anniversary this month? Recently, I was invited to participate in a Bloggers’ Roundtable put on by the Department of Defense (DoD) designed to differences the Army Family Action Plan has made in the lives of Army families since its inception 25 years ago.

The Bloggers Roundtable provides source material for stories in the blogosphere concerning the Department of Defense (DoD) by bloggers and online journalists. Where available, this includes transcripts, biographies, related fact sheets and video.You can access the transcript and mp3 audio file of this roundatable by visiting the DoDLive webpage.

Among those involved in this particular Roundtable was the Secretary of the Army, Mr. Pete Geren. I have had the pleasure of meeting Secretary Geren in person as well as participating with him in a previous Roundtable and this time was no different. He introduced the topic by saying that this was

an important opportunity for us to look back on 25 years of the Army Family Action Plan.  General Wickham initiated this with a — with a very prescient white paper that he wrote 25 years ago, and did an extraordinary job of looking into the future and laying out for us the challenges we would face, as an Army, as we moved further into this century.

And the Army, over the last several years, has been stepping up to this challenge, making — doing everything we can to provide Army families a quality of life that’s comparable to the quality of their service.  But we recognize there’s more to do, and the great folks that are with us today are some of those that are helping us respond to the needs of families and helping us understand the needs of families.

There were several of us on the panel and some very good questions were posed. In particular I asked how the Army manages to strike a balance between the family-life programs that AFAP has been so good about pointing out the need for versus actual military funding. Because, let’s face it, as wonderful as those programs are, my overriding concern as a military spouse is the safety and welfare of my husband – that he have the best equipment and training available to him so that he can not only do his job well but also stay safe and come BACK to us when he’s done.

Secretary Geren responds:

Anytime you have to live within a budget you have to make hard choices.  There’s no doubt about it.  Always the first priority of our Army are the men and women in harm’s way.  We can never take our eye off of that ball.  That’s got to be where every day you wake up, what can we do for the men and women that are in harm’s way and do everything we can.  Now, that doesn’t mean that you can ignore other important aspects of the life of the Army and family support is a huge part of that, and over the last couple years we’ve more than doubled support for families.  We’ve worked hard to move those family support programs from the supplemental — (inaudible) — into a — to the regular budget and into our five-year budgeting cycle and have been successful because we recognize how important that is.

But I can assure you that we never take our focus off the men and women who are in harm’s way.  That is our top priority.  But an important part of supporting those men and women in harm’s way is making sure the families have the support that they need, and General Wickham 25 years ago wrote that the family support is a readiness issue.  If you are in harm’s way and you’re having to worry about    whether or not your children are in good schools or the housing (they’re in that it be safe ?), their neighborhoods are safe, it’s going to impact readiness.  So just from a readiness standpoint family support is critical.  But our commitment to family goes beyond that. We believe we’ve got a moral commitment to the families.  They’re volunteers just like the soldiers are and they’re carrying a big part of our nation’s burden particularly during these very challenging times.  But your point is well taken.  We can never take our eye off the ball of the men and women whose lives are on the line for us. We’ve got 250,000 soldiers in 80 countries around the world today (varying ?) threatening environments and we — that is our obsession.

In addition to my question, there were some phenomenal questions from the other panelists. One question had to do with PTSD/TBI (post-traumatic stress disorder/traumatic brain injury) support for the spouses whose loved ones are dealing with these issues. And not only is there support for spouses in these situations but also is there any kind of effort being made to connect these spouses WITH one another for added support?

Another question focused on the servicemembers that do not have spouses but DO have families (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc.) that want to be involved and crave the information that has traditionally been reserved for spouses.

One participant asked how the DoD and the VA were planning on handling the “bubble” of servicemembers that have gone through the military service and what the plans were to help with the transition from military to civilian life.
These roundtables are a wonderful way to be able to bring issues to the forefront of a discussion with people involved at some of the highest levels of decision-making within the military and the Defense Department. I would encourage you to go and either read the transcript or listen to the audio archive of the discusison. And, should you have questions that were NOT addressed, please feel free to post them in the comments and I will do my best to bring them up should I get the chance.