Honoring An Act of Compassion: Military Connection

military connection: mathis

By Debbie Gregory.

Having been raised in a family with strong ties to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp, it was no wonder that William (Bill) Mathis spent 33 years as a career Naval Officer. He served his country with skills and leadership that led to tremendous accomplishments. But it is his humanitarian achievement that puts Mathis in the news today.

In 1979, on a blistering 100 degree day off the coast of Malaysia, the lookout on Navy cargo ship Robert E. Peary spotted a small fishing boat on the horizon. It took two days to receive permission to begin the rescue mission, and then Commander Mathis was able to order his crew to head in the small boat’s direction.

The rescuers found 448 Vietnamese refugees on the small boat, without any food or water. Mathis’s sailors rigged portable toilets and showers on the ship’s fantail and rationed water. Blankets from the bunks served as makeshift beds. Sick bay was the helicopter hangar.

The refugees had endured repeated pirate attacks. When there was nothing left for the pirates to steal, some of the girls were raped.

The retired rear admiral was recently honored in Los Angeles’s Little Saigon. Hundreds applauded him during an immigrant gathering that was covered by Vietnamese television.

“I will not forget the terror of the victims,” Mathis said. “They were dehydrated, the heat and stench unbearable. There were two pregnant ladies and a 4-day-old baby born in transit. Four days old — can you imagine?”

At the time, the rescue at sea gained worldwide attention. Due to the actions of Mathis and his crew, Congress made it mandatory that all naval officers “render assistance, aid and offer to embark” any refugees deemed to be in a life-threatening situation.

Mathis concurred. “A mariner’s first obligation is to assist if people are in distress on the high seas.”

Overwhelmed by the affection, Mathis said, “I never, ever thought the refugees would welcome me into their community and share an honor like this. What I did was so simple. Many other people would have done the same thing.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Honoring An Act of Compassion: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Special Ops General Demoted: Military Connection

military connection: mulholland

By Debbie Gregory.

The commander of U.S. Special Operations forces in Central and South America was removed from his post and demoted to colonel for repeated episodes of public intoxication.

Former Army Brig. Gen. Sean P. Mulholland assumed command of SOCSOUTH in October 2012, was removed in August 2014. Mulholland repeatedly became intoxicated in public, including during a deployment to Peru in 2013. He allegedly got into alcohol-fueled altercations with civilians “that culminated in physical contact in front of civilians and enlisted personnel,” according to the letter of reprimand.

The Army general was cited for an incident in the spring of 2014 at a golf club and bar in Homestead, Fla., near the headquarters of U.S. Special Operations Command South when he drank and got into “a verbal altercation” with three civilian women that required others to intervene.

In his reprimand, Mulholland’s behavior was deemed unacceptable, demonstrating a failure of personal and professional judgment and causing embarrassment to the command.

Adm. William H. McRaven, then commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, “removed Brig. Gen. Mulholland from command and Mulholland retired on May 1, 2015, in the lower grade of [colonel]. Under federal law, the Secretary of the Army has authority to make retirement grade determinations involving general officers,” according the Army’s statement.

An Army Grade Determination Review Board recommended to Secretary of the Army John McHugh that Mulholland last served satisfactorily at the grade of colonel, according to the Army statement.

“This reduction in grade underscores the Army’s commitment to holding senior leaders accountable, and is consistent with Secretary McHugh’s treatment of similar cases,” according to the statement.

When Mulholland, 55, was removed as commander, military officials said in a statement that he was “retiring for health and personal reasons,” but they withheld the fact that he had been investigated and reprimanded for misconduct.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Special Ops General Demoted: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Army’s Public Website Hacked: Military Connection

military connection: hacker

By Debbie Gregory.

A hacker group backing the Syrian government claimed responsibility for hacking the public website of the US Army, just hours after President Obama called for new cyber-security laws at the G-7 summit in Germany.

Officials say the website is for general public access, with general information about the Army, press releases and Army generated news stories.

Responsibility was claimed by the Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-Assad regime group that has been associated with a number of additional cyber-attacks in the past. The victims of their previous hacks have included organizations like the Chicago Tribune and The Associated Press.

US Army officials said the website was taken down temporarily, after its home page was compromised. “The Army took appropriate preventative measure to ensure there was no breach of Army data,” Army spokesman Brigadier General Malcolm Frost said in a statement.

The messages reportedly proclaimed “YOU’VE BEEN HACKED” and added “YOUR COMMANDERS ADMIT THEY ARE TRAINING THE PEOPLE THEY HAVE SENT YOU TO DIE FIGHTING.”

The White House said the threat of cyber-attacks is persistent, and while the federal government has raced to outpace would-be hackers, legislation aimed at shoring up cyber-security is desperately needed to do more.

The news of this most recent attack comes on the heels of the administration’s officials announcement that due to a recent cyber-attack, four million federal workers may have had their personal information compromised, which officials said could affect every agency of the U.S. government.

The compromised data was stored in a system shared by the Interior Department and the Office of Personnel Management, which screens and hires federal workers and approves security clearances for 90 percent of the federal government.

There are measures that can be taken that would improve information sharing between the private sector and federal investigators, including requiring companies to give 30 days’ notice when a security breach has occurred, increasing the punishment for cyber-crimes, and the creation of uniform standards of data breach notification laws.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Army’s Public Website Hacked: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Dr. Loses License for Bizarre Practices: Military Connection

military connection: hagmann

By Debbie Gregory.

A retired Army doctor’s Virginia medical license has been suspended after allegations that he employed improper training methods while working with military medical students. It is also alleged that Dr. John Henry Hagmann provided large amounts of alcohol to the students during instruction, and manipulated and photographed the genitals of an inebriated participant.

Since retiring from the U.S. Army in 2000, Dr. Hagmann has helped train thousands of soldiers and medical personnel in how to treat battlefield wounds. His company, Deployment Medicine International (DMI), has received more than $10.5 million in business from the federal government.

Dr. Hagmann has long been on the radar of animal activists, who contend that his use of live, wounded pigs to simulate combat injuries is unnecessarily cruel.

But these aren’t the only troubling accusations.

Hagmann was cited for training he provided in 2012 and 2013 in Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Great Britain. Students testified that the doctor also performed penile nerve blocks and instructed them to insert catheters into one another’s genitals.

Two students provided the board with pictures of chest scars they received when procedures went awry. Three students testified that others became violently ill or began hallucinating after Hagmann gave them ketamine.

Colonel Neil Page, who investigated the matter for the Uniformed Service University for the Health Sciences, the military medical school, testified that Hagmann’s defense that the students volunteered for procedures is irrelevant because they were intoxicated.

In the Army, Hagmann practiced emergency medicine for two decades. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and co-authored an influential combat treatment manual.

After retiring, Hagmann founded DMI, based in Gig Harbor, Washington.  Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, demand for his courses grew and DMI emerged as a preeminent trauma-response trainer. The majority of DMI’s government contracts were with the U.S. DMI has been dropped as a military contractor for the Navy and Special Forces.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Dr. Loses License for Bizarre Practices: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Sentencing in Armory Shooting: Military Connection

patton

By Debbie Gregory.

A Tennessee National Guard recruiter convicted of wounding three people inside an armory has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Amos Patton was convicted of nine charges, including four counts of assault with a firearm with intent to commit murder. The 14-year-Guard veteran had pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to kill four Guard members when he opened fire inside the armory in Millington, northeast of Memphis. Three guard members suffered minor injuries in the shooting. A fourth soldier fought with Patton and helped subdue him after he fled.

The armory, which houses a recruitment office, sits across the street from Naval Support Activity Mid-South on land that used to be part of a larger military installation. Navy officials ordered a lockdown there during the tense minutes after the shooting, lifting it after word came that someone was in custody.

Authorities said Patton was angry after learning he was being removed from his job because a female soldier had accused him of sexual assault. After receiving his punishment on October 24, 2013, he and two superiors went to his government-issued car parked outside the armory. The three were going back to Patton’s office to retrieve a computer and take him to his personal vehicle.

Patton retrieved a bag and a fanny pack from the car, and after entering the armory, pulled the gun out of the fanny pack and started shooting.

Maj. William J. Crawford was shot in the thigh, and Sgt. Maj. Ricky McKenzie was hit in the foot. Lt. Col. Hunter Belcher was grazed by a bullet just below the right knee. Another round went through a backpack Belcher was wearing, grazing his back.

Crawford was able to wrestle away the gun before Patton ran out of the armory.

Addressing the court, Patton said he prays for the victims and their families and asks for forgiveness.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Sentencing in Armory Shooting: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Shame on the NFL: Military Connection

Shame on the NFL: Military Connection

By Debbie Gregory.

In her column, Musings of a Navy Seal Wife, MilitaryConnection.com blog contributor, Liz Brown, recently wrote a piece regarding taxpayer money being used to honor our military at sporting events. We were appalled to hear that wealthy sports teams were using tax payer money and then reaping the benefit of the “goodwill.” Honoring U.S. troops at National Football League games should be done out of a sense of patriotism, not a quest for profit.

Now, the Senate has voted to block the Defense Department from allowing this practice to continue.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) sponsored the amendment, along with Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), which passed by unanimous consent. The legislation comes on the heels of reports that the Pentagon spent millions of dollars to NFL teams to honor the troops during games.

Referring to the practice as “patriotism for profit,” McCain stated that NFL teams have received nearly $7 million in taxpayer dollars over the past three years from Army National Guard contracts, which included publicly honoring troops.

A search of the government’s USASpending.gov website shows this practice has been going on far longer than three years. The Pentagon paid the Atlanta Falcons more than $1.1 million dollars since 2010 and paid the Baltimore Ravens more than $1.2 million since 2009.

McCain said that he was shocked and disappointed to learn that several NFL teams weren’t sponsoring these activities out of the goodness of their own hearts, but were doing it to make an extra buck.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that the proposed amendment “paints a completely distorted picture of the relationship between NFL teams and our military.” He continued, “We agree that no one should be paid to honor our troops. Military spending on recruiting efforts should not be confused with programs that support our nation’s active military and veterans. The NFL’s long history of honoring and supporting our troops will continue because it is the right thing to do.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Shame on the NFL: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Army Vet Sentenced for Threats Made: Military Connection

broderick

By Debbie Gregory.

When Ryan Broderick picked up the phone to speak with a counselor at the Veterans Affairs suicide crisis hotline, he never imagined the call would land him in jail. Angry that he hadn’t gotten the help he needed for his PTSD, he felt forgotten and betrayed.

Broderick, 31, of Fayetteville, NC has been in jail for the last four months due to comments he made during the call to the hotline. He told the person on the other end of the line that if he didn’t get help, he would bring a gun to the VA hospital and Fort Bragg and start shooting.

“I was just trying to get help,” said Broderick, who enlisted in the Army after high school. “I had no intentions of hurting anyone.”

On June 1, 2015, Broderick pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge. On June 4th, Senior U.S. District Court Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced Broderick to three years’ probation.

Broderick had reached his limit when he made the fateful call on January 29th. He hadn’t slept in three days, he had previously contemplated suicide, and was plagued by nightmares. He hadn’t worked steadily for months, but he had a job interview the next day. He had no medicine to help with anxiety or sleep.

“The weight was too much,” he said in an interview from the Edgecombe County jail. “I felt like I was crashing.”

In one day, he went from patriotic veteran to accused criminal. Broderick spent the next day oblivious that a case was being built against him, with his arrest coming a mere 31 hours after his frantic call.

The crime of communicating a threat is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. During 56 minutes on the phone with the crisis specialist, Broderick calmed down. He told her he didn’t mean what he had said and thanked her for listening, according to court documents.

Under the terms of his probation, he will finally get the medical care he was seeking. Judge Britt said that the nation and its leaders have not done their duty to service members who return from war psychologically injured.

“I don’t think the blame, if one has to call it that, can be placed on any one particular place,” he said in court. “We all bear some responsibility. The biggest blame in my view is the failure of the Congress of the United States to adequately fund the Veterans Affairs and otherwise prepare for and cope with the problems we have with so many returning veterans.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Army Vet Sentenced for Threats Made: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Army Rolling Out New Combat Uniforms: Military Connection

new uniform

By Debbie Gregory.

On July 1st, the Army will begin to transition to new Army Combat Uniforms. Soldiers can expect a lot of mix and matching of camo items over the next several years.

The Army’s new Operational Camouflage Pattern, and eight design changes, will become the new normal after a four-year transitional phase designed to save the Army and soldiers money.

Col. Robert Mortlock, Army Program Manager of Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, stressed the Army’s “fiscally responsible” integration of the new ACUs.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey encouraged enlisted Soldiers to purchase new uniforms with their annual clothing allowance. “All enlisted Soldiers receive an annual stipend for the purchase of uniforms and accessories. I myself will wait until I am issued my clothing allowance before purchasing a uniform with the Operational Camouflage Pattern. I encourage all Soldiers and leaders to do the same by budgeting for a new uniform, belt, boots, and T-shirts as you receive your clothing allowance over the next 2-3 years.”

With the roll-out and through 2019, there will be three different uniforms authorized for wear for soldiers in garrison: ACUs with the gray-green Universal Camouflage Pattern, Flame-resistant ACUs using MultiCam (issued to deploying soldiers since 2010), and ACUs with the new OCP pattern.

As a result of feedback the Army has received, they made the following changes:

  • Mandarin Collar: A new fold-down design eliminates the hook-and-loop closure and the flap extension.
  • Upper Sleeve Pocket: A zipper replaces the hook-and-loop closure. The Infrared Identification Friend or Foe Tab will be covered with a nylon tap on both sleeves. The pocket will be longer by one inch.
  • Elbow and Knee Patches: Internal pads removed along with the hook-and-loop; double fabric reinforcement retained.
  • Sleeve Pen Pocket: Two pen pocket channels instead of three.
  • Trouser Waistband: No longer includes drawstring.
  • Cargo Pocket: No longer includes cord-and-barrel lock.
  • Lower Leg Pocket Flap: Button Closure added as another hook-and-loop closure disappears.

Also available soon are the new coyote brown boots, and a darker shade of belt and T-shirt for use with OCP and MultiCam. During the transition, soldiers can mix the old sand-colored boots, belts and shirts with their new camo pattern, adding in the new darker elements, such as wearing sand-colored boots with the new darker-tan T-shirt, or vice versa. However, the reverse doesn’t work. Soldiers can’t wear new boots, belts or T-shirts with the old gray-green ACUs — UCP unis have to be worn with the sand-colored accessories.

The rollout will happen in three phases between July and November.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Army Rolling Out New Combat Uniforms: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Fighting to Clear Their Name: Military Connection

galvin

By Debbie Gregory.

Maj. Fred Galvin led the first Marine Corps Special Operations Command unit to ever deploy to Afghanistan. He was also the subject of an investigation into a controversial firefight that got his unit booted from the country.

Less than a month after Fox Company arrived in Afghanistan, Galvin’s unit was accused of firing indiscriminately following a car bomb attack that killed as many as 19 Afghan civilians and wounded 50 more.

The incident began when a platoon convoy from Galvin’s unit was hit by a suicide bomber. Galvin was riding in a Humvee at the rear and saw an orange fireball rise hundreds of feet into the air

He said that in an instant, gunfire was coming from both sides of the road, and his Marines opened fire, disabling a Toyota SUV speeding toward them. In five minutes, Galvin said, his men had killed six to 10 combatants.

The Marines returned to their base in Jalalabad, only to find out that the BBC was reporting that they  had just killed 10 Afghan civilians.

By the end of the day, news reports quoting Afghan officials and villagers said some Marines were drunk and had shot wildly at civilians. They were accused of charging into homes and shooting the inhabitants.

While Galvin and his men were cleared in court of any responsibility, Galvin feels that his and the unit’s reputations remain stained by the accusations.

Haji Liwani Qumandan, who said he was driving the blue Toyota SUV, testified that he and his passengers were all unarmed civilians who came under fire of thousands of bullets. He said that his father and nephew were among the casualties. But following his testimony, he was described as an active Taliban member. Furthermore, a U.S. military police patrol that arrived on the scene about 30 minutes after the incident found no dead or wounded Afghans.

The accusations of civilian casualties basically ended Galvin’s career, and he was never promoted after the court decision. He retired after 27 years, and is concentrating on his post-military life, working toward an MBA. But he has made it his mission to clear the names of his Marines.

“We were ambushed, and we fought on the battlefield with honor,” Galvin said. “There were allegations of homicide, and we’re living with that to this day. This haunts us.”

Galvin says all he is asking for is redemption.

Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) has demanded a public apology from the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, and demanded that the Marines’ service records be corrected “to remove the stains of being wrongly accused of homicide.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Fighting to Clear Their Name: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

Gay Navy SEAL Tells His Story: Military Connection

brett jones

By Debbie Gregory.

Brett Jones was born into a military family, spending his childhood traveling around the world. He continued the tradition through service as a Navy SEAL, all the while knowing he was gay. Jones served during the era of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the policy that prohibited discrimination against gay service members but also barred them from disclosing their sexuality.

For years, Jones lived this double life, holding his secret so close that even his SEAL teammates, who were his closest friends, never knew. His lover, a Navy sailor, was referred to as his roommate.

Jones accidentally outed himself when he left an “I love you” phone message for his lover. A woman in the same office as Jones’ boyfriend heard the message and reported it up the Navy’s chain of command.

There was an investigation, which was eventually dropped. But in 2003, Jones decided to get out of the Navy. He felt that too many people knew he was gay, and it would have been a matter of time before they found another way to try and dishonorably discharge me.

But this story has a happy ending. More than a decade later, Jones, now with a husband and son, decided to break his silence to the world about his sexuality The first openly gay SEAL has built a new life with this family, the one that has replaced the two families he lost — the family that raised him and the one he built with fellow SEALs.

Jones said writing his self-published his memoir, “Pride: The Story of the First Openly Gay Navy SEAL” helped heal the pain of the scorn and rejection he experienced.

“I’ve known that I’ve been gay since I was probably about six years old,” he says. “I knew going in [to the Navy] that I was going to have to do a lot of lying.” But the time finally came to tell the truth.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Gay Navy SEAL Tells His Story: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory