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Military Connection: Gold Star Mother’s Voice is Heard

LeeBy Debbie Gregory.

In mid-April, forces from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, gained control over much of the city of Ramadi in Iraq. At the time General Martin Dempsey, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented that the fall of the city is “not symbolic in any way.”

But to some Americans, the city is very symbolic. For those who deployed to Iraq and fought there, and to those who lost loved ones there, the city of Ramadi is very symbolic.

Debbie Lee is the mother of Aviation Ordinanceman Second Class Petty Officer Marc Lee, a U.S. Navy SEAL who died on August 2, 2006 in Ramadi, Iraq. Mrs. Lee is a Gold Star Mother, one of the most highly respected designations in the military community. For the past several years, Debbie Lee has toured the country, spreading support for service members and their families. She also has her own blog on the website for America’sMightyWarriors.org, an organization that she started to support members of the military community.

In an April 17, 2015 blog entry entitled “Open Letter to Martin Dempsey”, Lee challenged the words of the nation’s highest ranking military officer. In it, the Gold Star Mother makes some heartfelt, compelling arguments, explaining how her son was the first SEAL to sacrifice his life in Iraq. She also pleaded the case of other service members who fought to gain control of the city in 2006.

“What about the troops who sacrificed their limbs and whose lives will never be the same. Our brave warriors who left a piece of themselves in Ramadi. What about the troops who struggle with PTS/TBI who watched their teammates breath their last or carried their wounded bodies to be medevac’d out of Ramadi,” Lee wrote.

General Dempsey responded to Lee in a personal note that was later published to NewsMax. In that note, the general apologized to the Gold Star Mother.

“I’ve read your letter, and I do apologize if I’ve added to your grief,” General Dempsey wrote. The note continued, “Marc and so many others died fighting to provide a better future for Iraq. He and those with whom he served did all that their nation asked. They won their fight, and nothing will ever diminish their accomplishments nor the honor in which we hold their service. We are in a different fight now, with a different enemy, and with a different relationship with the Government of Iraq. They must determine the path and pace of this fight. That’s what I intended to convey.”

General Dempsey followed his correspondence with a phone call to Lee. It has been reported that Lee felt the apology to be genuine. But she reportedly still disagrees with the general’s sentiment that the current conflict is against a different enemy than the one that her son died fighting against in 2006.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans 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 Boardinformation 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.

Military Connection: Gold Star Mother’s Voice is Heard: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Top Military Leader on Cyber Attacks

DEFENSE SEC PANETTA AND JOINT CHIEF OF STAF CHAIRMAN GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY TESTIFY BEFORE THE SENATE ARMED SERVICE COMMITTEE

In the wake of the recent cyberattacks, Washington is all abuzz about preventing future attacks.

The November, 2014 “Sony Pictures Entertainment Hack” caused a media frenzy. Whether your news source is T.V/radio, internet sites or printed publications, regardless of your level of interest in politics, foreign policy, entertainment or gossip, you were aware of the Sony hack.

The attacks revolved around the release of the Seth Rogan/James Franco comedy “The Interview” whose story revolved around a fictional assassination attempt against North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. Hackers released private and sensitive personal information about Sony executives, including contract negotiationsand also launched viruses that erased data from Sony’s computers. Hackers informed Sony executives that they would continue their cyberattacks and release more sensitive information if the company released the comedy through any medium.

U.S. government officials publicly stated their beliefs that the government of North Korea was “centrally involved,” if not completely behind the cyberattack. Evidence obtained by the FBI linked the hack to malware and internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with previous encounters with known North Korean hackers.

On January 12, 2015, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) had their official Twitter and Youtube accounts hacked and hijacked by a group sympathetic to the Islamic State. The hackers posted pro-ISIS tweets and threats to American soldiers on the Twitter account, and two ISIS propaganda videos on the Youtube account. Both accounts were closed, corrected and re-opened within hours.

While neither of these highly publicized and highly embarrassing cyberattacks contained any breach of national security, they do remind us that we may not be as safe as we think we are in our cyber security.

On the day before CENTCOM had its social media hacked, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented in an interview with Fox News about how the Sony attack demonstrates that the U.S. military’s superiority on the battlefield is not as lopsided in the cyber world.

Gen. Dempsey, whose position makes him the chief military advisor to the president, has long called for upgrades in cyber warfare and security. In a June, 2013 speech, the nation’s senior military leader told attendees at a Brookings Institution forum about the increased frequency of cyberattacks, and the need to equip the military against such threats.

“This is the new normal in cyberspace,” Dempsey said. “Disruptive and destructive cyberattacks are becoming a part of conflict between states, within states, and among non-state actors. The borderless nature of cyberspace means anyone, anywhere in the world, can use cyber to affect someone else.”

Gen. Dempsey concluded his speech by saying:

“The rise of cyber is the most striking development in the post-9/11 national security landscape. We are doing everything we can inside the military to be ready to operate in cyberspace. I call on our elected officials and the private sector to match the urgency. Together, we must place this nation on surer footing against the cyber threat.”

A year and a half later, and the general’s words are still ringing true. Currently, the U.S. military and the federal government are in the process of expanding education and military programs to make the playing field in the cyber world as one-sided as it currently is in real-world combat for the U.S. military.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans 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 Boardinformation 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.

Military Connection: Top Military Leader on Cyber Attacks: By Debbie Gregory