Some Interesting Information about Marine Robert Mueller

President Barack Obama, right, listens to outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller, left, during Obama's announcement at he will nominate James Comey, a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush, to replace Mueller, as director of the F.B.I., in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, June 21, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


Some Interesting Information about Marine Robert Mueller

By Debbie Gregory

Most of us are familiar with Robert Mueller due to his appointment as special counsel overseeing the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But there is a lot more to the man than this one responsibility.

A graduate of Princeton University, Mueller served as a Marine Corps officer during the Vietnam War. He said he was inspired to serve in Vietnam because of the combat death of Princeton classmate and friend David Hackett. Mueller attended training at Parris Island, Officer Candidate School, Army Ranger School, and Army jump school.

Mueller was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” for heroism and the Purple Heart. He was also awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat “V”, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Parachutist Badge.

Mueller went to Vietnam in 1968, and served as a rifle platoon leader with Second Platoon, H Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He earned the Bronze Star for rescuing a fellow Marine who was wounded by enemy fire during an ambush. Half of Mueller’s platoon became casualties.

Mueller said that nothing he ever confronted in his career was as challenging as leading men in combat and watching them be cut down.

In April 1969, Mueller himself was wounded. After he recovered, he returned to lead his platoon until June 1969.

“I consider myself exceptionally lucky to have made it out of Vietnam” said Mueller. “There were many many who did not. And perhaps because I did survive Vietnam, I have always felt compelled to contribute.

Mueller left active-duty service in 1970.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame.


Fred Smith – The Marine Who Founded FedEx

Fred Smith – The Marine Who Founded FedEx

Fred Smith – The Marine Who Founded FedEx


By Debbie Gregory

The entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset. It’s an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It’s a mindset that embraces critical questioning, innovation, service and continuous improvement.

Many millennials get their idea of entrepreneurship from watching Shark Tank, giving little thought to the fact that most of the goods and services they enjoy probably sprang from the imagination of an entrepreneur.

Fred Smith is the founder, chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx. In 1962, Smith entered Yale University. While attending Yale, he wrote a paper for an economics class, outlining overnight delivery service in a computer information age. It is said that his professor told him that, in order for him to get a C, the idea had to be feasible.

Following his graduation, Smith served two tours in Vietnam with the Marine Corps, one as an infantry officer and one as a forward air controller. There he witnessed the military’s logistics operations, using flight to move personnel and equipment on a massive scale.

After leaving the military with a few distinguishing medals, including a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, Smith bought an aviation company that would grow to be FedEx. He named the company Federal Express because he believed the patriotic meaning associated with the word “federal” suggested an interest in nationwide economic activity.

Federal Express officially began operations on April 17, 1973. That night, 14 small aircraft took off from Memphis and delivered 186 packages to 25 U.S. cities.

Today, FedEx is consistently recognized as one of the most admired brands in the world and one of the best places to work. But like many innovative companies, it started out as an idea championed by a determined person.

New Battle Skills Test All Marines Must Pass

basic skills

By Debbie Gregory.

In October 2016, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green said the Corps was considering reviving the common skills test, which some enlisted Marines and officers used to take. But now, beginning in January, 2018, that proposed testing will become a reality.

At the start of 2018, all U.S. Marines, from privates through general officers, will need to be on their toes as the Corps launces the first of what will be an annual Battle Skills Test.

Marines will be tested on 30 of the 178 common skills that recruits learn at boot camp and the School of Infantry or Marine Combat Training. All Marines will have to pass the skills test each year.

The few/ the proud will need to demonstrate a variety of skills that fall in the following categories: basic infantry skills, communications, first aid, history, leadership and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Each section has specific time requirements and parameters that will determine if the Marine has passed or failed the evaluation. It will be up to the discretion of the small unit leader on how the tests are administered.

“This is the commandant directing units to be able to go back and do fundamental, basic Marine skills that they may not have in their training plans,” said Lt. Col. Stuart Glenn of Training and Education Command.

Glenn said all Marines will be tested on “the basic fundamentals of what it means to be a Marine,” which will help Marines prevail in both conventional and irregular warfare.

“The Marine Corps emphasizes the ethos of every Marine a rifleman,” Glenn said. “Getting back to these basic skills, now I know that no matter what a Marine’s MOS is, no matter what his unit is, he knows how to put on a tourniquet; he knows how to treat a cold weather injury; he knows how to operate a radio.”

Information about the required training and the evaluation checklists can be downloaded from Training and Education Command’s SharePoint site and the Marine Corps Training Information Management System.

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.

No Shortage of Acts of Heroism from Military, Veterans and First Responders

route 91

By Debbie Gregory.

We often hear of heroic deeds performed by members of the military, veterans and first responders, not only when they are on the job, but also when they are in “civilian mode.”

At the Route 91 concert shooting, there were numerous acts of bravery and self-sacrifice. Eyewitness Russell Bleck said, “Thank God it was at a country concert, there were so many ex-military there. You saw these men jump into action, their training … not even in uniform. I didn’t see a single one taking cover, these guys were just running directly into the danger zone.”

Iraq war veteran Colin Donohue guided people to safety and started caring for the injured, in spite of not having any formal medical training.

Marine Austin Cox ran toward the gunfire and saved the life of a perfect stranger, Katrina Hannah, who was shot in the neck and shoulder. Austin picked her up and made a run for it – getting her safely to the hospital.

Tom McIntosh, who was severely bleeding in the back of a pickup truck, owes his life to James Lawson’s Army Reserves training as an EMT. The makeshift tourniquet on McIntosh’s leg was failing him. “I walked up there and he was actively bleeding,” Lawson said, noting that the belt was in the wrong spot. “I adjusted the belt, got it up there where it should be, tightened it down, stopped the bleeding, hung out there for 10-15 minutes and some savior in a pickup truck asked if we needed a ride. We said, ‘Yeah’ and threw them all in the bed of a pickup truck and we took off the hospital.” The move saved McIntosh’s life. “I wouldn’t have made it,” he said. “I’m very thankful that James was there to help me.”

Renee Cesario met Marine Brendan Kelly just two hours before Jason Aldean took the stage. The pair were dancing near the front of the stage when the shots began to ring out. “Before I knew what was going on, Brendan tackled me down to the ground and covered me from the fire.” In-between rounds, the pair ran for safety — with Brendan leading the way. When Renee’s family thanked Brendan for saving her life, his response? “Absolutely, that’s what we do, take care of our own and those around us. Glad I could be there for her in that crazy time.”

Marine veteran Taylor Winston commandeered a utility truck he found with the keys in it, and over the course of two trips, ferried some 30 people to the hospital. The only reason he didn’t make a third trip was because emergency crews were on scene at that point. “I think a lot of my training in the military helped me in the situation,” Winston said.  And he brushed off the title of “hero,” as heroes often do.

And on a personal note, my assistant’s daughter, Aria James, who I’ve known since she was nine years old, was at the concert with her boyfriend, Navy veteran Reed Broschart. Like many other men there, Reed’s military training kicked in, and he guided Aria to safety, physically covering her on the ground each time shots were being fired.

To these brave men, and the countless others who put personal safety aside to help others, thank you.

Thank You.


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.

Troops’ Biophysical Data Could Lead to Better Weapons, Performance



By Debbie Gregory.

Breakthroughs in biometric science mean future troops will fight with weapons that understand them,  inside and out.

The U.S. military is funding research to collect biophysical data from soldiers, sailors, Marines, and pilots in order to improve troops’ performance by understanding what’s happening inside their bodies.

The research will help develop the next generation of fighter jets, body armor, computer systems, and weapons, which will work more cohesively with those at the controls.

Pentagon-backed researchers are designing an entirely new generation of wearable health monitors that will relay valuable information about the person to whom the system is bound, including focus, alertness, health, and stress.

Over the past two years, the military has purchased more than $2 million worth of biomedical tracking devices. But it turns out that off-the-shelf consumer devices, such as Fitbits, aren’t good enough for the military’s biotracking ambitions.

That’s why researchers are creating a new class of wearables, based on new research into what size electrodes are the most efficient.

One application for such sensors would be helmets that record brain activity while their wearers do their jobs. Modern fighter jets expose human bodies to physical forces that are still not entirely understood. For example, in the past, F-22 pilots reported in-flight episodes of confusion, shortness of breath, and skin-color changes, which are symptoms of hypoxia, or decreased oxygen in the blood. These symptoms were due to speed.

Beyond helmets, Air Force researchers are working on a comprehensive cognitive monitoring system, one which may not need a physical sensor on the body, but rather the information would be gathered using cameras.

In fact, one research project configured a laptop camera lenses to detect hemoglobin oxygenation, which lets you read a person’s heart rate from a distance.

Sensors can also detect changes in metabolism that indicate weariness and stress before the person notices.

These innovations are making their way into actual gear and weapons. By 2020, Navy SEAL teams and Army Rangers could take down high-value targets while wearing an exoskeleton that’s earned the nickname ‘Iron Man.’

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.

Calling All Marines:$10K Bonus for Early Re-Enlistment



By Debbie Gregory.

The Marine Corps has announced that as part of its fiscal year 2018 budget, the service branch will pay out $10,000 to Marines who sign their re-enlistment by September 30, 2017. The bonus is in addition to any Selective Retention Bonus.

“Retaining our experienced and qualified Marines remains one of the Commandant’s highest priorities,” the Corps announced in the budget document released on July 6th. “Achieving retention goals is vital for shaping and sustaining the Marine Corps’ enlisted force.”

Marines are eligible for retention bonuses based on their rank, military occupational specialty and how much active-duty service they have in the military.

Marines who volunteer to serve as drill instructors, recruiters, or security guards will get a bonus of $20,000. The highest bonuses will go to Zone B Marines (who have between 6 and 10 years of service) in the 2612 cyber MOS, who are eligible for a rate of $98,500 over a six-year reenlistment period.  But according to Capt. Scott Steele, career force planner at Manpower & Reserve Affairs, there are only eight Marines who are eligible for that particular payout.

“Zone A” Marines have between 17 months and 6 years of service; “Zone C” Marines have between 10 and 14 years.

The other service branches have all announced similar plans to rebuild force structure with the exception of the Navy, which decreased 14 selective reenlistment bonus levels and eliminated six skills from the list of bonus-eligible careers.

“The intent is to keep them  — to the maximum extent possible  — within the unit that they’re already in,” said Col. Gaines Ward, manpower plans officer for Manpower & Reserve Affairs.

“It’s a greater return on the investment for the time that the commander puts into training these individuals to have these qualifications.”

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.


Military Plane Crash Kills 16


By Debbie Gregory.

In the worst Marine crash since 2005, 15 Marines and a Navy Sailor were killed when their KC-130 air tanker went down Monday afternoon in the Mississippi Delta.

While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, based on the extensive five mile radius of the debris field, the plane experienced an explosion at high altitude.

“Two large impact areas are half a mile north of Highway 82 and a half a mile south of Highway 82,” said Brig. Gen. Bradley S. James, commander of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve.

Six of the Marines and the sailor were from an elite Marine Raider battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps. It said the seven and their equipment were headed for pre-deployment training at Yuma, Arizona.

In the aftermath of the crash, emergency workers had to keep their distance from the plane because the plane was carrying explosive ordnance that resulted in several high-intensity detonations. It is not yet know if the cargo played a role in the cause of the crash.

Plumes of black smoke visible for miles across the flat landscape of the delta.

On Tuesday, just a couple hundred yards from where the plane went down, David Weeks stood on the side of the highway and played “Taps,” the song played at U.S. military funerals and memorials.

“I’m out here today to show my respect for the fallen. Felt in my heart to come out and honor them,” Weeks said.

Although not a member or veteran of the military, Weeks is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of volunteer motorcycle riders who attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes to show their respect.

The KC-130 is a four-engine propeller-driven plane that is used by both the U.S. Marine Corps. and the U.S. Air Force, and is a variant of the Cold War-era C-130 Hercules.  It is used to refuel aircraft in flight and transport cargo and troops.

The plane was based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York.

The identities of those who perished have not yet been released. We at Military Connection extend our deepest condolences to the families. May their loved ones rest in peace.

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.

Can Cyber Geeks Make It Into The Marines and Skip Boot Camp?


By Debbie Gregory.

The Marine Corps is having a hard time getting people with essential IT and information security skill sets as the services struggle to build a force of “cyber-warriors.” In an effort to circumvent this problem, these cyber specialists might be able to skip boot camp altogether.

The proposal, initially proposed last year by then-Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, is one of several ideas being considered to combat concerns about severe cyber warfare readiness.

Carter also suggested the military should consider modifying fitness standards, grooming regulations or rules that make past drug use disqualifying in an effort to make recruiting cyber talent easier.

Marine Corps force planners are discussing the option of “lateral entry” for people with the desired skill sets to join as uniformed Marines.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Robert B. Neller said that having a skilled cyber workforce within the service was critical. “If you don’t have those things, whatever formation you put on the battlefield is not going to be as survivable or combat effective without them.”

The government has tried a number of ways to develop a “cyber-skilled” workforce. Another option would be to treat Marine Forces Cyberspace Command like Marine Corps Special Operations Command, limiting entry to more experienced Marines. Some have even argued for a standalone cyber service, following the same model used to recruit musicians for the Marine Corps Band.

Considering the going pay rate in the civilian world for many information security jobs, the DOD will have to make a significant investment to attract the right people to uniformed service. With that said, offering the prestige of a Marine uniform may be a draw to some young people with high-level cyber skills.

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.

US Agrees to Pay Billions to Former Marines at Camp Lejeune


By Debbie Gregory.

From 1953 through 1987, people serving or living at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. This chemical exposure may have led to adverse health conditions.

Now, after years of waiting, those veterans may now be able to receive a portion of government disability benefits totaling more than $2 billion. This is one of few instances in which former military personnel who weren’t deployed for war could become eligible for cash payouts.

The qualifying health conditions include adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease.

“We have a responsibility to take care of those who have served our nation and have been exposed to harm as a result of that service,” McDonald said, adding that the VA’s decision will make it easier for veterans “to receive the care and benefits they earned.”

Beginning in March, the disability benefits may supplement VA health care already being provided to eligible veterans who were stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 cumulative days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987. Veterans will have to submit evidence of their diagnoses and service information.

The new rule covers active duty, Reserve and National Guard members who developed one of the eight diseases.

It allows veterans to qualify for government disability aid based on toxic harm sustained while at a garrison, as opposed to a battlefield. The Marine Corps has said the contamination was unintentional, occurring when federal law didn’t limit toxins in drinking water.

In 2012, Congress passed a bill that was signed into law by President Obama extending free VA medical care to affected veterans and their families. But veterans were not automatically provided disability aid or survivor benefits. The issue has prompted lawsuits by veterans organizations, which note that military personnel in Camp Lejeune housing “drank, cooked and bathed” in contaminated water for years.

In 2015, McDonald also agreed to award disability benefits for another category of veterans who weren’t on the ground, those who had developed medical conditions after exposure to Agent Orange residue on planes used in the Vietnam War.

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.

NATO Sending More Troops to Eastern Europe

General View of the meeting room

By Debbie Gregory.

Last week, NATO Defense Ministers wrapped up two days of talks in Brussels, which marked progress in creating four NATO battalions in the Baltic States and Poland.

“Over the past two days, we assessed the various challenges confronting NATO,” said Secretary General Stoltenberg. “We took stock of our progress since the Warsaw Summit – and we mapped out the road ahead. We are as united as ever in our determination to protect our citizens.”

In the face of perceived Russian provocation, the United Kingdom has deployed hundreds of troops to Eastern Europe as NATO continues to make its presence known.

In 2017, the UK plans to send Royal Air Force Typhoon jets to Romania for up to four months. This is the largest buildup of troops in the region since the Cold War.

The latest troop deployment comes at a time of fear over the security of Baltic states such as Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which have significant Russian-speaking minorities like Ukraine and concerns that they could suffer a similar fate to Crimea’s.

The United States and the UK are both set to send troops to Poland next year in a show of strength and support of their NATO ally. NATO has also said that Albania, Italy, Poland and Slovenia will contribute to a Canadian-led battalion in Latvia.

Belgium, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway will join a German-led battalion in Lithuania, while Denmark and France will contribute to the UK-led battalion in Estonia. Romania and the UK will join the US-led battalion in Poland.

In February, the US Department of Defense announced it was spending $3.4 billion for the European Reassurance Initiative to deter Russian aggression against NATO allies.

The initiative will include putting equipment in place in the Baltic states, Poland and Central Europe.

A limited rotational force of 330 U.S. Marines will be deployed to Norway, beginning in January. They will be stationed at the Vaernes military base, according to a statement from the Norwegian Defense Ministry.

Earlier this year, members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade trained in Norway alongside troops from other NATO countries in Exercise Cold Response.

Norway shares a 196-kilometer (122-mile) border with Russia.

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.