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33rd ANNUAL ARMY TEN-MILER BRINGS HOOAH SPIRIT TO WASHINGTON, D.C., OCTOBER 8

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Recognized as one of the nation’s premier running events and—with 35,000 registered runners—the third largest 10-mile race in the world, the Army Ten-Miler (ATM) returns to Washington, D.C. for its 33rd year on Sunday, Oct. 8. Conducted by The U.S. Army Military District of Washington (MDW), the Army’s race is the third largest 10-mile road race in the world. The ATM starts and finishes at the Pentagon with a course that winds through Washington, D.C.

The ATM provides inspiration to both military and civilian competitors, many of whom run in honor of a family member or colleague who served, or who simply enjoy demonstrating their patriotic spirit and support for the Army. The All-Army Team—comprised of several Army World Class Athlete Program participants and past Olympians—is a top draw to the race and will compete against other international military teams for the coveted International Cup. All race proceeds benefit U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs.

Race Weekend officially kicks off at the D.C. Armory Oct. 6-7 with the ATM Expo presented by Navy Federal Credit Union, offering products and services for U.S. Service Members, runners, health enthusiasts and homeowners. The expo is free and open to the public.

On race day—Sunday, Oct. 8—waves of runners, starting with Wheelchair Athletes and Wounded Warriors, begin the ten-miler at 7:50 a.m. from the Pentagon South Lot, traverse a scenic course through the nation’s capital and finish in the Pentagon North Lot. Immediately following the race, the Commanding General of the Military District of Washington presents top runners with individual and team awards for their achievements. There also is a post-race Youth Run for young children and a Hooah Tent Zone presented by KBRwyle, where commands and installations compete for the top Hooah Tent honor and “Hank” the Hooah Bird trophy, while providing food, camaraderie and giveaways for visitors.

ATM Race Weekend leads right up to the opening of the Association of the U.S. Army’s (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington D.C., Oct. 9-11 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. AUSA and KBRwyle are 2017 Lead Sponsors of the 33rd Annual ATM.

For more information on the ATM, visit ArmyTenMiler.com.

Veteran’s Global War on Terror Memorial Moving Forward

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By Debbie Gregory.

It’s been a few years since former Army Aviation Officer Andrew Brennan began his quest to ensure veterans of the Global War on Terror have a memorial in Washington, D.C.

But, finally, the Pittsburgh veteran’s effort to memorialize his comrades’ sacrifices is set to move forward.

The stumbling block has been the 1986 Commemorative Works Acts, which requires a war to be over for 10 years before a memorial can be built.

On August 3, 2017, the Senate cleared the way for the Global War on Terrorism memorial, unanimously passing the first bill in recent history approving a national war memorial before the fighting is over. The bill cleared the House on July 28th.

For those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, the memorial will be a place to honor their dead and wounded, even as those numbers continue to climb.

“Ten years from the end of never … is always never,” Brennan said as he testified at a congressional hearing.

The bill now goes to the White House, where Brennan said staff have assured him it has the president’s support.

The next step is a detailed 24-step bureaucratic process that will include choosing a site, which could take two years; selecting a design through competition, which could take up to three years; and constructing the memorial.

The memorial will include six themes: endurance, sacrifice, all-volunteer, global, multicultural and unfinished.

The foundation has raised about $300,000 so far, but it is estimated the project will run $40 to $50 million to staff, plan, design and construct the project. Brennan said he expects the memorial to be built by 2024.

“This memorial will be wholly dedicated to our 7,000 brothers and sisters who deployed with us but did not return, and their survivors,” Brennan said. “It is dedicated to the 1 million wounded warriors who are reclaiming their lives back here at home. It is for the soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines who struggle in their transition from combat deployments.”

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.

Former Marine Celeb Chef John Besh Gives Back

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By Debbie Gregory.

Before “celebrity chef,” “TV personality,” “philanthropist,” “restaurateur” or “author” appeared before his name, Louisiana native John Besh served his nation as a United States Marine.

The son of a fighter pilot, Besh enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from high school, serving with the 1st Marine Division, the 4th Marine Division, and I Marine Expeditionary Force.

Besh credits the Marines Corps for his culinary expertise. In fact, many veteran entrepreneurs cite the military as a source of the qualities that make them successful in business: a sense of leadership, mission, focus, organization skills, and selfless service.

These attributes have served Besh well, and have become the hallmark of the Besh Restaurant Group. Combat also gave him perspective, allowing him to keep kitchen disasters in context by not sweating the small stuff.

Each November, Besh’s restaurant group hosts a free social gathering celebrating the Marine Corps birthday, and the brotherhood for which the military branch has become famous.

From the battlefield to the kitchen, this award-winning chef has dedicated his life to the service of others. Besh has been active with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the oldest and biggest donor of need-based scholarships for military students. He has also served the UDT-Seal Association, a Veterans Support Organization that offers scholarships to the children of fallen warriors.

Additionally, Besh has worked with the Delta Veterans Foundation, which helps wounded warriors transition back to civilian life. He has also worked with the Wounded Warrior Project and the USO’s Operation SAFE Return campaign to create family centers for the loved ones of wounded warriors as they get medical care.

Lastly, Besh is proud to have partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International, for which he creates high quality, ready-to-eat meals for distribution to thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the U.S. and around the world.

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 Connection: Army Closing Ten Warrior Transition Units

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By Debbie Gregory.

It is a bittersweet time for soldiers and leaders within the U.S. Army, as the branch is looking to close ten of its remaining twenty-five Warrior Transition Units (WTU) by the summer of 2016.

WTUs were implemented to provide personalized support to the wounded, injured and ill soldiers who require at least six months of complex medical management or rehabilitation. These units were positioned at major military treatment facilities around the globe. Since their inception in 2007, WTUs have provided care to nearly 66,000 soldiers. The Army states that 29,000 of them managed to return to duty.

The ten WTUs that will be closing over the next year are: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright, both in Alaska; Naval Medical Center in California; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Meade, Maryland; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.

The Army made the announcement on April 24, 2015, about one month after it stopped assigning new soldiers to WTUs. The target date to complete the closures is August 15, 2016. This leaves a gap longer than an average WTU stay, which is 360 days for active duty and 417 days for reservists. All soldiers currently receiving care should be able to complete their assignment at their current WTU. Civilian, active duty and reservist members who work at WTUs will have to be reassigned or laid off.

The closing of these ten units is bittersweet, because WTUs provide a necessary and critical function for  injured, sick and wounded soldiers. But the upside is that the Army does not have the need for as many WTUs as it did when they were first created in 2007. Most units serve fifty or fewer soldiers, and four provide care for less than twenty.

The WTUs that will remain are: Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, both in Georgia; Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland; Fort Drum, New York; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Bliss, and Fort Hood in Texas; Fort Belvior, Virginia; Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State; and European Medical Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

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: Army Closing Ten Warrior Transition Units: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Afghanistan’s Wounded Warrior Campaign

By Debbie Gregory.

Americans love their wounded warriors. There are scores of foundations, organizations, government initiatives and private crusades to honor U.S. service members who were wounded or otherwise disabled as a result of their military service.

Wounded U.S. service members are deservedly treated as heroes. They put themselves in harm’s way and paid the price for our freedom.

Television shows, movies and ads glorify the sacrifice of the American wounded warrior. There are even instances where wounded warriors still serve. Among them are Army Ranger, Sergeant First Class Joseph Kapacziewski, who completed five of his ten combat deployments with a prosthetic right leg, after a grenade wounded him in Iraq in 2005.

Unfortunately, in other countries, those who are wounded in service to their country are not as recognized, honored or appreciated. Even those who fought alongside our own wounded warriors against common enemies are often forgotten and left to fend for themselves after they are wounded.

Afghanistan is one such country where wounded warriors are often forgotten. Many of our allies, who were wounded while fighting on our side against the Taliban, are forced to leave their service, some with and some without pensions.

But a senior enlisted leader from Afghanistan’s special operations forces is trying to change that for his comrades, modeling a program in his country after those found in America.

Command Sergeant Major Faiz Mohammad Wafa, Afghanistan’s top enlisted commando leader, brought a small band of his brothers to South Texas on a mission to learn the basics of starting a wounded warrior program in their country. Wafa has twenty years of combat experience, and is more than qualified to lead his men into battle. But the best leaders know when to seek additional resources, and that is what Wafa is doing. With the cooperation of U.S. Special Operations Command and NATO Special Operations Component Command Afghanistan, Wafa brought four Afghan commandos, each of them missing a leg, to Texas for a weeklong visit in March, 2015.

The Afghans were coached on how to open up, both privately and publicly, about their injuries, and how to fundraise for their cause. The men also received training on how to counsel and care for other wounded warriors.

Back in the States, we may tend to lose sight that there are even more Afghans fighting, dying and sacrificing for their country’s freedom than there are U.S. service members. And the men who serve in Afghanistan’s military are patriots, just like the men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces. They may come from different places, serve under a different flag and wear a different uniform, but in the end, they all have the hearts of warriors.

When wounded, they deserve the same honor and recognition from their countrymen that we proudly bestow onto American wounded warriors.

At MilitaryConnection.com, we commend Wafa and his efforts, and hope that his campaign to highlight the need to support wounded warriors in his country is successful.

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.

Military Connection: Afghanistan’s Wounded Warrior Campaign: By Debbie Gregory