Arizona Legion College Dates and Locations

Below are the currently scheduled class offerings. To apply, email notice with your desired location requested on application found at http://azlegion.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Arizona_Legion_College_information_and_Application_FY2020.pdf

If your own Post/Unit/Squadron location is listed and you haven’t heard about the class coming your way, please inquire with your Post Commander/Adjutant for details.

Area C

September 6 – 8, 2019

Verde Valley Post #25,
480 S. Calvary Way, Cottonwood, AZ

Area A

January 24 – 26, 2020


John P. Burns Post #36 5845 E. 22nd St, Tucson, AZ

Area B

April 24 – 26, 2020

Luke-Greenway Post # 1 364 N. 7th Ave. Phoenix, AZ

Sad tidings, passing of Peter Madrid, Sr Family Post 15

Beloved, please lend your prayers to Pete and Helen’s Family.

From: Frank Perkins
Date: September 13, 2019 at 9:06:20 PM MST
To: Angel Juarez
Subject: Peter Madrid, Sr

A long standing Color Guard member of Post 15 passed away in August.

Pete and his wife Helen were valued business people in Winslow for many years.

They will be missed by many residents of the city.

F.P.

Sad tidings, Blondel Cooper 57 years life Member, Post 65

Beloved, Bob Boyd report reports the passing of Blondel Cooper(a 57 years as a Member), services are tomorrow 9/13/2019 at Family of Faith Christian Church- 950 E Pecan St, Phoenix, AZ 85040 10 to 11 viewing , 11 services and laid to rest at Resthaven Cemetery , any additional questions you can contact Bob at 6025760109

12 September, 2019 08:23

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Thursday, September 12, 2019 which is National Chocolate Milkshake Day, National Day of Encouragement, National Police Women Day and Video Games Day.
This Day in Legion History:

  • Sept. 12, 1932: Sons of The American Legion is founded at The American Legion National Convention in Portland, Ore., following three years of study by national committees. Within 10 years, SAL membership surpasses 37,000. In June 1933, Bruce P. Robinson Squadron 133 in Indianapolis is credited as the first local Sons of The American Legion squadron.
  • Sept. 12, 2001: The American Legion re-activates its Family Support Network to provide assistance to military families with loved ones deployed to service, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This Day in History:

  • A German U-boat sinks a British troop ship, the Laconia, killing more than 1,400 men on September 12, 1942. The commander of the German sub, Capt. Werner Hartenstein, realizing that Italians POWs were among the passengers, strove to aid in their rescue.
  • 1974: In Boston, Massachusetts, opposition to court-ordered school “busing” turns violent on the opening day of classes. School buses carrying African American children were pelted with eggs, bricks, and bottles, and police in combat gear fought to control angry white protesters besieging the schools.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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Military Times: Court orders VA to cover veterans’ emergency room debts
By: Leo Shane III   12 hours ago
847

A federal court this week ordered Veterans Affairs officials to reimburse veterans for all expenses at non-department emergency medical centers, a move that could mean payouts of tens of thousands of dollars to patients facing financial distress because of their hospital bills.
The ruling also has the potential to add billions in medical care costs to the department’s budget in coming years.
A divided three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims on Tuesday said that VA’s current reimbursement regulation for veterans who seek non-department medical care violates existing federal law.
They blasted administration officials for creating an “unacceptable” policy and ordered that any emergency medical expenses not covered by veterans’ private medical insurance must be covered by the agency.
In August, the VA Inspector General found $716 million in improperly processed payments in cases involving veterans who sought medical care outside the department’s health system in 2017, including about $53 million that should have been refunded under existing rules.
The legal defeat is the second time in the last three years that the court has struck down VA’s emergency medical services payment policies, both times chastising the department for only partially covering veterans’ expenses. Advocates praised the ruling, which also established a class of veterans eligible for reimbursement
“The court’s decision rights a terrible injustice and its order ensures that veterans who were unjustly denied reimbursement for critical emergency treatment at non-VA facilities will finally be reimbursed,” said Bart Stichman, executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program. “It is a hard-won victory for hundreds of thousands of veterans.”
The latest case centered on two veterans who were denied several thousand dollars in unpaid emergency room expenses under existing VA policy. The majority of one plaintiff’s bills were paid for by private insurance. The other’s was mostly covered by Medicare.
But in both cases, VA insisted they did not need to handle the unpaid balance because the veterans were primarily covered under other insurance plans. The court ruled that violates both existing law and past legal precedent.
The ruling gives 45 days for VA to submit to the court plans to contact veterans with denied claims since 2016 and develop a criteria for reimbursing eligible claims. Those would not include the costs of co-payments related to private insurance.
NVLSP officials estimate the decision could cost the department as much as $6.5 billion by 2025, including the three years of past reimbursements ordered by the court.
VA officials can appeal the ruling to a higher court. In a statement, they said they are reviewing the decision but offered no further comment.
The full decision is available on the court’s website.

FoxNews: New 9/11 account recalls harrowing moments before Flight 93 crash: ‘I’ll ram the cockpit’

By Ronn Blitzer | Fox News
“They made the decision we didn’t have to make.”
Those are the words of Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville, as recalled 18 years later in a new account of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks from the perspective of decision-makers in Washington, survivors, military service members and the families of those aboard United Flight 93, which was hijacked before passengers fought back and brought the plane down.
Sasseville – an F-16 Air Force pilot who, along with Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, was tasked with stopping Flight 93 by any means necessary from being weaponized like the jets at the World Trade Center and Pentagon that morning – lauded the brave passengers for doing exactly that, sacrificing themselves to foil the terrorists.
But the new book, "The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11" by Garrett M. Graff, details the harrowing moments before it all ended.
Top Bush administration officials scrambled to respond. From a bunker, then-Vice President Dick Cheney planned for the possibility of bringing down Flight 93. As for Sasseville and Penney, they were looking at a suicide mission.
Because they had no missiles, any operation to take out Flight 93 would put their lives on the line too.
“We would be ramming the aircraft. We didn’t have [missiles] on board to shoot the airplane down,” Penney said. “As we were putting on our flight gear in the life support shop, Sass looked at me and said, ‘I’ll ram the cockpit.’ I made the decision I would take the tail off the aircraft.”
This would be a last resort if they could not otherwise divert the aircraft. At the time, Sasseville said, he “was going into this moral or ethical justification of the needs of the many versus the needs of the few.”
It was a suicide mission, but they were ready to do it if needed.
“I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off,” Penney said. “If we did it right, this would be it.”
Excerpts of the book, now released, were first published by Politico.
The permission to carry out an operation that would normally be unheard of – taking down a commercial flight, killing passengers in the process – came from Cheney, who was planning a course of action from a bunker underneath the White House. The vice president discussed it with President George W. Bush, who agreed to the course of action.
Bush was aboard Air Force One because Washinton, D.C. was deemed too dangerous, and he was mostly cut off from the ground due to the lack of in-flight internet access in 2001. Senior adviser Karl Rove, who was with Bush at the time, witnessed the phone conversation between the president and vice president.
"He turned to us and said that he had just authorized the shoot-down of hijacked airliners," Rove recalled.
Cheney said the decision to bring down United Flight 93 “wasn’t a close call” after he watched the Twin Towers fall and the Pentagon had been hit.
“It had to be done. Once the plane became hijacked—even if it had a load of passengers on board who, obviously, weren’t part of any hijacking attempt—having seen what had happened in New York and the Pentagon, you really didn’t have any choice.”
Before it got to that point, Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others began their day as usual. Everything changed after the second plane hit the World Trade Center. They understood that the first strike was no accident and that the U.S. was under attack.
Then radar found another plane heading toward Washington, and they were swiftly whisked out of the White House by the Secret Service to the hidden bunker.
“I remember being driven along, almost propelled along,” Rice recalled. “We had no idea where it was safe and where it wasn’t. We didn’t think the bunker of the White House was safe at that point.”
“A few moments later,” Cheney said, “I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.” The bunker, which had been build as a Cold War bomb shelter, had never been needed before.
Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta used a monitor to track the locations of every plane in the country.
With Bush on Air Force One, Cheney found himself in charge of the situation on the ground. His background prepared him for the worst.
“As bad as the events of 9/11 were, some of us had practiced exercises for far more dangerous and difficult circumstances—an all-out Soviet nuclear attack on the United States,” he recalled. “That helped—that training kicked in that morning.”
When United 93 was tracked as heading toward Washington, D.C., he was prepared to give the order to bring it down.
It ended up being unnecessary, as the passengers took matters into their own hands. The men and women on that flight had learned about what had already happened at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and were determined to fight back in order to prevent a similar attack.
Graff’s book, published by Avid Reader Press, includes accounts from phone operators and loved ones who spoke to passengers aboard the flight before they brought it crashing down into a Pennsylvania field, killing themselves and the hijackers.
“We’re waiting until we’re over a rural area. We’re going to take back the airplane,” passenger Tom Burnett said, according to his wife Deena, who spoke to him on the phone while he was in the air. She said she pleaded with him not to do anything to endanger himself, but he insisted, “If they’re going to crash this plane, we’re going to have to do something.”
Verizon Airfone operator Lisa Jefferson spoke about her conversation with passenger Todd Beamer.
“I could hear the commotion in the background. I heard the flight attendant screaming,” she said. Beamer’s wife was pregnant with their third child at the time, but when Jefferson offered to connect him to her, he declined so as not to upset her. Instead, Jefferson said, he gave her his home phone number and asked Jefferson to call his wife if something happened to him.
Jefferson then heard Beamer ask someone else, “Are you ready?” then saying, “OK. Let’s roll.”
Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined police and fire department officials who were responding to the attacks on the Twin Towers. Graff’s book includes accounts from survivors who were at the World Trade Center that day, as well as first responders who scrambled to help in the midst of utter chaos.
"I was pretty confident that we were the most prepared place in the United States for any emergency—maybe in the world," he said. "This was beyond anything that anybody had imagined."
Bush was eventually taken to an Air Force base outside Omaha, Nebraska. By evening, the president was headed back to the White House. Congressional leaders, who had been taken to a remote location, returned to Washington. They were joined at the Capitol by approximately 200 members of the House and Senate. After speeches were delivered, they broke out into "God Bless America."
Those responding that day still credit the passengers on United 93 for their swift action, preventing the deadliest terror attack in history from being even worse.
"The real heroes are the passengers on Flight 93 who were willing to sacrifice themselves," Penney said.
Military Times: At Pentagon 9/11 ceremony, Trump says he’s hitting the Taliban ‘harder than ever before’
By: Meghann Myers   17 hours ago
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Eighteen years after a jihadi attack on the Pentagon killed 184, President Trump told the crowd at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony for survivors, family members and first responders that the U.S. is striking back harder than ever before.
Hundreds of current and former Defense Department employees who were in the building on Sept. 11, 2001, along with families of the 125 killed, gathered at the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial Wednesday morningto pay their respects. In his remarks, Trump alluded to the current situation in Afghanistan, where troops have been stationed since October 2001.
We had peace talks scheduled a few days ago," he said of a planned clandestine meeting with senior Taliban officials. “I called them off when I learned that they had killed a great American soldier from Puerto Rico and 11 other innocent people.”
Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, an 82nd Airborne Division soldier, was killed Thursday in an IED attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
“They thought they would use this attack to show strength. But actually, what they showed is unrelenting weakness,” Trump. "The last four days, we’ve hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before, and that will continue.”
U.S. Central Command chief Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters traveling with him in Afghanistan on Monday that retribution would come.
“We’re certainly not going to sit still and let them carry out some self-described race to victory,” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”
His remarks came a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an appearance on ABC’s This Week, said that the U.S. had killed 1,000 members of the Taliban in the previous 10 days.
CENTCOM did not immediately return a request by Military Times for the number of missions carrier out against the Taliban over the past week. Officials from U.S. Air Forces Central Command could not immediately provide those figures.
While an agreement with the Taliban could be the key to ending the war in Afghanistan — which, along with the war in Iraq, has cost nearly 7,000 service members’ lives — it was five al-Qaida hijackers who crashed Flight 77 into the Pentagon. All 184 victims’ names were read off as part of the remembrance.
“Most of us recall exactly where we were when we first learned that our country was under attack," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in his remarks at the Pentagon ceremony. "Some were at work, others were at home. A number of you were present in this very building when [American Airlines] Flight 77 crashed into those concrete walls.”
Officials have emphasized that any deal with the Taliban will depend on the group’s commitment to ensuring no terrorist organization is again able to use Afghanistan as a base to plan, train for and execute an attack on American soil.
“We’re here today to renew our commitment to never forget,” Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said in his remarks. “The terrorist attacks were intended to challenge our way of life and they sought to break out spirit. But their purpose was never realized. That day made us stronger, more determined, more resolved to protect our nation and that for which it stands.”

The Hill: Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall

BY NIV ELIS – 09/11/19 05:36 PM EDT

Senate Democrats are threatening to withhold their votes on a spending bill for the Pentagon unless Republicans agree to block President Trump from repurposing defense funds for his wall on the Mexican border, a tactic he’s employed in recent months.
Democrats on Thursday will offer an amendment in committee to block Trump from reprogramming defense funds for his wall.
“There will likely be some amendments offered, and my vote on final passage depends on the fate of those amendments,” said Sen. Dick Durban (Ill.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee on defense.

While the bill could squeak through the committee with GOP support, Democratic votes will be needed for the measure to win Senate approval.
“It doesn’t portend very well for what’s going to happen on the floor, because we all know that without bipartisan support, appropriation bills are very difficult to call and pass,” Durbin said.
Political wrangling has not been limited to the defense bill.
Committee work on two other spending bills were scrapped as Democrats prepared amendments blocking President Trump’s abortion policies. Republicans say that violates a deal to keep controversial policy riders, or “poison pills,” out of the spending bills.

“Both sides agreed there would be no poison pills. No partisan wrenches thrown into the gears,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lamented Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, yesterday brought some disturbing signals that Democrats may be rethinking that commitment,” he added.
The abortion battles affect the spending bills covering the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, and the appropriations measure for the State Department and foreign operations.
That leaves the typically noncontroversial energy and water bill and so-called 302(b) allocations, which divvy up total spending among the 12 annual appropriations bills.

But Democrats are complaining about those measures, too, arguing that Republicans have shuffled resources to pay for portions of Trump’s proposed border wall and to backfill accounts he has emptied for that purpose.

“We’re not going to vote for a budget that is partisan, attempted to be jammed down our throat, that puts an additional $12 billion in the wall. Forget that,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Without a change, Democrats could withhold support from all the bills.

“With the 302(b) allocations as they are today, I am not going to support them,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee’s vice chairman, is planning on offering an amendment proposing a different set of 302(b)s, but barring an agreement with Republicans, it stands no chance of passage.

“We like them like they are,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the committee’s chairman.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a committee member who has been known to cross the aisle and faces a tough reelection in 2020, said Democrats have not said what their preferred spending levels are.

“The Democrats have not seen fit to share with me at least the 302(b)s that they are going to propose,” she said Wednesday morning. “If they were trying to advocate, you would think they would let us know what they were.”
But even if the bills pass through committee on a party-line basis, appropriators could work something out before the bills come to the floor, noted Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

“I think we’re going to continue to negotiate,” she said.

Members of Congress are clear that they have little chance of getting any spending bills signed into law by the Sept. 30 deadline, and are preparing a stopgap measure into mid-November to prevent a government shutdown.

USNI: Marine Who Led ISIS Fight Says Threat Still Remains

By:John Grady
September 11, 2019 1:48 PM

ISIS might have lost control of its last territorial stronghold in March, but the retired Marine Corps general who led American efforts to defeat the terrorist organization five years ago says the group remains much alive.
The killing of more than 60 attendees at a Kabul wedding party last month by a suicide bomber is a clear demonstration that, “ISIS remains a very virulent threat in the world,” retired Marine Gen. John Allen said Tuesday at the Brookings Institution. “We may see this [provincial offshoot of the Islamic State] become even stronger” as a result of the breakdown in peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban.
Allen, who is now president of Brookings, said a clear indication of a future threat of terrorist attacks upon the United States may lay in the camps in Turkey where the spouses and children of detained foreign fighters are being housed because “no state will take [the youngsters] back.”
European nations have been reluctant to take back foreign fighters held by the Syrian Democratic Forces and try to rehabilitate them or, if that fails, detain them on their soil, he said. The Syrian Democratic Forces are made up of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and Armenian militias.
At the same time, Turkey, which currently houses millions of Syrian refugees, warns unless Western European countries help shoulder the cost of sheltering the growing refugee population, it plans to send them either back across the border into a “safe zone” or to Western European countries.
A new generation of terrorists might be emerging in the refugee camps and prisons, said Brett McGurk, who worked with Allen to build the coalition that successfully defeated the Islamic State militarily in Syria and Iraq. The same situation produced men like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who organized jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq to fight against the Americans and coalition partners. Al-Zarqawi was killed in 2006.
“We have a difficult time taking Americans [who fought alongside ISIS in Syria or Iraq] back,” so the United States is not providing a model that other nations might use.
“This is the moment for American leadership,” Allen said. Five years ago, the U.S. led the way to assemble the coalition of 21 nations against the Islamic State. Now, the U.S. needs to similarly lead the way in handling foreign fighters and their families. Then ISIS controlled large parts of Iraq, threatening to capture Baghdad, and Syria, which already was engaged in a civil war.
Allan and McGurk agreed defeat of main force units doesn’t mean ISIS is defeated. The evidence is the bombings in Kabul, and splinter organizations operating from Africa to the Philippines. The extremist ideology behind the Islamic State’s claim to be the new caliphate also remains active on the internet, Allen said.
The problem now, after the fall of ISIS’ proclaimed capital of Raqqa, is “you have to have ends and means aligned,” McGurk said. For a time, they were, but not now. After the fall of Raqqa, McGurk said, “President [Donald] Trump made it clear we’re putting no money into stability” operations there. In contrast, the previous administration’s work with the United Nations and non-governmental organizations spent money on stability.
Speaking by video teleconference, Lisa Grande, who headed the U.N.’s work with the coalition, recalled speaking with Allen and her bosses before arriving in Iraq five years ago. At the time, she estimated there would be 2 million refugees as the liberation campaign unfolded. The reality was more — 6 million refugees. However, by continually reinforcing the need to address the evolving needs to care for so many refugees, the stabilization work in Iraq was mostly successful.
Grande, who was involved in the coalition’s planning from the start, said she also was surprised that in places like Ramadi, which was then threatened by ISIS, “everyone left at once.”
“The suffering was incomprehensible,” Allen said, describing the refugees on the move and then in the camps.
Stability operations were vital to long-term success after cities like Ramadi, Fallujah or Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest, are cleared of terrorists. Local forces and coalition partners were crucial for military success while the active involvement of the Iraqi government in stabilization later staved-off an ISIS return.
“You need the resources [that can] give people a chance to come home” like the police to keep order and shelter, medical aid, food and water. “You know you’ve won when they come home.”
Just as when the population left Ramadi, Grande added, “they all come back at once.” Security forces and basic services need to be in place and sustained when that movement begins.
The effort “was the largest stabilization [effort] the U.N. had ever attempted,” and her only success, Grande said.
The situation in Syria is less clear, the three agreed.

Stripes: Navy veteran remembered by family for ‘obnoxious pranks,’ ‘cheap mischief’ and colorful language
[Editor’s Note: If you need a good chuckle, you should definitely read this obituary in full HERE.]
By STARS AND STRIPESPublished: September 12, 2019
The obituary of Joseph Heller Jr., an 82-year-old Navy veteran who died this week, pays loving tribute to "a lifetime of frugality, hoarding and cheap mischief, often at the expense of others."
The Connecticut native’s antics included naming his first dog Fart so that his mother would have to yell the dog’s unfortunate moniker; being a frequent "shopper" at the local dump; and inviting his daughters’ dates into the house, "where shotguns, harpoons and sheep ‘nutters’ were left clearly on display."
His daughter Monique Heller wrote the obituary, according to CNN.
"My dad has an unorthodox view of life and I wanted to honor him and make people smile," Monique Heller told the network.
Joseph Heller served in the Navy as a Seabee and later met his wife, Irene, when he was a self-taught chemist at Chesebrough-Ponds.
"To this day we do not understand how he convinced our mother, an exceedingly proper woman and a pillar in her church, to sew and create the colorful costumes and props which he used for his antics," the obituary said.
As a dad, he was a tolerant hair and makeup customer when his daughters wanted to play beauty shop, and he assembled doll furniture and play forts. In retirement, he was the local dog catcher and "refused to put any of his ‘prisoners’ down and would look for the perfect homes for them," according to the obituary.
In lieu of flowers, the obituary said that the "family is seeking donations to offset the expense of publishing an exceedingly long obituary which would have really pissed Joe off." Or, it suggests, perhaps have a cup of coffee with a friend and remember his antics, or "play a harmless prank on some unsuspecting sap."
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11 September, 2019 06:08

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Monday, August 12, 2019 which is Baseball Fans Day, National Middle Child Day, National Sewing Machine Day and VJ (or Victory) Day.
This Day in Legion History:

  • Sept. 11, 2001: Terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, destroy the Downtown Athletic Club American Legion post in lower Manhattan, and the Kim Lau American Legion post in Chinatown serves as a relief station for first responders. When a Canadian radio station airs the request from a young girl to send stuffed animals and toys to New York to comfort the children there, an 18-wheeler arrives in Chinatown, and the stuffed animals are housed in the basement of the post before distribution to kids. In Washington, D.C., National Commander Richard Santos is 23 minutes away from delivering testimony before a joint session of Congress when the Pentagon is attacked, and everyone is ordered to evacuate. The commander’s son, Steffen, is among the fire fighters who respond to the attack at the Department of Defense headquarters. Near Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 was flown into the ground after passengers seized control from hijackers, American Legion Post 257 Commander Dick Pristas is among the first responders at the crash site.

Today in History:
9.11.01:

  • 7:59 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 carrying 81 passengers and 11 crew members, departs 14 minutes late from Logan International Airport in Boston, bound for Los Angeles International Airport. Five hijackers are aboard.
  • 8:14: United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767, carrying 56 passengers and 9 crew members, departs 14 minutes late from Logan International Airport in Boston, bound for Los Angeles International Airport. Five hijackers are aboard.
  • 8:14: Flight 11 is hijacked over central Massachusetts, turning first northwest, then south.
  • 8:20: American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 with 58 passengers and 6 crew members, departs 10 minutes late from Washington Dulles International Airport, for Los Angeles International Airport. Five hijackers are aboard.
  • 8:42: United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 with 37 passengers and 7 crew members, departs 42 minutes late from Newark International Airport, bound for San Francisco International Airport. Four hijackers are aboard.
  • 8:42–8:46 (approx.): Flight 175 is hijacked above northwest New Jersey, about 60 miles northwest of New York City, continuing southwest briefly before turning back to the northeast.
  • 8:46:40: Flight 11 crashes into the north face of the North Tower (1 WTC) of the World Trade Center, between floors 93 and 99. The aircraft enters the tower intact.
  • 8:50–8:54 (approx.): Flight 77 is hijacked above southern Ohio, turning to the southeast.
  • 9:03:00: Flight 175 crashes into the south face of the South Tower (2 WTC) of the World Trade Center, between floors 77 and 85. Parts of the plane, including the starboard engine, leave the building from its east and north sides, falling to the ground six blocks away.
  • 9:28: Flight 93 is hijacked above northern Ohio, turning to the southeast.
  • 9:37:46: Flight 77 crashes into the western side of The Pentagon and starts a violent fire.
  • 9:45: United States airspace is shut down.
  • 9:59:00: The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, 56 minutes after the impact of Flight 175.
  • 10:03:11: Flight 93 is crashed by its hijackers as a result of fighting in the cockpit 80 miles (129 km) southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Later reports indicate that passengers had learned about the World Trade Center and Pentagon crashes and were resisting the hijackers. The 9/11 Commission believed that Flight 93’s target was either the United States Capitol building or the White House in Washington, D.C.
  • 10:28:22: The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, 1 hour and 42 minutes after the impact of Flight 11. The Marriott Hotel, located at the base of the two towers, is also destroyed.
  • 10:50:19: Five stories of part of the Pentagon collapse due to the fire.
  • 5:20:33 p.m.: 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story building, collapses.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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AP: US to commemorate 9/11 as its aftermath extends and evolves
By:Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press   13 hours ago
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NEW YORK — Americans are commemorating 9/11 with mournful ceremonies, volunteering, appeals to “never forget” and rising attention to the terror attacks’ extended toll on responders.
A crowd of victims’ relatives is expected at ground zero Wednesday, while President Donald Trump is scheduled to join an observance at the Pentagon. Vice President Mike Pence is to speak at the third attack site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Eighteen years after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, the nation is still grappling with the aftermath at ground zero, in Congress and beyond. The attacks’ aftermath is visible from airport security checkpoints to Afghanistan, where a post-9/11 invasion has become America’s longest war. U.S. peace talks with Taliban insurgents collapsed in recent days.
“People say, ‘Why do you stand here, year after year?’” Chundera Epps, a sister of Sept. 11 victim Christopher Epps, said at last year’s ceremony at the World Trade Center. “Because soldiers are still dying for our freedom. First responders are still dying and being ill.”
“We can’t forget. Life won’t let us forget,” she added.
The anniversary ceremonies center on remembering the nearly 3,000 people killed when hijacked planes rammed into the trade center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001. All those victims’ names are read aloud at the ground zero ceremony, where moments of silence and tolling bells mark the moments when the aircraft crashed and the trade center’s twin towers fell.
But there has been growing awareness in recent years of the suffering of another group of people tied to the tragedy: firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to the wreckage and the toxins unleashed in it.
While research continues into whether those illnesses are tied to 9/11 toxins, a victims compensation fund for people with potentially Sept. 11-related health problems has awarded more than $5.5 billion so far. Over 51,000 people have applied.
After years of legislative gridlock, dwindling money in the fund and fervent activism by ailing first responders and their advocates, Congress this summer made sure the fund won’t run dry. Trump, a Republican and a New Yorker who was in the city on 9/11 signed the measure in July.
The sick gained new recognition this year at the memorial plaza at ground zero, where the new 9/11 Memorial Glade was dedicated this spring.
The tribute features six large stacks of granite inlaid with salvaged trade center steel, with a dedication “to those whose actions in our time of need led to their injury, sickness, and death.” No one is named specifically.
Some 9/11 memorials elsewhere already included sickened rescue, recovery and cleanup workers, and there is a remembrance wall entirely focused on them in Nesconset, on Long Island. But those who fell ill or were injured, and their families, say having a tribute at ground zero carries special significance.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Monday that its 9/11 memorial will close next week for electrical and lighting work. The project, expected to take until late May, includes repairs to lighting glitches in the shallow reflecting pools under the memorial benches.
Sept. 11 is known not only as a day for remembrance and patriotism, but also as a day of service. People around the country continue to volunteer at food banks, schools, home-building projects, park cleanups and other charitable endeavors on and near the anniversary.

Military Times: Trump dumps Bolton as national security adviser
By: Diana Stancy Correll   17 hours ago
1.8K
President Donald Trump says he pushed out White House National Security Adviser John Bolton.
According to Trump, the two are parting ways because he “disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions.” Trump claimed Bolton turned in his resignation this morning, and a new national security adviser will be selected next week.
Bolton was Trump’s third NSA.
“I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” Trump said in a series of tweets Tuesday. “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.”
But Bolton had a different take on how things went down.
“I offered to resign last night and President Trump said, ‘Let’s talk about it tomorrow,’" Bolton tweeted later on Tuesday.
Bolton also told ABC News that he left of his own volition due to an “accumulation of things.”
“I offered to resign last night,” Bolton said, according to ABC News. “He never asked for me to resign directly or indirectly. I slept on it and resigned this morning.”
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters later Tuesday that Bolton’s priorities and policies just don’t line up with the president."
“There is no one issue here…they just didn’t align on many issues,” Gidley said, according to White House press pool reports.
Bolton, who backed the Iraq War in 2003, joined the White House in April 2018, replacing Trump’s second national security adviser retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.
Since then, media reports have indicated that the two have sparred over military intervention in many areas, including North Korea.
More recently, the announcement comes after the Washington Post reported on Aug. 30 that Bolton was not initially invited to a meeting with other top aides about the future of Afghanistan. According to the Post, Bolton’s pushback to a diplomatic solution in Afghanistan irked Trump and the two were at odds over policy options.
Bolton ultimately did attend the meeting after his aides put pressure on White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, the Post reported, citing a U.S. official. Other leaders who attended the meeting included Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and others.
Additionally, CNN reports that Trump was frustrated by media reports detailing Bolton’s opposition to hosting Taliban leaders at Camp David this week. The meeting was ultimately called off by Trump over the weekend.
A senior administration official also said that Trump’s annoyance with Bolton has grown in recent months, and that Trump believed Bolton was undermining him.
Bolton previously served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush.
Stripes: Lawmaker blasts VA for ‘second chance’ given to VA doctor found drunk on the job
By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPESPublished: September 10, 2019
WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., urged the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on Tuesday to investigate how the Department of Veterans Affairs handled the case of a pathologist in Fayetteville, Ark., who is accused of misdiagnosing patients while he was intoxicated on the job.
Robert Levy, 53, the former chief pathologist at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, was indicted last month on three counts of involuntary manslaughter and 28 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and false statements to law enforcement officials. His misdiagnoses totaled more than 3,000 cases and were responsible for at least 15 deaths, The Washington Post reported.
Levy was found in 2016 to have a blood alcohol level of 0.396% while at work, five times the legal limit in Arkansas of 0.08%. He was suspended but returned to his position after completing a three-month treatment program and agreeing to random drug and alcohol screenings.
He was fired in 2018 after he was found to have used 2-methyl-2-butanol, a substance that causes intoxication in small doses but is undetectable in routine drug and alcohol tests.
Womack blasted the VA on Tuesday for its decision to return Levy to a supervisory position.
“I will never understand why the VA returned Mr. Levy to duty as a supervisor,” Womack said. “I believe in second chances, but not in life or death circumstances.”
Womack made the statements during a hearing of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, during which committee members heard from lawmakers about their concerns regarding VA facilities in their districts. He called on the committee to “conduct vigorous oversight” on the situation.
“I respectfully request your committee investigate the actions and decisions made by the VA throughout the entirety of this episode,” Womack said.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., the chairman of the committee, said the subcommittee on oversight and investigations was planning a hearing in the fall to discuss Levy’s case, as well as an ongoing investigation concerning the suspicious deaths of at least 10 veterans at a VA facility in West Virginia.
Two of the deaths, caused by fatal doses of insulin administered at the VA hospital in Clarksburg, W.V., have been confirmed as homicides. There is a person of interest in the case, but the VA said the allegations don’t involve any current VA employees.
“We have a duty to ensure that veterans can access care without falling victim to ‘bad actors’ within the VA systems,” said Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., chairman of the subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
Regarding Levy’s case, Womack criticized the VA for its failure to communicate with lawmakers, in addition to the agency’s decision to keep Levy after he was found drunk on the job.
“The way the VA engaged with my office, with other Arkansas delegation offices, and this committee was concerning,” Womack said. “The VA is a department of the federal government and is subject to the oversight of Congress. But throughout the entire process, the VA was slow to provide important information to the relevant people.”
Takano said he was “particularly disturbed” about the VA’s lack of communication.
“Congress does have the duty to do oversight – and we will,” he said.
The VA on Tuesday rebutted Womack’s comments. The agency said it had kept elected officials informed.
“That statement is at odds with the public comments of other members of the Arkansas congressional delegation and local veterans,” a VA spokesman wrote in an email. “Communication with congressional offices was ongoing throughout the duration of the lookback to include calls in advance of all town halls to keep them informed.”
Levy was being held without bond in the Washington County Detention Center in Fayetteville, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. His bond hearing is set for Sept. 25.
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WaPo: ‘Maybe this is how Vietnam vets felt’: Americans who fought in Afghanistan wait to see how their war ends
By Dan Lamothe
September 10 at 3:10 PM
STATESVILLE, N.C. — Ryan Clay and Anthony “Rocco” DePrimo were in different places in life when they met as Marines more than 12 years ago.
Clay was a combat instructor who already had seen war in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he earned a Purple Heart.
DePrimo was fresh out of high school and boot camp, a self-described former “pretty-boy dude” who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a Marine.
“Rocco used to hate me,” Clay said, smirking slightly.
“Yeah!” DePrimo responded, his face lighting up. “There was probably some hatred there.”
That was before they served together in the largest single battle of the Afghan war, in which more than 15,000 U.S., British, Afghan and other coalition troops fought to take control of the Taliban stronghold of Marja nine years ago.
That was before they lost brothers in arms together. Before DePrimo struggled with transitioning out of the military and drinking too much, and Clay survived an explosion that knocked him off his feet in Afghanistan and later a stroke.
Now the two are friends and part of a generation of war veterans who are waiting to see how the United States’ longest conflict might end.
Some 775,477 U.S. veterans and service members have deployed to Afghanistan since the U.S. war there began after the 9/11 terrorist attacks 18 years ago this week, including 28,267 who have gone five or more times, according to Pentagon statistics released to The Washington Post. Nearly 2,400 American troops have died there, including 16 in combat action this year, and more than 20,000 have been wounded.
President Trump repeatedly has vowed to bring the troops home. But on Saturday, he abruptly called off negotiations between U.S. diplomats and Taliban leaders and canceled a secret meeting planned at Camp David. It is not clear if Trump will remove some of the more than 14,000 U.S. troops who are deployed without a deal, or if talks can be jump-started.
The span of the conflict has prompted some veterans to question what has been accomplished. The nonpartisan Pew Research Center reported in July that 58 percent of veterans it surveyed said the war in Afghanistan was not worth it.
“There’s a lot of mixed feelings, and just feeling, ‘I don’t know how I feel about it,’ ” DePrimo said. “Maybe this is how the Vietnam vets felt. I’d like to think that’s possibly true — having the same feelings.”
‘My nightmare’
On a cold morning in February 2010, Clay, DePrimo and the rest of their unit — the 3rd Platoon of India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines — landed in helicopters near Marja, in the southern province of Helmand. The rural, largely desert area was home to hundreds of Taliban fighters and fields divided by muddy canals and fields that grow opium poppies in the spring.
For days, the Marines hiked to get closer to the enemy, uncertain when the fighting would start. They dug holes and shared them at night to escape the brutal cold.
“We had Marines burning their own socks to stay warm,” Clay recalled.
On Feb. 13, they crossed the “line of departure” on the map marking the Marja boundary. Gunfire punctuated the air. Two explosives disposal technicians fighting alongside the platoon, Gunnery Sgt. Ralph E. Pate Jr. and Sgt. John Morris, disarmed more than 20 bombs early in the operation, Clay said.
The platoon escaped without any fatalities, but four Marines in the battalion of 1,000 were killed between Feb. 17 and Feb. 21.
In March, the platoon was assigned to take over a dilapidated yellow schoolhouse, which was inside a walled courtyard the size of a football field in northern Marja. Clay, a staff sergeant, was put in charge of operations on site, while his platoon commander, 1st Lt. Jackson Smith, led another part of the unit nearby.
The attacks began immediately. Squads of Marines, including one led by DePrimo, a corporal, were repeatedly ambushed with machine guns, rifles and rocket-propelled grenades a few hundreds yards from their base. Several were wounded in murky fights in which friend and foe were hard to discern, and Taliban fighters zoomed away on motorcycles.
In one hair-raising battle, insurgents shot Lance Cpl. Matthew T. Earle, puncturing both of his lungs. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew A. Dishmon, a hospital corpsman, dragged him to safety under gunfire, earning a Bronze Star with V for his valor.
“The yellow schoolhouse, in my opinion, was my nightmare,” Clay said. “Every night I’d go to bed and no one was killed, I’d thank God and hope that tomorrow was not worse than today.”
By the end of the deployment in August, nine Marines in the battalion had been killed. At least 86 earned Purple Hearts for being wounded in combat.
Coming home
When the unit returned home to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the Marines began scattering.
DePrimo left the military in May 2011, disillusioned with his options. He bounced around community colleges in South Carolina and Florida and learned to operate a crane in Georgia, though by the time he finished training he didn’t want to do that anymore.
He also drank too much, to the point that he eventually quit hard alcohol, he said.
“I don’t know that there was anything easy about getting out,” DePrimo said of leaving the military. “I can’t ever say I felt alone, but I secluded myself a lot just to kind of get away from a lot that was going on and what had transpired. A lot of it was me just not taking the right steps. It was all of the things I knew I shouldn’t be doing, but it was like, ‘Okay, whatever.’ ”
Clay continued his career and graduated from drill instructor school in Parris Island, S.C., in June 2011 with DePrimo watching. But a few weeks later, his life changed.
While barking orders to recruits, he felt a “pop” in his head and crushing pain. He was having a stroke.
For six weeks, Clay underwent physical therapy, walking with a cane and learning how to do basic tasks such as buttoning his clothes. He recovered, but his Marine Corps career was over. Doctors told him the explosion in Marja could have been responsible.
“There’s no sense in fighting it when they’re going to retire you anyway,” Clay said. “So be grateful and thankful that I’m still here.”
Back in Marja, violence was plummeting, but the war raged on in other parts of the country.
On June 26, 2011, Pate, the Marine so admired for his work disarming bombs, was killed in an explosion in Sangin, about 70 miles northeast of Marja.
A couple weeks later, Sgt. Ian McConnell, 24, another Marine who served at the schoolhouse, died by suicide in California. Afghanistan weighed on him heavily, said his sister, Meg Schellinger, of Eagan, Minn.
“Even today, I’m still shocked,” she said. “Yeah, he’d been pulling back and not really talking with me as much lately, but it just wasn’t Ian, you know?”
As the years passed, Marja again largely fell to the Taliban.
Keeping a boundary in place
Since returning home, some former members of the platoon have flourished, and others have struggled. Lance Cpl. Dominic Draper died in a car wreck in 2016, after surviving a roadside bomb in Marja that destroyed his vehicle while he was in its gun turret.
Smith, 34, who is now a lawyer in New Orleans, said he is proud that every member of his platoon survived the deployment and tries to remind them that they have no control over how the war has gone. He recently got engaged.
“If you try to zoom out any further in terms of, ‘What’s our mission here?’ you get very quickly into the realm of things over which you have absolutely no control,” he said. “Keeping that boundary in place is very important in terms of dealing with the bitterness that some guys may have.”
DePrimo and Clay settled near each other and took jobs in Statesville, N.C., a small city north of Charlotte with an old-fashioned downtown. That they live near each other happened by coincidence, but they spend time together frequently.
DePrimo, who turns 31 this month, married a woman from his hometown of Lake Wales, Fla., becoming a stepfather to three girls before having a son in 2018. He sold cars for a while, and moved on recently to taking horticulture classes and farming. He’s proud of what he and the Marines he served with did in Afghanistan.
“They were getting shot at, and they were running and shooting back at them,” he said. “That’s where the pride comes in for me: to know that these guys at one time all stood for the exact same thing, and they went out and they did it, and they accomplished what they were supposed to accomplish.”
Since leaving the military, Clay, 36, has found happiness after divorce and remarrying, he said. He became a patrol deputy and dog handler with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Department, and is quick to tell those he served alongside that he loves them.
“The sacrifices that were made, it’s not that they were made in vain as long as they’re not forgotten,” he said. “That’s the best way to put it. Things have to change. Times have to change.”
Military Times: Why younger veterans more likely to struggle after leaving the military
By: Leo Shane III   21 hours ago
1K
Younger veterans are more likely than previous generations of servicemembers to report problems readjusting to civilian life, with about 1 in 6 calling the transition very difficult, according to a new survey released today.
The survey from the Pew Research Center, which includes responses from 1,284 veterans collected in May and June, also found that one-third of veterans reported they had trouble paying their bills in the first few years after leaving the military, and about 40 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans believed their deployment had a negative effect on their mental health.
Researchers say at least part of the difference between the youngest generation of veterans and their pre-9/11 peers is the time they spent in combat zones during their service. More than 75 percent of post-9/11 veterans were deployed at least once, compared to 58 percent of the older generations.
“(Combat veterans) are more likely to say they didn’t get the respect they deserved, struggled with the lack of structure in civilian life, and felt disconnected from family or friends,” the center’s report said.
“At the same time, those who served in combat report positive impacts from the experience. Majorities say their experiences in combat made them feel closer to those who served alongside them, showed them that they were stronger than they thought they were and changed their priorities about what was important in their life.”
Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans have seen historic low unemployment rates in recent years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. But their jobless figures have also remained above the rate for all veterans, indicating extra employment difficulties for younger veterans compared to their elder peers.
About 47 percent of the post-9/11 veterans surveyed by the center said that readjustment to civilian life from the military was difficult, compared to 21 percent for older generations. About 35 percent of the post-9/11 veterans said they have sought professional help for “emotional issues,” compared to just 10 percent for the older crowd.
More veterans who served before 2001 were proud of their military service than those who served afterwards (70 percent to 58 percent), and older veterans were more optimistic about their future after leaving the ranks than the younger veterans (50 percent to 33 percent).
The older cohort was also more likely to give positive marks to federal veterans assistance programs. Only about 27 percent of pre-9/11 veterans said they government has not given them enough help. Among younger veterans, that number rose to 43 percent.
Regardless of when they served, about one in five veterans said they have struggled with substance abuse in the first few years after leaving the military.
The full study results are available on the Pew Research Center web site.

Stripes: Trump pronounces Taliban agreement ‘dead’ and peace talks over

By KAREN DEYOUNG, JOSH DAWSEY AND MISSY RYAN | The Washington Post | Published: September 9, 2019
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Monday that negotiations with the Taliban "are dead" and indicated that he had no further interest in meeting with the group over an end to the Afghanistan war.
"I’m not looking to discuss it," he said. "I’m not discussing anything."
Trump appeared to provide the definitive response to at least one question officials across his administration were struggling to answer in the wake of his abrupt cancellation, by way of Twitter on Saturday evening, of a Camp David meeting with Taliban and Afghan government leaders to finalize an agreement.
Before Trump’s comments, made to reporters as he left for a campaign rally in North Carolina, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was said to be hopeful that there was still a flicker of life in the Taliban talks and that a way to restart them would emerge. In Sunday talk show interviews, Pompeo said the negotiations were off "for the time being" but emphasized that progress had been made.
State Department negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad returned to Washington on Monday for meetings with senior officials to discuss what had happened and what to do.
Dissension within the administration over the issue — centered on Pompeo’s support for the negotiations, national security adviser John Bolton’s opposition, and their competition for policy dominance and presidential favor — is "really heating up," according to a senior administration official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
A second senior official described similar Bolton-Pompeo tensions and predicted that, whatever Trump may say now, the issue of negotiations was far from dead. Just as Trump first threatened and then was eager to talk to the leaders of North Korea and Iran, this official said, the president will eventually be willing to make a deal with the Taliban.
Among those trying to stay out of the firing line, Vice President Mike Pence joined Trump in disputing reports that he had opposed the Camp David meeting but was overruled by the president. "This Story is False!" Trump tweeted Monday afternoon, saying that "the Dishonest Media likes to create the look of turmoil in the White House, of which there is none."
"That’s Absolutely Right Mr. President," Pence tweeted in response. "More Fake News!"
The second senior official said Pence had helped talk Trump out of his initial idea to hold the meeting with the Taliban at the White House and was opposed to any meeting at all.
Just as the future of U.S.-Taliban negotiations remained in doubt, military officials were noncommittal about whether the U.S. troop cuts the deal envisioned would go ahead.
"The number of troops that we will have will always be the appropriate level that we need to provide security there," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said. "We’re going to focus on the counterterrorism mission, and we’re going to focus on the reason we got into Afghanistan in the first place, and that is to prevent terrorist operations or individuals from using Afghanistan as a base from which to operate against the homeland."
In Kabul, Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani called on the Taliban to negotiate with him but warned that attempts to increase its attacks on the ground would be met with a ferocious military response. The Taliban refrained from public statements, and its negotiators were believed to be consulting militant leaders based in Quetta, Pakistan.
No further U.S.-Taliban talks are scheduled, and the nearly completed agreement, negotiated by Khalilzad over the past 10 months, appears to be dead. A meeting between Afghan officials and Taliban leaders — agreed to as part of the U.S.-Taliban deal and scheduled to be held in Oslo on Sept. 23 — has been canceled, according to European officials who were in charge of organizing it. A donors conference to fund post-deal political talks among the Afghans, scheduled for next week in London, is up in the air.
Talk of a cease-fire in the 18-year-old war, on the agenda for the Oslo meeting, has now disappeared, as both the United States and the Taliban have pledged to step up their battlefield attacks.
In his remarks to reporters, Trump claimed full credit for both setting up the Camp David meeting and canceling it.
The subject was first broached, according to an official familiar with White House deliberations, in a "principals only" meeting at the end of August. Held in the Situation Room, it included Pompeo and Khalilzad, with Bolton joining via videoconference from overseas.
"It was my idea," Trump said Monday of inviting the Taliban and Ghani to Washington. "I took my own advice. I like the idea of meeting . . . I think meeting is a great thing," he said. "Otherwise, wars would never end."
Others familiar with the meeting said they could not confirm who first brought it up. Trump said he had nixed a suggestion that it be held at the White House – which others recalled he had proposed himself — because "that would be a step too far." But, he said, there was precedent for hosting negotiations among warring foreigners at Camp David.
As Khalilzad explained the pact, it would allow the initial withdrawal of about 5,000 U.S. troops in exchange for a Taliban commitment to break relations with al-Qaida and a pledge that it would allow no terrorist organizations with designs on the United States to exist in territory under Taliban control.
Bolton argued that Trump could withdraw the same number of troops without any deal with the Taliban, something he had opposed since the negotiations started in October.
While State Department officials came away from that August meeting believing that Trump — eager for a campaign-promised withdrawal — was on board with the terms of the deal, some inside the White House insisted that the president had never considered it a done deal and wanted to put his own stamp on the negotiations.
Bolton and others who opposed negotiating with the Taliban — let alone inviting its leaders to Washington — continued to raise questions about the agreement, noting that Taliban attacks had increased in recent years.
Meanwhile, the State Department drew attention to a rise in U.S.-backed Afghan government attacks against the Taliban and stepped-up U.S. airstrikes. Additional violence was to be expected in the lead-up to an agreement as both sides sought leverage.
Although the Camp David aspect of the negotiations was a closely held secret, those who knew about it — supporters and opponents alike — worried that it was a bad idea. Trump’s concept was that he would meet separately with Ghani and the Taliban leaders, satisfy them and himself that the deal was adequate, and then announce it.
The Taliban, queried by Khalilzad in Doha, expressed trepidation but did not refuse. Ghani reluctantly agreed, if only to avoid being seen as a peace spoiler.
Trump revealed the plan in the same Saturday nighttweet that canceled it. Far from listening to his advisers, he said Monday, "it was my idea to terminate it. I didn’t even discuss it with anybody else."
The reason, he said, both in the Saturday tweet and Monday’s comments, was the death Thursday morning of a U.S. service member killed in a Taliban attack. "You can’t do that. You can’t do that with me," Trump said. "So, they’re dead as far as I’m concerned," he said of the negotiations.
But others noted that 16 Americans have been killed by hostile fire this year in Afghanistan, including one a week before the most recent death – after Trump was briefed on the peace agreement and sent Khalilzad back to the region to finalize it.
Even as those differing on the wisdom of negotiations plotted different futures, few within the administration mourned the cancellation of the Camp David meeting. "This is a dodged bullet," said one senior official.

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10 September, 2019 07:29

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Tuesday, September 10, 2019 which is Blame it on the Large Hadron Collider Day, International Creepy Boston Dynamics Robotic Horse Day, National Ants on a Log Day and National Hot Dog Day.
This Day in Legion History:
Sept. 10, 1928: Montgomery-Ward American Legion Post 5 of Oakland, Calif., sweeps Worcester, Mass., 4-0 and 12-2 to win The American Legion Baseball World Series at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. On hand to congratulate American Legion Americanism Director Dan Sowers and the championship players is Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who revived the program that year after a two-summer hiatus, with a $50,000 pledge of funds from pro baseball.
This Day in History:

  • On September 10, 1919, almost one year after an armistice officially ended the First World War, New York City holds a parade to welcome home General John J. Pershing, commander in chief of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), and some 25,000 soldiers who had served in the AEF’s 1st Division on the Western Front.
  • On September 10, 2008, scientists successfully flip the switch for the first time on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) lab in Geneva, kicking off what many called history’s biggest science experiment.
  • 1813: In the first unqualified defeat of a British naval squadron in history, U.S. Captain Oliver Hazard Perry leads a fleet of nine American ships to victory over a squadron of six British warships at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

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Military.com: Younger Vets Are on a Mission to Change the American Legion from Within

8 Sep 2019
Military.com | By Oriana Pawlyk
INDIANAPOLIS — Older men sporting ball caps, and perhaps leather-patched vests, sit in a dark bar, smoke wafting about while they talk about their war days.
It’s a stereotypical image associated with American Legion posts: a place to retreat and share kinship with men who became close because they stood side by side in conflicts like the Vietnam War, or met in veteran outreach programs.
But it’s not the image the next generation of vets wants people to think of.
As they attempt to change the image of the nearly two-million-member organization, younger veterans say it’s time to go back to a grassroots campaign of family-oriented programs and community service.
Two Post-9/11 vets who spoke with Military.comduring the American Legion’s 101st National Convention at the end of August said the organization, like the military itself, must shift and offer more personalized, tailored positions that give prospective members — or those thinking of leaving the Legion — a sense of purpose and belonging.
"At some point in time, the American Legion … and other legacy service organizations, switched from being a community-centered focal point to being an exclusive social club. And that is switching back," said Derric Grimes, an Army veteran and a member of the post in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina. Military.com sat down with Grimes and Desiree "Dez" Guerra, a member of Department of Colorado District 7, during the convention.
The two say they’ve seen change gradually taking place: Post-9/11 vets find themselves more closely aligned to the Legion’s founders, the World War I-era service members who were on a mission to give back to communities, build partnerships with local and state organizations and foster programs geared toward family events.
While the Legion has always maintained a responsibility to community initiatives, those efforts at some point became less prominent. The image of "a smoke-filled bar with a bunch of old guys sitting around complaining about the VA and swapping war stories" was born, Grimes said.
"We’re fighting against our own perception of what the American Legion is — because we’re not a bar — and we’re fighting against the public perception because that’s all they’ve seen for the last several decades," he said. "That’s where you’re seeing that positive growth across the country … with doing stuff for our communities; that’s what we’re supposed to do."
Something for Everyone
John Raughter, the Legion’s national deputy director of media relations, said he’s heard this characterization for decades.
"Oh yes, there is a perception," Raughter said. He quoted a Wall Street Journal article written in 1971 titled, "American Legion, Once Civic and Social Power, Is Slowly Fading Away."
"The article goes on to say the old members are dying off, the young ones aren’t interested … and [the organization] is slowly ebbing in importance. So the older vets that were fading away, according to the article, were the World War I veterans, and the young ones were the Vietnam War vets, and today, they represent the largest segment of our membership. So these are perceptions that have existed. … That article is 48 years old now," he said.
Acknowledging there has been the long-standing stigma, Raughter said each vet has something different to offer either to their Legion post or to his or her community.
"So for us to be diminished as some sort of social club, I think is an unfair statement," he said.
Grimes, 34, said the social-club aspect of his delegation, Post 116, does help keep the lights on.
"But is that who we are? No," he said.
New posts are especially promising because they offer a fresh start and can be whatever they want to be.
"A lot of people think that they have to have a building," Grimes said. "You can do it anywhere, really. Your home, community, just have to have a place to host your meetings. It could be someone’s house. It could be a Denny’s … it could be a virtual [community]" through online video conferencing.
There is a larger, long-term strategy to bring in new members. Grimes and Guerra said the Legion is long overdue to incorporate more targeted conversations and marketing efforts to recruit and retain members.
The Legion "needs to capitalize on the talents of the people that they’re recruiting," Guerra said.
Grimes and Guerra sit on the Legion’s "National 21st Century Committee," which looks at future development for the organization.
Guerra said the recruitment conversation often starts with pushing an opening that really needs to be filled, "instead of saying, ‘Hey, what do you do for a living? What is your interest?’"
"Pick a demographic, and it comes down to a question of, for lack of a better word, talent management and engagement," Grimes said.
The Legion’s problems are similar to the challenges the U.S. military faces todayin recruiting and retaining top talent. In response, the Defense Department has moved toward tailored messaging to a generation skeptical of service.
"We have a struggle with talent management, where we have people that want to come in and do good work, they want to continue serving, but we haven’t trained ourselves as an organization to identify and put those people in the right position," Grimes said.
Other veterans organizations, such as Team Red, White and Blue; Team Rubicon; and Student Veterans of America, have seen recruiting success "because there’s tangible benefits and a mission and they’re getting after it and doing it," he said.
Retention is also a "huge problem," Grimes said, for similar reasons. "If you don’t capitalize on the skill set or the interest of the veteran … they’re not going to renew. They don’t want to come back. They can’t get what they are looking for out of this organization, which we should be offering.
"[You have to] ensure that your providing something that is satisfying for all the members of your posts across all demographics and generations," he continued. "[You] really have to reinflate that sense of purpose and direction that people know that what they’re doing is making a difference."
Pinpointed programs
It’s unclear just how many post-9/11 vets belong to the American Legion. The statistics aren’t tracked at the national level, a spokeswoman told Military.com.
But Post 116, for example, has seen significant growth, especially with younger vets. Ten years ago the post had roughly 250 members. Now, it’s North Carolina’s largest post, with more than 920 members.
One reason? They made it about family, Grimes said. Post 116 had been going through a tough phase, but reinvigorating family time — cookouts, fairs, and a little something for everyone — became the catalyst it needed.
"How do you get young members? You make it about family because if I can’t take my … family to Legion stuff, I’m not going. Sorry," he said.
Grimes, a West Point grad and former Army captain, went through three deployments in his eight years in the service, the last to Kuwait. "So my family time is sacred," he said.
Guerra said a success for her detachment has been Boys/Girls State, a youth program open to rising high school seniors who compete in mock-government trials. "It’s a kind of crash course in how government actually works," she said.
At the competition in June, "we had probably almost 200 delegates," Guerra said. "There are other [state detachments] that have five times as much as that [participating], but that’s just a big one for us."
Giving Back
Raughter, a Marine Corps vet, said it’s also about the outreach work. The Legion gave more than $1 million in assistance aid to Coast Guard families during the government shutdown that ended last January.
"We held 41 career fairs last year" for service members and spousestransitioning out of the military, he added. "We’ve awarded $257,000 in national emergency fund grants … in locations of natural disaster. We’ve provided $17 million in child welfare fund grants since 1955; last year alone, we [recorded] 562,000 volunteer hours by Legion members volunteering at their local VA … so just look at these programs."
Guerra, a former Army signal support system specialist, was apprehensive of joining the American Legion. She had moved from Fort Carson, Colorado, to Joint Force Headquarters in California, before transitioning out in 2010 as an E-4.
But then she ended up homeless.
"I was homeless for almost a year. I was working two full-time jobs, going to school full time. And living at a school parking lot because I just didn’t, I mean … You’re used to getting a paycheck on the first and the fifteenth of every single month, and they don’t prepare you for [when that stops]," she said.
A group of motorcycle riders, some in the Legion, some in other vets communities, were the ones who brought her into the organization. She was on a Harley ride with her dad at the time, and the Legion riders invited them to tag along.
The vets were raising money for a homelessness initiative, to take "people off the streets and … get them reestablished in the VA system, find a job, find housing."
"That’s what got me involved," said Guerra, 33. She moved to Colorado in 2013.
"I started doing things with the riders and learned that there was another side of this. And I went to my first [Legion] national convention in Reno, [Nevada]. That was my first one. And to see the hard work of every department come to fruition was amazing," she said.
Grimes, an engineer, was involuntarily separated in 2015. He felt like he never finished his mission.
"I’ve always gotten a lot of looks from people when I tell them I’m involved with the American Legion and [a lot of], ‘You’re so young,’" he said.
"Yeah, I know, but I like what we do, right? I love our programs. I love our mission of taking care of veterans and their families and strengthening our community," Grimes said.
"That’s the mission. That’s what we do."