Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Friday, October 19, 2018 (at 0400 because I couldn’t sleep) and today is Dress Like a Dork Day (done), Evaluate Your Life Day (0400 getting to work is a bad sign), National Mammography Day (I don’t think that applies to me) and New Friends Day (yeah, not so much.)
Today/This Weekend in American Legion History:
- Oct. 19, 1922: Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, is presented The American Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal during the Fourth National Convention, at New Orleans. “I would rather have it than all the decorations that could possibly be bestowed by all the kings and potentates of the earth,” he says after receiving the award. A member of Post 1 in Washington, D.C., originally named for him but later changed to George Washington Post 1, Pershing announces he has no interest in leading The American Legion as an elected national commander but is happy to serve alongside his fellow veterans, among the ranks.
- Oct. 19, 1989: Devastation from Hurricane Hugo of late September 1989 and the northern California earthquake five weeks later leads The American Legion National Executive Committee to officially re-establish its Disaster Relief Fund. “I can think of no better way for our members to say, ‘Yes! We care about our fellow veterans,’” National Commander Miles Epling writes in a letter published in the December American Legion Magazine. The NEC authorization paves the way for the National Emergency Fund and makes it an ongoing campaign, with an initial seeding of $50,000 and a $1 million goal for the permanent endowment.
- Oct. 20, 1922: In New Orleans, at the Fourth American Legion National Convention, a resolution is passed to study the feasibility of building and operating a national home for the children of Legionnaires who are orphaned or are destitute. This is the beginning of the national American Legion Child Welfare Committee.
This Day in History:
- 1781: Hopelessly trapped at Yorktown, Virginia, British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders 8,000 British soldiers and seamen to a larger Franco-American force, effectively bringing an end to the American Revolution.
- 1965: North Vietnamese troops launch a major assault on U.S. and South Vietnamese Special Forces Camp at Plei Me in the Central Highlands, 215 miles north of Saigon. During a week of savage fighting, defenders of the besieged outpost, manned by 12 U.S. Green Berets, 400 Montagnard tribesmen, and a handful of South Vietnamese guerrilla specialists, repelled repeated Viet Cong attacks. The tide of the battle turned finally with the arrival of several hundred South Vietnamese reinforcements and numerous Allied air strikes. With the camp secured, General William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Saigon, decided to seize the advantage and send in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) to “find, fix, and defeat the enemy forces” that had threatened Plei Me. This decision would result in November in the battle of the Ia Drang Valley, the war’s bloodiest battle to date.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Stripes: Top US general ‘uninjured’ in Kandahar attack that killed Afghan general
- Military.com: Key Space Force Directive Missing from White House Meeting Agenda
- Military.com: Deployments Announced: Army to Send Next Advisory Unit to Afghanistan in 2019
- Yahoo: US veterans, including many women, seek to serve anew in Congress
- KOLD13: Veterans recovery program to inter 33 veterans at Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Marana
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By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN AND ZUBAIR BABAKARKHAIL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 18, 2018
KABUL, Afghanistan — The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan survived an attack Thursday in the southern province of Kandahar in which a legendary Afghan police general and the local intelligence chief were killed, and two Americans were wounded, officials said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and indicated Gen. Scott Miller, who commands U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq were the intended targets.
A bodyguard for Kandahar’s governor opened fire at a compound where senior officials had met to discuss the security situation in the south, Agha Lalay Datagiri, Kandahar’s deputy governor told Stars and Stripes.
He said the governor, Zalmai Wesa, was wounded and taken to a hospital. Datagiri could not immediately confirm whether the governor was still alive. But The Associated Press reported that Wesa died of his injuries at a hospital.
Nevertheless, the loss of so many key Afghan security figures was a major blow to U.S. and Afghan efforts to subdue the Taliban in the volatile south.
In addition to Raziq, the local leader of the country’s main intelligence agency and a journalist were killed, Datagiri said.
Raziq, who was about 40, was among the best known and most effective police commanders in Afghanistan and had survived numerous assassination attempts — some of which left him wounded.
He rose through the police ranks after the U.S.-led invasion of 2001 that ousted the Taliban, serving for a time as commander of the protection force along Kandahar province’s sensitive southern border with Pakistan. As provincial police commander, he was widely credited with having curbed guerrilla activity around Kandahar City, where the Taliban was born in the 1990s.
Miller assumed command last month from Gen. John Nicholson and was still carrying out initial assessments of the security situation in Afghanistan.
In a Resolute Support tweet, Miller wrote that he "lost a great friend" with the death of Raziq:
"’Today I lost a great friend LTG Raziq. We had served together for many years.
Afghanistan lost a patriot, my condolences to the people of Afghanistan. The good he did for Afghanistan and the Afghan people cannotbe undone. " – Gen. Scott Miller"
NATO’s Resolute Support mission confirmed that an incident had occurred at Kandahar Palace, on the governor’s compound.
“This was an Afghan-on-Afghan incident,” Col. David Butler, spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan tweeted.
Of the wounded Americans, one was a servicemember and the other a civilian. A wounded contractor from a coalition country was also injured. All three were medically evacuated and stable, according to an email from Resolute Support.
“Gen. Miller is uninjured,” Butler added. “We are being told the area is secure. The attacker is dead.”The Pentagon said the attack would not affect the U.S.’s resolve in Afghanistan.
“If anything, it makes us more resolute,” said Lt. Col. Kone Faulkner, a Pentagon spokesman.
Photos of the gunman have been posted on social media.
Mohammad Yousaf Younasi, a provincial council member, told Stars and Stripes that the man in the photo belonged to the Afghan Border Police, who were providing security to the governor.
Younasi said he saw the assailant a day before the attack, and he was acting suspicious, avoiding eye contact.
The death of police chief Raziq will likely shake the confidence of Afghanistan’s government and security forces as they prepare for one of their biggest operations in years: protecting more than 5,000 polling stations across the country during Saturday’s parliamentary elections, according to Graeme Smith, a consultant with the International Crisis Group.
“The incident will also make the military balance in southern Afghanistan considerably more fragile, as Gen. Raziq was often at the forefront of government efforts to slow the Taliban’s advances,” Smith said.
The Taliban have vowed to disrupt Saturday’s vote, which it regards as a tool to advance foreign interests.
In 2014, U.S. Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene was killed and about a dozen U.S. soldiers were wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire inside a building in Kabul. Greene was the highest-ranking general killed in the Afghan War.
Vice President Mike Pence will convene a space-focused meeting Tuesday with Cabinet secretaries, members of the national space and security councils, and policy officials, but the White House will not be discussing a key provision for establishing the Space Force — one Pentagon officials have been waiting months to address.
Since June, the Defense Department has wanted to focus on Space Policy Directive-4, which lays a critical foundation to create the Department of the Space Force, according to Pentagon officials.
Next week’s planned meeting was seen as an opportune time to discuss it, given that top leaders will meet to "focus on national security space policy and consider insights from the national security community and members of the National Space Council," according to the White House draft agenda.
But SPD-4 is not on the agenda for this fourth official meeting, "Moon, Mars and the World Beyond: Winning the Next Frontier," Military.comhas exclusively learned.
Instead, participants will hear from a panel of defense and commercial industry experts before top brass can make remarks and suggestions, according to a copy of the agenda. Attendees include Doug Loverro, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy; Mark Sirangelo, an "entrepreneur-in-residence" at the University of Colorado Boulder’s aerospace engineering program and former head of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s space business; and Air Force Lt. Gen. James K. McLaughlin, deputy commander of U.S. Cyber Command.
Loverro has been an outspoken proponent of the president’s proposed sixth military branch. In June, he penned an Op-Ed in Space News claiming that Space Force critics don’t understand what militarized space truly means. He said space operations do not belong to any one entity, pointing to the Air Force and its attempts to control space operations.
"The Air Force failed to identify space as essential to their identity. A Space Force would have had no such qualms. A Space Force would have used the opportunity of the threat to push even harder and faster to defend U.S. space assets, not engage in a retreat — because if they did not, they would no longer matter," he wrote. "Similarly, while the Air Force jealously advocates for more and more resources for air operations, and consistently attempts to expand its mission space to engage in new areas of warfare, it consistently tries to shed space missions as unnecessary or unessential."
Loverro and others will make their recommendations before Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, two Pentagon officials have confirmed.
Wilson’s presence comes just a few weeks after reports surfaced that she is on the outs with President Donald Trump over her efforts to carry out his Space Force agenda.
According to a report from Foreign Policy published earlier this month, Trump is considering removing Wilson over her reluctance to advance his Space Force proposal. The president is assessing whether to fire Wilson, who was confirmed as the 24th Air Force secretary last May, after the midterm elections, Foreign Policy reported, citing three anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter.
The Pentagon and White House have both strongly refuted the report.
"This is nonsense," Pentagon chief spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement Oct. 5. "The Department of Defense leadership team is focused on defending our great nation and working together to be worthy of the blood, treasure and faith entrusted to us by the American people."
Others at the meeting will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen; National Security Adviser John Bolton; NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine; Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao; Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta; Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Kelvin Droegemeier; and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Doug Fears.
The meeting will be held at the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.
The Scope of SPD-4
Officials said that while SPD-4 remains in limbo, recommendations from the meeting will go straight to Trump, who is likely to authorize the steps needed to start standing up components of the department, without needing congressional approval.
Previous White House meetings laid foundations for the first three Space Policy Directives, which focused on human space flight to the moon, economic growth and streamlining regulations for both public and private space industry, and space traffic management. The meetings mark a renewed U.S. focus on space since Trump reinstituted the National Space Council in 2017.
SPD-4 has a very specific focus: The establishment of the U.S. Space Force.
If the White House is in earnest about its ambitious timeline for the creation of a Department of the Space Force as an independent branch of the military, it will need to address the authorities assigned to carry out the new space directive.
Mattis would be tasked to identify and consolidate "existing space resources to establish the Space Force components within  days" after the directive goes into effect, according to the Pentagon SPD-4 draft report.
The proposed "Department of the Space Force," to be led by a civilian secretary, will be part of the Defense Department and responsible for the training, equipping and organization of the U.S. Space Force.
"Space Force," as Trump calls it, encompasses both the proposed Department of the Space Force and the U.S. Space Force military service, the document states. This will include the unified U.S. Space Command and the Space Development Agency.
"Until the establishment of a Department of the Space Force, [U.S. Space Command] will have the responsibilities of the Joint Force Provider and Joint Force training for the Space Operations Forces," the document continues. The Space Operations Forces, according to Pence’s unveiling of the plan at the Pentagon in August, are meant to be composed of personnel from all services, with experts in operations, intelligence, engineering, cyber and other disciplines made available to leaders of combatant commands.
"Moving expeditiously toward a unified command reflects the importance of warfighting in space to the Joint Force," the document says. "The Commander of this command will lead space warfighting though global space operations that may occur in the space domain, the terrestrial domains or through the electromagnetic spectrum."
The definitions are not far off from the congressionally mandated report crafted by Shanahan in August, which said the Pentagon has the authority to create a combatant command, known as U.S. Space Command, without lawmaker approval.
The Space Development Agency
The DoD would also move forward with the Space Development Agency (SDA) to oversee satellite and other space equipment acquisition created in part out of the existing Air Force Space and Missile Center.
Mattis would have only a few weeks to lay out just how SDA will work once SPD-4 is signed. He will "develop an operating model and reporting structure of the Space Development Agency within  days," the report says.
There has been much confusion over the handling of the SDA and whether it is feasible.
In a 14-page memo dated Sept. 14, Wilson made the case against a separate agency to oversee satellite acquisition, a move championed by Shanahan in his report. Satellite acquisition, she said, should be handled by a single service to facilitate streamlining and monitoring.
"It has to be done right the first time," she wrote. "You don’t have maintainers who go up and fix satellites."
In the same memo, Wilson said the DoD will need roughly $12.9 billion over five years to resource personnel and infrastructure for the proposed Space Force.
Mattis would also work with Coats on how the intelligence community, including the National Reconnaissance Office and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, will fit into the Space Force effort, SPD-4 says.
The Pentagon’s third Space Force report, which will advise lawmakers on the appropriate legislative language needed for the fiscal 2020 budget request, is scheduled to be published in December. A preliminary report was created in March; the second report was unveiled by Pence, Shanahan and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen Paul Selva in August.
Military.com: Deployments Announced: Army to Send Next Advisory Unit to Afghanistan in 2019
The U.S. Army announced Thursday that the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade will relieve the 1st SFAB in Afghanistan next spring and assume the service’s advise-and-assist mission to support Afghan security forces.
The announcement is part of several deployment notices the service released Thursday, listing units scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan, Iraq, Europe and Kuwait over the next six months, according to a U.S. Army press release.
The 2nd SFAB, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is one of six specialized Army brigades being activated to assume the permanent mission of training, advising and assisting the conventional military forces of friendly nations.
The unit is scheduled to do a training rotation at the National Training Center before it deploys, Brig. Gen. Donn Hill, commander of 2nd SFAB, said in the release.
"The 2nd SFAB is a conventional unit with a special mission ready to answer the nation’s call," he said. "We will build upon the success of the 1st SFAB and allies as we partner with Resolute Support forces and Afghan National Security Forces to build long-term stability through credible and ready security forces."
The Army National Guard recently announced it is activating the Army’s sixth SFAB, with battalions based in six states. The service’s five active-duty SFABs are based in Georgia, North Carolina, Colorado, Washington and Texas.
In addition to the 2nd SFAB’s deployment, three other units are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan next year.
The 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, will replace the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Combat Aviation Brigade as part of a regular rotation of forces in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
"The ‘Iron Eagles’ look forward to working with our Afghan and regional partners, said Col. Jay Hopkins, commander of 1st Armored Division CAB. "We are a trained combat aviation brigade, which is prepared to conduct a full range of operations in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel."
The 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters, out of Fort Hood, Texas, will also deploy to Afghanistan to replace the 40th Infantry Division Headquarters, California Army National Guard, as part of a rotation to support Freedom’s Sentinel.
"The troopers of the 1st Cavalry Division headquarters are well trained and prepared to return to the OFS mission in Afghanistan," said Maj. Gen. Paul Calvert, commander of 1st Cavalry Division. "Our professional leaders and troopers will train, advise, and assist our Afghan Security Force partners as they continue to build upon and enhance their capability to provide for the security of the Afghan people."
The 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, based at Fort Riley, Kansas, is scheduled to replace the 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to support Freedom’s Sentinel.
Before the end of the year, the 101st Airborne’s 1st Brigade Combat Team will deploy to Iraq to replace 3rd Cavalry Regiment as part a rotation to support Operation Inherent Resolve.
"Our soldiers are well trained and ready for this important mission," said Col. Derek Thomson, 1st BCT commander. I am proud of all their hard work and commitment, and grateful for the support we’ve received from our families and the Fort Campbell community."
The Army also announced two deployments to Europe scheduled for the coming winter.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, will replace 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Hood, as part a rotation to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
"After spending the last several months conducting an intensive and comprehensive training cycle that included a National Training Center rotation, the Devil Brigade is looking forward to deploying to Europe in support of the Atlantic Resolve mission," said Col. Charles Armstrong, commander of the 1st BCT.
In addition, the 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade will replace 4th Infantry Division CAB, stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
"The 1st CAB is excited to deploy to Europe to support our allies and regional partners," said Col. Ronald Black, commander of the 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade. "The CAB has been busy building readiness at Fort Riley, Kansas, and we stand ready to take on any mission that is required."
The Army also announced it will deploy the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Carson, to Kuwait in the spring to replace the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, Mississippi Army National Guard, to support of Operation Spartan Shield.
"We are honored to support U.S. Central Command as well as our Middle East allies in the coming months," said Col. Michael Simmering, commander of the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. "We are equally proud of our Iron Brigade soldiers and all that they have accomplished over the past year as we returned from deployment in Europe, refocused our efforts on other threats to our nation, re-trained and prepared to deploy again."
Yahoo: US veterans, including many women, seek to serve anew in Congress
Georgetown (United States) (AFP) – America’s military veterans are taking the leap from battlefield to ballot in large numbers in 2018, aiming to bring their discipline, can-do problem-solving, and country-before-party sense of duty to Congress.
Washington may well need them. The US Senate and House of Representatives are gridlocked, Donald Trump’s presidency has deepened the partisan divide, and approval ratings for Congress hover at just 19 percent.
Veterans, mostly men, have long served in Congress but their percentage has plunged, from a high of more than 70 percent in the early 1970s to about 20 percent today.
Some 200 military veterans are running in the November 6 midterm elections, including a record number of women Democrats intent on being a check against Trump.
They were soldiers, sailors, barrier-busting female fighter pilots, paratroopers and intelligence analysts.
Many came of age after 9/11, volunteering to serve in Afghanistan or Iraq. They are Democrats seeking to flip districts in deep state Texas, like retired search and rescue pilot MJ Hegar; and Republicans running to make inroads in liberal California, like US Marine combat veteran Andrew Grant.
The common theme that runs through their campaigns? A commitment to serve.
"Rescue forces tend to run to where the fire is, and I think that right now the fire is in (Washington) DC," Hegar, who received the Purple Heart after being shot down during a Medevac mission in Afghanistan in 2009, told AFP at a campaign event in Georgetown, Texas.
Hegar, 42, successfully sued the Pentagon in 2012 to lift a ban on women serving in combat positions. She said she would like to see a "wave" of veterans run for Congress.
"I think that toughness is a Texas values. Service to your country is a very Texas value," she said. "We’re a very military state."
There are a few women combat veterans on Capitol Hill, including Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs in a helicopter crash in Iraq, and Arizona Republican congresswoman Martha McSally, a former fighter pilot running for US Senate.
Changes appear likely. Many of the women who entered the military in the 1990s, when some combat roles began to open up for female recruits, have retired, and are now eyeing seats in Congress.
– Republicans don’t ‘own patriotism’ –
Retired fighter pilot Amy McGrath is trying to parlay her military experience into a Democratic bid to oust House Republican incumbent Andy Barr of Kentucky.
"I spent 20 years as a US Marine, flew 89 combat missions bombing Al-Qaeda and the Taliban," McGrath says in a campaign ad.
With Honor, a group formed to help elect veterans, has endorsed 39 candidates in its bid to "create a more effective and less polarized government."
Six of them are Democratic women, including Gina Ortiz Jones, a US Air Force veteran seeking to unseat congressman Will Hurd in southwest Texas, and Elaine Luria, who served six tours in the US Navy and is challenging incumbent Scott Taylor in Virginia.
One of those endorsed by the group is Democrat Richard Ojeda, an intense, decorated retired US Army officer running for a House seat in West Virginia, a state Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016.
Ojeda, 47, says he nearly died five times serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and believes Washington could use more duty-bound military patriots.
"The leader doesn’t sit on top of the mountain and look down at everybody and wonder how can they continue to elevate him higher," he told AFP.
"He goes down there and he helps elevate them."
With Honor is also endorsing Republicans like Steve Watkins, who volunteered for US Army service in Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks.
In his Kansas congressional race, Watkins points to the US military’s melting pot of cultures, religions and races, "all coming together to serve the common good," he told Fox News.
"It makes the political fights in Washington seem petty."
National bickering has been at a boil. Trump repeatedly says Democrats let the military wither and ignore national security concerns, and that Republicans are the party that supports the armed forces.
Joe Jenkins, a 33-year-old retired Marine now teaching in Dallas public schools, said many troops were shocked by the partisanship when they returned home.
"Republicans don’t get to own patriotism, they don’t get to own veterans, or family, and they don’t get to own country," he said.
"And neither do Democrats. Those are ideals that each person that’s running for public office has to live up to."
Jenkins, whose arms are sheathed in elaborate tattoos, wears one on his right forearm that depicts a lighthouse.
"They’re a bulwark against a storm," he said.
KOLD13: Veterans recovery program to inter 33 veterans at Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Marana
(Source: Tucson News Now)
By Tucson News Now | October 17, 2018 at 4:33 PM MST – Updated October 17 at 4:33 PM
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) – The Southern Arizona Missing in America Project (MIAP) will honor and inter 33 veterans who were homeless, unclaimed or indigent on Saturday, Oct. 20.
The veterans to be interred served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at at Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at 15950 North Luckett Road, Marana, 85653, will include military honors, last roll call and more before the veterans are placed in the columbarium. The Arizona Scorpions will conduct the Missing Man Formation Flyover. The ceremony is open to the public.
A similar interment ceremony was held in April for 30 veterans who were homeless, unclaimed or indigent at the AZ Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery. The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services partners with the MIAP to honor deceased veterans and their families throughout the year.
The MIAP has interred more than 3,600 veterans across the U.S. Their focus is to locate, identify and inter the unclaimed remains of American veterans.
Learn more about MIAP here: https://www.miap.us/
Timeline for Saturday’s event:
- 10:45 a.m. – Military Honor Guards escort cremains from hearse to service platform
- 11 a.m. – Honors service begins, Flyover by the Arizona Scorpions
- Noon – End of service