NEWS OF THE FORCE: Saturday, September 1, 2012 - Page 1

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                                                 Saturday, September 1, 2012

 
World War II bomb explodes in Germany
    A World War II bomb exploded in Munich, Germany, this week after authorities were unable to defuse it.
    A 550 pound bomb was found buried around three feet underground in the heart of Munich and at the site of the former Schwabinger 7 bar during construction work. On Tuesday night, just before 10 p.m., local time, the explosive detonated, forming a large fireball into the sky. Authorities had previously evacuated around 2,500 people and removed several vehicles from the area in order to avoid any accidents. Despite several fires breaking out and a number of rooftops catching fire due to the explosion, no injuries were reported. The fires were caused by hay stacks that had been placed to reduce explosive concussion, but they caught fire and some drifted on a number of rooftops. The strong blast was heard all around the city. By Wednesday morning, most of the residents had been allowed to return and streets were reopened.
    It is not uncommon to find unexploded bombs around the country, as officials have estimated some 2,500 bombs continue to buried under the city.
 
'Curiosity' transmits will.i.am song from Mars to Earth
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    A recorded song was beamed back to Earth from another planet for the first time in history, NASA officials said.
    The hit song, Reach for the Stars, by musician will.i.am, was transmitted from the surface of Mars by the Curiosity rover, which was heard by students, special guests and news media that gathered at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.
    "Mars has always fascinated us, and the things Curiosity tells us about it will help us learn about whether or not life was possible there," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a video message. Encouraging students to study science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Bolden addressed the crowd, speaking about what future human explorers can expect.
    "I can think of no greater way to honor NASA pioneer Neil Armstrong's life and legacy than to inspire today's students to follow his path," NASA Associate Administrator for Education and space shuttle astronaut Leland Melvin said, following Armstrong's death last Saturday. "That first footprint that Neil placed on the lunar surface left an indelible mark in history," Melvin added. "Perhaps one of our students here today or watching on NASA Television will be the first to set foot on the surface of Mars and continue humanity's quest to explore."
    Armstrong served as commander during the Apollo 11 mission, the first manned lunar landing mission, in July 1969. He immediately rose to fame around the world for being the first man to land a craft on the moon and then the first man to step on its surface, after which he and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin explored it for over two hours.
    After completing a journey of more than 300 million miles from Earth to Mars and back, the opening orchestral strains of Reach for the Stars filled the auditorium. The event added to continuing worldwide interest in Curiosity's mission.
    During the event, will.i.am's i.am Angel Foundation and Discovery Education announced a $10 million classroom education initiative that will reach 25 million students annually, including many from under-served communities. Focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) educational themes, the Discovery Education initiative will incorporate NASA content and space exploration themes as part of the curriculum.
 
Powerful earthquake off the Philippines triggers small tsunami, 1 killed
    A powerful earthquake struck the Pacific Ocean off the eastern coast of the Philippines yesterday evening, killing at least one person in a landslide and generating a small tsunami which caused no damage, emergency officials said today.
    The 7.6-magnitude earthquake at 8:47 p.m., local time, was centered about 69 miles east of Guiuan, a municipality in the province of Eastern Samar in the Philippines. It struck about 27.9 miles deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
    Shaking was felt widely through large parts of the Philippines, including the capital city of Manila, which is nearly 466 miles northwest of the epicenter, but the intensity was mostly light to moderate. Little damage was immediately reported, but more detailed reports are expected later today.
    Benito Ramos, the Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said one fatality was reported as of 2 a.m., local time, today. He said national emergency services and other organizations were placed on heightened alert to assist with evacuations and possible rescue operations. The casualty was reported in Cagayan de Oro, the provincial capital of Misamis Oriental, where an earthquake-triggered landslide buried a house owned by 48-year-old Danilo Ubalde. Ramos said the man's wife, 44-year-old Elenita Ubalde, and grandson, 5-year-old Adrian Rosales, were inside.
 
'Blue Button' reaches 1 million registered patients
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    The Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday that during the month of August, the one millionth patient has registered for "Blue Button" to access and download their Personal Health Record (PHR) information.
    And, with no down payment needed, VA-backed home loans are among the best in the business.
 
TRICARE requires proof of payment for overseas claims
    
    After today, TRICARE beneficiaries must send proof of payment with all overseas medical claims, including claims for care received when traveling overseas. Overseas Active Duty Dental Program claims also require proof of payment if the service member pays a provider directly.
 
CAP National Staff vacancy - National Historian
    
    The Civil Air Patrol (CAP)'s national commander is looking for a qualified member to fill the National Historian position. This position was established to perform and manage historical research, writing, collection and preservation of historical materials; to plan and coordinate the use of historical resources, as well as advise commanders and staff on the use of historical information in policy development and decision-making.
    Senior CAP members interested in serving as the National Historian may complete the National Staff Application Form and return it to Ms. Susan Parker at CAP National Headquarters, via e-mail at spa...@capnhq.gov or fax to 334-953-4262. Applications for this position must be received Sept. 15.
    In an official post to wing commanders, CAP Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr has sent out a job description and a request for applications to fill the position as CAP national historian. That seems to confirm reports from last week's National Board meeting [NB] that long-term historian Len Blascovich has retired. A new national historian would have the authority to name his/her own staff, which could mean that the CAP's national curator, CAP Lt. Col. Jim Shaw, the assistant national historian, CAP Lt. Col. Todd Engelman, and CAP Col. Ray Lyon may all be replaced.
    Shaw, Engelman, Blascovich, and Lyon were all charged in a CAP IG complaint that alleged theft of historical items and an aggressive cover-up. The investigation of that complaint dragged on for 15 months until after former national commander, CAP Maj. Gen. Amy. S. Couter, termed out. Then the new national commander, Carr, ruled that "absolutely nothing happened." He has gone online to the media with this assertion. He and other CAP officers have stonewalled media requests - including from NOTF - to provide a copy of the report of investigation. The statements the "leadership" has made about this complaint raise a lot of questions, as NOTF has been covering.
    This is what this announcement does not tell us: 1. Whether this reflects any changes in the handling of the theft complaint. So far, there is no indication of that. 2. Whether those accused in the IG complaint can apply for the national historian position, and 3, Whether Shaw, Engelman and Lyon will remain in CAP historian positions. Not to mention that, so far, there has been no response to valid issues raised about the IG complaint.
    In about the same time frame that Gen. Carr ruled that "nothing happened" on the theft complaint, Carr also re-instated the membership of John Tilton. Tilton was appointed to the CAP's Board of Governors (BoG) by disgraced former CAP national commander Tony Pineda. Tilton was the only BoG member to vote against Pineda's removal in 2007. As former members of the CAP's National Executive Committee (NEC) are reminding us, Tilton was accused of charging somewhere between $15,000 to $20,000 on a CAP corporate credit card he held in his possession as the  CAP's Southeast Region commander. This launched an investigation that found Tilton guilty. Tilton's membership was terminated and he was removed from the BoG for his refusal to cooperate with the investigation. Tilton appealed his termination to the Membership Action Review Board (MARB). The MARB, which was stacked with Bowling and Pineda appointees, upheld Tilton's appeal. This put the CAP in uncharted waters. The CAP (BoG?) hired an outside attorney with an expertise in governance issues. Counsel rendered the opinion that Tilton was terminated for theft and not by an adverse member action. Therefore, the MARB had no jurisdiction over the appeal. Tilton was again terminated. He again appealed. This matter was again dragged on until Gen. Courter termed out. The matter went on for about three years.
    Does anyone else find it at all interesting that two major theft complaints were cleared by Gen. Carr? Does anyone else find it odd that these were not referred to law enforcement? As we have stated, the CAP IG process is not designed to investigate criminal matters.
    Meanwhile, NOTF has been informed that a group of CAP members calling themselves "The Semper Vigilantes" is organizing in the CAP and has legal representation. Their mission is to expose corruption in the CAP and to advocate for revisions to the CAP's IG process, which they call "abusive." NOTF has asked them for a publishable statement. We understand they have a plan for a media blitz if the CAP does not address the corruption issues thoroughly, openly - and soon.
 
Obama thanks troops who served in Iraq
    
    President Barack Obama is thanking troops for their service as he marks the second anniversary of the end of combat operations in Iraq.
    He says he will ensure that soldiers remain well-equipped and vows to assist in their economic transition to civilian life.
    In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama reiterated his message yesterday to the troops at Fort Bliss, Texas. He says as the nation turns from war "It's time to do some nation-building here at home."
    Republican hopeful Mitt Romney said nothing about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when he addressed his party's national convention.
    Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, delivering his GOP address, praised American resilience in the face of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Isaac. He also reiterated Republican demands for extending Bush-era tax cuts.
 
News from the U.S. Marshals
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    A Mississippi man wanted on failure to appear charges for aggravated assault with a knife has been arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service's Savannah, Ga., Office of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force. Domieko Deonta Eubanks was wanted by the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department, in Starkville, Miss.
    The U.S. Marshals' Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force (NOVFTF)'s Akron Division has arrested Leo Moore, III. Moore was wanted by the Akron Police Department on the charges of carrying weapons under disability, carrying a concealed weapon and willful fleeing. Moore was also wanted by the Summit County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Department on drug charges.
    And the U.S. Marshals recently conducted a preview of six aircraft in Aguadilla that will be sold at public auction on Sept. 5 in Midland, Texas. The aircraft were part of a seizure conducted in December 2011 shortly after a search warrant was executed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in relation to the investigation of Santo Seda-Rodriguez.
 
Yosemite outbreak
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    Two more visitors to Yosemite National Park have been diagnosed with a deadly rodent-borne virus, raising the total number of people infected in the unusual outbreak to six, California public health officials have said. Two men died from the rare lung disease, called hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, and four other people survived the rodent-borne illness. Most of the victims are believed to have contracted the virus while staying in tent-style cabins this summer in a popular camping area called Curry Village.
 
U.S. Coast Guard news
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    Louisiana's Health Department has issued "boil water" advisories for 320 water systems in 28 parishes, urging residents to disinfect water before drinking, brushing their teeth, or cooking or preparing food.
    The U.S. Coast Guard said the Port of Morgan City, in Louisiana, has reopened. Power utilities were working to restore electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses along the Gulf Coast.
    The U.S. Coast Guard has reopened the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, La., to the mouth of the river, to limited ship traffic.
    U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral Robert Parker said the Mississippi River and ports at Mobile and New Orleans had reopened and were safe for most ships. Some major roadways, such as Interstate 55 and U.S. Hwy. 61, also reopened.
    Isaac's eye moved over Springfield, Mo., yesterday afternoon, National Weather Service Acting Director Laura Furgione said. Furgione said she had reports of water rescues in Pine Bluff, Ark., and flooding in Little Rock.
    The Coast Guard is encouraging swimmers and boaters to check the weather forecast before heading out on local waterways this Labor Day weekend.
    The Coast Guard performed a water rescue after it received a phone call from a person on board the boat in Michigan's Sheboygan Harbor about 5:30 p.m., local time, on Thursday that the 18-foot craft was disabled, taking on water and that the current was pushing the boat toward the breakwall.
    The Coast Guard has rescued three fisherman, and is seeking a fourth, after their boat sank off Kodiak, Alaska. The search began just after midnight when the Coast Guard's 17th District Command Center received a radio beacon notice from the Advantage, which is based in Cordova, that the vessel was in trouble.
    The Coast Guard's fleet of legacy ships has been breaking down more in recent years, but the service has not been accurately estimating the costs of repairs or the hours it can operate its cutters, congressional investigators warned recently.
    Coast Guard Sector Charleston, S.C., will establish a temporary safety zone on the Atlantic Ocean in the Myrtle Beach area this evening during the Apache Pier Labor Day fireworks display.
    The Coast Guard has rescued two people and their cat in LaPlace, La. A Coast Guard spokesman said Murry Daniels and his wife were hoisted aboard a helicopter Thursday evening from their flooded building in Frenier Landing. The couple and their pet were brought back to the Coast Guard Air Station in good condition. Coast Guard search and rescue crews continue to search the greater New Orleans area for people in distress after Hurricane Isaac passed through the area.
    And the Coast Guard's Disaster Assistance Response Team used boats that normally rescue flood victims in the Midwest, but Hurricane Isaac brought them to a truck stop surrounded by water under the junction of I-10 and I-55, in LaPlace, La., to help a stranded trucker.
 
9-year-old boy charged with murder
By Jim Corvey, News of the Force St. Louis
    A 9-year-old boy has been charged by St. Clair County prosecutors, in Belleville, Illinois, with first-degree murder.
    Cahokia police said the 9-year-old, who was staying with family members at a home in Cahokia, was in a room with a 14-month-old baby boy and beat the younger child to death. The baby died last Sunday, authorities said.
    St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly released a statement late yesterday afternoon saying the charge was issued on Tuesday, but provided no specifics.
    No one answered the door yesterday at the small, white frame home in Cahokia where the incident took place. A neighbor said the couple that lives there moved in a few months ago. Marcus Nicholson, 34, said he was watching television in his family room when he noticed an ambulance pull up at the house next door last Saturday night. He said Cahokia detectives and crime scene technicians were at the same house for several hours later in the day last Sunday. He said the family had moved into the house about three or four months ago and he didn't know them very well. He said a man, a woman, and about four or five children lived in the house, including the 9-year-old and the baby who was killed. "That's pretty shocking," he said. "Man, that's crazy."
    Because the charge involves a minor under the age of 18, state law prohibits the release of detailed court information. "As in any case, we considered the evidence, our duty to protect the public and potential outcomes under the law before proceeding," Kelly said. The child’s name wasn’t released. Kelly said the child could not, by law, be tried as an adult, and the case is pending in juvenile court.
    The boy is not the youngest to be charged with murder in the United States but is among the youngest in the region to be so charged. In 2008, an 8-year-old boy in Arizona was charged with murder in the shooting deaths of his father and another man. In 2005, a 12-year-old girl was charged in St. Louis with murder in the strangling death of her 9-year-old sister during an argument over a hamburger. And in 2007, a 12-year-old boy was charged in St. Louis with stabbing a 13-year-old girl during a fight.
 

                         
    Q: Is the Democratic National Convention hosting a Muslim "Jumah” prayer service after rejecting a Catholic cardinal's offer to lead a prayer?
    A: No. A Muslim group scheduled an event that was independent of the convention at a city park. The cardinal is leading the convention's closing prayer.

 
Scientists test new marine robot hurricane hunters
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    As Tropical Storm Isaac was on its path through the Caribbean before becoming a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. scientists were testing an experimental new weather spy tool - an unmanned, marine robot.
 
VR-57 'Conquistadors' provide support for Hurricane Isaac relief efforts
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    Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 57, at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., provided support for Hurricane Isaac relief efforts, Aug. 29. A crew of the VR-57 "Conquistadors," with their C-40A Clipper, quickly, and in the middle of their own mission, jumped into the support for Hurricane Isaac relief efforts by transporting a group of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 air crew and maintenance personnel from Norfolk to Dothan Regional Airport, in Alabama. This last-minute transport gave HSC-9 some much-needed manpower to begin preparations for the NORTHCOM-tasked Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief missions along the Gulf Coast.
The Conquistador crew was preparing to return to its home base at Naval Air Station North Island, in San Diego, Calif., when the Navy Air Logistics Office (NALO) scheduled the support. "NALO and the VR-57 crew easily coordinated the no-notice mission which allowed for same-day execution and completion," said Cmdr. Tim Rascoll, transport aircraft requirements officer for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. VR-57 is one of 15 squadrons within Fleet Logistics Support Wing (FLSW), headquartered at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. The FLSW, the largest functioning air wing in the Navy, was established to operate Navy-unique essential airlift aircraft on a worldwide basis. Its mission is to provide responsive, flexible, and rapid deployable air logistics support.
    Meanwhile, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast is sending 15 military and civilians to Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, Miss., and Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) New Orleans as part of a Contingency Engineering Response Team (CERT). The team departed from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. This is the first time that a CERT team will be using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with camera, which will take photos from above to help the disaster assessment teams (DAT) better evaluate the facilities and roads on the bases. "These engineers will work directly for our Public Works Departments in Gulfport and New Orleans," said NAVFAC Southeast Operations Officer Capt. Mark Edelson. "They will perform assessments of facilities and assets at both locations to help get these bases back to normal operations as soon as possible. The Public Works departments currently manage the facilities, water, power, and sanitation for the bases," said Edelson. "They will be working hard to assist any efforts from agencies in the area and will support them with whatever they need to get the job done." A mobile command post (MCP) will provide work space, a variety of communications technology, and the ability to provide electronic submission of damage assessments from hand-held devices that hold the installation's facility inventory. The MCP allows the CERT to communicate directly with NAVFAC Southeast, in Jacksonville, Fla., from wherever they are located. Sending engineers around the world is not new to NAVFAC. "We always have a trained CERT ready to go at a moments notice," said Don Maconi, NAVFAC Southeast contingency engineer. Maconi explained that the CERT has DATs which consist of structural, electrical, and mechanical engineers, architects, roofing specialists, community planners and construction contract specialists that deploy to begin rapid damage assessments. It is during this phase that debris is removed and basic functions are restored such as opening roadways, sanitation, water, electricity and communications.
Typically, these teams are deployed to assess hurricane or other storm damage to military installations, but also are deployed for humanitarian efforts such as a tsunami or the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
 
UFO 'secrets' to be revealed this month
nationalatomictesting    In just a few weeks, some kind of UFO-related "secrets" will be revealed at a Smithsonian Institution affiliated museum. That's the implied promise in the title of a special lecture coming up at the National Atomic Testing Museum, in Las Vegas, Nev., on Sept. 22.
    The secrets haven't yet been revealed, but the players involved certainly present the potential for something intriguing to emerge from this one-night event that's part of the museum's ongoing Area 51 lecture series.
    "We looked at bringing in some people to talk about extraterrestrials and UFOs," said museum CEO and executive director Allan Palmer, a highly decorated former Air Force and Navy combat jet fighter pilot. "We wanted to concentrate on people who had personal stories and exposure to what they thought were real UFOs from the military side, because they might have just a little more credibility than your average Joe," Palmer said.
    Four of the participants had previous American military security clearances:
    - Ret. Army Col. John Alexander: A former military insider who created Advanced Theoretical Physics - a group of top-level government officials and scientists brought together to study UFOs.
    - Ret. Air Force Col. Charles Halt: The former base commander of the RAF Bentwaters military base in England and a vital eyewitness to the amazing UFO-related events at Rendlesham Forest in December 1980, where he believed the observed UFOs were extraterrestrial in origin.
    - Ret. Air Force Col. William Coleman: A former public information officer for the Air Force's Project Blue Book UFO study.
    - Ret. Air Force Col. Robert Friend: Former director of the Air Force's Project Blue Book from 1958 to 1963.
    The fifth guest at the museum's upcoming UFO lecture is former U.K. UFO desk officer Nick Pope.
    What's going to be different about this one-time lecture compared to previous gatherings where military personnel have stepped forward to reveal details about personal UFO experiences? "One of the things that is different is that you have high credibility vetted sources," Alexander said. "What you're getting from this panel are people who have worked with the military, all of whom certainly agree that UFOs are real, and I think most of them would say it ought to be researched. Here, you're getting a small number of participants, but high credibility people."
    At the Sept. 22 lecture, Pope will speak of the similarities between how the U.K. and U.S. governments had similar UFO study groups and why both countries officially got out of the UFO business. "In both instances, the bottom line was that we wanted 'Joe Sixpack' off our backs. Strip out all the mistaken sightings of weather balloons and dump all the crazies, and we might just have something worth looking at," Pope said. "But you can't do that in a public UFO project, because it's a kook magnet," he said. "The trick is to highlight all the crazy stuff in the media, so the subject becomes a joke, pull the plug, then run the whole thing covertly. Now, I'm not saying this is exactly what happened, but if an Air Force pilot sees something unusual and it's tracked on military radar, does anyone seriously think we wouldn't be interested?"
    While none of the participants of the upcoming lecture have offered a preview of any UFO revelation, Pope promises to disclose "some hitherto unrevealed secrets of the British government's UFO project."
    This isn't the first time the Las Vegas museum has offered a provocative UFO presentation. Back in March of this year, the Smithsonian venue opened its doors to an ongoing exhibit called "Area 51: Myth or Reality," providing a comprehensive look at the historic records of the most secret military installation in the country.
    Among the many items displayed are materials presented as "Authentic Alien Artifacts" - samples of small objects originating from an alleged UFO crash in Russia.
 
Ohio girls 'joins' the Air Force, helps run a C-130
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    Ohio's Youngstown Air Reserve Station rolled out the red carpet yesterday for a young lady from Liberty, Ohio, battling leukemia. London Hairston, 11, became a Pilot for a Day.
 
New Jersey supermarket shooter was a former Marine
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    A New Jersey supermarket employee who killed two people at the store early yesterday and then fatally shot himself is a former Marine, authorities said. The man, identified as Terence Tyler, 23, was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2010.
 
Hill AFB co-workers share $1 million Powerball prize
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    Nine co-workers from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, are sharing a $1 million Powerball prize from the Idaho Lottery, one of the biggest wins ever for Utahns who cross the border for tickets. Yesterday, several members of the group claimed their prize.
 
Former homeless Marine to participate in Paralympics
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    Angela Madsen, 52, who became a paraplegic after she was the victim of a botched back surgery while in the U.S. Marine Corps, will compete in two Paralympics events during this year's games in London, England.
 
Hawker Beechcraft says it's close to deal with Chinese firm
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    Hawker Beechcraft says it is nearing a $1.79 billion deal to sell itself to China's Superior Aviation Beijing Co. The Wichita, Kansas-based aircraft manufacturer, which filed for bankruptcy this year, also has completed a deal with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. over the company's under-funded pension plan.
 
Third death in disease outbreak at Chicago hotel
    A third death has been reported following an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at a Chicago, Illinois, hotel in July.
 
Former Homeland Security committee aide charged with sex crimes
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    A former sub-committee staff director at the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee has been charged with drugging several women and taking advantage of them sexually while they were under the influence of the drugs. He was in that committee job at the time the alleged attacks took place in the summer of 2010, but has since left the committee for private industry.
    The U.S. Government has charged Donny Ray Williams, 36, of Northeast D.C., with 10 counts, including an allegation that he distributed a photo-graph of a partially naked woman that was taken without her consent.
    Williams said yesterday that he is "absolutely innocent of every single charge, and I've never done any crime in my life, and I've never been arrested for shoplifting or anything. And, I certainly wouldn't start with something  as heinous as what the charges were, and I just pray the truth will come out."
    Although the schedule could change, it appears the case will go to trial early next year.
 
Defense review will give huge boost to number of reservists
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    Maritime reserve forces providing back-up for the U.K.'s Royal Navy and Royal Marines will see their numbers grow by more than 50 percent while the number of regular servicemen and women continue to be massively scaled back.
 
Operational F-22's employ small diameter bombs during WSEP
By Tech. Sgt. Dana Rosso, 477th Fighter Group Public Affairs

    
    During a Combat Hammer exercise, Alaska-based F-22 Raptors became the first operational F-22 unit to drop GBU-39 small diameter bombs.
    Although small diameter bombs have been employed by test pilots, Combat Hammer, a weapons system evaluation program sponsored by the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, provided an opportunity for an operational unit to employ them in a realistic tactical training environment.
    "The Utah Test and Training Range is the only location in the United States where the F-22s can employ SDBs at speeds and altitudes unique to the Raptor," said Maj. Wade Bridges, a U.S. Air Force Reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron.
    The 3rd Wing F-22s that have the upgraded increment 3.1 software, were able to drop the GBU-39 SDB. The GBU-39 SDB is a 250-pound precision-guided glide bomb that is intended to provide aircraft with the ability to carry a higher number of bombs and to employ with greater stand-off.
    "The employment of the GBU-39s was very successful," said Bridges. "The ammo and weapons personnel that built and loaded the weapons did so with amazing professionalism and technical expertise. They were evaluated during the entire process and received nothing but praise for their work. The pilots who employed the weapons did an excellent job delivering the weapons in a tactical environment. The entire process from building to employing the weapons was a tremendous success resulting in 100 percent of the SDBs being released successfully."
    This training event allowed for Total Force Integration across the F-22 fleet. The 302nd Fighter Squadron led a Total Force team from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Pilots from both the 302nd and the 525th Fighter Squadrons and maintainers from the 3rd Maintenance Group and the 477th Fighter Group filled the deployment roster, making it a true Total Force effort from Alaska.
    In addition to the Alaska-based effort, pilots from the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons and their associated maintainers participated in this Combat Hammer. This was the first time operations and maintenance personnel from the 199th and 19th Fighter Squadrons, stationed in Hawaii, have deployed.
    "The successful deployment experience and delivery of air-to-ground weapons is a major milestone for the Hawaiian Raptor operations and maintenance team towards declaration of initial operational capability," said Lt. Col. Robert Jackson, the 19th FS' commander.
 
Send-off set for Military Police officers
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    A group of about 20 soldiers from the 383rd Military Police Detachment, of the U.S. Army Reserve, from Lakeland, Fla., will be deployed on Monday, and it's hoped that folks will show up to see them off.
 
Algeria's army kills 9 terrorism suspects
    Algerian news reports say government forces have killed nine suspected terrorists including the leader of a group accused of multiple attacks.
    The state news agency APS says army forces battled the suspected terrorists from Wednesday into Thursday in a forested mountain region east of the capital city of Algiers.
    Among the nine dead was Zemouri Abdelamalek, also known as Abou Bakr, the leader of the Al-Arkam group who had been hunted since 2010.
    Weapons and other material were captured during the mission, the army said.
 
New U.N. envoy for Syria speaks
By Lisa Levine, News of the Force Tel Aviv
A white flag with horizontal blue bands close to the top and bottom, and a blue star of David in the middle.    
    The new U.N. envoy to Syria said today Damascus must realize the need for change is "urgent" and "necessary."
    Armed men claiming to be Syrian rebels have kidnapped relatives of outspoken U.S.-based Middle East expert Majid Rafizadeh, who says the captors are more likely to be militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
    Rebels seized an air defense facility and attacked a military airport in eastern Syria today, hitting back at an air force which President al-Assad is increasingly relying on to crush his opponents. The attacks in the eastern oil-producing Deir al-Zor Province follow rebel strikes against military airports in the Aleppo and Idlib areas, close to the border with Turkey.
    A local rebel commander in Aleppo said rebels still control more than half of Syria's biggest city after a month of fighting and aerial bombardment, and that the military stalemate was playing into the hands of President al-Assad's opponents. Assad sent reinforcements to the northern commercial hub in July to seize control back from rebel fighters who had swept into Aleppo from their rural strongholds, and authorities said the army's mission could be accomplished within days.
    Turkey will continue to seek international backing for a foreign-protected safe zone inside Syria after a U.N. Security Council meeting this week failed to deliver much beyond a French plan to channel more aid to rebel-held areas. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France and Turkey had identified "liberated zones" in the north and south that had escaped President al-Assad's control and which, if given funding and properly administered, could serve as a refuge for civilians caught in the chaos.
    Iran will hold a large-scale military drill involving all its air defense systems next month, an Iranian commander was quoted as saying today, one of a number of military simulations it has carried out this year. The air defense drill will include fighter jets and simulate emergency situations, said Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Iranian army's air defense force.
    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has defended his controversial visit to Iran, saying yesterday that he had used this week's trip to push hard for human rights and transparency from Tehran over its nuclear program. "I believe in the power of diplomacy and I believe in dialogues and I believe in engagement. This is exactly what I did during my visit to Tehran," Ban said on a stopover in Dubai before flying back to U.N. headquarters in New York City. Ban Ki-moon said yesterday he had pressed the Syrian government to allow international aid workers more access, and received a positive reply. Better access would allow civilian aid organizations to deal with a humanitarian crisis that has pushed about 250,000 refugees out of Syria and affected at least 2.5 million people inside the country.
    Syria's main opposition body will expand to include more groups fighting President al-Assad, part of a reorganization aimed at making it more representative and effective, its leader said yesterday. Abdulbaset Sieda, the leader of the Syrian National Council, said changes would include elections for his successor, to be held among a wider group of activists. He was responding to criticism from prominent member Basma Kodmani, who quit last Tuesday, saying the SNC was divided internally and not up to the challenge of uniting opposition to President al-Assad.
    Syrian civilians' living conditions are worsening dramatically, as it becomes harder to obtain food and escape fighting which caused a record death toll of 1,600 in the past week, aid agencies said yesterday. The International Committee of the Red Cross, whose 50 aid workers in Syria are confined to Damascus because of the lack of security, has been unable to send out convoys with supplies for the past two weeks, ICRC spokesman Hicham Hassan said. "The humanitarian situation in many parts of Syria is currently edging towards irreversible deterioration," he said.
    And a U.S.-Israeli ballistic missile exercise postponed until this autumn will involve fewer U.S. military personnel than initially planned, the Pentagon said yesterday, but it rejected a media report portraying the decision as a sign of U.S. mistrust. The exercise is being planned amid rising war talk in the Israeli media and reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are debating a unilateral attack on Iran to knock out its nuclear installations. Washington has cautioned Israel against going it alone.
 
Deploying French army to Marseille 'inconceivable,' government says
    The French government has rejected a Marseille senator's call for military intervention in the wake of a record number of gang-related killings France's second city, characterized by the widespread use of AK-47 assault rifles, the local gangsters' weapon of choice.
 
LAPD commander removed in probe of 'rough' arrest
Jordan is considering a lawsuit against the LAPD, reports say.     
    A Los Angeles Police Department commanding officer has been removed amid an internal investigation into a videotaped beating in which officers tackled a handcuffed a registered nurse to the ground, police Chief Charlie Beck said.
    Beck said previously that he had :serious concerns" about the use of force against Michelle Jordan, 34, who was arrested in the Tujunga area on Aug. 21 after being stopped for talking on a cell phone while driving, police said. Jordan got out of the car and cursed the two officers who stopped her, witnesses and Jordan’s husband said.
    Fast-food restaurant surveillance video obtained by a TV station showed officers taking her to the ground. After she is handcuffed and walked to a police car, the 5-foot-4 woman is tackled a second time by an officer who lands on top of her.
    "She made some unwise moves," her attorney, Sy Nazif, said. "But certainly nothing that warranted a physical assault from the LAPD."
    Photos show scrapes on Jordan’s face, shoulders and chest.
    The officers involved in the incident have been removed from patrol duty until an LAPD investigation is complete. One is a 22-year veteran and the other is a probationary officer with 10 months on the force.
    Chief Beck said at a news conference that Capt. Joseph Hitner, of the department’s Foothill Division, was "severely deficient in his response. Proper steps were not taken, including appropriate notifications and the removal of the involved officers from the field," Beck said. "Because of these issues, I have removed him from his command and initiated downgrade procedures. Every Los Angeles police officer, regardless of rank, will be held accountable for their actions."
 
Mexican drug lord extradited to the U.S.
    Mexico has extradited alleged drug cartel member Eduardo Arellano-Felix to the United States.
 
U.S. missile kills five militants
    Pakistani intelligence officials said today a U.S. missile strike has killed 5 militants in northwestern Pakistan.
 
At least 12 killed in double suicide bombing
    Afghan officials said today at least 12 people have been killed in a double suicide bombing near a NATO forces base in eastern Afghanistan.
 
USS La Jolla departs for Western Pacific deployment
USS La Jolla (SSN-701) departing Pearl Harbor  701insig.png  
    The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS La Jolla (SSN 701) departed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, yesterday for a scheduled six-month deployment in the Western Pacific region.
    La Jolla's commanding officer, Cmdr. Jeff Bernard, said the crew is excited and well-prepared to get underway. "It's a new team. We are very excited about our tasking, and I'm very excited about the potential for professional growth with all our crew members," said Bernard.
    This deployment will be the first for the majority of the crew, where according to Bernard, they will be conducting many training exercises and qualifications. "Our goals are to safely navigate the ship throughout the Western Pacific, conduct ourselves as ambassadors ashore with pride, and return the ship safely back to Pearl Harbor," said Bernard.
    USS La Jolla is named for La Jolla, Calif. and is the first warship named after this township. Commissioned on Oct. 24, 1981, La Jolla is the 14th ship of the Los Angeles-class of nuclear attack submarines, It's 360-feet long and displaces 6,900 tons. The submarine can be armed with sophisticated Mark-48 ADCAP anti-submarine torpedoes and Tomahawk guided cruise missiles.
 
Fighter jets to protect the skies during Democratic National Convention
North American Aerospace Defense Command logo.svg    
    Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region fighters will protect the skies during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
    U.S. Air Force fighter jets will be on alert during the convention - which begins Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 6 - enforcing the FAA's temporary flight restriction zone.
    Meanwhile, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region fighters will be active prior to the Democratic National Convention preparing to protect the skies around Charlotte. Exercise Amalgam Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification skills. Civil Air Patrol (CAP) aircraft, Air Force F-16s, and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise. "Planning for special security events like this year’s Democratic National Convention in North Carolina is a part of our day to day air defense mission," said Air Force Col. Randy Spear, the 601st Air and Space Operations Center's commander. "A lot of agencies are involved in air security for events like the DNC. This Amalgam Virgo exercise gives us a chance to sharpen air defense skills with our interagency partners prior to the event."
    These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure the Continental U.S. NORAD Region's rapid response capability. The Continental U.S. NORAD Region has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command's response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
    The 601st AOC is responsible for detecting, deterring, defending, and if necessary, defeating any aviation threat to the citizens of the United States and to U.S. critical infrastructure. The AOC is primarily manned by the Florida Air National Guard’s 101st Air and Space Operations Group, at Tyndall AFB, Fla.
    The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a joint organization of Canada and the United States that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defense for the two countries. NORAD's headquarters is located at Peterson AFB, in Colorado Springs, Colo. NORAD command and control is exercised through the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, located a short distance away.
 
 
  
 
 
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