DOD, Coast Guard, Navy

Lambeau Field

Those who attended the game said it was extremely emotional to see the entire bowl of the stadium turn red, white and blue. It took 90 workers two weeks to get all of the colored card boards mounted under each seat. Each piece of card board had eye slits in them so the fans could hold up the colored sheet and still see through the eye slits. Every seat had to have the proper card, with no mistakes, to make this happen.

Thanks to Patt and Mike Staley for sharing.  

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Kilroy Was Here


...for those of you who don't know, here's the story...


He is engraved in stone in the National War Memorial in Washington, DC- back in a small alcove where very few people have seen it. For the WWII generation, this will bring back memories. For you younger folks, it's a bit of trivia that is a part of our American history. Anyone born in 1913 to about 1950, is familiar with Kilroy. No one knew why he was so well known - but everybody seemed to get into it.
So who was Kilroy? 

 Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program, "Speak to America," sponsored a nationwide contest to find the real Kilroy, offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the genuine article. Almost 40 men stepped forward to make that claim, but only James Kilroy from Halifax, Massachusetts, had evidence of his identity. 

Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
'Kilroy' was a 46-year old shipyard worker during the war who worked as a checker at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy . His job was to go around and check on the number of rivets completed. Riveters were on piecework and got paid by the rivet. He would count a block of rivets and put a check mark in semi-waxed lumber chalk, so the rivets wouldn't be counted twice. When Kilroy went off duty, the riveters would erase the mark. 
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
Later on, an off-shift inspector would come through and count the rivets a second time, resulting in double pay for the riveters. 
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
One day Kilroy's boss called him into his office. The foreman was upset about all the wages being paid to riveters, and asked him to investigate. It was then he realized what had been going on. The tight spaces he had to crawl in to check the rivets didn't lend themselves to lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decided to stick with the waxy chalk. He continued to put his check mark on each job he inspected, but added 'KILROY WAS HERE' in king-sized letters nextto the che ck, and eventually added the sketch of the chap with the long nose peering over the fence and that became part of the Kilroy message.
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
Once he did that, the riveters stopped trying to wipe away his marks. Ordinarily the rivets and chalk marks would have been covered up with paint. With the war on, however, ships were leaving the Quincy Yard so fast that there wasn't time to paint them. As a result, Kilroy's inspection "trademark" was seen by thousands of servicemen who boarded the troopships the yard produced.
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
His message apparently rang a bell with the servicemen, because they picked it up and spread it all over Europe and the South Pacific.
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
Before war's end, "Kilroy" had been here, there, and everywhere on the long hauls to Berlin and Tokyo . To the troops outbound in those ships, however, he was a complete mystery; all they knew for sure was that someone named Kilroy had "been there first." As a joke, U.S. servicemen began placing the graffiti wherever they landed, claiming it was already there when they arrived.
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
Kilroy became the U.S. super-GI who had always "already been" wherever GIs went. It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely places imaginable (it is said to be atop Mt. Everest , the Statue of Liberty , the underside of the Arc de Triomphe, and even scrawled in the dust on the moon.
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
As the war went on, the legend grew. Underwater demolition teams routinely sneaked ashore on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific to map the terrain for coming invasions by U.S. troops (and thus, presumably, were the first GI's there). On one occasion, however, they reported seeing enemy troops painting over the Kilroy logo!
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
In 1945, an outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill at the Potsdam conference. Its' first occupant was Stalin, who emerged and asked his aide (in Russian), "Who is Kilroy?"
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
To help prove his authenticity in 1946, James Kilroy brought along officials from the shipyard and some of the riveters. He won the trolley car, which he gave to his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up as a playhouse in the Kilroy yard in Halifax , Massachusetts .
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
And The Tradition Continues...
Shangrala's Kilroy Was Here
EVEN Outside Osama Bin Laden's House!!!

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense

September 18, 2013

Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System Completes Successful Intercept Flight Test

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA), U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Navy sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie (CG 70) successfully conducted a flight test today of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system, resulting in the intercept of a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean by the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IB guided missile.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (8:30 p.m. EDT), a complex separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The target flew northwest towards a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. Following target launch, the USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles to engage the target. The first SM-3 that was launched successfully intercepted the target warhead. This was the first salvo mission of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched against a single separating target. Program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

This test exercised the latest version of the second-generation Aegis BMD Weapon System, capable of engaging longer range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles. This was an operationally realistic test, in which the target's launch time and bearing are not known in advance, and the target complex was the most difficult target engaged to date.

Today's event, designated Flight Test-Standard Missile-21 (FTM-21), was the fourth consecutive successful intercept test of the SM-3 Block IB guided missile with the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System.

FTM-21 is the 27th successful intercept in 33 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002. Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 63rd successful hit-to-kill intercept in 79 flight test attempts since 2001.

Aegis BMD is the naval component of the MDA's Ballistic Missile Defense System. The Aegis BMD engagement capability defeats short- to intermediate-range, unitary and separating, midcourse-phase ballistic missile threats with the SM-3, as well as short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase with the Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Block IV missile. The MDA and the U.S. Navy cooperatively manage the Aegis BMD program.'

Happy Birthday, Air Force

U.S. Air Force celebrates its birthday this week

by Ryan Simonson
Fly-Fight-Win -- that's the United States Air Force motto adopted in 2010. If we look back to 1947, we see the unique origins of this branch of our nation's military and how it embodies that motto today.
On September 18, 1947, with this excerpt from the National Security Act of 1947, the United States Air Force was created:
In general, the United States Air Force shall include aviation forces both combat and service not otherwise assigned. It shall be organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive air operations. The Air Force shall be responsible for the preparation of the air forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war except as otherwise assigned and, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of the peacetime components of the Air Force to meet the needs of war.
Now, 65 years later, I can attest that they have more than fulfilled the obligations stated in their charter document. During the invasion of Iraq, the Air Force flew attack missions to enable the U.S. Military assaults (I was in the U.S. Army at the time.)
Once we transitioned into stability and support operations, they provided surveillance that was instrumental in our well-being. Their pilots were professionals and their liaisons to our armor battalion were dedicated and knowledgable.
My favorite story involves a pilot operating his F-15 at 30,000 feet providing observation to my battalion during a cordon and search in 2005. Our unit was searching a rural area of a suburb of Baghdad because we had intelligence that insurgents were assembling car bombs and other munitions for employment throughout the city.
In pitch black darkness, we found the target on a small "farm" and while exploiting the site, several insurgents fled through thick underbrush into an adjoining palm grove. We couldn't see anything due to the visibility and vegetation so we looked up and prayed and the U.S. Air Force answered!
Our pilot was using his thermal and infrared sensors and could see the people hiding in a ditch. He told us he would designate the target for us and moments later, a bright beam of infrared light lanced down pointing out exactly where the people were hiding. Our ground troops using their night vision goggles were able to maneuver exactly to the spot and apprehend the individuals for eventual prosecution in the Iraqi Court of Law.
The assistance provided by the pilot stopped a deadly insurgent operation and removed a significant threat to both Iraqi civilians and Coalition Forces.
Honoring a Legacy of Valor
It is through the Legacy of Valor campaign that we acknowledge the service and sacrifice of all veterans -- active duty and those considering a military career. We honor people like our Legacy of Valor hero Lisa Christy,  Master Sergeant, United States Air Force, Ret.
Part of a military family (Lisa's father was in the Army and her brother was also in the Air Force) Lisa joined the military to learn Russian (which she did). She served for 22 years, was in military intelligence toward the end of the Cold War, and earned the Defense Meritorious Service Medal during her career -- that's the third-highest award bestowed upon members of the U.S. Military by the Department of Defense (DOD). Now a Bradenton resident, Lisa wants our community to know that veterans represent all ages and backgrounds.
Do you have any stories about the U.S. Air Force? Please share them in the comments section below and help us spread the good word about this instrumental branch of our nation's military.
Ryan Simonson | September 18, 2013 at 12:56 am | URL:

From the MOAA Web Site

Citizenship Day

Citizenship Day has special meaning for Legacy of Valor hero

by Ryan Simonson
There are many ways a person can gain citizenship in the United States -- the one I want to tell you about today is earned through military service. Our Legacy of Valor campaignhonors all veterans -- including those who earn citizenship in conjunction with military service
There are two paths to earning citizenship in this way. The first path is through serving in the military during peacetime. This service grants exemptions to certain requirements of the process to include residency and physical presence in the United States.
The second path is through military service during periods of hostilities. This path was created by executive order in 2002 and allows servicemen and women to immediately file for citizenship during or after they have honorably served in the military and deployed into designated hostile conflicts.
One of our Legacy of Valor heroes, Master Sergeant (Ret.) Edward Valdez, originally from the Dominican Republic, gained his U.S. citizenship six years into his 20 years of service in the United States Marine Corps. He studied for the citizenship and naturalization exam extensively but does credit his Marine Corps Sergeant's uniform for assisting during the testing process.
He celebrated his citizenship by serving another 14 years in the Marine Corps and has now dedicated himself to assisting veterans as they realize higher education goals through his work at the University of South Florida.
I had the opportunity to ask him what advice he would give to young servicemen considering attaining citizenship and this was his response:
"The best advice I can give anyone thinking about becoming a citizen is that, when you become a citizen of any nation, you must remember to obey the rules and regulations of that nation, the nation should not have to change to please your desires."
His wise words reflect a lifetime of selfless service to our country and are a great credit onto himself as well as inspirational to me.
The Legacy of Valor campaign is always interested in inspirational stories such as that of Edward Valdez. If you have a citizenship story please share it in the comments below!
Ryan Simonson | September 17, 2013 at 8:49 am | URL:

What happens when veterans transition home

What happens when veterans transition home

by Linda Gould
You hear a lot in the media about veterans who are "transitioning" and the challenges they face. But what does that mean?
It means, for example, that a young soldier enlisted into military service, learned skills that would allow him or her to survive in harsh environments.
It means that soldiers acquired the ability to use weapons to shoot and kill the enemy ensuring our freedom each and every day.
It means they saw their comrades to the right and left get injured or killed, with many suffering physical, mental and emotional wounds that sometimes are invisible to you and me.
And now they are coming home…..
They may have come home 30 years ago or are just now moving to our community --- either way, they need our help.
Veterans need services and they need jobs. Jobs allow someone to be self-sustaining, but there are obstacles to finding and keeping employment: healthcare (to include mental healthcare) education, transportation, childcare, and housing -- just to name a few.
Seven months ago, Goodwill Manasota had an idea: why not have a Jobs and Services Fair for Veterans and Their Families? They asked Suncoast Workforceand the Baltimore Orioles to partner with them in The Patterson Foundation’sLegacy of Valor campaign. On Sept. 7, it all came together!
As veterans arrived, the excitement was palpable both inside and out as the gates opened. More than 175 veterans and their families attended the jobs and services fair at Ed Smith Stadium this past Saturday. More than 42 employers were on hand with job openings and were interested in hiring veterans, along with more than 40 service providers.
One female veteran stood looking around and said in a quiet voice that she had no idea that so many people actually cared about veterans and that seeing them all in one place offering assistance was incredible.
I spoke to an Active Duty Navy Chief Warrant Officer who is retiring out of MacDill AFB in Tampa in November. He drove down to attend since he is moving to Sarasota to be near his father.
The businesses that participated already have applicants sending resumes and scheduling interviews. Veterans were able to get assistance with their VA Benefits, along with other information to help enhance their quality of life.
On February 7, 2014, there will be another Veterans Jobs and Services Fair in the Legacy of Valor Campaign, this time led by partner Suncoast Workforce, in collaboration with Goodwill Manasota and the Baltimore Orioles!

Linda Gould | September 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm | URL:

MOAA Remembers 9/11

Remember 911

New post on The Patterson Foundation Blog Network

A community gathers to remember 9/11

by Erika Nies
This week our community, along with the nation, took time to recognize and honor those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe at home and abroad -- from our nation's veterans to those first responders who risk their lives every day in our community. These events help remind us to never forget the brave men and women and their families who sacrifice so much.
The week of 9/11 Remembrance Events began with the Sun Coast FOOLS (Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society) annual 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb held at Plymouth Harbor on Saturday.
The stair climb consisted of mostly local firefighters, but a few traveled from as far away as South Carolina to participate. Majority of the firefighters wore their complete firefighting gear, including air packs, which weigh in excess of 60 pounds, as they climbed the stairs in remembrance of the heroic climb 343 fallen firefighters made up the World Trade Center towers the morning of September 11.
The stair climbers aspired to three symbolic goals:
78 floors  --which is where the South tower was struck
110 floors -- which is how tall the World Trade Center was
343 floors -- which is how many firefighters died that day
Most participants reached 110 floors with a handful reaching all 343.
Members of the public, as well as participants spouses and children, were able to climb and test there stamina alongside the Firefighters. This was an opportunity for the general public to get a glimpse into the life of a firefighter – to fully appreciate the daily demands of their job.
Prior to the start of the stair climb, the Sarasota County Fire Department Honor Guard led a procession complete with a Retired FDNY Lieutenant on the bagpipes. Garrett Lindgren, a retired member of Rescue 4/FDNY who responded to the attacks that day, spoke of the tragedies and reflected on the memory of his firehouse crew who all perished that day. Lindgren reminded those participating in the stair climb of the symbolism of the stair climb for their fallen brothers and sisters. Lindgren’s words were concluded with a moment of silence and a symbolic “Last Alarm” bell ring.
Proceeds raised benefit the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund and the Sun Coast FOOLS – both of which support firefighters and their families.
This morning, Sarasota Police DepartmentSarasota County Fire Department and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office joined together to hold a memorial ceremony outside the Police Department headquarters. The ceremony began with opening remarks from Deputy Chief Stephen Moyer reflecting on the tragic events 12 years ago but also how it impacts us today.
In demonstration of the unity among first responders, Honor Guard members from all three first responder departments blended together as one during the flag & floral presentation honoring those fallen.
Speaking guests included Sarasota County Fire Department Chief Mike Tobias, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Steve Burns, and several Sarasota government officials. Musical tributes featured two of Sarasota Military Academystudents. Gracie Cespedes, also a Legacy of Valor hero, performed the “Star Spangled Banner” on the violin and Houston Scott performed “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
Attendees were asked to leave in silence and pause at 9:37AMin remembrance of when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, and at 10:03AM when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
Erika Nies | September 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm | URL: