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 Post subject: Active Duty, Veterans and Retirees
Post Posted: Dec 15, 2003 11:19 pm 
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I'd like to start this thread primarily to post information for the benefit of our service men and women who may be on active duty, are veterans living in the area or, like myself, are part of a growing retiree segment of the population and monitoring the Pinecam pages.

Secondly, I would like to dedicate this thread to the memory of the brave souls, living or dead, who have for the last 200+ years defended and secured the right for me to do what I'm doing.

Thirdly, and as a result of comments and encouragement from many Pinecam regulars, I would like to establish a place for all of us to share our respect for those who have served from those who are now dependant upon them for our freedom and well being. This is the place for us to express our gratitude and encouragement in these trying times.

Please keep this thread non-political.

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Post Posted: Dec 15, 2003 11:32 pm 
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Courtesy of: http://www.military.com

Military Report (15 December 2003)

Below is the complete version of this week's Military Report. Print it, circulate it, and make sure your colleagues and friends keep up with the latest military benefits updates.

2004 Guide to Miltiary & Veteran Education Still Available
Servicemembers and veterans interested in using their GI Bill benefits now have a new resource. The 2004 Guide to Military & Veteran Education has been released as is available at no cost to Military.com members. The Guide provides valuable information and tips on using GI Bill benefits, getting college credit for military service, accelerated degree programs, and finding additional money to fund education. The Guide is free, and is available to all servicemembers, veterans and dependants who request information on degree programs from military-friendly schools. Request information here: http://www.military.com/Education/Lead1

Deal of the Week: Pay Only Shipping and Handling on the Hottest PC War Games
Choose from a wide selection of thrilling games and adventures like Team Apache, Descent 3 and MDK2 brought to you by leading software publishers, and pay only shipping and handling charges. Have you ever imagined flying World War II fighter planes or an Apache helicopter? How about experiencing the unknown of exhilarating 3-D Sci-Fi action? You'll find games for even the most unrivaled PC gamer. Best of all, order three items -- pay only S&H -- and choose the 4th title at no additional cost! Get the best software, delivered right to your door without paying $29.99 or more in a retail store. Quantities are limited, so get started on your Holiday shopping today and pick up some free gifts for the whole family. http://www.getfreesoftware.net/giftshop ... ocations=1

American Airlines Opens Admiral Clubs to U.S. Servicemen and Servicewomen
American Airlines is now inviting U.S. military men and women under the Iraqi Freedom Rest and Relaxation (R&R) Program to spend time between flights at American's elegant Admirals Club facilities worldwide. At airports where there is no USO, returning servicemen and women in uniform or with military ID can enter the clubs free of charge to wait for their flights, enjoy complimentary snacks and soft drinks, watch TV, use the Internet or just stretch out and relax. The program starts today and runs for the duration of the R&R program. For more information, see http://www.amrcorp.com/news/december03/12_military.htm. For more travel discounts, see http://www.military.com/eCommerce/DealIndex

FEGLI Rates Rise for Some
Some Air Force personnel covered by Federal Employees Group Life Insurance will see an increase in premiums in January. Civilian employees in the Option B 70 to 80 or older age bands are slated for the increase the first full pay period of the new year. Today's generally lower mortality rates are the reason for the FEGLI premium changes that began last January, Office of Personnel Management officials said. For more information, see http://www.af.mil/stories/story.asp?storyID=123006187. For more on pay benefits and issues, see http://www.military.com/Resources/Resou ... 21,00.html

Joint Meritorious Unit Award Update
The Joint Staff has been awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) for the period 11 September 2001 to 11 September 2003. The JMUA is made in recognition of the exceptionally meritorious conduct and performance of the men and women of the Joint Staff in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terrorism since the "9/11" attacks on the Pentagon and New York City. Those individuals eligible include members of the Armed Forces of the United States, Reservists on active duty and TDY personnel assigned o attached to the Joint Staff by official orders for a minimum of 30 days during the award period. Civilians assigned to the Joint Staff during the award period will be awarded a JMUA lapel pin. J-1 will provide further guidance for all eligible personnel through the Joint Staff Military Secretaries. For more information regarding ribbons, awards and medals, see http://www.military.com/Resources/Resou ... ources.htm

Most Commissaries Not Closing
The Department of Defense is reporting that contrary to rumors, most commissaries are not closing. To soothe anxiety among servicemembers and their families about reports of Department of Defense officials closing commissaries, John Molino, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy, emphasized that, "We're not here looking to close all the commissaries!" Even though DOD officials are not searching for ways to close commissaries, there may be locations where there are not enough active-duty servicemembers and retirees to keep a store open. For more information, see http://www.af.mil/stories/story.asp?storyID=123006198

Navy Announces Graduate Education Voucher Program
The Director of Naval Education and Training has recently released information for the Fiscal Year 2004 Graduate Education Voucher (GEV) program, which offers eligible unrestricted line (URL) officers the opportunity to receive funded graduate education during off-duty hours. The GEV program is open to URL active-duty list officers, paygrades O-3 through O-5, in designators 111X, 112X, 113X, 114X and 13XX. For more information, see http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display ... y_id=10997 To learn more about education benefits, see http://www.military.com/Careers/Educati ... 9,,00.html

New License-Plate Rules to Affect USFK Units
White license plates will be issued next year to U.S. soldiers and Department of Defense civilians, allowing Seoul city officials to track down base drivers who ignore traffic tickets. The new registration program the South Korean government began Dec. 1 stems from an April agreement with U.S. Forces Korea to improve traffic ticket processing. The new license plates will be the same as those issued to Korean drivers, replacing the green plates that have a distinctive number indicating a military-registered vehicle, according to USFK. For more information, see http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?sec ... icle=19280

PTS Expands, Includes First Term CREO Group 2 Sailors
Naval News Service reports that starting January 2004, all first-term, Career Reenlistment Objectives (CREO) Group 2 sailors must request reenlistment authorization from the Navy Personnel Command under the Perform to Serve (PTS) Program. PTS was implemented in February 2003 for all first-term CREO Group 3 Sailors. Next month, PTS will be implemented for all first-term CREO Group 2, as well, so that CREO Group 2 and 3 Sailors with End of Active Obligated Service (EAOS) contracts in February 2004 or beyond, regardless of reenlistment intentions, will be required to submit PTS applications. For more information, see http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display ... y_id=11051

Savings Opportunity For Life Insurance
The Navy Mutual Aid Association can save those in the sea services up to $285 per year on life insurance over SGLI. Membership in the Navy Mutual Aid Association is open to all ranks, both officers and enlisted. Active duty, reserve, and retired (including Fleet Reserve) of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard under age 65 are eligible to apply for membership. There are no dues or assessments beyond the life insurance premiums. For more information, go to the NMAA section at http://www.military.com/nmaa/NMAALeadform

Tax Statements Available on myPay
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) recently released the schedule of dates when U.S. military service members, military retirees and annuitants and defense civilian employees can access their tax statements through myPay (https://mypay.dfas.mil). myPay provides an easy, secure method for managing pay account information for America's military service members, military retirees and annuitants and defense civilians. To learn more, see http://www.dfas.mil/news/releases/archive/03_53.htm. For more information regarding taxes, visit Military.com's Tax Center at http://www.military.com/Finance/Taxes/1 ... 82,00.html

Time Is Running Out for Overseas Troops to Register for Primary Voting
While next year's general elections may seem a long way off, deadlines to vote in state primaries are just around the corner. Troops are urged to contact their unit voting assistance officer, or visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program Web site at: www.fvap.gov. For early primaries, troops who would like to vote need to request a ballot by the end of the month. The primaries begin Jan. 13 in the District of Columbia, followed by New Hampshire on Jan. 27. On Feb. 3, Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina each hold primaries.This year, voters from several counties in Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will have the chance to cast their votes online. For a look at the latest political issues affecting servicemembers and veterans, see http://capwiz.com/military/home/

'Treasures' Program Offers Chance to Support Troops
Want to support our troops? Send them a package through the American Red Cross' "Treasures for Troops" program. Although "Treasures for Troops" is not a holiday program, Red Cross officials said they are committed to having 10,000 packages reach deployed service members during December. If public donations exceed 10,000 packages, the additional kits may not reach the troops during December, but will be distributed as soon as they reach the AFES deployed staff. The packages contain a deck of cards, a book of crossword puzzles, snacks, games, suntan lotion, tissues, a hacky sack ball, moist towelettes, a hand-held fan and a multipurpose tool packaged in a lightweight, durable, reusable travel bag. To learn more, see http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec2003 ... 12113.html. For more ways to support the troops, see http://www.military.com/Content/MoreCon ... ort_troops

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 Post subject: Re: Active Duty, Veterans and Retirees
Post Posted: Dec 15, 2003 11:32 pm 
As a mother myself, my thoughts are with those who have a son or daughter stationed away from home at the holidays, and especially those stationed in Iraq. I hope they are all safely home soon.

e...


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 Post subject: Re: Active Duty, Veterans and Retirees
Post Posted: Dec 15, 2003 11:53 pm 
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ema wrote:
As a mother myself, my thoughts are with those who have a son or daughter stationed away from home at the holidays, and especially those stationed in Iraq. I hope they are all safely home soon.

e...


Ema; Your words should be our collective incantation.

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Post Posted: Dec 16, 2003 7:02 am 
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To all Veterans, and those currently serving....My heartfelt Thank You. I salute you all. :patriot:
Sean


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Post Posted: Dec 16, 2003 8:24 am 
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To all who have served, and are serving this great country, Thank You!!! You have served selflessly for all Americans! We all owe our freedom to you. There are no words which can properly thank you enough. My prayers are with all those currently protecting our freedoms overseas, that their job will be finished soon, so they can return home. :patriot:


I know most of you have probably seen this before, but on this thread, I thought it was appropriate.

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
"SANTA DON'T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS."

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, "CARRY ON SANTA,
IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE."

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT."

This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan.


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Post Posted: Dec 16, 2003 10:11 pm 
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well, it's not information, just a kind of tribute...

one of the finest men i ever knew, i used to work with running big computers for a big corporation. he was eighteen when he joined the marines, was in the first wave of men sent to vietnam. they sent him home during his third tour of duty, because he wasn't ducking anymore. he escaped from a hospital on okinawa, and tried to take a village there. they sent him to the states on a commercial flight with a bunch of pills in his pocket, and they didn't know what to do with him, so he stood in the honor guard at the white house for a time. then they sent him to computer school, where he and they found he had an amazing brain for that kind of thing. i was just out of college and he and i started at the big corporation in the same year, i an intern, he the head of systems technology. he was open, patient, visionary, generous with his time and knowledge. after a while the big corporation used to send us to these computer conferences, and these other techies used to come up to him and say they had served or trained with him, and tell me he was the best teacher they ever had, and that i was pretty lucky to be working with him. i knew that, but that so many knew him, respected him, amazed me. he used to carry free weights in his luggage so he could work out in his room, and he couldn't sleep unless he left a light and a radio on. when the systems would crash big time, he'd come down to the computer room and stand there completely calm, like the captain on deck, and eventually we'd get everything fixed and back up and running, and the paperwork done too. he was walking out at the end of one very rough day and one of the other interns asked him how he could stay so calm in the midst of the tension and chaos. he said that he knew that at the end of the day, he'd walk out alive. it wasn't like being shot at, you know? the man had perspective. he died of a heart attack while vacationing in the caribbean a few years ago. for his memorial, his family asked for contributions to an eagle sanctuary. he had a thing about eagles, you know. he only talked about vietnam when far from sober. i still think of him often.

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Post Posted: Dec 16, 2003 10:53 pm 
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JJ wrote:
Is it that over the line? That we all remind ourselves the horror of war?


For this thread, yes it was over the line and inappropriate. Please re-read Henry's intent for posts in this thread. This is not a thread to remind people about the horrors of war. Please use the political discussions for that. This thread is intended as a tribute to our armed forces and for helpful information. - PCG


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Post Posted: Dec 16, 2003 11:06 pm 
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maybe in this thread. i'm glad my friend made it back to be my friend for a while.

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Post Posted: Dec 17, 2003 7:08 am 
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meeb thank you for your lovely post. Most of the vets I know are like that and the worse the situation they were in the less inclined they are to talk about it. I guess it is hard to express the horrors of war, the guilt, and the pain to someone who has never had a friend die in thier arm or had to see the face of a stranger they have just had to kill. But they carry on and and at the end of day just hope those back home are greatful and are glad they came home and remember those who didnt. :patriot:


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Post Posted: Dec 17, 2003 12:46 pm 
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Here's my dilemma. On the one hand, jj's poem was graphic to the point of upsetting some posters. On the other hand, there was nothing in his post that didn't reflect the truth and facts of an armed conflict. I didn't find his post to be political ... only disturbing.

Those of us who are veterans of an armed conflict were probably not offended or shocked by it. We've already lived through moments similar to that in the poem. We've seen others wounded, maimed and killed. We've lived through horrifying moments when we thought we would be the next to die, and prayed and wept thankfully that we weren't.

Many of us came home to renew our lives in a forgetful world that lives for the moment. Accordingly, we resumed our existance as though nothing had passed, as though our duty to Service and Country were a distracted inconvenience, as though the inconsequentiality of the whole thing bewildered our sense of real commitment at a time when the world should be concerned with more important things.

That, of course, is not the truth. Those of us that were fortunate enough to survive in a physical sense, left a part of our lives on some distant shore, changed forever and raped of innocense. Some of us have handled it well. Some of us have buried it inside. All of us, to some extent, are life-long casualties of war.

And what say we of those protected and sheltered from the atrocities? Or those that were not born to witness them? Or those that refuse to assign value to the freedoms and inalienable rights they so foolishly take for granted? Or of the sacrifices of others?

Do they need to be reminded? And if so, by what means do we do this? Do we honor the veterans simply because they are veterans? Do we honor a title and not a deed? And how truthful is that honor without the visions and knowledge of the cruelties and deprivations inherent with the title?

I don't know ... but I certainly don't fault jj for giving it a try.

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Last edited by Henry on Dec 17, 2003 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Posted: Dec 17, 2003 12:59 pm 
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Henry, thank you as always very well put.


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