"I didn't think I did the heroics credited to me. I was just mad out of my mind when I charged up the hill. I thought I might die, but I was going to die trying. To be part of this stamp dedication is humbling. I share this honor with all the other brave men and women who sacrificed." — George T. Sakato
The defense bill that is set to come to the Senate floor this month includes various changes to the military justice system. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, is to offer an amendment that would take sexual assault cases outside the military chain of command and give military prosecutors, rather than accusers’ commanders, the power to decide which cases to try. Pentagon leaders are strongly opposed to Ms. Gillibrand’s amendment.
Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, is pushing legislation that does not go as far. Supported by the Pentagon and Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, the measure would strip commanders of their ability to overturn jury verdicts and mandate dishonorable discharge or dismissal for anyone convicted of sexual assault. But it would keep control of court-martial proceedings within the chain of command.
Another measure offered this week by Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, would exempt victims of sexual assault from having to testify at what the military calls Article 32 pretrial hearings, which can include cross-examinations of victim that are so intense they frighten many victims from coming forward.
Finally a leader at USAFA that really lets you know how all of us at USAFA especially at USAFA Preparatory feel about you and your beliefs, can't wait 'til you are escorted off campus and I am sure the majority of staff/cadets (believers and nonbelievers) wish that could happen now. Stop pushing your beliefs on us. God will always be a part of the US Military even when you are gone to meet him face to face. You know you can do a lot for the homeless veterans out here but you could care less about them but when it comes to Christians you are willing to fight against us, well you will never win and so you know the war has already been won. I am on staff at USAFA and will talk about Jesus Christ my Lord and savior to everyone that I work with [emphasis added]. Do something productive with your life and Stop harassing the fine people at USAFA. I really pray for your soul.
Regarding the e-mail sent by Mr. Allen Willoughby to the MRFF, we can confirm that Mr. Willoughby is a trainer at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School, and yes, he did send an e-mail to the MRFF in his personal capacity [all emphasis added] and not as a representative of the Air Force's Academy or the Prep School.
Supporting the right of free exercise of religion relates directly to the Air Force core values and the ability to maintain an effective team. Air Force Academy Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual's free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.
All Academy Airmen, especially commanders, supervisors and those who are in daily contact with cadets or cadet candidates, must ensure that in exercising their right of religious free expression, they do not degrade morale, good order, and discipline or degrade the trust and confidence that the public has in the United States Air Force and the Air Force's Academy.
The Air Force's Academy remains committed to protecting individuals' right to practice any religion they choose, or no religion, provided their practices do not violate policy or law, or impede mission accomplishment, military readiness, unit cohesion, standards or discipline.
It's also important to point out that USAFA has a robust, structured Religious Respect Training Program that helps cadets, cadet candidates, faculty and staff understand how the First Amendment applies to them at USAFA with an expectation that all are educated on religious respect and, in turn, are practitioners of respect.
First, the Cadet Honor Oath remains unchanged. However, in the spirit enabling all to be true to their beliefs, the Air Force's Academy made the final clause optional - cadets can choose to say that final clause or not.
Second, it seems the MRFF is confusing the facts and also does not understand the difference between 1) the commissioning Oath of Office, 2) the Cadet Honor Code, and 3) the Cadet Honor Oath, which remains unchanged.
Finally, and most importantly, I refer you to the MRFF's mission statement and the apparent disagreement of its fundamentals with the final clause in the Cadet Honor Oath as optional, thereby allowing all to be true to their beliefs, whatever those beliefs are.
To help define the differences in the Cadet Honor Code and Cadet Honor Oath, I refer you to our story about the Cadet Honor Code and Honor Oath - you might want to pass it along to them since they seem to be unclear on the facts and, specifically, that the Cadet Honor Oath was not changed — we simply made the final clause optional, which is directly in line with the MRFF's mission statement to ensure "that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom."
Here is the link and the story: http://www.usafa.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123368388
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - After reviewing the Cadet Honor Oath, and
in the spirit of determining a way ahead that enables all to be true to
their beliefs, the Air Force's Academy has decided to make the final clause
"Here at the Academy, we work to build a culture of dignity and respect, and
that respect includes the ability of our cadets, Airmen and civilian Airmen
to freely practice and exercise their religious preference - or not," said
Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, Academy Superintendent. "So, in the spirit of
respect, cadets may or may not choose to finish the Honor Oath with 'So help
"At the Air Force Academy, we produce Lieutenants for our Air Force and
leaders for our Nation, so our focus here continues to be on developing
leaders of character" General Johnson said. "This all begins by living
honorably. The Honor Code and Honor Oath reinforce this fundamental value."
Thanks for taking the time to talk with my Vice about this matter. This Honor Oath is one of the new things since my graduation, evidently in about 1984. Col Miller was able to bring together the Prep School and other entities on base to put together a way ahead. We’ve already directed the Honor Review Committee to fix this next week when they meet. The Prep School poster has been taken down.
We are assessing the situation and have many mission elements, to include Prep School leadership, the Honor Review Committee and other entities on base, working to put together a way ahead that is respectful to all perspectives.
"This welcome and long overdue news represents a significant step toward finally building a cemetery veterans in southern Colorado can call their own," Bennet said. “We're grateful to our troops, our veterans and our military families for everything they've done on behalf of our country. It's time we delivered on this promise."
The Pikes Peak area has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the country, estimated at more than 100,000. This new cemetery will help ease demand for space at existing facilities while significantly reducing the cost and distance of travel for families of fallen soldiers. The new cemetery will also enable veterans who reside in Southern Colorado to be buried near the communities they call home.
Bennet led efforts in Washington to bring the cemetery to Southern Colorado. In March 2009, he introduced a bill with Senator Mark Udall to create a cemetery in El Paso County. The following year, he and then-Representative John Salazar met with Secretary for Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to discuss the issue and shortly thereafter, the President’s FY2011 budget included language for establishing such a cemetery. In 2012, Bennet convened a meeting of the Southern Colorado Veterans Cemetery Committee to receive feedback on potential site locations.
At this time, travel for all intercollegiate athletics is cancelled - this includes the Air Force-Navy game on Saturday, 5 Oct.
The Air Force Academy Falcons will attempt to play all home intercollegiate athletic contests but those may be cancelled, as well. Academy officials are working with Mountain West Conference officials, those teams the Falcons were scheduled to play and officials at The Department of the Air Force to make up as many games as possible.
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force Academy Cadet 3rd Class (C3C) Jaleel Awini is no longer a cadet in good standing and is not allowed to represent the Academy in any outside activities, effective immediately.
Cadets must meet Academy standards — honor, physical fitness, academics and military aptitude in order to be a cadet in good standing. Holding each cadet to these high standards promotes good order and discipline throughout the institution.
Due to the Privacy Act of 1974, no Personally Identifiable Information can be disclosed.
DENVER – The Macalan Group, Inc., formerly known as NEK Advanced Securities Inc. (NEK), a security contractor headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has agreed to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims in connection with a contract with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), U.S. Attorney John Walsh announced on behalf of the Justice Department and its investigative partners.
NEK’s contract with JIEDDO required it to develop and deploy teams of specialized personnel to Iraq and Afghanistan to combat improvised explosive devices. The government alleged that NEK submitted false invoices for payment in connection with this contract that claimed excessive or unallowable costs. To resolve these allegations, NEK has paid the United States $2.08 million, and will also relinquish an outstanding invoice for $744,969, and turn over numerous weapons and accessories acquired under the contract.
“No government contract is more important than one that supports the security efforts of our nation overseas,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “When a contractor fails to bill by the contract rules set up to protect American taxpayers, our office will diligently and aggressively seek to recover any losses, as this case demonstrates.”
“This settlement demonstrates our commitment to pursue contractors who fail to accurately bill the government,” said Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. “The Justice Department will continue to ensure that those who do business with the government do so honestly and fairly and uphold the integrity of our public contracting process.”
“We are very pleased with today’s settlement with over two million dollars back to the U.S. Government,” said Frank Robey, Director of the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “Our special agents have worked tirelessly on this case, along with our partners in Federal law enforcement and the Department of Justice, and will continue to do so as we continue to scrutinize and monitor contracts affecting the U.S. Army.”
“The settlement in this investigation is the result of a highly successful joint effort by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and our law enforcement partners from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command and the Department of Justice, to include support provided by the Defense Contract Audit Agency,” said Janice M. Flores, Special Agent in Charge of the DCIS Southwest Field Office. “This settlement highlights the Federal Government's continuing resolve to recover losses to the American taxpayer when a contractor has claimed money to which it was not entitled. The United States must be able to count upon Government contractors to seek payment only for services performed or material provided, in conformance with their contractual obligations.”
The United States Attorney’s Office is grateful for the hard work of the investigative partners that produced today’s result, including the Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch; the Army Criminal Investigation Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Defense Contract Audit Agency; and, the Contract Integrity Center, Office of General Counsel, Defense Contract Management Agency.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.
Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Chris Larson and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Benjamin Wei handled this matter on behalf of the United States.
Three officers and three non-commissioned officers received administrative disciplinary action today for a human relations incident that occurred at the Preparatory School involving cadet-candidates during basic training on July 31, 2013.
The incident involved mishandling of supervisory responsibility but did not involve sexual assaults, sexual harassment or use or possession of illegal substances.
The incident occurred after an individual identified as a dark-skinned male cadet-candidate allegedly "flashed" a group of cadet-candidates from another squadron. Reacting to this alleged incident after hearing about it, the group of officers and NCOs brought together a group of male cadet-candidates and separated them by race in an attempt to discover the identity of the alleged perpetrator. In doing so, the officers and NCOs in question used other inappropriate disciplinary tactics to try to identify the alleged perpetrator.
"The officers and NCOs grossly misjudged the entire situation. They reacted before properly collecting facts and failed to consult the chain of command," said Col. Kabrena Rodda, Preparatory School Commander. "Their collective actions were misguided and inappropriate."
The investigation into the incident is complete, and no further action is anticipated at this time. The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits disclosure of further information but the ill-advised actions of the six individuals are in direct opposition to Air Force core values.
"The Air Force's Academy stands for respect and dignity for every individual and we take all incidents that happen to our people incredibly seriously," said Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, Academy Superintendent. "This was a case of immature judgment and knee-jerk reactions that were not in keeping with our core values."
On Oct. 3, 2009, many Soldiers distinguished themselves when more than 400 Anti-Afghan forces, or AAF, attempted to overrun Combat Outpost, or COP, Keating, a company-sized outpost in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan. On that day, of the 53 members of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, who defended the position, eight Soldiers were killed, and more than 25 were injured.
Of these men, one Soldier’s gallantry stood out. Without regard to his own safety, Spc. Ty Michael Carter proved himself time and time again. He resupplied ammunition to fighting positions, provided first aid to a battle buddy, killed enemy troops, and valiantly risked his own life to save a fellow Soldier who was injured and pinned down by overwhelming enemy fire. He did all this while under heavy small arms and indirect fire that lasted more than six hours.
Carter’s actions of risking his life above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in combat against the enemies of the United States, were heroic, and he would be a most deserving recipient of the Medal of Honor for his fearless and decisive actions that day.
U.S. Naval Academy administrators have denied a request from a recent graduate to hold his planned humanist wedding in the academy's chapel, declaring that the chapel is only to be used for Christian ceremonies.
The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter yesterday to United States Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller and Senior Chaplain Commander Michael Gore asking the decision be reversed and confirm that it is not the policy of the Naval Academy "to forbid non Christians from using the Chapel for their wedding ceremonies."
"This discriminatory policy is unconstitutional," the letter states. "The Naval Academy cannot deny use of its publicly owned facilities on the basis of the religious views of those wishing to do so."
"Weddings performed by humanist celebrants are legal everywhere in the country, as are weddings performed by many other non-Christian officiants," said Appignani Humanist Legal Center Coordinator Bill Burgess. "There is no valid reason the U.S. Naval Academy's chapel can't be used by all of them."
Graduates of the USAFA, the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy, active duty personnel currently assigned to the USAFA and active duty Air Force personnel stationed in the local area to include Buckley Air Force Base, codependents of active duty personnel currently assigned to the USAFA who hold a valid military dependent ID card on the day of the wedding, Purple Heart recipients and Silver Star recipients and above, [and] ID card holding dependents of service members killed in action
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has been an ardent supporter of forest health and wildland firefighting, and he continues to probe for more information to enhance how fires are managed.
A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Udall wrote a letter Monday to Northern Command leader Gen. Charles Jacoby and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell asking for a retrospective for the Black Forest Fire.
Udall, along with Colorado's other Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, instigated a major study following the Waldo Canyon Fire that investigates the ecological, social and operational issues involved in fighting that blaze, which claimed 347 homes in Colorado Springs last year.
In his latest effort, Udall thanks Jacoby and Tidwell for their participation in the Black Forest Fire and what further lessons might be learned. He also asked them to explain procedural changes that made the rapid response possible.
From a news release:
Udall has been a leading voice for ensuring that Colorado and the West have adequate resources to prepare for the threat of wildfire, including pressing the U.S. Air Force to quickly transfer and repurpose excess aircraft to the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires. He also led the fight to ensure the U.S. Forest Service was able to cut through red tape and secure seven next-generation air tankers. One of the next-generation air tankers Udall fought to acquire helped fight the Black Forest Fire.
Udall also pushed to pass a bipartisan amendment to the U.S. Senate's 2014 budget to allocate $100 million more for wildland firefighting and he successfully secured federal funds to repair drinking-water supplies damaged by 2012's Waldo Canyon and High Park fires.
Here's his letter to Jacoby and Tidwell:
Fort Carsonlikely will see a reduction in troops of roughly 800 soldiers under an end-strength reduction announced by the Army today.
The cuts could have been worse, however. Although Carson will lose a brigade, shuffling of soldiers into other units will largely offset the loss, media outlets reported.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, issued a statement bemoaning the cut but also noting that the new Combat Aviation Brigade is untouched by the cuts. It's bringing some 2,700 soldiers and more than 100 aircraft here.
"I am very disappointed that Fort Carson is one of ten bases around the country that will lose a brigade combat team by the year 2017. However the blow is considerably softened by the fact that all but 750 of those soldiers will remain at Fort Carson and be reassigned to other missions. Including other restructuring changes, the Army anticipates Fort Carson will actually increase in size by 1,800 active duty Army personnel.
“Ft. Carson is the finest Army post in the country and has access to unique mountain training ranges that enable our soldiers to be fully prepared to fight at altitude. Downsizing at Ft. Carson simply does not make sense.
“It is important to note these cuts are part of Army-wide restructuring, impacting bases in Europe and throughout the United States.
“The good news is that Ft. Carson has other missions that the Army continues to grow such as aviation and special forces. Next week the 4thCombat Aviation Brigade will officially be activated. The 4th CAB will bring dozens of helicopters and thousands of soldiers to Ft. Carson and this year alone is injecting over $260 million in construction into our local economy. The 10th Special Forces Group is also at Ft. Carson and continues to serve our country quietly but heroically.”
Read the Army's announcement here: