SUEZ CANAL (Oct. 13, 2015) – Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Nathan Neher, from Lebanon, Mo., and Senior Chief Fire Controlman David Campbell, from Newport, N.C., stand watch aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG 81) during a Suez Canal transit. Churchill is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor N. Stinson/Released)
Ensign Jason Thaanum, from Long Island, N.Y., stands watch in the pilot house aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) during a Suez Canal transit. Churchill is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor N. Stinson/Released)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Oct. 15, 2015) — The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) conducts maneuvering operations with the Hellenic Navy Kortenaer-class frigate HS Nikiforos Fokas (F466). Churchill is deployed in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor N. Stinson/Released)
WAHIAWA, Hawaii – Civilians and current and former service members alike came to celebrate and honor those who served during the Veterans Day parade, here, Nov. 11.
The band, color guard and Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division, “Topic Lightning,” along with the Hawaii National Guard, 324th Intelligence Squadron, and numerous civilian organizations, marched in the parade.
Veterans Day was once called Armistice Day, in recognition of the “war to end all wars” at the end of the First World War, 97 years ago, on Nov. 11, 1918. However, it would not be the last war to engulf the globe as Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan plunged the world into another devastating war.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Polito “Paul” Olivas entered the service in September 1940, at the age of 22, a year prior to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The spry 97-year-old veteran, now residing in nearby Mililani, was one of three grand marshals during the parade hosted by the Wahiawa Lions Club.
“It’s great to be honored and respected,” Olivas said.
He went on to state he was first assigned to the 45th Infantry Division, but was later reassigned to a new rigorous job in the Army.
“In 1943, I went airborne and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division,” he said.
He was part of the Normandy invasion of France in June 1944, jumping near Saint-Lô and being separated from his unit for three days during the intense and chaotic fighting.
Again, the paratrooper was in the thick of it against the German Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS during the Battle of the Bugle in the fierce winter of the same year in Luxemburg and Belgium.
After the war, while many had been released out of the Army, Olivas stayed in and was later stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Not wanting to stay behind a desk, he jumped at a unique opportunity that was presented to him.
“In 1952, they had a unit visit us to start psy war,” he began, in reference to the Army’s first psychological operations unit. “I was told they came here to start psy war.”
He was instantly accepted and went on to become one of the original members of the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), where he went on to use his skills in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Olivas retired in 1970, ending a remarkable 30-year career with the Army with more than 300 airborne jumps, two Combat Jump Stars, and a Combat Infantry Badge with three stars.
Another World War II veteran participating in the parade, Robert Honke, rode in a trolley, waving at the cheering crowd.
“I am honored in being able to participate in the parade,” he said, humbly. “It’s very exciting to see all the people participating. It’s very good to be here.”
Honke, 94, served in one of the forgotten theaters of the war, the China-Burma-India Theater, as a Japanese translator.
“I went to the Japanese language school at Camp Savage, Minnesota,” he said.
Camp Savage was home to a Military Intelligence Service language school during the war. The sole purpose was to teach Japanese language for MIS.
He went on to serve in all three namesake countries of the theater, he continued. He interrogated Japanese prisoners inside Free China.
One of the younger veterans, Spc. John Syler, marched with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID, during the parade.
Syler, an infantry and a native of Niangua, Missouri, said he took great pride in joining the day’s celebration.
“It’s good out here participating with the community,” he said, “and having a presence out here to show everyone we care about the community and our veterans, past and present.”
This Veterans Day had a unique meaning for him.
“This is my first Veterans Day stateside,” he said. “Before this, I was prior service Marine Corps and spent most of my time deployed. It’s a good feeling to be home and being out here participating.”
The overwhelming support of the surrounding community greatly struck him.
“It’s pretty impressive to see the turn out for the parade,” he said, “especially for a small community that Wahiawa is. It’s impressive to see the public support.”
Camdenton VFW Post
My Challenge to the Country, I challenge everyone to take the time to research and try to understand what this great nation is about. Athenian democracy is the first known democracy in the world, giving the power to the people. Many years later our Founding fathers together with several other key players of their time, structured the American democracy and left a legacy that has shaped the world.
The 2015 DoD Warrior Games will feature eight sporting events with approximately 250 athletes representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the British Armed Forces. Adaptive sports and athletic reconditioning activities play a fundamental role in the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of our service members and veterans. The events of the 2015 DoD Warrior Games promote the resiliency and warrior spirit of our wounded, ill, and injured service members, veterans, caregivers, and families.U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Samantha Goldenstein, St. Robert, Mo., takes the lead in the women’s upright cycling event during the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., June 21. The 2015 DOD Warrior Games are held from June 19-28. The games are an adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. Approximately 250 athletes, representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command and the British Armed Forces will compete in archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Sandy Barrientos/Released)
This is a segment from his page:
Thanks for looking at my page and I hope if you are looking you will donate. For those of you who don’t know my mom had MS. I will never forget when I was 15 and I found out my mom had MS. She told me outside in the driveway of my house. It was also her last day at work as a police officer. I never really knew before that she was sick or having problems, I just knew my mom was very tired and had a really hard time seeing at night. Not really want you want when you are a female police officer in one of the bad parts of town. My mom explained to me that she had MS and things for her were going to be changing. She explained to me that I would need to help her out in the future since she might lose the ability to walk (or walk much). I remember her first episode a few months later. She was feeling pain in her legs, she told me it felt like someone was stabbing her in the legs with an “ice pick.” I will never forget that.
Later in life she would have episodes that would leave her pretty helpless and in bed. I had to cook for her and do all of the chores around the house. I had to listen to her in pain. I also went to MS support groups with her and tried to learn all that I could about her disease.
I remember when I 16 there was the MS bikeathon it was held at Wilmore park in South City and close to were I lived. I took my sign up sheet around the neighborhood and asked people to pledge to donate money for every mile I rode. I rode all day from the start until the finish that day only taking breaks for food and water and road 76.2 miles on my 10 speed. I felt good because I was helping my mom by getting money for research.
Well, the research has really helped and there are so many newer things my mom never got to try to help with the episodes and the pain of MS.
I’m going to ride the MS 150 this fall. I am raising money now so I can do my part in helping someone else’s mom. More women get MS than men. I will wear a cloth and attach it to my shirt my mom’s name and if you know someone with MS and donate let me know and I will put their name on it as well.
I have to be honest, this isn’t easy writing this since it brings back memories of my mom living with this disease. This is very emotional.
If you could all be so kind in supporting me in doing this I would appreciate your help. Their suggested goal is $250, but I think that goal sucks. I know way too many people who can help out even if it’s only a couple of dollars. Believe me, every dollar will mean a lot to me and I will thank each of you who donate.
Now to be my normal fun self. I need you all to get out your credit card and click on the link to donate. Don’t wait until tomorrow, I know you all too well. If you wait until tomorrow you will forget and then I will have to post on here a million times begging you all for money, so just take 2 minutes out of your day and donate.
Thanks for your consideration!
Love you all,
Missouri National Guard Soldiers sweep regional Best Warrior contest
By Staff Sgt. Ty Stafford
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Two Missouri Soldiers took top honors when 14 Guardsmen from seven states competed in tests of physical and mental endurance during the annual Region V Best Warrior Competition at Fort Leonard Wood last week.
The competition promotes esprit de corps and recognizes noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and Soldiers who demonstrate commitment to the Army values, embody the warrior ethos, and represent the force of the future.
The Adjutant General of Missouri, Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, spoke highly of the competitors.
“It takes a lot of tenacity, commitment and courage to participate in this high-level event,” said Danner. “Only the best of the best from each state get to compete. Our Missouri Guardsmen represented the Show-Me State exceedingly well by earning the top spots. I’m also proud of the amazing job their coaches did, motivating them before and during the competition.”
The competition is divided into two categories – the enlisted best warrior and the noncommissioned officer competition. Seven Soldiers and seven noncommissioned officers from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas competed for the honor of representing Region V in the National Competition at Camp Williams, Utah, June 22 – 25.
Soldiers must be in the ranks of private through specialist in order to compete in the Soldier category. Individuals competing for the NCO of the Year title include ranks of corporal through sergeant first class.
Each Soldier and NCO competed at various levels to include company, battalion, brigade and state, before representing their respective state at the Region V competition.
Prior to the regional competition, all the Missouri Soldiers and NCOs trained with Soldier coaches to better prepare for the events.
“Train up went well,” said Sgt. Dan Stevens, 1135th Engineer Company, who was the second place NCO in the state competition and acted as a coach for winner Staff Sgt. James Chevalier, 1128th Forward Support Company. “We were down here for four days taking apart weapons and putting them back together, going through medical lanes, and studying the 10-level task book.”
The competition is designed to test each individual on all facets of warrior skills including weapons qualification, physical fitness and knowledge of military topics. In the course of two and a half days, the competitors completed the following events: Army Physical Fitness Test, marksmanship evaluation, 12-mile road march carrying a 35-pound rucksack, obstacle course, day and night land navigation courses, warrior tasks evaluation, stress shoot, 500-word essay and an appearance board. Soldiers were awarded points or given a pass or fail for completing each phase of the competition.
The noncommissioned officer-in-charge of this year’s event, Sgt. 1st Class Cody Fields of the 140th Regimental Training Institute, said hosting the event was a welcome challenge.
“There are a lot more moving parts when the other states are working with you, but you get a lot of skills and knowledge with those outside entities,” said Fields.
Two regional trainers were requested from each state to help grading, evaluating and acting as observers and controllers.
“The competition went well,” said Fields. “All the competitors were in high spirits. They’re worn out but no complaining.”
In addition to the physical competitions, the Soldiers went before an appearance board comprised of senior command sergeants major from the region. The boards evaluated competitor appearance, military bearing and knowledge of Army doctrine.
The entire state is proud of the two Soldiers, said State Command Sgt. Major Will Pierce.
“This event proved to all that we have the best Army Guard Soldiers in a seven state region,” said Pierce. “Now it is time to put our best against the rest. I am confident we will be successful at the Army National Guard Best Warrior competition in Utah next month.”
For Spc. Christian Lindhardt, the regional enlisted Best Warrior winner from the 1135th Engineer Company, the competition was a stressful environment.
“It’s actually pretty cool and very intimidating as I am representing Missouri in our home state,” Lindhardt said. There is a lot of pressure, but I love every minute of it.”
After the smoke cleared and individual tasks completed, the regional Best Warriors had time to reflect on their accomplishments.
“I couldn’t have done it without my coaches, sponsors, family and friends behind me,” Chevalier said. “Especially the 1128th, 129th and the 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade supporting me.
Lindhardt agreed, saying each level of events had been challenging in their own way but the level of support from his leadership and NCOs was the contributing factor to where he’s at today.
Senior leaders concurred that the coaches made a significant difference for the competitors, said Pierce.
“Our coaches basically cared for, studied with and even completed the 12-mile road with their competitor,” Pierce said. “Our coaches are usually Best Warrior candidate themselves, but at this level, they take the role of support, cheerleader and coach. Both did an outstanding job and deserved the pride they felt when their warrior won.”
Pierce described how the competition has changed over the years.
“Years ago, we competed for Soldier and NCO of the Year,” said Pierce. “The competition was primarily an appearance board where military knowledge was tested. Today’s Best Warrior competition is a completely new game. The need for ‘whole Soldier,’ in response to our nation’s wars, has driven the competition to require so much more than just intellect. The new program requires competitors to be intelligent, athletic warriors. The skills, stamina and intellectual challenges make for amazing results. If you challenge warriors, they will rise to the task.”
Final Results for Best Warrior Noncommissioned Officers:
1st Place Staff Sgt. James Chevalier, Missouri
2nd Place Staff Sgt. Jason Winer, Nebraska
3rd Place Sgt. Seth Woodfield, Louisiana
Final Results for Best Warrior enlisted Soldiers:
1st Place Spc. Christian Lindhardt, Missouri
2nd Place Sgt. Scott Kuzminski, Nebraska
3rd Place Spc. Dillon Thomas, Oklahoma
Other competitors included:
Sgt. 1st Class Adam Anderson, Arkansas
Spc. Tyler Magie, Arkansas
Sgt. Matthew Copeland, Kansas
Spc. Karson Zeltwanger, Kansas
Spc. Andy Gonzalez, Louisiana
Sgt. Dakota Pruitt, Oklahoma
Sgt. Kevin Armbrester, Texas
Spc. Peter Schraff, Texas
Chaplain Gary Gilmore conducted a Memorial Day service in the Fallen Warrior Auditorium at Ike Skelton Training Site to pay tribute to our veterans made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.