News Archives For December 2009

Transition to Civilian Life
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – The Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program is working to prepare servicemembers and their families for a successful transition to civilian life. more

Guard to Help Security in New York
American Forces Press ServiceLATHAM, N.Y. -- As New Yorkers and visitors gear up for New Year's Eve celebrations, the citizen-Soldiers of the New York National Guard remain on duty in support of homeland security missions across the state. more

Partnerships Help Soldiers' Families
American Forces Press ServiceDue to multiple military deployments that have occurred for nearly a decade, many Army families choose to remain in their established neighborhoods or return to a relative’s hometown when their soldier deploys. more

‘Fly the Flag’ Program
American Forces Press ServiceCONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq (American Forces Press Service) – Soldiers in Iraq fly dozens of donated U.S. flags each day outside of Multinational Division South’s headquarters here as part of the “Fly the Flag” program. more

Toxic Materials
American Forces Press ServiceCONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq (American Forces Press Service) – Twelve soldiers and three sailors conducted a 10-day Toxic Industrial Chemical Protection and Detection Equipment training exercise here recently. more

Special Meaning at Arlington
American Forces Press ServiceARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. -- Since July 2, 1937, the Unknown Soldiers interred at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery have never been alone. more

Soldier Rewrites Satellite Standard
American Forces Press ServiceSgt. Jeffrey Yauch adheres to the old Army conviction: leave it better than you found it. During a one-year deployment, the 1st Cavalry Division soldier wrote detailed technical standard operation procedures for tactical satellite hubs.. more

U.S. Scouts Advise, Assist Iraqis
American Forces Press ServiceU.S. forces in Iraq transferred security duties in cities and towns to Iraqi security forces June 30. In support of this mission, the Scout platoon is conducting joint operations and training with 38th Iraqi Army Brigade commandos. more

Spouses Send Beanie Babies
American Forces Press ServiceIn this season of giving, America has not forgotten her troops or their mission overseas. Thousands have contributed their time, energy -- and Beanie Babies -- to help Marines gain the respect and confidence of the Afghan population. more

Blind Officer Completes Course
American Forces Press ServiceFORT BENNING, Ga. (American Forces Press Service) – The first blind student to attend the Maneuver Captain's Career Course here graduated with his class Dec. 15 in a ceremony attended by family and friends. more

Holiday Cheer to Troops, Families
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Servicemembers and their families continue to enjoy tremendous support from American civilians, but at no time of the year is that support greater than during the holidays. more

Troops Get Holiday Homecoming
American Forces Press ServiceTwo days before Christmas, the longest line today at the airport here wasn’t at a ticket counter, or at security checkpoints. It was at the international terminal, where hundreds of well-wishers lined up to welcome about 150 troops home from combat deployments. more

HooahMail Continues to Grow
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Since the start of HooahMail just 21 days ago, more than 3,540 accounts have been set up by families and friends of Soldiers in Afghanistan, and some 1,690 letters delivered. more

VA Tech Coach Inspires Troops
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Over the next couple of weeks, units in Afghanistan and Iraq will receive team-dynamics DVDs featuring Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer. more

Military Families Weather Holidays
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Brandy Flotten is tackling her first holiday season without her deployed husband, but she’s still determined to keep the holiday spirit alive for her two sons, she said. more

Doctor Serves to Repay America
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – In June 1989, Jason Huang – now an Army Reserve major – was among the 5,000 protestors who crammed into China’s Tiananmen Square, pressing the government for democracy and freedom of speech. more

Holiday Meals to Deployed Troops
American Forces Press ServiceThousands of troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan won’t be able to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy some of their favorite holiday foods, such as ham, sweet potatoes and pies and cakes. more

Reasons for Pregnancy Provision
American Forces Press ServiceAn Army general in Iraq is going beyond the typical protocol to ensure every able-bodied soldier in his unit stays fit to fight, even if it means punishing troops for engaging in sexual activities while deployed. more

Married Couple has Challenges
American Forces Press ServiceCONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq -- Being away from loved ones is usually one of the hardest parts of being deployed. Yet, for one married couple, being apart isn't the hardest struggle; it's watching each other take off. more

Officials Identify Troops for Afghanistan
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Defense Department officials today identified 6,000 servicemembers to deploy in 2010 as part of President Barack Obama’s order to increase the U.S. footprint in Afghanistan. more

Soldiers Linked With Benefits Experts
American Forces Press ServiceThe benefits a grateful nation makes available to those who serve in its military are numerous, but connecting servicemembers to the resources in their local areas – especially when they serve in the reserve components – can be a challenge. more

2010 Defense Budget Into Law
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Defense officials are hailing passage of the fiscal 2010 budget that funds military programs and wartime operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and provides a military pay raise. more

Those Who Answer Nation’s Call
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) –Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates praised young Americans who have answered the nation’s call to duty in a commencement address at Indiana University Saturday. more

Updates, Changes Joint Guidance
American Forces Press ServiceThe Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy takes primacy in the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s guidance for 2010. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen signed the guidance, which goes to members of the Joint Staff and informs the joint force... more

Pregnant Soldiers Could Face Court-Martial
American Forces Press ServiceThe Army general commanding U.S. forces in northern Iraq has added pregnancy to the list of prohibitions for personnel under his command. The policy, which went into effect Nov. 4, makes it possible to face punishment... more

Increased Weapons Reliability
American Forces Press ServiceBolstering the already high reliability ratings of the M-16 and M-4, the improved magazine reduces the risk of magazine-related stoppages by more than 50 percent compared to the older magazine variants, according to officials at Program Executive Office Soldier. more

Biggest Step Toward Fixing Suicides
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- In 2008, the Army experienced for the first time, suicide rates higher than the civilian population. In the same year, the Army entered an agreement with the National Institute of Mental Health to find out why. more

Iraq Election, Relations With Iran
American Forces Press ServiceIranians moved onto a disputed oil well in southern Iraq and placed an Iranian flag on the facility. They have since left the facility, which is clearly in Iraqi territory. “It like a game of capture the flag,” more

Results Needed in Afghanistan
American Forces Press ServiceABOARD AN AIR FORCE C-17 (American Forces Press Service) – Results, not talk, are what’s important in Afghanistan now, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today while en route to Iraq after visiting Afghanistan. more

Afghan Town’s Progress
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) - Minutes after terrorists slammed a hijacked commercial airliner into the Pentagon six years ago, Army Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell thought he was going to die. more

Contracting Issues Examined
American Forces Press ServiceImproved oversight and management of civilian contracts involved with the development and training of Afghan security forces should result in better stewardship of U.S. tax dollars, the former military commander of that training effort said here today. more

2010 Military Housing Rates
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Military members will see an average raise of 2.5 percent in housing allowance rates in 2010, a BAH program analyst for the Defense Department said today. more

Cold Safety Tips for Soldiers
American Forces Press ServiceResearchers at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine are coming up with ways to sustain soldiers’ performance in environmental extremes, a research physiologist at the institute said today. more

First Lady Delivers ‘Toys for Tots’
American Forces Press ServiceSTAFFORD, Va. (American Forces Press Service) – First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a van full of toys and a holiday message of giving today to volunteers at the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots distribution center here. more

Vietnam Vet Serves in Iraq
American Forces Press ServiceFrom the battle at Belleau Wood, where Marines earned the name “Devil Dog,” to the iconic image of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima, Marine Corps history is embedded in every Marine from initial training at boot camp, and it continues... more

‘Signaleers’ Keep Communication
American Forces Press ServiceCONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq (American Forces Press Service) – The morale of troops here and success of their missions depends upon communication, whether it’s within Iraq or calling back home. more

Importance of Iraq Mission
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Despite a new U.S. strategy for Afghanistan that entails sending 30,000 additional American forces, the more important operation for the Marine Corps is Iraq, the service’s top officer said today. more

Feedback on Family Programs
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – Defense officials have launched virtual “listening sessions” in hopes of gaining more insight into the effectiveness of military family programs, a Pentagon official said today. more

Wreaths at Pentagon Memorial
American Forces Press ServiceOn the western side of the Pentagon, at the memorial to those who died during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, volunteers had mounted 184 evergreen wreaths on the fence -- one for each person who died there. more

Building U.S.-Pakistan Trust
American Forces Press ServiceThe chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the students of Pakistan’s National Defense University here today that he is not interested in revisiting the history between Pakistan and the United States. more

Holidays Add to Deployment Stress
American Forces Press ServiceFor those serving at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, the Air Force Mental Health Clinic and the 55th Medical Combat Stress Control clinic can assist servicemembers and civilians who are overwhelmed or overstressed this holiday season. more

Families Fund Iraqi Baby’s Surgery
American Forces Press ServiceU.S. soldiers, family members and friends have brought the gift of sight to an Iraqi baby born blind with congenital cataracts. Though Nourah’s condition is reversible with surgery, the operation is out of reach for a family living in Baghdad. more

Volunteers Place 16,000 Wreaths
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – The Arlington Wreath Project, an unofficial national tradition, prompted about 6,000 volunteers to wake up extra early this morning to help place 16,000 wreaths on graves at Arlington National Cemetery. more

Dad Returns ‘Home’ to Military
American Forces Press ServiceCONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq (American Forces Press Service) – Imagine being a father who served in the military for 10 years, preparing to send your son to basic training, and wishing you could go in his place. more

Families Can See Off, Greet Troops
American Forces Press ServiceIt’s a scene that’s played out in airports across the country numerous times in the past eight years: Families and servicemembers clinging to each other, either sad to leave or happy and vowing to never let go again. more

Obama Promises Transition
American Forces Press ServiceAny changes in U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan, when security responsibility starts to transfer to the Afghans in July 2011, will be considered in light of the situation on the ground at that time, President Barack Obama said today in Oslo, Norway. more

U.S. Role in Iraq Remains Critical
American Forces Press ServiceThe U.S. military role remains critical to preserving gains made in Iraq and helping to prevent sectarian violence in the roll-up to Iraq’s national elections, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told about 300 soldiers and airmen. more

Afghanistan Success Attainable
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) -- Achieving success against extremists in Afghanistan is a challenging, yet attainable mission, the commander of U.S. Central Command said at a Capitol Hill hearing here today. more

Deployment Impact on Children
American Forces Press ServiceThe Rand Corp. study, commissioned by the National Military Family Association, explored how older children from military families deal with the deployment of a parent. The results were published in the journal Pediatrics on Dec. 7. more

Most Surge Troops Identified
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – The military component that coordinates the forces that fight America’s wars has allocated almost all of the troops that will take part in the Afghanistan surge. more

Progress, Drawdown in Baghdad
American Forces Press ServiceDefense Secretary Robert M. Gates arrived here today to meet with Iraqi and U.S. military leaders about continuing progress toward building Iraqi security forces and drawing down the U.S. force presence here to 50,000 by late August. more

Afghan Transportation Task
American Forces Press ServiceU.S. military logisticians are up to the challenge of getting 30,000 more American troops into Afghanistan and moving troops and equipment from Iraq, the commander of U.S. Transportation Command said today. more

Al-Qaida Remains Dangerous
American Forces Press ServiceAl-Qaida remains a danger, and the area along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan is the epicenter of global Islamic extremism, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the Foreign Press Center here today. more

Beating Navy is Top Priority
American Forces Press ServiceWEST POINT, N.Y. -- As 2009 comes to a close, the stage has been set for the 110th annual Army-Navy Game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. more

Iraq’s ‘Deliberate, Steady Progress’
American Forces Press ServiceOn the eve of holding parliamentary elections early next year, Iraq continues to make steady progress as a sovereign country that is a valued U.S. ally in the Middle East, the commander of Multinational Force Iraq said in Killeen, Texas, yesterday. more

Afghan Training Crucial to Success
American Forces Press ServiceThe training of tens of thousands of additional, capable Afghan soldiers and police is among the crucial tasks necessary to achieving success in Afghanistan, the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan told Capitol Hill legislators here today. more

Pieces in Place for Success
American Forces Press ServiceThe core goal of American forces in Afghanistan is to defeat al-Qaida and disrupt and degrade the Taliban, the commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan told Congress today. more

Forces Disrupt Taliban Operations
American Forces Press ServiceAfghan and international forces detained several suspected militants, including a bomb cell leader and Taliban commander, in operations in Afghanistan over the past three days, military officials reported. more

Iraq’s Next Generation
American Forces Press ServiceEducating children might not be the first thing Americans discuss when the subject of Iraq comes up, but for the soldiers of Task Force Pathfinder here, helping the next generation of Iraqis obtain a basic education is a critical part of their mission. more

First Afghanistan Surge Units
American Forces Press ServiceAbout 16,000 Marines and soldiers have been notified they will deploy to Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama’s new strategy. Obama announced his decision to deploy 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan in the first half of 2010 on Dec. 1. more

President’s Strategy
American Forces Press ServiceEven as hundreds of Marines launched a new offensive in southern Afghanistan, top U.S government and military officials made the Sunday morning news-show circuit here today spelling out President Barack Obama’s new war strategy. more

Toy Giveaway Benefits Families
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) – More than 3,000 military families will have a few extra presents under the tree this year thanks to the generous efforts of Operation Homefront and The Wal-Mart Foundation. more

Pearl Harbor Veteran Recalls War
American Forces Press ServiceCurt Head remembers Dec. 7, 1941 vividly. The then-20-year-old Navy petty officer second class and his shipmates had just finished breakfast around 8 a.m. and were considering attending a local football game when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. more

Gates Re-emphasizes Need
American Forces Press ServiceThe United States will not turn its back on Afghanistan and Pakistan as it did when the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan ended in 1989, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here yesterday. more

Gears Up for Afghanistan Surge
American Forces Press ServiceARLINGTON, Va. (American Forces Press Service) – President Barack Obama’s call for another 30,000 troops to deploy to Afghanistan came as no surprise to Defense Logistics Agency planners. more

Significance of July 2011 Target
American Forces Press ServiceJuly 2011 is not a withdrawal date, but a specific target date for beginning to transition security responsibility to Afghan forces, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on several morning talk shows today. more

President Explains Strategic Choices
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service) -- The Afghanistan strategy review included many options, but President Barack Obama deemed the increase of 30,000 U.S. troops to institute counterinsurgency operations was the best one. more

Another 30,000 U.S. Troops
American Forces Press ServiceWASHINGTON -- It is in America's vital national interests to send another 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama said tonight during a speech at West Point, N.Y. more

NATO Increased Contributions
American Forces Press ServiceNATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen today welcomed President Barack Obama’s announcement of a new U.S. Afghanistan strategy and said he expects the alliance and its partners will make a “substantial increase” in their contributions. more

The Way Forward in Afghanistan
American Forces Press ServiceThe President's address to West Point cadets. I want to speak to you tonight about our effort in Afghanistan – the nature of our commitment there, the scope of our interests, and the strategy that my Administration will pursue to bring this war to a successful conclusion. more

Obama's West Point Speech
Obama's Speech at West PointIn his speech tonight at West Point the President will begin by reaffirming the core goal of the United States in the region, which draws from the March 2009 strategic review. And just to be clear, that goal is to disrupt, dismantle and eventually defeat al Qaeda and to prevent their return to either Afghanistan or Pakistan. more

All-female Crew Makes History
American Forces Press ServiceCONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – Four soldiers serving here with the New Hampshire National Guard earned a special distinction last week when they became their company’s first all-female medical evacuation crew. more

More Troops Likely for Afghanistan
American Forces Press ServiceWith President Barack Obama’s expected announcement tonight to send more U.S. forces to Afghanistan, a defense official said a portion of the additional troops are likely to reinforce the country’s contentious eastern and southern areas. more

World AIDS Day
American Forces Press ServiceThe Defense Department is commemorating World HIV/AIDS Awareness Day today with a broad range of activities with partner militaries aimed at education and prevention, and with progress toward developing the first-ever vaccine. more

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