A salute to those who keep us free! Thank you!
A salute to those who keep us free! Thank you!
Spring is in the air. It’s a time of renewal with new flowers sprouting from the ground, gardens being planted, and the aroma of fresh-cut grass encircling the neighborhood.
I doubt many in the Obama Administration have stopped to take in the sights and sounds of spring. To say the spring of 2013 (so far) has been tough on the Obama Administration would be an understatement – and summer is still over a month away. That means people will be paying attention for a while longer before school is out and they head off on vacations.
You can bet that some of these issues will stick around and have an effect on the 2014 mid-term elections and some will be the topics of the Presidential race of 2016. Here are the top five issues that the Obama Administration (as well as Democrats) now own and will have to defend for the next few years:
As a former member of the United States Air Force, I was shocked to read that the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit was arrested for sexual assault. It was also somewhat shocking (to me) that the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit was only a Lt. Colonel (his name is Jeffrey Krusinski). It seems that the leadership of the Air Force did not believe sexual assault was an important enough issue to put someone in charge of it with at least a star or two (Brigadier or Major General) on his/her shoulder.
U.S. Representative Jackie Speier probably said it best (Pg. H2443) on the floor of the U.S. House yesterday when she asked (while standing next to a mug shot of Krusinski), “The best and the brightest the Air Force has to offer to run this office, and he’s a sexual predator?”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading
After passing the Montana House by a bipartisan 74-25 vote, the Great Falls Tribune reported on Friday that HB 579, a bill to create a statewide military task force, “died in the Senate.” HB 579 is listed as “Probably Dead” on the Bill Information section of the Montana Legislature’s website.
I had written about my support for HB 579 on April 11. You can read that column HERE.
The Montana Defense Alliance (MTDA), which is a committee (that requires $300 annual membership fee) out of the Great Falls Chamber of Commerce, came out against the bill. The Tribune reported that MTDA believes, “they already filled that need” of the statewide military task force.
In my opinion, that’s not entirely correct. Several people do not believe that MTDA comes close to filling “that need.” Continue reading
The Great Falls Tribune, citing a Pentagon spokesperson, is reporting that the Montana Air National Guard’s (MANG) F-15s will all be gone by early 2014. They are heading to California. The first F-15s will begin leaving in the next three months according to the Tribune report.
C-130 cargo planes will be replacing the F-15s. According to the Tribune they will start arriving in early 2014.
The move to C-130s is not sitting well with some in the state.
The Western Word was provided a copy of a letter sent to the three members of the Montana Congressional delegation and the Governor from three retired Brigadier Generals who served as commanders in the Montana Air National Guard. Continue reading
The Montana State Senate’s Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee finally held a hearing on House Bill 579 (HB 579) yesterday.
In case you don’t have all the bills in the Montana Legislature memorized by now, House Bill 579 is (take a breath):
An Act establishing a military strategic and economic impact task force concerning retention and development of military installations and force structures to provide economic development opportunities in Montana; allocating the task force to the department of commerce for administrative purposes; providing for task force membership, expense reimbursement, and duties; providing appropriations; and providing an effective date.
The Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee should pass the bill out of their committee quickly, and HB 579 should be brought to the floor of the Montana State Senate and receive the Senate’s full support. It passed out of the Montana House with an impressive 74-25 vote. I’ll have more on that vote later in this commentary.
Back when I served in the military (on active duty) if you had a fellow enlisted person or officer that you could not stand, you could always count on them being gone before long to another assignment somewhere else in the world. Active duty military personnel (especially officers) moved around a lot and that helped keep the favoritism and cronyism to the minimum. The institutional knowledge mostly came from the civilians who worked at the military installation.
The National Guard does not have that much turnover. The same people may stick around in a National Guard unit for decades or longer. You might see fathers and sons and mothers and daughters all serving.
It’s the good ol’ boys network at its finest.
Back in the day, active duty military folks used to make fun of the “weekend warriors” from the National Guard. A couple wars changed the views that many people had of the National Guard. They were actually fighting in a war and leaving family and friends behind like active duty folks. They were not just being called up for fires and floods, but to actually fight.
As you probably realize, the good ol’ boys network does not always work out well for those who work in it and fall from grace. That seems to be what happened in Montana.
I caught the story from the Associated Press (AP) about a Montana National Guard General who was reportedly “fired last year after he rehired a woman who was suing the state over her dismissal from the troubled agency.” That troubled agency is the Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) which in Montana falls under the Department of Military Affairs – a state agency. Continue reading
Happy April Fools’ Day! Although I wish the following column was a joke, it’s not.
The Montana Congressional delegation (U.S. Senators Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and U.S. Representative Steve Daines) along with Governor Steve Bullock signed a letter that was sent last week to the Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley regarding flying missions at the Montana Air National Guard (MANG).
The Western Word was provided a copy of the letter from a source who follows defense and military issues closely in Montana and across the country. I like to share, so you can read it by clicking on this link: MT Delegation Letter.
In their letter, the Congressional delegation and the Governor mentioned three things that concern them:
First, they would like C-130J aircraft assigned to MANG before the F-15s are transferred. C-130s are transport or cargo planes and F-15s are fighter jets. They would also like the C-130Js assigned to MANG instead of C-130H1 aircraft because they are newer. Second, they are concerned about the projected loss of personnel (approximately 90 slots) with the C-130 mission replacing the F-15 mission. Third, they are concerned there will not be adequate storage “to house and properly maintain these aircraft” so they would like some funding reprogrammed to build storage facilities for the cargo planes. Continue reading
On this date 10 years ago (the evening March 19, 2003, here in the USA) the invasion of Iraq began. At that time I supported the war. I was not alone. A Gallup Poll taken right after the war started showed 76% of Americans supported the war.
The Great Falls (MT) Tribune is asking their readers this morning, “Was the Iraq War a mistake?” The answer to that question is really pretty simple: It was a mistake. 10 years ago most folks believed it was the right thing to do because almost everyone believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and they feared he would use them.
It’s OK to Monday morning quarterback the Iraq War to prevent us from repeating those mistakes.
It seemed almost everywhere we looked back then someone was beating the war drum to take out Saddam Hussein – both Democrats and Republicans – and it became a slippery slope. Around 40 governments participated (in some capacity) in the Iraq War.
For some reason the checks and balances that normally strangle our government (and other governments) failed. It’s interesting to watch some of the news networks today playing clips of politicians from both parties saying in 2003 that we needed to take Saddam Hussein out. Continue reading
Today is military day here at The Western Word. I write about a new military task force being proposed in the Montana State Legislature. I also write about a new report that tells us the Army is not doing a very good job at treating soldiers with PTSD. Plus, I voice my support for combat medals like the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart to be ranked ahead of a new medal called the Distinguished Warfare Medal. There’s more so read on…