Former Navajo Code Talker Willeto Dies
By Charles D. Brunt, Albuquerque Journal
Frank Chee Willeto, a Navajo Code Talker and former Navajo Nation vice president, died Saturday at his home in Pueblo Pintado. He was 87. Willeto joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1944 and became a Code Talker, an elite group of Marine recruits whose native language was used to create a code that proved to be unbreakable by the Japanese. The military didn’t declassify documents acknowledging the Code Talkers’ role in the war until 1968. In July 2001, the Navajo Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Silver Medal.
Willeto served with the Corps’ 6th Division in Saipan and Okinawa during the battle for the Pacific.
First Woman in Combat Support Role
By Chris Carroll, Stars and Stripes
The Army has identified the first recruit headed for one of the combat support roles recently opened to women.
Cicely Verstein, 21, of Morgantown, W.Va., signed up in June and will enter basic training in November to become a Bradley Fighting Vehicle systems maintainer.
When she contacted the local recruiting office, she wasn’t planning on becoming a groundbreaker, she said in an Army press release. “I’ve always liked working on motors and that job looked like fun,” she said.
In May, the Army opened six combat support military occupational specialties to women: artillery mechanic, M1 Abrams tank systems maintainer, field artillery firefinder radar operator, multiple launch rocket system crewmember and multiple launch rocket system operations fire detection specialist.
Marines Have New Plan to Prevent Sexual Assault
By Jennifer Hlad, www.StarsandStripes.com
The Marine Corps has released a plan aimed at preventing sexual assault and holding offenders and commanders accountable, noting that “despite our efforts, we have been ineffective at addressing and eliminating sexual assault.”
The plan, signed by Commandant Gen. James Amos, addresses many of the issues that victims and victim advocates frequently highlight — including an undue focus on victims’ personal life and command climates that foster sexual harassment and discourage reporting. It outlines a three-part campaign plan with a goal of “true zero tolerance, effective sustainment, empowered reporting, effective deterrence, engaged leadership and evolved culture.”
Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine officer and current executive director of Service Women’s Action Network, said the plan shows that the Marine Corps “has finally caught up to where the rest of the DOD leadership is, which isn’t saying that much.”
Review: Change Guard, Reserve Pay
WASHINGTON — America’s citizen soldiers, who train in their hometowns for a weekend a month and two weeks a year, receive more money for one day of training at home than their fellow National Guard and Reserve members earn for a day serving in the war zone.
Pentagon officials defended the pay discrepancy as incentive for National Guard and reservists who give up their weekends and must be ready on a moment’s notice to serve. But it’s one of many problems in the complex Guard and Reserve compensation system detailed in a new Pentagon review that recommends changes to make the salaries and benefits more equitable across the board.
The study noted that Guard members and reservists get two days’ pay for each day of weekend training — totaling four days’ pay for the weekend are called up to active duty and are deployed overseas to Afghanistan, they get a day’s pay for a day’s work. As an example, an officer in the reserves or the Guard could get $407 for a day of weekend duty, but get $269 for a day on active duty, or $318 for a day deployed to Afghanistan. Enlisted members could get $171 for a day of weekend duty, $134 for a day on active duty and $161 for a day deployed to war.
The Defense Department will consider the preliminary recommendations made in the review.
Military Benefits Report Service
Iraq combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient Wolfgang Ward has launched MilitaryBenefitsReport.com, a free service that generates personalized benefits reports for members of the military. Active service members, veterans and their families can use this unique service to generate free personalized reports that detail what military benefits they could be entitled to and how they can claim them. Ward began this service after being discharged from the military and having an incredibly hard time tracking down all the benefits he should have been receiving. For more information, call 573-746-1152..
Texas College Hacks Drone
By Reuters/U.S. Navy
There are a lot of cool things you can do with $1,000, but scientists at an Austin, Texas college have come across one that is often overlooked: for less than a grand, how’d you like to hijack a drone?
A group of researchers led by Professor Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas at Austin Radionavigation Laboratory recently succeeded in raising the eyebrows of the US government. With just around $1,000 in parts, Humphreys’ team took control of an unmanned aerial vehicle owned by the college, all in front of the US Department of Homeland Security.
After being challenged by his lab, the DHS dared Humphreys’ crew to hack into a drone and take command. Much to their chagrin, they did exactly that.
Humphrey tells Fox News that for a few hundreds dollar his team was able to “spoof” the GPS system on board the drone, a technique that involves mimicking the actual signals sent to the global positioning device and then eventually tricking the target into following a new set of commands. And, for just $1,000, Humphreys says the spoofer his team assembled was the most advanced one ever built.
“Spoofing a GPS receiver on a UAV is just another way of hijacking a plane,” Humphreys tells Fox. The real danger here, however, is that the government is currently considering plans that will allow local law enforcement agencies and other organizations from coast-to-coast to control drones of their own in America’s airspace.
“In five or ten years you have 30,000 drones in the airspace,” he tells Fox News. “Each one of these could be a potential missile used against us.”
Neighborhood Opposes Veterans Treatment Center
A planned 40-bed treatment center for military veterans from the Gulf War has head a roadblock of opposition from neighborhood groups and a nearby school.
The center’s purpose is to keep troubled vets from becoming homeless but the danger posed to children from the nearby school by veterans struggled with mental issues is a big issue to opponents.
The VA has allocated $30 million for the project, starting with remodeling a former Thomas Jefferson School of Law building on San Diego Avenue in Old Town. The Old Town academy, a free charter school, is located right across the street.
The center would provide treatment for veterans who do not need to be hospitalized but could benefit from rehabilitative services. The average stay would be 60 to 120 days. Six of the 40 beds would be reserved for women.
Free Admission to San Diego Botanic Garden
The San Diego Botanic Garden is offering free admission for active duty military and their families (card carrier + 5) through September 3, 2012. Go to www.sdbgarden.org/events.htm#blue for more information.
Craft Beer & Food Festival
In an effort to give 14 of the new brewers in the county an opportunity to showcase their beer and to raise money for Wounded Warrior Homes, Mission Valley craft Beer and Food will present “The New Kids on the Block” night on Thursday, July 19 from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be great music and spectacular food, along with awesome beers. Tickets are $30 and available at www.woundedwarriorhomes.com.
10 Websites for Free Stuff
Visit http://www.militarypress.com/10-freebies-for-military for the links to these free items for military.
Military Career Expo at Camp Pendleton
The Military Career Expo is coming to the South Mesa Club at Camp Pendleton, 202850 San Jacinto Road, on Tuesday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet with top companies from all industries including government contractors, national corporations and local companies. Registration is free at http://goo.gl/F3pmE.
Hometown Buffet Salutes Military Families
Hometown Buffet restaurants is giving military families a special place at the table with the launch of its new Military Appreciation Program — a year round offer of 15% to active and reserve military personnel, their spouses and children. In addition, military members will receive 100% discount on their birthday.
In addition, a new partnership with the ASYMCA to provide fundraising opportunities for this awesome charity that provides deployment support, emergency aid, family and youth camps and many other services to help military families.
Military Resource & Career Fair
Diverse Military presents its Support Our Troops Resource & Career Fair at the Scottish Rite Event Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, on Wednesday, Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Veterans, active duty military and spouses are encouraged to participate. Bring plenty of resumes and dress for success.
For more info, call 619-277-9099.
Coffee Retailer Salutes American Families
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, together with Operation Homefront, has brewed up a new “Support at Home” program that includes $1 donation to the charity from each sale of its limited edition “Support at Home” coffee blend. Visit www.coffeebean.com for a location near you.
Free Homeowner Assistance Event
Bank of America is hosting a free homeowner assistance event for San Diego area residents at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego from Thursday, July 19 to Saturday, July 21, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Over 2,400 customers from within 50 miles of the city are invited to come and sit down face-to-face with a Bank of America specialist to discuss their current situation and any foreclosure avoidance options available. Local non-profits will also be on-site including housing counselors who can help with financial counseling, budgeting, etc.
Register at www.bankofamerica.com/homeownerevent or call toll-free 855-201-7426.
Tee It Up For The Troops
Plan now to get involved in The Tee It Up For The Troops golf tournament that directly benefits charities serving military personnel and their families. The event will take place at the Santaluz Club on Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. Registration 8:30 a.m.; opening ceremonies 10:45 a.m.; golf start 11:45 a.m. For more info, call 858-829-4295 or visit www.sandiegoteeitup.org.
VetTix.org: Free Tickets for Military & Veterans
The Veteran Tickets Foundation is a non-profit organization which supports military members, veterans and their families by offering them free event tickets to professional sporting events, concerts, and more. To be eligible for an account, you must be active duty, Guard, Reserve, a veteran with an Honorable Discharge, or the Primary Next of Kin (PNOK) of a military member who was Killed in Action.
All accounts are verified manually, and require you to send in proof of service, such as an Leave and Earnings Statement if you are still on active duty, a copy of your DD Form 214 or other discharge paperwork if you have been honorably discharged, or Report of Casualty Form 1300 if you are a survivor (your name must be listed as the Primary Next of Kin on the Form 1300). Be sure to mask your SSN when sending in your paperwork as it is not required and lessens the risk of your personal information being compromised.