Veteran Opening the Doors of Opportunity for Women-Owned Businesses in Maryland

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Entrepreneurship was never a consideration for Andrea Garris Jackson.  She wanted to be an attorney and hoped to attend college right after high school. However, upon learning her mother didn’t have the money to send her to college, she met with an Army recruiter at her high school who shared information about the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Army College Scholarship Fund.  Without hesitation, Jackson enlisted and landed both funds for college.

After completing her service at Fort Leonard Wood, Jackson enrolled in college at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.  Upon graduation, she worked for the U.S. House Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC.  Later, she landed a job in the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development.  Jackson was hired as a Staff Assistant and subsequently appointed as the Acting Director for the office. Her assignment was to increase the success rate of minority and women-owned businesses in securing procurement opportunities with the City. During her first year on assignment, Baltimore City spent $44 million with minority and women enterprises and by her fourth year, City spending was up to $105 million annually with these firms.

Several years after leaving city government, in 2008, Jackson launched DPN Group, LLC, a management consulting firm that works with corporations to increase the success rate of small, minority, and women businesses securing contract opportunities in the private and public.  In addition, the firm oversees workforce development initiatives.  Her first client was an organization overseeing the redevelopment of 88- acres of land in East Baltimore.  Jackson’s firm is the third- party program manager and compliance monitor.  To ensure prime contractors reached their women business goals, she developed the Women’s Contractors College at EBDI.  Five cohorts later, its graduates successfully secured over $2 million in bonding for their businesses. As of September 2017, the project has netted over $38.6 million in contracts for women firms.

To further her mission to assist women-owned businesses, she sought the assistance of the Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center and Morgan State University’s Entrepreneurial Development Assistance Center in Baltimore.  The group collaborated and in 2014 held the first Maryland Military and Veteran Women Business Conference.  The conference’s mission is to ignite entrepreneurial synergy in Maryland by bringing together veterans, active duty personnel, military spouses, business owners, emerging entrepreneurs, organizations, government agencies and the private sector to share best practices and provide resources on how to do business together.  To date, the conference has gathered over 545 veteran-owned businesses to provide resources, business development and procurement opportunities.

Tiffany Daniel (right) and her mother at the Maryland Military and Veteran Women Business Conference

The conference draws participants such as Tiffany Daniel, 26- year combat Army veteran who deployed to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  She is the owner of Curves, a women’s fitness facility in Fort Washington, MD.  In 2017, she was selected as the Women Veteran by Conference Board.  During the symposium, Daniel was able to share her entrepreneurial journey while networking with other women and gaining valuable information to enhance her business operations.

While Tiffany had never attended the seminars in previous years, but she was nominated for the award by Dr. JoAnn Fisher, founder of the Women Veterans United Committee, Inc.  Dr. Fisher has been participating in the conference since its inception.  She had this to say, “This conference is an exciting event and is necessary for the recognition of our Women Veterans in the business world.  This organization gives back by recognizing other Women Veteran business owners every year who are leading the way.”

The 5th Annual Maryland Military and Veteran Women Business Conference will be held on Friday, April 27, 2018 at the War Memorial Building, War Memorial Plaza, 101 N. Gay Street, Baltimore MD  21201, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Participants will learn about grant funding for their business, certification, building an advisory board and using social media to grow their business. The conference is free for active duty military, retirees, veterans, spouses and dependents. All are welcome.

For more information, visit marylandwomenvets.com or call DPN Group LLC, (410) 347-7558.

La Fleet Week 2018 Navy Film Festival To Celebrate 100 Years Of Navy In Hollywood

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Fleet Week 2018

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – Featuring black-and-white to modern-era films, LA Fleet Week® 2018 presented by Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime Video will include a Labor Day Weekend Navy Film Festival at the iconic Warner Grand Theatre in downtown San Pedro. 

The Festival will celebrate the century-long relationship between the US Navy and the world-renowned film industry that has brought military life, storylines and battle realities to the big screen since 1918.

“This Festival marks a milestone for the US Navy and Hollywood, highlighting the ways that movies have—and will continue to—shape what we think about the military, as well as the men and women who serve,” said US Navy retired Rear Admiral Mike Shatynski, co-founder and board member of the LA Fleet Week Foundation. “As a kid growing up in LA, military-themed movies definitely were something that influenced my decision to serve my country and see the world.”

The festival will also commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Fleet Combat Camera units, groups of service personnel assigned to filming and documenting the history and activities of the US Navy and other branches.  Since World War II, Combat Camera footage has been featured in Hollywood movies and Navy documentaries, and used for military training and educational purposes. The Festival will honor the Navy’s Combat Camera unit, which is slated to be decommissioned this year.

The film festival will screen six different classic films from Sept. 1-3 at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, with each night featuring a different theme. The first film each night will be shown at 5:00 p.m. and the second at 8:15 p.m. The first episode of the new series “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” will be shown between each feature film, compliments of Amazon Prime Video.

FILM FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
·        Saturday, Sept. 1 – Marine Corps Night
o   “Sands of Iwo Jima” – John Wayne WWII classic, 1949
o   Battle: Los Angeles” – Marine Corps versus aliens in Los Angeles, 2011

·        Sunday, Sept. 2 – Navy Air Night
o   “Hell Divers” – Classic fighter pilot film starring Clark Gable and Wallace Beery, filmed aboard first aircraft carriers, 1931
o   “Top Gun” – Modern-day fighter pilot classic starring Tom Cruise, filmed aboard carriers with full Navy cooperation, 1986

·        Monday, Sept. 3 – Navy Ships & Subs
o   “Mister Roberts” – Classic comedy starring Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon and James Cagney about a Navy cargo ship serving in the South Pacific in the waning days of WWII, 1955
o   “Hunt for Red October” – American espionage thriller adapted from the Tom Clancy best-selling novel, 1990

Ticket sales start each day at 4:00 p.m., with doors opening at 4:30 p.m.  Admission is free for all active military, veterans and children under three years, and $5.00 (cash only) for all others. For theater location, details and most up-to-date information, visit lafleetweek.com.

Since its first venture into Hollywood more than a century ago, the US Navy has been recognized with three Academy awards for films it has produced, including Best Documentary Feature (“The Battle of Midway”) and Best Documentary Short Subject (“December 7th”) in 1943, and Best Documentary Feature (“The Fighting Lady”) in 1945.

About LA Fleet Week® 2018 presented by “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” on Amazon Prime Video
LA Fleet Week is an annual, multi-day celebration of our nation’s Sea Services held on the LA Waterfront at the Port of Los Angeles.  Free to the public, the Labor Day Weekend event features public ship tours, military displays, equipment demonstrations, live entertainment, a kids’ STEM Expo, aerial demonstrations, the LA Fleet Week® 2018 Navy Film Festival, the 10th Annual Conquer the Bridge Labor Day morning 5.3-mile walk/run over the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the LA Fleet Week 5 on 5 Basketball Tournament, and a Galley Wars presented by Princess Cruises culinary cook-off competition between Sailor, Marine, Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy teams.

LA Fleet Week is organized by the LA Fleet Week Foundation, in partnership with the Port of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles.  Other LA Fleet Week 2018 sponsors include Amazon Prime Video, the Annenberg Foundation, Outfront Media, Delta Air Lines, Bob Hope USO, American Legion Post, Battleship IOWA, Princess Cruises, Andeavor, Clyde & Co., Providence Little Company of Mary, Sam’s Club and South Coast Plaza.

For more information, visit lafleetweek.org

Lake Forest, CA native participates in world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise

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Alvarado Landon

PEARL HARBOR – A 2011 El Toro High School graduate and Lake Forest, California, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise known as the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

Lt. j.g. Landon Alvarado is an electrical officer aboard USS O’Kane, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy electrical officer is responsible for electrical safety onboard the ship, as well as training new sailors in electrical safety.

Alvarado is looking forward to applying the lessons learned from Lake Forest to working in the Navy.

“My parents instilled the value of being a good person,” said Alvarado. “Taking the time to stop and talk to sailors can make a huge difference for them.”

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring safety at sea and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

The theme of RIMPAC 2018 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” according to Navy officials. The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.

“I’m looking forward to being able to sail with foreign navies,” said Alvarado. “We haven’t had that opportunity before so it will be a huge learning experience.”

This is the first time Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in RIMPAC. Additional firsts include New Zealand serving as sea combat commander and Chile serving as combined force maritime component commander. This is the first time a non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold a component commander leadership position.

This year will also feature live firing of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) from a U.S. Air Force aircraft, surface to ship missiles by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from a launcher on the back of a Palletized Load System (PLS) by the U.S. Army. This marks the first time a land based unit will participate in the live fire event during RIMPAC. RIMPAC 2018 will also include international band engagements and highlight fleet innovation during an Innovation Fair.

“I’m proud of being a division officer, and seeing my sailors work with each other and see them grow,” said Alvarado.

Twenty-six nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Alvarado and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I’ve learned how much I can really accomplish without much guidance,” said Alvarado. “The Navy gives me the opportunity to take initiative. Serving in the Navy means I’m making a difference in the world, and that gives me a lot of pride.”

Additional information about RIMPAC is available at cpf.navy.mil

Source: navyoutreach.com

U.S. Department of Labor Announces Award of $47,600,000 In Training Grants to Help Homeless Veterans Re-enter the Workforce

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transitioning veteran shaking hands with employer

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced the award of 163 Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program (HVRP) grants totaling $47,600,000. This funding will provide workforce reintegration services to more than 18,000 homeless veterans.

“While serving in the military, veterans learn many skills desired in today’s workforce,” said Secretary Acosta. “These grants will help thousands of homeless veterans reintegrate themselves into society and secure good jobs.”

Funds are being awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards; local public agencies and nonprofit organizations; tribal governments; and faith-based and community organizations. Homeless veterans may receive occupational skills training, apprenticeship opportunities, and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance.

This year’s HVRP awards provide 40 first-year grants totaling nearly $13,000,000. Previous awardees will receive first and second option year grants totaling $34,600,000.

Grantees under the HVRP program will coordinate their efforts with other federal programs, such as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program.

More information on the Department’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans is available at www.dol.gov/vets/. For more information about the Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), please visit veterans.gov or follow on @VETS_DOL twitter.

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Sailor Spotlights! Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Theodric Michael and Airman Jaiden Salem

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Seaman Michael and Airman Salem

MARSEILLE, France- Seaman Michael, left, and Airman Salem, from Anaheim, Calif., prepare to hoist the national ensign on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Harry S. Truman is currently deployed as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe.

On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)

Source: outreach.navy.mil

 

The National WWII Museum Honors WWII Women Air Force Service Pilot Bernice “Bee” Haydu

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Bee Haydu

The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has awarded Bernice “Bee” Falk Haydu — WWII WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilot) — its 2018 Silver Service Medallion. The award is given to veterans and those with a direct connection to World War II who have served our country with distinction and continue to lead by example.

The Medallion was bestowed during a June 8 luncheon as part of the Museum’s annual American Spirit Awards, presented by Hancock Whitney. Along with Haydu, the Silver Service Medallion was presented to WWII veteran Lt. General Victor “Brute” Krulak USMC (Ret.) — who received the award posthumously — and his son, Vietnam veteran Gen. Charles C. Krulak USMC (Ret.), past Commandant of the Marine Corps and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Bee Haydu has been a champion of advancing the WASP legacy as the first women to fly military aircraft in the US Army Air Force during World War II. During the war, Haydu completed a seven-month training program and was on track to fly B-25s, but the WASP were disbanded in December 1944, prior to the war’s end. She is a member of the Aviation Hall Fame and her original WASP uniform is on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

As President of the WASP organization from 1975 to 1978, Haydu led the fight in Congress to acknowledge the WASP as veterans of World War II, as had been promised. And she won: President Jimmy Carter signed a bill in November 1977 recognizing WASP as WWII veterans.  In 2009, she witnessed President Barack Obama sign a bill into law awarding the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal.

Haydu has also been awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2014 and an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the Vaughn College of Aeronautics in Flushing, New York, in May 2015. She’s the author of “Letters Home 1944-1945: Women Air Force Service Pilots, World War II,” which includes letters she wrote to her mother during the war.

Her passion for flying continued even after the WASP run ended, and she went on to become a flight instructor, owner of a Cessna dealership and even part-owner of a flight school. She and her late husband, Joseph Haydu—also a pilot—continued to fly into their late 70s and owned 28 different types of planes.

“Bee Haydu is an American hero and aviation pioneer who served our country with distinction and honor during World War II,” said Stephen J. Watson, President & CEO at The National WWII Museum. “She and her fellow Women Air Force Service Pilots broke gender barriers in the military and became role models for the generations of women that followed. We were proud to present her with the Silver Service Medallion for all that she has accomplished.”

The American Spirit Awards recognizes individuals who best exemplify the outstanding qualities of the American spirit, including teamwork, optimism and determination. It is a multiday celebration that culminates in a formal awards gala on the Museum’s campus. Proceeds from the American Spirit Awards support educational programming at The National WWII Museum, including the ongoing development of classroom materials and professional-development opportunities for teachers in schools across the country, as well as online experiences that bring the Museum and its resources to students around the world.

Sailor Spotlight! Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth NuNez-Orona

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Elizabeth NuNez-Orona

LEMOORE, Calif.- A 1999 Katella High School graduate and Anaheim, California, native is currently serving with a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron, which flies one of the world’s most advanced warplanes.

Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth NuNez-Orona is an aviation ordnanceman with the Kestrels of VFA 137, which operates out of Naval Air Station Lemoore. A Navy aviation ordnanceman is responsible for maintaining the weapons systems on the aircraft and uploading and downloading ordnance on the aircraft.

“Growing up I was taught that you have to hustle,” NuNez-Orona said. “You have to work for what you want, and nothing is free. It’s the same in the Navy.”

Members of VFA 137 work with the F/A 18 Super Hornet, one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. The Super Hornet takes off from and lands on Navy aircraft carriers at sea and is capable of conducting air-to-air combat as well as striking targets on land. It is approximately 61 feet long, has a loaded weight of 51,000 lbs., and a max speed of 1,190 miles per hour.

Operating from sea aboard aircraft carriers, the Super Hornet gives the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, at any time. The versatile jet has the ability to destroy targets located hundreds of miles inland, without the need to get another country’s permission to operate within its borders.

“Strike Fighter Wing, U. S. Pacific Fleet, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, is the heart of Naval Aviation,” said Capt. James S. Bates, Deputy Commodore, Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific. “The sailors assigned to SFWP always exceed expectations and produce amazing results through team work and dedication to their department, squadron, the U.S. Navy and their family. Naval Aviation is a challenging occupation, but our sailors work day in and day out to provide fully mission capable aircraft and fully qualified aircrew to ensure leadership is able to answer national level tasking. I am humbled to be able to lead the sailors of SFWP and I am proud to call Lemoore my home.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied-upon assets, NuNez-Orona and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“I am looking forward to mentoring the sailors within this command,” said NuNez-Orona. “I retire in a year, so I want to make sure I leave something good behind.”

NuNez-Orona is proud of receiving a Volunteer Service Medal for cleaning up Kings County and helping youth ministries in the Lemoore area.

“Serving in the Navy means preserving our rights and freedoms,” NuNez-Orona said. “It means giving back to a country that gave my parents a good opportunity when they came here from Mexico.”

Source: outreach.navy.mil

D-Day: How technology helped win the Normandy invasion and World War II

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Courage. Devotion. Duty.

They are the words most often used to describe the brave Allied troops who landed on Normandy 74 years ago and helped win World War II.

Not to be forgotten, though, is this word: Technology.

World War II was won not just with courage, devotion and duty, but with American and British technological advances that gave Allied troops the upper hand in many facets of battle.

The most famous and fearsome: the Manhattan Project atomic bombs that led to the surrender of the Japanese in 1945. But there were many others.

Radar helped the Allies know what was coming at them from the enemy.

Bombsights employing complicated gyroscope technology allowed planes to pinpoint bomb attacks. Before World War II, pilots simply dropped bombs by hand and hoped for the best.

Nylon, the synthetic material invented by DuPont for women’s stockings, was used to make parachutes, glider tow ropes, aircraft fuel tanks and flak jackets, according to Smithsonian magazine. Some people dubbed it “the fiber that won the war.”

But one of the most crucial bits of technology, the one that helped the Allies launch the surprise attack on Normandy, was the hull of a boat — the Higgins boat.

You have probably seen pictures of this hulking nautical miracle, the one that carried troops right onto Normandy’s beach.

It was built by a wily, hard-drinking inventor named Andrew Higgins, the man Dwight D. Eisenhower once credited with winning World War II.

“It is Higgins himself who takes your breath away,” Raymond Moley, a former FDR adviser, wrote in Newsweek in 1943. “Higgins is an authentic master builder, with the kind of will power, brains, drive and daring that characterized the American empire builders of an earlier generation.”

Continue onto the Washington Post to read the complete article.

Flag Day—Celebrating America’s Freedoms

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American Flag

“That the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.” This was the resolution adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777. The resolution was made following the report of a special committee which had been assigned to suggest the flag’s design.

A flag of this design was first carried into battle on September 11, 1777, in the Battle of the Brandywine. The American flag was first saluted by foreign naval vessels on February 14, 1778, when the Ranger, bearing the Stars and Stripes and under the command of Captain Paul Jones, arrived in a French port. The flag first flew over a foreign territory in early 1778 at Nassau, Bahama Islands, where Americans captured a British fort.

Observance of the adoption of the flag was not soon in coming, however. Although there are many claims to the first official observance of Flag Day, all but one took place more than an entire century after the flag’s adoption in 1777. The first claim was from a Hartford, Conn., celebration during the first summer of 1861.

In the late 1800s, schools all over the United States held Flag Day programs to contribute to the Americanization of immigrant children, and the observance caught on with individual communities.

The most recognized claim, however, comes from New York. On June 14, 1889, Professor George Bolch, principal of a free kindergarten for the poor of New York City, had his school hold patriotic ceremonies to observe the anniversary of the Flag Day resolution. This initiative attracted attention from the State Depar tment of Education, which arranged to have the day observed in all public schools thereafter. Soon the state legislature passed a law ma king it the responsibility of the state superintendent of public schools to ensure that schools hold observances for Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial = Day and Flag Day. In 1897, the governor of New York ordered the displaying of the flag ov er all public buildings in the state, an observance considered by some to be the first official recognition of the anniversary of the adoption of the flag outside of schools.

Another claim comes from Philadelphia. In 1893, the Society of Colonial Dames succeeded in getting a resolution passed to have the flag displayed on all of the city’s public buildings. Elizabeth Duane Gillespie, a direct descendant of Benjamin Franklin
and the president of the Colonial Dames of Pennsylvania, that same year tried to get the city to call June 14 Flag Day. Resolutions by women were not granted much notice, however, and it was not until May 7, 1937, that Pennsylvania became the first state to establish the June 14 Flag Day as a legal holiday. Flag Day is a nationwide observance today, but Pennsylvania is the only state that recognizes it as a legal holiday.

Bernard J. Cigrand, a school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, reportedly spent years trying to get Congress to declare June 14 as a national holiday. Although his attempts failed, the day was widely observed. “Father of Flag Day” honors have been given to William T. Kerr, who was credited with founding the American Flag Day Association in 1888 while still a schoolboy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both President Wilson, in 1916, and President Coolidge, in 1927, issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as the National Flag Day. But it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, that Congress approved the national observance, and President Harry Truman signed it into law.

Source: va.gov

Memorial Day: 5 things you didn’t know about the holiday

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Memorial Day 2018

Read up on five interesting things to consider while we’re gathering, celebrating, and paying respects the men and women who died serving this country. Many Americans see Memorial Day as an opportunity to relax in the yard, gather with friends, or plan a weekend getaway — and it very much is. But at the same time, it’s important that we never lose sight of the day’s significance.

With that in mind, here are five interesting things to consider while we’re gathering, celebrating, and paying respects the men and women who died serving this country.

#1. We’re all aware that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, but Congress has also established an exact minute of remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance Act, which was adopted in December of 2000, encourages every citizen to pause each Memorial Day at 3:00 p.m. local time to remember the brave men and women who died serving this country. In addition to any federal observances, Major League Baseball games usually come to a stop during the Moment of Remembrance, and for the past several years, Amtrak engineers have taken up the practice of sounding their horns in unison at precisely 3:00 p.m.

#2. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Memorial Day is celebrated in late May because that’s when flowers are likely to be blooming across the country. It was Union General John A. Logan who — after serving in the Mexican-American War and Civil War — proposed that Congress institute May 30th as Decoration Day (the predecessor to Memorial Day) to allow citizens to decorate the graves of deceased veterans with fresh flowers. (It’s also believed that Logan settled on the date because it wasn’t already the anniversary of any significant battles.)

#3. The Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day Parade in Ironton, Ohio, is recognized as the oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade in the nation, beginning all the way back in 1868. However, the oldest (and first) Memorial Day parade in the country was held a year earlier in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. (It’s also worth noting that both the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., and the Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade in Queens, N.Y., bill themselves as the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation.)

#4. “Taps,” the bugle call typically performed at military funerals as well as the annual Memorial Day wreath ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, was actually adapted from a separate Civil War bugle call known as “Scott Tattoo,” which was used to signal lights out. The new melody later became the preferred accompaniment at military funerals after Captain John Tidball of the Union Army alert nearby Confederate troops to their location.

#5. Despite rising gas prices, AAA estimates that 41.5 million people will be traveling on Memorial Day weekend, with 36.6 million of them traveling by car and clogging up the freeways. Leaving a little earlier on Thursday won’t help to ease drivers’ burdens, either: Transportation analysts working with AAA say drivers will be experiencing the greatest amount of congestion on Thursday and Friday, and “congestion across a greater number of days,” in general, “than in previous years.”

Source: Fox News

Anaheim, CA native serves aboard one of the U.S. Navy’s first “Stealth Ships”

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BATH, Maine – A 2010 Colton High School graduate and Anaheim, California, native is serving as part of the Pre-Commissioning Unit for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Fireman David Bernal is assigned to DDG 116 in Bath, Maine. As a fireman Bernal is responsible for maintenance of the ship’s electrical distribution systems. “I enjoy the camaraderie with the sailors in the division that I work in,” said Bernal.

DDG 116 is currently undergoing tests and trials in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Navy from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works. Arleigh Burke class destroyers measure approximately 500 feet long and are powered by four gas turbines that allow the ship to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and ballistic missile defense, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute a variety of missions.

“Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his element leader, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown,” said Cmdr. Nathan W. Scherry, commanding officer, PCU Thomas Hudner. “On 07 May 2012, Secretary Mabus announced that DDG 116 will be named in Captain Hudner’s honor. Today, as the Navy’s finest 300 Sailors crew the 66th Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, they do so with a tremendous amount of honor, pride, and sense of duty. We are extremely honored to be able to carry Captain Hudner’s values and legacy forward so that they are never forgotten. We are proud to be able to carry out our missions in defense of our country’s freedom and values, and humbled to be part of the Hudner family.”

Bernal has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.

“Growing up, I learned the values of hard work and taking with you as much as you can from your job so you can move on to the next chapter in your life,” said Bernal.

With a crew of over 300 sailors, each crew member’s job is important to the smooth operation of the ship. The jobs range from weapon handling to navigation.

Bernal has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My older brother served in the Marines for five years and did a tour in Afghanistan,” said Bernal. “I’m proud to carry on his name doing my part serving in the military.”

Bernal’s proudest accomplishment was graduating boot camp.

“We had several dropouts in my division throughout the eight-week course. Completing boot camp gave me the confidence needed to know I can complete anything in life I set my mind to,” added Bernal.

Close living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest ships, Bernal and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means being a part of something bigger than myself,” said Bernal. “I have a great sense of pride and honor serving my country, and it makes my family proud.”

The construction of the ship is over 98% complete. The ship is scheduled for commissioning in late 2018 in Boston, Mass. For more information about the commissioning, visit usshudnerddg116.org.

By Ricky Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller