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THE

“Victory Starts Here”

Published in the interest of the 108th Training Command • Vol 38.1 Spring 2014

DRILL SERGEANTS PREP PROGRAM KICKS OFF Also in this Issue Last U. S. Army Reserve Calvary Unit MAG Duties in Afghanistan

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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 3

From the Commanding General...

By Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser Commanding General 108th Training Command (IET)

Webster defines resilience as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties or toughness; an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. I’ve often wondered why some people seem to remain calm in the face of challenges, while others seem to fall apart? People that are able to keep their cool have what psychologists call resilience, or an ability to cope with problems and setbacks. Resilient people are able to utilize their skills

and strengths to cope and recover. I can’t overstate the importance of resilience among our Soldiers, civilians and Family members. The term has come into the Army lexicon as a way to ensure we all stay healthy and committed to our duties, to remain socially, spiritually, and emotionally aware.The Army has developed a long term strategy that better prepares the Army community - including all Soldiers, Family members, and the civilian workforce - to not only survive, but also thrive in the face of all the everyday challenges of Army life that are common now. One of the tragic aspects of poor resilience is suicide.The USAR continues to be plagued with a rising suicide rate among Soldiers.We owe it to our fellow Soldiers to provide them and their Families the support to help identify and deal with the underlying issues that contribute to losing hope and taking their lives. Whether the causes relate to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; Mild Traumatic Brain Injury; financial stress; alcohol or drug abuse; or troubled relationships, we need to be aware of conditions, and equipped to take action to assist. There is no stigma attached to needing help. I urge you to use a battle buddy system and to be proactive in engaging with others in your unit

to determine if they are at risk. The same applies to the sexual harassment and assault; we must all ensure a command climate where safety is promoted, where Soldiers and Army civilian employees are educated on sexual assault risk reduction techniques, and where Soldiers and Army civilians feel free to report incidents. Bottom line, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers and need to be certain that no Soldier’s cry for help goes unanswered. Understanding that our units are geographically dispersed, resilience is sometimes hard to accomplish. We don’t see each other every day. In my mind, a key part of establishing and maintaining resilience is a good sponsorship program. In the past decade of fighting wars, the Army as a whole has come away from establishing and maintaining sponsorship programs. As I go around talking to Soldiers, I’m keenly aware that in the 108th, we have work to do in this area.We recently sent guidance to your leadership on how to establish an effective and efficient sponsorship program, and it applies to every one of us. Nothing stops any of us from contacting a new Soldier or civilian via telephone/text/email, or in

person, to answer any questions they may have. Do they have specific challenges with transportation…. attending battle assembly…..do they know who to call and what to do in the case of an emergency? As the active duty Army draws down we will see more Soldiers transferring to the USAR, and the 108th. They say transition periods are the times when a person is least resilient. Processes and policies (not to mention acronyms) are different in the USAR and they will have many questions. Whether you are a trained sponsor or not, always reach out to assist. Taking care of Soldiers and Families is among my top priorities. Sustaining our high quality of resilient Soldiers, civilians, and Families, representing the best of the Army Reserve Training Force is not only key to readiness and mission accomplishment, it’s the right thing to do. A good sponsor is a primary means to ensuring that. Again, thanks for all you do for the 108th and the USAR. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to work with each of you, a highly proficient and professional group who make us proud every day. Special thanks to our Soldiers still in harm’s way; stay vigilant.


Spring 2014 From the Commanding General 3 From the Command Sergeant Major 5 4th Brigade Kicks off Drill Sergeant Preparation Program 6 Last U.S. Army Reserve Cavalry Unit 8 Military Advisory Group (MAG) Duties in Afghanistan 10 Modern Army Combatives Program MACP - Level 1 12 Sergeant Audie Murphy Club (SAMC) 14 The Lone Ranger 15 PULL! PULL! PULL! 16 Mentorship 17 Chief of Army Reserve Holds Town Hall With 95th Soldiers 18 All-American Soldier Mentor Challenge 19 Army Strong Zone 21 Giving Back: Army Strong 23 The U.S. Army All-American Bowl 25 Timberwolf Pups 26 Drill Sergeants Judge High School JROTC 27 2x Citizen: Drill Sgt. Marco A. Flores 28 From the Command Chief Warrant Officer 29

Contents Army Reserve Changes Commanders From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander 95th JAG Receives Award From His Peers Civilian Lawyers Learn Military Law 3rd Bn/ 415th Regt/ 95th Training Division (IET) Holds Best Warrior Competition NRA/CMP National Championship M1 Garand Match What Do Tony the Tiger and the Soldiers From the 1-334th Battalion Have in Common? ESGR - A National Voice for the Guard and Reserve 3rd Bn/ 415th Regt/ 95th Division (IET) Changes Command Salute to Veterans Army Reserve Drill Sergeants Bring ‘Army Strong’ to World’s Toughest Mudder Competition Coin Design Competition Drill Sergeant Graduates Chaplains Corner Soldier’s Gold Mine Do you want to be a Unit Public Affairs Representative? Scholarships Available From the 108th Griffon Association

30 31 32 33 34 35 37 38 39 40 41 43 43 44 45 47 47

108th Training Command (IET) • Charlotte, NC • Vol. 38 No. 1 Spring 2014 108th Training Command (IET) Commanding General .........................................................................Maj. Gen. Leslie A. Purser Command Sgt. Maj. Command........................................................Sgt. Maj. Rocci R. Derezza Deputy Commanding General..........................................................Brig. Gen. A. Ray Royalty Chief of Staff........................................................................................................Col. Buddy Holbert Chief Executive Officer...............................................................................................Mr. Larry Cruz 108th Training Command Public Affairs (IET) Public Affairs Officer........................................................................................Maj. Jeffrey Baucom Email: jeffrey.m.baucom.mil@mail.mil Public Affairs Specialist /Griffon Editor..................................................Ms. Deborah Williams Email: deborah.p.williams8.mil@mail.mil Deputy Public Affairs Officer.............................................................................Capt. Tracey Frink Email: tracey.l.frink.mil@mail.mil Public Affairs NCO...................................................................................Staff Sgt. Deidra Jackson Email: deidra.l.jackson.mil@mail.mil Public Affairs NCO..............................................................................Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge Email: angela.s.etheridge.mil@mail.mil Public Affairs NCO...............................................................................................Sgt. David McLean Email: david.w.mclean1.mil@mail.mil Public Affairs...................................................................................................Spc. Priscilla Portman Email: priscilla.munoz1.@us.army.mil 95th Training Division (IET) Commander..................................................................................................Col. Daniel J. Christian Command Sgt. Maj. .......................................................................Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Hill Public Affairs Officer..........................................................................................Maj. Jennifer Mack Email: jennifer.k.mack3.mil@mail.mil Public Affairs NCOIC................................................................................................................. Vacant 98th Training Division (IET) Commanding General.................................................................Brig. Gen. Michaelene Kloster Command Sgt. Maj...............................................................Command Sgt. Maj. Grady Blue Jr. Public Affairs Officer..................................................................................................................Vacant Public Affairs NCOIC..................................................................................................................Vacant 104th Training Division (LT) Commanding General................................................................................Brig. Gen. Kurt Hardin Command Sgt. Maj.........................................................Command Sgt. Maj. Juan M. Loera Jr. Public Affairs Officer............................................................................................Maj. Alex Johnson Email: alex.l.johnson.mil@mail.mil Public Affairs NCOIC..................................................................................................................Vacant The Griffon is published four times a year and is an authorized publication for members of the Army. Contents of The Griffon are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, Department of the Army, or the 108th Training Command (IET). The appearance of advertising in this publication, including supplements and inserts, does not in any way constitute an endorsement by the Department of the Army or Knight Communications, Inc. of the products or services advertised. Everything advertised in this publication must be made available for purchase, use or patronage without regard to the race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, use or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. The Griffon is an unofficial publication authorized by AR360-1. Editorial content is prepared, edited, and provided by the Public Affairs Office of the 108th Training Command (IET). The Griffon is published by Knight Communications, Inc., 10150 Mallard Creek Road, Suite 201, Charlotte, NC, 28262 — a private firm in no way connected with the Department of the Army, under exclusive written contract with the 108th Training Command (IET). Material for publication may be submitted to: PAO, 1330 Westover Street, Charlotte, NC 28205-5124.

Cover photo: Staff Sgt. Michael A. Murphy, a Drill Sergeant with 3-330th Battalion, Waterford, Mich., instructs the candidates on proper Physical Readiness Training form. Photo by Capt. Kelly A. Herring, 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), UPAR

To coordinate news coverage, contact the 108th Training Command Public Affairs Office - 704-227-2820 ext. 4235 Deadlines: Summer: April 28 Fall: August 4 2014

Inside cover photo: Spec. Jessica R. Bailey, A Co., 1-330th Battalion, leads Drill Sergeant Candidates through several Physical Readiness Training exercises. Photo by Capt. Kelly A. Herring, 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), UPAR


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 5

From the Command Sergeant Major...

By Command Sgt. Maj. Rocci R. DeRezza 108th Training Command (IET)

My tenure at the 108th Training Command (IET) is winding down and I would like to finish my last few articles with remembering our fallen Soldiers. I had the honor to serve in the 3rd Iraqi Infantry Division with Master Sgt. Paul Karpowich, Lt. Col.Terrence Crowe and Sgt. 1st Class Robert V. Derenda in Iraq from 2004 – 2005. In this article I want to remember Derenda. Robert “Bob” Derenda was a native of Cheektowaga, N.Y., near

Buffalo, N.Y., Bob entered the Army in 1986 and served five years active duty and then in 1991 he joined the U.S.Army Reserve in Buffalo, as a drill sergeant where he drilled for the next 10 years. He then joined the 3-398th, 100th Division in 2003. He was a graduate of The Citadel and a graduate of the University of Buffalo and received a degree in Psychology and later returned to receive a degree in Chemical Engineering.As a civilian he worked at Celanese Chemical Ltd. in Calvert City, Ky., as a Chemical Engineer. In November, 2004, we deployed to Iraq with the 98th Training Division (IET). Derenda was one of 12 Soldiers that deployed to Iraq from the 3-398th, 100th Division located in Paducah, Ky. We all volunteered to serve with the 98th Training Division on their mission to train the Iraqi Army in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.When we arrived in Kuwait we were told we would be split into two groups, a group of six would head north and the others south. Derenda, myself, Lt. Col. Chris Jordan, Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Baker, 1st Sgt.Tom Adkins and 1st Sgt. Darrell Brantley were sent to Northern Iraq to the operational Iraqi 19th Infantry battalion at Al Kasik, Iraq. Capt. Joey Adams, Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Pierce, Master Sgt. Jeff Curd, Sgt.

1st Class Travis May, Sgt. 1st Class Terry Gay and Sgt. 1st Class Matt Boedeker were sent to Southern Iraq to the Iraqi Army post at Al Numaniyah. On August, 5, 2005, Derenda was on a reconnaissance mission headed from Rubiah, Iraq when his Humvee was struck by a vehicle born improvised explosive device which ultimately lead to his death.Another Soldier in the Humvee, Sgt. 1st Class Brett Walden of the 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky., was also killed.Also on this mission were Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Baker (MITT 19),Trevor (ODA), Hesh (ODA),Whittle (ODA), Mike (ODA), and Jeremy (ODA). Derenda was survived by his parents,Valerian and Loretta Derenda and one sister, Caroline Kibby.When Derenda arrived at Dover Air Force Base he was met by Command Sgt. Maj. Dusty Alexander from the 3-398th who escorted him to Buffalo, N.Y., for a Family funeral ceremony and then on to Arlington National Cemetery where he is buried. Soldiers from the 3-398th, and my wife attended the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. In the months to follow, Derenda was honored at many ceremonies. One ceremony that was very special to the Derenda Family was a street renaming ceremony in Cheektawoga,

N.Y. Candlelight Lane was renamed as R.V. Derenda lane in honor of Derenda.The street was steps away from where he grew up and walked to school as a child. Many of us were proud to be able to attend the ceremony where Derenda was honored for his service by firefighters, local police and the community. During the ceremony his nephews were lifted up to the street sign to unveil the new sign.We were able to spend time with his Family and remember Bob for the courageous Soldier he was and share stories with his Family about our friend. Later that year, Derenda was honored in a ceremony held by the 5th Special Forces Group in Fort Campbell, Ky. During the ceremony his Family was presented with a certificate and Green Beret making Derenda an honorary member of the 5th Special Forces Group.Walden of the 5th Special Forces Group, who died along side Derenda, was also honored that day. Derenda was my comrade and friend. He loved his country and was proud to serve. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and will never be forgotten. Bob Derenda was 42 years old when he was killed in action, far too young to have left us. He is a hero and a true American Soldier.


6 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

4th Brigade kicks off Drill Sergeant Preparation Program

Drill Sergeant Candidates complete the Army Physical Fitness Test Dec. 7 as part of the 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET) Drill Sergeant Preparation Program. Photo by Capt. Kelly A. Herring, 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), UPAR

By Capt. Kelly A. Herring 95th Training Division (IET) Unit Public Affairs Representative

Sgt. Michael H. Ahn and Sgt. 1st Class Hector S. Puente, Drill Sergeants with the 2-330th Battalion, Forest Park, Ill., instruct Drill Sergeant Candidates on proper execution of Physical Readiness Training exercises. Photo by Capt. Kelly A. Herring, 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), UPAR

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — Drill Sergeant Candidates from 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), participated in the inaugural Brigade Drill Sergeant Preparation Program Dec. 6-8.The Drill Sergeant Preparation Program is designed to standardize candidate knowledge and produce equal candidates that will have the knowledge and tools to succeed at Drill Sergeant School. The 37 Drill Sergeant Candidates completed an administrative and medical review,Army Physical Fitness Test (graded to Drill Sergeant School standards), and practiced pitching Drill Sergeant “Modules” in topics such as rendering a salute and standing at the position of attention.The candidates also received a legal brief, requested school dates through Army Training Requirements and Resources System, and received an introduction to Physical Readiness Training (PRT). Drill Sergeants from each battalion were also present to assist, teach, and mentor the candidates.The prep program allows candidates to become familiar with what to expect at the Drill Sergeant School. Sgt. 1st Class Jacob A.Triplett, a Senior Drill Sergeant with 3-330th Battalion,Waterford,


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 7 Mich., said that the Drill Sergeant Prep Program “gives the Soldiers a taste of what to expect at Drill Sergeant School” and that the program “puts Drill Sergeant Candidates ahead of the game by teaching them the modules.” Sgt. 1st Class Brad J. Schumann, a Drill Sergeant with the 3-339th Battalion, Neenah,Wis., felt that the prep program gave an opportunity to “help Drill Sergeant Candidates get into the mindset that drill sergeants have to be one step above the standard of professionalism.”This standard was enforced throughout the prep program by showing candidates proper uniform wear, drill and ceremony procedures, and learning exercises such as pitching the Drill Sergeant Modules. Candidates also had opportunities to step into a drill sergeant role throughout the prep program by pitching modules and leading the group in PRT exercises. Sgt. Cameron M. Edmonds, a Drill Sergeant Candidate with 3-330th Battalion recently transferred to the brigade.With his previous unit he trained a Soldier for the Best Warrior Competition. He enjoyed training and motivating his Soldier, and got a chance to interact with the drill sergeants that ran each Best Warrior event. Edmonds plans to attend Drill Sergeant School in May, and said he looks forward to becoming a drill sergeant because “I like to motivate people.That’s what I do.” Fourth Brigade plans to conduct the Drill Sergeant Preparatory Program twice each year. Future prep programs will be lengthened one day to add events such as marksmanship and use of the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000 System.

Spec. Jessica R. Bailey, A Co., 1-330th Battalion, leads Drill Sergeant Candidates through several Physical Readiness Training exercises. Photo by Capt. Kelly A. Herring, 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), UPAR


8 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Last U.S. Army Reserve Cavalry Unit

(R to L) Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Siler of the 3rd Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET), Lt. Col. Michael Burgess, Commander of the 2-398th Cavalry Squadron, and Command Sgt. Maj. Rocci Derezza, 108th Training Command (IET) Command Sgt. Maj., cut the cake with the saber at a luncheon bringing together the troops of the 2-398th at Lake Malone in Lewisburg, Ky., on December 8, 2013. The 2-398th is preparing to assume a full OSUT mission in 2014 at Fort Benning, Ga., and is now the last Cavalry unit in the U.S. Army Reserve. Photo by Sgt. David McLean, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

By Sgt. David McLean 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

LEWISBURG, Ky. — Stetsons and spurs are the signature items of the U.S. Calvary. They no longer mount and ride horses, but instead take to the ground and sky in vehicles that make them an essential force multiplier. The Troopers of the 2-398th Cavalry Regiment have another signature item of distinction; they are the last Cavalry unit in the U.S.Army Reserve. The last is not to be the least, as this squadron has a vital mission to train Soldiers. They will be taking over the One Station Unit Training (OSUT) mission for the 194th Armored Brigade at Fort Benning, Ga., during part of the 2014 summer cycle. With the warm, Georgia summer still in the distance, the cold weather of December ground brings most of the activity in the state to a halt. Troopers of the 2-398th braved the elements to meet in Lewisburg, Ky., as an entire squadron to discuss their upcoming mission.This is the first time the squadron has met as a whole, as the 2-398th Cavalry is comprised of 10 Troops (companies) that come from Tennessee and Kentucky. The luncheon featured guest speakers, food and fellowship as the 2-398th recognized their

accomplishments, awarded Troopers and discussed the task at hand. “We are a fully functional reserve force able to take over the mission and capable of doing great things,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Siler, 3rd Brigade Command Sgt. Maj.“They will walk away, and we will take over.” “We’re looking forward to seeing a big class come out there in the next few months,” said Siler.“And we are looking forward to seeing the strength of this unit.The Cav is a great place to be, and there are no other Cav organizations in the Army Reserve than what you have sitting here in this room. So be proud of what you are doing.” At the heart of the 2-398th Cav is the 19D, the Cavalry Scout. Some Troopers were previously 19K’s, Armor Crewmen and are now living out the series as 19D’s. As part of the OSUT mission, the 2-398th must meet two challenges; have both Drill Instructors and 19D Instructors.This task can be complex; as there are strict requirements for both types of instructors and it takes special Troopers to carry out the mission. “I want to tell you something important about you, 19D’s,” encouraged Command Sgt. Maj. Rocci Derezza, 108th Training Command (IET) Command Sgt. Maj., and special speaker for the luncheon.“There are not many of you left doing your job in the reserve.You have your first OSUT mission in several years happening this year.You need to go down there and do an outstanding job, and I know you can.You have to be a special Soldier to work in a Drill Sergeant Unit that also instructs the Cavalry.” Derezza reemphasized the fact that those classified as 19D’s need to go to Drill Sergeant School to fulfill the overall training mission of the 95th Training Division and the 108th Training Command. “If you are a track commander, and you are not Drill Sergeant certified, you need to go to Drill Sergeant School,” said Derezza. “Drill Sergeant School is friendly now.They take care of you, and you will get some excellent training. They don’t treat you like privates.” The 2-398th Troopers will begin to cycle in for three-week rotations starting in the Basic Combat Training phase of OSUT Training in April, and they will continue through the specialization training of becoming a Cavalry Scout until graduation in August. “They need us, and they (the 194th) want us,” said Siler.“We are ready for the challenges we are about to face.” The icy roads and frigid temperatures of December could not stop the Cav in the winter, and they are looking forward to starting the mission.They may be the last Cavalry unit in the Reserve, but they are professionals ready to accomplish any mission in front of them. Stetsons and spurs may be the mark of the Calvary, the mark of the 2-398th will be excellence.


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10 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Military Advisory Group (MAG) Duties in Afghanistan By Col. Todd Arnold and Col. Jesse White 98th Training Division (IET)

FORT DIX, N.J. — The “Army of Two”—Col.Todd Arnold, 98th Training Division (IET), and Col. Jesse White,Task Force Panther, Detachment 106, reported for duty at Fort Dix, N.J. on October 1, 2013 and for nine months served in Afghanistan as advisory members for the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Command under the Military Advisory Group (MAG). The Advisory Team was responsible for the transition of the Afghan National Army General Staff- Adjutant (G1) and Plans (G5) section-- ensuring the organizations would be self-sufficient and prepared for the future role of Afghanistan in regional security missions and international relations. During their deployment, MAG had over 300 personnel from more than 20 countries and all U.S. Military Services. The mission of the MAG was to provide senior advisory teams to all agencies of the ANA and National Police forces, including the Chief of the General Staff and Ministers of Defense and Interior. Many of the Army staff members supporting the MAG were from 108th Training Command subordinate units-

Training at Fort Dix, N.J. Courtesy photo

98th Training Division and 95th Training Division. The training command and its divisions roles as trainers in support of U.S.Army Training and Doctrine Command, make it a perfect fit to supply advisors and planners to MAG. In his role as the Senior Advisor to the General Staff G1 (GSG1), White operated a 30-person staff of interpreters, contractors and multi-national personnel that assisted the ANA GSG1 and his staff with the expansion of ANA training, administration and structure renovations. His team worked to create the firstever ANA Training Academy and succeeded in expanding Afghan officer and NCO development programs, Military Occupational

Training at Fort Dix, N.J. Courtesy photo

Specialty creation and training, and overall officer and Soldier management for the entire country. As the Senior Advisor to the General Staff G5 (GSG5),Arnold and his three-person staff consisting of two Afghan national interpreters and a U.S. Marine Major Deputy, worked daily with the GSG5 and his staff to create numerous very senior long-term strategic documents for the President and Minister of Defense.Their efforts included the first-ever ANA Three-Year Strategic

Plan and Highway Security Plan (to protect civilian convoys and address customs checkpoint operations), and general planning for the creation of the Afghan Air Force. Of particular note, the GSG5 was the first Afghan General Staff organization to have a female officer on staff. Aside from receipt of the Bronze Star for service, both received awards from the ANA Chief of the General Staff for their assistance to the ANA and providing guidance for the future missions of Afghanistan.


12 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Modern Army

Combatives MACP - Level 1


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 13

PrograM By Capt. Gabriel Nunez 2/413th Regt., 95th Training Division (IET)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — This December Battle Assembly consisted of Combatives Level 1 Certification, lead by Staff Sgt. C. Denney, NCOIC, and Sgt. Benavente, assistant NCOIC, along with Delta Company Drill Sergeants.The highly motivated class from the 6252nd U.S. Army Hospital (USAH), 315th MP Bn, 7214th Medical Support Unit (MSU), and 7230th MSU made it all possible for this event to happen. Delta Company 2/413th Regiment held this event 12-15 December 2013 at Admiral Baker Road, Reserve Center, San Diego, Calif.The course had 24 Soldiers who gave 110% starting with warm ups, then body positions, drills, and strikes. Delta Company’s mission is to support training to units in the surrounding area. During December BA, Delta Company successfully participated in multiple events comprised of certifying 24 Soldiers from the 6252nd USAH in the MACP Level 1 and was crucial in assisting the JROTC Drill Ceremony Competition. Individual Medical Readiness is still a high priority. Future events will provide success to recruit additional drill sergeants.


14 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Sergeant Audie Murphy Club (SAMC)

“This selection, for most, will be the highlight of their career. To date, there are about 5,000 SAMC members across the Army,” said 1sg Sgt. Mark Haliburton, “That is less than one percent of the entire current [manning force].” Photo by Mrs. Deborah Williams, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

By Capt. Tracey Frink 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

Sgt. Maj. Blaine Huston congradulates Drill Sergeant Leader Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Torres, from the Consolidated U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School, is the first Army Reserve Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) selected for induction into the Fort Jackson Chapter. Photo by Mrs. Deborah Williams, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — An Army Reserve Drill Sergeant became the first Army Reserve Soldier inducted into the Training and Doctrine Command’s Fort Jackson Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. Drill Sergeant Leader Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Torres, from the Consolidated U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School, is the first Army Reserve Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) selected for induction into the Fort Jackson Chapter. He was among three new members added Dec. 10. Torres is an Active Guard Reserve Soldier, part of a team consisting of both active and reserve component members.

“They have been preparing for months and it paid off big time,” said Deputy Commandant Sgt. Maj. Blaine Huston. “Just can’t say enough good things about these NCOs… and this is why the “One Army School System” works – [and] why we’re changing the face of Initial Entry Training.” The selection process is in three phases. Once Torres was notified he made it through the first two phases of selection, the hard work began. With the notification came four months of study halls, community service and volunteering, exemplifying the leadership characteristics of personal concern for the needs, training, development and welfare of Soldiers, and their Families. “This selection, for most, will be the highlight of their career. To date, there are about 5,000 SAMC members across the Army,” said 1sg Sgt. Mark Haliburton,“That is less than one percent of the entire current [manning force].” The Consolidated U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School hosts the study halls for all NCOs stationed at Fort Jackson and those that are part of the Partners in Excellence, including the Soldier Support Institute, Recruiting and Retention School, Victory University, Armed Forces Chaplain School, 81st Regional Support Command and Moncrief Army Community Hospital. Drill Sergeant Leaders cover material in depth with the selected NCOs in preparation for the quarterly board. The schoolhouse is responsible for creating and managing a Training Support Package, consisting of study packets, organization criteria and material, and the training calendar for a systematic and guided approach to achieve success. The material covered is the most up to date changes in guidance, directives and regulations published by senior army leaders and the proper way to use this information in support of Army operations.


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 15

The Lone Ranger By 1st Lt. Christopher C. Palme Courtesy U.S. Army

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — How do you measure success? And does success have the same criteria for every person; no matter age, gender or experience level? The military too often defines success by the simplistic formula of “First Time Go” statuses. This method of evaluation limits the improvement of the trainees that are proficient at whatever task is being graded. It is common to remove an adept Soldier from the firing line or field exercise to allow for lesser skilled Soldiers to have more opportunities to qualify. Moreover, the “Go” status becomes the focus of training, rather than honing or enhancing a tactical skillset; which is essential for combat and more importantly, survival. Task Force Marshall (TFM), a training unit out of Fort Jackson, S.C., is dedicated to providing Navy Sailors a refresher course or often times, an introduction to combat readiness before they embark on an immediate deployment. Their primary goal is to build confidence and proficiency in Sailors’ marksmanship and tactical decision making. But unlike Basic Combat Training,TFM Cadre only have 17 days to prepare a Sailor for survival. When Sailors attend TFM, they are separated into two qualification categories: Mandos (Mandatory qualification firers) and Non-Mandos. These group distinctions are derived from the Navy’s mission-readiness needs. In other words, the Navy determines the follow-on role for each Sailor after they leave TFM. If that Sailor is going into a job position or a combat environment that requires them to carry their weapon system, then, that Sailor will be deemed a “Mando” firer. Thus, all Mandos must qualify with their weapon system prior to graduating TFM’s training. The above TFM background information is essential to comprehend because it directly affected one of the Assassins Company’s Sailors in late October. Class 14-001 had a total of 99 Sailor Trainees. Out of the 99 Trainees, 66 were M4 “Mandos.” During a normal 17-day training cycle, each Sailor will have the opportunity to fire their M4 three times at four different ranges (which includes two qualification ranges). This is after two days of EST (practical) and BRM (instructional) training. During these five days of weapons familiarization, Sailors shoot on average 320 rounds of 5.56 ammunition (per firer). Some Sailors struggle during grouping and zeroing and consequently have setbacks in their qualification scores. Class 14-001 qualified 55 out of 66 Mandos during their

first qualification opportunity. During day two of qualification five additional Sailors met the qualification standard. The Assassins Drill Sergeants (DS) and CACI instructors did not give up on the remaining six Sailors. They realized that these Sailors not only needed to qualify with their weapon system to move on in their Navy career; but, these Sailors required additional practice in order to instill confidence and proficiency with their weapon before they launched into a combat setting. The DSs stayed hours after the normal training day to work one-on-one with each unqualified Mando. They taught the basics and fundamentals of marksmanship again and again (both in the classroom setting and on the range). They made it a personal mission to qualify each one of these Sailors. Working around other training requirements such as: heavy weapons familiarization and First

Aid classes, the DS opened a third qualification range. During that qualification attempt five Sailors met the standard. This left one Mando firer deficient. Would military training statistic reviewers call a less than 2% unqualified Mando rate acceptable? A success? I believe they would; however, the Assassins Company does not accept anything less than perfection. They opened two additional ranges for that one Sailor. During the last day of training, six Assassins and three CACI members accompanied the lone unqualified Mando to the qualification range. She fired her first iteration and did not qualify. The DSs did not give up. They encouraged her to remain focused and motivated. Frustrated after two more unsuccessful attempts, the DSs gave the Sailor a break from the firing line. There was very little ammunition left at the ammo point; about enough for two more chances to qualify. The DSs and CACI instructors each gave their positive spin on the Sailor’s progress through the weapons portion of the cycle. They reiterated to the Sailor that she had improved from three out of 40 on her first attempt to 22 out of 40 just a few iterations ago. The Sailor reacquired her position on the range. She made her house out of sandbags and attained a comfortable shooting position. With a DS by her side to provide encouragement and guidance, the Sailor listened for

the tower commands,“Make ready…Watch your lane!” The first target popped up. “Bang!” One round down range and one target was hit. The DS reminded her of the shooting fundamentals: Sight Picture,Trigger Squeeze, Steady Position and Breathing Control. From target to target and fighting position to fighting position the Sailor gave 100%. Emotionally exhausted and physically tolled, the Sailor’s last round went downrange. Just as the target fell, she paused, lowered her head and waited for the faceless voice of the tower command. “Sailor…You are a GO!” The Sailor jumped to her feet in excitement. She turned to the DS on the firing line and gave him a heart-filled embrace. Her patience and practice combined with the Assassins Cadre’s dedication and determination to never give up afforded that lone, unqualified Mando a “Go” at TFM! A total of five range opportunities were made available for the one Sailor to qualify. She attempted the qualification course a total of 19 times before qualifying. Between grouping and zeroing and qualification, the Sailor shot over 900 rounds of ammunition. The Assassins DSs spent over 25 one-onone additional training hours on M4 fundamentals and marksmanship in order to make her confident and qualified. If success is not determined by this story, then, I do not know what success truly is.


16 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

PULL! PULL! PULL!

Push! Push! PUSH! Photo by Maj. Matt Darcangelo, S3, 1-391st, 104th Training Division (LT)

By Maj. Matt Darcangelo S3, 1-391st, 104thTraining Division (LT)

JERICHO, Vt. — Pull! Pull! Pull! The battle for the Inaugural 1-391st Timberwolf Cup came down to the final event, the Tug of War. The Maine and Vermont units were neck and neck after

three hard days (and into the night) competition by A Co from Fort Dix N.J., Detachment (Det.) 1 from Bangor, Maine, Det. 2 from Colchester, Vt., and Det. 3 from Rochester, N.Y. It was a brutal struggle which lasted minutes, but to the Soldiers pulling on the rope it seemed like hours. In

the end, Det. 1 dragged Det. 2 across the midline and claimed the Timberwolf Cup for 2013-14. The event was held at the unit’s annual FTX at Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vt. in May. The tug of war was the final event in the “field games” portion of the competition held Saturday

evening. The field games consisted of a HMMWV push, Litter Carry, and a series of team relay races. The field games were a way to elevate the competition and build Esprit de Corps as each unit cheered on its competitors. The previous days’ competition included FTX keystone eventsproficiency in assessing a casualty, generating nine line medevac requests, and executing air medevac operations with the support of two recently fielded state of the art Medevac Blackhawks flown and crewed by the Vermont National Guard. The competition also included reflexive fire, land navigation, field leader course effectiveness, several warrior training tasks, and points awarded for participation in the weekend’s 1-391st Best Warrior Competition. The Best Warrior was won by Spc. Badger of Det. 1 and the best NCO was won by Staff Sgt. Mailloux of Det. 2. All in all, it was a fast paced, busy FTX, with nearly all activities tracked and scored. The competition was intense at times, but it added to the overall fun and challenge of the training event. The second Timberwolf Cup will be held May 1-4, 2014 again at Camp Ethan Allen. This year’s competition will feature some new twists and events, so be ready. Which unit will earn the right to hold the cup next?


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 17

Mentorship

Launched in 2009, the Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend, pairs young men with mentors that share the same upbringing and backgrounds. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

By Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge

men, said Staff Sgt. Corey Jackson, a drill sergeant, from the 2/330, CHICAGO, Ill. — “Growing up I 95th Training Division (IET). never knew my biological dad,” said The 100 preselected young men Staff Sgt. Dennis Howard, a drill sergeant, gathered at Chicago State University, from the 2/330th, 95th Training most of them very anxious about Division (IET).“My foster dad was my what was yet to come. During the mentor,” said Howard.“He guided me three day, two night program, the through the decision making process.” young men will not only meet their The Steve Harvey Mentorship mentors but business leaders, media Program sends a very powerful personalities and Steve Harvey himself. message, said Howard, and it has a During the overnight stay the young very powerful influence on the young men participate in team building men in attendance here in Chicago.” workshops, engaging group activities, The Steve & Marjorie Harvey morning exercise, and interactive small Foundation’s mission is to shape and groups. For each group of 10 boys teach The Principles of Manhood to there are two Army representatives to young men living in single-mother serve as mentors and role models.The homes between the ages of 13-18. drill sergeants are there to maintain Launched in 2009, the Steve Harvey order and discipline within the Mentoring Weekend, pairs young groups while encouraging teamwork, men with mentors that share the implementing the Army Values and same upbringing and backgrounds. sharing personal experiences. This is the second year the event “This is my second year has taken place in Chicago, Ill. volunteering with the Steve Harvey “It’s important to bring in Mentorship Program,” said Keith mentors that were raised with Penn, a drill sergeant, from the 2/330, similar backgrounds as these young 95th Training Division (IET).“This

108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

During the overnight stay the young men participate in team building workshops, engaging group activities, morning exercise, and interactive small groups. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

program gives the young men a chance to see positive influential men that are doing great things.” Penn was raised by his mother and older sister in one of Chicago’s roughest housing projects. “My father left when I was just six years old,” said Penn,“I’ve done a lot of things these kids have done so I can relate to them.” These young men see they too can grow up to be successful, said Jackson, “It motivates them.” “They see the military uniform and they see the discipline instilled in us,” said Penn,“It gives them the hope that they too can get out of a bad environment.” “These young men hear our stories,” said Jackson,“and they say if you can be successful so can I.” My parents divorced when I was

eight, said Jackson, as the oldest of three boys I took on parental responsibilities for my two younger brothers.At 14 years old I moved in with my grandparents due to my mother’s alcoholism, said Jackson. “My grandfather is my inspiration,” said Jackson, I took after him because he had a strong work ethic. The goal of mentors that participate in the program is to break the misguided traits of manhood and introduce positives examples such as: Strength, responsibility, integrity and hard work. “I joined the Army at the age of 20,” said Jackson. Like the Steve Harvey Mentorship Program the military taught me teamwork, guidance and leadership. “I can relate to this program on a personal level,” said Jackson,“I would definitely volunteer again.”


18 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Chief of Army Reserve Holds Town Hall with 95th Soldiers

Lt. Gen. Jeff Talley, Chief of the U.S. Army Reserve with 95th Training Division (IET) Soldiers during a town hall visit in November 2013. Army photo

Lt. Col. Dan Higgins and Command Sgt. Major Shawn O’Neill, 2/377 Regiment. Talley outlined several of his priorities and opened up the forum for specific questions from the audience. The CAR’s priorities included the prevention of sexual harassment, recruiting and retention within the Reserve Component, and ensuring the Army Reserve remains relevant as an operational force multiplier for the Active Component. He challenged Chief of the U.S. Army Reserve, Lt. Gen. Jeff Talley, speaks to Soldiers of the 2/377 Regiment, 1st Brigade, 95th Training Division (IET) during all leaders to continue to a town hall meeting on Nov. 14 in Lincoln, Neb. Army photo drive effective training through creative means to ensure fiscal constraints LINCOLN, Neb. — The Chief do not hinder readiness. Mark Morton, the unit of the Army Reserve (CAR), administrator, coordinated the Lt. Gen. Jeff Talley, visited 95th visit with Talley’s staff. He said, Training Division (IET) Soldiers “The CAR’s staff did a great in Lincoln on Nov. 14. The job in communicating what Lt. CAR was scheduled to speak Gen. Talley expected from the at the University of Nebraska visit and how we could best on Friday, Nov. 15, and he took Free Checking accommodate him. The visit went the opportunity to conduct very well and we are all proud to two town hall meetings with Free Online, Mobile and have hosted him for a few hours.” Reserve Soldiers and civilians Text Message Banking* Higgins, commander of the while visiting the state. 2/377 said,“It is a rare privilege Talley met with Soldiers Free Bill Pay to have a senior officer, at the from the 2/377, 1st Brigade, level of the CAR, visit your unit. 95th Training Division (IET), and E-Statements It provided a great opportunity to discuss issues relevant for our drill sergeants and to the Reserve Component. New Location Soldiers to hear straight from Other 95th leaders present On Fort Jackson: the top how we fit into the for Talley’s visit were the 5470 Jackson Blvd. strategic and operational Division Commanding General, 800-272-0695 construct. I was proud of the Brig. Gen. A. Ray Royalty and www.allsouth.org astute questions our Soldiers Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Hill; had for the CAR – they Col. Frank Curtis and Command *Standard Rates Apply Federally Insured by the NCUA. [Soldiers] were clearly engaged.” Sgt. Maj. Carl Engel, 1st Brigade;

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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 19

All-American Soldier Mentor Challenge

Sgt. 1st Class Ryan McCaffrey, Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year, encourages a player during the push-up competition at the All-American Challenge Bowl, an event held at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

By Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Players, band members, Soldiers and guest gather in San Antonio’s famous Sunset Station Pavilion on Jan. 2nd for one of the All-American Bowls most anticipated events. The All-American Challenge is a Bowl tradition where players and band members meet their U.S. Army Soldier Mentors. Among the mentors is Staff Sgt Ryan McCaffrey, Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year, from the 98th Training Division (IET). The evening begins with introductions and a friendly East vs West competition. The Drill Sergeants of the Year make their way to center stage to begin the Soldier Mentor Competitions which include: Strength, Spirit and Stomach. First the players, band members and Soldiers compete in sit-ups, then push-ups and finally end with an eating competition. “It’s really cool to see these young men and women putting everything they have out there for the push-ups and sit-ups,” said McCafrey. “It compares their see ALL-AMERICAN page 20

Sgt 1st Class Ryan McCaffrey, Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year, motivates a player during the eating competition at the All-American Challenge bowl event January 3, 2014, an event leading up to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Staff Sgt Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs


20 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

All-American Cont’d from page 19

experience based on a new Soldier coming through basic training.” McCafrey explains how he was honored to attend as a mentor to dispel some of the rumors and myths about basic training. “I explain to them it’s not about us yelling and trying to hurt or cause pain,” said McCafrey,“It’s about getting them through something they may not have been able to do before.” After the festivities the mentors

Sgt 1st Class Ryan McCaffrey, Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year, gives pointers to a player before the sit-up competition at the All-American Challenge bowl event, leading up to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Staff Sgt Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

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and mentees get to know each other over a great dinner. They share laughter, stories and words of encouragement. “I encourage them to keep working towards their education and don’t give up,” said Mccafrey. The Bowl tradition, The All-American Soldier Mentor Challenge is a fun and inspiring experience for everyone in attendance. “These young men and women are very ambitious,” said McCafrey, “And well on their way to accomplishing their goals.”

Band members compete in the sit-up competition at the All-American Challenge, an event leading up to the U.S. All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 21

Army Strong Zone

Staff Sgt. Kenny Mata, a drill sergeant, from 1/355 95th Training Division (IET), talks to a young recruit about basic training. The 95th Training Division (IET) Drill Sergeants were on hand to answer questions about the Army’s basic training experience. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

By Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Interactive displays filled the renowned Sunset Station Pavilion in San Antonio, Texas on January 3-4 2014. Known to event goers as the U.S. Army Strong Zone, visitors travel from all over to attend the two day event. This high traffic bowl event featured some of the Army’s most elite technology. Free to the public this event was not only educating but also provided Family entertainment, games and food booths. The U.S. Army Strong Zone provided attendees with an experience into the Army Strong way of life and job opportunities the Army offers. Staff Sgt. Gill Lombana, a drill sergeant, from 1/355th 95th Training Division (IET), stood tall at the 108th Training Command (IET) Drill Sergeant recruiting table alongside his fellow comrades. “This bowl event gives the realization of what it’s like to be in the Army,” said Lombana. “It’s a hands-on experience with actual military equipment.” The Army Strong Zone is divided into four sections, each section representing a different aspect of Army life.

Strength through Teamwork was the first section.This section showed the U.S. Army is made of many diverse Soldiers with different occupations accomplishing one mission; as an Army Strong team. Visitors met face-to-face with U.S. Army heroes such as Drill Sergeants, Special Forces Soldiers, Army Combatives and K9 teams. “My team is here to let visitors know what drill sergeant training is all about,” said Sgt 1st Class Joe Welsh, a drill sergeant, from 1/355th 95th Training Division (IET). “You must be tough and most importantly mentally prepared,” said Welsh. Strength through teamwork shows anybody can do it if they put their mind to it, said Lombana.“In the end the Army jobs are very rewarding.” Strength through Healing was the second section, showcasing the Army’s medical career opportunities. Visitors explored the Mobile Medical Hospital and Medical Stryker Vehicle. Soldiers of the Forward Surgical Team from Fort Sam Houston spoke to visitors about saving lives in the Army’s medical field. Army Reserve representatives were also on-hand to discuss

A K9 Team Handler demonstrates tactics for the visitors during the Army Strong Zone Bowl event. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

educational opportunities. Strength on the Move was the third section, giving visitors a glimpse into the Army’s basic training program. Some visitors

were up to the challenge, testing their strength and stamina through interactive physical fitness stations. see STRONG ZONE page 22


22 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Strong Zone Cont’d from page 21

“We get a lot of questions about the basic training environment and I tell them being mentally prepared is a big part of training,” said Lombana. “But in the end they’ll have a feeling of accomplishment,” said Lombana,“by achieving something 99 percent of Americans won’t or can’t do.” Last but not least there is Strength through Technology.

Visitors see Army Soldiers are equipped with some of the most elite technology in the world. Technologies like night vision, advanced robotics and command and control multi-touch enabled technologies (COMET). Attendees leave the U.S. Army Strong Zone with a sense of what it feels like to be an Army Soldier. “I would definitely want to be a part of the Army Strong Zone event next year,” said Welsh. It’s a Family oriented event that brings patriotism to the community.

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An attendee gives it a go at the pull-up station at the Army Strong Zone. This interactive physical station was a part of the Strength on the Move section. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 23

Giving Back: Army Strong By Staff Sgt. Deidra Jackson

108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The acronym that the U.S.Army uses to convey its core values is Leadership, (Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage).They define who we are, what we do, and what we stand for. The Army ROTC is one of the best leadership courses in America. Through Army ROTC, students gain a mental, emotional and physical strength like: strength to be an effective part of a team, strength to lead and strength to excel.The U.S.Active Army,Army Reserve and Army ROTC are three of the Nation’s strongest teams.The U.S.Army AllAmerican Bowl (AAB) showcases the education opportunities, training and leadership skills the Army has to offer. “I think it’s so good for the Army to partner with the youth and give back to the community because they’re young (17&18) and being able to speak with a Soldier helps to give them a perspective of what kind of options they can have later in life,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Keschel, 5th Recruiting Brigade in Fort Sam Houston,Texas. What better way to show the Army Core values then through giving back to the community.The Army with the help of the All-American team went see GIVING BACK page 24

Sgt 1st Class Joseph Keschel out of Fort Sam Houston, Texas, takes a moment to console a sick child during the community outreach at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Staff Sgt. Deidra Jackson, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

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24 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

The U.S. Army All-American football team and Army Soldiers take a moment to show team spirit before visiting young patients at the Methodist Children’s Hospital. Photo by Staff Sgt. Deidra Jackson, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

Clifton Garrett, a U.S. Army All-American team player from Chicago Ill., gets a smile from a young patient after handing him a football from all the players on the team. Photo by Staff Sgt. Deidra Jackson, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

Giving Back Cont’d from page 23

to area hospitals and homes to give back.The team split into three groups each with a military mentor and visited an area Veteran’s hospital, Children’s Home and Children’s Hospital. Clifton Garrett, an All-American team member from Chicago, Ill., said that this experience was very good for him and he enjoyed giving back. “This is such a good experience for me because knowing and seeing that I’m making these kids happy makes me smile,” said Garrett. During the visit in the Children’s hospital the AAB team was able to visit different rooms of children with various illnesses.The team was able to talk with some of the children who loved football and gave each child a football signed by all the players. The Army mentor spoke with the children as well as the parents who wanted to take the time to thank him for his service. Some parents were also in the military and wanted pictures with their children and the mentor. “First it’s always about the kids and I believe we get more out of visiting the children than they get from us and it’s a blessing to realize what you have in life when you visit a child that is sick in the hospital,” said Keschel. As part of the week-long events taking place, the community outreach was one of the vital parts in teaming the Army with today’s youth.The spotlight for the Army is showing the community that it also protects and serves the home front as well as abroad.With the help of their Soldier mentors the team was able to show team spirit off the field as well as on. Trey Lealaimatafao from San Antonio, Texas, stated that his experience was great and that he enjoyed spending time with the children.“I had a great time meeting these kids and putting smiles on their faces, this was a lifetime experience,” said Lealaimatafao.


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 25

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl By Staff Sgt. Deidra Jackson 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The U.S.Army All-American Bowl not only encompasses a game but a week of Army sponsored events.The U.S.Army has been the title sponsor of the AllAmerican Bowl (AAB) since 2002. For more than a decade, the colors of the U.S.Army-the Nation’s most versatile and capable team- have heralded the All-American Bowl as the premier high school football game in the Nation. By recruiting the nation’s best qualified men and women to join, the Army is committed to selecting and developing youth who will become Army strong, exhibit Army strong values while serving and who will remain Army Strong members of their communities after their service. “It’s great coming in being a mentor and dispelling some of those myths that our youth see on TV about going to basic training,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ryan McCaffrey,Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year. “You know it’s not about yelling and trying to hurt them but get them through something that they’ve never been through,” he said. The week- long events include mentoring challenges: where drill sergeants mentor youth through different challenges such as push-ups, sit ups and an eating contest.There was also a robotics competition where youth, with the help of mentors, developed robots to compete in the ring.The robotics competition spotlighted the Army strong zone where the Army showed new designs developed by Tardec, the nation’s laboratory for developing advanced military ground vehicle technologies. Soldier mentors and the All-

Drill Sergeants of the 1/355, 95th Training Division (IET), pose with Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt 1st Class Leroy Petry, one of the distinguished guest at the Army Strong Zone. Photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Etheridge, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

American team visited area hospital and homes for Community Outreach. There was also a welcome BBQ and an elaborate awards ceremony. The week ended with an AllAmerican Bowl game that included the game ball being handed out by the Medal of Honor Recipient Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry. “Since day one I have had an amazing experience, all the events that have led up to the All-American game: the support of the communities, the Soldiers, the Army and the players, It’s just amazing,” said Petry,The Medal Of Honor Recipient working with the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Care Coalition. Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are the foundation of most Army career opportunities and directly contribute to our national security and prosperity.

From education to training programs, to elite technology and innovative leader development, the U.S.Army is the most diverse military force that is capable of responding quickly and decisively to a wide variety of global missions. “Right now it’s about supporting the youths plan for the future and if their plans fall through than there is another option like the Army and all the things we offer as far as education and to help change their mind about their impression of the Army,” said McCaffrey. The U.S.Army All-American Bowl provides the Army an opportunity to showcase the education opportunities, training and leadership skills available through Army service to more than 200 high schools throughout the nation and on the National stage

during the AAB game week. Like players on a football field, every member of the Army team is critical to mission accomplishment. The Army team prevails in today’s complex environment and is capable of adapting for tomorrow’s uncertainty in order to protect and preserve our Nation. “The most important things our youth should remember is to always thank a Veteran and do something every day to improve yourself and your community you love,” said Petry. As an enduring operational force, the Army Reserve is the premier force provider of America’s CitizenSoldiers for planned and emerging missions at home and abroad. In recruiting the Nation’s all volunteer force, the U.S.Army Soldier represents an extraordinary member of the Nation’s strongest team, Go Army.


26 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Timberwolf Pups

By Lt. Col. Greg Hammontree 104th Training Division (LT)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — World War II Veterans of the 104th Timberwolf Division have gathered for a reunion every Labor Day weekend for the past 69 years. These men began gathering in 1945 and during the 1980’s and 90’s the number of Veterans and Families who came together peaked at over 1,400. This past Labor Day current members of the 104th Division were represented by Brig. Gen. Kurt Hardin, commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Juan Loera, command sergeant major, 104th Training Division (LT), as they attended the reunion and memorial services as a show of support. The reunions are now organized and hosted by the children and grandchildren of the WWII Veterans. This annual event provides the Families an opportunity to remember, thank and celebrate the contributions of the men who fought on the European battlefields during World War II. From a peak of over 1,400 Veterans in the 1990’s this year’s event, held in Albuquerque, N.M., brought together only 22 WWII Veterans who were still able to travel. The weekend was a special time of remembrance for the many Veterans who have already passed away and an opportunity for Families to celebrate, with those few still living, accomplishments that changed the course of history and bonds of friendship that have spanned decades. Hardin and Loera met with Veterans and their Families throughout the weekend and spoke to the group about the legacy that the Veterans left for today’s Soldiers. The proclamation from the Governor of New Mexico, presented during the reunion, highlights the accomplishments of these men over six decades ago and serves as a reminder of that legacy.

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Brig. Gen. Kurt Hardin, commander, 104th Training Division (LT), honoring the Timberwolf Veterans from WWII at the memorial service. Photo by NTPA member, Arthur Luque

Brig. Gen. Kurt Hardin, commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Juan Loera, command sergeant major, 104th Training Division (LT), presented Timberwolf patches to the WWII Veterans and Family members. Photo by NTPA member, Arthur Luque

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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 27

Drill Sergeants Judge High School JROTC By Capt. Gabriel J. Nunez 2/413th Regiment, 95th Training Division (IET)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Four Drill Sergeants from Delta Company were judges for the JROTC Drill Ceremony competition. It was held at Madison High School on Saturday, 14 December 2013 at 0800 hours. Drill Sergeants from D Co. observed and noted techniques from 13 different

high school JROTC competitors in BDI, or Best Drill Individual Color Guard, and many other categories.The competitors were graded in executing numerous facing movements performed during Military Drill and Ceremony. Job well done to the JROTC competitors and the judges, Sgt. Garcia, Staff Sgt. Mata, Sgt.1st Class L. Burr, and Sgt. 1st Class Y. Burr who closely observed these competitors.

Drill Sergeant Mata explained his observation in Best Drill Individual (BDI). Photo by Capt. Gabriel J. Nunez, 2/413th Regiment, 95th Training Division (IET)

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28 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

I Was Born To Do This By Drill Sgt. Marco A. Flores

service. My last ETS was in 2003 and I reenlisted into the 95th Training SAN FRANSICO, Calif. — On the Division (IET) in January 2009. Since morning of August, 1937 just months then my experience in the Army has after the bridge had opened, Harold been challenging and outstanding. Wobber, a 47 year old bargeman, took I transitioned into the infantry a bus to the North West side of San in July, 2009 and went to Drill Francisco. He was en route to the Sergeant School in April 2010. I Golden Gate Bridge. While on the served the last four summers at Fort bus he met a college professor from Sill, Okla., in Fox Battery 1/31st, Connecticut that was vacationing Fort Leonardwood, Mo. and Fort in the city.They had a pleasant Benning, Ga., pushing privates in conversation while en route to the basic combat training. I am proud to bridge. Upon arrival the two men be a drill sergeant and plan to stay exited the bus and made their way in Bravo Company until they throw to the east sidewalk of the bridge. me out kicking and screaming. In They walked the entire length of Drill Sgt. Marco A. Flores has been a member my civilian job I am a Patrolman for the bridge, approximately two miles. of the Golden Gate Bridge Patrol since Au- the Golden Gate Bridge Highway gust 2002. Courtesy photo When they reached the North end, and Transportation District. the two men turned around and Growing up in San Francisco and disaster. I don’t like looking over the headed back.While on their way Daly City I have always looked at rail; I can’t imagine what goes through the bridge as a symbol of my home. back, about midspan,Wobber turned to his new friend, handed him his coat the mind of a person on their final Protecting the bridge from terrorist and vest and said “well this is as far as I seconds of life before that violent is both an honor and a privilege. impact. How bad and painful must go” he then climbed over the rail.The Patrolling California Highway 101 and their life be to want to end it in such professor was stunned. He grabbed the bridge district is a gift.The area and a cold and haunting way? I accept Wobber by the belt but just couldn’t the views are unique and breathtaking; the responsibility of being someone’s hold on to him. He lost his grip and it is by far one of the most beautiful last hope, I welcome it, I was born his new friend fell to his death. places on earth.Yet as beautiful to do this. I sometimes have to take Wobber was a patient at the as it is, there is also a dark side to immediate action in order to save a Veterans Hospital in Menlo Park, the bridge. It is the most popular life and the results are something I Calif. He had been diagnosed with place in the world for suicides. have to live with. Injured and lost souls “Non Compos Mentis” a term in My partners and I spend a large find their way to the bridge to end Latin meaning mentally incapable part of our shift looking for suspected their pain; we are here to stop them. of handling one’s own affairs, of victims of suicide. Many lost souls My name is Staff Sgt. Marco Antonio plan on ending their lives here at the unsound mind.Wobber was the Flores I am a proud member of Bravo first person to commit suicide bridge, they have this idea that it is a Company 2nd of the 415th Infantry, from the Golden Gate Bridge. glorious death.They believe that they 95th Training Division (IET). I am a How many souls have been lost at will disappear into the horizon and Drill Sergeant. I have served in the the bridge since then? I don’t think end all the pain. But the reality is that Army, National Guard and Army anyone knows the actual number, it is a cold, bloody and painful death Reserve for a total of 15 years with but I do know that the bridge has that sometimes doesn’t end so fast. one deployment and some breaks in claimed more lives than the Titanic My partners and I take our jobs 2/415th Inf., 95th Training Division (IET)

Staff Sgt. Marco Antonio Flores is a proud drill sergeant of Bravo Company 2nd of the 415th Infantry, 95th Training Division (IET). Courtesy photo

seriously; we know that we are the last hope for many of these lost souls.We do an awesome job of finding these people and helping them in their most desperate time of need. Many times we talk them back over the rail, sometimes we just wait for them to make a mistake then we reach down quickly, grab them and pull them back to safety. Unfortunately, we can’t save all of them and we have seen many of them fall to their death. I am proud to say that my partners and I have saved hundreds of lives through the years.When you do this for a living you get really good at it, you get like a sixth sense of who is there to hurt themselves. It’s really weird but I can tell by the look in their eyes if they are there to jump. I have been a member of the Golden Gate Bridge Patrol since August, 2002 and since then 61 lives and 61 souls have been saved by the grace of God and by my hand.


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 29

From the Command Chief Warrant Officer... There is a hand waiting for you. Reach out and take hold of it.

By Chief Warrant Officer Karen Kay Command Chief Warrant Officer 108th Training Command (IET)

We are all familiar with physical endurance - resiliency. It’s part of a Soldier’s way of life and is nestled in our core competencies.

The APFT is a test of our physical endurance. In as much, we have all experienced muscle failure. In fact, when building our physical resilience, we train in a cycle of muscle failure, rest, repeat the exercise. We recognize muscle failure as part of a process and necessary to achieve muscular strength. I find it interesting that the same principles are mirrored in psychological resiliency. Wikipedia states,“Psychological resilience is an individual’s tendency to cope with stress and adversity. This coping may result in the individual “bouncing back” to a previous state of normal functioning, or simply not showing negative effects. Resilience is most commonly understood as a process, and not a trait of an individual. A third, more controversial conception of resilience is sometimes referred to as ‘post-traumatic growth’ or ‘steeling effects’ wherein the experience of adversity leads to better functioning (much like an inoculation gives one

the capacity to cope well with future exposure to disease).“ I don’t know who to give credit to for the following analogy because I received it in an email from a friend. But I believe it’s relevant. “A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’... She fooled them all ....“How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied,“The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued,“and that’s the way it is with stress.”

If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night.... Pick them up tomorrow.” I would like to take a couple of steps beyond this analogy and remind you of three things when you feel overwhelmed, burdened or “this close” to falling: (1) You are not alone. (2) You don’t have to carry the burden by yourself. Even in physical training, you have a “spotter” who will take the weight so it’s OK to ask for help. (3) You are “this close” to making it through whatever situation or circumstance. There is a hand waiting for you. Reach out and take hold of it.


30 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Army Reserve changes commanders By Mitch Meador The Lawton Constitution, Staff Writer

Command of the Army Reserve’s 95th Division passed from Brig. Gen. A. Ray Royalty to Col. Daniel J. Christian in a ceremony here Saturday. The 95th Division headquarters is in the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Fort Sill, but it has brigades in four states and a presence in 28 of the 50 states. The four brigades are in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Washington state and 1st Brigade, 95th Division, which is also headquartered here. The overall mission of the 95th Division is to produce drill sergeants to support Training and Doctrine Command’s training operations, particularly basic training, and to support contingency missions overseas, according to Capt. Philip Thrash, secretary of the general staff. “We have folks in Saudi Arabia right now. We also have ongoing missions at Fort Bliss, (Texas,) and other installations outside of Fort Sill. We have some upcoming Fort Sill missions in February through September of the coming year,”Thrash said. During those months, the 95th Division will supply augmentees to the 434th Field Artillery Brigade’s basic training battalions to serve as drill sergeants.The Army Reservists will serve two weeks each as their annual training. Christian has served in the Army Reserve for 32 years. Originally from Albany, N.Y., he was commissioned in 1981. Upon earning his bachelor of science degree in computer and information sciences from Niagara University, N.Y., in 1985, he was recognized as a distinguished military graduate. His civilian business experience spans multiple Fortune 500 companies. He currently lives in Dothan, Ala., where he’s vice president of the information technology organization for AAA Cooper Transportation, a national transportation carrier in the U.S. and international territories. Christian and his wife, Donna,

have two sons.The younger, Brian, was able to make the ceremony, but the elder, 2nd Lt. Anthony Christian, was iced in at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he is following in his father’s footsteps by attending the MP Basic Officer Leader Course. “This is clearly a monumental moment both in my career as a soldier and as an officer,” Christian said.“It is indeed an honor and a privilege to be assigned to this unit. It is clearly a prestigious unit and very well known with the training division ranks.” In August, he got the opportunity to identify which units he would like to be assigned to, ranking them from one to seven, and this was his No. 1 choice.

Remembering Peter Molineaux Christian shared a personal story from his time in Iraq. In January 2005, while recruiting Iraqis for the Iraqi National Army, he encountered a bright, articulate young man named Capt. Peter Molineaux, who came from a well-to-do family in the D.C. area, was on track to become a Special Forces officer and had just completed his initial training. “One of the initial questions I asked Peter was,‘What on earth are you doing here?’” Christian said. Molineaux had volunteered for the assignment, and his response was,“This is the right thing for me to do.This is where I needed to be.” On Aug. 8 of that year, they had just wrapped up a raid on a village after a very long day.They were exhausted from 100-degree weather and were heading back to base camp when Molineaux approached Christian and offered to take the rear humvee position, which was typically Christian’s position as commander. Molineaux insisted, and Christian asked why. “In his typical humble, unselfish fashion,‘Everybody’s tired.This is where I need to be. Don’t worry about it.’ So we wrapped up, we took off, and en route back to our forward operating base, Peter’s humvee was directly hit. “Peter and four of his brothers were seriously injured that day.

Col. Daniel Christian receives the division flag from Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser as part of the ceremonial passing of the colors from the outgoing commander, Brig. Gen. A. Ray Royalty. Army photo

And he was medevac’ed. I tell you the story because of Peter’s selfless service and personal courage and everything he had done.To this day, when I wear that uniform, I think of Peter Molineaux. “I continue to serve with Peter on my mind, making sure that I do all the right things and I do them well. So I’m happy to tell you Peter is doing fine. He’s in graduate school (in the D.C. area) and is enjoying everything he’s doing today,” Christian said.

Changing operating environment Christian went on to talk about the changing operating environment and how to position the 95th Division for future success. Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser, commanding general of the 108th Training Command, recognized Royalty’s daughter, Morgan; his father, retired 1st Sgt. Dan Royalty, a Korean and Vietnam war veteran, and great-uncle, Jack McCoy, also a Korean war veteran, among those in attendance. Royalty’s wife,Teena, was unable to attend for health reasons. “Today we say thanks to a commander who has done so much to strengthen our forces and help keep our nation safe

and strong.There’s no doubt that Ray Royalty and his team have done an outstanding job in positioning the 95th Training Division as an enduring part of the overall operational force within the Army Reserve,” she said. On Royalty’s watch, the 95th Division deployed soldiers to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and executed a wide variety of roles in the continental U.S. — providing trainers and advisers, supporting NATO’s mission of training the Afghan National Security Forces, advising the highest levels of the Afghan National Army and supporting the Afghan National Military Academy. Under his leadership, the 95th Division has shifted focus to future operations by supporting humanitarian missions and exercises within U.S. Southern Command and U.S.Africa Command. Royalty bade an emotional farewell to the 95th and thanked all of those who have mentored and supported him, including his father, his daughter, Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Hill and Maj. Gen. Mark McDonald, commanding general of Fort Sill and the Fires Center of Excellence.


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 31

From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander...

By Col. (P) Daniel J. Christian Commanding, 95th Training Division (IET)

Soldiers and Warriors of the 95th Training Division, I want to thank you for the warm welcome to the 95th Training Division, The Iron Men of Metz Family. I am very humble to follow in the path of Brig. Gen. A. Ray Royalty, a true warrior that has clearly carved out a viable and strong path for the Division. His stewardship and leadership will be big shoes to fill for a second time. As I come into command, the

Army is undergoing significant changes that arguably will, if not already, affect our operations and how we provide to the training base. Budget constraints, restructuring reviews, and the end of the war in Afghanistan will have an effect on our future operations. While we do not have deep clarity on those effects, we are certain that as a division, we are strong, very capable, and able to engage in the changes in the coming future. As I view the changes, this is the time to create the vision for the division for the next five years. One option is to allow change to occur around us and wait for the dust to settle or the preferred option is to shape the desired outcome and transform the division through the changes. As we move forward, undoubtedly there will be some ambiguity and uncertainty, don’t let this hold us back from doing things right and doing the right things. As Ray and I talked during the transition, the division is set up for success and has extremely talented officers, NCO’s and drill sergeants to achieve mission requirements now and into the future. I feel very confident coming into command the Soldiers in the command are

some of the best the training command has to offer. I would like to take just a moment to thank the Soldiers of the 95th for their continued support as I come into command. Just as importantly, our success as Soldiers is largely predicated on the Families that support our passion to serve. So, a sincere thank you to the Families and friends that support our desire to serve this Republic. Ray, my brother, I cannot thank you enough for your continued mentorship, support and guidance as I come into command. Your tutelage and friendship truly stand out as among one of the best officers I have had the pleasure to work with over as many years. I wish you continued success as you slide into the deputy commanding general position in the 108th Training Command. They are receiving one of America’s finest and will be well served by your balanced view and unyielding ability to see the battlefield. Hooah brother. Over the coming months, I will be visiting many of the units spread across the 95th area of operations. I look forward to meeting the great Soldiers in the command, understanding the

“Over the coming months, I will be visiting many of the units spread across the 95th area of operations.” mission sets and how we are attacking some of the operational challenges we face. I’d like to reiterate some of my comments during the change of command. That is, our success is predicated on routinizing some of the metrics we spend hours managing. Things like evaluations come to mind. By routinizing, I mean to say completing them as part of our normal operations in lieu of spending numerous hours focusing on this one target. By doing so, we free up time to focus on operational requirements in order to prepare for mission. In closing, again thank you for welcoming me and my Family to the 95th team. Hooah!!


32 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

95th JAG Receives Award from his Peers By Maj. Jennifer K. Mack 95th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the 95th Training Division (IET) at Fort Sill, Okla., has received the 2013 Professional Advocate Award for Prosecutor by the Criminal Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA). Lt. Col. Robert Don Gifford, an

Army Reserve Officer, received the award on November 17 for his work as a federal prosecutor in Oklahoma City where he serves as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the Western District of Oklahoma. Gifford prosecutes criminal cases with a focus on human trafficking crimes. In a letter to Gifford announcing his selection, OBA

Chairperson, Charles S. Rogers said,“As you may know, only criminal defense attorneys may nominate and only criminal defense attorneys may elect persons to receive this award. We believe that this makes the award a very special recognition from your peers.” Upon being nominated by the defense bar as the “prosecutor of

the year,” Gifford said,“To receive recognition from your colleagues is a privilege, but to receive it from what is sometime considered your adversaries is an honor.” In addition to his roles as JAG and AUSA, Gifford serves as a tribal court judge for the Kaw Nation Tribal Court and is an adjunct law professor at The University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Robert Don Gifford, second from right is an Army Reserve Officer who recently received the 2013 Professional Advocate Award for Prosecutor by the Criminal Law Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association for his work as a federal prosecutor in Oklahoma City where he serves as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. Photo by Maj. Jennifer K. Mack, 95th Training Division (IET), Public Affairs


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 33

Civilian Lawyers Learn Military Law Maj. Jennifer K. Mack 95th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) used movie night showing the film A Few Good Men to teach military law to civilians. Following the movie, a panel of military lawyers including Lt. Col. Robert Don Gifford, 95th Training Division (IET) judge advocate general answered questions for attendees. Oklahoma Bar Association began its military/veteran law section in November 2011. Gifford who serves as chairperson said the “purpose is to provide training, education, and awareness issues of service members, their Families, and Veterans that civilian attorneys can assist in.There are many issues that range from Military Justice to Family law issues to voting rights that are simply not taught in law schools.” By hosting the continuing legal education on Military Law, the OBA hopes to teach civilian attorneys about military justice and the needs of service members, whether active, guard, or reserve, said Gifford. Lawyers join the military/veteran law section because they have an interest in military and Veteran’s issues. Gifford said networking, education, and continued service to our service members,Veterans, and

their Families is a priority for the lawyers who join the section. The panel discussed differences and similarities with the military and civilian judicial systems. Lawyers even learned about Veteran’s court, a state court system operated in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. It’s a diversion program to work with Vets who get into trouble and whose troubles may stem from their service – PTSD, self-medication, alcohol, etc.,” said Gifford. For more information on Oklahoma and Tulsa County Veteran’s Court, please visit the following websites: http://www.oklahomacounty. org/departments/districtattorney/ Veterans.aspx http://www.csctulsa.org/content. php?p=42

Lt. Col. Robert Don Gifford, an Army Reserve officer, kicks off the Oklahoma Bar Association’s movie night showing “A Few Good Men” followed by a panel discussion with lawyers who have served in various branches of the military. Attendees had the opportunity to learn differences and similarities within the military and civilian judicial systems. Photos by Maj. Jennifer Mack, 95th Training Division (IET), Public Affairs


34 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

3rd Bn/ 415th Regt/ 95th Training Division (IET) Holds Best Warrior Competition

left to right) Sgt. Candice Beebe and Spec. Casey Briggsculver demonstrated their knowledge of weapons assembly and function checks. Photo by Warrant Officer Hannah Hill, 3rd Bn/425th Regt., 95th Training Division (IET)

By Warrant Officer Hannah Hill 3rd Bn/ 425th Regt., 95th Training Division (IET)

SPOKANE, Wash.— On Nov. 22, 2013, the 3rd Bn/ 415th Regt. held its annual Best Warrior Competition

(BWC). Six Soldiers participated in the competition. Events included a formal board,Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), essay, and written exam. Competitors also demonstrated their knowledge of weapons assembly and function checks on the M260 Rocket Launcher, M249 SAW, M16, and M9.

Events included a formal board; (front row, left to right) 1st Sgt. Darin Morgan, 1st Sgt. Raymond Stack, 1st Sgt. Steven Malubay, Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Huston, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Engles (acting 1st Sgt.), 1st Sgt. Walter Castilleja (Second row) Sgt. 1st Class Michael Blackwood. Photo by Warrant Officer Hannah Hill, 3rd Bn/425th Regt., 95th Training Division (IET)

The winner of the Drill Sergeant of the Year (DSOY) competition was Staff Sgt.Timothy Schneidmiller. The first place winner of the Non-commissioned officer of the Year (NCOY) was Staff Sgt. Kyle Drube and second place was awarded to Sgt. Krista Finnicum. “Our battalion has a tradition of

putting forth some of the best NCOs and drill sergeants to compete in the BWC,” said Drube.“It is such an honor to be selected to represent this battalion.” Winners will be representing the 3rd Bn at the 2nd Bde/ 95th Training Division competition in Fort Huachuca, Ariz. on 5-8 February 2014.


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 35

NRA/CMP National Championship M1 Garand Match By Staff Sgt. Frank C. Petricone B Co. Det. 3 1st/391st 3rd Brigade 104th Training Division (LT)

CAMP PERRY, Ohio — At 0500 on the 2nd of August 2013, I departed for Camp Perry. Six hours and 342 miles later, I rolled through the main gate. There is a laundry list of things that must be done when a competitor descends upon the hallowed grounds of marksmanship: shooter registration, receive score cards, name stickers and range road and U.S. military trailers information packet. My trigger pull needed to be weighed and it had to pick up 4.5 lbs.There is a vendors/commercial row; a whole street lined with stores that have just about everything a competitive marksman could want or ask for. Stopping at the post logistics office, because the Ohio National Guard runs the post, is where my barracks are requested every year. I reserve and pay for the use of one squad bay with 25 beds and 25 wall lockers for $7.00 per day for 15 days in order to cover the two weeks of basic rifle matches. The N.Y. Military Forces Rifle Team has a good report with the Ohio National Guard. There is a cash dining facility on post serving for all three meals. A sack lunch can even be purchased to take with you out on the range. The food is good and portions are generous. Being that it was Friday it was fish night and they have good battered fried perch. The last thing was to get settled into the barracks and make ready for the next day’s match.The rain outside was coming down in buckets when I hit the sheets at 2100. My only hope was that it would stop by morning.

3 August 2013 After running across the street to grab a quick breakfast, I make one more sweep of my equipment ensuring I have everything needed for the day. It takes about 20 minutes to walk to the range from the barracks. This morning we are greeted with a fog so thick you can part it with a wave of your hand.The start of the match will be

Staff Sgt. Frank C. Petricone, B Co. Det. 3 1st/391st 3rd Brigade 104th Training Division (LT), placed 10th out of 1108 competitors missing the top score of 292-11X by five points. Courtesy photo

Staff Sgt. Frank C. Petricone, B Co. Det. 3 1st/391st 3rd Brigade 104th Training Division (LT), had some minor last minute things to do; load clips for the match (two round and eight round clips are needed plus extras of the same) and to fill out the pages of his shooter’s data book (also called a journal). Courtesy photo

held up waiting for this to burn off. I have to report to the 300 yard line to receive my target and relay assignment.The time is 0600. My target is 21 and the relay is the first of four. I have always liked to shoot first in a match. This range has 150 firing points, the next range over… 95, and all ranges side by side are just about a mile.The range that we are on today goes back to 1000 yards. I have some minor last minute things to do; load my clips for the match (two round and eight round clips are needed plus extras of the same) and to fill out the pages of my shooter’s data book (also called a journal). It lets me look back to previous matches for information that may give me a better starting point for my sights and what I might need to avoid making a mistake. At 0800, relay three & four are orderd to the pits. Once the pits are sealed, relay one is called to the firing line. Our preperation time will begin in two minutes. Preptime starts. Having my gear on and set up, I can dry fire on the target. The first stage of fire is the prone slow fire. I must fire five sighting shots and 10 shots for record in a time limit of 15 minutes. Relay two is directly behind me with his spotting scope and my score card to record my shot value for each shot. My score for the fist stage is a 98-5x. The two nine’s were due to poor sight picture. The sighting shots are numbered as ones, twos, ect.The shots for record are numbered in the order they were fired.The numbers are placed as close as possible on the page to the location on the target. The next stage of the match is the standing to prone rapid fire.You must fire 10 shots for record in a time limit of 70 seconds. Starting in the standing position, on command from the tower, two rounds are loaded and close the bolt.When the targets appear, drop down into a prone position, rack the bolt (chamber a round) and commence

firing. I fired the first two, reloaded with the next eight and took a quick look thru the scope to see where my first two shots went. I had a shot in the ten ring and one in the x ring. I then fired the next eight shots, feeling the sight picture lossen up a bit towards the end. That would explain the low shots in the nine ring and the one in the eight ring. My score for this stage was 95-2x.

Rapid fire is all about timing. It has to be practiced, so that shots are spaced out thru the 70 seconds. My low shots were a result of feeling the time passing by and still knowing I had more shots left in the rifle. I rushed the shot’s, plain and simple ! The final stage of the match is the standing slow fire, firing 10 shots see CHAMPIONSHIP page 36


36 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Championship Cont’d from page 35

in 10 minutes with the target pulled and marked after each shot. This is the hardest part of the match. You can not waste time trying to make the shot perfect and you hope the target pullers are on their game. I was able to hold all but one shot in the aiming black of the target. My score for this stage was a 95-2x. The final score was a 288-9X, a personal best with the M1 Garand. Now I became the score keeper for the second relay. Once he completed his match and turned in our score cards, we were off to the pitts to pull

targets for the third and fourth relay’s. During the course of the match it is not uncommon for the target puller’s to take an occasional dirt bath. This happens when the shooter on the line is having a bad day ! Once relay three & four have completed their match, pitts are opened and we all report back to the tent at the 300 yard line to receive the match t-shirt and the awarding of medal’s.A bronze medal is awarded for a score of 262 to 271, silver is for 272 too 279 and 280 to 300 receives a gold. My score of 288-9X was a gold medal. The final results of the days firing are posted in the stat shack at the back of the range around 1900. After the evening meal, a few of us that had already fired, walked over to look at the results. I placed 10th out of 1108 competitors missing the top score of 292-11X by five points. The margin for error can be small but the results are great. We are all cursed by this.

4 August 2013 Wake up, pack up my gear, load the gear into my truck, and help with some of the barracks clean up on my final day here. After saying my good bye’s and wishing those staying behind good luck in their remaining matches, I make plans for another return to Camp Perry next year with some of my former team mates from the National Guard Rifle Team. I have competed in matches at Camp Perry since 1993, without missing a year. My personal thanks go out to all who supported me and allowed me to compete this year at Camp Perry. Thank you.


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 37

What do Tony the Tiger and the Soldiers from the 1-334th Battalion have in common? BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — They all proudly displayed their stripes during the Battalion Dining Out that was held at Kellogg’s Headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich. Soldiers of the 1-334th from Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin gathered for the annual Field Training Exercise at Fort Custer, Mich. It was fitting that on Armed Forces Day – May 18th, 2013, members of KVets and Supporters Employee Resource Group of Kellogg’s hosted the Battalion Dining Out event. The President of the Mess, Lt. Col. Philip Churchill, Battalion Commander of the 1-334th Training Support Battalion, presided over the evening filled with tradition and honor. Guests of honor included Brig. Gen. Kurt Hardin, Division Commander of the 104th Training Division (LT), and Col. Roderick Bridgewaters, 1st Brigade Commander of the 104th Training Division (LT). Guest speaker KVets cochair Jason Stewart, Senior Director East Region Accounts, underscored Kellogg’s support of military service and Veterans during a speech to all attendees in the headquarters auditorium. Don Voss, Executive Vice President and General Manager,Acosta Sales and Marketing, also spoke and introduced keynote speaker Jeremiah Pauley. Pauley, a representative of the Wounded Warrior Project, shared his personal story of his service in Iraq and his journey that followed.

It was a unique partnership of a U. S.Army Reserve unit and a Fortune 500 company (Kellogg ranks #192) for this type of military ceremony. The military appreciates and applauds the support of Kellogg. The 1-334th Battalion, headquartered in Milwaukee,Wis., provides qualified instructors for the Leadership Development Assessment Course (LDAC), as well as providing administrative support to Army Training Centers that manages, plans and sustains specific Training Support System (TSS) programs, products and services.

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38 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

ESGR - A National Voice for the Guard and Reserve Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). By any measurable standard, a noble business objective of support for those enduring the most hardship and sacrifice in securing the freedoms we cherish as a nation. But for ESGR, more than an objective, it is our dedicated mission. Celebrating 41 years of service in support of Guard and Reserve component members, ESGR is an office of the U.S. Department of Defense. Created during the Vietnamera debate over military draft, it was established to accommodate the armed forces transition to an all voluntary force. Since then, ESGR has become a mainstay in promoting cooperation and understanding between our nation’s citizen-warriors and their civilian employers. Every state, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, GuamCNMI, and the U.S.Virgin Islands, has an ESGR operational committee. These 54 committees provide a ready reserve of nearly 5000 volunteers to support the ESGR mission, to include the employment challenges of Guard and Reserve service members. Since World War II, federal legislation has existed to protect the civilian employment rights of those serving in the military during time of war.The current Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) continues that protection of the civilian employment rights for those serving in the Guard and Reserve. Simply said, USERRA prohibits discriminatory, punitive or unlawful action against any member of the Guard or Reserve because of their performance of uniformed military service. Nor can they be denied employment or terminated from their employment because of that service. But USERRA is also recognition that the nation’s employers are important national defense allies. It is the existence of civilian employment that enables many to remain an active and integral part of the critical strategic role played by today’s Guard and Reserve. While the employer experiences of most ESGR volunteers is overwhelmingly positive, even the most patriotic workplace can find

the short or long-term absence of employees, particularly those with the quality skills provided by Guard or Reserve employees, to be disruptive to their workplace. Even so, most employers want to do the right thing in supporting our military forces, and ESGR stands ready to assist them in doing so. But rights and responsibilities are rarely a one-way street, and ESGR works with both service members and their employers to educate them about their mutual obligations under federal law. What does ESGR do for you? Here is a brief sampling of support activities provided by ESGR volunteers:

ESGR Ombudsman Service Federal law clearly defines the lawful rights, duties and responsibilities of both employer and employee related to uniformed military service. ESGR is delegated the responsibility, upon a service member filing of an employment-related complaint, to attempt mediation between employer and employee of any uniformed service-related employment dispute. Such mediations are intended to do two things: resolve the underlying dispute, and preserve, even enhance the employment relationship. Though not all mediation attempts are successful, most are satisfactorily resolved. If the dispute is not settled, an ESGR volunteer will advise the service member of additional no-cost options that may later result in resolution.

ESGR Sponsored Education All Guard and Reserve units are obliged to receive an annual USERRA briefing, and often it is presented by an ESGR volunteer. In addition, ESGR provides briefs for units prior to federal mobilization and upon return from that service. Likewise, ESGR works closely with employers to educate them about uniformed service-related issues in the workplace, including guaranteed service member protections under federal law. In addition to volunteer provided information, the ESGR website is a virtual USERRA library resource for both service members and employers.

ESGR Employer Relationship Enhancement Nationally, fewer community, business and governmental leaders have prior uniformed military service. After World War II, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population had participated in military service, but that rate today has dropped to less than one-half of one percent. In other words, the burden of defending the nation has fallen upon an increasingly smaller segment of the population. At the same time, some contend this greatly reduced prior service population has less fundamental understanding or awareness of the critical necessity to the nation played by those voluntarily enduring the hardship, sacrifice and demands of uniformed military service.And more, perhaps they do not recognize the great value that service returns to their business place. ESGR sponsors employer learning events through “Briefing with the boss” or “Breakfast with the boss.” These unique events bring employers to unit or other suitable spaces, where they have the opportunity to hear, learn and see first-hand the importance of that military service to the nation and their workplace. ESGR also sponsors “Bosslifts,” both in-state and out-of-state, where employers are taken to military training sites, often in military resources, to observe the training of their employee. Believe it or not, enjoying an MRE meal may be part of the adventure for many participants. Few employers come away unimpressed by what they have seen.The overwhelming majority return to the workplace with a newfound pride in and appreciation for the value provided by their Guard or Reserve employee.

ESGR Employer Awards As another unique opportunity to enhance the employer-employee relationship, ESGR sponsors a variety of employer awards. For nomination by Guard or Reserve service members, these awards include the Patriot Award (awarded to an individual or supervisor); Seven Seals Award;Above and Beyond Award (for employers who provide support to their employee beyond that required by USERRA); Pro Patria Award (highest award bestowed by a State ESGR Committee); and the Freedom Award (highest award presented by the Defense Department to an employer for their support of a Guard and/or Reserve employee). Nominating Guard or Reserve members may choose to personally present Patriot Award certificates or request a more formal presentation by an ESGR volunteer. With so many opportunities, if you are not nominating your employer or supervisor for some level of award, you are strongly urged to consider doing so.A nomination, while seemingly a small gesture, often reaps the nominating employee long-term employer gratitude and support.

ESGR Employment Support In 2011, the Employment Initiative Program unveiled Hero to Hired (H2H), a comprehensive employment program for Guard and Reserve service members.This online program is free to service members, veterans and employers. ESGR is a primary sponsor of, and advocate for the Hero 2 Hired (H2H) program, specifically tailored to meet the employment needs of Guard and Reserve forces. Funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, H2H provides case management support for any participating Guard and Reserve service member.This no-cost employment opportunity includes nearly 18,000 employers, offering approximately 3.4 million jobs to Guard and Reserve members (and spouses), active duty military, or veterans. For more information, visit www.H2H.jobs.

ESGR Statements of Support As an employer outreach initiative, ESGR volunteers solicit the nation’s employers in every state to sign a Statement of Support as a way to gain and maintain employer support for the Guard and Reserve. In 1972, General Motors was the first U.S. business to sign a Statement of Support. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of U.S. employers, large and small, public and private, have signed a similar Statement of Support. This informative document, suitable for framing, is intended to increase employer support by encouraging them to act as advocates for employee participation in the military. Proudly displayed in offices across the nation, wherever you call home, there are supportive employers who are proud signers of a Statement of Support.

A Voice for the Guard and Reserve Regardless of the setting, ESGR volunteers are a local, state and national voice for the Guard and Reserve.Though most ESGR volunteers are prior service, many volunteers have no prior military service. But the thread that unites all ESGR volunteers is a passion to support those serving our nation in the Guard or Reserve. Leading the way, commanders and senior NCO’s are urged take such action as necessary to ensure that every member of their command knows the identity of their ESGR contact or how to obtain that information. Even more, urge every command member to nominate a supervisor or employer for one of the ESGR awards noted above. ESGR is prepared to support your warriors. To learn more about ESGR, what we do, and the support we provide to the Guard and Reserve, go to our website at the following address: www.esgr.mil.


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 39

3rd Bn/ 415th Regt/ 95th Division (IET) Changes Command By Warrant Officer Hannah Hill 3rd Bn/425th Regt., 95th Training Division (IET)

SPOKANE, Wash. — Maj. Ryan Smith of Spokane,Wash. took command 23 November 2013 of the U.S. Army Reserve 3rd Battalion 415th Regiment 95th Training Division (IET). Smith replaces Lt. Col. Gita Velu who commanded the unit since November 2011. “I feel really honored to have served with the group of top-notch Soldiers who comprise the 3rd/ 415th. The battalion will be left in Smith’s very capable hands,” said Velu The brigade’s previous commander, Lt. Col. Jonathon Litton, attended the ceremony. Smith takes over responsibility for a drill sergeant battalion with approximately 100 members. In civilian life, Smith is the Scenario & Operations Chief for the SCTC Program at the Stanford Research Institute. He and his wife Kristin, have two children, Katelyn and Ashlyn.

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40 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Salute to Veterans By Mrs. Deborah Williams 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Originally a day honoring the close of World War I, this Veterans Day marks the 95th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I, for which President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Armistice Day in 1919. With a proclamation by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954, the armistice signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, November 11, became Veterans Day, a national holiday honoring all U.S.Veterans. Today, it is celebrated around the country with parades, wreathlaying ceremonies and special deals for Veterans at many restaurants and other businesses. Organized by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services,Veterans Services Office, and the Carolinas Freedom Foundation, the 20th Annual US Airways “Salute to Veterans” Parade was held November 9, 2013 in Uptown Charlotte. More than 2,000 observers were expected to line the parade route stretching down Tryon Street and ending near Stonewall Street. There were local middle and high school bands, the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program units, antique cars, floats and Veteran organizations. The parade showcased military units, to include the 108th Training Command (IET), 95th Training Division (IET) and 98th Training Division (IET) Soldiers and drill sergeants. Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser, commanding general, 108th

Training Command (IET), marched in front of the Color Guard as the Grand Marshall.As the Color Guard moved down the street, they were highly visible inspiring Veterans and civilians along the route to stand and render honors. “Every Soldier understood they were representing past, present and future Veterans of our country,” said Lt. Col.Timothy D. Forrest, battalion commander, 1-518th Regiment (BCT),Asheville, N.C. The annual “Salute to Veterans” Parade also coincides with the Carolinas Freedom Foundations’ Freedom Breakfast, highlighted by the presentation of the Freedom Award and a swearingin ceremony for new citizens. To honor those who serve, more than 700 Veterans, sponsors and guests gather annually for the Freedom Breakfast. Each year, the Carolina Freedom Foundation presents its prestigious Freedom Award to an individual or group that distinguished themselves by serving our country and its citizens selflessly, and with total dedication to further the cause of freedom. In addition, all Veterans of all wars who died defending America are honored by a wreath-laying ceremony at the square. There are many ways to salute the service of these noble men and women. Say thanks today but don’t forget that many Veterans need much more. On all the other days, we must provide it.There are 22 million Veterans living today with more than 765,900 – 570,400 living in North Carolina that served during wartime and over 130,000 living here in the Charlotte area.

As the Color Guard moved down the street, they were highly visible inspiring Veterans and civilians along the route to stand and render honors. Photo by Mrs. Deborah Williams, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

To honor those who serve, more than 700 Veterans, sponsors and guests gather annually for the Freedom Breakfast. Photo by Mrs. Deborah Williams, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs

There were local middle and high school bands, the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program units, antique cars, floats and Veteran organizations. Photo by Mrs. Deborah Williams, 108th Training Command (IET), Public Affairs


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 41

Army Reserve Drill Sergeants bring ‘Army Strong’ to World’s Toughest Mudder Competition

These Army Reserve Drill Sergeants joined nearly six-dozen of their fellow citizen-Soldiers to support the World’s Toughest Mudder competitors.

By Sgt. Salvatore Ottaviano 99th Regional Support Command

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. — When the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 385th Regiment was tasked to provide drill sergeants to support the World’s Toughest Mudder event here Nov. 15-17, they were asked to offer “kinder, gentler” motivation to event competitors. But whether high-fiving a Tough Mudder participant or making an Army recruit crawl five meters through the mud, the mission of these drill sergeants remains unchanged – to help young men and women push themselves past their limits in order to build physical strength and stamina, increase self-confidence and self-worth, and foster mental and emotional resiliency. “We’re here to help people figure out what they can and can’t do,” said Staff Sgt. Diego Cruz from Lodi, N.J. “[When drilling Soldiers] we’re there to break them down a little bit and help them see what they can and can’t accomplish – basically, to push them past what they thought they can do. “It’s the same thing here; there’s a lot of confidence building, it’s a lot about pushing see MUDDER page 42


42 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Mudder

Cont’d from page 41

yourself, especially since it’s a 24-hour event,” he added. These Army Reserve Drill Sergeants joined nearly sixdozen of their fellow citizenSoldiers to support the World’s Toughest Mudder competitors as they attempted to complete

the grueling five-mile obstacle course as many times as possible within a 24-hour period. “I think it’s great. It takes a lot for someone to make a decision like this because there are not a lot of people who would take the time out and run 24 hours on any event,” said Staff Sgt. Claudia Torres from Staten Island, N.Y.“To be honest, they give me the motivation to keep doing what I do because this is hard - this is definitely hard. You can see it on their faces, and they’re still going. It takes a lot.” “They’re have a good time enjoying themselves and finding out what they really can do and can’t do,” added Cruz.“You can always push your body further.Your mind is going to give up before your body is. So, you just gotta be able to keep pushing your body until you really can’t go anymore.” An instant bond seemed to form between the Toughest Mudder competitors and those Soldiers who came out to support them, as if there was an unspoken recognition of the similar experience of competing in a Tough Mudder event and, say, completing Basic Training. “We motivate them – they motivate us,” said Torres.“It’s great because everyone’s working together. As far as us being there for them, I think they really appreciate it and I appreciate being here for them, too.”


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 43

Coin Design Competition

Do you think you can create a design for the new 108th Training Command Coin? The Department of the Army is once again allowing units to purchase specialized coins to present as an impact award, and Maj. Gen. Purser is requesting the coin to be designed by someone assigned to or working for the 108th Training Command (IET) and its subordinate units. Entries will consist of a front and back design for the coin. Coins will not exceed two inches in diameter – but are not restricted to a round shape. At a minimum, the coin should be representative of the Training Command’s lineage and capabilities. Designs can be in black and white or color; however — if the final design of the coin is intended to be stamped in color, the presentation must match that final design. More details of the coin design competition will be sent out in Operation Order 01814. Designs must be submitted through the individual’s chain of command where they are forwarded for selection by a special board. Designs are due to this headquarters no later than 30 April and the award winner will be announced during the Senior Leader’s Conference in July.

ReadY foR YouR next challenGe? Gannon offers nearly 100 academic programs and we award credits for active duty as well as for courses taken while in the military. Contact the Center for Adult Learning at (814) 871-7350 or visit gannon.edu/veterans.

Gannon is a proud participant in the Yellow Ribbon program.


44 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Chaplains Corner

“Nature: To be enjoyed” By Chaplain (Maj.) T.M. Wolf Chaplain, 104th Training Division (LT)

Romans 1:20 (NLT) “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky.Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Most, if not all, of us have had times in which we’ve just basked in the beauty of nature. Natural surroundings are symbolic of God’s greatness and goodness. Enjoying nature is helpful to gain peace of mind and to increase in spiritual appreciation. Service Members are often briefed on stress management; particularly in and around deployments. One technique that many of us heard about is that taking walks alone every day

can relieve us from distress. No matter where we are, if we simply focus on the natural beauty of our surroundings, we can enjoy God’s goodness for a part of a day. I remembered this technique and applied it often during my deployments for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn… — I n Baghdad, Iraq: The DatePalm, Eucalyptus, and citrus trees; as well as the shores’

plant-life, water current and fish of the Tigris River brought peace of mind to those who chose to be optimistic long enough to enjoy their beauty in the midst of explosions and automatic weapon fire. —F  rom Al Asad to Ramadi, Hit, TQ, Fallujah and Balad Iraq: The riverside farms, fields and sandy hills along-side the great River Euphrates, the desert lakes and intermittent rows of trees, brought episodic peace in the midst of places devastated by warfare. — The beautiful beaches with deep blue water around the coastal rim of Kuwait brought tremendous relaxation to those who chose to enjoy it during down time. — The most barren desert areas of Kuwait seemed awesome, especially when a herd of camels or sheep were slowly rambling on the side of the road. — The desert foxes, wild dogs

and peculiar rodents and lizards of the Middle-East were fascinating and often therapeutic to witness. — The dark forests of Germany and the beautifully intense green of Ireland were breath-taking, after being MEDIVACed from Theater during one deployment. Although with no personal experience, Soldiers have declared that the mountains of Afghanistan and the forests of Kosovo have caused many to cry out to God in amazement. No matter where we are… there is some sort of natural beauty, even if it’s just appreciated by looking up at the ever changing sky or listening to the wind. When serving in combat… training… at home… or when holding down domestic responsibilities while your loved one is busy on the front lines… Soldiers and Family Members: Let’s take time to appreciate the Spiritual significance represented in nature during 2014. It’s good medicine.

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G3

G1 U.S. Army Reserve “Battle Buddy” App

Female Drill Sergeants (DSs) ADOS-RC tour opportunities in Support of Echo Missions TRADOC requires four female DSs for each Echo mission company increment. Currently there is a shortage of qualified female DS in the 108th Training Command (IET) to meet this requirement in an AT status alone. If you are a qualified female DS you are a candidate to volunteer for an ADOS-RC tour aligned with an Echo mission at Fort Jackson, S.C., Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and Fort Sill, Okla., where gender integrated Basic Combat Training (BCT) missions are conducted. You must meet the

Through efforts over the past several months, the Army Reserve has taken many steps to make suicide awareness and prevention even more accessible to Soldiers by developing the “Battle Buddy”App. The Army Reserve “Battle Buddy” App, released for use on iPhones, iPads and Android Smartphones is available for free download from the respective App Stores. The “Battle Buddy”App provides information and tools needed to assist in suicide intervention and other crisis situations. To download the free app, go to your free apps and search “Battle Buddy” and click on install. If you experience problems contact your carrier for instructions on how to download the app. Remember you make a difference – Pass it on!

Crisis Intervention and Other Resources • Emergency - 911 • Military Crisis Line - 1-800273-TALK (8255) - Press 1 • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (8255) • Military One Source 1-800-342-9647 • The Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) - 1-866-966-1020 • Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline - 1-800-984-8523

G3 DA Photos at Fort Jackson, S.C. You may take an official DA Photo at Fort Jackson, S.C.The office is located at Bldg. #12650. However, you MUST complete an online form before you arrive. Instruction for completing the form: VIOS INSTRUCTIONS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY.DOC DA Photo Procedure: http:// www.jackson.army.mil/sites/ garrison/pages/532 Monday - Thursday 0800-1100 1300-1500

UIC E-mail address Phone number Dates available Duty Location Desired Andrews will put you in touch with the proper Division G3 representative to facilitate your tour.

From the Equal Opportunity (EO) Office The command is rapidly trying to fill EO leader positions, E-5 (P) – 1st Lt., at battalion and below to assist commanders in carrying out the EO

Soldier’s

Gold Mine Nuggets to keep you informed

eligibility criteria for ADOS-RC tours. Listed below are the dates for the Echo missions assigned to the 108th Training Command (IET). Volunteers need not serve for the entire 10 week period. We are soliciting volunteers for one or multiple 17 day increments utilizing up to 29 days of AT first followed by the ADOS-RC tour.

FY14 Female Drill Sergeant ADOS-RC Opportunities In Support of Echo Missions

Fort Sill, Okla. Start Date End Date 24 Mar 14 30 May 14 21 Apr 14 27 Jun 14 23 Jun 14 29 Aug 14 21 Jul 14 26 Sep 14 Fort Jackson, S.C. Start Date End Date 24 Mar 14 30 May 14 28 Apr 14 3 Jul 14 23 Jun 14 28 Aug 14 28 Jul 14 2 Oct 14 15 Sept 14 20 Nov 14

Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Start Date End Date 26 Feb 14 9 May 14 28 May 14 8 Aug 14 3 Sep 14 14 Nov 14

If you are interested, contact Mr.Trent Andrews, 108th Training Command (IET) at: trent.m.andrews.civ@mail.mil with the following information: Full Name Unit (BN, BDE, Div)

program, developing a healthy climate, and ensuring fair treatment for all persons based solely on merit, fitness, and capability. If you’re interested in making a difference in your unit and filling this key position contact your chain of command and request EO leader training today. Point of contacts to coordinate training seats are: • 108th TC(IET) Master Sgt. Benson (moann.e.benson.mil@mail. mil) 704-227-2820 x 4201, • 95th DIV(IET) Lt. Col. Lora Neal (lora.l.neal.civ@mail. mil) 580-442-2759, • 98th DIV(IET) Lt. Col. Samuel Barnes (samuel.n.barnes.mil@ mail.mil) 718-629-8084, • 104th DIV(LT) Master Sgt. Michelle Damitio (michelle.l.damitio. mil@mail.mil) 253-968-7965 Provided is a schedule of course dates for this year:

Date 24-31 Jan 14 2-8 Feb 14 4-11 Feb 14 3-10 Mar 14 7-14 Apr 14 23-28 Mar 14

Location Wichita, Kansas Fort Knox, Ky. Fort Bragg, N.C. Fort Bragg, N.C. Fort Bragg, N.C. Pensacola, Fla.

Diversity Starts Here!

Internal Controls and the Managers’ Internal Control Program (MICP)

The Army Managers’ Internal Control Program (MICP) is a framework designed to ensure programs operate as intended, areas needing improvement are identified and reported, and a timely corrective action is taken. The program promotes these goals through periodic evaluation of key controls, and full disclosure of the shortcomings that were detected. Annual MICP training is an integral part of the program to ensure effectiveness, which is no different than conducting basic rifle marksmanship (BRM) preliminary marksmanship instruction (PMI) for safe and effective weapons qualification. Internal controls are the rules, procedures and mechanisms we use every day to ensure what should happen in our daily operations, does happen. Internal controls promote the wise use of resources; deter fraud, waste, and abuse; and protect our resources –our dollars, our equipment and, most importantly, our people. Rooted in our professional military ethic, the Army is a trusted institution with Soldiers and civilians committed to doing what is right in all aspects of our operations. Responsibility for good internal control rests with all Army personnel. Prompt reporting of internal control problems and the actions taken to resolve them is paramount to maintaining a strong control environment. We all have to do our part to ensure good internal controls are in place and working effectively. Should you have any questions about MICP, internal controls or training opportunities, take timeout to speak with your Command Internal Review section.


46 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Safety Awards Congratulations to the following units and individuals listed below that are the winners of the 108th Training Command (IET) Commander’s Excellence in Safety Awards for FY13. • Division Level Unit – 95th Training Division (IET) • Brigade Level Unit – 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) • Battalion Level Unit - 1-323 Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) • Company/Detachment Level Unit - A Company, 1-321st, 2nd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) • Division Level Individual –Chief Warrant Officer 4 Wilson P. Defiesta, 104th Training Division (LT) • Battalion Level Individual – Capt. Jason Taylor, Safety Officer, 3-354th Regiment, 104th Training Division (LT) Division and Brigade unit winners have been nominated for USARC Commander’s Excellence in Safety Awards. Excellence in Safety Awards presentation location(s) and date(s) TBD.

108th Training Command Victim Advocates (VA)

Victim Advocate (VA) Staff Sgt. Wanda Byrd Primary Victim Advocate (VA) Capt. Sonya Frazier Command Sexual Assault Response Coordinated (SARC) Program Manager Ms. Shirley Nottingham

Victim Advocate Master Sgt. Charlene Lynch Alternate Victim Advocate (VA) Master Sgt. Masaya Alexis

Warrant Officers 108th Training Command (IET), CCWO SharePoint View shared documents and join a team discussion https:// xtranet/Organization/MSCs/ Training/108TC(IET)/CCWO/ SitePages/Home.aspx

Warrant Officer Career College (WOCC) The focal point for US Army warrant officer professional & leader development http:// usacac.army.mil/cac2/WOCC/

Army Reserve Career

Command Alternate SARC Master Sgt. Marchantia Johnson

Management Office (ARCD) To support you in taking the correct steps in your career development and provide readily available information http://stayarmyreserve. army.mil/cmo/cmo.html

Army Career Tracker (ACT) A single career management tool that will help you to: See, Understand,Act https://actnow. army.milMs. Nottingham

Victim Advocate (VA) Master Sgt. Moann Benson

SHARP Taking care of victims of sexual assault is a key component of SHARP.As part of victim advocacy, the Army already has sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates. Now, these personnel and others will undergo enhanced screening to ensure that those most qualified for the position are filling the critical roles as the front-line support for a Soldier who has been violated.“We’re trying to create an environment where, if something does occur, that victim will feel very comfortable in reporting it.”

Safe Help Line Contact Information Safe Helpline (1-877-995-5247) Website: www.safehelpline.org Sexual assault victimes can contact the DOD Safe Helping by calling 877995-5247; texting their location or zip code to 55-247 within CONUS or 202-470-5546 OCONUS; or online chat with a counselor at 222. safehelpline.org 24 hours a day.

Victim Advocate (VA) Sgt. 1st Class Tamera Wynn

USAR DoD Safe Help Line Numbers 81st RSC Fort Jackson 803-724-0262 803-751-9903 (duty hours non-emergency) 108th Training Command (IET) 704-496-3961 704-227-2820 ext. 2374 (duty hours non-emergency) 95th Division SARC Sgt. 1st Class Dionn Cato 580-442-2951 Alternate: Not Assigned 98th Division SARC Sgt. 1st Class John Riviere 706-626-3141 585-683-8930 Alternate: Sgt. 1st Class Leon Lester 706-626-3034 104th Division SARC Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Drummond Alternate: Col. Judy Roberson W: 253-968-7958 BB: 360-713-4375 108th Training Command SHARP Team


THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 47

Do you want to be a Unit Public Affairs Representative? As the 108th Training Command (IET) continues to grow, it will be difficult for the Public Affairs Staff to visit each brigade, battalion and company to cover news events. Public Affairs is the responsibility of commanders and Soldiers alike. The PAO is kicking off the Unit Public Affairs Program (UPAR), which will allow any Soldier to be the additional eyes and ears for your unit and the PAO. By volunteering you will assume the duties of UPAR as an additional duty. Do you enjoy taking pictures? Do you enjoy writing? As a Unit Pub-

lic Affairs Representative (UPAR) you will take pictures of newsworthy events and submit them along with stories to your Division Public Affairs Officer for review and possible submission in The Griffon, as well as your division web site.

Are You? •F  amiliar with your organization • I ndependent and dependable • Able to communicate well

Are you able to? • Publicize unit participation in community projects or activities.

• Serve as the public affairs point of contact for your unit. • Maintain contact with the 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs Office Soldiers should contact their division Public Affairs Officer for additional info: • 95th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs Officer – Maj. Jennifer Mack jennifer.k.mack3.mil@mail.mil

• 104th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs Officer – Maj. Alex Johnson alex.l.johnson.mil@mail.mil Or contact Mrs. Deborah Williams, 108th Training Command (IET) Public Affairs at deborah.p.williams8.mil@mail.mil, or phone 704-227-2820 ext. 4235 for more information.

• 98th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs Officer – Vacant

Scholarships Available From 108TH Griffon Association One of the primary objectives of the 108th Griffon Association is to support the 108th Training Command with scholarship monies for individual soldiers and their families. Over the past four years, the 108th Griffon Assoc. has awarded over $13,000 in scholarship grants for post secondary school education to individuals connected to the 108th Tng. Cmd.These grants are not just for academic institutions but also to include trade and apprentice type programs. All military and civilian members of the 108th Tng. Cmd. (95th Div, 98th Div, 104th Div, Div. HQ), their spouses, children, and grandchildren are eligible for these scholarships. When the 108th Griffon Assoc. first became active, the scholarships were for only $500. As the association has grown and fund raising efforts have been more successful, the amount has been increased to $1000 each. Last year (2013) four $1000 scholarships were awarded. Four additional $1000 scholarships will be awarded in 2014. Enclosed with this article is a scholarship application for the fall 2014 semester. Please note that the deadline for submitting applications is 1 May, 2014, Membership in the association is what drives these and other efforts. For only $10.00 a year or $108.00 for a lifetime membership, you will be joining an organization whose sole mission is to support the 108th Training Command in any way possible. As an example, in addition to scholarships, the association has and is providing funds were appropriated monies cannot be used such as packages to deployed soldiers and more frequently, financial aid to soldiers for one reason or another that need a helping hand until other funds and benefits begin. Please visit the association site at www.108thGriffonAssoc.com for information on becoming a member of the Griffon Association.

108th Griffon  Association,  Inc.  

SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION                                                                                                                         Fall  Semester  2014   Sponsor’s  Name  and  Rank________________________________________________________________   [sponsor  must  either  be  an  active  member  of  the  108th  Griffon  Association,  or  any  soldier  assigned  and   serving  with  the  108th  Training  Command  (IET)  and  subordinate  Commands]  

108th Association  Member  or  Serving  108th  Training  Command  (IET)  Soldier  (circle  one)                                                               Sponsor’s  Unit_________________________________________________________________________   Application  must  include  the  following  prepared  by  the  applicant:   • • • •

Cover letter  [include  all  that  apply:  a  list  of  extra  curricula/community/volunteer  activities,    work   experience  (hours  per  week),  and  military  experience  to  include  SROTC/JROTC]   Copy  of  transcripts  (high  school  if  entering  college  for  the  first  time  in  the  fall  semester  or   college  transcripts  if  currently/recently  enrolled)   Three  letters  of  recommendation  from  non-­‐family  members,  and     On  a  separate  sheet  please  answer  the  following  questions:     o What  are  your  educational  goals?   o How  will  achieving  these  goals  improve  your  life  and  improve  your  community?  

Applicant’s Name:  _____________________________________________________________________   [applicant  may  be  a  member  of  108th  Griffon  Association;  child  or  grandchild  of  a  108th  Griffon   Association  member;    soldier  of  the  108th  Training  Command  (IET)  to  include  subordinate  commands;  or   the  child  of  a  soldier  of  the  108th  Training  Command  (IET)  to  include  subordinate  Commands)   SSN  ___________________        Date  of  Birth___________________      Gender:  Male  or  Female  (circle  one)   Address  (No  P.O.  Boxes):_________________________________________________________________     Telephone____________________      EMAIL:  ____________________         High  School________________________________Graduation  Date  _________GPA(unweighted)______   Address______________________________________________________________________________   College(s)_____________________________________________Hours  Completed_________  GPA_____   Address(es)___________________________________________________________________________   Name  of  College  You  Will  Attend  Using  this  Scholarship________________________________________   [You  must  be  accepted/enrolled  -­‐-­‐  funds  will  be  issued  by  the  college  at  registration]   Location  (City,  State)____________________________________________________________________   Application  must  be  received  NLT    1  April  2014,  any  application  received  after  that  date  will  not  be   considered  regardless  of  reason.  MAIL  COMPLETE  APPLICATION  TO:  108th  Griffon  Association,  Inc.,   Scholarship  Committee,  C/O  Lin  Ingram,  1  Flagship  Cove,  Greensboro,  NC  27455  


48 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

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SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT SECTION RESOURCES FOR THE TRANSITIONING SOLDIER Visit www.thegriffon108.com/military-transitions.aspx

Blogs • Articles • Videos Career Advice Resumé Tips Career Fairs Hot Jobs For Military Top Military Employers Joining Forces Info

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5 tips for finding a great rental home This content is provided courtesy of USAA. The recent price upswing in the housing market is causing some Americans to put the dream of homeownership on hold.And according to the professionals, that’s not necessarily a bad decision. Walter Molony of the National Association of Realtors says that sometimes renting makes good financial sense.“If you have a short-term time horizon, insufficient credit or uncertain economic security, it is better to rent,” he says. USAA’s J.J. Montanaro, a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, agrees. “It’s harder to qualify for a mortgage today,” he says,“and more Americans are seeking a roof over their heads without the burden of a mortgage, maintenance and other responsibilities.” “Whenever there’s doubt about homeownership, I always suggest renting.You can always make owning a home a longer-term goal.”

cent in the second quarter of 2013 — that’s 0.4 percent lower than the same time in 2012. The drop in the availability of rental homes signals a strengthening economy, allowing landlords to charge more for properties, especially A Look at the Numbers in areas where the job market has imIf you don’t own your home, you’re proved. part of a trend.According to the latest In areas where rentals are scarce, information released by the U.S. Census buying a home might be cheaper Bureau, renters made up 36.1 percent of than renting, says USAA’s Sarah GoodU.S. households in 2012, up from 35.4 win, assistant vice president of Home percent in 2011. Census statistics also Event. However, she adds, you should show that rental vacancies fell to 8.2 per-

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base your decision on your overall circumstances. If you’re in the market to rent, these five tips can help you choose a good place for your lifestyle and budget.

3. Understand What a Landlord Can Ask For

2. Know What You’re Signing

The proximity of a grocery store or shopping center, as well as your work commute and the accessibility of highways will help determine your quality of life.“It can be the biggest factor when you buy or rent,” says Montanaro of location. Richard Novak, vice president of USAA’s Integrated Solutions, says “Schools also are important when looking for a place to live. Families often choose to rent in order to live in a better school district,” he says. Research neighborhood crime rates, too, so you’ll be reassured that you’re moving to a place where you and your family will feel reasonably safe.

A landlord can check your credit score and criminal history, and they also may ask for a copy of your pay stub or for personal references. Montanaro says he’s noticed a trend 1. Know the Rental Price and Fees of landlords reporting renters’ payment Figure out your housing budget. records to credit agencies.That can “The same rules apply when renting be good if you’re trying to establish a or buying a home,” says Montanaro, credit history or improve your credit who suggests spending no more score.Ask if your landlord reports than 28 percent of pretax monthly payments to credit agencies, and always income on housing.“Closer to pay your rent in full and on time. 20 percent is better,” he adds. Negotiating a lower rental price 4. Don’t Skimp on than advertised is acceptable. Be Renter Insurance professional and polite, but don’t be A renter insurance policy helps protect afraid to ask for what you want.The your personal possessions and your worst a landlord can do is say “no.” pocketbook.Your landlord’s insurance Some landlords may charge covers damage to the structure only — extra for appliances, such as a not, for example, your extensive music stove and a refrigerator, so be sure collection or other belongings. Some you know what’s included in the renter policies also cover earthquake and rental price.Also ask if utilities flood damage and provide protection and garbage pickup are included for medical and legal expenses if in the rent. If not, check with someone is injured while visiting you. utilities companies in the area to get estimates based on ZIP code. 5. Learn the Local Landscape Ask for clarification of any confusing language in the lease agreement, and make sure you understand the terms, such as: • Length of the lease. • Deposit requirement and any refund upon moving out. • Property maintenance policies. • Pet policies. • Whether you’ll be allowed to make cosmetic changes, such as painting or adding special lighting. • Whether roommates cosign or negotiate their own lease. • Consequences if you or your roomies default on payment. • Any circumstances in which the lease can be broken, such as a new job opportunity or job loss.The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act may provide relief with your lease if you’re deployed or receive PCS orders.

Before You Settle In Once you’ve signed your lease agreement, take pictures of the apartment or house to document its condition before you move in. Doing so can help protect you from liability for any damages to the property left by the previous tenant.


52 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

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MILITARY TRANSITION RESOURCES

Moving: Uncle Sam could help pick up the tab This content is provided courtesy of USAA. If you’ve ever moved, you know how quickly expenses can add up. Fortunately, Uncle Sam may be able to lighten your financial load by defraying some of the moving costs. “Moving and tax breaks are two subjects that most people would probably never put together,” says Scott Halliwell, a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner at USAA.“But the good news is, if you clear three IRS hurdles, you just might be able to cut your tax bill as a result of moving.”

The Why The first hurdle has to do with why you moved. Known as the “closely related” test, it helps confirm that your move was job related.To qualify, you have to start your new job within a year of incurring your moving expenses — but you don’t necessarily have to have a new job before you move. This is welcome information for military spouses, who often have to leave their jobs when their spouses receive PCS orders, or stay behind until their children finish the school year.According

be tax-deductible, says service member Michael Cox, who is serving at USAA on a one-year Training with Industry fellowship. Military members also can take advantage of the Do-It-Yourself program. “In a Do-It-Yourself move, the governThe Where ment will reimburse the service memThe final test is the “time test.”To pass, ber for moving themselves,” says Michael you must work full-time for at least 39 Nicholson, a service member with USAA weeks during the first 12 months after corporate communications.“The service your move to a new area. In addition, if member may be able to pocket some adyou’re self-employed, you need to work ditional cash, but they are going to have a total of 78 weeks during the first 24 to work for it.” months at the new job. Passing the time test helps prove your move was indeed So, Is It Deductible? Generally, the table on this page can job related and that you didn’t relocate help you determine tax-deductible movfor a change of scenery. ing expenses: If you know you’ll meet the time requirement in the near future, you can Be sure to save all receipts for any claim moving-expense deductions bemoving-related expenses.While meals fore passing the time test. For example, are not tax-deductible, some expenses if you move in late 2013, you can claim for lodging and associated travel are elithe deduction on your 2013 tax return, gible. Use IRS Form 3903 to figure your deduction, and report the total expenses even though you’ll complete the time on IRS Form 1040. requirement in 2014. Finally, Halliwell says,“Even with a baMilitary Exceptions sic understanding of the rules, it’s probService members generally have an ably still smart to seek the assistance easier time with IRS rules for moving of a CPA or other qualified income-tax expenses.That’s because a move due advisor when trying to deduct moving to a permanent change of station is not expenses, just to be safe.” subject to the distance and time tests. Visit IRS Publication 521, Moving ExFor service members, moving costs that penses for more details about movingare not reimbursed by the military may expense deductions. to IRS rules, your move also must be “closely related in place.”That means “the distance from your new home to the new job location is not more than the distance from your former home to the new job location.”

YES Transportation of household goods, including the cost of packing and crating them Property storage Moving belongings to and from storage if you relocate outside the U.S. Travel from your old home to your new one; you can deduct actual costs or use a standard mileage rate Shipping your car Connecting/disconnecting utilities Shipping your pets

NO Any costs that have already been reimbursed Meals House hunting Money spent selling your home Return trips to your old home Any penalty for breaking a lease Any of the amount paid for the new home


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MILITARY TRANSITION RESOURCES

The tax advantages of college gifting This content is provided courtesy of USAA. Looking back on your life, you’re hopeful that the lives of your children and grandchildren will be better than your own. You’ve worked hard for years to provide for your family and to give them a bright future. As a grandparent, being able to help fund your grandchild’s education may be a real goal, but did you know college gifting might come with tax advantages, too? Tax Tip: Federal law currently allows you to contribute up to $14,000 annually in total gifts per grandchild without triggering gift taxes. If you’re married and filing jointly, you and your spouse can double that amount and contribute $28,000 per child. For more information, please see IRS Publication 950. Here are three ways to get started: 1. Chip in for college savings by opening a 529 college savings plan account for your grandchild in your name. Among the benefits: see GIFTING page 61


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Retail Store Credit Cards: Friend or Foe? By Lisa Severson USAA Content provided courtesy of USAA. Does the thought of going on a shopping spree now and paying for it later bring a smile to your face? You consciously monitor your spending, but when you see the latest smartphone hit the shelves, it’s hard not to want it — along with the latest tablet.While you’re at it, how about that huge plasma TV you’ve been eyeing, even though you haven’t been able to save enough to buy it? Then a store employee comes up to you and mentions the store’s credit card program, adding that she can get you approved in a matter of minutes. “You will also save 10 percent for signing up today,” she tells you. Well, saving 10 percent on your entire purchase justifies the shopping spree, right?

Higher Interest Rates Unlike traditional banks, retail stores have a history of issuing credit cards to just about anyone.That makes it easy for most people to qualify, but it also means the lender will charge a higher interest rate to compensate for the greater risk. “Many popular retail cards carry annual percentage rates of 15 to 20 percent or more,” says Halliwell.“If you don’t pay off your balance right away, you could easily wipe out any savings gained from your sign-up discount.” So if you’re thinking about dropping $500 on that new TV and only making the minimum payment for 14 months, know that you’ll probably be paying a lot more than $500 in the end.

The Potential to Lower Your Credit Score

To understand how retail credit cards could affect your credit score, let’s use Kelly as an example. Kelly just Think Again discovered the instant gratification “Despite their potential to save you of buying a new wardrobe on a retail some upfront cash, retail store credit store credit card.Without the burden cards could be more of an enemy to your financial health than an ally,” warns of having to pay for the clothes now, she ventures to the next department Scott Halliwell, a Certified Financial store, opens an account, and feeds Planner™professional with USAA. her shoe addiction. She stops at “As a matter of fact, there are actually two more stores and signs up for a number of reasons you might want cards there as well.After all, she can to avoid these cards altogether.” Check out the following information pay off all her charges in a couple months then cancel the cards. about store credit cards before you plunge into some retail therapy that Not So Fast could come back to punish you later. “Opening multiple credit requests in a short period of time can really hurt your credit score, even if you close the accounts shortly thereafter,” says Halliwell. He also adds that a low score may keep you from getting the best interest rate on more important purchases, such as a house or car.

Bad Balance-to-Credit-Limit Ratio Retail credit cards usually have a low limit, which means you could max it out quickly.You want to keep your credit use down; otherwise, your credit score could drop.Add temptation to the mix, and the distance between your balance and credit limit could be closer than you would like.

There Can Be Exceptions Store cards often earn their bad reputation, but that’s not to say they’re always wrong for everyone. They can help a young person build a positive credit history — provided he or she pays the balance in full each month. In addition, many stores offer their cardholders attractive shopping incentives. So if a store you frequent will give you special discounts for using its card, it may be worth considering. “As with any credit card, just be sure the power of plastic doesn’t entice you to spend more than you would if you were paying cash,” advises Halliwell.


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7 Survival Tips for Renting Out Your Home By Lisa Severson USAA Content provided courtesy of USAA. Though the housing market has started to recover, many homeowners still may find their homes aren’t selling as quickly as anticipated. If your home is lingering on the market, your best option may be to rent it out — you are about to become a reluctant landlord. When putting your home on the rental market, follow these seven tips to help protect your property and yourself. 1. Find a Good Tenant You can find tenants by advertising in the print and online versions of local newspapers. Also consider online ads, which often are less expensive and more

effective than newspapers, says Candice Estey Swanson, a past regional president of the National Association of Residential Property Managers. If you advertise for tenants on Craigslist.org, use caution, Swanson warns. Also spread the word through friends, relatives and co-workers. Ask potential tenants to fill out an application, listing their basic information: name, employer, salary, previous landlords and references.You’ll also need their Social Security number and signed authorization to check their credit reports and criminal history. If a prospective renter refuses to give you his or her Social Security number, you can still run a credit check based on name and previous address, says Swanson. If you hire an agency to provide

background checks, make sure it is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Keep in mind you can do your own background checks. With the applicant’s authorization, you can pull credit reports from one of the credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian or TransUnion — as long as you follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Check for any criminal history by searching state and local records online, or hire an agency. Landlord.com offers tips on conducting tenant screening. Be sure you know the law. In some states, if prospective renters have served time for certain nonviolent offenses, you still must rent to them if they meet your criteria, Swanson advises. Swanson also warns not to give in to your emotions when screening tenants. Beware of potential renters who give you a sob story, hoping you’ll skip the credit check or overlook a bad report. If a renter asks to make a partial payment on the deposit before moving in and “pay the rest on Friday,” stick by your requirements. Check references, contact employers and talk to previous landlords. However, some previous landlords will not give references because of liability concerns, Swanson says. 2. Determine How Much Rent to Charge Get an idea of area rental rates by checking newspaper ads, online resources and other

neighborhood homes advertising for tenants. Be realistic: What you charge may be lower than your mortgage payment, but if you want to find a tenant, the rent must be comparable to other properties on the market. 3. Protect Your Rights With a Lease “Have a written lease so that each party understands their rights and obligations,” says Dianne Coscarelli, a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. A good lease complies with fair housing, rental, health and safety, and tenant and insurance laws of your region.These laws differ across states, counties and cities, so Coscarelli advises working with a local lawyer. Avoid using blank leases from the Internet, she warns, because they may not comply with the laws in your area. A lease should spell out the following: • Lease term. A month-tomonth lease offers more flexibility if you’re still trying to sell, while an annual lease provides more stability if you plan to hold on to the property. • Security deposit. This is usually one month’s rent or more. Don’t agree to take partial payments, Swanson warns, as this could indicate trouble ahead with your prospective renter. • Due date for rent. Spell out penalties if the payment is late. • Repairs. Detail who is responsible for what. • Routine upkeep and maintenance responsibilities. Lawn care is one example. • List of tenants. Know who is living in your property. • Rules of behavior. Lay out the acceptable noise level, proper neighborly conduct and whether smoking is allowed. • Pet policies. If you allow them, specify the deposits. • Homeowner association dues and rules. Explain whether these affect your tenants. •A  rrangements for showing. If you plan to keep your home on the market while it’s being rented, spell out how this will be handled. • Eviction terms. Let your tenants know that not paying the rent or damaging the See SURVIVAL TIPS page 58


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58 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

MILITARY TRANSITION RESOURCES

Survival Tips Cont’d from page 56

property won’t be tolerated. 4. Get the Appropriate Coverage “Protecting your property with the appropriate insurance policy is extremely important. You need a different policy if you’re renting a property to a tenant versus using it as your primary residence,” explains Bryan Wolfe, product manager for rental

property insurance for USAA. “While you live in the house, you need a homeowner’s policy, which covers the structure of the home, personal liability, medical expenses and your belongings in the house. As a landlord, you’ll need rental property insurance.” In addition to covering the home’s structure, personal liability and medical expenses, this policy includes loss of rental income in the event of a covered loss. However, it provides very limited coverage for any personal belongings you leave in the

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rental property, says Wolfe. 5. Encourage Tenants to Get Renters Insurance Since you are not responsible for their belongings, encourage tenants to buy renters insurance. This will benefit you should something happen to the home that damages or destroys the tenant’s belongings.Tenants are also less likely to file lawsuits against landlords if their belongings are protected through insurance of their own. 6. Hire a Management Company If you move from the area or just lack the time or flexibility to deal with tenants, consider hiring a property management company. These companies primarily charge fees for two services: finding a tenant, which includes advertising and background checks, and managing the property. According to ManageMyProperty.com, the fee for filling a house varies from about 25 to 100 percent of one month’s rent, depending on the area.Then, for typically around four to 12 percent of the monthly rent, the company

collects rent, charges late fees, handles repairs, and deals with early vacancies and evictions. If you hire a property manager, find a licensed professional, urges Swanson.To locate a manager in your area, go to NARPM’s website and type in your ZIP code. Your real estate agent also may offer property management. One big advantage of using property managers is emotional distance.“Often, the owner will get involved with the tenant emotionally,” says Swanson.“Even though (property managers) take good care of tenants and they’re sympathetic, their job is to make sure that owners get the rent.” 7. Prepare Properly for Evictions In most cases, you’ll need an attorney to lawfully evict a tenant.“If the tenant doesn’t leave willingly, you can’t just go and move their personal property and kick them out,” says Coscarelli. “You have to go to court, and the sheriff needs to come out and physically remove the person.” Legal fees alone in such a case can run from $300 to $1,000, says Coscarelli. But when all other costs are added,“you could end up spending easily a month’s rent.”


HOME SCHOOL OPTIONS

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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 59

Becoming an excellent online student By Charlotte Seewald Assistant Director, University of Nebraska High School Education trends in the United States continue to show movement to the online environment.At the post-secondary level, colleges and universities are offering more online courses and programs than ever before because students are continuing to appreciate the flexibility, accessibility and content delivery online offers. According to the Sloan Consortium’s 10th Annual Survey of Online Learning published in January 2013: • 32 percent of higher education students now take at least one course online. • More than 6.7 million college students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2011 term. For military families, the benefits of online learning are obvious —you can take it with you no matter where your family travels or moves during your service to our country. But this type of learning does require certain skills that are not necessarily inherent in traditional education.We often encourage high school students to take an online course as a way to prepare for college and career.This practice can help them gain the capabilities needed to be successful in the online space.And,

with nearly 85 years of experience in distance education, we have seen what makes some students more successful than others. Since 1929, the University of Nebraska High School has served students with high-quality high school distance courses.The school moved online in 2001. It was also the first distance high school to receive regional accreditation, and we continue to work hard to meet and exceed state and national standards with our curriculum. With this experience we have noted several characteristics that help our students be successful within our courses and beyond.

Motivation In many ways, online learning requires more independence than traditional learning. Students must be curious and willing to take the content from their course and apply it to their interests.To gain the most out of their experience, they should be enthusiastic, researching beyond the content immediately presented within a course.

Organization Creating daily, weekly and monthly plans to execute assignments, studying and longterm projects is a must. Students have found it useful to make their see ONLINE page 60


60 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Online

Cont’d from page 59

plans at the beginning of a course and review these plans at the beginning of each week.

Study Skills High school is a great time for students to discover how they learn best. Practice different

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reading and test-prep strategies to see what creates the best results. Once various techniques are established, continue to tweak and adapt them and apply them to different subject and content areas.

Being Well-Rounded While academic greatness is extremely important to the

overall success of a student, we have found our students who are involved in activities outside of their studies are more motivated and curious when it comes to their coursework. They can bring in other experiences and interests, which adds depth to their studies. As you explore the best educational opportunities for your family, I encourage you to

HOME SCHOOL OPTIONS

consider online courses, not only to prepare your children for future education, but to allow them to practice some of the qualities that will make them successful in life. For extended details, please read our full report entitled “Characteristics of Successful Online Students” at highschool.nebraska.edu/success.


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Gifting

Cont’d from page 53

• Assets can be used at any eligible educational institution across the country and some schools abroad. • I f your grandchild gets a scholarship or doesn’t attend college, any unused portion of your 529 account can be transferred to another child. There’s no time limit on when the funds can be used. •5  29 funds have minimal impact on federal financial aid eligibility. •C  ontributions and money earned on the plan’s investments — whether through interest, dividends or capital gains — aren’t taxed if the beneficiary uses them to help pay for higher education. Depending on where you live, you also might get a tax deduction or tax credit on your state return for the contribution. J.J. Montanaro, a Certified Financial Planner® professional with USAA, shares some additional thoughts regarding withdrawals.“If you need to use the money for something other than education, you can withdraw it, but it could cost

you,” he says.“Withdrawals for reasons other than qualified education expenses will trigger taxes and a 10 percent IRS penalty on any earnings.” One exception to the penalty is if your grandchild earns a scholarship. You may be able to withdraw assets up to the amount of the scholarship; while you’ll owe income tax on the earnings, you won’t have to pay the penalty. “An accelerated 529 plan gift option allows you to front-load five years’ worth of the annual gift tax exclusion amount without incurring the federal gift tax,” says Caroline Tucker, product management director of the USAA 529 College Savings Plan. This means you can give up to $70,000 per beneficiary in a single year; married couples can contribute $140,000. This option can be especially advantageous for those who wish to “power fund” the 529 plan. By contributing the annual gift tax exclusion amount near the end of one year, and then a front-loaded five-year contribution after January 1 of the next year, you can contribute $84,000 (or $168,000 for married couples) into a 529 plan within a matter of days. “No other investment vehicle allows the power funding

feature or avoids gift tax in this way,” says Tucker.“For grandparents, this is a unique feature that makes 529 plans so attractive and effective for saving on a tax-deferred basis.” It’s important to note that giving any additional gifts to a grandchild during the five-year period will impact this strategy, and could be subject to the gift taxes or require filing additional tax forms. Contributions would also be subject to the add-back rule: If the donor dies within the next five years, a prorated amount would be added back to the estate. 2. Give shares of company stock, U.S. Series EE savings bonds or shares in a mutual fund. To do so, open a custodial account through the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, or UTMA, or the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act, known as the UGMA. This type of account is opened in your grandchild’s name, but you or one of the child’s parents control the assets until the child reaches adulthood. The assets are then relinquished to the child for use in any way he or she sees fit. Caution:“If your grandchild is going to apply for financial aid, assets in his or her name — such as cash, stocks and bonds

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 61

— must be reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid,” Montanaro warns.“Having more assets in the student’s name could reduce the amount of aid that is offered.” Families should consider this carefully when choosing how to save money for college. 3. Contribute to a Coverdell Education Savings Account. Like 529 plans, Coverdell accounts are a potentially taxfree way to save for college. Unlike a 529, however, they can be used for kindergarten through 12th-grade expenses. Caution: Only $2,000 can be contributed per year for any child. This limit includes contributions from all sources. If you were to put $2,000 into your grandchild’s Coverdell account in the same year that his parents or other grandparents make contributions, the annual limit would be exceeded.“Also know that as grandparents, you don’t control the funds you contribute. Most Coverdell accounts require the child’s parent or guardian to be in charge of the account,” adds Tucker. For more details on the gift tax credit, see IRS Publication 950 on the Internal Revenue Service website.


62 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

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HOME SCHOOL OPTIONS

Putting a Face on the Pledge and a Heart Behind the Donation: Military homeschool families face unique challenges By Ricci Black Coordinator for the Home School Foundation Ambassador Program Military homeschool families face unique challenges as they move, live through separation, and struggle to keep stability in the family. Sometimes the only certain thing for these families is the uncertainty. When Army Chaplain Jorge Torres was deployed a second time to Iraq for 15 months, his wife Evelyn found juggling home duties, medical visits for their young children, and moving every two years very trying. The family started homeschooling their children after their oldest son taught himself to read at the age of two. “Our life is so much better with homeschooling,” she said. Evelyn says that homeschooling gives her family more freedom. Heather W., another military homeschool mom, said that, ironically, it is when her husband is home that they struggle most financially. When he is deployed, they get hazardous duty and

The Torres Family

family separation pay, and many creditors will lower interest rates. But when he is home, all those “benefits” disappear; and they struggle sometimes even to put food on the table. The Home School Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to helping families homeschool through hard times, has a Military Fund to help struggling military families. Families in which one or both parents are active, disabled, or retired from any branch of the military are encouraged to apply at www.homeschoolfoundation. org > Give Help. Curriculum scholarships are given based on financial need and availability of funds. HSF is a qualified Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) charity since 2001 (CFC #10535). Karri C., a homeschooling mom in Virginia, has been an Army wife for over 15 years and seen first-hand the difficulties of military life. She says,“It was wonderful to have the children home so that we didn’t miss one of daddy’s calls while he was deployed to Afghanistan. When he was home for his two weeks’ leave, we were able to spend each day with him, while other Army kids in traditional school missed seeing their dad or mom most of the school day. Each time we move, we need not look for the best school district or interrupt the children’s education because homeschooling and the military are a great fit. Organizations like the Home School Foundation help military folks face their unique challenges by assisting with curricula relief, special needs materials, and encouragement to stick with it.”

“There’s always uncertainty,” says Evelyn Torres,“Is he coming home; when is he coming home?” “The Home School Foundation can ease the burden for military families like the Torres and for

Army wives like Karri. Our Military Fund is one way to serve military families who sacrifice so much to serve our country,” says Chuck Hurst, Executive Director for the Home School Foundation.


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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 63

Wet ‘n Wild wants you to Share the rush! Thrills are for sharing! Wet ‘n Wild gives you more themed, multi-person thrill rides than any other waterpark around. Disco H2OTM, Brain WashTM, Flyer,The Black HoleTM:The Next Generation and more high-speed, seriously twisted, multi-person adventures that let you feel the fun and Share the Rush! Only Wet ‘n Wild offers the kind of themed thrills, over-the-top excitement and shared experiences that appeal to all types. The Brain WashTM takes four people on a mind-altering trip on a five-story dark ride while the Disco H2OTM takes riders for a tango accompanied by groovy tunes and dancing lights in a giant, undulating, watery nightclub.The Black HoleTM:The Next Generation is a deep space adventure that’s light years from ordinary. Meet the challenge of the Bomb Bay where the floor drops out from under you before an almost vertical free fall.You can challenge your buddies on the steepest slides, or relax with family on gentle pools like the Lazy River.The largest pool, Surf Lagoon, has a gentle, sloped entry that gradually deepens and generates a series of fourfoot waves. Families with kids of all ages will have a blast in Blastaway Beach™,

the largest family water play area in Florida.With over 160 soakers, jets, and water cannons, 15 slides and 85,000 gallons of rushing, soaking, spraying water that expand across two pools Blastaway Beach™ was designed especially for families. Wet ‘n Wild is Orlando’s premier waterpark and the perfect place for your family to cool off. Enjoy all of the multiperson rides Wet ‘n Wild has to offer now through Dec. 31, 2014 when you visit your nearest participating military base ITT or ITR offices to purchase discounted Wet ‘n Wild admission tickets. Tickets are eligible for a FREE upgrade to a ‘Length of Stay’ pass, allowing for unlimited admissions for 14 consecutive days from your first visit.Tickets eligible for a free upgrade require you to present your purchased ticket at Wet ‘n Wild’s front gate. Upgrade must be completed on your first day of visit. Restrictions apply. Open year-round with pools heated in the cooler months;Wet ‘n Wild is located on International Drive, less than two miles from Universal Orlando Resort. For updated hours and information, visit wetnwildorlando.com or call 407-351-1800.


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Vacation Like You Mean It At Universal Orlando® Resort You’ll find one-of-a-kind thrills and entertainment for every member of the family this spring at Universal Orlando® Resort’s two amazing theme parks.You don’t have to travel to New Orleans to experience a real taste of the Big Easy. On Saturdays and select nights from Feb. 8 - May 31, Universal Studios Florida’s annual Mardi Gras celebration brings all the music and traditions to life in a fun, family-friendly environment. Over 20 event nights you can enjoy a colorful parade with beads by the handful, authentic Zydeco bands from Louisiana, sizzling Cajun cuisine, and live concerts featuring some of the biggest names in music.All the Mardi Gras festivities (except for the food) are included in your theme park admission. For the latest Mardi Gras concert lineup, visit UniversalOrlando.com/MardiGras. Of course, there’s excitement of a different sort waiting for you in the theme parks as well. Universal Studios Florida® is home to the popular TRANSFORMERS™:The Ride–3D, the heartwarming and hilarious 3-D ride Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, and the new Krustyland/Springfield area themed to The Simpsons™. Right next door at Universal’s Islands of Adventure® you can save the day in 3-D on The Amazing Adventures of SpiderMan®, escape the jaws of a T-rex on the Jurassic Park River Adventure®,

and whirl through the whimsical world of The Cat in the Hat™. Plus, at Islands of Adventure you can experience the magic and excitement of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™–Hogsmeade™, where you can explore the mysteries of Hogwarts™ castle, stroll the streets of Hogsmeade™, and enjoy the groundbreaking ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™. Later, in Summer 2014, Universal Studios® will unveil The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™–Diagon Alley™ with even more attractions, shops, dining opportunities, and a thrilling new ride, creating a unique and incredible experience across two theme parks. Guests with a Park-to-Park Ticket will be able to travel between both parks on the Hogwarts™ Express (some restrictions may apply). Best of all, you can stay right in the heart of the fun at one of Universal Orlando’s spectacular on-site hotels. The resort’s newest hotel, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, opens March 31, with a fun retro theme that harkens back to the iconic beach resorts of the 1950s and 60s.This new moderate/value priced hotel features both standard rooms as well as family suites that sleep up to six, complete with kitchenettes and extra large bathrooms.The hotel will feature two huge swimming pools, a lazy river, water slide, 10-lane bowling alley, and a complimentary fitness center (some amenities will not be available upon initial opening). Or, you can stay in one

of the resort’s three deluxe on-site hotels —Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel®, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort — each offering exceptional accommodations, dining, and recreation, along with an array of special theme park benefits and privileges.All on-site hotel guests also enjoy Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ (restrictions apply). You’ll want to get a Multi-Day Ticket to experience all the thrills of both parks.To purchase tickets or book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation package, visit your Base Leisure Travel Services Office today. HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.


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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 65

Santa Fe College’s teaching zoo Nearly 30,000 people a year come through the gates to visit a unique site on the Santa Fe College campus, a teaching zoo.The program is the premier wild animal technology program in the United States and the students learn what it will take to be a zookeeper. The animals range from alligators to tree climbing kangaroos, which, oddly enough, are not really great climbers. Each trip to the zoo comes with a guided tour led by one of the students.The lush tree canopy makes the zoo a year round attraction great for all ages.To learn more about the zoo visit www.sfcollege.edu/zoo. The Gainesville area is home to one of the largest collection of high magnitude cold water springs anywhere. Poe Springs, located just west of the town of High Springs, alone pumps out 44 million gallons of crystal clear cold water a day.The water is a year round temperature of 72 degrees, brisk on cloudy days and truly refreshing during the brunt of a Florida summer. Swim, scuba dive, snorkel, canoe, kayak or just float, you can do it all while enjoying nature at its finest. Ever taken a shower of butterflies? Gainesville now offers the chance to come face-to-face with exotic, vibrant butterflies fluttering atop a lush tropical canvas of foliage and flowers as you experience the Butterfly Rainforest, at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida Campus.A screened vivarium is home to subtropical and tropical plants and trees which support 55 to 65 different species of butterflies. Hundreds of butterflies circle guests as they stroll through the Butterfly Rainforest on a winding path relaxing to the sounds of cascading waterfalls.

The majority of the butterflies in the Rainforest are bred on commercial butterfly farms around the world because they help protect natural habitats from destruction and promote conservation.The McGuire Center receives butterflies from farms as far away as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Madagascar. For the first time at the Florida Museum, visitors will be able to get a close-up view of scientists at work in the world’s largest research facility devoted to Lepidoptera. When traveling it’s always fun to see where the locals dine. Gainesville is home to a truly unique dining treat, Satchel’s Pizza. It is one of those combinations that blend family friendly entertainment with delicious food.This truly local hangout offers great salads, calzones

and of course, pizza. In the back is Lightning Salvage, a combination five and dime store for souvenirs, a live music venue and a true junk museum. Satchel’s is not to be missed when in Gainesville because it is not just a pizza joint, it’s an experience. There is more happening in

Gainesville than the Gator Chomp. Gainesville delivers exciting nature based activities, outstanding cultural offerings and delicious local cuisine. Come experience how friendly a spot we are and see how these things combine to make Gainesville the place “Where Nature and Culture Meet.”


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Military discounts and things to see in Pooler Just have fun! Amusement parks and more are in Pooler, just minutes from Hunter Army Airfield and Savannah. You’ve earned a break! Come to Pooler, where we have great, affordable hotels, lots of attractions, and a short drive to Tybee and other beaches. Plus, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield’s PX are nearby. A military-friendly community, we are the closest interstate connection to Savannah and a

short drive to the beaches at Tybee Island, Ga. and Hilton Head Island, S.C. If you’re ready for a change, we have what you need and your wallet will enjoy the savings, too: hotels with ample, free parking (some with pet friendly areas), amusement parks, dozens of restaurants, shopping areas, and other attractions. Special military discounts are available at Pooler hotels and several of the city’s local

attractions. Plus, our hotels offer ample, free parking and several have pet-friendly areas. For help in planning your visit, contact marketing@visitpooler.com.

Places to Stay Pooler offers great accommodations at a variety of local hotels and motels. You’ll find quality accommodations that are affordable and provide ample, free parking and some have pet-friendly areas. Our large and small hotels and motels include suites, extended stay options, traditional rooms, dining and meeting facilities, and more. If you’re including a visit to Savannah some trolley tour companies may pick up from your Pooler hotel or motel.

Things to See and Do Experience the excitement of a bombing mission, learn what it was like to Escape and Evade the enemy, enjoy military discounts, and see how we honor our armed forces and veterans at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth

Air Force. The Eighth Air Force was activated during World War II at Hunter Army Airfield as part of the Army’s Air Corps. With two multi-screen theatres (including an IMAX Theatre), amusement parks, golf courses, SK8 City, mix of stores, restaurants, can help you enjoy your stay in Pooler. Pooler also boasts a number of recreational attractions such as Oglethorpe Speedway Park, Tom Triplett Park (complete with lake, walking and biking trails, tennis courts, disc golf, and more), kayaking and canoeing rentals and tours of the nearby Ogeechee River are easily available.

Contact Us For more information contact us at 912-748-0110, marketing@ visitpooler.com or visit www. visitpooler.com. Our Pooler Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, Inc. office is near I-95, exit 102, at 175 Bourne Avenue — inside the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.


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Biloxi, Mississippi Travel Guide

Courtesy of www.go-mississippi.com Biloxi is located on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Due to its strategic location, it has witnessed a variety of cultures take hold over the years. Once home to the Biloxi Indians, the French arrived in the late 1600s, and then the Spanish held strong positions. In fact, remnants of Spanish dominance can still be experienced, with a visit to the Old Spanish Fort in nearby Pascagoula. Biloxi boasts several gorgeous homes built in the mid 1800s. Many reflect evidence of planter society wealth, and are open to the public. One exceptional visit is to the estate of Beauvoir, the retirement place of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Its designation as a National Historic Landmark only reinforce its importance. Guests will truly enjoy a tour of this huge estate, and as a bonus get a glimpse into the life of Jefferson Davis. For those who enjoy home and garden tours, Biloxi is a gem. March means Spring Pilgrimage time in Biloxi. Homes, gardens, and various historic sites open up to the public, offering visitors a peek at true Southern culture. Visitors who relish the surf and sand will be delighted to explore nearly 30 miles of beautiful beach. The inviting beach encourages visitors to enjoy a long walk, play in the surf, or simply sit and relax and people watch. For those who need action, sporting opportunities abound. Visitors can catch a ride on a jet ski, take pleasure in a romantic sailboat excursion, try their luck at deepsea fishing, parasail, or explore lush fairways at one of the many well-regarded golf courses. Those with children should not leave without a stop to the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. This fabulous children’s museum offers little ones the opportunity

to explore their environment in a fun and safe manner. Because the museum features interactive displays specific for the region it’s likely that children will enjoy once in a lifetime thrills. The Oceanarium features excellent programs that include exotic birds and dolphin shows. Several barrier islands sit just off the coast of Biloxi and make up the popular Gulf Islands National Seashore. Only accessible by boat or ferry, the gorgeous, unspoiled beaches found, make for a breathtaking site. Although undeveloped, the islands offer much to do, including hiking, fishing, beachcombing, and outstanding opportunities for nature photography. Bird watching is a prized activity as more than 260 species of birds await discovery. Ship Island is home to Fort Massachusetts, which was occupied during the Civil War. This grand example of a masonry fort is available for touring. Biloxi is located on the most southern tip of Mississippi, about 175 miles south of Jackson, MS on the Gulf of Mexico.

Vacations and Reunions with a Bavarian Touch

unt 10% disco y! for militar

The Helendorf River Inn & Suites is located in the Alpine Village of Helen, Georgia ✸ Easy walk to shops, restaurants and activities ✸ Rooms with balconies on the banks of the river ✸ Enclosed heated pool ✸ Complimentary continental breakfast ✸ Suites with replaces, Jacuzzis and kitchens ✸ Large meeting and party facilities ✸ Proudly operated by an Army Brat P.O. Box 305 • Helen, Georgia 30545

800-445-2271 www.Helendorf.com

We Welcome All Military Personnel for R&R Make your reservations online at: www.BiloxiBeachResortRentals.com or call today 888-748-2228 We accept all TAD/TDY and Per Diem Rates

Stay in Biloxi’s Best Beachfront Condos!

Beau View Legacy Towers

Sea Breeze

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68 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

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Bring your family to the Alabama Gulf Coast

The transformation begins the moment your toes touch our sugar-white sand and you hear the sound of waves lapping the shore. Suddenly, you’re in a whole different state of connection. Life seems to slow down, senses are magnified and families are strengthened in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The Alabama Gulf Coast’s

32 miles of pristine white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise water set the scene for memories that last a lifetime. There’s nothing more relaxing than playing in the sand and surf, but the fun doesn’t stop there. When you’re ready to venture off the beach, you’ll find a wide variety of activities and attractions for all interests and ages.

Adventurers will flock to the Hummingbird Ziplines’ milelong zip course, or thrill in the plunge of a water slide at Waterville USA.Take a go-cart for a spin, play a round of mini golf or experience an animal encounter at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.Take to the sky on one of the Southeast’s largest Ferris Wheels, parasail over the Gulf

of Mexico, or take a helicopter tour. Explore the many trails for walking and biking, take a dolphin cruise, or observe the banding of migratory birds on their return from Central and South America. Hit the links on one of the many great area golf courses, designed by some of the best names in golf; reel in the big one on a full- or half-day fishing charter; or dive


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below the surface and explore Alabama’s first whole-ship diving reef, the LuLu. Step back in time at historic Fort Morgan, celebrating this year with special events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the battle of Mobile Bay and Siege of Fort Morgan, highlighted in August with a re-enactment, demonstrations and fireworks display. Party on the sand in May at the Hangout Music Festival; enjoy fresh local seafood, art, crafts and entertainment at the Annual National Shrimp Festival in October; or kick up your heels when nearly 200 songwriters perform at multiple venues during the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival in November. Seafood is the centerpiece of dining in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and an abundance of restaurants from casual to upscale feature the fresh, local seafood the area is known for. Families

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will love the variety of restaurants from open-air to beach front, many with live entertainment and children’s play areas. No trip to the beach would be complete without a souvenir or two and you’re sure to find that something special at one of the area’s many specialty shops and boutiques. Serious shoppers will delight in the bargains and selection of name brand retailers at the nearby Tanger Outlet center. Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer a vast selection of accommodations from beach front condos and branded hotels to private beach houses and full service resorts, with accommodations to fit any budget. With so many choices, you’re sure to find the perfect place to make memories and reconnect. Start planning your trip today. Visit us online at GulfShores.com/ griffon or call 866-324-7766 to request our 2014 Vacation Guide.

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 69


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Springtime in Three Rivers, Lake Kaweah, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks In rural, peaceful Three Rivers, Lake Kaweah, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, you can be as lazy or as busy, as you like! For the active and the not so active, here’s a taste of the many things you can do and events you may attend this spring. •E  njoy a Hero Appreciation Months Celebration honoring our Armed Forces at the Three Rivers Museum. • Watch the hilarious Bathtub Race for Charity at Lake Kaweah — or better yet, register and form a team to enter the race yourself! •C  ontinue to enjoy the Hero Appreciation Months program, which includes 20 percent “thank you” discounts for current or former military and first responder service, through March 31st. •G  o Whitewater Rafting on the Kaweah River. • Kayak in Lake Kaweah. • Take off from the Kaweah Marina to fish and enjoy water sports. • Attend chamber music concerts performed by internationally recognized virtuosos, courtesy of Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute. •E  njoy traditional jazz at its best at our 41st annual Jazzaffair, our three-day multivenue annual jazz festival where only the best bands are asked to return each year. •E  xperience our 64th Annual Lions Team Roping.This fourday annual event includes the pig scramble and barrel racing for children, in addition to Cowboy Church on Sunday morning. See who wins the coveted Yellowhair Commemorative Buckle! • Dance in the beautiful outdoors, to bands playing country, bluegrass, folk and alternative music, at the

Three Rivers Music Festival. • Meditate for free, daily, at Spirit Hill Mediation Garden. • Attend 1st Saturday in Three Rivers, our monthly Festival of Food/Fun/Fabulous Art. • Take in our three-day biennial Three Rivers Artists Studio Tour Eleven, which started in 1992. • Check out the permanent outdoor Native American exhibit at Three Rivers Historical Museum, including a Wukchumni summer home and Wuksachi winter home. • Go horseback riding and mountain biking through the beautiful, wild Three Rivers foothills. Get down from your horse or bike and take the time to gaze at our springtime array of wildflowers. I’m sure you will find that, around the lake and in some of our remote foothill areas, the wildflowers are beyond compare. • Last but not least: Don’t forget that active-duty military currently enjoy free passes into

Discover ~ Explore ~ Enjoy We honor our military for the job that they do and invite them to visit our military friendly destination for their R&R. The Sequoia Foothills Chamber’s annual Hero Appreciation Months Program (Jan.March) gives our military and their families a 20% discount on lodging, retail, restaurants and services.

877-530-3300 info@threerivers.com

• Camping and Hiking • Snowshoe Walks • Horseback Riding • Cross-Country Skiing • 9-Hole Golf Course • Boating, Fishing and other Water Sports

This ad sponsored by Comfort Inn & Suites- Three Rivers.

Explore the Tulare County emap, the interactive guide to our county: http://www.tularecountyemap.com/

all national parks, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon. This pass is also being honored by the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Kaweah. So shake off those winter

blues! Bring the family and come play with us for some amazing Springtime R&R! For questions or for more information, go to http://threerivers.com/ or email us at info@threerivers.com.


72 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Nature, Fitness Help Make McKinney One of the Healthiest Cities in Texas By Beth Shumate Communications Manager McKinney Convention and Visitors Bureau McKinney is known throughout Texas for its historic downtown square, but it is also gaining notoriety around the state as one of its healthiest cities. The city’s mixture of natural settings, wide variety of fitness options and growing foodie movement combine to give residents and visitors alike plenty of healthy choices within McKinney’s borders. Leading the charge is the city’s mayor, Brian Loughmiller, who competes in triathlons, marathons and other races including the Hotter Than Hell 100-mile bike race and Ironman competitions. He is also heavily involved in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life; McKinney has one of the largest RFL events in the state. Mayor Loughmiller has become such a positive role model to residents, as well as visitors who come to the city to participate in races, to walk the nature trails and enjoy all the fitness activities

available to all. McKinney, which has consistently ranked among the nation’s fastest growing cities since over the past decade, draws families looking for a sense of community and positive quality of life. Nothing improves quality of life like participating in healthy activities while enjoying the beautiful outdoor settings McKinney offers.

The Great Outdoors in McKinney The county seat of Collin County, which covers almost 63 square miles of North Texas just 30 miles north of Dallas, is filled with city parks, wide open spaces, and nature trail areas all begging to be explored. Whether conquering the rugged off-road bike trails at Erwin Park or walking and riding the many miles of connected hike and bike trails that wind throughout the city, residents and visitors always have a place open to them to enjoy the nature around them right within the city. On the southeastern edge of town, the 289-acre Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary draws people from

miles around to walk the more than 6.5 miles of nature trails that take visitors on a path of diverse habitats including grass and prairie lands, forest, and wetlands. For the more adventurous visitor, the Heard offers ropes course and zip line adventures that include climbing trees instead of poles, and canoe and kayak explorations of the wetlands. (The ropes course, zip line and wetlands experiences are offered on a reservation basis only, so if wanting to participate in these, visitors need to call ahead.)

Athletic Venues Provide a Backdrop for Fitness Sports competitions bring many visitors to McKinney to take advantage of the top-notch baseball, softball, soccer, sand volleyball, ice skating and tennis facilities found mostly in the city’s southwestern quadrant known as the Craig Ranch Development. Many of these facilities are also open to the public while others are primarily reserved for organized sports tournaments. The most recently opened of these facilities are The Courts, offering 11 lighted tennis courts and a 3,500 square foot clubhouse where the public can participate in year-round leagues and private instruction, as well as renting the courts for personal use. The tennis complex opened in early 2012 and that summer,was named 2012 USTA Facility of the Year. Another much-anticipated venue that opened mid-2013 next door to the tennis complex is the Skatepark at Gabe Nesbitt Community Park. The skatepark, which is open to skateboarders, scooters, and inline skaters, offers elements for all skill levels, including street elements, stairs, rails, and three bowls, more than 30,000 square feet of concrete

and shaded seating for spectators.

Races Galore Fill McKinney’s Calendar The city has a wide range of fitness-friendly venues, so why not host fitness-focused events at these venues? McKinney organizations do this with gusto. From 1Ks to half-marathons, one mile fun runs to triathlons, and even a highspeed closed-criterian bike race through the streets of historic downtown McKinney, the city brings people from all around the state — and neighboring states, too — to join in the community spirit of fitness and healthy living. Walkers and runners get their start in January with foot races being held on practically a monthly basis and sometimes more often, the majority of which help favorite local and county charities such as ManeGait Therapeutic Horsemanship ranch, Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Especially Needed (for special needs children), American Alzheimer’s Association, Love Life Foundation and more. Races like the Cupid 5K Couples Race, Leaping Leprechauns, Night Moves 5K, Historic McKinney Kiwanis Triathlon, Melon Dash 5K, Believe McKinney 1 Mile, 5K and 10K, Walk to End Alzheimers and more bring thousands of people throughout the year to locations like downtown McKinney, Craig Ranch, Stonebridge Ranch, Adriatica and Myers Park. The largest non-foot race is the Bike the Bricks Closed-Crit race where cyclists race a course made up of streets around the historic downtown square in pursuit of more than $20,000 in prizes. A Friday evening race, usually held around Memorial Day Weekend, attracts spectators to feel the


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“whoosh” of cyclists whizzing by at speeds topping 35 and 40 MPH. Also, top cyclists from around the country love the challenge and quaint beauty of the downtown square’s race backdrop.

Healthy Food Rounds Out the Mix All this racing, hiking, biking and skating makes people hungry, so how better to satisfy those hunger pangs with healthy food from McKinney’s Farmers Market at Chestnut Square Historic Village or from one of the eateries offering organic and gluten-free meals and organic meat market that even teaches you how to properly prepare meat. The Farmers Market is held weekly on Saturdays from 8 a.m.noon from spring to fall and monthly through the winter months at Chestnut Square Historic Village and on Thursday afternoons at Adriatica Croatian Village in Stonebridge Ranch. Here, visitors and residents find a wide variety of produce, dairy items, bakery products, meat, herbs, olive oils and even soaps and cereal. The market received top rankings

Paddling on the Guadalupe River

as the Best Farmers Market for its size in the state and in the Top 5 nationally. Being located an easy few block walk from the historic downtown square makes it a mustvisit when exploring the square on a Saturday “in season.” Diners can also enjoy organic and locally-grown products at several of the downtown restaurants, including Patina Green, Rick’s Chophouse, Square Burger, and The Pantry, many of which are provided by the Farmers Market vendors. The meat products come from Local Yocal Farm-to-Market and Hamm’s. Local Yocal even holds Steak 101 classes on Saturdays that allow attendees to learn about beef grading, cuts and even proper grilling methods. Big bonus for beef lovers: The third portion of the class includes getting to sample a wide range of meat cuts grilled specifically for you as you watch and ask questions. Health and fitness-conscious visitors looking for a getaway weekend will find all they need for a top-class experience in McKinney, Texas, which has been ranked on “Money Magazine’s”

Victoria welcomes the U.S. Army as a military friendly travel destination. With a variety of outdoor recreational activities nearby, Victoria is an ideal destination for R&R. Located between Houston and Corpus Christi, Victoria offers a perfect getaway. Enjoy events, museums & outdoor fun. 3 Golf Courses

Fine Dining and Nightlife

Saltwater Fishing

800.926.5774  www.VisitVictoriaTexas.com

Top Places to Live in America since 2008. For more information about planning a trip to McKinney, visit the McKinney Convention and Visitors Bureau website, VisitMcKinney.com, or call 888-649-8499. About McKinney, TX: Located just 30 miles north of Dallas,

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 73

McKinney offers visitors the perfect getaway destination, with its tree-lined streets, historic downtown and tightknit community giving this fast-growing city a friendly, small-town feel despite the city’s population which topped 149,000 in January 2014.


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Pearland – Perfectly Placed for Outdoor Fun Pearland is perfectly placed in the Gulf Coast Region of Texas, within 10 miles of Houston and Hobby Airport. You’ll find it’s the perfect pick to stay for a weekend getaway filled with plenty to do to enjoy the outdoors.

Paws in the Park Visitors and locals alike enjoy the annual Paws in the Park event held March 29-30, 2014 at Pearland’s Independence Park. Celebrating its 20th year, this paw-some event is a day filled with fun for you and your furry friend.The event begins with the H-E-B Plus! Pet and Owner Fun Run followed by the national Dock Diving competition.Watch demonstrations such as: flyball, US Dog Disc Nationals, agility, obedience, mingle with local pet related businesses and much more!

Pearland Crawfish Festival The ever-popular mudbugs take center stage April 4-6, 2014 with the Pearland Crawfish Festival. This festive event boils up tons of delicious, spicy crawfish, a world of great food, lively music, vendors,

games, and more in the friendly, relaxed fun and community feel of a small town fair and serves it up big.The area’s best Zydeco bands provide infectious rhythms where the Bayou meets the Bay, and The

Houston Blues Society will bring in the blues. Visitors will enjoy a beanbag tournament, crawfish eating contests, vendors of gifts, arts and crafts and more.There is free admission for active military with current ID and children ages 12 and under.

Summerfest Enjoy a live, music concert on Friday nights May 2nd through June 27th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pearland’s Southdown Park is transformed into a sea of blankets, lawn chairs and evening picnics with guests from all over listening to the sounds of regional bands representing various genres of music in celebration of summer. Year round you’ll find plenty of other options for outdoor fun in Pearland whether you want to play a round of golf, miniature golf or golf disc, experience a local Hindu Temple, Sri Meenakshi, or picnic in one of our many parks. Enjoyment is never too far away with a day trip to downtown Houston’s Theater District (10 miles), Johnson Space Center (16 miles), Kemah Boardwalk (20 miles) and Galveston (30 miles). Texas barbecue is definitely an option with a stay in Pearland with two celebrated barbecue

restaurants located in the city.The infamous Central Texas Style BBQ has served Pearland for over 40 years.The local institution is known for its hickory smoked meats and homemade sides and desserts.And of course, Big Horn BBQ is also acclaimed and dubbed the Big Horn experience.The casual atmosphere of the locally owned restaurant includes a unique gift shop and live music with local artists on Friday and Saturday nights. For a bit of international flair, King’s Biergarten and Restaurant located in Pearland has received wide acclaim for its authentic German/Austrian cuisine and festive setting with live entertainment. Pearland has 11 name brand hotels, an impressive selection of dining venues and a variety of shopping that includes the Pearland Town Center with high end retailers, specialty shops, fine dining and entertainment along with Bass Pro Shops 150,000 sq. ft. playground consisting of 3,500 area artifacts, antiques, pictures, mounts and memorabilia, the store becomes a living museum of Texas’ hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor legacies. For more information, visitpearland.com


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Two Days in Seattle, Endless Family Fun skiing are just an hour east in the Cascade Mountains. Consider a guided sea kayaking tour in the heart of the city or jump aboard a seaplane for a quick “flightseeing” trip.Victoria, B.C. and Washington’s scenic and unspoiled San Juan Islands are quickly reached by catamaran and seaplane.Vancouver and mainland British Columbia are easily reached by train, automobile and motor coach. Three national parks lie within a two-hour drive of Seattle. Mt. Rainier National Park features the snow-capped 14,411-foot mountain which backdrops the city’s skyline.The Olympic National Park features the only temperate rain forests in the continental U.S. and the North Cascades National Park offers winter downhill and cross-country skiing and summer hiking amid stunning views of jagged peaks and glacial lakes.

By David Blandford Seattle attracts more than 10 million visitors per year and is known world-wide for its stunning setting and urban sophistication. But, many first-time visitors are surprised to also find a rich array of family attractions that make for an ideal getaway for kids and adults alike. Many of the city’s top visitor attractions are within the compact and easily walkable downtown district. In the heart of downtown Seattle — and often referred to by Seattle locals as the “soul” of the city — the Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously operated farmers market in North America. Here you’ll find the world-famous low-flying salmon (Pike Place Fish Company), loads of colorful produce stands, arts and crafts, collectibles and affordable bites to fit big and small appetites. Just a few blocks down First Avenue is Pioneer Square, Seattle’s historic district. Home to beautifully preserved Victorian Romanesque architecture, Pioneer Square also features the historic Smith Tower which has a public observation deck, as well as the Underground Tour which takes visitors beneath the streets for a glimpse of Seattle’s pioneer past.The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park commemorates Seattle’s role as a gateway to the gold rush in the 1890s when the young town provided provisions and transportation to some 70,000 prospectors. The Seattle Waterfront showcases Seattle’s natural deep-water harbor, Elliott Bay, which teems with trade — ferry boats, luxury cruise liners, sightseeing tour boats and myriad pleasure craft.The waterfront and its piers are home to many souvenir shops and fresh seafood restaurants. Attractions and tours include the Seattle Aquarium;Argosy Cruises which offers harbor cruises and trips to Tillicum Village, an authentic Native American cultural center off shore; and the Seattle Great Wheel which offers scenic rides 275 feet above Pier 57 and the bay. Next door, the 44-block Chinatown-International District Chinese blends the history, culture and commerce of Seattle’s diverse populations of Chinese, Filipinos, Japanese,Vietnamese and Southeast Asians. Chinatown Discovery Tours offers guided walks through the district. Don’t miss Uwajimaya, one of the largest Asian grocery and gift stores in the United States at Fifth and Weller.

Seattle Center The crown jewel of Seattle’s attractions is the Seattle Center, the 74-acre legacy of the 1962 World’s Fair. Its distinctive 605-foot Space Needle is the city’s iconic landmark. From its observation

deck, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city and Puget Sound, back-dropped by the snowcapped Cascade Range to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west. Travel time from the central business district is just two minutes aboard the Seattle Center Monorail which departs the downtown shopping district from Fifth and Pine. While at the Seattle Center, kids of all ages will enjoy the EMP Museum, Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Pacific Science Center. Learn to play the electric guitar or record your own rock tune at the EMP Museum.The colorful Frank Gehry-designed building houses an array of interactive music exhibits and traveling exhibitions. The Pacific Science Center is a hands-on learning center for kids and families offering permanent and traveling exhibits. Permanent exhibits feature Professor Wellbody’s Academy of Health and Wellness, an interactive dinosaur display,Tropical Butterfly House and a popular Puget Sound Model and Saltwater Tide Pool.The Boeing IMAX Theatre boasts a screen six stories high and 80 feet wide, with 12,000 watts of stereo sound. The Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition showcases the most comprehensive collection of Washington-native Dale Chihuly’s artwork ever assembled, with glass, sculpture, gardens and a 40-foot Glass House with glass chandeliers flowing from the ceiling.

Neighborhoods Just beyond downtown Seattle, a number of other superb family attractions await exploration.The Emerald City Trolley makes them easy with three loop tours, both north and south. Experienced guides narrate the tours and guests can hop on and off as they like. Optional twoand three-day passes are available. Or, tour the city by land and

sea with Ride the Ducks, which deploys vintage DUKW vehicles (“Ducks”) — amphibious landing craft developed by the United States Army during World War II.The Seattle tour encompasses downtown Seattle by land and Lake Union by water. The Museum of Flight, just south of downtown at Boeing Field, recently opened a new Space Shuttle Trainer exhibit which features a full-sized NASA mock orbiter which trained all shuttle astronaut crews for space travel.The museum also has an antique Lockheed Model 10-E aircraft like the one Amelia Earhart flew during her attempt to fly around the world in 1937. The Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in South Lake Union features thousands of artifacts and images of the region’s history and culture, as well as the newly opened Bezos Center for Innovation which showcases the city’s role in innovation and entrepreneurship. The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in the Ballard neighborhood raise or lower ships between six and 26 feet with the tides and they’re one of the city’s top visitor attractions.You can reach them via an Argosy Cruises tour from the Seattle Waterfront or via land by the Emerald City Trolley. Nearby, the Woodland Park Zoo is often ranked among the top zoos in the country, famed for setting international standards for animal care and its realistic landscape exhibits that allow animals to thrive and be seen in naturalistic environments. Popular exhibits include an African Savanna, Northern Trail,Tropical Rain Forest, Bug World, Temperate Forest Zone,Willawong Station and Australasia Zone.

Gateway to the Pacific Northwest Seattle is surrounded by salt water Puget Sound and fresh water lakes, two mountain ranges and three national parks. Day and night

Getting There Visit www.2daysinseattle. com to learn more or plan your trip to Seattle. Need personal assistance? The Seattle Visitor Center is a complimentary, state-of-the-art, full-service concierge and visitor information facility, offering bookings and reservations for dining, tours and transportation, along with detailed information on sports, cultural and local events, personal services and more. It’s located in the upper Pike Street lobby of the Washington State Convention Center at Seventh Avenue and Pike Street in the heart of downtown Seattle and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and summer weekends 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Call 866732-2695 or 206-461-5840. The Market Information Center is a companion location of the Seattle Visitor Center, located in the heart of the Pike Place Market at First Avenue and Pike Street, open daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Call 866-732-2695 or 206-461-5840. Visitor information packets may be requested by mail, e-mail or via the request submission form on Visit Seattle’s web site.The web site also features a comprehensive, searchable calendar of events that is updated twice monthly and is a useful trip planning tool. For more travel information or questions, consumers may call, e-mail or write to: Visit Seattle Attention:Visitor Information 701 Pike Street, Suite 800 Seattle, WA 98101 866-732-2695 or 206-461-5840 visinfo@visitseattle.org www.visitseattle.org


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Heartwood: A Place to Relax and Start Your Journey Usually the music at Heartwood gets started around 6:30 on Thursday nights, and it’s usually free. Sometimes it’s a performance on the stage; sometimes it’s down in front of the stage, a jam session that’s open to anyone with a bluegrass or old-time instrument who wants to join in. It’s not a requirement that you buy dinner from the Heartwood restaurant, but Thursday night is BBQ night — it smells so good it’s hard to resist. Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway is a regional welcome center of sorts, open every day except Christmas, where people come to eat lunch, sample Southwest Virginia music and wines, and shop for unique handcrafted items made by Southwest Virginia artisans. A big, barn-inspired building visible from Interstate 81 at Exit 14 in Virginia, Heartwood is fairly hard to miss. It’s the center of Southwest Virginia’s creative culture initiatives — and also a part of the local Abingdon arts scene. Among the other arts and craft venues in Abingdon are the Holston Mountain Artisans, whose shop also features juried craft; the Arts Depot, which contains working artist studios and galleries that are open

to the public; and William King Museum, whose art exhibits vary widely and change regularly. Downtown Abingdon also boasts several other unique destinations, including an olive oil shop that offers free tastings, an artisan dessert shop and a brewery — as well as antique shops and boutiques. A major Main Street attraction

is Barter Theatre, the state theatre of Virginia, which attracts a crowd year-round for its high-quality shows, ranging from the hilarious to the dramatic. As the legendary tale goes, the theatre got its name from the Depression-era practice of letting patrons barter for admission with farm produce — a proud tradition, though unfortunately no longer allowed. Abingdon has been known as a creative place since its frontier days, when it was located on a key route of westward migration — a heritage that’s still documented in historic sites around town. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the culture of Southwest Virginia, Heartwood — and Abingdon — is a good place to start.

Virginia Creeper Trail Yes, your toddler and your mom can join you on a 17 mile bike ride. But it

may only be possible on the Virginia Creeper Trail. What makes this trail different from any other? For just a few dollars, visitors can rent bicycles and ride a shuttle van to the top of the mountain for a long, enjoyable downhill ride that’s especially popular among families. The 17-mile ride from Whitetop to Damascus features stunning scenery and its dozens of centuryold railroad trestles; at the halfway point, families stack up their bicycles, toddler-buggies and kid seats while they stop for lunch at a great local diner just off the trail. The Virginia Creeper Trail and the other hiking and biking trails in the Abingdon, Va., area are another unique side of this friendly little town of 10,000, which has long been a destination for the arts and creative culture of Southwest Va.


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Southwest Virginia: The Home You Always Knew You Had Sometimes life seems too complicated, and you wish you could step into a simpler American culture, more rooted, more connected to all the things we seem to have forgotten in the rush of modern life. A place where families still gather on Saturday nights to play music on the back porch.Where grandmothers still make quilts and soap and grandfathers still make toys for their grandkids — and these passed-down skills are still celebrated. Where the unspoiled beauty of the mountains lets your soul feel peace and rest in any season. The place you’re looking for is real; you can find it in Southwest Virginia, tucked into the hills and hollows and on display in newly revitalized town squares.The authentic, distinctive culture of Southwest Virginia is alive and well. In the last few years, the people and communities of this region have worked hard to make it a

place where everyone — no matter where they’re from or what their troubles — can come and immerse themselves in the music, craft and natural beauty that we love. Many of Southwest Virginia’s best heritage music venues — nine major venues and more than 60 affiliated venues and festivals — are linked along The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, a 333-mile driving route through a rich tapestry of music styles with roots here in these mountains. Some of these venues have been open just a few years; some go back generations and played an important role in the development of American music styles.You can find a lot more detail about The Crooked Road online at www.thecrookedroad.org, which includes guides, schedules, and a trip-planning feature. Southwest Virginia also offers an off-the-beaten-path way to explore the region’s craft culture, with 15

Artisan Trails that meander through the region’s 19 counties, four cities, and 54 towns.They were established by ’Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network. These “trails” are loosely connected — but well-mapped — driving routes that link arts and cultural destinations in an area with local points of interest that range from farms to galleries and artisan centers to unique local restaurants and lodging.To find more details on the Artisan Trails, go to www.roundthemountain.org. A third initiative, called Appalachian Spring, is under way to establish the same kind of network for Southwest Virginia’s outdoor recreation destinations. Its eight major recreation venues range from hiking and biking trails to rivers popular for kayaking and rafting, and Southwest Virginia is full of unique sights and quiet spots that are little known outside the area. Appalachian Spring doesn’t

Orange County: See everything Step back in time in beautiful Orange County,Virginia. Established in 1734 and named in Honor of William, Prince of Orange, and husband of Anne, Princess Royal of England, Orange County was once known as the largest Virginia County ever formed with county lines stretching to the Mississippi River on the West and the Great Lakes to the North. Orange County now encompasses the central piedmont region in Virginia nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The history of Orange County dates back to 1722 when King George I awarded patents totaling 13,500 acres to James Taylor II, a former knight of the Golden Horseshoe.Two of Taylor’s great-grandsons became United States presidents — Zachary Taylor, the 12th president, born in Orange County and James Madison, the fourth president,“Father of the U.S. Constitution” who resided in Orange County at his Montpelier estate. Spend a weekend touring the many historical sites in Orange County. Begin your day with a tour of Madison’s Montpelier.This 2,650acre estate was the lifelong home of James Madison. Its history includes slaves who worked and lived on the plantation, Civil War soldiers who encamped on the property, and a freedman's family who lived and farmed there after Emancipation. Swing through Gordonsville to see the Civil War Museum at the Exchange Hotel.This railroad hotel became the Receiving Hotel, which provided care for 70,000 soldiers, Confederate and Union during the Civil War. During the reconstruction period it served newly freed slaves as a Freedman’s Bureau Hospital. Make plans to come to Orange for the 150th commemoration of the Battle of the Wilderness. Retrace the footsteps of soldiers starting at Ellwood Manor. This plantation overlooking the

battlefield served as the headquarters for the right wing of the Union Army, headquarters of three Union generals, as a Confederate hospital and is the burial site for General “Stonewall” Jackson’s amputated arm. If train history excites you, stop by the Historic Orange Train Station on Main Street. Built in 1909-1910 in a Colonial Revival style, passenger train service was discontinued in the early 1970s.The station now serves as the Orange County Visitor Center. Stop in to be warmly greeted and to receive information about all of the wonderful things to do in town.Visit the Montpelier Train Depot off of winding route 20. Restored in 2008 by the Montpelier Foundation, the Depot is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The self guided permanent exhibit In the Time of Segregation has interpretive panels found in and outside the depot addressing the local African-American community who lived in the area throughout the period of segregation, the codification of laws which dictated that blacks and whites be given "separate but equal" accommodation, a look at those who worked in the depot as agents and postmasters, and the operation of passenger, freight and mail service by rail. More African-American history is found at the Gilmore Cabin at Montpelier as well.This post Civil War house was owned by former Madison slave George Gilmore, who built his log cabin for his family in the early 1870s. Gilmore was more than 90 years old when he purchased the house and 16 acres for $560.The property offers a glimpse of what life was like for African Americans during the Reconstruction years. Your historical journey wouldn’t be complete without stepping back in time to see the Barboursville Ruins. Requiring some eight years to construct (beginning in 1814, a year of war with Britain), the Barboursville

Plantation was designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of only three residences he designed for his friends. James Barbour was Virginia’s first governor (1812-1814), a U.S. Senator, Secretary of War, and Ambassador to Great Britain.The Barbour family continued to occupy this residence until it was destroyed by accidental fire Christmas, 1884. James Barbour is buried with members of his family on the estate in a simple grave site, now preserved by Barboursville Vineyards. The hardest part of your trip

have a website yet, but information on many of Southwest Virginia’s outdoor recreation offerings can be found at www.myswva.org, along with all kinds of other places and events throughout the region. That site is the online gateway to Southwest Virginia; the region’s bricks-and-mortar gateway, built to showcase the region’s creative assets, is Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. Heartwood is a 28,000-square-foot facility off Exit 14 from I-81 in Abingdon that features four craft galleries, a gift shop, the Crooked Road Music Store, a performance stage with free music every Thursday night, and a full-service restaurant. It’s hard to explain in one article just how much Southwest Virginia has to offer, especially if you’re looking to get back to your authentic American roots. We’d love for you to visit — and if you decide to stay forever, we’d love that, too.

might be deciding on which of the 10 majestic bed and breakfasts to stay in — all offering a variety of amenities, breath-taking views, and quiet retreats.View them all online at InnsatMontpelier.com.There are also three hotels located in Orange if that’s your preference. Enjoy the rich history and plan for other activities from hiking, horseback riding and antiquing to skydiving, farm tours and wine tastings. For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, visit www.visitorangevirginia.com


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Authentic Events in Wytheville Offer Authentic Experiences

By Rosa Lee Jude Director Wytheville Convention and Visitors Bureau Wytheville has a variety of attractions and outdoor recreation opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy. But, a great way to truly see the flavor and authenticity of the area is through the many

festivals and special events that are held throughout the year.The activities mentioned below fill the spring, summer, and fall with a wealth of interesting, enjoyable, and educational opportunities for the entire family.

Chautauqua Festival This eight-day event has an over 25 year history of providing

Remembering Their Valor, Fidelity and Sacrice Discover The National D-Day Memorial, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and the town that lost the most citizens per-capita in the United States at D-Day. The Memorial honors the Americans and all of the Allied forces involved. Near The Memorial is Thomas Jefferson’s retreat Poplar Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Smith Mountain Lake and the Booker T. Washington National Monument. Now Open Daily!

Bedford Welcome Center • Bedford, VA 877-447-3257 • www.visitbedford.com

entertainment.All events are free and held in the center of Wytheville throughout the day and into the evening.There’s crafts and classes, art displays and food, and every evening ends with multiple bands in the open air atmosphere of a beautiful public park. Besides this multi-day festival, there are many special or series events that are held at attractions and parks throughout the area.

Beagle Ridge Herb Farm and Flying Flowers This attraction includes a two-

acre herb display garden, a walkthrough butterfly house, four and a half miles of nature trails, acres and acres of beautiful property and the new Serendipity, a special event building. From spring to fall, Beagle Ridge holds a variety of public special events including Lavender Thyme in June, Monarch Tagging in September, and Garlic Thyme in October.

Big Walker Lookout and BW Country Store As one of the oldest privately operated tourism attractions in


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Virginia, Big Walker Lookout/BW Country Store is a natural and manmade attraction and store located on a National Forest Scenic Byway just a few minutes from Wytheville. Showcasing the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as their motto says “Only the Birds See More” from atop the 100 foot observation tower that was built over 60 years ago.As a member of ‘Round the Mountain artisans group and an affiliate location of the Crooked Road Music Trail, Big Walker has embraced holding special events to add variety to their venue. From May through October, each Saturday and Sunday, they host a variety of artisans and musicians who bring an authentic experience to the area.

New River Trail State Park As one of the most visited state parks in Virginia, the New River Trail State Park is a cornerstone of outdoor recreation in Southwest Virginia.Throughout the year, this facility holds a variety of programs and special events. Held in September, the New River Challenge has become Virginia’s premier longdistance triathlon.The challenge has a 40-mile bike ride, 12-mile kayak leg and half marathon along southwestern Virginia’s 57-mile-long New River Trail. Participants can either choose to compete solo or in teams of two or three.

West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery Located on a beautiful family farm, West Wind has many ongoing events throughout the year, these include “Café Saturdays” with musical entertainment during lunchtime as well as their popular summer concert series that runs from June to October. Both of these events showcase local and regional music as well as homegrown and homecrafted wines.

Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre Every eight weeks, a new Broadway-caliber production graces the stage. Following a four-course meal,Wohlfahrt Haus presents musicals that showcase many different types of music from classic to contemporary as well as feature huge production numbers with

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unforgettable dancing.These familyfriendly productions are presented in matinee and evening times throughout the entire year.

All About Variety Here is a sampling of some of the different festivals and events you can find in the Wytheville area. • On Stage – Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre – new show every six-eight weeks, 2014: Live musical theater, food/beverages • Café Saturdays – West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery – Every Saturday, 2014: Live music, food, wine • Music at The Mansion – The Mansion at Fort Chiswell – Every Saturday, 2014: Live music, food, mansion tours • Jams at the Matterhorn Lounge – Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre – seasonally, May-October: Live music, food/beverages • Bluegrass and Old-time Jamboree – Wytheville Community College – Monthly, Third Saturday, 2014: Live music Mountain Top Music – Big Walker Lookout/BW Country Store – Every Saturday and Sunday, May-October, 2014: Local/regional musicians History Comes Alive! – Big Walker Lookout/BW Country Store Every Saturday and Sunday, MayOctober, 2014: Local/regional artisans, authors, historians, or other demonstrators showcasing the authentic heritage of the region • After Hours Concert Series – Town of Wytheville,Withers Park – First Friday, July-September 2014: Live music, food, beer/ wine, children’s activities • Summer Saturday Concert Series – West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery - First Saturday of June-October, 2014: Live music, food, wine

Once a Year Events/Festivals • Chautauqua Festival – Wythe Arts Council – All day - June 21-28, 2014: Live music, arts, workshops, vendors, food • Lavender Thyme Celebration – Beagle Ridge Herb Farm – June 21, 2014:

Workshops, lectures, food • Monarch Tagging/Migration Day – Beagle Ridge Herb Farm – Second Saturday in September, 2014:Workshops, lectures, hands-on event for children and adults • New River Challenge – New River Trail State Park – September 2014:Triathlon • Downtown Wytheville Festival/ Cruise-In – Downtown Revitalization – September 2014: Live music, class/ antique car cruise-in, children’s activities, vendors, food, beer/ wine garden • Haunted Graham Mansion – Fridays and Saturdays, September 26-November 8, 2014: Haunted house and trails, music, food

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 81 • Garlic Thyme Celebration – Beagle Ridge Herb Farm – October 4, 2014:Workshops, lectures, food • Seed to the Soul Festival – The Mansion at Fort Chiswell – October 4, 2014: Live music, demonstrations, children’s activities, food • Festival of Leaves – Bland County – October 11-12, 2014: Live music, hayrides, demonstrations, children’s activities, exhibits, crafts, food • Fall Festival – Williams Orchard – Weekends in October, 2014: Corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin patch, games for the kids For more information, contact the Wytheville CVB, toll-free at 877-347-8307, or visit http://www.VisitWytheville.com on your computer or mobile device.


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Create Your Experience in Butler County, Pennsylvania By Sara DiBello

taste, a bottle, or a whole growler! Burgh’ers Restaurant in Harmony Just north of Pittsburgh, Butler will bring out the carnivore in you with County, Pennsylvania boasts a scenic some of the best burgers in the ‘Burgh. landscape of rolling hills and quaint Unique creations include the “Mexican towns easily accessed via the PA War” with cheddar, roasted chilies, Turnpike, I-79, I-80 and Routes tomato, avocado, cilantro and special 422, 19 and 8. If you want to see a sauce. Plus, the burgers are made from Pirates game, it’s just a 20 minute locally-raised Black Angus cattle. Not far drive from Cranberry Township. from Burgh’ers is the Log Cabin Inn, Cranberry has tons of hotel options, part of a locally-loved restaurant group, and you don’t have to worry about offering delicious steaks and more. the stress or cost of parking.You’ll In springtime, Butler County comes also find plenty of restaurants and to life as the earth thaws. It’s a great time shops there to keep you busy. for camping, hiking, biking and other One restaurant you’ll definitely want outdoor activities. Local campgrounds to include during your trip is North and parks offer everything from Country Brewing Company in Slippery tenting to modern cabins, miles of Rock. From amazing food to craft brews trails, and even the largest man-made and an atmosphere too cool for words, lake in Pennsylvania. It’s not too hot, “The Brewery” has won over the hearts and it’s not too cold. Springime is just of many. On the menu you’ll find some right for an outdoor adventure! offbeat items like frog legs and elk Did you know that Butler, burgers. Ingredients are locally-sourced Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the and tasty as can be. Oh, and did I Jeep? Thousands of Jeepers make a mention beer?! You can even take home homecoming journey each year over a really nifty-looking growler.And there’s Father’s Day weekend to celebrate that homemade root beer for the kiddos. fact at the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival. If you enjoy adult beverages, you’re Fan favorites include the off-road trails in luck.The Brewery recently opened at Cooper’s Lake Campground and the North Country Canning Company, mud pit, which is a blast for Jeepers so the beers you’ll come to love are and spectators alike.The event also now available in cans that you can includes a Little Jeepers Playground take home! Just up the street, you’ll for the kids, a history exhibit and a find Winfield Winery with a great WWII encampment. It’s a great way selection of award-winning wines to to pay tribute to our forefathers and sample and purchase.Also in Slippery learn more about the vehicle that Rock is a new hard cider company, represents American troops.This year’s Rebellion Ciderworks. Stop by for a festival will be June 13th through

44 Lakes…44 Choices A Military-Friendly Travel Destination Scenic beauty awaits you in Fulton County. Enjoy fishing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, wildlife and sports attractions, and much more.

Experience an Adirondack vacation you won’t soon forget.

www.44lakes.com 1.800.676.3858

The Jeep was born in Butler, Pennsylvania, and over Father’s Day weekend, thousands of Jeep enthusiasts converge to celebrate it. Photo by Bob Brandon

15th, so mark your calendar! Another unique event hosted in Butler County is an annual Chainsaw Carving Invitational.Top chainsaw carvers from around the world converge at the Butler County Farm Show Grounds for three days to show off their creative talent.You’ll be amazed by the one-of-a-kind art pieces they create using a chainsaw! The event is scheduled for May 16-18, 2014. Now that you have all of these ideas, you’re going to need a place to stay. Butler County boasts a great deal of hotel options — full-service, pet-friendly, some with swimming pools, some with free breakfast. Most hotels are located in Cranberry

Township, the bustling part of the county and Butler, the centrallylocated county seat. So whatever fun you want to have is always nearby. Hopefully you stay safe and sound during your visit, but rest easy knowing VA Butler Healthcare is there to help should you need it. Since 1947, the Butler VA has been the health care choice for over 18,000 veterans. When you’re ready to plan your getaway (hopefully soon!), explore www.VisitButlerCounty.com for brochures, itineraries, information on attractions and a calendar of events.You can even book your stay online. Create your experience in Butler County, Pennsylvania!


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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 83

Special Advertising Supplement

Cabarrus County is North Carolina’s Hot Spot for Horsepower Located in North Carolina’s southern piedmont just north of Charlotte, Cabarrus County is one of the most vibrant visitor destinations in the United States. Our unique attractions, favorable climate and southern hospitality make Cabarrus County a fan favorite.These spring and summer seasons are sure to keep visitors in high gear, but with year-round options for entertainment, it’s always a great time to visit “Where Racing Lives!” Unlike any other racing destination, Cabarrus County is home to an unequaled concentration of motorsports attractions including museums, top race team headquarters and state-of-the-art race tracks. Did you know that 90 percent of NASCAR race shops are located in Cabarrus County and the surrounding area? Stop by fan viewing areas to observe crew members hard at work. Then, explore history and pick up souvenirs inside museums and teams stores. Chip-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, and Stewart-Hass Racing are all located within minutes of Charlotte Motor Speedway and are free of charge.Visiting race shops allows fans to get a behind the scenes look into how the teams prepare for race day.Who knows? You may even catch a glimpse of your favorite driver passing through!

Spring in Speed City On April 3–6, the fun returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for AutoFair — the World’s Largest Automotive Extravaganza! Complete with impressive exhibits and a collector car auction,AutoFair attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually and is a must for any auto enthusiast. The following weekend, at the fifth annual NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, the thunderous roar of 40,000 horsepower will cause the grandstands to rumble and fans from around the world to travel to Concord! Known as the “Bellagio of Drag Strips,” zMAX Dragway is the only all-concrete four-lane drag strip in the world. In May, Charlotte Motor Speedway will “Let Freedom Race” and jumpstart a summer of adrenaline-pumping excitement with the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and one of the greatest Military Salutes and Memorial Day Weekend celebrations with the CocaCola 600. Don’t forget to stop by the Where Racing Lives hauler just outside the track in the Fan Zone before each major event at Charlotte Motor Speedway for games and giveaways! During the months of June and July, the Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway gets each week off to a racing start! On Tuesday evenings, Legend Car and Bandolero racing takes place under the lights on

the quarter-mile oval located on the speedway’s front straightaway.With affordable tickets, the whole family will be able to enjoy racing action and special attractions from fireworks to school bus racing! The 15th Annual Back-to-School Monster Truck Bash is the perfect outing before getting back to the books. On Aug. 9,The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway will host the most unique vehicles on the planet as they go head-to-head on The Dirt Track’s course.Typically 11 feet tall with 2,000 horsepower, these giants put on one powerful show! When the checkered flag drops, there’s no better place to beat the heat than the largest indoor water park in the Carolinas! Adventure for the whole pack waits at Great Wolf Lodge Charlotte/Concord.The 84 degree water park has rides and slides for all ages, and other attractions including MagiQuest and Scooops Kids Spa keep the fun coming. Prefer shopping over the speed scene? Visit Concord Mills — the largest shopping and entertainment destination in the Carolinas.The Mills offers over 200 stores including manufacturer and retail outlets, off-price retailers and unique specialty stores. Opening Feb. 20, SEA LIFE CharlotteConcord Aquarium will transport visitors from the fresh waters of the Catawba River in the Blue Ridge

Mountains to the salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond! Discover over 5,000 amazing sea creatures, a spectacular underwater ocean tunnel, an interactive touch pool and more inside the 26,000 square foot facility. For an even more eclectic shopping experience, the quaint streets of Downtown Concord provide local specialty stores for those one-of-a-kind finds.You can also have lunch or dinner, browse an art gallery and catch a theatre performance within two city blocks.

Kannapolis In April, the season will be in full swing at CMC-NorthEast Stadium for the Kannapolis Intimidators — Class A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.With promotions like post-game fireworks, Mascot Mania and Thirsty Thursday, Intimidators games are the perfect choice for affordable family fun! The Intimidators play 70 home games per season from April to September. While visiting Kannapolis, fans can also pay tribute to racing legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. in his hometown.A selfguided tour, the Dale Trail, takes fans to 20 significant locations in Cabarrus County and the surrounding area. One of the most significant is the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza where visitors get a glimpse into Dale’s life. Here, a nine-foot, 900 pound bronze statue see CABARRUS page 90


84 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

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Heart of North Carolina

Welcome to the gently rolling hills, river valleys, forests and ridges of Randolph County, the geographic “heart” of North Carolina! Randolph has been at the crossroads of history since the 17th century when explorers first arrived along the Great Indian Trading Path. Every variety of religion, creed, and color could be found in the county from its creation in 1779, with combinations that often proved volatile. From the Uwharrie Mountains in the west to the Deep River Valley on the east, Randolph has been home to powerful opposing forces. It is a county where potters

are more common than doctors, and home to five of North Carolina’s first textile mills, yet it remains one of the state’s leading agricultural producers. Its residents refused to secede from the Union but sent six companies into Confederate service.Although settled by pacifist Quakers, bitter guerrilla warfare pitted neighbor against neighbor in both the American Revolution and the Civil War. A dry county that permitted no sales of alcoholic beverages, it fostered the racing spirit of NASCAR by running moonshine along its back roads. Randolph is the home of : • North Carolina’s 39th Governor, Jonathan Worth • Naomi Wise, immortalized in the traditional American ballad performed by Doc Watson • NASCAR icon, Richard “The King” Petty • World Professional Bull Riding Champion, Jerome Davis • Rufus “The Beanshooter” Hussey, whose notoriety took him to a famed appearance with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show in 1986 • New York Times Best Selling Author, Jerry Bledsoe; • 2013 National Senior Games gold medal winner, John Q. Pugh, Jr. • Guy Troy, modern pentathlon gold medal winner, 1951 Pan-American Games • World Skeet Shoot Champion, Craig Kirkman • Birthplace of professional baseball player, Joe Frazier. Today it is best known as home to the North Carolina Zoo, the nation’s largest natural habitat zoo, celebrating 40 wild years in 2014. Randolph is a county with a history, politics, and people of vision and depth


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where locals welcome visitors with a generous spirit and North Carolina’s trademark southern hospitality!

Museums and Attractions Find what’s in your heart by exploring an assortment of museums and attractions unequal to any other area of North Carolina! From the North Carolina Zoo to the largest private collection of Harley-Davidson® motorcycles in the country at American Classic Motorcycle Museum; a plane flown by Orville Wright at the NC Aviation Museum & Hall of Fame; Seagrove, the handmade pottery capital of the U.S.; Linbrook Heritage Estate, home of Linbrook Hall, one of the largest privately owned homes in the Southeast; and Petty Enterprises Historic Site, birthplace of 10 NASCAR championships!

Festivals and Events Celebrate with us at Christmas on Sunset, in downtown Asheboro, the Bush Hill Heritage Festival in Archdale, and the Seagrove Pottery Festival - all chosen as a Top 20 Event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society; and Liberty Antiques Festival, voted the Best Antiques Show in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Arts and Entertainment If you love live entertainment catch a summer concert at Bicentennial Park or Ramseur Lake; or catch a concert

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or play at the newly renovated Sunset Theatre in downtown Asheboro, home to an array of intimate galleries featuring exhibits of arts and crafts created by local and regional artisans.

Outdoor Fun Leave the stress of the city behind and discover one of North Carolina’s two remaining historic covered bridges, the Pisgah Covered Bridge. Experience the thrill of a lifetime on Richland Creek ZipLine & Canopy Tour, voted a Top 100 Expo Adventure; and Kersey Valley, North Carolina’s only aviation themed zip line. Hike America’s oldest mountain range, the Uwharries. Fish along 100 miles of beautiful shoreline on Randleman Lake; or have “Dinner at the Dairy” at Goat Lady, first place winner of the 2012 American Cheese Society Awards for the “Best Smoked Goat Cheese” in North America!

Vineyards and Wineries Tour Zimmerman Vineyards, located on more than 140 acres at the foot of beautiful Mount Shepherd.

Sports and Racing Our area is home to semiprofessional sports, and various recreational tournaments including the Bank of the Carolina’s JV Holiday Classic, now the largest JV basketball tournament in the U.S., the John Blewett III Memorial North-South

Shootout at Caraway Speedway, and the 2014 American Legion Baseball Southeast Regional Tournament.

Golf Play some of the area’s most beautiful golf courses including 7th Hardest Course in America, Tot Hill; Holly Ridge, one of the Piedmont Triad’s finest; and Asheboro Municipal, a public course designed by the famed Donald Ross in 1935 – all located within an hour’s drive from Pinehurst, home of some of

THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 85

America’s finest golf courses. For more information call 800-626-2672 or visit www. HeartofNorthCarolina.com. The Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Randolph County Tourism Development Authority representing Archdale,Asheboro, Franklinville, Liberty, Ramseur, Randleman, Seagrove, Staley, and Trinity. See our ad on page 51


86 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

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Discover Historic Hendersonville, NC

The Garden Jubilee Festival is a two-day festival held on Saturday and Sunday during Memorial Day weekend in Downtown Hendersonville. Photo courtesy of Henderson County Tourism Development Authority

Historic Hendersonville offers cool mountains and warm southern hospitality. Hendersonville is located in Western North Carolina, 22 miles south of Asheville, in the Blue Ridge Mountains on a plateau, 2200 feet above sea level. Historic Hendersonville is ideally located for exploring town and country with varied attractions, festivals, cultural and recreational activities, historical sites, golf courses, family activities, a historic downtown with unique shops, excellent restaurants, and quality antique stores. Henderson County offers many diverse attractions, all located within a few blocks, to a few miles of downtown: these include: • The Henderson County Farmers Curb Market • Jump Off Rock scenic overlook • Historic Johnson Farm • The labyrinth in Holmes Educational State Forest

• The waterfalls in Dupont State Recreational Forest • The Western North Carolina Air Museum • Historic Hendersonville Depot Historic downtown features interesting architecture, delightful shops, museums, and locally owned restaurants.The serpentine street features planter boxes brimming with seasonal flowers and trees. Downtown hosts many activities, as well as, art shows, an antique show, car shows, and parades throughout the year. The Historic Village of Flat Rock began when families from South Carolina’s Low Country came to Flat Rock to escape the sweltering heat and the epidemic of yellow fever and malaria. South Carolina’s Low Country gentry affectionately called Flat Rock,The Little Charleston of the Mountains.The entire district of Flat Rock is included in the National Register of Historic

Places. Historic Flat Rock is home to several attractions such as: • The Flat Rock Playhouse • State Theatre of North Carolina • The Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site • St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church • Many unique specialty shops. The Garden Jubilee Festival is a two-day festival held on Saturday and Sunday during Memorial Day weekend in Downtown Hendersonville.This is a great opportunity for gardeners to speak with experts at the garden clinics and gather tips and advice. Garden Jubilee stretches eight blocks of Main Street with over 250 vendors selling handmade arts and crafts, plants and items to enhance your outdoor living area. Local and regional nurseries will be selling thousands of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and hard to find plants on every block of the festival. Summer evening concerts showcase traditional mountain music, square dancing, folk, blues and country Monday nights and oldies rock and dancing Friday nights.

The three concerts are held under the stars at the Visitor Center, located on Main Street in downtown. Music On Main Street showcases a diverse lineup of musical talents, from rock and roll to beach music. Monday Night Live features a diverse line-up of folk, country and blues.The sounds of fiddles and banjos playing at the Street Dance have been a part of Henderson County’s heritage for 95 years. The concerts are held early-June through mid-August. Henderson County wineries and breweries provide tours and tasting rooms, to sample mountain grown selections. Henderson County is home to Burntshirt Vineyards, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard, Falderal Winery and Southern Appalachian Brewery. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is building their east coast brewing, bottling and distribution operation, in Northern Henderson County. The Visitor Center, located at 201 South Main Street in downtown Hendersonville is open Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit historichendersonville.org or call 800-828-4244.

Waterfalls in Dupont State Recreational Forest. Photo courtesy of Henderson County Tourism Development Authority


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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 87

Experience the beauty of spring at the Billy Graham Library Come enjoy the newness of spring at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Stroll through beautiful grounds spotted with rhododendrons, crape myrtles, and azaleas and be a part of several special events, including a fun-filled family Easter celebration and the Ladies Tea and Tour. On April 12, the Library will host its third annual Easter celebration, an inspiring event for the whole family. Story time will captivate children with the good news of the resurrection of Jesus, and they can take home a memento of their visit — a keepsake craft or photo with a real lamb. Two weeks later, on April 26, the Library will host its seventh annual Ladies Tea and Tour with guest speaker Aileen Coleman. Coleman has served as a medical missionary in Jordan for decades and has been presented with multiple honors from leaders like Queen Elizabeth II and King Abdullah II of Jordan. She will share her powerful testimony with guests during this special time of encouragement and fellowship.Women attending the tea will also have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of the Library. The 40,000 square foot Library chronicles the life and ministry of Charlotte’s native son and world traveling pastor Billy Graham.The

Library is a multimedia experience that continues Graham’s nearly 80-year mission of delivering the profound message of God’s love, and it is built to resemble a large barn, symbolic of Graham’s childhood on a dairy farm. The structure houses six exhibits, four galleries of memorabilia from around the world, and two theaters, all of which cover his lifetime ministry and the innovative outreach of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association today. The heart of the Library experience is The Journey of Faith tour, which features engaging films and in-depth exhibits covering Graham’s remarkable life.Visitors can explore the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that launched Graham onto the national scene; his marriage with late wife, Ruth Bell Graham; his pioneering use of radio, television, and motion pictures to share God’s hope; his relationships with numerous American presidents; and his bold preaching behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Billy Graham’s boyhood home has been restored on-site, and guests are encouraged to visit the two-story brick colonial where he lived from age nine until he left for college. Built by Billy’s father, Frank Graham, the house was moved brick by brick to the Library in 2007.The interior

features original décor, authentic appliances and furniture, and personal memorabilia from the Graham family. Visitors also have the opportunity to take a scenic walk through the memorial prayer garden, where Ruth Bell Graham, Gospel music legend George Beverly Shea, and Billie Barrows, late wife of Cliff Barrows, are buried. Guests can enjoy lunch or a snack at the Graham Brothers Dairy Bar, which serves delicious selections like Mother Graham’s chicken salad, the Billy Frank hot dog, fresh salads, soups, ice cream cones, and homemade pound cake. Ruth’s Attic bookstore offers a variety of Bibles, books authored by Graham family members, biographies, classic sermons on DVD, music, apparel, and unique gifts.Active-duty service members with their military ID or in uniform receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases in both the bookstore and the dairy bar. The Library hosts multiple other special events throughout the year. Book signings have featured former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush; longtime New York Yankees second baseman and 1960 World Series MVP, Bobby Richardson; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin; and Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, along with their 19 children.

The Library also welcomed the Gaither Homecoming, which showcased more than 140 of Gospel music’s leading artists.Annual events include the men’s breakfast in September and Bikers With Boxes in October, when hundreds of bikers bring Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to the Library. More than 800,000 people from around the world have visited the Library since its opening in June 2007. After touring the galleries and exhibits, one visitor stated,“I wasn’t expecting how grand an experience this could be.”Another said,“I wanted to go over to the Billy Graham Library to meditate and pray in the garden area. I have been four times, and it’s a little bit of heaven on earth for me.” Still others have called the Library “outstanding,” “faith-building,”“inspiring,” and “moving.”


88 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

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The Charms of Charleston It’s time to start planning your next fun-in-the-sun summer vacation! How about a coastal, family-friendly destination? In Charleston, South Carolina, you’ll discover scenic beaches, a historic downtown, plus unlimited hours of recreation through waterparks, beach parks, fishing piers, camping and marshfront vacation cottages.

Waterparks and Beach Parks Kick off your family vacation with a splash at one of Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission’s three area waterparks: Splash Zone, Splash Island or Whirlin’Waters Adventure Waterpark. Staffed with award-winning lifeguards to provide a safe experience, each park offers a full range of amenities, including snack bars, concessions and lockers. Also available for party rentals, the Charleston waterparks are your place for fun and relaxation, for groups of any size. Splash Zone, located within James Island County Park, brings the Caribbean to Charleston with island-style play structures, 200foot slides and endless leisure in the lazy river. In Mount Pleasant, you will find Splash Island, a water playground tucked deep within the shade of tropical vegetation at Palmetto Islands County Park. Here,

slides, sprays, geysers, waterfalls, and the Cyclone water ride will provide hours of recreation for toddlers to pre-teenage children. And in North Charleston at Wannamaker County Park is the 15-acre Whirlin’Waters Adventure Waterpark, packed with thrills and spills for all ages. Named one of the top 5 waterparks in the country by Waterparks and Resorts Today,Whirlin’Waters is the largest waterpark in the Charleston area. Race down one of Riptide Run’s six 347-foot slides, plunge down the Tubular Twister multi-slide complex, and enjoy the giant Big Kahuna wave pool, all action-packed elements perfect for teens through adults alike. Children enjoy the Otter Bay pool area and the Big Splash Tree House with slides, sprays, interactive play elements, and a giant bucket that dumps 1,000 gallons of water. Toddlers delight the in the totfriendly Lily Pad Lagoon play area, and adults discover 870 feet of winding lazy river relaxation on the Rollin’ River. Looking for the sounds of the surf? Always family-friendly, the three county beach parks provide designated swimming areas for park visitors. Folly Beach, Kiawah Beachwalker, and Isle of Palms County Parks offer the area’s only

beaches patrolled by lifeguards, and include parking, on-site restrooms and additional amenities.

Fishing Piers Join the locals and catch some fun this summer at the Folly Beach Fishing Pier or the Mount Pleasant Pier. Both are prime locations for fantastic fishing, equipment rentals, breathtaking water views, and a wide variety of summer activities. The Folly Beach Fishing Pier is a landmark that is home to a variety of saltwater fishing tournaments. If you need a break from fishing, enjoy lifeguard-patrolled beach access adjacent to the pier.After sunset, dance the night away. Held monthly each summer, the pier’s Moonlight Mixers offer an evening of live beach music and draw hundreds of visitors from throughout the region. Located at the foot of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, the Mount Pleasant Pier is the longest pier in South Carolina and offers stunning views of Charleston Harbor.Adjacent to the Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park, the pier offers not only some of the area’s best freshwater fishing and all needed supplies at the pier gift shop, but also tasty dining at the River Watch Café and special events throughout the spring and summer.

Accommodations Looking for an affordable alternative to the typical hotel stay? James Island County Park is your destination. Nestled within a 643-acre natural setting are fully-furnished vacation cottages, equipped with all the conveniences needed for a relaxing get-away. Each dwelling has three bedrooms, plus a modern kitchen, linens, phones, television, and a scenic, screened marsh-front porch.The more adventurous can sleep under the stars in the park’s own secure primitive and tent camping area. Or enjoy the on-site RV campground, complete with full hook-ups and 24-hour security. James Island County Park is conveniently located to downtown Charleston and the area’s beaches. But, visitors may wish to stay inside the park to enjoy its endless activities, including the Splash Zone waterpark, miles of paved trails, fishing and crabbing docks, the challenging 50foot climbing wall, boat rentals for the park’s lake, and special events on select evenings. Charleston County Parks offer Everything Under the Sun! For more information on Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission waterparks or facilities, call 843-795-4386 or visit www. charlestoncountyparks.com.


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THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014 • 89

Berkeley: Rich in nature and history If you’re looking for a new type of adventure, come to Berkeley County. Berkeley County is rich with history, natural beauty, and culture; it is a great getaway. Berkeley County settled in the late seventeen hundreds by English and French Huguenots, has had a rich history with Revolutionary War Heroes and all in between from Plantation life to Bootlegging. Visitors can visit Francis Marion National Forest where General Francis Marion the “Swamp Fox” who is known for creating guerilla warfare. While on your hike and discovering where these legendary soldiers camped, you will spot some of the flesh eating plants. No they are not the man eating plants of Madagascar that have been known to eat a small child. We guarantee you will return with all your limbs intact. These are the plants of the South Carolina Lowcountry that lure small insects to digest and supplement the plant’s nutrient requirement. Your guide can also show you the plants that were used for wounded soldiers to stop the blood, and the General’s afternoon tea.Visit Mepkin Plantation, home of Henry Laurens, president of the Continental Congress. Mepkin Plantation, which later was purchased by Henry Luce, creator of Time-Life magazine and his wife Clare Boothe Luce, writer and diplomat. Mepkin Plantation, is now a Trappist monastery known as, Mepkin Abbey; which overlooks the Cooper River where visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty and can stroll in the formal gardens or visit the gift shop

full of unique and eclectic artist pieces. If you are more into Plantation Life or colonial times, Cypress Gardens or Old Santee Canal would be great places to visit. Old Santee Canal is located on 195-acres and the first true canal in America. The park, which sits on the historic Stony Landing Plantation, was an important site for trade and transportation since colonial times. Embrace the opportunity to stand on the very ground which once served as an early Native American trading post and, the first semisubmersible torpedo boat, CSS Little David, was built on these grounds. You will find a 19th century plantation house, 4 miles of boardwalk that brings you face-to-face with nature, brilliant at any time of the year, and where the Canal bed can actually be seen at Biggins Swamp. The parks’ impressive 11,000 square foot Interpretive Center tells the story of the engineering feat of digging a canal from the state’s midlands to the Cooper River. Cypress Gardens along with their azaleas and black water swamp has recently opened the Heritage Room which features unearthed artifacts from Dean Hall Plantation which dates back to the 1700’s. The Heritage Room also features the largest collection in the United States of Colonoware a lowfired pottery, locally made by both free and enslaved African Americans. Bootleggers, pirates and legends all come to life with our storytellers and historians. If these stories don’t pique your interest then maybe

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you would enjoy stories of ghost and Gullah on unique locations throughout Berkeley County! Add any of these great story telling options or adventures to your visit to Berkeley County and other attractions and events in nearby Historic Charleston, South Carolina or fun filled Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The possibilities of a fantastic, historical, scenic getaway in Berkeley County are unlimited. For information on Berkeley County, SC call 843-761-8238 or check us out at www. visitberkeleycounty.com.


90 • THE GRIFFON • Spring 2014

Advertiser Index

National Academy of Sports Medicine 34

84 Lumber

10

Desoto FL

63

AHIMA

49

Disney Military Offers

71

Alamogordo NM

74

Drexel University

29

All South Federal Credit Union

18

Eagle Transport

22

Alleghany Highlands VA

81

Everglades University

35

Amarillo TX

74

Fisherman’s Finest

45

American Medical Technologists

56

Flag and Banner

26

Apologia

59

Florida A&M University

36

Averitt Express

27

Front Royal CVB

78

Avis

14

Fulton County PA

82

Ball State University

BC

Gannon University

43

Bedford VA Tourism

80

Gardner Webb University

Berkeley County SC

89

Geico

11

Billy Graham Library

87

Georgia Military College

44

Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals

67

Georgian Court University

44

Boulder Designs

58

Goshen College

58

Brett Robinson Vacations

69

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

84

Butler County PA

82

Greater Valley Area AL

66

Cabarrus County NC

83

Griffith University

20

California National University

38

Gulf Shores AL

68

Cameron University

42

Harrisburg Area Community College 20

Capitol College

54

Heart of NC

51

Carolina Cat

22

Heartwood VA

78

Catholic Distance University

30

Historic Hendersonville

86

CDA Technical Institute

25

Hungry Howies

36

Cedar Hill TX CVB

72

Indiana University of Pennsylvania 50,58

Chadron State College

23

Island House Hotel

69

Charleston County Water parks

88

JB Hunt

34

City of Myrtle Beach

86

Kent County MD

82

Clay County FL

63

Lee County FL

63

Clinton County PA

82

Lewisville, TX

73

CoCo Beach Fl

65

Lincoln College of Technology

55

Codesmart University

52

Lincoln Technical Institute

55

Maggie Valley Collected

85

McKinney TX

72

Mercyhurst University

28

Montgomery County VA CVB

80

Comfort Inn & Suites- Three Rivers 70 Computer Services

28

Corban University

5

CR England

56

IBC

North Myrtle Beach

86

Northeastern University

33

Ohio Christian University

23

Old Dominion

39

OmniTrax

32

One Click Cleaners

43

Orange County VA

79

Patriots Point

88

Pearland TX CVB

74

Peppertree Ocean Club

89

State Farm Insurance 3 Stevens Henager College 53 Sullivan University System 31,IFC Sunbelt Rentals 16 The College Board 27 The GEO Group 42 The Helendorf River Inn 67 The Homeschool Foundation 62 The Ocean Corportation 36 Tiffin University 37 Time4Learning 60,61 TMC Transport 3 Town of Mount Pleasant 89 Trans-System 33 Tryon Palace 85 Tupelo MS CVB 67 Universal Orlando Resort 64 University of Alabama 15 University of Colorado Denver 19

Pfeiffer University

42

University of Louisiana Monroe

Pooler GA

66

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 32

Quinnipiac University

39

University of Nebraska High School 59

Rosemont College

10

USAA

Rosen Hotels & Resorts

65

Rugged Maniac Russell County AL Safety Glasses USA Sequoia Foothills CVB Sevierville TN SIT Graduate Institute South Dakota State University Southwest VA Southwest Virginia CC St. Francis College

75 64 5 70 90 17 43 79 27 37

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

27

Victoria TX

73

Virginia Conservation

81

Visit Gainesville Florida

65

Visit Seattle

77

Western Governors University

57

Wet N Wild

63

Wyndham Vacation Rentals

69

Wytheville VA

80

National Firearms Museum

78

Navy Federal Credit Union

24

New York Institute of Technology 54 Niagara University

30

North Carolina A&T University

46

North Carolina Central University

8

North Florida Christian Academy 62

Cabarrus

Cont’d from page 83

of his likeness is the centerpiece of a lush courtyard in the heart of downtown Kannapolis. More of Cabarrus County’s unique attractions are only steps away.The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame is located just behind the Earnhardt Tribute Plaza and houses artifacts that showcase our state’s rich musical history. Go just one more block and the vintage marquee of the Gem Theatre beckons visitors inside one of the oldest single-screen movie theatres in continuous operation today.

Fall Means Fast In Cabarrus County, the thrills don’t end when the weather cools off! A full lineup of fall events gives visitors plenty of reasons to return. Side-by-side racing action returns to zMAX Dragway on Sept. 12 -14 for the NHRA Carolina Nationals. Experience heart-pounding excitement as engines roar and the grandstands rumble when the best drag racers in the world compete for the glory of a championship title! The October NASCAR races at legendary 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway promise action and excitement as drivers battle to position their teams for a championship. On Oct. 10, the NASCAR Nationwide Series 300 will

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be a Friday night fight to the finish! Then, the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series will strap in on Oct. 11 for the Bank of America 500 and race their way to the checkered in hopes of securing their spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Now it’s your turn.Your chance to get behind the wheel and on the track exists right here in Cabarrus County! Whether you prefer the splitsecond adrenaline rush of a dragster or whipping through the banked corners of a superspeedway in a stock car, the opportunity to drive or ride along is yours. Check out our website to explore all the options! The fun doesn’t have to stop at the track. No matter where you are or the time of year, use #WhereRacingLives to share the fullthrottle fun and get connected with us on your favorite social media sites. So strap in, and get ready to explore.We’ll see you in Cabarrus County — “Where Racing Lives!” Travel counselors are standing by at the Cabarrus County Visitor Center to provide information on attractions, accommodations, event schedules, restaurants and more! The Cabarrus County Visitor Information Center is located at 10099 Weddington Rd., Suite 102, Concord N.C. 28027. Call 800-848-3740 or connect online VisitCabarrus.com / Twitter and Instagram: @SpeedCityUSA / Facebook.com/ VisitCabarrus.


BALL STATE+ONLINE High ranking degree programs. We bring them to you online. For 2014, U.S. News and World Report awarded our graduate online programs high rankings among universities nationwide: n •

Graduate education programs ranked 11th out of 238 programs.

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Graduate business programs ranked 17th out of 239 programs.

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Graduate nursing programs ranked 19th out of 130 programs.

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Bachelor’s degree programs—including business administration, early childhood education, general studies and nursing— ranked 29th out of 283 such programs.

MEEDEESSA LIVINGSTON Naval Officer Goes Online from Guam

As a longtime naval officer, Meedeessa Livingston has earned all her nursing degrees—associate, bachelor’s, and master’s—in online classrooms. When it was time to find a doctorate of nursing practice program, her search led her to Ball State University.

In 2013, our online undergraduate programs and graduate business programs ranked No. 8 among “Best Online Programs for Veterans.”

The fact that she could continue her education while continuing her military obligations, plus the program’s affordability, convinced her that she’d found the right program.

Ball State offers more than 60 online undergraduate and graduate programs, including master’s degrees in career and technical education, journalism, executive development for public service, and the MBA.

Livingston is pursuing her DNP while working as a family nurse practitioner at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam on the island where she is stationed.

To learn more about our many online programs, visit www.bsu.edu/online.

“Research drives great healthcare, and this program is teaching me how to be my own fact finder,” she says. “It is also helping me teach others how to become fact finders.”

She says the program is already impacting her day-to-day work in the hospital.

Without changing classroom seats in the online program, she’ll be pursuing her next naval assignment on another island in the Caribbean—Cuba—by the time she graduates with her DNP in 2015.

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Griffon spring 2014  

Griffon Spring Issue 2014

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