The monthly magazine of the Texas Military Forces July 2011
Texas Medal of Valor Deployment a pain in the neck?
TX un it pa key i sses nspe ctio n
STAR Motorcycle School: Learning curves ahead!
In the Dispatch: 4
A life worth saving- one Soldier’s road to faith
6 Protecting PII-
It’s the law
7 Fleet feet 8 Texas Guard unit passes key inspection 9 Learning curves ahead
36 ID Soldier receives TX Medal of Valor after 26 years
Red Cross hurricane checklist
Basra G-6 help desk
Deployment a pain in the neck?
15 Band of bloggers- Command Posts 16
Freedom from the inside out
The Adjutant General’s summer safety message
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Medal of Valor Cover- Riders at the STAR Riding school take a curve at the MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, Texas. (Photo by Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs)
The Bulletin Board TRICARE For Retired Reservists
Retired reservists can now get a DoD Self-Service Logon (DS Logon) account at any TRICARE Service Center (TSC) worldwide. Once they have a DS Logon, they can use it to go online to purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) health care coverage. To locate the nearest TSC, visit the TRICARE website at www. tricare.mil/contacts. Retired reservists may also still go to designated VA regional offices to complete in-person-proofing and get a DS Logon account. To locate a VA regional office, visit the VA website. For more information about TRICARE’s health care benefits for members of the Reserve and National Guard, visit the TRICARE website at www.tricare.osd.mil/reserve.
VA Offers Caregiver Benefits
A month after the Veterans Affairs Department began processing applications for primary family caregivers of eligible post9/11 veterans, caregiver training programs are already under way. Eligible family caregivers who care for severely disabled veterans can receive a monthly stipend, mental-health services and access to health-care insurance if they are not already entitled to care or services under a health plan. Applications for benefits can be processed by telephone through the VA Caregiver Support Line at 855-260-3274, in person at a VA medical centers with a caregiver support coordinator, or by mail or online at the VA’s Caregiver website at www.caregiver.va.gov, using the VA’s new caregiver application, VA Form 1010-CG.
Delta Changes Bag Policy for Military
Military members traveling on orders on several major U.S. air carriers can check four, and in some cases, five bags without charge based on new policies. Delta’s new policy allows U.S. servicemembers traveling on orders to check up to four bags in economy class and five bags in first and business class at no charge. Travelers on Delta Connection carriers, regardless of their seating class, can check up to four bags without charge. American Airlines, United Airlines and Continental Airlines are also changing their policies. For more information, contact your air carrier.
DoD Food Drive
The Defense Department (DoD) is promoting a nationwide campaign challenging federal employees to donate to their local food pantries. The “Feds Feed Families” campaign will run through the end of August 2011. Organizers felt they could be more effective by placing collection boxes at all DOD installations, especially at commissaries, to provide whatever items are most needed in the local communities. Food pantries have included lists of items most needed in their areas, and all items must be nonperishable. For more information, visit the Feds Feed Families website at www.fedsfeedfamilies.gov.
Vol. 6, No. 7 July 2011
Governor Gov. Rick Perry
The Adjutant General Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols
Public Affairs Officer Col. William Meehan Public Affairs NCOIC Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon Public Affairs Staff Staff Sgt. Eric Wilson Sgt. Jennifer Atkinson Spc. Maria Moy John Thibodeau Laura Lopez Managing Editor Staff Sgt. Malcolm McClendon Design and Copy Editor Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson Contributing Writers and Photographers Maj. Steven Keihl Maj. Jeremy Magruder Sgt. 1st Class Merrion LaSonde Tech. Sgt. Lyza M. Beaudreault Staff Sgt. Melissa Bright Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson Sgt. David A Bryant Sgt. Jason Kaneshiro Sgt. Thomas Kappus Spc. Brittany H. Gardner Pvt. Andrew C. Slovensky * The Dispatch is an authorized publication for members of the Texas Military Forces and the Department of Defense. Contents of the Dispatch are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the National Guard Bureau, the State of Texas, the Adjutant General’s Department of Texas, or the Texas Military Forces. * The editorial content of this publication is the responsibility of the Texas Military Forces Public Affairs Officer. * Printed by Kinko’s, a private firm in no way connected with the U.S. Government under exclusive written contract with the Texas Military Forces. * The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement of the products or services advertised by the U.S. Army or Kinko’s. * Everything advertised in this publication will be made available for purchase, use, or patronage without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other nonmerit factor of the purchaser, user, or patron. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher will refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. * Content is edited, prepared and provided by the Texas Joint Military Forces Public Affairs Office, Bldg. 10, 2200 W. 35th Street, Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas. 78703.
A life worth saving- one Soldier’s road to faith Story and photos by Sgt. David A. Bryant USD-South Public Affairs Office
BASRAH, Iraq - It was a clear, sunny February day. A breeze was blowing through the open window of her apartment; the closet had finally been cleaned earlier in the week and the small study Bible her best friend had given her when she was 12 was laying on the nightstand. That was when Spc. Kelly L. Lee sat down on the floor next to her bed, placed the razor against her wrist and said, "God, if you're there, you better let me know because I'm going to come meet you." "I was at such a point of self-loathing; that's why I got out the razor blade," the 27-year-old Dallas native said. "I had my own place, a good job and a wonderful fiancé at the time. All the pieces of the puzzle were there, but something was missing. That missing piece was the life I didn't have." And life had not always been
great for Lee, she said. A selfproclaimed Army brat, the fiery redhead grew up in an unstable home filled with drug and alcohol abuse. Her parents were divorced by the time she was 12 and her mother had been in and out of jail since Lee was 9 years old. As she sat with the blade against her wrist, a breeze blew the small Bible onto the floor and opened to Psalm 34. As she began to read, a verse leapt out at her: "I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." "I didn't get saved the ‘traditional' way by being preached to or talking to a minister or anything like that," Lee said. "You can't deny a face-to-face meeting with God like that, though. I cried out and he heard me." Like most youth, Lee had been searching for an "identity" before she was saved. It was during her search that she first began to express herself through body art by getting her astrological sign, Leo,
tattooed on each of her hands. "I loved being able to express who I am through body artwork," she said. "When I came to know Christ and his love for me, that translated into the tattoos I have now." The artwork now covers her entire left arm in what is known as a "sleeve," and Lee uses them as part of her "personal ministry." "When people ask what they mean, it gives me a chance to express myself and tell my story," she said. From the depths of despair, she looked to a razor blade for salvation and instead found a calling, Lee added. "It was all he said; to be prepared. About a year and a half later, he laid on my heart: ‘Army.' I prayed about it for about eight months, asking, ‘Is this really what you want me to do?'" She asked for advice from her father, who had already lived the life of a Soldier. She considered
Left- Spc. Kelly Lee, in Basra. Above- Lee’s tattooed “sleeve.”
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the life of her father's best friend, an Army warrant officer killed in action in Iraq in 2008. She embraced the support of her husband, Josh. In 2007 she followed her calling and enlisted in the Texas Army National Guard as a chaplain's assistant, adding another chapter to her life story encompassed by the artwork covering her arm. "I love having her as my assistant; she's one of the finest chaplain's assistants I've ever known, and we're fortunate to have her with us on this deployment," said Capt. Benjie Bender, 36th Infantry deputy division chaplain. "The quality of a chaplain's deployment often depends on the quality of the assistant. She and the other chaplain's assistants are making all the difference on this deployment." The story of how Lee was saved is not a common occurrence, said Bender, a 39-year-old native of Evansville, Ind., now a resident of Dallas. "Many times I've heard people say that coincidence is God's way of working anonymously. God has many ways of reaching out to people; for (Lee) it happened to be a breeze." In fact, said Bender, reading the Bible is much less painful than getting a tattoo. "If you're seeking God, he's easy to find," Bender said. "You don't need to test him the way it happened with Lee; he's always there to answer if you're willing to listen." For anyone who has met Lee, it can be difficult to reconcile the cheerful, smiling chaplain's assistant they know with the darker, suicidal person she once was. "Her story is amazing," said Bender. "It shows God's interest in all of us; how he can take someone's life with all the mess it's in and make something beautiful out of it." When not serving on active duty orders with the Guard, Lee manages a Sonic drive-in restaurant and is a full-time student in her junior year at Dallas Baptist University, where she is working on her bachelor's degree in Christian Studies. "I joined (the Guard) to be an assistant with the goal of becoming a chaplain myself," Lee said. "I love this country and I love God. The chaplain motto is Latin for ‘God and Country,' so I couldn't resist having that for a tattoo." "She's amazing; she's someone who can't help
but wear her ‘faith on her sleeve' as it were," said Bender. Chaplain's assistants do their jobs "for a variety of reasons. It's rare to have one who has the calling, the compassion she does for the Soldiers." Lee's love of tattoos makes it easy for her to fit in with the rough-and-ready life of Soldiers. "I feel really comfortable being here doing what I'm doing. I think God prepared me mentally for what I would be doing here." What she does is take care of the spiritual well being of Soldiers and reach out to those who need it, regardless of what their faith is or if they claim no religion at all, she said. "For a civilian, it may be a little difficult to put that ‘evangelist' away, but the Chaplain Corps prepares us well to understand the ramifications proselytizing could have in a foreign nation," added Lee. "I feel blessed to be a part of a division staff and I take seriously this opportunity for me in my career to have a pivotal role in the lives of our seven-thousand-plus Soldiers in (United States Division-South)." Her first deployment has been busy, she said, between the long hours at the office and even more long hours keeping up with her college education. Although her work is never done, she said being deployed is easier on her than it is for her husband. "It's difficult for him because he has no military experience whatsoever, so (the deployment) has been a world-changer for us," Lee said. "He supports me, though." Military life certainly suits Lee, said Bender. "She can clear a room with the best of them and put the ‘hurt' on in combatives. And she is an excellent shot with the rifle." "She's very thoughtful and a joy to work with," Bender added. "I hope she pursues her ministry as a chaplain, although I have mixed feelings about that. We will gain her as a chaplain, but we lose her as an assistant." Despite all the challenges Lee has faced in her life, she said she has every intention of carrying on full-throttle. "People ask me, ‘If you could go back and change anything, would you do it?'" she said. "I would have to say no, because all of it happened for a reason. It has made me (who) I am today."
July 2011 THE DISPATCH 5
PROTECTING PII: Not only best practice but the law By Tech. Sgt. Lyza M. Beaudreault 136th Air Wing Communications Flight Did you know that a service member’s mother’s maiden name or place of birth could be considered Personally Identifiable Information? Did you know in 2009, the National Archives and Records Administration inadvertently allowed for 76 million US military veterans’ PII to be compromised and published to the public? Did you know that PII must be stored on network drives? Understanding what can be considered as PII and reporting a PII compromise immediately is not only the best practice against identity theft, but it is also the law. PII is anything that can be used to distinguish or trace a service member’s identity. Examples include but are not limited to their mother’s maiden name, financial information and marital status. It also includes the age/ sex of service member’s children and home of record. A criminal can easily use just one piece of information, but imagine what can be done with more. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there have already been 195 PII breaches for 2011, exposing more than 11 million. Incidents like the 2009 National Archives and Records, allow imposters to obtain PII to use for check fraud, credit card fraud,
financial identity and criminal identity theft. These kinds of crimes very rarely leave a paper trail and cross jurisdictions, making them very difficult crimes to prosecute. It is for these very reasons there are three main components to protecting PII – access control, physical security and privacy breach reporting procedures. Controlling access to PII include methods such as the Common Access Card with a Personal Identification Access Card and restricting file and folder permissions to documents on shared drives. Physical security requires users to store PII data on network drives and not workstations. Users can access PII data when working on another base by e-mailing PII data via encrypted mail to their military e-mail addresses. Email messages must be digitally signed and encrypted with “FOUO” in the subject line and the privacy act statement as the first line in the body of the message. Do not include the statement on every e-mail that is sent and under no circumstances are users allowed to e-mail
PII data to nonmilitary accounts where encryption cannot take place. If a privacy breach or compromise has been discovered, the discovering individual is required to report it immediately. Criminal and civilian penalties can be held against the responsible party and agency. Becoming diligent with all three components is not only essential but required by law. Understanding what could be considered PII, how criminals can use PII, and the required methods of protecting PII are necessary to protect one’s self and fellow service members from identity theft. It is also everyone’s responsibility. To learn more about PII Data and how to protect it, contact your local troubleshooter.
Basrawi women’s bazaar- Iraqi Foundation promoting human rights BASRA, Iraq – Brig. Gen. William “Len” Smith, deputy commander for maneuver for U.S. Division-South, purchases a hand-made blanket from the Iraqi Foundation’s vendor at the Basrawi Women’s Bazaar held here June 17. The non-profit Iraqi Foundation is supported by the U.S. State Department to promote human rights. (Photo by Pvt. Andrew C. Slovensky) 6 THE DISPATCH July 2011
The National Guard marathon is run on May 1, 2011, in conjunction with the Lincoln, Neb. Marathon. Over 175 National Guard members ran the marathon, including three from Texas. Capt. Chris Graves (above, left) ran a 3:07.29 and finished 37th, securing his spot on the All-Guard Team. Maj. Mike Diaz (above, right) ran a 3:19.19, finishing 60th, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael W. Long (above, center) ran a 3:22:43, earning a 67th place finish. As a team, the Texas National Guard finished 13th.
July 2011 THE DISPATCH 7
TX Guard unit passes key readiness inspection Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Melissa Bright Joint Task Force 71 Public Information
spection “due primarily to the dedication, hard work and team effort put into ensuring their compliance,” said Capt. Wayne Hill, 149th SPEARR commander. “I was impressed with the level of cooperation and the general air of assistance the SEAT representatives provided as soon as they arrived,” said Sgt. First Class Anthony Buck, operations manager for the 6th CERFP. “There was definitely a feeling of collaboration and cooperation.” “Key to the inspection was the collective goal of unit readiness and improvement,” said Quick, Commander of the 6th CERFP. We were in a good position pick up and continue best practices seen in other units. As with all inspections there is a greater purpose than just making sure the paperwork is in order. The SEAT inspections are also designed to assist states tasked with the CERFP mission to develop programs to establish and maintain capabilities and compliance. This round of assessments was not the ultimate test for their systems-in-place; instead it was part of an initial inspection program aimed primarily at including complianceoriented practice evaluations while establishing systems and programs within the CERFPs to monitor the progress of the processes. Essentially last weeks’ inspection is a guide to preliminary compliance, to “show what right looks like with a secondary benefit of orienting the Joint Forces Headquarters to the CERFP SEAT program mission and intent. Most importantly, however, it establishes a baseline for compliance. “I stated early on in my command tenure that units in JTF-71 should be the most inspected and evaluated in the Texas Military Forces” said Hall. “Our mission and responsibility demands nothing less.”
AUSTIN, Texas— American exposure to the possibilities of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear events has increased exponentially as home-grown terrorist plots continue to come to light. This month, a Texas National Guard unit charged with assisting civil authorities during events such as these achieved an important milestone toward becoming a certified asset to first responders by scoring 94 percent on a demanding, two-day initial evaluation. The inspection, conducted by the National Guard Bureau Standardization, Evaluation and Assistance Team (SEAT), was intended to gauge their readiness to respond and sustain operations when on the scene. The unit, 6th CBRN Enhanced Force Package, or CERFP, is a component of Joint Task Force-71, headquartered in Austin, Texas. It consists of approximately 186 Soldiers and Airmen. Each CERFP has a command and control section, a decontamination element, a medical element, a casualty search and extraction element. "I am very proud of Lt. Col. Daniel Quick and his team for the outstanding efforts on their first SEAT inspection and the third one in the National Guard,” said Col. William Hall, Joint Task Force 71 commander. “Receiving a 94 percent, out of 100 percent, is phenomenal and highlights the level of commitment by the Soldiers and Airmen of the 6th CERFP.” Later this year, Hall will oversee the re-designation of the 6th CERFP as the 6th CBRN Task Force as part of the Texas-hosted effort to establish the Homeland Response Force (HRF) for FEMA Region 6. The change will occur in conjunction with the certification of the HRF in October. Once this certification process is complete, the FEMA Region VI Homeland Response Force will be able to integrate multiple CERFPs and civil support teams for a coordinated, robust response to any emergency. The inspection is required every 18 months for all state CERFPs to ensure they are in compliance with federal, state, and military regulations in four main areas: operational readiness of the medical team, budgetary and fiduciary responsibility, operations oversight and logistics. The SEAT representatives use the initial inspection as an opportunity to identify deficiencies and work with the unit to develop processes that will allow improvement in overall unit readiness. It is noteworthy that the medical component to the 6th CERFP, the Air National Guard 149th Small Texas' Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, inspects emergency Portable Expeditionary Aeromedical Rapid Response response equipment trailers in Fort Worth, Texas. team, achieved a 100 percent on their portion of in-
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Learning curves ahead
sponsor, the Guard helped Pridmore along his road to over 20 podium wins, and with National Guard clinic days in seven states he takes his commitment to the military seriously. The military is taking motorcycles seriously too, with motorcycle fatalities up 25 percent in fiscal year 2010, mirroring an increasing trend among the rest of the country, where motorcycle fatalities have been on the rise in recent years even as crash fatalities in other vehicle accidents is decreasing.
Story and photo by Sgt. Jennifer D. Atkinson Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
CRESSON, Texas—Whether they’re the hairpin turns on a racetrack, or the tricky turns on the famous “Three Sisters” highway ride near Leakey, Texas, turns can be a motorcyclist’s best friend or private demon. Learning how to get better performance out of both rider and motorcycle, including on those challenging curves, was the purpose of Jason Pridmore’s STAR (Skills and Techniques for Advance Riding) School, held in Cresson, Texas on May 25th, 2011. Members of the Texas National Guard were invited to attend free of charge to better their skills on all sorts of motorcycles, from tricked out racing machines to more laid back Hill Country cruisers. Pridmore, originally from California, has a long history with the National Guard. As a
Riders “need to understand what these bikes are capable of, beyond the basic stuff,” said Pridmore. “As an instructor, I try to get across how good these bikes are- that they’ll give you a false sense of security.” Tech Sgt. Angel Luera, with the 149th Fighter Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, has been riding sport bikes since returning from a tour in Korea in 2003. “I don’t know everything, but just the advice we got that we can apply to the streets is great,” he said. “I’m looking forward to learning what else (Pridmore) can educate me on.” “This is the best way to learn,”
said Luera. “You come out to this school, your confidence level and skills shoot up 100 percent, just knowing a little bit more about what your bike can do.” Regardless of the skill level, Pridmore takes pride in answering questions riders may not even know they need to ask. “Answering one question might get 20 more, and I think that’s great.” “What we offer people is a chance to come and learn some great new skills,” he said, “and if they come with an open mind, they’re going to get so much out of their day and they’re going to want to come back over and over.” Top and bottom- Riders at the Jason Pridmore STAR School lean into curves at the MotorSport Ranch track in Cresson, Texas. Center- 1st Lt. Rodney Woods, B Co., 36th Sustainment Bde, checks his rear tire before heading to the track.
July 2011 THE DISPATCH 9
36 ID Soldier receives medal 26 years after life-saving mission Story by Sgt. 1st Class Merrion LaSonde, USD-South Public Affairs Office Photos provided by Sgt. Maj. Larry Rayburn
go, it was like jumping with a pillowcase over my head. The team ended up missing the drop zone by five miles.” BASRA, Iraq— In 1985, Ronald The mission of the Ranger Long Reagan was President of the United Range Reconnaissance Patrol company, States, the Cold War was far from over assigned to 5th Corps in Germany, and a record-breaking cold front swept was to put a five-man team 50 to 300 through the U.S. leaving 40 dead in kilometers behind enemy lines during Chicago alone. the exercise. “There were a couple of It was also the first time the Texas brigades pretending to be the Russian National Guard performed an AllArmy coming through the Fulda gap Weather Delivery System parachute to invade Western Europe,” explained jump during an exercise in Germany. Rayburn. Then Cpl. Larry Rayburn was a lead The first “stick” that jumped conscout with his team in Company sisted of Rayburn, Sgt. Richard Nutt, G, 143rd Infantry (Airborne RangSgt. Alex Williams, Sgt. Dave Lewis and er). Sgt. Ronald Contour. “We were the “We were in an M C-130 special blue force and we parachuted behind operations airplane,” said Sgt. Maj. their lines to gather information,” said Larry Rayburn, now an information Rayburn. operations sergeant major for the It was two in the morning, there 36th Infantry Division. “Half the plane was no moon; and it was foggy and was filled with the latest in geospatial cold. Rayburn remembers that to this technology at the time. They were supday. “It was 20 degrees and snowing,” posed to be able to lock onto the drop he said. “It was so cold my fingers and zone utilizing satellite global positioning lips turned blue within a minute of systems. It didn’t work. After maybe a exposure.” dozen passes, the jumpmaster looked Their mission started out bad and out the door and just shook his head. got worse. “Contour hit a hillside,” said There was fog up to about 3,000 feet. Rayburn. “Nutt and I landed on oppoWhen we finally got the green light to site sides of a field. Williams hit a barn and Lewis landed in the river.” Nutt landed about 150 to 200 meters from Rayburn, but both heard shouts from Lewis. “The only reason we heard him was because of the topography,” explained Rayburn. “We were on the edge of a hill about 300 yards away from where Lewis and the river plane sloped up. On the other side of the river was a cliff about 50 yards in. His voice echoed perfectly and was able to reach us through the fog and snow.” “We heard him hollering,” Rayburn continued. “We looked at each other, dropped our gear and took off running toward the river.” The situation that greeted the two rangers was grim at best. The river, called the Wohura, was about 40 feet Then Cpl. Larry Rayburn, now an informaacross. Lewis was in the middle of it tion operations sergeant major with 36th Inf. submerged to his shoulders, clinging to Div, pauses for a moment prior to pre-mishis rucksack. sion inspections.
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“Lewis looked a little scared,” said Rayburn. “He was shaking so bad he could not get his helmet off because his hands didn’t work. It was so cold. The river was not very swift but all his parachute lines had wrapped around his legs; it was like being grabbed by an octopus. He could not get himself free.” Part of ranger training for the team was to prepare for any situation. “We had learned long before to pack our rucksacks in such a way as to be used as flotation devices, because when we were dropped behind enemy lines we did not use roads to travel or bridges to cross rivers,” explained Rayburn. “We floated across, unseen by the enemy.” The two men assessed the situation, calculated how much longer Lewis had to survive and quickly reacted on instinct. “We saw him in the river, removed our jackets and boots, drew our knives and jumped into the water,” said Rayburn. “It was about seven or eight feet deep. After three or four steps my feet could not touch bottom. Now I am not a strong swimmer so I was already terrified, but we had to get Lewis out of that water and fast. We dog-paddled to him and just started cutting him out. We saw that the opposite shore was closer so we went that way. We got him on shore and broke out our (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) SERE kits.” The goal of the U.S. Army's training in SERE is to teach personnel how to survive if they become separated from their unit, to evade a hostile force and make their way back to friendly forces and to avoid capture. In the event that soldiers are captured, SERE training will have prepared them to resist the enemy's attempts at exploitation, to escape from captivity and to return home with honor. All the team members carried SERE kits in their cargo pockets in preparation for surviving any situation on their own. The kits included items such as fishing line and space blankets. By the time the three men got out of the water they were all shaking
and shivering with the onset of hypothermia. Nutt and Rayburn remembered passing a farmhouse a few hundred yards back. Rayburn swam back across the river and ran to the farmhouse. When he got there he banged on the door and yelled “Amerikaner Falshirmjager in fluss, wir ist kalt!” (American paratroopers in the river and we’re cold). “The farmer got on his tractor and drove to a bridge further upriver to get to the field where Nutt and Lewis were trying to get warm,” said Rayburn. Once they were safe and warm in the farmhouse and wearing dry clothes, Nutt began calling the company to coordinate recovery and Rayburn went out to look for the rest of the team. “I went along the path knowing how we landed and about 300 meters away was the farmer’s barn,” said Rayburn. “Alex Williams was in the barnyard passed out. He had landed on the roof of the barn, was dragged Sgt. Maj. Larry Rayburn, information operations sergeant major with the 36th off the roof by his rucksack, then landed Inf. Div. headquarters in Basrah, Iraq, received the Texas Medal of Valor from on his head, which knocked him out cold. I Maj. Gen. Eddy M. Spurgin, 36th Inf. Div. commanding general. knew he had a severe concussion because going to Australia for an operation in 1993. The jumpmasters he would not respond. I could not wake him all got together and we brought his ashes with us. He was the up. His parachute was frozen and I couldn’t get it off so I cut first jumper for the entire task force. Then we followed after it loose, picked him up and carried him to the farmhouse. He him.” was six foot three inches tall but slender; he only weighed Rayburn currently serves with the 36th Infantry Division in at about 180 pounds. I slung him over my shoulder and headquarters where he helps coordinate information operahumped the 300 meters back to the farmhouse.” tions in the nine southern provinces of Iraq. This is his fourth With Williams now safe at the farmhouse, Rayburn once again went out to find the final member of his team. “I found deployment in a career that began in 1978. After numerous duty assignments and many years in the service, the LRRP Contour limping down the hill toward the farmhouse using team he served with as an Airborne Ranger holds a very spetwo rifles as crutches.” cial place in his heart. The entire team together and safe, Rayburn returned to “In 1985 when I served with LRRP, there were only three each spot where his team members landed and recovered units that were allowed to wear the black beret; the Ranger all the sensitive items he could. Lewis’ rucksack was the only regiment and the two independent LRRP companies,” exthing he could not recover on his own. Fortunately, Nutt had already thought ahead and requested that the recovery team plained Rayburn. “The guys I served with were special men. Many had served in the Ranger Battalion, Special Forces or bring in a grappling hook to ensure 100% of the equipment in combat in Vietnam. The unit was 120% strength and only would be recovered. one of two units like it in the National Guard. Everyone loved Rayburn and Nutt were recommended for awards for what they did and was very dedicated. They taught me what their actions following the exercise. Many years and award it meant to be a Soldier.” recommendations later, Rayburn received a much deserved After everything he went through for his team during Texas Medal of Valor, the second highest award for Texas Milithat ill-fated exercise, Rayburn wants to ensure credit is given tary Forces. Maj. Gen. Eddy M. Spurgin, 36th Inf. Div. commanding general, pinned the medal on Rayburn in May 2011. where it is due. “The most important thing to me is that everyone knows Richard Nutt never received the recognition he was due I share this with Staff Sgt. Richard Nutt,” he said. “There is for his actions on that winter day in Germany. He died of brain cancer in 1992, although his airborne comrades showed no way either one of us could have done what we did on our own. Had either one of us been there by ourselves, everyone him the honor he had earned. would have died. I am very thankful he was with me on that “One of the last things Nutt wanted to do was go to cold, winter day.” Australia,” said Rayburn. “He had a travel pamphlet that he Contributing writer Sgt. Thomas Kappus, 305th MPAD had told his mother about before he got sick. After he was cremated, his mother found an airborne task force that was
July 2011 THE DISPATCH 11
Be Red Cross Ready Hurricane Safety Checklist Hurricanes are strong storms that cause life- and propertythreatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. What should I do?
Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Check your disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed. Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture). Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood. Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out. Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances. Fill your car’s gas tank. Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event. Learn about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for your pets to be cared for. Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.
Know the Difference Hurricane Watch—Hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans, keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued. Hurricane Warning—Hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities.
What supplies do I need?
Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food Flashlight Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) Extra batteries
What do I do after a hurricane?
Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates. Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended. If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
First aid kit
Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
Stay out of any building that has water around it.
Sanitation and personal hygiene items Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies) Cell phone with chargers Family and emergency contact information Extra cash Emergency blanket Map(s) of the area Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers) Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl) Tools/supplies for securing your home Extra set of car keys and house keys Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes Rain gear Insect repellent and sunscreen Camera for photos of damage
Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles. Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated. Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out. Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury. Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control. Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
Ghost in your machine? Who you gonna call? By Sgt. Jason Kaneshiro USD-S Public Affairs Office
ers greater situational awareness throughout U.S. Div.-South and U.S. Forces-Iraq. CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq “What’s unique about them is that they have – Who do you turn to when it seems as though direct contact with customers on a daily basis,” Pazuzu has taken up residence in your laptop? The said Sgt. Maj. Daniel VanDerMark, signal operaSoldiers of the G6 Help Desk, that’s who. tions sergeant major with 36th Infantry Division, With technical know-how and a ton of paTexas Army National Guard. tience, they exorcise the bugs in the system and One of the biggest daily challenges has been keep data flowing and the digital gears of the customer education, explained VanDerMark. Army turning. There are times when a computer problem that a “They are the ones people come to when user encounters could have been avoided if they things don’t work,” said Master Sgt. Vanessa had a better understanding of how their digital Verstuyft, noncommissioned officer-in-charge tools function. of the Help Desk. “They have to deal with the Just as Soldiers are taught the basic functions many unique personalities of all the customers of their weapons to be able to quickly diagnose and maintain their customer services skills under and fix a malfunction, Help Desk Soldiers strive to stressful situations at times.” educate and encourage their customers to know In addition to fixing user issues, the Help Desk how the system works and how to alleviate the Soldiers are responsible for maintaining connecproblems that they may face in the future. tivity throughout Contingency Operating Base “What impresses me the most is their temBasra and elsewhere in the U.S. Division-South perament,” VanDerMark said. Customers can be operational environment. Their efforts allow for a very upset and impatient when they walk up to continuous flow of information that gives leadthe Help Desk and some take the approach of ‘This isn’t working and you have to fix it now’,” he said. Since arriving in theater, they have pulled together and completed over 3,600 jobs. Despite unforgiving deadlines, they continue to encourage each other to do their best to maintain their troubleshooting and problem solving skills, said Verstuyft. The Help Desk Soldiers most recently completed the task of replacing some of the laptops used in division headquarters. “There are many steps involved in replacing someone’s laptop,” said Verstuyft. From saving user data for transfer onto the replacement computer and prepping it to join A few of the Help Desk Soldiers at Contingency Operating Base Basra, the network to sterilizing the old laptop to be including (from left to right) Master Sgt. Vanessa Verstuyft, Help Desk turned in, the help desk has come together to noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Sgt. Christopher Lawrimore, Help make this a painless process for our customers, Desk sergeant, Spc. Jeannette Gonzalez, Help Desk specialist, Maj. she said. Henry Young, Help Desk officer-in-charge, Spc. Johnny Carter, Help Desk specialist, Spc. Phillip Higgs, Help Desk specialist, and 1st Lt. “I’m very proud of all my help desk teams David Rios, Help Desk officer, paused for a group photo. (U.S. Army and have confidence in them to get the job photo by Sgt. Jason Kaneshiro) done,” Verstuyft said.
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Deployment a pain in the neck? Back and neck problems common Story and photo by Spc. Brittany H. Gardner USD-South Public Affairs Office
BASRA, Iraq – Through the gravel, down the street, and to the gym they go. Working out is something many Soldiers use as an escape from the daily routine of a deployment. But a lot of Soldiers don’t realize that injury could be just around the corner. Soldiers around Contingency Operating Base (COB) Basra encounter many obstacles that put them at risk of injury every day. Back and neck pain, as well as knee and shoulder injuries, are some of the most common injuries treated at the Medical Treatment Facility in the Troop Medical Center by Lt. Col. Shawn J. Scott, theater physical therapist consultant, 86th Combat Support Hospital. Scott said back pain is a common affliction for Soldiers and is often caused by having weak or unbalanced core muscles or poor posture. Sometimes when Soldiers wear extra gear or equipment it overwhelms the musculoskeletal system and the body’s ability to tolerate the extra load, said Scott. “Back pain is a normal response to an abnormal stress.” Scott recommends doing exercises that build up the core muscles, which includes the abdomen, lower spine and pelvis. He said he leans heavily on teaching “Four for the Core” exercises, part of U.S. Army physical readiness training, during therapy. According to Scott, knee and ankle injuries are another common occurrence around the COB. He believes this is caused by walking and running on uneven terrain. Also, Soldiers are not giving their bodies the necessary amount of time between runs for their muscles to recuperate, Scott explains. There should be a 48- hour recovery period between runs or any exhaustive effort. “You shouldn’t be running more than three times a week,” said Scott. “There’s a lot of scientific evidence to support that.” According to Livestrong.com, without proper rest after running people encounter a risk of overtraining and a higher risk of injury. Sgt. Hayro Gonzalez, help desk non-commissioned officer, Company C, 36th Infantry Division, knows all too well how easy it is to suffer from a running injury. He said he injured his knee after twisting his ankle while running. Gonzalez said he stopped too abruptly and heard his knee
pop. Scott has been treating Gonzalez’s injury for approximately two months. “I have a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament),” said Gonzalez. “He makes sure I stretch before any exercise (and) I use rubber bands to stretch my injured leg.” Scott believes many of these injuries are caused by poor fitness before the deployment. He suggests beginning any new fitness routine with two to three sets of ten to fifteen repetitions for about the first six weeks. “This will strengthen connective tissue and muscular endurance,” said Scott. Although accidents happen, Scott believes many of the injuries that occur around COB Basra could be avoided. Stretching, core stabilization exercises and implementing a complete fitness program are some things Scott suggests to enable Soldiers to stay fit to fight.
Lt. Col. Shawn J. Scott, theater physical therapist consultant for the 86th Combat Support Hospital, explains to Staff Sgt. Daryl Oliver, physical therapy non-commissioned officer in charge, 297th ASMC, how a “normal” knee should look.
Find out how you can help at http://www.uso.org/ ways-to-volunteer.aspx 14 THE DISPATCH July 2011
command posts CommandPosts.com was launched on October 5th, 2010 as a site for the authors of St. Martin’s Press to comment on military news, history, and relevant fiction. The editors of CommandPosts bring readers interviews, excerpts, and original commentary from a wide range of authors: honored veterans; award-winning historians; and bestselling novelists are all represented. It is the intention of CommandPosts to foster a community that will engage the audience and provide a location rich in rational discourse and commentary, and find creative ways to support the military community.
www.commandposts.com Today, more than ever, Soldiers rely on technology to bring the fight to the front lines. That technology doesn’t just include high-tech weapons, body armor or Blue Force Tracker. It also included web logs, “blogs,” that allow a more immediate glimpse into military life and history than ever before. Often funny, sometimes painful and poignant, these snippets of opinion, daily life, and commentary on war, the military, and life in general allow more people to see what our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are thinking, experiencing and fighting for.
A view from the front line
band of bloggers http://www.facebook.com/ TexasMilitaryForces
Check us out on the Internet!!!
Freedom from the inside out By Maj. Steven Keihl Texas Military Forces Resilience Team
On July 4th our nation celebrates Independence… Freedom! We mark this celebration with formal and informal gatherings, great fanfare, parades, inspirational speeches, fireworks, etc. The truth is that this nation elevates freedom as one of the most important cultural characteristics of our very society and we celebrate this freedom without apology. Our nation obtained freedom and independence following a brutal war of protest and subsequently earned the right to self-govern. The battle for freedom did not end with establishing a government but carried over
into historic battles for individual freedoms to include freedom of religion, freedom from racial discrimination, freedom from gender discrimination, freedom from sexual orientation discrimination… and the list goes on and on. Why? Because at our core, this nation rests on the notion that every person should have the right to choose his or her own destiny… to be free from oppressive and discriminatory regulation and rule.
Unfortunately, in spite of our passionate pursuit and celebration of freedom, too many people in this great nation are anything but free. No, they are not ruled or oppressed by a tyrannical dictatorship, but rather they are trapped by their own thinking, their own self-made limitations, and their own self-demeaning determinations and judgments. Too many are trapped in their own psychological prison and find themselves stuck in self-defeat. Where does this self oppression come from? Why do we find ourselves slaves to negative and defeating thoughts? Well, there are a lot of ideas and theories about such things, but at the root, we are trapped because we choose to hold onto the past and
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we allow the past to define our present and our future. We are enslaved by our past and we are driven to submission by the whips of our own brutal and unforgiving perspectives and emotionally charged memories. So, how do we smash down the psychological walls that surround us? How do we stand up against the debilitating emotional taxes we are forced to pay?
To be honest, it will require the same courage our founding fathers tapped into in order to stand against the oppressive overseas rule. We will have to fight for our psychological freedom! For many, the fight will begin with a dedicated campaign to overthrow the power of the past. The primary weapon used in this battle is not a rifle but rather forgiveness. Look it up in the Dictionary… Forgiveness can be defined as: “the act of pardoning somebody for a mistake or wrongdoing”. I really, really like the word “pardon” and the vital connection this word has upon the concept of forgiveness. To pardon means that the penalty for the offense is removed or eliminated. This kind of challenges the popular notion that we should forgive but not forget. What does it mean to commit ourselves to remember
the offense? Are we remembering so that we can continue to protect, punish, inflict the penalty? Hmmmm… lots to think about. In order to free ourselves of the past, we have to begin the process of forgiveness. We must learn to forgive ourselves for our own mistakes, trespasses, poor choices, self-centered reactions, etc. We must learn to put our own failures where they belong… in the past. We cannot and must not place personal value upon our past mistakes. We must learn to forgive ourselves. Only by forgiving ourselves we will be able to free ourselves of the oppression, the fear, the trap, the seemingly inability to move forward. We must forgive
ourselves and then learn to take positive steps not based upon the failures of our past, but upon the convictions of our present and the hopes of our future. It doesn’t end there. We also need to learn to take critical steps in forgiving others, especially those in our lives who have hurt us. Too many of our relationships are suspended in mediocrity or disharmony because we are stuck in the grievances of days gone by. We must break the chains of the past in our relationships in order to experience the potential intimacy and connection possible therein. We must learn to leave the past in the past and passionately pursue the potential of the future. And this begins with forgiveness.
So, as we celebrate national freedom this month, I challenge you to take steps to find your own personal psychological freedom. I challenge you to learn to celebrate freedom from the inside out by taking steps away from the nightmares in our past and towards peace, love, wisdom, harmony, and contentment that we can ONLY find through personal, psychological, internal freedom! And remember, you don’t have to battle the past on your own… there are soldiers assembled who are willing to fight alongside you! If you would like to engage some additional warriors to help you in your own personal battle, give us a call at the TXMF Resilience Office (512917-9355) and we would be honored to stand with you!
Most blood donations collected at Ft. Hood are shipped to battlefields in Iraq or Afghanistan within four days of collection. Over 40 units of blood may be needed for a single injured soldier. Your donation may save: -A servicemember injured in action. -A child with cancer Donation centers located at Ft. Hood, Ft. Sam Houston, and Lackland Air Force Base. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, visit www.militaryblood.dod. mil/donors/default.aspx July 2011 THE DISPATCH 17
News Brief VA expands housing for homeless vets, families- unused VA buildings developed WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to develop housing opportunities for homeless and at-risk Veterans by adding 34 VA locations across the country. This strategy will increase the Department’s available beds by over 5,000. VA currently has 15,000 transitional beds available to homeless Veterans. “This initiative will significantly support our efforts to eliminate Veteran homelessness and improve quality of life for Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We have a moral obligation to ensure that Veterans and their families have access to affordable housing and medical services that will help them get back on their feet.” Culminating two years of work to end homelessness among Veterans, a recent strategic study, the Building Utilization Review and Repurposing (BURR) initiative, identified unused and underused buildings at existing VA property with the potential to
develop new housing opportunities for homeless or at-risk Veterans and their families through public-private partnerships and VA’s enhanced-use lease (EUL) program. Under the EUL program, VA retains ownership of the land and can determine and control its reuse. Additional opportunities identified through BURR will include housing for returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and their families, assisted living for elderly Veterans and continuum of living residential communities. The project will support VA’s goal of ending Veteran homelessness by providing safe, affordable, cost effective, and sustainable housing for Veterans on a priority basis. VA will hold a one-day national Industry Forum in Washington, D.C., for interested organizations on July 13. For information regarding the forum or registration please visit: http:// www.va.gov/assetmanagement/burr/. If you have questions please email
VA_BURR@va.gov. Supportive housing projects are planned for homeless Veterans and their families at 23 VA sites: Tuskegee, Ala.; Long Beach and Menlo Park, Calif.; Bay Pines, Fla.; Dublin, Ga.; Hines, North Chicago and Danville, Ill.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Leavenworth, Kan.; Perry Point, Md.; Bedford, Brockton and Northampton, Mass.; Battle Creek, Mich.; Minneapolis and St. Cloud, Minn.; Fort Harrison, Mont.; Castle Point, N.Y.; Chillicothe and Dayton, Ohio; and Spokane and Vancouver, Wash. Under the enhanced-use lease agreements, Veterans will receive senior and non-senior independent living and assisted living at eleven VA sites: Newington, Conn.; Augusta, Ga.; Marion, Ill.; Topeka, Kan.; Togus, Maine; Grand Island, Neb.; Big Springs and Kerrville, Texas; Salem, Va.; Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Cheyenne, Wyo.
VA and Easter Seals Open First Round of Caregiver Training WASHINGTON (June 14, 2011) – More than 500 Family Caregivers who applied for new services offered to Post 9/11 Veterans and their caregivers through a program of comprehensive assistance for Family Caregivers by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) started their care-giving training June 9 and 10. “There is no more valuable tool we can provide Family Caregivers than the knowledge and training needed to perform this highly demanding labor of love,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This training we provided in partnership with Easter Seals will meet this need and support Veterans and their Family Caregivers with services and benefits they have earned.” The core training, which was developed in collaboration with Easter Seals, is offered in traditional classroom settings, online or through home study with a DVD and workbook. The modules focus on the health and well-being of both the Veteran and the Family Caregiver. The training includes information on Caregiver self-care, home safety, practical caregiving skills, providing personal care services to the Veteran, managing challenging behaviors and locating additional resources. Family Caregivers attending the Easter Seals training will receive respite care for the Veteran under their care, as well as
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mileage reimbursement and lodging, if needed. A Spanish version of the training materials will also be available. Since May 9, more than 1,000 Family Caregivers have applied for the new services. The training program was developed by the Easter Seals in collaboration with VA clinical experts as part of a package of new services. The package also includes a stipend, mental health services and access to health care insurance, if they are not already entitled to care or services under a health plan. Veterans may review the criteria for eligibility and download the Family Caregiver program application (VA CG 10-10) at www.caregiver.va.gov. The application enables the Veteran to designate a primary Family Caregiver and secondary Family Caregivers. Caregiver support coordinators are stationed at every VA medical center to assist with coordinating the training or assist caregivers in locating available services. Support for all caregivers is also available via the National Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274. Caregivers of Veterans from all eras are also encouraged to use the Website (www. caregiver.va.gov) and support line to explore more than two dozen other services VA provides caregivers for their service.
In Congress, July 4, 1776 When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. The full text may be found at: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/ July 2011 THE DISPATCH 19
TXARNG Safety Office Contact Info Email SafetyTX@tx.ngb.army.mil TKO Website https://www.tx.ngb.army.mil/ sites/CommandGroup/ags/def ault.aspx Safety Manager MAJ Jeremy Magruder (512) 782-6286 Secretary Ms Linda Bovee (512) 782-5005 North Region Safety Specialist SGT Louis Scott 512) 782-6168 South Region Safety Specialist SPC David Kennedy (512) 782-6843
TXANG Safety Wing Contact Information 136th Airlift Wing SMSgt Donald Seymore (817) 852-3209 email@example.com
147th Reconnaissance Wing SMSgt Craig Andrews (281) 929-2324 firstname.lastname@example.org
149th Fighter Wing SMSgt Rick Lopez (210) 9256236 email@example.com MSgt Traci Bell (210) 925-8242 firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTACT YOUR SAFETY OFFICE OR CHECK OUT THE TKO WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION!
https://www.tx.ngb.army.mil/sites/CommandGroup/ags/default.aspx 20 THE DISPATCH July 2011