By unitedweroll on May 14, 2014 | In Military News and Support
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 14, 2014 - Justice Department officials announced an enforcement action yesterday against the nation's largest servicer of federal and private student loans, which was found to be systematically violating the legal rights of U.S. service members.
Sallie Mae -- also known as Sallie Mae Bank and Navient Solutions -- is ordered to pay $96.6 million in restitution and penalties, officials said, adding that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation also reached a settlement with the companies that addresses allegations of student loan servicing misconduct.
"I commend Attorney General Eric Holder, FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, and the staff at the Department of Justice and FDIC for taking action to protect student loan borrowers," said Holly Petraeus, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau assistant director, who leads the CFPB's Office of Servicemember Affairs.
"I have been concerned for some time about the way that military personnel are treated by their student loan servicers," Petraeus said in a statement. "The men and women serving this country should receive quality customer service and the legal protections afforded to them. Instead, Sallie Mae gave service members the runaround and denied them the interest-rate reduction required by law. This behavior is unacceptable. And it's particularly troubling from a company that benefits so generously from federal contracts."
The Justice Department's civil rights division has initiated a number of enforcement actions in recent years to pursue those who don't fulfill their legal obligations under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Petraeus said. "I applaud their actions, which have put millions of dollars back in the pockets of service members," she added.
The enforcement action should serve as warning not only to the student loan servicing industry, but also to all institutions that provide or service loans to the military, Petraeus said. "Federal agencies will be vigilant about holding all financial institutions accountable for providing the protections that our service members have earned through their selfless service to our nation," she added.
A 2012 CFPB report found that service members faced serious hurdles in accessing their student loan benefits, including the provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that cap the interest rate on pre-existing student loans and other consumer credit products at 6 percent while the service member is on active duty, CFPB officials said. Servicers were not providing them with clear and accurate information about their loan repayment options.
The CFPB heard from military borrowers, including those in combat zones, who were denied interest-rate protections because they failed to resubmit unnecessary paperwork. These kinds of obstacles prevent service members from taking advantage of the full range of protections they have earned through their service to this country, officials said.
The CFPB has partnered with the Defense Department to create better awareness of the rights and options for service member student loan borrowers. A CFPB guide for service members who have student loans contains clear information on the various ways student loans can be repaid.
Officials noted that the CFPB began accepting student loan complaints in March 2012, and added that service members who have an issue with their servicers should submit a complaint to the CFPB.
To submit a complaint, consumers can:
-- Go online at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint;
-- Call the toll-free phone number at 1-855-411-CFPB (2372) or TTY/TDD phone number at 1-855-729-CFPB (2372);
-- Fax the CFPB at 1-855-237-2392; or
-- Mail a letter to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, P.O. Box 4503, Iowa City, IA 52244
Additionally, through "Ask CFP," or by calling 1-855-411-CFPB (2372), consumers can get clear, unbiased answers to their questions, officials said.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
2012 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Guide for Service Member Student Loan Borrowers
By unitedweroll on May 13, 2014 | In Military News and Support
Arlington's Journey: From Division to Reconciliation
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., May 13, 2014 - Today, as Arlington National Cemetery marks the 150th anniversary of its first burial, it is a scene of harmony and reconciliation.
It didn't start that way.
Before the Civil War, the property overlooking the Potomac River -- called the Custis-Lee Mansion or Arlington House -- was the home of Robert E. Lee. The house and grounds belonged to Lee's wife, Mary, and in 1861 the Lee family had called Arlington home for 30 years.
Lee was at Arlington House when he received word that Virginia had seceded from the Union in April 1861. This caused a crisis for Lee, who was a U.S. Army colonel at the time. He had been offered command of the Union Army, and he agonized over the decision on whether to stay with the Union or go with his state.
On April 20, Lee submitted his resignation from the Army. He left Arlington House two days later. He ultimately rose to command the Confederate army.
Across the river in Washington, another Southern officer came to a different decision. Montgomery C. Meigs was a Georgian who graduated from West Point and as a Corps of Engineers officer and had built many of the major projects of the day. Meigs considered his oath to "support and defend the Constitution" as paramount, and when his home state of Georgia seceded, he stayed with the Union.
Meigs rose to be quartermaster general of Union forces. He was one of the first officers anywhere to understand the importance of logistics in military operations, and he welded together a system that capitalized on the Union's manufacturing and transportation expertise.
For Arlington House, whether Lee stayed with the Union or went with Virginia didn't really matter in 1861, because the property was so strategically important, Arlington National Cemetery historian Stephen Carney said. The property included high ground and dominated two bridges into the district. If Confederate forces placed artillery units on the heights, they would have had everything from the White House to the Capitol and more in range.
In one of the first movements of the Civil War, Union forces occupied Arlington and built two forts on the heights as part of the defenses for Washington.
Lee's family lost the land for failure to pay tax on the land. Mary Lee had attempted to pay the tax -- a total of $92.07. She did not appear in person, but asked an agent -- possibly her cousin, to do so, according to Carney. But the federal government refused to accept the tax payment from that person.
The government acquired the house and land for $26,800 in 1864 and built a Freedman's Village on the property to house the freed slaves who gravitated to Washington.
On April 30, 1864, the Army of the Potomac began the Overland Campaign against the Army of Northern Virginia. Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant moved across the Rappahannock River and immediately ran into Lee's forces at the Battle of the Wilderness.
But instead of a one-day battle, as was the case before, the warfare ground on with battles in Spotsylvania, Yellow Tavern, North Anna, Cold Harbor and so on. It was a blood-letting the likes of which the world hadn't seen. Estimates vary, but Civil War historians put the number of casualties in the range of 55,000 for the Union and 34,000 for the Confederates.
Washington was the closest city and served as the base of operations. It was a hub where rivers, roads and rail came together. It was both a supply center and a hospice, Carney said.
And in charge of it all was Union Brig. Gen. Montgomery Meigs, the quartermaster general. Meigs detested the Confederacy and the officers who had betrayed their oaths to the United States of America. He was responsible for supplying the needs of the Union Army, and he also was responsible for burying them.
In May 1864, the graveyards of Washington and neighboring Alexandria were overwhelmed by the demand. Meigs ordered a review, Carney said.
Engineers came back saying that Arlington was the most suitable site. "It was high above the river and the center of many roads," Carney said. That it was the home of Robert E. Lee -- the author of much of the destruction -- was not lost on Meigs, Carney said.
Meigs had served under Lee in the pre-war Army as the two worked to improve navigation on the Mississippi River. They knew each other well. When Lee followed his state, Meigs felt betrayed. Establishing a cemetery on the property would ensure the Lee family could not re-occupy the land or house, Carney said.
The first military burial at Arlington was Pvt. William Henry Christman on May 13, 1864. The 67th Pennsylvania Infantry soldier was buried a good distance north of Arlington House. Meigs saw this and ordered the next burials to be in what was Mary Lee's rose garden, feet from the door to Arlington House, Carney said.
Meigs formally declared the cemetery open in June 1864, and thousands of burials followed. At the end of the war, Meigs gathered the bones of thousands of Union soldiers that had been hastily buried at Virginia battlefields, and placed them in a burial vault in the rose garden.
The Lee family ultimately received payment from the federal government for Arlington House, but no one ever lived in the house again, Carney said.
The cemetery became a focal point during Decoration Day. Thousands of Americans journeyed to Arlington to place tributes on the graves of those buried at Arlington. The cemetery also became a visible sign of reconciliation -- it features a Confederate Monument with the graves of Confederate veterans around it.
The construction of the Memorial Bridge in 1932 symbolically linked the Lincoln Memorial in Washington with Arlington House in the midst of the cemetery.
Arlington National Cemetery
By unitedweroll on May 13, 2014 | In Military News and Support
As discussed in our interview with Check Six Active Shooter Facilitator and Combative Instructor SSgt Xavier Drake, shootings at Fort Hood and the Washington Navy Yard have made it clear that training on how to respond to active shooters on military installations was needed. The following article discusses additional training in this area. (SSgt Drake interview on show tape dated 4/15/14 on Archive site at www.stardustradio.info.)
Defenders: Combat ready, always
by Senior Airman Zachary Perras
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/12/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- "Shots fired, engaging target!" a voice calls out. Within seconds, a team of defenders rushes into the room to counteract the threat. The suspect is on the ground and cuffed in mere moments; the threat is neutralized.
While this might sound like the scene out of a movie, Airmen from the 354th Security Forces Squadron recently participated in high-risk response training where that situation was the norm.
To meet Pacific Air Forces' vision of providing the most extensive training for active shooter and other high-risk response threats, a team of skilled personnel from Analytic Services Inc. traveled to Eielson to teach the 354th SFS how to respond.
"The course is designed to help PACAF security forces prepare to meet dangerous and unpredictable situations that may arise on military installations that would require immediate law enforcement action," said John Knipe, ANSER team leader. "The intensive course, based in real-life scenarios, provides effective response tactics to empower PACAF security forces members to swiftly eliminate active shooter and other high-risk response threats."
The five-day training was developed by the ANSER team using constructivist teaching methods to help develop students' tactics and techniques. At the end of the week, students participated in instructor-led scenarios with role players and other sensory overload stimuli.
ANSER also identified to PACAF additional benefits and enhancements, such as requirements for base schools and other facilities to develop a crisis response box, Knipe said. This would enable all critical information to be available for first responders upon arrival.
"A crisis is not the time to collect information," he said. "Rather, it is the time to act."
While difficult, the training helped defenders learn just what needs to be done to protect and serve the Iceman Team. With realistic scenarios, the training was invaluable, according to Capt. Cameron Maher, 354th SFS operations officer.
"The mission of all security forces is to protect, defend and fight to enable Air Force, joint and coalition missions," said Maher. "Effective training hones our lethality, and when we do our job right, the rest of the Air Force can focus on its job."
Ref: Original Article & Photos - http://www.pacaf.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123410641&source=GovD
By unitedweroll on May 12, 2014 | In Military News and Support
• Date Your Mate Month
• Foster Care Month
• National Barbecue Month
• National Bike Month
• National Blood Pressure Month
• National Hamburger Month
• National Photograph Month
• National Recommitment Month
• National Salad Month
• Older Americans Month
• Nurse's Week - first week of month
• Wildflower Week - week two
• National Bike Week - third week
• National Police Week - third week of month - May 15th is Police Officer's Memorial Day
• Emergency Medical Services Week - fourth week of month
Special Days in May:
May 1st is National Day of Prayer
May 1st is Loyalty Day: Loyalty Day is an opportunity to express and reaffirm our loyalty to our country. In proclaiming this day, President George W. Bush wrote: "We express allegiance to our Nation and its founding ideals, we resolve to ensure that the blessings of liberty endure and extend for generations to come."
But, this day did not start with George Bush' proclamation. It dates back to the 1920's.
On Loyalty Day, we reaffirm our allegiance to our country and resolve to uphold the vision of our Forefathers. We should also take a moment to appreciate the members of our armed forces who are displaying the ultimate in loyalty and service to protect our freedoms, and liberty, and our way of life.
Origin of Loyalty Day: Loyalty Day was first celebrated in the 1920's. Communisim was on the rise, and feared in America. At the time, May Day (May 1st) was percieved by some as a Communist holiday. In a sense, Loyalty Day was intended to counter this.
The U.S. Congress made this an official holiday on July 18, 1958 with the signing of Public Law 85-529. Then President Dwight D. Eisenhower, proclaimed May 1, 1959 the first official observance of Loyalty Day.
May 6th - National Teachers' Day and National Nurses' Day
May 7th - National School Nurses' Day
May 8th V-E Day - Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) commemorates the end of fighting in Europe during World War II. After years of war, The Third Reich of Nazi Germany was defeated. Millions of people were killed. Adolf Hitler, Germany's Dictator, had committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin.
The German Army ceased fighting on May 2and, and formally surrendered unconditionally, on May 7th. The surrender of all German forces was arranged for May 8 at 11:01. The Allied countries planned to celebrate victory, and the cessation of hostilities.
May 11th is Mothers' Day
May 17th is Armed Forces Day - third Saturday of month - To begin with, each branch of the military had their own day of celebration. But, on August 31, 1949 then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day. President Harry Truman also announced the holiday in a presidential proclamation on February 20, 1950. All branches of the military were asked to celebrate on this day and they complied on the first Armed Forces Day which was held the following year on May 20, 1950.
May 26th is Memorial Day
To see all of the events that are acknowledged during the month of May, you can go to http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/may.htm
By unitedweroll on May 12, 2014 | In Military News and Support
United We Roll World Tour Show
Stardust Radio Network Inc www.stardustradio.com
Tuesday 05/13/14 1:00pm - 3:00pm Central (Live)
Wednesday 05/14/14 6:00pm - 8:00pm Central (Repeat)
Welcome Stardust Listeners -
We thank you for joining us on Tuesday, May 13th of 2014.
Our deployed guests for this week come from the US Air Force. Two of our guests bring brand new visits from the 386th AEW Wing/The Rock which is currently serving in Southwest Asia. Our third visit is actually a requested encore presentation from the 379th AEW / Grand Slam Wing which originally played on our show two weeks ago (April 29th, 2014).
Our first two guests are currently deployed with the 386th ECONS or Expeditionary Contracting Squadron, though they both came from different bases in the USA and their jobs are a bit different. This unit is so busy that we truly appreciate the time that both guests were able to spend with us.
SSgt Kelli A Floyd has 6 years of service behind her and totally enjoys her job in the Contracting Squadron where almost all units on the base submit purchase orders to have supplies purchased and brought in for them to do their jobs. Just imagine the amount of knowledge one must have to be sure the correct parts or items are ordered, not to mention working with vendors who are from the country in which the base is located. What a busy and yet interesting job! With her husband also on deployment, living with three roommates is a bit different than home, but SSgt Floyd takes it all in stride.
SSgt Randall C Kyllo has been serving for 9 years and is a Flight Chief in the ECONS or Contracting Squadron where he also processes purchases requests and provides supervisory duties. Working with local vendors also requires several trips off base where hospitality traditions include time out to enjoy a cup of tea before concluding business. This is SSgt Kyllo's second deployment to this location where temperatures can get up above 120 degrees and the wind is frequently blowing sand around, so he will be ready to return to his beachside US base in just a couple of months.
Our third visit today is, as stated above, a requested repeat from our April 29th show. Our guest is SSgt Xavier Drake who was with the 379th AEW in FP (Force Protection) where he is a part of the Check Six Program as an Active Shooter Facilitator and Combative Instructor. In response to the tragic shootings at Fort Hood and the Washington Naval Yard, a training program has been developed to help members respond and survive in the event they are faces with such a situation. SSgt Drake does an excellent job of helping us to understand how effective training becomes "muscle memory" and how members use this technique to "automatically" respond.
The taped visits contained in this show take us up to our 1,267th interview with our deployed Heroes of Freedom.
We are extremely honored to bring these outstanding guests to you all. Once again, we believe you will find each of these visits to be inspirational, informational and a wonderful opportunity to meet men and women who are keeping our families safe and our freedom secure from their duty stations around the world.
United We Roll World Tour at Stardust Radio Network, Inc
www.stardustradio.com - click Listen Live button
Tuesday 5/13/14 1:00pm
Wednesday 5/14/14 6:00pm (repeat)
1:00pm - Introduction / Announcements
(6:00pm - Introduction / Announcements)
386 AEW / The Rock
Interview #1 (appr 1:12pm/6:12pm) - SSgt Kelli A Floyd
Interview #2 (appr 1:41pm/6:41pm) - SSgt Randall C Kyllo
379 AEW / Grand Slam Wing
Interview #3 (appr 2:17pm/7:17pm) - SSgt Xavier Drake
*Qatar and Southwest Asia are 8 hours ahead of US Central Daylight Savings Time.
Live show on Tuesday ends at appr 3:00pm Central
Repeat show on Wednesday ends at appr 8:00pm Central
If you are not able to stay through the show on Tuesday, it will repeat on Wednesday,
May 14th at 6:00pm Central. About 4 days after the repeat show has been broadcast, an MP3 copy will be posted on the Stardust Radio Network Inc Archive site at www.stardustradio.info.
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Who Serve To Protect Our Freedom...
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By unitedweroll on May 11, 2014 | In Military News and Support
We have heard several stories over these past years of forces being "blended" - Air force with Army, Navy with Army and so on - in order to best use the talents and skills of military members to successfully complete missions. Here comes yet another such story that also includes the award of a Bronze Star.
Logistics Airman is top officer, earns Bronze Star
by Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett
JBER Public Affairs
5/8/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Air Force Capt. Dayton Blume sat in a helicopter as it approached a forward operating base at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. The helicopter was filled with several Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), which Blume was assigned to in a Joint Expeditionary Tasking.
The helicopter landed at the base and the Air Force captain got out with more than 30 Soldiers, quickly performing security checks for insurgents or improvised explosive devices to clear the helicopter landing zone. He'd volunteered to help out - it wasn't his regular job.
The 673d Logistics Readiness officer deployed from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to Afghanistan from May 28, 2013, until April 11. His actions earned him a Bronze Star and the Air Force Logistics Readiness Company Grade Officer of the Year.
Having been in the Air Force for about five years, the year in Afghanistan was Blume's first deployment.
"I was itching to deploy and volunteering left and right," said the native of Overland Park, Kan. "I put on captain the day I flew over there."
Blume was initially assigned to the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron. As a Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman, he was operationally assigned to the 101st.
"They were the 'Band of Brothers' unit," he said. "In about a month, they are decommissioning that unit. I got to be part of their last deployment."
When that unit left, the Air Force logistics officer became a part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
"It was interesting being the Air Force guy in the Army world," he said. "Until you're with an Army unit, you don't realize how different the jargon is."
Blume said he enjoyed working with the Army, and was amazed by the Afghan people. In his time there, his successes included leading a joint coalition team of more than 50 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and civilians teamed with six coalition partner nations to provide logistical support to the Afghan National Security Forces.
"It's kind of a different mission," he said. "In [Afghan] culture, we don't tell them what they are doing is wrong. We tried to lead them to the answer we thought was right, so they could take ownership of the decisions. It's kind of a blending of cultures and processes.
"I loved doing it; I really enjoyed working with the Afghans. For all the bad publicity, I think there are a lot of really good, smart people over there. Granted, some of their stuff may be a little behind ours, but I really enjoyed learning from them. These guys know how to work. They know how to motivate their people. They are really good at the less technical stuff."
Blume said he would talk to the Afghan leadership about logistics, he found they were good at convoys, and considered their work a logistical enterprise. He found some areas to give advice on, such as supply management.
"I'd sit down and talk to them almost on a daily basis, sometimes two or three times a day," he said. "I really liked to get out and work side-by-side with the guys loading trucks. They'd stack equipment 20 feet high on their trucks and tie it down. We'd say 'hey, maybe this isn't the best way of doing things.'"
Blume said much of what they did amazed him.
"One cool thing I did was seeing their depot warehouse in Kabul," he said, explaining how every piece of supply or ammunition that comes in would go to that warehouse. "It is truly the most beautiful, most organized warehouse I've ever seen. Everything's put away on the shelf; it is incredible. The problem is that if you call them up and say you need a tire, if they see an empty box, they don't look next to it where there's the same tire from a different brand. That's a logistical problem, but it is truly an amazing thing we've given them.
"One of the real problems that stood out is the Soviet mentality versus the American mentality. The Soviets used a push style of logistics supply. They get 10 units and 100 pieces of stuff in. Say it's brake pads; they all get 10 brake pads. In the American system, we keep those at the warehouse until a unit says they need them. That was one of the things we were battling in our advising."
Blume's role allowed him to travel a lot. With that travel came the necessary situational awareness of potential dangers.
"The constant looking over your shoulder part was interesting," he said. "The whole time you're out there, you're looking for threats. This guy that I'm advising, he could turn and shoot me. We had some insider attacks on the FOB. After one of them, an Afghan guy turned and shot the guy who had attacked the Americans. [The Afghans] want to protect you and are very good about it.
There was another guy in my career field who was killed while I was there. Just driving around Kabul keeps you on edge. I drove around in an armored SUV with bullet-proof glass and, at any time, we could have run over something. We were not out actively searching for the enemy; the Afghans were doing that and they are good. They like to fight and kill insurgents. I stayed safe."
Blume said he was glad he deployed for a year.
"Captain Blume has done a remarkable job taking on the task at hand and delivering the goods that our Airmen have been known for," said Air Force Col. Brian Duffy, JBER and 673d Air Base Wing commander. "On behalf of the whole team, you have my sincere congratulations and thanks for a job well done."
After returning from the deployment, the logistics officer said he didn't expect to win awards.
"I was shocked," he said. "It's the first award I've ever won. I feel like I was just out there doing what I was supposed to do."