Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fallen Green Berets Deserve America’s Honor

The U.S. Army defines their Special Forces, also referred to as the legendary Green Berets as a “unique, unconventional, combat arms organization … they are the most versatile Special Operations soldiers in the world.”

Green Berets are further defined as the “elite, multi-purpose force for high priority operational targets of strategic importance. Their linage dates back to more than 200 years of unconventional warfare history, with notable predecessors including the Revolutionary War Swamp Fox Francis Marion, the WWII OSS Jedbourg Teams and Detachment 101 in Burma, as well as the Alamo Scouts. Since their establishment in 1952, they have distinguished themselves in Vietnam (17 Medals of Honor), El Salvador, Panama, Desert Shield/Storm, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Most recently, Green Berets have played a critical role in destroying Taliban/al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, rooting out insurgents in Iraq, training foreign troops to fight terrorists or drug warlords, and crossing the globe to liberate the oppressed.”

Fallen Green Berets

On Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, the dangers of service to America as a Green Beret was crystalized in a tragic incident. An ambush in the northwest African country of Niger left four Green Berets dead and two wounded.

According to published reports, a team of Green Berets had just completed a meeting with local leaders. While returning to their unarmed vehicles, they were ambushed by some 50 ISIS fighters using small arms, machine-guns, and rocket propelled grenades.

U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Miley, spoke to reporters during the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting in Washington D.C. after the attack. Miley stated, “We are training, advising, and assisting indigenous armies all over the world. And I anticipate and expect that will increase and not decrease … it is a dangerous mission.”

According to the military times website honoring the fallen, the Green Berets who died during this U.S. Africa Command Operations were all assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

These America heroes who have offered the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation are as follows:

Army Staff Sgt. La David T. Johnson – 25 years-old, of Miami Gardens, Florida. Johnson’s awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Parachutist Badge, the Army Air Assault Badge, the Driver and Mechanic Badge, and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge - Sharpshooter with Rifle. He was the youngest of those killed. According to a news report, Johnson was “a gym and church regular who believed in hard work. Aside from his love of cycling, his friends also remembered his love of cars and his commitment to being a reliable father and husband. He even tattooed his wife’s name on his chest.”

Army Staff Sgt. Byran C. Black – 35 years-old of Puyallup, Washington. Black served as a Special Forces medical sergeant and was recipient of the Ranger Tab and Special Forces Tab. In a local news report from his hometown, a neighbor in the Stonegate neighborhood of Puyallup, Whitney Kamel, spoke of Black’s family. Kamel said, “what an honor it is to live across the street from them. As American’s we need to thank everyone of these people every single day.”

Army Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson – 39-years old of Springboro, Ohio. Johnson served as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist, enlisting in October, 2007. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters and is described by friends and family as a rock-solid American patriot with a great heart.

Army Staff Dustin M. Wright – 29 years-old of Lyons, Georgia, a Special Forces engineer sergeant who enlisted in July, 2012. Wright was recipient of the Special Forces Tab. His Aunt Ginger Russell commenting on his powerful physical strength said, “I’m sure that’s why he had to grow up to be so big because his body couldn’t hold the heart he had.” His cousin, Jada Davis said, “He’s our own personal American hero. And he died for our country.”

Final Reflections

America must eternally honor the fallen who have offered the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

Their sacrifices, along with those of all Gold Star Families who have lost loved ones, are the pillars of America’s freedom, democracy, and way of life.

As detailed in these immortal words of “America the Beautiful,” may the sacrifices of all who have died for our nation, be forever seared into our souls:

“O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more then self their country loved
And mercy more than life!”

Related Coverage:

With Honor and Leadership the US Army Protects America

Gold Star Families: Honoring Those Who Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

Memorial Day: Honor the Fallen, Widows, Orphans

Armed Forces: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

Note Well:

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Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

Photo
Special Forces Green Beret soldiers from each of the Army’s seven Special Forces Groups stand silent watch during the wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 17, 2011, at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony marked a time-honored tradition to honor Kennedy for his support and advocacy of the soldiers who would be known simply as “Green Berets.” (Credit: U.S. Army / Public Domain)

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

With Honor and Leadership the U.S. Marine Corps Protects America

As detailed on the official U.S. Marine Corps website, “The Marine Corps, within the Department of the Navy, is organized as a general purpose “force in readiness” to support national needs. Deploying for combat as combined-arms Marine air-ground task forces (MAGTFs), the Marine Corps provides the National Command Authorities (NCA) with a responsive force that can conduct operations across the spectrum of conflict. Recent events continue to highlight the Navy-Marine Corps team’s key national security role. Seabased, combat ready, forward deployed naval forces have been involved in more than 28 major military operations since 1995.”

The heart of the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps is “As America's expeditionary force in readiness since 1775, the Marines are forward deployed to win our nation’s battles swiftly and aggressively in times of crisis. We fight on land, sea and air, as well as provide forces and detachments to naval ships and ground operations.

U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team

Recently, I was inspired by a performance of the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team. It took place at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, often referred to as The Marching Twenty-Four, is a 24-man rifle platoon of the U.S. Marine Corps. The unit performs unique silent precision exhibition drills to exemplify the discipline of the Marine Corps.

The platoon executes meticulous drill movements of their spit-shined 10.5 pound rifles with fixed razor-sharpened silver bayonets. Their performance includes a flawless rifle inspection involving intricate rifle spins and complex tosses and one-handed catches.

The impeccable performance of these disciplined Marines makes one proud of being American. Their professionalism, discipline, and commitment reflect the finest of America’s armed forces and give our nation great hope for the future.

America’s Flag: Our Rallying Point

As detailed in my article titled “America’s Flag, Patriotism: Resuscitating Our Destiny,” for the Mar. 20, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times, I stressed that “the American flag is the symbol of our nation, deserving of reverence, honor, and dignity.”

The article highlighted the immortalized iconic flag-raising of the U.S. Marines during the battle of Iwo Jima. This defining moment in American history gave us hope. It was a counterpoint to the heart-wrenching sinking of our ships at Pearl Harbor that cast a dark cloud upon us.

America is now at a crossroads with expressions of discontent taking place during the National Anthem. But we must have great expectations that our divisions will lead to unity expressed through respect for our flag, and that we will once again stand together.

The American Flag, immortalized by its raising at Iwo Jima, is mystically inseparable from its raising at each sporting event, school, community, and workplace. Our flag must be eternally revered across our homeland and especially in the heart of all privileged to call our nation home.

U.S. Marine Navajo Code Talker

Since the U.S. Marine Corps is one of profound magnitude spanning America’s entire history, perhaps the best way to crystallize it is through a story of one of its legends.

On Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, U.S. Marine Navajo Code Talker David Patterson Sr., 94, passed away in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Patterson served in the Marines from 1943-1945 and received the Silver Congressional Medal of Honor.

According to the official website of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), during World War II the Marine Corps used the Navajo language to create an unbreakable security code.

The code developed by the Navajo language was virtually undecipherable especially since it was further complicated by word substitution. During World War II about 400 Navajos participated in the code program. These code talkers were critical to America’s victory and vital to every U.S. Marine assault in the Pacific from 1942-1945.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye honored Patterson by stating the following:

"It’s a sad day on the Navajo Nation when we lose a national treasure like we did in losing Navajo Nation Code Talker David Patterson, Sr., beyond his service in protecting our freedom, he was a beloved husband, father and grandfather.”

Final Reflections

America is deservingly proclaimed as “the land of the free and home of the brave.”

This proclamation is possible only because of all who honorable serve in the U.S. Marine Corps and all our armed forces.

Our nation must eternally honor their sacrifices, dedication, and valor.

These patriots, as exemplified through the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps, are the ethical protectors of America’s freedom.

As the gathering storm intensifies with discord among nations, may all people of good will pray and work for peace. Let us also pray that our American Flag become a rallying point for unity and that we soon all stand together to honor the character our flag symbolizes.

Yet, let us also pray for members of the U.S. Marine Corps, and all who serve the nation. These patriots stand ready always to honor our flag, and to exercise America’s sacrosanct right to protect ourselves and all people of moral decency.

Related Coverage:

Armed Forces: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

Gold Star Families: Honoring Those Who Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

America’s Veterans Deserve Honor, Homes, Health Care

Life Lessons From the United States Military

Note Well:

Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Join Vincent’s Linkedin Group: The Sentinel: Reawakening the Nation

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Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

Photos

1. U.S. Marines, Times Square, NYC, Memorial Weekend, 2015. (Vincent J. Bove)

2. The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, Iwo Jima Memorial, Washington D.C. (Courtesy U.S. Marine Corps)

3. The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 29, 2014. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace talks with Navajo Code Talkers at the Pentagon, Aug. 10, 2007. The Navajo Code Talkers served as U.S. Marines in World War II and helped develop a communications code based on their language. (Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen)

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Thursday, October 05, 2017

Las Vegas Tragedy: Compassion, Empathy, Sympathy

Tragically, America must once again prayerfully pause with profound compassion and listen to the ocean of tears flowing from the city of Las Vegas.

American flags are too often at half-staff to honor those killed in mass-shootings.

The senseless murder of 59 people and 527 wounded, during the nation’s most horrific mass shooting, must ignite the deepest emotions of sorrow, sympathy, and empathy in the heart of America.

This most recent manifestation of abominable evil demands the nation’s condolences for the indescribable suffering of the victims, as well as for their families, friends, and co-workers.

America must also honor many unsung heroes who placed themselves in harm’s way to prevent additional fatalities. First-responders, private security, and medical professionals also deserve America’s praise for their selfless dedication to help the victims.

Our nation must also have unwavering hope, moral courage, and relentless resolve so healing may assuage the wounded heart of America.

America: Never Give Up

After the April 20, 1999 Columbine High School Tragedy, it was my privilege to travel the nation speaking at conferences to educators, law enforcement, and community leaders. The mission of my work was to inspire leadership to address the culture of violence and prevent additional heartbreak.

Shortly after the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, also known as the Virginia Tech massacre, I was invited to speak to parents and family members of the victims. This mass-shooting tragedy was the worst in America at that time.

After the Dec. 14, 2012 killing of 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and 6 adult teachers and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Conn., this tragedy was also addressed in my articles and presentations.

On June 12, 2016, the heart of America was once again lacerated by the Orlando nightclub shooting. The tragedy was addressed in my article titled “Orlando Shootings: Compassion, Empathy, Sympathy,” for the June 16, 2016 edition of the Epoch Times.

For nearly twenty years, I have been working to prevent violence in America through numerous initiatives built on the foundation of leadership, vigilance, and collaboration.

During this time, I have repeatedly stressed that America must have the moral courage to stop the scourge of violence. This violence unleashed in our schools, workplaces, houses of worship, and communities must have our renewed resolve and we must never give up.

Las Vegas Victims: A Spotlight

America must never give up, and now, once again, we must enflame compassion in our hearts. Our nation must take the time to reverently pause and reflect on lives gone too soon. Each person who perished in Las Vegas deserves America’s eternal remembrance, including the following:

Sonny Melton, 29, who worked at the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, according to his Facebook page, is understood to be the first known fatality from the concert event. His wife, Heather Melton survived due to Sonny’s heroism as memorialized by these somber words. “He saved my life. He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back. I want everyone to know what a kind-hearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe.”

Susan Smith, a 53-year-old mother and office manager for Vista Elementary School in California. Susan was married and the mother of two young-adult children. She was remembered by her school a Facebook posting with the words, “she was a wonderful woman, an advocate for our children, and a friend.”

Rick Silva, 21, who had recently started a private security job because, according to his stepsister Daisy Hernandez, “he loved helping people.” She also stated, “All I can tell you is that he was a great son, brother, and uncle who was loved by so many people. He had just turned 21 this August and I’m pretty sure he died trying to protect people at that concert.”

Rhonda LeRocque, a mother, daughter, wife, aunt, and sister who was remembered by her sister in a Facebook post. “My Beautiful Sister Rhonda LeRocque lost her life in the Las Vegas mass shooting, Karina Champagne posted. “My heart is broken, I’m numb, I feel paralyzed. This doesn’t seem real. All I can do is turn to God’s word for comfort, just as she would want me to. May she rest now until her name is called and she is awakened in paradise.”

Quinton Robbins, from Henderson, Nevada, was remembered on Facebook by his aunt, Kilee Wells Sanders. She posted that Quinton was the “most kind and loving soul.” She also noted that “Everyone who met him, loved him. His contagious laugh and smile. He was truly an amazing person. He will be missed by so many, he is loved by so many. So many awesome talents. I can’t say enough good about this sweet soul.”

Jack Beaton, was celebrating his 23rd wedding anniversary with his wife Laurie and friends at the concert. The day after the shooting, his son wrote about his father on Twitter. “He jumped in front of my mom and got shot. I love you dad.”

Final Reflections

The heartbreaking loss of these innocent souls, and all who perished, so cherished by family, friends, and communities, reminds us of the sacredness of each human life. Each of us is mystically connected in a human family and respect must always be the order of the day.

As we eternally honor the memories of all lost in Las Vegas, let us ignite compassion, empathy, and sympathy in the heart of America.

All who were lost in Las Vegas on that fateful day must be forever remembered with dignity, honor, and reverence.

Related Coverage:

America’s Active Shooter Crisis: Issues and Response

Mass Shootings, Police Fatalities: America’s Culture of Trauma

Mass Shootings: America’s Public Health Crisis

America’s Violent Rampages: Time for Prevention


Note Well:

Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Join Vincent’s Linkedin Group: The Sentinel: Reawakening the Nation

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Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

This article was published in the Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 edition of the Epoch Times as the Editor's pick.

Photos

1. A man lays on top of a woman as others flee the Route 91 Harvest country music festival grounds after a active shooter was reported in Las Vegas, Nevada on Oct. 1, 2017. (David Becker/Getty Images)

2. The U.S. flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington on Oct. 2, 2017. The President ordered the flags on all federal buildings to fly at half-staff following the Las Vegas mass shooting. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

3. A mourner cries while visiting a memorial on Dec. 15, 2012, in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

4. People hug and cry outside the Thomas &; Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada on Oct. 2, 2017. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Opioid Addiction: America’s Public Health Crisis

As a teenager growing up in the Bronx in the 1960’s, the realities of the drug culture were rampant.

Tragically, the get-high society was so widespread, that hearing of a drug-overdose, or drug-influenced fatality, was commonplace.

Everything old is new again. The alarming reality in contemporary America is that a drug culture, fueled by the opioid crisis, is not only alive but deadly.

Opioids: A Crisis Intensifies

The tragic headlines of this morning’s news have prompted the writing of this article. In New Jersey, my home state, the opioid crisis was crystalized in a story headlined “All 1,901 people killed by opioids in N.J. last year, mapped.”

Statistics cited in the article point to a meteoric rise of deaths in New Jersey involving heroin and fentanyl.

The published report cites that since 2013, heroin deaths have more than doubled. Also, fentanyl-related deaths, have had a shocking 2,000 percent increase during this same time-span.

This tragedy in New Jersey is a microcosm of America’s national drug crisis.

CDC: America’s Grim Opioid Statistics

The most recent statistics posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) paint a grim picture of the opioid crisis in America.

According to the CDC, “the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid. Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) quadrupled. From 2000 to 2015, more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.”

The headlines, blasted across America each day, confirm the tragedy of the CDC statistics. These headlines, from just a recent review, include the following:

* Opioid Crisis Drives a Grim Business in West Virginia: Body Transport
* State of Addiction: Confronting Indiana’s Opioid Crisis
* ‘The Pills Are Everywhere’: How the Opioid Crisis Claims Its Youngest Victims
* Georgia’s Health Care Reform Task Force works to combat opioid crisis
* Study: Opioid crisis cuts US life expectancy rates
* Lawmakers Told Opioid Crisis ‘A Public Health Catastrophe’
* The Opioid Crisis Is Taking a Toll on the American Labor Force
* Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever
* New York’s opioid crisis crops up in one cemetery, where 11 young addicts’ graves stand bunched together

Building Police-Community Collaboration

During my Sept. 21, 2017 remarks to the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association (BCPCA), I addressed America’s opioid crisis.

The crisis that is impacting communities nationwide was underscored to 100 attendees including police chiefs, the FBI, psychologists, and community leaders.

Copies of my article titled “America’s Drug Crisis Demands Police-Community Unity” from the Apr. 13, 2017 edition of the Epoch Times were distributed.

The article emphasizes that America’s drug pandemic demands an iron-clad collaboration of police and community members to remedy the crisis. It also commends the BCPCA and their collaborative initiative with the Bergen County Prosecutor. This initiative allows addicts to turn in their drugs at strategically located police stations in the county. In turn, they enter into a recovery program without facing criminal charges.

Final Reflections

Aside from complementing the BCPCA for their collaborative effort to address the opioid crisis, I encouraged them to intensify their efforts in the schools.

If America is to make any progress with our opioid crisis, we must educate and motivate our youth. They can be empowered to be ethical protectors in their schools and communities. Our young people are critical to turning the tide with this crisis. We must encourage our youth and give them the resources they need.

My remarks to the BCPCA concluded with the following statement, which I believe is applicable across America:

“Complementing your commendable collaboration to address the opioid crisis, intensify your efforts to reach the youth through the schools. Through character empowerment programs and opioid awareness initiatives, efforts to safeguard lives from this deadly crisis will be enhanced and positive results achieved.”

America’s youth deserve our example, encouragement, and empowerment to cultivate tools critical to protecting themselves and society.

We must do more to stop the scourge of our opioid crisis. Let us have the fortitude to intensify the virtues alive in the hearts of our youth: character, courage, and community.

Related Coverage:

America’s Deadly Drug Crisis Demands Moral Courage

America’s 21st Century Student: Character, Courage, Community

America’s Opioid Crisis: The Heart of the Solution

America’s Schools: Security, Character, Academics

Note Well:

Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Join Vincent’s Linkedin Group: The Sentinel: Reawakening the Nation

Facebook: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.


Photos

1. File photo of Oxycodone pain pills. (John Moore/Getty Images)
2. CDC (Courtesy CDC)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

With Honor and Leadership the US Army Protects America

As detailed on the official U.S. Army website, “the Army, as one of the three military departments (Army, Navy, and Air Force) reporting to the Department of Defense, is composed of two distinct and equally important components: the active component and the reserve components. These reserve components are the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard.”

The heart of the mission of the U.S. Army is “to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.”

Captain William D. Swenson: Medal of Honor Recipient

Since the U.S. Army story is one of great magnitude spanning America’s entire history, perhaps the best way to crystalize through a story.

This story is of Captain William D. Swenson, a Medal of Honor recipient. He was inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes on Oct. 16, 2016 after serving one tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan.

The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat and it is bestowed sparingly only to the bravest of the brave.

The complete details of Captain Swenson’s gallantry can be gleaned from the Medal of Honor pages of the U.S. Army website. Yet, these words by the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army memorialize Captain Swenson’s valor:

“Captain Swenson embodies the essence of a Soldier and represents what every man and woman who dons this uniform strives to be: an individual who has earned the trust of all with whom they associate; one who possesses a humility and selflessness that we all respect; one who embraces esprit de corps and routinely demonstrates a dedication to his profession that epitomizes the ethos of the American Soldier. In the face of imminent danger, he never quit. He always put his mission first. He never accepted defeat. And above all else, he never left his fallen comrades. Just as he was there for them that day, his friends, his band of brothers are here for him today.”

The story of Captain Swenson epitomizes the heroism of those honoring America through sacrifices. It is essential that this hero, and all have responded to the call of valor are eternally honored.

Honor America’s Fallen

We would be remiss, especially in the shadows of the anniversary of 9/11, to not pause to honor the fallen.

According to the Military Times (MT), the toll of those who have offered the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts including Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraq Freedom, and Operation New Dawn demands our reverence.

Although these statistics may not be totally accurate, they give insight to America’s sacrifices. The most current statistics according to the MT database is 6,897 fatalities, of which 4,980 were members of the U.S. Army.

United States Military Academy: Inspiring Character

The heart of training for commissioned leaders of the U.S. Army takes place at the United States Military Academy (USMA), commonly referred to as West Point.

As detailed in my article titled “West Point Cadets: Honor, Leadership, America”, published in the Apr. 22, 2016 edition of the Epoch Times, the USMA has been “developing, motivating, and inspiring America’s leaders of character for 200 years.”

Although West Point is internationally renowned for its academic, military, patriotic, and fitness programs, the heart of its educational pedagogy is character.

The West Point Mission is “To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army.”

It has been my honor to be involved with numerous character development initiatives at West Point for the past ten years.

These have included three years as a speaker, mentor, and senior leader for their National Conference on Ethics in America.

Other initiatives included my speaking engagements with Lt. General Robert L. Caslen Jr., superintendent of the USMA. These involved our presentations for an FBI management retreat as well as for “The Inaugural New Jersey Conference: Character, Ethics, Leadership.” This filled to capacity conference for over 250 law enforcement officials was hosted by The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey on May 12, 2014.

Every initiative I have been privileged to participate in has always inspired a renewed appreciation for the U.S. Army, and all dedicated to serving in America’s armed forces.

Final Reflections

America is deservingly proclaimed as “the land of the free and home of the brave.”

This proclamation is possible only because of all who honorably serve the nation in the U.S. Army and all our armed forces.

Our nation must eternally honor their sacrifices, dedication, and valor.

These patriots, as exemplified through the mission of the U.S. Army, are the ethical protectors of America’s freedom.

As the gathering storm intensifies with discord among nations, may all people of good will pray and work for peace.

Yet, let us also pray for members of the U.S. Army, and all who serve the nation. These patriots stand ready to exercise America’s sacrosanct right to protect ourselves and all people of moral decency.

In closing, I would like to honor members of my family who served America in the U.S. Army.

These patriots included Joseph M. Rufino (Vietnam War), Mario James Rufino (World War II), Anthony Louis Mirando (Korean War), Felice Bove (World War II), Albert Liquorie (World War II), Michael Liquore (World War II), Joseph Cirrito (World War II), and Biagio Gus Colletti (World War I).

I would also like to recognize three friends who served in the U.S. Army and have been as brothers for a life-time. These men, Thomas A. Cignarella (Korean War), Anthony Damiani, and Daniel X. McCaffrey are the most loyal friends imaginable. Each of them is as family to me as any man could ever hope for.

Related Coverage:

Armed Forces: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

America’s Veterans: Honoring Our Heroes

Life Lessons From the United States Military

Gold Star Families: Honoring Those Who Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

Note Well:

Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Join Vincent’s Linkedin Group: The Sentinel: Reawakening the Nation

Facebook: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

Photos

1. Paratroopers of 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, perform airborne operations at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 24, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Love)

2. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to former Army Capt. William D. Swenson, citing his extraordinary heroism in the Battle of Ganjgal, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. (Photo Credit: Lisa Ferdinando via U.S. Army website)

3. Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), participate in the graveside service for U.S. Army Sgt. Willie Rowe at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Aug. 8, 2017. Rowe was missing in action, Nov. 25, 1950, after an offensive to push North Koreans to the Yala River in the Ch'ongch'on River region. He was identified by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Central Identification laboratory in May 2005. Rowe's remains were repatriated in Section 60 with full military honors. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser)

4. U.S. Army Major Ryan Boeka (L) and U.S. Army Major Aaron Miller (R) lead West Point Cadets through Empty Sky, the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial, in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, on April 14, 2016. (Vincent J. Bove)

5. 2nd Lt. Ty Roberts from the 35th Infantry Division, helps hand out school supplies and candy to children of the Khalileh Tribe during a community engagement event near the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre, Aug. 18, 2017. The project was a cooperation between U.S. service members in Jordan and the Jordan Armed Forces -- Arab Army aimed at building strong relationships between the armed forces and local community members. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Margaret Ziffer)

6. Joseph M. Rufino, US Army. (Courtesy Margaret Settiducati)

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Neighborhood Policing Illuminates NYPD Mission

It has been my privilege throughout my career to be involved with policing initiatives that forge iron-clad partnerships with the community .

These partnerships, standing on the pillars of trust, respect, ethics, and character, are the heart of public safety in American communities.

These pillars ensure transparency, accountability, and legitimacy for both the police and community members. They must be adhered to by all who privileged to call America home.

Building Police-Community Partnerships

In my article titled Principles of American Policing for the April 28, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times, the foundations of contemporary policing were memorialized.

The article highlighted that the first irrefutable principle of policing, inspired by Sir Robert Peel’s timeless nine principles, is that “being pro-police and pro-community is inseparable, indefatigable, and pre-eminent.”

In my opinion, these Principles of American Policing deserve not only reflection, but unwavering commitment to implementing programs, action plans, and certification initiatives for police and community members.

A Police-Community Model

The forging of pro-police and pro-community partnerships must be the framework of American values as it is critical to safeguarding our communities.

A mutual respect for police and community must begin in the family which is the foundation of society. Building respect must also be complemented by efforts in our schools (where a positive police presence is critical) and through all facets of community life.

When respect is the foundation, society benefits through dialogue, trust, and collaboration.

Associations dedicated to pro-police and pro-community ideals are critical to this collaboration. These associations serve as catalyst that deserve active participation.

One such association in New York City, deserves credit as an exemplary model for building police-community unity.

The First Precinct Financial Area Security Council is dedicated to forging law enforcement, private security, military, and community partnerships to safeguard New York City.

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, the council hosted an event that punctuated its dedication through an extraordinary NYPD presentation.

Neighborhood Policing

The guest speaker, Terence A. Monahan, NYPD’s Chief of Patrol, crystalized the benefits of Neighborhood Policing.

First, it is important to understand Chief Monahan’s responsibility as Chief of Patrol, and his bureau’s importance to the Neighborhood Policing program.

The Patrol Services Bureau is the most visible in the NYPD. This bureau, commanded by Chief Monahan, involves 17,000 uniformed NYPD officers in 77 precincts. These officers have a critical role to Neighborhood Policing, which according to Chief Monahan, “is the heartbeat of all of the work not only in the Patrol Bureau but with every member of the police department.”

Chief Monahan stressed that Neighborhood Policing increases police-community connectivity. The program helps city residents to know their cops personally. It allows residents to experience the cop’s humanity, compassion, and character. Yet, it never undermines the cop’s ability to command respect in challenging incidents. The program insures that the officer’s training, confidence, and investigative skills are inseparable from people skills, all of which are necessary for public safety.

Neighborhood policing empowers the cop with conflict resolution, problem-solving, and de-escalation skills. Yet, it also insures that the cop has moral courage, ethical principles, and an unwavering fortitude to protect and serve those entrusted to his care.

In graphic slides, Chief Monahan stressed that Neighborhood Policing is inseparable from the needs of the community. Officers are connected with community members, as supported by effective staff management. This management allows the officer’s rapport with the community, empowers decision making, and makes the officer accountable for reducing crime.

As detailed on the NYPD website, “Neighborhood policing is sufficiently staffed to permit off-radio time for the sector officers, so they are not exclusively assigned to answering calls. The off-radio time is used to engage with neighborhood residents, identify problems, and work toward solutions. Sector officers have 33 percent of their eight-hour tours, or about two hours and 20 minutes each day, devoted to community-based, proactive, and problem-solving activities.”

Neighborhood Policing: Officer Training

The training for officers as presented by Chief Monahan included the following:

Criminal Investigative Course – this enables officers to identify dangers, build a case, and utilize precision policing. The uniformed officers are enabled to develop and foster a working partnership with detectives. This training differentiates Neighborhood Policing from Community Policing as it empowers officers with investigative skills and resources.
Mediation Course – a four day program that empowers officers with listening, social interaction, and conflict resolution skills.
Public Speaking – humanizes officers and gives them the confidence necessary for speaking engagements with the community.

Chief Monahan also stressed the importance of the NYPD Build the Block facet of Neighborhood Policing. Build the Block implements neighborhood safety meetings and strategies between officers and the people. The meetings identifies public safety issues and implements solutions.

NYPD Mission: Illuminating Success

According to the NYPD, their mission is “to enhance the quality of life in New York City by working in partnership with the community to enforce the law, preserve peace, reduce fear, and maintain order. The Department is committed to accomplishing its mission of protecting the lives and property of all citizens of New York City by treating every citizen with compassion, courtesy, professionalism, and respect, while efficiently rendering police services and enforcing the laws impartially, by fighting crime both through deterrence and the relentless pursuit of criminals.”

The success of this mission is illuminated by statistics from the 2017 Neighborhood Policing Commands. These are memorialized on the NYPD website and were cited by Chief Monahan as follows:

• Communities with neighborhood policing commands experienced 30 percent fewer shooting incidents in the first quarter of 2017 when compared to the same period in 2016. It is likely that 48 fewer shooting incidents in the area contributed to the 8.5 percent reduction in homicides there.
• For the first quarter of 2017, neighborhood policing commands experienced a reduction in the seven major felony offenses (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny of a motor vehicle) when compared to the first quarter of 2016. This means there were approximately 800 fewer major crimes committed in the neighborhood policing commands – and more people in these communities were protected from the pain and disruption caused by violent crime victimization.

Final Reflections

The NYPD deserves praise for its Neighborhood Policing program, an expression of its ethical responsibility to build police-community partnerships.

In a personal chat with Chief Monahan after his presentation, I commended him for his service to the people of New York and his commitment to Neighborhood Policing.

During our chat, he stressed the difference between Neighborhood Policing and Community Policing. Chief Monahan emphasized that Neighborhood Policing empowers officers with comprehensive crime-fighting, criminal investigation, and people skills that strengthen their connection with the community, and makes them personally accountable for reducing crime.

The NYPD with its Neighborhood Policing program is contributing to the Reawakening of the Nation.

The program is reducing crime in New York City, and serves as a model for enhancing pro-police and pro-community partnerships nationwide.

Related Coverage:

NYPD Leaders Exemplify Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect

Precision Policing: Respecting Our Citizens’ Dignity

NYPD Renaissance Cops: Safe and Fair Everywhere

NYPD Mission: Develop 35,000 Ethical Protectors


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Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

Photos

1. NYPD graduation, July 2, 2015. (Courtesy NYPD)
2. NYPD officers with community merchant. (Courtesy NYPD)
3. Chief Terence A. Monahan during promotion ceremony, One Police Plaza, New York, NY, Oct. 1, 2016. (Courtesy NYPD)
4. NYPD officer with children visiting Times Square, NYC, Aug. 23, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Honoring 9/11: Compassion, Character, Community

As one travels throughout American communities, we are reminded of the tragic loss of life on 9/11 through plaques, monuments, and memorials.

These tributes are set in bronze, marble, and stone throughout our train stations, shopping malls, workplaces, and community centers.

They are sacramental reminders of lives gone too soon, whose memories must be eternally engraved into our hearts and souls.

America will perpetually honor those who perished on 9/11, and we must be passionately dedicated to transforming our nation, as a fitting tribute to their memory.

Eternal Remembrance

America will pause again on Patriot Day, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 to reverently observe the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11.

This sacrosanct anniversary reminds us of a day that changed the soul of America forever.

It is a day to honor the fallen, their loved ones, and all the heroes who served and protected, and who continue to serve our nation.

The lost lives of our beloved families, friends, community members, and colleagues will not be in vain.

These victims from the World Trade Center, Flight 11, Flight 175, Flight 77, Flight 93, and the Pentagon will continue to keep the eternal flame of patriotism alive in our hearts.

America will be stronger and renewed through the fire of devotion burning in our hearts, homes, communities, workplaces, schools, churches, synagogues, and mosques.

In each of these places, America will pray for the repose of the souls of all who were lost on 9/11, and we will stand tall to honor our nation.

As we solemnly honor the nearly 3,000 lives lost on that fateful day, let us remain vigilant with protecting our communities and strengthening our homeland. Our vigilance is a tribute to all who perished, so their lives may not be in vain.

Honoring 9/11 Heroes

Each 9/11 commemoration is a time to pause and honor countless heroes who protected others and served victims through inestimable acts of selflessness, compassion, and mercy.

These heroes, all who are known by the eyes of heaven, will certainly be rewarded there by their sacrifices, as they represent the heart of America. Those who served on 9/11 and afterwards with acts of kindness, sacrifice, and generosity represent the best of all of us.

Our nation will forever honor all who perished on 9/11, and all who served, as well as those who continue to serve including our military. Those tirelessly dedicated to serving our communities, colleagues, and country deserve our greatest respect.

Honoring the 9/11 fallen, we must dedicate ourselves to peace in communities across America.

Our efforts must be practical with developing violence prevention initiatives especially through enhancing police-community collaboration.

Yet, our efforts must also be profoundly spiritual, worshiping as community, and praying from our hearts.

We must stand above the anguish of hearts broken by violence, and fill our lives with deeds of faith, hope, and charity.

Each person lost on 9/11 was a life gone too soon.

The 9/11 fallen includes over 400 emergency workers who were killed on the day of the attack.

These heroes include the following:

• 343 firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) representing the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
• 37 police officers of the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD)
• 23 police officers of New York City Police Department (NYPD)
• 8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics

Although 9/11 changed our mindset with security, one thing will remain forever, our esteem for all who protect and serve, especially those who have offered the ultimate sacrifice in serving others.

One of these first responders was a Franciscan priest, Father Mychal F. Judge, killed by fallen debris while ministering to a fallen firefighter.

Father Judge, from St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in Manhattan, was a chaplain for the FDNY.

A photo of Father Judge, being carried away from the rubble on 9/11 by firefighters, police officers, and first responders, remains one of the tragedies most iconic photos.

Final Reflections

During the solemn remembrances of 9/11 in communities, workplaces, houses of worship, and schools throughout America, let us cling to hope as we honor the fallen.

America must have hope and continue to stand tall as a nation of character, compassion, and courage.

These virtues represent the heart of America, and will lead us to our rightful destiny as a light of goodness for the world.

Photos

1. Plaque honoring 9/11 victims from Short Hills, NJ at town's train station, Sept. 11, 2017. (Vincent J. Bove)

2. FDNY honoring the 343 fallen New York City Firefighters during the Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 12, 2011. The event commemorated the 10th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, 2011. (Vincent J. Bove)

3. A man standing amid rubble, calling out asking if anyone needs help, following the collapse of the first World Trade Center tower in New York, on Sept. 11, 2011. (Doug Kanter/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Father Mychal Judge - name on Panel S-18 of the National September 11 Memorial’s South Pool, NYC. (Photo Credit: Stephansoner)

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Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Best Time To Be a Cop in America

Policing is critical to American society and must perpetually stand on the pillars of ethics, trust, collaboration, and moral courage.

When these principles are honored, police-community unity is forged, and America’s way of life is protected from discord, lawlessness, and turmoil.

Yet, one would be oblivious, irresponsible, and naïve to miss the challenges policing in America is experiencing.

The spotlight on policing illuminates the critical need for trust. Society will thrive when trust is the catalyst for police-community partnerships.

Effective policing in America is mission critical for a harmonious society. Strengthening this noble profession through police-community unity must be a priority for America.

Our country deserves a commitment to police-community collaboration underscored by principles of trust, accountability, and transparency. These qualities are essential not only by law enforcement professionals but by every member of our communities.

Restoring Trust, Building Community

In my article titled America Policing: Restoring Trust, Building Community, for the Oct. 20, 2016 edition of the Epoch Times, I addressed police-community controversies.

In the article, I underscored these issues as a “clarion call to renew, restore, and rejuvenate police-community unity.”

The indisputable reality of negative repercussions of police-community controversies was also addressed.

The article argued that “any breakdown of trust between community and police demands an urgent, unwavering, and complete dedication to remedy the problem.” Building trust and enhancing human contact with respect as its foundation was crystalized as a priority.

Additionally, the article asserted that respect, critical to policing, “must always be complemented by improving use of force standards, enhanced training and certification initiatives, transparency and accountability, and a renaissance of ethical values in policing and throughout all of society.”

Belleville Police Promotion: A Shining Moment

On Thursday, Aug. 31, I had the privilege of attending the Belleville Police Department promotion ceremony at their headquarters in New Jersey.

During the ceremony, a newly promoted captain, Nicholas G. Breiner, represented the ideals of law enforcement. This was expressed in the introduction of his well-decorated career and through his profoundly inspirational remarks.

In short, Captain Breiner’s illustrious career includes over twenty-five years of progressively responsible security, law enforcement, and military accomplishments. He scored first in the state of New Jersey for the captain’s exam prior to his promotion.

Captain Breiner served as the Commander of the Professional Standards & Training Bureau for the Belleville Police. This role led to the Belleville Police Departments accreditation by the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) on March 9, 2017. The accreditation involved his service as the subject matter expert on departmental policies and procedures, and working with officers and supervisors to increase the efficiency of their organization.

Aside from law enforcement, he is also serves a member of the military, serving as a Major as well as Director of Operations for the 204th Intelligence Squadron of the New Jersey Air National Guard.

He holds a BA in political science from Rutgers University and a MA in Human Resources Training and Development from Seton Hall University.

Captain Breiner is a graduate of executive education from the Harvard-Kennedy School of Government. He holds numerous certifications including the Accredited Command Executive, and the ASIS International board certifications of Certified Protection Professional, Professional Certified Investigator, and Physical Security Professional.

After honestly addressing contemporary policing challenges of mistrust in communities, Captain Breiner inspired his audience stating that this was the “best time to be a cop in America.”

He first graciously acknowledged family, friends, and guests. Then, he called upon the future leaders of policing to understand the privilege of their profession. He urged them to lead by example, serve selflessly, and build bridges of trust with the people they serve.

His remarks to a standing room only audience, crystalized police professionalism, dignity, and respect. Breiner stressed that this is a time for police officials to let courage, innovation, dedication, and building bridges of trust stand as the hallmarks of their service.

Aside from his promotion, his Belleville colleagues who were promoted were Lieutenant Edward Zimmerman, Lieutenant Joseph Trabucco, and Sergeant Nicholas Kondreck. Since Captain Breiner is always about others rather than himself, their promotions deserve recognition as he would have it.

Final Reflections

These are indisputably challenging times for policing in America. Yet, as masterfully articulated by Captain Breiner, it certainly is the “best time to be a cop in America” because it is time to build trust in our communities.

In conclusion, I would humbly refer readers to my article titled Principles of American Policing, published in the May 1, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times.

The first principle states that “Being pro-police and pro-community are inseparable, indefatigable, and pre-eminent. Police must at all times remain fully committed to protecting and serving the public through character, ethics, and leadership that is total and wholehearted. Police must be guided by a moral compass that honors the community, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.”

America will be on the path to reawakening the nation when this principle, so alive at the Belleville Police Department ceremony, also becomes a reality in communities across our nation.

Related Coverage:

Policing Requires Ethical Protectors

The State of Policing in the United States: Issues and Response

21st Century America Requires Police–Community Unity

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Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

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Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

Photos

1. NYPD Officer assisting Times Square visitor, NYC, Aug. 23, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

2. L to R: Belleville Police Lieutenant Nicholas G. Breiner (now Captain), NJSACOP Representative Henry Delgado, Belleville Deputy Chief Gerard Corbo, and Belleville Chief Mark Minichini, Mar.9, 2017. (Courtesy Belleville PD)

3. Captain Nicholas G. Breiner speaking to the audience, Belleville Police Department, NJ, Aug. 31, 2017. (Vincent J. Bove)

4. A child speaks with police officers at the Livingston N.J. Police Department National Night Out, Aug. 7, 2013. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: Compassion, Courage, Collaboration

Commendations are in order for all assisting with the unimaginable, relentless, and heart-wrenching devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

Their sacrifices are of extraordinary significance to America and to the alleviation of human suffering.

The heart of America is wounded by this catastrophic event. Compassion, moral courage, and collaboration are the principles that must unite us and bring healing to our nation.

America must especially pray for up to 30 individuals, who have been killed so far, due to storm related causes.

Tragically, these fatalities include a family of six, four children and their great-grandparents, who perished while trying to escape flooding. The victims in this heartbreaking family tragedy are Manuel Saldivar, 84, and his wife Belia, 81; Daisy Saldivar, 6; Xavier Saldivar, 8; Dominic Saldivar, 14; and Devy Saldivar, 16.

Aside from these deaths, the suffering inflicted on individuals who have lost their homes, livelihoods, vehicles, and all their personal possessions is distressing.

Individuals entrusted to serve America as first responders and through emergency services truly have a profession of extraordinary significance. These individuals are critical to preventing, diminishing, and responding to human anguish and must be profoundly admired.

One of these responders, Houston Police Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, died while in his patrol vehicle driving to serve his community. He drowned after being trapped by floodwaters.

Sgt. Perez represents the finest of American law enforcement, selflessly placing himself at risk to protect and serve

Responding on the ground to the emergency like Sgt. Perez is one form of service. Yet, recovery from this disaster is a responsibility for all of America and we must all rise to the occasion.

We must all respond to help heal the brokenness inflicted upon our country by this cataclysmic event.

Preliminary Statistics: A Starting Point

The devastation unleashed by Hurricane Harvey is unprecedented, catastrophic, and apocalyptic, and statistics cannot clearly paint the picture inflicted by this cataclysmic event.

Yet, these preliminary statistics give insight, according to our human way of understanding, of the magnitude of this epic storm that has wreaked havoc on America.

According to published reports including information from the Texas Governor’s Office, Houston’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the National Weather Service, and FEMA, preliminary statistics are as follows:

• 11 trillion gallons of rain have deluged Texas.
• 51 inches of rain, the most ever recorded in the United States from such an event, have inundated the state.
• 13 million people were under flood watches or warnings.
• 3,400 water rescues have taken place in Houston, as of Tuesday morning, Aug. 29.
• 450,000 victims will require FEMA assistance.
• 30,000 people will be in need of temporary shelter.
• 215,000 students cannot attend Houston schools, the nation’s 7th largest school district.
• 12,000 National Guard, every member from the state of Texas, have been activated.
• 56,000 calls made to 911 in Houston in one 15 hour period, 48,000 more that the norm for the same time-frame.
• 58 Texas counties have disaster declarations.

While writing this article, the National Weather Service (NWS) posted a chilling notice on its website. The warning stated that “catastrophic and life-threatening flooding continues in southeastern Texas and portions of southwestern Louisiana from Harvey.”

The NWS also warned of an additional 6-12 inches of rain will be added (3 days after the hurricane hit) to the record setting 51 inches. This additional rain will result in additional devastating flooding and flash floods.

Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned

Although the response to Hurricane Harvey will be a massive and costly undertaking testing the resiliency of the human spirit, the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina are applicable.

Hurricane Katrina, which decimated Louisiana and other communities in the southern United States, took place on Aug. 29, 2005, exactly 12 years ago this week.

Recovery from Katrina was unfortunately hampered by bureaucracy, apathy, and indifference.

In my home, is a hard copy of “The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned,” which I have had since its release in 2006. I have always told audiences during my emergency preparedness presentations, that it is required reading for first responders, and all who wish to understand America’s need for emergency preparedness transformation.

This book, the official report submitted to the White House on Feb. 23, 2006, urged America to develop a visionary culture of preparedness for disasters.

America was beckoned in the report to begin a “truly transformational state of preparedness throughout all levels of our nation. The report demanded a “national dialogue about true national preparedness, especially as it pertains to catastrophic events.”

The report stressed a hope that Katrina would inspire “collective determination, unity of effort, and effective organizational change” to make a “real and lasting improvement to our national preparedness.”

Final Reflections

Hurricane Harvey will test the culture of preparedness urged by lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, especially as outlined in the aforementioned White House report.

The Hurricane Harvey catastrophe will demand a compassion, courage, and collaboration as never before required with any natural disaster on American soil.

Although the most detailed and organized preparedness will not ever be able to fully prevent disasters such as Harvey, we must enhance our emergency preparedness mindset. The principles of emergency preparedness can minimize a disaster's effects, especially as they pertain to human suffering.

As the heart of America dedicates itself to healing the anguish inflicted by Hurricane Harvey, we must rededicate ourselves to enhancing a truly “transformational state of preparedness.”

This catastrophe must also inspire American companies, especially the oil industry, who have made billions in profits in Texas, to rise to the occasion and assist those who are suffering.

We must also be truly honest with ourselves by asking if we have learned the lessons of Hurricane Katrina to prevent and minimize human suffering. With foreseeable disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, was an abundance of caution exercised to prevent destruction and protect the people of this region?

The reality is that additional disasters, both man-made and natural, are forthcoming, and we must take the path of leadership, vigilance, and collaboration to reawaken the heart of the nation.

Photos

1. Houston's Sgt. Steve Perez died while trying to go to work and assist with the Harvey recovery effort. (Courtesy Houston Police Department)

2. Irene Fitzgerald exits a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter that rescued her from her home after Hurricane Harvey inundated the Texas Gulf coast with rain causing widespread flooding, in Houston, Texas on Aug. 27, 2017. (REUTERS/Nick Oxford)

3. Soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard move through flooded Houston streets as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey continue to rise, Monday, August 28, 2017. More than 12,000 members of the Texas National Guard have been called out to support local authorities in response to the storm. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West)

4. The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned (Cover/Public Domain: White House)

5. NOAA published a colorized infrared image of Hurricane Harvey as it approached the Texas coastline. The storm's thick bands of rain are continuing to cause havoc in the Houston area as meteorologists predict as much as 50 inches of rainfall could deluge parts of the area. (Photo Credit: NOAA/NASA)

6. Residents wade through a flooded street in New Orleans, 29 August 2005, after hurricane Katrina made landfall.(James Nielsen/Getty Images)

7. Hurricane Harvey evacuees fill the George R. Brown Convention Center in the aftermath of the Category Four storm. (Photo by Stephanie Fluke / Courtesy of NOAA/NASA)

8. Texas National Guard soldiers aid residents in heavily flooded areas in Houston. (100th MPAD/Texas Military Department/via REUTERS)


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Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

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Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

US Navy: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

As detailed on the United States Navy official website, “the mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and for maintaining freedom of the seas.”

The service of our Navy is critical to peace throughout the world due to the volume of nations living with ocean borders and the commerce conducted on the seas.

The Navy affirms its mission to fulfill a “broad role that encompasses everything from combat to peacekeeping, to humanitarian assistance-in theater, on bases, and everywhere from the cockpits of F-18s to the control rooms of nuclear submarines.”

Principles for the importance of the Navy’s service are detailed as follows:

• Serving as guardian for America’s freedom and defending the life we know.
• Supporting the cause of liberty abroad and promoting peace for all humanity.
• Enabling the safe travel of people and goods to meet the expanding demands of globalization.

This service is not without danger, as witnessed by recent events, and all who serve in our Navy, as with all our armed forces, are always deserving of admiration, respect, and support.

In Memoriam: USS John S. McCain Sailors

The guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) collided on Aug. 21 with a merchant vessel while underway east of the Straits of Malacca.

There was significant damage to the hull resulting in flooding to nearby compartments.

Tragically, there were 10 Sailors killed who were identified by the Navy as the following:

• Electronics Technician 1st Class Charles Nathan Findley, 31, from Missouri
• Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Abraham Lopez, 39, from Texas
• Electronics Technician 2nd Class Kevin Sayer Bushell, 26, from Maryland
• Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Daniel Drake, 21, from Ohio
• Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., 23, from Maryland
• Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Corey George Ingram, 28, from New York
• Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, 26, from Connecticut
• Electronics Technician 3rd Class John Henry Hoagland III, 20, from Texas
• Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer, 23, from Illinois
• Kenneth Aaron Smith, 22, Electronics Technician 3rd Class, from Cherry Hill, New Jersey

On Aug. 22, Admiral Scott Swift, commander, Pacific Fleet, stated that some of the missing Sailors bodies were discovered by US Navy and Marine Corps divers performing rescue operations inside the destroyer.

The Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer, stated, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our shipmates aboard USS John S. McCain. The Navy family comes together in times of crisis and I want to thank those who are providing round-the-clock assistance to the affected Sailors and families.”

In Memoriam: USS Fitzgerald Sailors

Another recent Naval tragedy on June 17, also wounding the heart of America, occurred with the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62). The ship was also involved with a collision with a merchant vessel while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

In the June 18 official statement of the Navy, it was confirmed that the bodies of seven Sailors previously reported missing were located.

These Sailors remains were located in flooded berthing compartments. Divers were able to gain access into these spaces after the collision.

America must solemnly pause to honor them, and to offer prayers for them and their loved ones. The names of these Sailors, and all who perished serving America must be eternally honored. The deceased Sailors were as follows:

• Gunner's Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia
• Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California
• Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut
• Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas
• Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California
• Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland
• Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

USS Indianapolis Wreckage Found

In another recent headline story on Aug. 19, the perils of the sea were once again highlighted. After its sinking on June 30, 1945, the wreck of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was found in the Pacific Ocean.

This Portland-class heavy cruiser was sunk in just 12 minutes, after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine after completing a secret mission delivering components of the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima.

As detailed in a US Navy press release, this was a monumental discovery. The ship, which narrowly missed being attacked at Pearl Harbor since it was out at sea on that fateful day, was lost in more than 18,000 feet of ocean.

After its sinking, about 800 of the ship’s 1,196 Sailors and Marines survived, floating on debris from the decimated ship. But tragically, after four to five days in the ocean-suffering from exposure, dehydration, drowning, and shark attacks-only 316 survived.

In a statement after the discovery of the wreckage, Paul G. Allen, the researcher and philanthropist whose team found the ship stated, "To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling. As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence, and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances. While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming."

One of the few remaining living survivors, Edgar Harrell, 92 years-old from Clarksville, Tennessee, offered this response to the finding of the USS Indianapolis:

"We now know the burial place of our shipmates," he said. "It's like the people aren't lost anymore, they're found, and that's a comfort."

Final Reflections

As a boy, the US Navy had a special influence on me. This took place through the stories of my father, a sailor who served on the USS Charles J. Badger (DD-657) from 1953-1954.

His experience as a U.S. Sailor on this Navy destroyer influenced him with a profound spirit of patriotism. It stayed with him throughout his life and translated into a lifetime of respect for America’s flag and for all who serve in our military.

May all who serve in our Navy, be inspirited by their motto, “Non sibi sed patriae.”

May these words, translated as “Not for self but for country,” inspire our appreciation for all who serve, and the reawakening of our nation.

Related Coverage:

Armed Forces: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

America’s Veterans Deserve Honor, Homes, Health Care

Pearl Harbor’s 75th Anniversary: Reawakening America

Photos

1. The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) returns to Naval Station Norfolk. George H.W. Bush arrived at Naval Station Norfolk with its carrier strike group following a seven-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jessica L. Dowell/Released)

2. The guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) approaches the Kitty Hawk during a replenishment at sea (RAS). An RAS is the method by which ammunition fuel is transferred from one ship to another while at sea. The technique enables a fleet or naval formation to remain at sea for prolonged periods of time. Kitty Hawk is the Navy’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier and operates out of Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photographer Mate 3rd Class Todd Frantom.)

3. USS John McCain Sailors. (Courtesy U.S. Navy)

4. The forward-deployed guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) in the Pacific while on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility. Fitzgerald, assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, operates from Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman David Flewellyn)

5. USS Fitzgerald Sailors, from top left to right, Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland, Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California, Gunner's Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia, and Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California. From bottom left to right, Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut, Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas, and Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio. (U.S. Navy via AP)

6. Members of the USS Indianapolis crew pose in the well deck, during World War II. Photograph was taken prior to her final overhaul (completed in July 1945), as life rafts are of a different pattern than carried after that overhaul. Photograph was received by the Naval Photographic Science Laboratory on 24 August 1945.

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Vincent is author of 250 articles, including his weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times; 35 countries, 21 languages, and growing. As a national speaker, he has addressed audiences nationwide on issues critical to America including ethical leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

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