Tuesday, December 12, 2017

NYC Terror Incidents Demand Police-Community Unity

As a response to the Dec. 11 terror incident in a tunnel between two of New York City’s busiest subway stations, the spire of One World Trade Center was illuminated that evening in red, white, and blue.

The brilliance on the spire of the 1,776-foot-tall skyscraper was a statement that America’s freedom, liberty, and patriotism will stand eternal.

These pillars of our democracy will not be undermined and our courage will overcome all trials.

The colors of our flag illuminated on One World Trade Center also remind us of the dedication of all who protect us, and all community members who assist and appreciate our public servants.

All who responded to the recent, and all terror incidents in New York City, including the Port Authority Police Department, NYPD, FDNY, MTA, and FBI deserve the gratitude and continual cooperation of all community members.

New York and all of America must remain vigilant. The current climate of terror is a reality and we must refuse to allow it to undercut our way of life. Rather, any attempt to sabotage America’s cherished values must inspire a deeper commitment to forging iron-clad unity with our police, first responders, private security professionals, and all community members.

Terror Attacks in NYC: A Snapshot

In order to inspire our continued resolve, built on the principles of leadership, vigilance, and collaboration, it is important to understand that New York City is, and will remain for the foreseeable future, a target for terror.

Although dozens of attempts have been thwarted, here is a snapshot of incidents that must inspire us to have our eyes wide open:

Dec. 11, 2017: an improvised, unsophisticated, and defective bombing via a pipe-bomb attached to a man’s body detonated during the height of the morning commute. The incident injured four people in a congested underground passageway used by subway commuters at Manhattan’s Port Authority Bus Terminal. The incident wrecked havoc in one of America’s busiest transportation hubs and in one of the busiest sections of New York City. According to a complaint filed after the attack, the bomber faces federal terrorism charges.

Oct. 31: a truck attack on Manhattan’s West Side Highway Bike Path killed eight people and injured a dozen. The attack occurred in the shadow of the World Trade Center by an individual driving a rental truck. He used the vehicle as a ramming device hitting innocent people along at least ten blocks of the bike path. The attacker also purposefully swerved the vehicle into a school bus carrying children.

Sept. 17, 2016: a pressure cooker bomb detonated on West 23rd Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The detonation caused shrapnel and broken glass to injure thirty people. The attack resulted in convictions including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place. Immediately after the verdict, Joon H. Kim, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York stated, “Today’s verdict is a victory for New York City, a victory for America in its fight against terror, and a victory for all who believe in the cause of justice.”

Oct. 23, 2014: a terrorist charged at four uniformed NYPD officers in Queens with an 18-inch metal hatchet. Two of the officers were struck, one in the arm, and one in the head causing traumatic brain injuries. After spending more than a year in rehabilitation with numerous surgeries, Officer Kenneth Healey heroically returned to work on Dec. 18, 2015. His return was greeted by the tumultuous applause of his NYPD colleagues.

May 1, 2010: an attempted home-made bomb in a car in Times Square failed to detonate. In court papers, prosecutors wrote that if the bomb had detonated, “the lives of numerous residents and visitors would have been lost and countless others would have been forever traumatized.” A vigilant street vendor alerted the NYPD after seeing smoke coming from a SUV.

May 6, 2008: a pipe-bomb detonated outside a U.S. Armed Forces recruitment office in Times Square. Although the explosion shattered the office window and door, no one was injured.

Sept. 11, 2001: more than 2,700 people were killed by the 9/11 terror attacks when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center. The attack was a pivotal moment in American history that forever defined the critical importance of police-community unity, terrorism awareness, security management, and emergency preparedness.

Feb. 26, 1993: a bomb exploded in a truck parked by terrorists in the garage beneath the World Trade Center. The explosion killed six people and injured over 1,000.

Final Reflections

America must continue to forge partnerships between law enforcement, first responders, security professionals, our military, and all members of the community. This unity of effort is critical for protecting our homeland from terrorism.

This unity of effort must be exemplified through public-private partnerships and enhancing our culture of security awareness. The mantra of “If you see something, say something” must also inspire us to remain vigilant and to continually improve security in our infrastructure, facilities, workplaces, schools, communities, houses of worship, and campuses.

The Neighborhood Policing initiative of the NYPD addressed in my Sept. 15, 2017 article for the Epoch Times titled "Neighborhood Policing Illuminates NYPD Mission" must also be intensified. Neighborhood Policing enhances unity between the police and the public. This unity is critical for reporting warning signs of a homegrown, lone wolf radicalized threat which is a challenge to detect.

In my Dec. 10, 2015 article for the Epoch Times titled “Mass Shootings America’s Public Health Crisis,” principles of security countermeasures for safeguarding our nation are cited. These principles essential to active shooter awareness, prevention and response are also applicable to terrorism. These countermeasures must be utilized to harden targets and include police-community public safety initiatives, board certified security vulnerability assessments, background checks/investigations, training and certification programs, warning sign awareness and intervention, physical security, personnel security, procedural security, and cybersecurity. Cybersecurity includes leadership from the highest levels of our government to prevent use of the Internet to radicalize or to instruct individuals on making bombs or on attack methods.

America will not be deterred from protecting our homeland and safeguarding our people. We must enhance our unity of effort, bolster our security awareness, and immediately apply lessons learned to terrorism consequences. America must also continually harden its targets, especially soft targets.

Our country’s dedication to a continual collaboration of our police and communities will be the heart of protecting New York City and our nation. This dedication is critical to safeguarding our way of life and deserves our full force dedication.

Related Coverage:

Terrorism Prevention Requires Police–Community Collaboration

Terrorism Demands Police-Community Unity

America, Wake Up: Harden Your Soft Targets

NYPD Counterterrorism: Protecting New York City

1. One World Trade Center's spire is shown lit in French flags colors of white, blue and red in solidarity with France after tonight's terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015 in New York City. On Dec. 11, 2017, New York Gov. Cuomo ordered the spire be lit in red, white, and blue in response to that day's terror attack in New York City (Daniel Pierce Wright/Getty Images)

2. The Chief of Police, cover story titled "Terrorism Concerns Accelerate: Protecting America" by Vincent J. Bove, Spring 2015.

3. The Chief of Police, cover story titled "Acceleration of Terrorism Demands America's Vigilance" by Vincent J. Bove, Fall 2017.

4. NYPD presence at Radio City Music Hall, Apr. 27, 2013. (Vincent J. Bove)

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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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Monday, December 04, 2017

Pearl Harbor’s Commemoration Demands America’s Reawakening

As time passes with December 7, 2017 as the seventy-sixth commemoration of the Pearl Harbor attack, the number of survivors continues to diminish.

Just after Pearl Harbors attack in 1941, there were about 60,000 survivors.

Although an exact number of survivors is challenging to ascertain, a recent estimate according to the chief of interpretation of the USS Arizona Memorial is about 2,000 to 2,500.

All of these survivors are in the twilight of their lives, yet the ordeals they experienced, and the sacrifices they made for America’s democracy demand eternal honor.

America’s is currently challenged with ongoing scandals, divisiveness, and violence. The anniversary of Pearl Harbor is time for resolve and to reawaken our character, courage, and compassion.

Pearl Harbor Survivors Association

The Pearl Harbors Survivors Association (PHSA), officially recognized by the United States Congress is a “symbol of America’s commitment to preparedness against unprovoked acts of aggression.”

The PHSA is dedicated to ensuring that all present and future generations of Americans forever remember the events of December 7, 1941 as crystallized in their motto “Remember Pearl Harbor-Keep America Alert.”

As the immortal words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt - “a date that will live in infamy” - echo throughout the ages, we must eternally remember Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor: Fast Facts

According to the National World War II Museum, here are some fast facts from their document titled “Remembering Pearl Harbor: A Pearl Harbor Fact Sheet”:

• On December 6, 1941, the U.S. intercepted a Japanese message that inquired about ship movements and berthing positions at Pearl Harbor. The cryptologist gave the message to her superior who said he would get back to her on Monday, December 8. On Sunday, December 7, a radar operator on Oahu saw a large group of airplanes on his screen heading toward the island. He called his superior who told him it was probably a group of U.S. B-17 bombers and not to worry about it.
• The attack killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. The three aircraft carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were out to sea on maneuvers. The Japanese were unable to locate them and were forced to return home with the U.S. carrier fleet intact.
• The battleship USS Arizona remains sunken in Pearl Harbor with its crew onboard. Half of the dead at Pearl Harbor were on the Arizona. A United States flag flies above the sunken battleship, which serves as a memorial to all Americans who died in the attack.
• Dorie Miller, a steward on the USS West Virginia, distinguished himself by courageous conduct and devotion to duty during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He first assisted his mortally wounded captain and then manned a machine gun, which he was not accustomed to operating, successfully destroying two Japanese aircraft. He was the first African American awarded the Navy Cross, the service’s highest award, for his actions during the attack.
• The United States did recover. After only six months, the U.S. carrier fleet dealt a decisive blow to Japan’s navy in June 1942 at the Battle of Midway, sinking four of their aircraft carriers. After this U.S. victory came the start of the U.S. island-hopping campaign and the eventual defeat of the Japanese Empire in August 1945.

Spotlight: A Pearl Harbor Survivor

The US. Department of Defense website memorializes an inspirational story on the second-oldest known Pearl Harbor survivor, retired Navy Lt. Jim Downing.

Downing, now 104 years old, traveled to Pearl Harbor during the 75th anniversary of the attack in 2016.

His ship, the USS Virginia, was severely damaged by nine torpedoes and over 100 men were killed, including 17 of Downing's closest friends. Downing responded to the ship’s attack from his home, where he was having Sunday breakfast with family and shipmates, to fight fires and help survivors.

After the tragedy, Downing composed personal letters for the loved ones of the dead and injured.

"The ones that I didn’t know, while I was fighting the fire, I memorized their identification tags and wrote to their parents so that was a sense of closure, both on my part and on the part of their own parents."

He heard back from many of them including parents who learned their sons were actually alive. Downing said, "They were grateful. They rejoiced; they didn’t know that their sons were still alive until they got the letter."

Downing wants the memory of Pearl Harbor to be kept alive long after the last surviving member.

"I hope history books and history teachers won't forget. There's a tendency as time passes to forget about the past, so I'm hoping history books and teachers will keep the memories alive."

America’s Resolve: Remember Pearl Harbor

Perhaps these words from a December 7, 1987 proclamation by President Ronald Reagan will inspire us to eternally honor Pearl Harbor:

“On December 7, America remembers much and resolves much. We remember Pearl Harbor's dead and wounded and its courageous survivors who fought that day and many other days as well. We remember too one of history's clearest lessons, that weakness and unpreparedness do not build peace but invite aggression. We remember that our freedom, purchased at so dear a price, can be taken from us. And we resolve that that shall never be. We resolve that our strength, our vigilance, and our devotion will forever keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave. We resolve that we will keep faith with those we have loved and lost. And we resolve that, always, we will remember Pearl Harbor.”

Pearl Harbor must be eternally honored and inspire America to a reawakening built on the ethical pillars of civil decency, moral courage, and community service.

Related Coverage:

Pearl Harbor’s 75th Anniversary: Reawakening America

US Navy: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

Gold Star Families: Honoring Those Who Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

America’s Veterans: Honoring Our Heroes

Photos:

1. Pearl Harbor survivors greet a child during the 75th commemoration of the attacks on Pearl Harbor at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 2016. The U.S. military co-hosted the event, which provided veterans, family members, service members and the community a chance to honor the sacrifices made by those who were present during the attacks. (U.S. Navy photo / Petty Officer 2nd Class Laurie Dexter)

2. Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Leavelle receives a flag from a child after arriving on an honor flight to Honolulu International Airport, Dec. 3, 2016. Leavelle traveled to Hawaii with other Pearl Harbor survivors and WWII veterans for a week of commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. (U.S. Department of Defense photo / Lisa Ferdinando)

3. Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Downing visits with sailors at a screening of the "Remember Pearl Harbor" documentary at the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 4, 2016. (U.S. Department of Defense photo / Lisa Ferdinando)

4. Pearl Harbor Survivor Carl Clark at the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Commemoration, 75th Anniversary, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo / Specialist Tara Molle)

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Navajo Code Talkers: An American Treasure

According to the Navajo Code Talkers official website, “the Navajo are a Native American tribe, the second largest of its kind as federally recognized … The Navajo people are mostly concentrated in the southwestern United States. Around 300,460 people are enrolled as tribal members according to data available till 2015. There is what we call the Navajo Nation which is an independent governmental body responsible for managing the Navajo reservation. The area under its governance is primarily in the Four Corners area covering 27,000 square miles of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Arizona is home to around a hundred and forty thousand Navajo people. New Mexico is home to over a hundred thousand. While the primary language spoken by the people is Navajo, they do speak English.”

Navajo Code Talkers: Defending America

The website further cites that the beginning of the Navajo Code Talkers took place on May 4, 1942 when 29 Navajo Indians were sent to San Diego, California. These men would be recruits for a unique U.S. Marine Corps program.

Their mission, critical to America’s armed forces during World War II, involved creating an undecipherable code without a written alphabet. This code would be further complicated with common Navajo words having substitutions confined only to memory.

This communication code was critical for confounding enemy forces so that American troop plans, movements, and communications remained secure.

The Navajo Code talkers program involved American Indians leaving their sacred home land for the first time to travel overseas. Their efforts on the front line of battle contributed to the saving of countless American lives.

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.

Peter MacDonald: Code Talker Legend

On November 27, Peter MacDonald, president of the 13 surviving Navajo Code Talkers, was honored with two of his Code Talker colleagues at the White House.

After watching his inspiring remarks expressive of his American patriotism, I took time to do some research on this great man. I came across an inspirational documentary film titled “A Journey of Perseverance” about MacDonald and the Navajo Code Talkers.

The film is archived at multiple sites including the Navajo Nation Museum and the Smithsonian Institute of the American Indian. Hopefully, it will someday also be archived at a new museum in Washington, D.C. that honors the legacy of the Navajo Code Talkers.

In the film, MacDonald speaks about the Navajo language as non-written form of communication. He stated that this is what made it so successful since it could only be understood by the 400 Navajo Code Talkers in the U.S. Marine Corps.

MacDonald also stated that all 600 code words were top secret to Code Talkers only. He illustrated how the code saved a company of Marines pinned down by the enemy on Iwo Jima.

During this incident, a Navajo Code Talker from the front line communicated in code a distress call pinpointing their location and called for immediate demolition team intervention.

A team of Marines was immediately dispatched, unbeknownst to the enemy due to the code, and the Marines in harm’s way were saved.

MacDonald also shared these inspirational words in the film which captures the resolve of the Navajo Code Talkers:

“Be strong, have a strong mind. Have a strong heart. Have a strong body. Run and make yourself physically strong, mentally strong, and spiritually strong. You can do anything, no matter what it is.”

Final Reflections

Peter MacDonald’s courageous service was eloquently expressed during the Nov. 27 White House ceremony with these words to all of America:

“So thank you very much. The 13 of us, we still have one mission-that mission is to build national Navajo Code Talker Museum. We want to preserve this unique World War II history for our children, grandchildren, your children, your grandchildren to go through that museum.

“Why? Because what we did truly represents who we are as Americans. America, we know, is composed of diverse community. We have different languages, different skills, different talents, and different religion. But when our way of life is threatened, like the freedom and liberty that we all cherish, we come together as one. And when we come together as one, we are invincible. We cannot be defeated. That's why we need this national Navajo Code Talker Museum so that our children, the future generation, can go through that museum and learn why America is so strong.”

America is deservingly proclaimed as “the land of the free and home of the brave.” This proclamation is possible only because of patriots such as the Navajo Code Talkers who honorably served in the U.S. Marine Corps and all our armed forces.

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

These patriots served as ethical protectors of America’s freedom, and their museum deserves to be built.

May America be eternally grateful for Navajo Code Talkers. The Navajo Code Talkers rose to the occasion to exercise America’s sacrosanct right to protect ourselves and all people of moral decency. They deserve our admiration, respect, and a Navajo Code Talkers Museum to forever remember their sacrifices.

Related Coverage:

With Honor and Leadership the US Marine Corps Protects America

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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: Bill Toledo and Albert Smith, Navajo Code Talkers, pose for a photo while visiting Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Jan. 30 - Feb. 1, 2013. These New Mexico natives visited the base to speak to Airmen and raise funds to enable their mission to preserve the code talker history, legacy, and language. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexxis Pons Abascal)

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sexual Harassment Dishonors Human Dignity

The dignity of each human person demands integrity, character, and moral decency. Society demands that these qualities are critical for one’s own personal dignity and must be applied by word, example, and action to all.

Human dignity demands ethical behavior and is diametrically opposed to behavior that dishonors personal reputation, or reflects disrespect toward others.

An individual who truly stands on a foundation of respect for self and others, is authentically ethical by word, example, and action. Disrespect, which dishonors the respect due to self and others, is never to be tolerated.

Every person, is called to exemplify lives of character, and to honor the dignity of human freedom through self-mastery, discipline, and respect. These are the virtues we are called to live by, and they always contradict the defects of duplicity, living a double-life, and vulgarity.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cites that sexual harassment is a “form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

The EEOC defines sexual harassment as:

“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.”

The commission also states that sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:

• The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
• The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
• The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
• Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
• The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.

Sexual Harassment: Scandals Demand Actions

A storm of sexual harassment stories throughout America is our wake-up call and a time of reckoning.

The crisis reminds us of our social order and that actions of individuals can adversely or favorably impact the common good.

By the common good it is understood that social behaviors and conditions must always respect rights due to individuals and society.

These rights demand respect for all members of society which are now being contradicted by headlines nationwide which include the following:

• Sexual harassment tipping point: Why now?
• Political media engulfed by sexual harassment crisis
• Sexual Harassment troubles mount in statehouses around the country
• Special Report: A Cultural Turning Point on Sexual Harassment
• Sexual Harassment Scandals are blowing up the media
• Former USA Gymnastics doctor pleads guilty to criminal sexual conduct
• Hollywood Has Shined a Spotlight on Sexual Harassment: Now What?

As members of American society, each of us has a responsibility to contribute to the common good, and to play an active part to remedy deficiencies.

Each person has an ethical responsibility according to one’s talents, capabilities, and position. When sexual harassment issues violate human dignity and adversely impacts society, we have the duty to respond with full force determination.

Final Reflections

During my character presentations and published works over the past twenty years, I have been privileged to address law enforcement, government leaders, corporate representatives, educators, and students.

The issues of sexual harassment as a violation of human dignity have been an essential element of my response to a crisis of character. These initiatives have demanded that we have the moral decency to stand against insensitivity, victim blaming, dishonesty, evasiveness, enabling, inaction, cover-ups, superficiality, and hypocrisy.

America must have the moral courage to remedy the sexual harassment crisis. We have a problem that must honestly be addressed with ethical leadership that expresses itself not only through words, but by example and actions.

We must take the moral high ground in our families, schools, communities, houses of worship, and workplaces to ignite an ethical renaissance throughout American society. The foundation of this renaissance must be built on the pillars of character, which respects human dignity.

When America honors the dignity of sexuality as essential to the character of the nation, we will be on the path of our true destiny.

Related Coverage / Vincent J. Bove Published Works:

American Government Requires Ethical Leadership

Campus Sexual Predators: Issues and Response

College Rapes, Sexual Assaults: America’s Nightmare

Rape and Sexual Assault Highlighted in Presidential Campaigns

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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: Demonstrators participate in the #MeToo Survivors' March in response to several high-profile sexual harassment scandals, in Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 12, 2017. The protest was organized by Tarana Burke, who created the viral hashtag #MeToo after reports of alleged sexual abuse and sexual harassment by the now disgraced former movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein. (David McNew/Getty Images)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

With Honor and Leadership the US Coast Guard Protects America

As detailed on the official U.S. Coast Guard website, “The mission of the United States Coast Guard is to ensure our Nation’s maritime safety, security, and stewardship.”

The vision of this branch of our armed forces is “We will serve our Nation through the selfless performance of our missions. We will honor our duty to protect those we serve and those who serve with us. We will commit ourselves to excellence by supporting and executing our operations in a proficient and professional manner."

Coast Guard Missions

Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Coast Guard, the only military branch within the Department of Homeland Security, oversees missions as “homeland security” or “non-homeland security” missions.

The “homeland security” missions are safeguarding ports and waterways, coastal security, drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, defense readiness, and other law-enforcement initiatives.

The “non-homeland” missions are marine safety, search and rescue, aids to navigation, living marine resources, marine environmental protection, and ice operations.

The Coast Guard defends more than 100,000 miles of U.S. coastline and inland waterways.

Aside from its role as one of the five Armed Services of the United States, the Coast Guard is a critical first responder and humanitarian service. In this capacity, aid is provided to people in distress or impacted by natural or man-made disasters either at sea or ashore. The valiant rescue operations have been witnessed due to the hurricanes that have recently hit America.

An Average Coast Guard Day

Currently, there are over 56,000 members of the Coast Guard serving America. This service involves a fleet of 243 Cutters, 201 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, and over 1,600 boats.

The Coast Guard website cites that on an average day, their service includes the following:

• Conducts 45 search and rescue cases.
• Saves 10 lives.
• Saves over $1.2M in property.
• Seizes 874 pounds of cocaine and 214 pounds of marijuana.
• Conducts 57 waterborne patrols of critical maritime infrastructure.
• Interdicts 17 illegal migrants.
• Escorts 5 high-capacity passenger vessels.
• Conducts 24 security boardings in and around U.S. ports.
• Screens 360 merchant vessels for potential security threats prior to arrival in U.S. ports.
• Conducts 14 fisheries conservation boardings.
• Services 82 buoys and fixed aids to navigation.
• Investigates 35 pollution incidents.
• Completes 26 safety examinations on foreign vessels
• Conducts 105 marine inspections.
• Investigates 14 marine casualties involving commercial vessels.
• Facilitates movement of $8.7B worth of goods and commodities through the Nation’s Maritime Transportation System.

Medal of Honor Recipient

Although there are countless stories of heroism by members of the Coast Guard, a spotlight on a Medal of Honor recipient is worthy of reflection.

First Class Signalman Douglas Albert Munro is the first and only member of the Coast Guard to receive the Medal of Honor.

This medal is the highest and most distinguished U.S. military decoration that can be awarded to a service member for an act of valor.

On Sept. 27, 1942, Signalman Munro was assigned to the seaplane tender Ballard, anchored just off Guadacanal.

Munro’s ship received word that 500 U.S. Marines were pinned down nearby by a fierce Japanese resistance at a beachhead known as Point Cruz.

Munro volunteered to lead a group of twenty-four Higgins boats to evacuate the Marines from slaughter.

Although under heavy machine-gun fire during the response, Munro’s leadership enabled the saving of hundreds of Marines faced with certain death.

Munro, hit with enemy fire, lost his life while saving the detachment of Marines. His last words, referring to the remaining Marines who were being evacuated were, “Did they get off?”

For his heroic leadership, Munro epitomized the motto of the Coast Guard, Semper Paratus (Always Ready). He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor as well as the Purple Heart, and numerous other decorations. Engraved on his Medal of Honor is the testimony to his greatness:

“For his extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty … he gallantly gave his life in defense of his country.”


Final Reflections

As this article is completed in the shadows of our recent Veterans Day, America is reminded to eternally honor all who serve in our Coast Guard. We must also perpetually honor all who serve, and who have served in all of our Armed Forces.

America is only the “land of the free and home of the brave,” because of all who selflessly protect our freedom, liberty, and cherished way of life.

To all members of the Coast Guard who protect us - praise to you, good, faithful, and always prepared servants of America.

Related Coverage:

Armed Forces: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

Life Lessons From the United States Military

America’s Veterans Deserve Honor, Homes, Health Care


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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. U.S. Coast Guard honor guard at Times Square on Memorial Day 2011. (Vincent J. Bove)

2. Crew members from Coast Guard Station New York, Coast Guard Cutter Ridley and New York Police Department marine units enforce multiple security zones on the East River during the departure of Pope Francis during his historical visit to New York, Sept. 26, 2015. (Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

3. Crew members aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small from Maritime Safety and Security Team 91107 escort the cruise ship Pride of America out of Honolulu Harbor. The Coast Guard conducts escorts of high-capacity passenger vessels to ensure security of the passengers, the vessel and the port. (Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

4. U.S. Coast Guard Signalman First Class Douglas Munro. (Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Carnage of Innocents in America Demands Moral Courage

Shortly after the Apr. 20, 1999 Columbine High School massacre, I was privileged to address audiences throughout America on leadership, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

During these presentations, I shared reflections with law enforcement, educators, mental health professionals, private security, students, government officials, and community leaders. These reflections crystalized concerns that violence in America would intensify not only in schools, but in workplaces, communities, against police, in houses of worship, and by acts of terrorism.

America’s Head-On Collision

In my graphic slide presentations, I used a metaphor of a head-on catastrophic train-wreck in America. The head-on collision emphasized the effects of our simultaneous crisis of leadership and culture of violence.

The crisis of leadership was illuminated by documentation of unbridled public corruption on the FBI website. These shameful public corruption cases were compounded by my demonstration of nationwide media reports of corporate fraud, professional sports scandals, celebrity turpitude, and despicable crimes at the highest level of faith-based communities.

The culture of violence was emphasized through tragic incidents of domestic violence, hate-crimes, workplace violence, and terrorism, of violence against those who defend us, of violence by gangs, and of course school and campus violence.

In one slide, I shared a news story from Dec. 7, 1999 titled “Four hurt in gunfire at Oklahoma school: 13 year-old suspect subdued by teacher." The article, in the back pages of the paper, was used to dramatize that America’s horrific acts of violence were becoming commonplace and no longer making headline news.

Houses of Worship: Sanctuary Profaned

I also stressed to the audiences, and have now been doing so for nearly 20 years, that sites in America, previously understood to provide sanctuary, were not invulnerable. My presentations underscored that America would see intense, senseless, and unimaginable acts of violence in places thought to be sacrosanct, houses of worship.

Predictably, these acts of violence in houses of worship have occurred. They have involved the recent attack at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX where twenty-six were killed on Nov. 5, 2017. They have also included the following, which is tragically only a partial list:

• Burnette Chapel Church of Christ – Sept. 25, 2017, Antioch, Tenn., where a woman was killed walking to her car and congregants were indiscriminately shot in the sanctuary.
• Emanuel African Methodist Church – Jun. 17, 2015 in Charleston, SC where a white supremacist killed nine and injured another during their Bible study.
• Overland Park Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom Retirement Center – Apr. 13, 2014, Kansas, City, Kan. where a white supremacist killed three people.
• Saint Bernard Roman Catholic Churchh – Jan. 2, 2014, Eureka, Calif. where a Roman Catholic priest was found brutally murdered in the church rectory.
• First United Presbyterian Church – Dec. 3, 2012, Coudersport, Pa where a man walked into church in the middle of Sunday Advent services and fatally shot his ex-wife, Darlene Sitler, 53, while she sat in a pew. Darlene was the organist and choir director at the church.
• Muslim Center Education Mosque – Aug. 12, 2012, Morton Grove, Ill., where a man was arrested for shooting a high-velocity air rifle outside a mosque where hundreds of worshippers were celebrating Ramada.
• Sikh Temple of Wisconsin – Aug. 5, 2012, Oak Creek, Wis., where six people were killed. Five years later, the temple’s website cites that this was not only a Sikh tragedy but an American one.
• Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church – Jul. 27, 2008, Knoxville, Tenn., where two were killed and several others wounded by shotgun.
• Youth With a Mission – Dec. 9, 2007, Arvada, Colo. where a man and woman were killed and two men wounded at a school for missionaries.
• Living Church of God – Mar. 12, 2005, Brookfield, Wis. where a gunman opened fire at a worship service killing seven and wounding four.
• Wedgewood Baptist Church – Sept. 15, 1999, Fort Worth, Texas where a gunman invaded a youth prayer rally featuring a Christian rock group. The killer had 200 rounds of ammunition and a pipe bomb. Seven people were killed and seven others injured.

Violence Enters America’s Arteries

Since the aforementioned Dec. 7, 1999 news story reminded me of the Dec. 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, I used a clip during my presentations showing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR). The clip was from his famous Infamy Speech to a Joint Session of Congress on Dec. 8, 1941.

FDR stated, “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy – the United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked.”

This iconic clip was used to dramatize that if FDR were alive today, he would address a new infamy upon America, ignited by our crisis of leadership and culture of violence. I stressed that FDR would devote his energy to reawaken the nation to a renaissance of character. This character, in my opinion, is critical for vanquishing the violence that has entered into the very heart of America - in our schools, campuses, families, workplaces, and communities, against our police, and even in houses of worship.

America’s Violence Intensifies

Tragically, the Columbine massacre, which was the deadliest school attack in American history less than 20 years ago, was followed by additional grim statistics including Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook.

For a time, Columbine was also not only the most heart-breaking school violence tragedy, but one of America’s most deadly overall.

Unfortunately, the crisis as addressed in my article titled Mass Shootings: America’s Public Health Crisis, published in the Dec. 10, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times, not only continues but intensifies.

America is experiencing so many mass shootings, that Columbine has now faded from the list of the ten most deadly in modern U.S. history.

The current list, tragically subject to change at any time due to the intensifying violence in America, is as follows:

1. The Harvest Music Festival – Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 1, 2017, 58 killed and over 500 injured.
2. Pulse Night Club – Orlando, Fla., Jun. 16, 2016, 49 killed, 50 injured.
3. Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, Va., Apr. 16, 2007, 32 killed and an estimated 20 injured.
4. Sandy Hook – Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children ages 6 and 7 killed along with six adults.
5. First Baptist Church – Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 5, 2017, 26 people killed including children in the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history.
6. Luby’s Cafeteria – Killeen, Texas, Nov. 5, 1991, 23 people killed.
7. McDonalds – San Ysidro, Calif., Jul. 18, 1984, 21 adults including children killed.
8. University of Texas – Austin, Texas, Aug. 1, 1966, 16 killed and at least 30 wounded.
9. Inland Regional Center – San Bernardino, Calif., Dec. 2, 2015, 14 people killed at a state-run facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.
10. U.S. Postal Service – Edmond, Calif., Aug. 20, 1986, 14 postal employees killed.

America Wake-Up: Stop the Carnage

As the Columbine tragedy fades from the list of America’s most deadly mass shootings, it has become solemnly verified that these tragedies not only continue, but have become more deadly.

Four of the five deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the last five years, and we continue to witness America’s flag lowered to half-staff.

America, the land of the free and home of the brave must not allow these mass shootings to define us. We must also refuse to allow apathy to rule our times. America must never accept an attempt to banish these tragedies to back page news.

It is time for America to wake-up, to be reawakened, and to stop the carnage of the innocents by igniting the only force that will change the tide, our moral courage.

Related Coverage:

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

Las Vegas Tragedy: Compassion, Empathy, Sympathy

America’s Houses of Worship Require Enhanced Security

America, Wake Up: Harden Your Soft Targets

Sanctuary Profaned: Protecting America’s Houses of Worship

Note Well:

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.

Photo: An American flag hags upside down from a home near the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Nov. 6, 2017. On Nov. 5 a gunman, (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

We the People Demand Character in American Government

Twelve years ago, I authored a two-part series on the need for character in American politics for The New Jersey Police Chief Magazine.

The series titled “American Leadership Principles in an Age of Corruption” was well-received. Requests to publish the articles in numerous additional publications was received and approved.

The first of these articles began with details from the FBI website on public corruption. These words remain memorialized on their site exactly as they were twelve years ago:

“Public corruption, the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority, poses a fundamental threat to our national security and way of life. It can affect everything from how well our borders are secured and our neighborhoods protected to how verdicts are handed down in courts to how public infrastructure such as roads and schools are built. It also takes a significant toll on the public’s pocketbooks by siphoning off tax dollars—it is estimated that public corruption costs the U.S. government and the public billions of dollars each year. The FBI is uniquely situated to combat corruption, with the skills and capabilities to run complex undercover operations and surveillance.”

Drain the Swamp: America’s Ethical Renaissance

In my article for the March 16, 2016 edition of the Epoch Times titled “Drain the Swamp: Championing America’s Ethical Renaissance,” I argued that America’s corruption demands extermination.

The article stated “the swamp must be drained, not by impotent words, but by actions built on pillars of moral courage, transformational leadership, and persuasive character. Only these principles can conquer our culture of corruption and lead us to an authentic ethical renaissance.”

Furthermore, America was summoned to turn to Lincoln as a model of character, inspiration, and motivation.

Lincoln’s life was highlighted as one deserving imitation, as opposed to those who manipulate for self-gain. The article stated “there are many in positions of power that violate the public trust. They are not honoring their sacred oaths to serve. Instead, reprehensible examples of greed, self-aggrandizement, arrogance, superficiality, and self-centeredness are wreaking havoc on our moral compass. America must remember that it is built on the foundation of ‘We the People.’”

Public Corruption: FBI’s Partial List

Press releases on the FBI website, a partial list from October, 2017 alone, remind us that America’s swamp of corruption is alive and well:

• Jury convicts former Cumming Police sergeant of accepting bribes and computer fraud
• U. S. Penitentiary Lieutenant arraigned on excessive force and obstruction of justice charges
• Baltimore City Department of Transportation Supervisor Charged With Taking Thousands In Bribes
• Captain with Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Indicted for Smuggling Profits to Portugal
• Former Local Law Enforcement Officer Sentenced for Accepting a Bribe to Protect a Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Scheme
• Suffolk County District Attorney and Chief Of Investigations Indicted For Obstructing Federal Civil Rights Investigation
• Former Philadelphia District Attorney Rufus Seth Williams Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For Federal Bribery Charge
• Fourth Baltimore City Police Detective Pleads Guilty To Racketeering And Heroin Distribution Conspiracy
• Former NYS Deputy Secretary of State Sentenced to Serve Thirty Months in Prison for Perjury
• Former State Judge Pleads Guilty to Dismissing Cases in Exchange for Personal Benefits and Tampering with a Witness

Unscrupulous individuals in positions of authority, with a toxic addiction to power, continue to be venomous to the health, welfare, and security of America.

Final Reflections

In my home are numerous artworks depicting the heart of American democracy.

One is of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. with the words “All authority belongs to the people” emblazoned on it.

In another are the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg. His words must be forever seared into the heart of everyone who loves America. They are an eternal tribute to every patriot who gave the “last measure of devotion.”

Lincoln’s words also beckon us through a mystical cord of unity with all who have died by military sacrifice. He inspires America as a “nation, under God” that is destined to a “new birth of freedom.” He prophesizes a “new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

But perhaps the best way to conclude this article and to hopefully ignite an ethical renaissance is with words from Lincoln’s Lyceum Address in Springfield, Illinois on Jan. 27, 1838.

These words had broad implications for Lincoln’s vision for America. But these words are eternal and even now, Lincoln beckons our nation to a heartbeat of character. America, inspired by Lincoln, must rise from an age of corruption, superficial politics, and shameful scandals and ignite an ethical renaissance:

“Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor;--let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the character of his own, and his children's liberty. Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap--let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;--let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.”

Related Coverage:


American Government Requires Ethical Leadership


Policing Requires Ethical Protectors

America’s Culture of Deception: The Art of the Con

America’s Critical Ethical Issues Demand Resolution

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:

Scholars and enthusiasts alike believe this portrait of Abraham Lincoln, taken on November 8, 1863, eleven days before his famed Gettysburg Address, to be the best photograph of him ever taken. Lincoln’s character was notoriously difficult to capture in pictures, but Alexander Gardner’s close-up portrait, quite innovative in contrast to the typical full-length portrait style, comes closest to preserving the expressive contours of Lincoln’s face and his penetrating gaze. (Public Domain / Photo by Alexander Gardner)

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

America’s Drug Crisis Demands Ethical Protectors

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D. C. is hallowed ground dedicated to honoring Americans who gave the last measure of devotion to freedom in the Vietnam War.

According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall-USA website, there are 58,195 names engraved on the wall. The wall stands as a perpetual reminder honoring Americans who lost their lives in Vietnam from 1955-1975.

These sacrifices remind us of the price of freedom, and the courage, heroism, and character of America.

America’s Lives Lost: A New Crisis

As staggering as the loss of life from the Vietnam War is, America is now faced with a new crisis.

Last year alone, more Americans were likely killed by drug overdoses in one year than during the entire Vietnam War.

Data from a recent National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) study predicts an alarming escalation of drug deaths to an estimated 71,600 in 2017.

The report, memorialized through graphic charts on the NIH website crystalizes the horrific toll of the drug crisis. The report includes the following:

• Among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with over 20,000 overdose deaths.
• More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids-the death toll nearly doubling over the past decade.

Addressing America’s Drug Crisis

For the past 20 years the clarion call to eradicate America’s drug crisis has been addressed in my presentations and published works.

This dedication continued on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 with my presentation titled “America’s Drug Crisis: Issues and Response” in Champion, Pennsylvania.

The presentation was conducted for over 250 attendees as requested by the Professional Affordable Housing Management Association (PAHMA). This association is to be commended for their efforts to remedy this crisis. PAMHA is also to be complemented for their generous printing of my numerous Epoch Times articles on the opioid crisis for all attendees.

My presentation illuminated the inseparability of America’s drug crisis with our culture of violence, crisis of leadership, gang culture, and deterioration of families. It concluded, as with all my presentations do, with a tribute to American military sacrifices and solutions to remedy the crisis.

Recent headlines from throughout the nation, highlighted in graphic slides, crystallized the enormity of the crisis and included the following:

• US heroin deaths jump 533% since 2002, report says
• Born Addicted: The Number of Opioid-Addicted Babies is Soaring
• America’s opioid crisis has cut into U.S. life expectancy
• Opioids create generation of American orphans
• Enough Fentanyl to Kill 32 Million People Seized During New York City Drug Busts, Police Say
• Drug Deaths in America Rising Faster Than Ever
• This is a nationwide problem: Drug investigation leads to 25 arrests in Harrisburg area
• Feds: Chicago gang members killed six in conspiracy to control drug trade
• Feds and NYC authorities arrest 49 members of cartel-linked Bronx based drug distribution network
• State of Addiction: How did Pennsylvania find itself so deep in the opioid epidemic

Inseparable Link: Gang Dealers and Deviant Executives

At one point during my presentation, there was a rousing spontaneous applause. This was expressed after my passionate remarks on Purdue Pharma corporate executives. I stated that these individuals were inseparably linked to street-level drug dealers and they were pivotal to America’s drug crisis.

According to a May 10, 2007 news release on the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Virginia website, top executives from Purdue Pharma plead guilty. This was based on their misbranding OxyContin and involved their agreement to pay over $600 million in damages.

This guilty plea came just a few days after the pharmaceutical giant also agreed to pay $19.5 million to 26 states and the District of Columbia. This was to settle complaints of their encouraging medical doctors to overprescribe OxyContin.

The U.S. Attorney John Brownlee at the time said, "With its OxyContin, Purdue unleashed a highly abusable, addictive, and potentially dangerous drug on an unsuspecting an unknowing public. For these misrepresentations and crimes, Purdue and its executives have been brought to justice."

The public was betrayed about OxyContin and its dangerous risk of addiction by morally bankrupt, greedy, and shameless executives. They made billions through their self-aggrandizement by fraudulent and deviant scheming that led to thousands of deaths from OxyContin. This criminality not only took lives but ruined many people and their families by a drug which they knew was destructively addictive.

America Requires Ethical Protectors

During the entire presentation I continually encouraged attendees to respond to America’s drug crisis as ethical protectors.

I stressed that this deadliest drug crisis in American history, that killed more people last year then guns or car accidents, will require a multi-faceted and long-term approach.

This approach must include community leaders throughout all segments of society. It must also include not only a traditional law enforcement response, but police-community collaborations that offer treatments for those suffering from addiction.

The presentation concluded by emphasizing the critical importance of empowering our youth. America’s youth must be supported, encouraged, and empowered with the moral courage to stand as ethical protectors.

Final Reflections

Our youth are critical to vanquishing the scourge of America’s drug crisis which is inflicting unimaginable heartbreak on communities, families, and individuals.

The virtue of character throughout society was stressed, especially character education initiatives in our schools.

A quote from Cicero was emphasized as essential to character education in our schools:

“Within the character of the citizen lies the welfare of the citizen.”

America must rise to the call of an ethical renaissance. We must stand as ethical protectors throughout society and heed the beckoning of these concluding words of my presentation:

“Your honor, leadership, and integrity is mission critical to safeguarding America, protecting our people, and preserving our democracy.”

Related Coverage:

Opioid Addiction: America’s Public Health Crisis

America’s Drug Crisis Demands Police-Community Unity

America’s Opioid Crisis: The Heart of the Solution

America’s 21st Century Teacher: Security, Character, Pedagogy

Photos

1. PHAMA event, Champion, PA, Oct. 20, 2017. (Courtesy Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing)
2. A heroin user injects himself on March 23, 2016 in New London, CT. (John Moore/Getty Images)
3. A bottle of OxyContin sits on the counter of the Post Haste Pharmacy And Surgical Store in Hollywood, Fla., on June 16, 2003. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Note Well:

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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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 crystallized 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:

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.

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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