A Soldier Deals with Guilt of Surviving 9-11 Pentagon Attack

This article, written by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton, was originally published by Army.mil. Below is the first part. I encourage you to follow the link to read the conclusion on how Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford Bauman survived suicide and eventually did get to save three lives eight years after the terrorist attacks.

Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford Bauman examining the gloves, boots and hard hat he wore Sept. 11, 2001 trying to save lives at the Pentagon.

Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford Bauman examining the gloves, boots and hard hat he wore Sept. 11, 2001 trying to save lives at the Pentagon.

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – Each year when the nation collectively remembers the attacks of 9/11, Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Clifford Bauman tries everything possible to forget. But the memories of being in the attack on the Pentagon are too vivid to forget.

“There was stuff floating everywhere,” Bauman said, as he described his journey through knee-deep water into the Pentagon’s outermost ring, the E-corridor. “We made our way back around between C- and B-corridor and saw where the nose of the aircraft detached and shot through the building.”

Immediately the team stepped outside, set up equipment designed to locate active cell phones and went to work searching for signals.

“Once we started pinging, I re-entered the building, crawling,” he said. “We were there all day and into the night, looking for people – eighteen hours and no survivors — not one.”

Looking back at what he did — what he forced himself to do – Bauman said there was only one word to describe everything he experienced.

“Horrific,” he said. “Seeing your fellow soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines lying dead in an area where you would think it was impossible, was hard to deal with.”

Even though Bauman had steeled himself to seeing the remains of fallen service members and comrades, he continued to work through the night. The painful reality began to fester inside him like a cancerous wound. Continue reading

Hiring Our Heroes – Veterans Job Fair in Tampa

Image courtesy of VeteransToday.com.

Image courtesy of VeteransToday.com.

Job fairs for veterans, coordinated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have made a mark over the last 21 months.

Between March 2011 and December 2012, the Hiring Our Heroes project held 388 job fairs where more than 18,000 veterans and military spouses got jobs according to a new report.

And the job fairs continue.

In Tampa today, a Hiring Our Heroes event is scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Ragan Community Center, 1200 East Lake Avenue, Tampa, FL.Veterans, active duty military members, guard and reserve members, and military spouses are all welcome. It’s free for job seekers and employers.

SunTrust is sponsoring the local event in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber, the Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS), the Florida Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).

Click here to view a list of employers as of 4 April.

Click here to find other Hiring Our Heroes job fairs scheduled this month throughout the United States including an April 16 job fair in West Palm Beach, FL.

Utah National Guard First Batallion Welcomed Home

The approximately 300 Soldiers of the Utah National Guard’s First Battalion, 211th Aviation returned to Utah from their 12-month deployment to Afghanistan in two groups Thursday, Jan. 17, and Sunday, Jan. 20, respectively, at the Utah Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City.The mission of the 1-211th (First of the 211th) in Afghanistan was fly its AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters to conduct aerial route reconnaissance and provide armed escort for U.S. and Coalition aircraft.

Waiting to welcome home the Utah National Guard’s First Battalion, 211th Aviation returned to Utah from their 12-month deployment to Afghanistan.

After a year in Afghanistan, about 300 soldiers of the Utah National Guard’s First Battalion, 211th Aviation returned in two groups Thursday, Jan. 17, and Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

The photo is taken at the Utah Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City.

The mission of the 1-211th (First of the 211th) in Afghanistan was fly its AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters to conduct aerial route reconnaissance and provide armed escort for U.S. and Coalition aircraft.

Minnesota Guard Starts Civilian Hiring While Still Deployed

minnesota_natl_guardLast spring, a group of corporate recruiters in business-casual attire traveled to Kuwait to help hundreds of Minnesota National Guard members find civilian jobs weeks before the soldiers headed home.

A specialized team from government, education and business were flown in to prepare the troops. An NPR report says that every soldier got one-on-one help with mock interviews, resumes and career planning.

The program appears to have proven successful. NPR reports:

Of the more than 500 service members who needed jobs, officials say only about 35 are still looking for work.

Minnesota National Guard Capt. Ron Jarvi explained to NPR that the program helped troops focus on getting a job before they got overwhelmed with coming home.

“The reality is that you’re trying to reintegrate with your spouse or with your kids or getting paperwork filed with the state and reinstating your license and doing all of the different things that you have to do to reintegrate,” says Jarvi.

Guard and Reserve members split their time between civilian and military jobs. So, finding work after a long deployment is particularly difficult for them because employers are concerned about the Guard member being deployed again and may hesitate to hire them.

You can hear more about the Minnesota National Guard hiring program HERE.

Tammy Duckworth Named as One to Shake Up Congress

Tammy Duckworth arriving for her speech at University of South Florida Oct 12, 2010.

Tammy Duckworth arriving for her speech at University of South Florida Oct 12, 2010.

An news article by US News names former assistant secretary at the VA and Iraq combat veteran Tammy Duckworth as one of seven new members expected to shake up Congress.

Illinois Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth - One of the first female Black Hawk helicopter pilots to fly combat missions, Duckworth survived a 2004 rocket-propelled grenade attack. She lost both legs and part of her right arm, but managed to safely land her helicopter before attending to her injuries.

Duckworth competed in one of the most bitter races in 2012, against Tea Party incumbent Republican Joe Walsh. Duckworth proved herself as a hefty fundraiser, outspending her opponent by more than $3 million.

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The National Guard Celebrates 376 Years

Soldiers from the Florida National Guard's 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct a change of command ceremony in Pinellas Park, Fla., Dec. 1, 2012. Photo by Debra Cox

Soldiers from the Florida National Guard’s 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct a change of command ceremony in Pinellas Park, Fla., Dec. 1, 2012. Photo by Debra Cox

The National Guard celebrated its 376th birthday today, Dec. 13, 2012. The Florida National Guard currently includes 12,000 citizens – 10,000 Soldiers and 2,000 Airmen.

These part-time professional Soldiers and Airmen have civilian careers but spend weekends and evenings training and practicing their military specialties. The Florida Guard reached an important milestone, marking 16,000 deployments since Sept. 11, 2001.

The Florida  Guard also plays a key role during hurricanes, helping to patrol the southwest border, supported the nation’s space launch program and provided support at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

The Guard’s History

The Florida National Guard remains a community cornerstone with a heritage established back in 1636 now with 61 armories in 39 Florida counties.

Guard Soldiers and Airmen live and work in your towns, their children go to school with your children. The motto: Always Ready – Always There.

A Day to be Thankful for the New York National Guard

Soldiers from the New York Army National Guard’s 369th Sustainment Brigade, the legendary “Harlem Hellfighters,” prepare holiday meals at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center for shipment and delivery to city distribution sites. (Photo by Col. Raymond Shields, New York National Guard)

The following is part of an article is written by Col. Richard Goldenberg of the
New York National Guard:

As Americans prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, more than 1,100 members of the New York National Guard continue their support of Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts or augment New York City
law enforcement at transportation centers for the single largest travel day in the nation.

Nearly 900 Guard Soldiers continue to support recovery operations in New York City, conducting door-to-door wellness checks in Far Rockaway. The National Guard, working in partnership with local authorities, visited more than 850 residences to assess local needs.

Other Soldiers will assist in the delivery of holiday meals to storm-affected families at 14 distribution centers as well as logistical support to city relief centers on Staten Island and Far Rockaway.

More than 250 other members of the New York National Guard’s standing security force in New York City, known as Joint Task Force Empire Shield, returned to their security duties this week after three weeks of rescue and storm recovery efforts.

New York has had National Guardsmen on duty full-time in New York City assisting with security since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

National Guard Response to Hurricane Sandy

Virginia National Guard Soldiers from Company G, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conduct reconnaissance patrols in support of Hurricane Sandy operations Oct. 29, 2012, in Norfolk, Va. Virginia National Guard photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class A. J. Coyne

Approximately 7,400 National Guard forces are activating or are already on state duty to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in seven states. They’re providing help at shelters, damage assessments, debris clearance, search and rescue and delivery of supplies and equipment according to a release from U.S. Department of Defense.

The guardsmen also are supporting first responders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut and Maryland.

Department of Defense Other Actions

  • Staged four medium rotary wing utility aircraft and four medium rotary wing Search and Rescue aircraft at Hanscom AFB, MA, for potential logistical and search and rescue operations along the coasts of MA, CT, and RI in support of FEMA.
  •  Approved a request for District of Columbia National Guard support for traffic control points and high-water evacuations.
  • Made Department of Defense installations throughout the North East available as requested by FEMA – including Westover Air Reserve Base, MA; Joint Base McGuire-Dix, Lakehurst, NJ; and Ft. Devens, MA.
  • Placed medium- and heavy-lift helicopters, para-rescue swimmers, and aerial refueling aircraft on 24-hour prepare-to-deploy status in response to anticipated FEMA requests to mitigate or respond to the effects of the storm.

On Oct. 29,  Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, was in dawn-to-dusk meetings with senior National Guard leaders, FEMA officials, the adjutants general and the Secretary of Defense, reported the American Forces Press Service. That all-out effort was continuing today.

“We had to be ready to respond big and fast — so the National Guard ramped up in multiple states this weekend preparing to support local, state and federal civilian authorities,” Grass told the Armed Forces Press. “We are part of a whole-of-government response to support state, local and federal agencies tackling the effects of this storm.”

Florida Agencies Pledge Support for Guard and Reserve

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana signing the Statement of Support in 2011. Photo courtesy of the Florida ESGR.

It’s an annual  event recognized throughout the state – the the Florida Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Day.

Yet, the ceremonies held at several sites Thursday aren’t nearly as important as the mission. The ESGR helps employers provide  year-round support to the men and women serving in the Reserves and the Florida National Guard. That employer support also extends to the military families especially when their Guard or Reserve member is deployed.

Several state agencies including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Corrections and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission signed the ceremonial support agreements this year as did local agencies like the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

“Our Guard and Reserve are essential to the strength of our nation and the well-being of our communities,” stated Hillsborough Circuit Judge Gregory Holder, chairman of the Florida Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, in a written release.

The ESGR is a volunteer organization which provides employers free education, consultation, and mediation if necessary.

Army Sergeant Sacrifices His Life to Save Afghan Child

Sgt. Dennis Weichel Jr., a Rhode Island Army National Guard infantryman mobilized with Company C, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, sits inside a Black Hawk helicopter prior to a mission earlier in his deployment in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)

Sgt. Dennis Weichel Jr. died in Afghanistan while saving the life of an Afghan child. His sacrifice has been noted elsewhere in the media including ABC Good Morning America and the following account from Kris Gonzalex U.S. Army.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (3/29/12) — The actions of one Rhode Island National Guard Soldier epitomized the Army Value of selfless service, “doing one’s duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain,” as he heroically saved an Afghan child without regard for his own life.

Sgt. Dennis Weichel Jr. died March 22, from injuries sustained when he was struck by an armored fighting vehicle after moving an Afghan child to safety.

“Sadly, today we realized the death of a Rhode Island National Guard Soldier in a combat zone, and we are once again reminded of the enduring sacrifice our Soldiers and Airmen have made, and continue to make, in service to this great country,” said Army Maj. Gen. Kevin McBride, adjutant general of the Rhode Island National Guard, in a press release March 23.

Weichel, an infantryman, mobilized with Company C, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 56th Troop Command, to Camp Atterbury, Ind. in November 2011, and then deployed forward to Afghanistan in early March.

On the morning of March 22, Weichel and members of his unit were leaving the Black Hills Firing Range in Laghman province, Afghanistan, when they encountered multiple Afghan children in the path of their convoy. Weichel was among several Soldiers who dismounted to disperse the children away from the vehicles.

As one child attempted to retrieve an item from underneath a U.S. Army mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle, , known as an MRAP, Weichel moved her to safety and was struck by the MRAP in the process.

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