MacDill Military Gives President Rousing Welcome

President Obama speaking to 1,200 service members at MacDill Air Force Base, Sept. 17, 2014. Photo credit: USMC Sgt. Frederick Coleman, US Central Command.

President Obama speaking to 1,200 service members at MacDill Air Force Base, Sept. 17, 2014. Photo credit: USMC Sgt. Frederick Coleman, US Central Command.

The pride of “wearing the uniform” was clear and present inside the MacDill Air Force Base sports center Wednesday where 1,200 service members from all branches crowded together to hear President Barack Obama.

Most were dressed in the everyday, camo uniform. They greeted the president with an enthusiasm that belied the rainy, gray skies outside.

President Obama talked directly to the men and women. He said he came to thank them for their sacrifice and for their commitment to the country.

Air Force Tech Sgt. Tanika Belfield appreciated the personal message in his speech.

Tech Sgt. Tanika Belfield liked the personal nature of the president's speech.

Tech Sgt. Tanika Belfield liked the personal nature of the president’s speech.

“The thing that stood out to me most is him making sure to speak of those who were wounded and that he knows that he’s in a room of people who have lost friends,” Belfield said.

The president told the troops he would not send them back to Iraq, but Belfield said she’s ready to go if called to Iraq.

“That has to remain fluid as the threats change and intel changes,” Belfield said. “We’re briefed and we’re prepared and we’re ready.”

Captain Darrell Rievs has served in the Air Force 26 years and has been deployed countless times throughout the U.S. In all that time, this was the first time he’d been in the same room with the president.

Air Force Capt. Darrell Rievs has served 26 years and been deployed numerous times, yet is ready to go again if needed.

Air Force Capt. Darrell Rievs has served 26 years and been deployed numerous times, yet is ready to go again if needed.

“It’s a great honor and very encouraging to the troops that he stopped by,” Rievs said.

He was pleased to hear the president refer to the military’s upcoming role in the fight against Ebola in Africa. And Rievs said he is willing to deploy again if needed.

“It’s just an honor to wear the uniform. If duty calls, I’m there,” Rievs said.

After meeting with the troops, President Obama visited Tinker Elementary School on base. He chatted with first graders and one asked if he fought in the Civil War.

“No, I was born in 1961.”

President Obama speaking to first graders at Tinker Elementary School on MacDill AFB. Photo credit: pool

President Obama speaking to first graders at Tinker Elementary School on MacDill AFB. Photo credit: pool

In Ms. Slagal’s class, the president shook hands with every student and admired the spikey haircut of one boy.

A little boy raised his hand and then, when the president called on him, couldn’t remember what he was going to say.

“That happens to me all the time,” President Obama said. “I think I have a good point, and then…. the press makes fun of me.”

The president spent the morning touring U.S. Central Command and discussing strategy with CENTCOM Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin and his staff. They are responsible for 20 countries in the Middle East, South and Central Asia including Iraq and Syria where the Islamic State group has seized territories.

The U.S. House has passed legislation allowing the president to arm and train Syrian rebels in the fight against Islamic State militants. But some Democrats are concerned that the strategy will backfire. But even without the support of dozens of Democrats, the proposal won House approval Wednesday. The Senate is expected to approve it Thursday.

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President Obama and President Karzai Sign Agreement

afghanistan

Afghanistan (Photo: The U.S. Army)

The following are comments by the presidents of Afghanistan and the United states upon signing a mutual agreement May 1, 2012 in Kabul.

PRESIDENT KARZAI:  (Interpretation begins in progress) — prosperity and peace for the people of Afghanistan.

Stability in Afghanistan and peace in Afghanistan — people will sleep, will be safe in their house, and also law-abiding citizens.  Their life will be — will not threat their life by any forces.  The people of Afghanistan in past three decades, they didn’t have this, so now they want.  This is the responsibility of government of Afghanistan to fulfill the wishes of the people of Afghanistan to a better life, better future, and peace and prosperity and changing to reality for them.

For us, people of Afghanistan, this is a very important year in our life of our country and the people of Afghanistan.  The people of Afghanistan want the transition of Afghanistan before 2014, end of 2014, with all the responsibility and take the responsibility for the people of Afghanistan as one of our responsibility we have to take.

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at the White House?

The table settings in the State Dining Room for the White House dinner Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005, in honor of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. White House photo Shealah Craighead.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle are hosting a dinner Wednesday to honor Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and their families.

Most of those invited remain in active duty and represent all ranks and service branches. Service members will come from across America and include National Guard and Reserve.

The invited guests will represent the more than a million Americans and their families who served and sacrificed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and the chiefs of the five services and National Guard and Reserve will also be there. The Department of Defense released the names of the 78 service members invited to dine at the White House “A Nation’s Gratitude” Dinner.

Alabama:  Staff Sgt. Shawon Tucker; Army.

Alaska:  Maj. Shannon Thompson; Army.

American Samoa:  Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Nikolao; Army.

Arizona:  Capt. Brian D. Hartman; Army.

Arkansas:  Cpl. Aaron Mankin; Marine Corps.

Arkansas:  Staff Sgt. Joseph May; Marine Corps.

California:  Maj. Eldridge R. Singleton; Army.

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Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch: Bin Laden Is No More

It was a normal Sunday night in the Dorr household, the children were asleep, and after having spent quality time together, I headed to watch television in bed whilst Brian turned on his Xbox. I wasn’t watching for more than a few minutes when the announcement that President Obama was going to speak, unexpectedly, came through.

Earlier in the day, MacDill Air Force Base had gone to DEFCON BRAVO, and we were all wondering why. That question was answered with the exciting news that Osama Bin Laden was killed. Facebook erupted with statuses of elation, and I ran out to the living room to tell Brian (playing Xbox Live with his twin Richie).

Brian was ecstatic, after 10 years that terrorist was finally captured, and killed.  Brian and his brother enlisted after 9/11, because of 9/11  like so many other service members. 

Is it wrong to be happy someone is dead? I find this case to be an exception, this is a man who has to blood of thousands of Americans on his hands, I think it is okay this time.

Will this war be over? No, of course not, after all he was not the only terrorist out there, new leaders have emerged, and followers still fight (fighting dirty I might add). I pray that our deployed troops face no retaliation.

Keeping this as honest as I can, I will say I was annoyed at the posts indicating “Obama did what G.W. couldn’t!” Very untrue, without Bush having set all of this in motion, it would never have happened, and last time I checked Obama isn’t out there doing the gritty footwork that is our intel and military. Seems like the most erroneous statement, however, I look past it.

Other Facebook status’ claimed that the military deserve a raise, (this coming off the coattails of the recent government shutdown fear) . My comment on this is, it is sad that any military member could possibly qualify for WIC (federal food subsidies for low income pregnant Women, Infants and Children).

All “soap-boxing” aside, it’s true, Bin Laden exists no longer. Justice has been served. I think this has thrown lighter fluid on embers that were our nation and sparked a patriotic fire, it was what Americans needed to hear. God Bless America!

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