UPDATE 3/1/07: I am definitely against them punishing the soldiers with inspections and formation while they are sick and wounded, but I am still not sure about telling them to not talk to the press. I heard on Randi Rhodes’ show yesterday that the best thing for the wounded troops and their families to do is to talk to the patient advocate at the hospital or the base chaplain.
Original post below:
I am not completely sure how I feel about this article. On the one hand, soldiers belong to the army and the army can tell them not to talk to the press. On the other hand, this administration tells LOTS of people they can’t talk to the press and tells the press and even the governors of all the states what questions they aren’t allowed to ask. Maybe the soldiers can start being “an anonymous soldier who asked to not be identified.”
I am VERY glad to see that the residents of building 18 are moving back to the hospital campus. Now let’s get ALL of them processed and back to their communities with good health care back home!
By Kelly Kennedy – Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 28, 2007 17:03:08 EST
Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have
their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.
“Some soldiers believe this is a form of
punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.
Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.
They were also told they would be moving out of Building 18 to Building 14 within the next couple of weeks. Building 14 is a barracks that houses the administrative offices for the Medical Hold Unit and was renovated in 2006. It’s also located on the Walter Reed Campus, where reporters must be escorted by public affairs personnel. Building 18 is located just off campus and is easy to access.
The soldiers said they were also told their first sergeant has been relieved of duty, and that all of their platoon
sergeants have been moved to other positions at Walter Reed. And 120 permanent-duty soldiers are expected to arrive by mid-March to take control of the Medical Hold Unit, the soldiers said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Army public affairs did not respond to a request sent Sunday evening to verify the personnel changes.
The Pentagon also clamped down on media coverage of any and all Defense Department medical facilities, to include suspending planned projects by CNN and the Discovery Channel, saying in an e-mail to spokespeople:
“It will be in most cases not appropriate to engage the media while this review takes place,” referring to an investigation of the problems at Walter Reed.
Walter Reed soldier wins small victory
Gates’ candor on hospital woes lauded
Pentagon names members of Walter Reed panel
Renovations underway at Walter Reed
Wounded and waiting
The LA Times has just figured out what people in the National Guard have known for years. The Guard is here to protect people IN THEIR STATES, or maybe the state next door, and NOT to go be combat troops. Why is it news to them that if you send the Guard and all their equipment overseas then they don’t have enough left at home? What happens when the next hurricane hits? DUH!!!!!
Why do you think they didn’t mention Louisiana or Mississippi and Hurricane Katrina ???
Both Republicans and Democrats say Bush’s Iraq plan will tax
already strained units.
WASHINGTON — Republican and Democratic governors meeting here Saturday warned that President Bush’s “surge” of additional troops to Iraq would put added pressure on National Guard units already stretched to their limits.
“We the governors rely on the Guard to respond to natural disasters, a pandemic or terrorist attack,” said North Carolina Gov. Michael F. Easley, a Democrat. “Currently, we don’t have the manpower or the equipment to perform that dual role” of responding to both state and federal needs.
The Pentagon last week announced plans to send 14,000 National Guard members to Iraq next year as support for the 21,500 troops to be deployed under Bush’s plan. The announcement came on the heels of a change in Pentagon policy to deploy Guard troops more frequently but to limit tours to a year; the average now is 18 months.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, said the federal government must
follow through on its pledge to replace equipment taken by Guard troops to Iraq.
“Those promises need to be kept,” Pawlenty said. “We’ll be able to test that, because we have a significant number coming back this summer. We’ll be able to see if the equipment comes back.”
The governors’ willingness to challenge the buildup reflects overall impatience with Washington, which has inspired a slew of state initiatives to tackle such issues as global warming, energy efficiency and healthcare.
Eighty-eight percent of stateside Army National Guard units are “very poorly equipped,” with less than half of what they need to respond to a domestic crisis, Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum testified a few weeks ago to the independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves.
Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, coordinates between the states and the Pentagon.
He said 45% of Air National Guard units lacked the necessary equipment to deploy.
Last month, National Guard officials notified commanders in Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Ohio that their combat brigades — each about 3,500 strong — might be the first to return to Iraq under the new guidelines, redeploying between January and July of next year. All four states sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2004. Under the old rules, Oklahoma was not scheduled to be called on again until 2010; the other three states, 2009.
In interviews, National Guard officials in Arkansas, Indiana and Oklahoma said their units were short on rifles and other basic equipment.
“We are hurting in equipment nationally, Guard-wide,” said Lt. Col. Deedra Thombleson of the Indiana National Guard.
Governors, in town for a National Governors Assn. meeting, plan to raise the issue Monday at a White House session with Bush. Guard officials plan to talk to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates about it Tuesday.
“We will do all that we can to support the effort, but getting the equipment to do that will be a challenge,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Lempke, head of the Nebraska National Guard and president of the Adjutants General Assn. of the United States.
Equipping the Guard is of particular concern in states such as California and Florida, where troops are routinely called to respond to natural disasters like hurricanes and forest fires.
“We want to protect our troops and make sure they have what they need to deal with natural disasters,” said Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican.
Gov. Easley of North Carolina called National Guard equipment levels across the country “putridly inadequate.”
And without adequate equipment, he said, the National Guard’s role in the buildup would amount to “a squandered mobilization.”
With plans to increase the frequency of Guard deployments — now once every
six years — North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, a Republican, said that getting enough troops for a second rotation in Iraq was “a concern.”
The governors association president, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat who has advocated sending National Guard troops to secure the
U.S.-Mexico border, said the Guard was “being stretched” to respond to the buildup.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is reviewing the plans with his National Guard leadership to assess the impact on the state. He has advocated doing what’s necessary to ensure success in Iraq but said he would not support a policy jeopardizing California’s safety.
Note: Revisions and additions have been made to this post. Sorry for earlier errors and omissions. —Freckles
The Head-On Radio Network has added a new talk show host:
Jeff Alan Wolf
His show, which he describes as “unfiltered, unspun, a little unhinged, but with a whole lot of common sense”, can be heard on weekday mornings from 11AM-2PM Eastern time. It also replays in the evenings at 9 ET and again every weekend. Jeff has only been doing political talk radio for 6 months, but had several entertainment shows on terrestrial radio airwaves for 16 years. From his Arizona studio, he talks about national politics and current events from a progressive viewpoint. Jeff considers himself both a progressive and a liberal, and he has been a democrat ever since he was old enough to vote. Jeff joined the head-on radio network where he was already friends with Bob Kincaid. Since then he has met Guy James, Mark Levine and Jon Fox on the phone.
In addition to radio, Jeff has also worked as an actor (including a small part in Sean Penn’s first movie), a store manager, a magazine editor and a writer. He is still a professional photographer, and also likes to watch sports and loves to spend time with his girlfriend, who is also his news producer, the wonderful Natacha. They collect books, and they like exploring their new State of Arizona and cooking gourmet meals together. Even though he lived in Florida most of his life (except 3 years in Brooklyn, NY when he was a baby and the last year and a half in Arizona), Jeff mostly likes sports teams from places he didn’t live: Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Dallas.
He also likes listening to other hosts from the head-on radio network, and also other liberal and progressive hosts on other networks, but the new show is keeping him busy up to 15 hours a day. Part of that 15 hours is spent reading emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org , preparing the show, and marketing the show. He can occasionally be found in the HORN chat room. But all that doesn’t keep him from watching Keith Olbermann, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert whenever they are on TV.
Click on these links to learn more about Jeff Alan Wolf.
The Jeff Alan Wolf Show webpage
HORN chat room
24 hour show comment line: 206-350-3919
Email Jeff: email@example.com
The head-on radio network can also be heard on itunes radio.
Today I was with hundreds of other people protesting against the governor’s plan to use 9 additional power plants for coal. There were people of all different ages, and a lot of people brought their dogs. They had different kinds of political music there and lots of speeches. One was by a state senator, one by a pastor, one by a doctor, and a few by high school and college kids. Here are some pictures. I wrote about the rally last week and you can read that post here. (Thanks Betsy for taking photos!)
MONDAY UPDATE: There is a story and pictures about the protest in today’s Austin-American Statesman.