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Rod Powers

Rod's US Military Blog


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Memorial Day 2014

Sunday May 25, 2014


I was asked - what does Memorial Day mean to a serviceman? Well, I would love to be able to present a deep, moving picture to represent the feelings of all servicemen on the topic, but frankly - it depends of the service member. Some will attend parades (either as spectators or as participants), some look forward to the barbecue... etc. And some will be at their posts, on duty.

So, since I can't present so moving a piece as to bring tears to the eyes - I ramble in my article, Memorial Day.

We at USMilitary wish you a day of remembrance.  A day to remember the fallen.  A day to remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice.


2014 Armed Forces Day

Saturday May 17, 2014

US Armed Forces Day

Saturday, May 17, is Armed Forces Day in the United States, when Americans pay tribute to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces in times of war and peace.

The commemoration is held on the third Saturday in May and events are held across the country to honor Americans in uniform, including parades, air shows, base and ship tours and various military displays.

You can read more about the history of Armed Forces Day in the article, Armed Forces Day.


Comics and the Military

Wednesday May 14, 2014

Avenger Comic

Comics (the "pictorial literature", not the stand-ups) have had many uses, where the military is concerned - they have been used to bolster morale, to offer therapeutic relief, "how-to" and to support of the troops. I'm in the mood to mutter about a few and did just that in my latest article, Comics and the Military.

There are probably many more titles and examples I've not run across, but this article should give you several to keep your interest for a while!



Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday May 11, 2014


Mother's Day Message

A Mother's Day Message from the Soldiers!

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Friday May 9, 2014

Not all who serve wear a uniform.


Today, May 9, 2014 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and we salute those that stand alongside our nation's military members and share their sacrifice and service.

Today President Obama  proclaimed that-  "Our military spouses embody ideals we cherish: strength, loyalty, and commitment. They stand beside those who stand behind our flag, giving their all and making tremendous sacrifices. They shoulder the burdens of countless moves and stressful deployments, and they uphold their end of the bargain. On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we celebrate the force behind the force and show these homefront heroes the full support of a grateful Nation."

We at USMilitary about.com thank you!

The Shellback Ceremony

Wednesday May 7, 2014

Recently, I posted  the various unofficial certificates members of the Navy (and other service branches) are able to acquire.  I've gotten a couple of messages since asking for a little more detail on the Shellback Ceremony - mainly, "what all happens?"

The crossing of the equator involves elaborate preparation by the "shellbacks" (those who have crossed the equator before) to ensure the "pollywogs" (those who are about to cross the equator for the first time) are properly indoctrinated.If you are interested in learning more, you'll want to read my latest article "The Shellback Ceremony".

Senate Confirms Work as Deputy Defense Secretary

Wednesday April 30, 2014

By voice vote late April 30, the Senate confirmed Robert O. Work, a retired Marine Corps colonel, to be the next deputy secretary of defense.

According to American Forces Press Service, Work is a distinguished graduate of the Naval ROTC program at the University of Illinois that was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in August 1974. During his 27-year career, he held a wide range of command, leadership and management positions. He commanded an artillery battery and artillery battalion, and was the base commander at Camp Fuji, Japan.

His last assignment in uniform was as military assistant and senior aide to Navy Secretary Richard J. Danzig.

After retiring from the Marine Corps in 2001, Work joined the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, first as the senior fellow for maritime affairs, and later as the vice president for strategic studies. In these positions, he focused on defense strategy and programs, revolutions in war, Defense Department transformation and maritime affairs.

Work also was an adjunct professor at George Washington University, where he taught defense analysis and roles and missions of the armed forces.

In late 2008, he served on President Barack Obama's DOD Defense Transition Team. In this role, he led the Navy Department issue team, and he served on the defense policy, acquisition and budget teams.

AFN to Honor Military Spouses Through Facebook Initiative

Monday April 28, 2014

Military Spouses Appreciation Day is May 10, and The American Forces Network Broadcast Center has established a hashtag for Facebook users to help AFN honor military spouses at this time.

According to an article from Defense.gov, by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., the initiative will center on a special hashtag -- #spouseappreciation -- that Facebook users can include in posts and photos that pay tribute to military spouses.

Facebook users can type the #spouseappreciation hashtag into the Facebook search window to see all of the posts and photos that include it, regardless of which Facebook page was used to make the post.

Unofficial "Fun" Military Certifications

Friday April 25, 2014

USS Peleliu

You've crossed the line now...

One of the more... anticipated... "unofficial" events on a Navy cruise seems to that of "crossing the line" - the occasion of the ship crossing over the Equator.  This is when a slimy Pollywog (a seaman who hasn't crossed the equator) transforms into a trusty Shellback (also called a Son or Daughter of Neptune).   Many have heard of this ceremony, and many have participated - and some quite famous people, too.  For example, in 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received a summons to appear before King Neptune and pay his respects.

But that's not the only unofficial titles related to crossing the equator.  To read more about unofficial certifications given to military personnel for "fun", go to my latest article Unofficial "Fun" Military Certifications.

Boston Marathon Shadow Run

Monday April 21, 2014

Shadow Boston Winners

A Department of State staffer was the top finisher in the Boston Marathon Shadow Run held in east Afghanistan during the early morning hours April 18. The event was hosted by the Watertown- based, 10th Mountain Division according to Syracuse.com.

More than 500 service members and civilians deployed to Afghanistan competed in this year's event. Josh Peterson covered the 26.2 mile course in 2 hours, 39 minutes for a first place finish.   Captain Daniella Mestyanek, of Houston, was the first place in the female division. Mestyanek, a member of the Task Force Lift, ran 3 hours, 12 minutes.

The Boston Athletic Association has assisted the shadow marathons by providing Boston Marathon start and finish banners, bibs, T-shirts, medals, and finisher certificates for participants.  This is the last Boston Marathon Shadow Run affiliated with Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

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