Saturday, March 14, 2015

Uproar as US Navy chaplain may be fired over Christian views on sexuality

GOOSE CREEK, SC, March 13, 2015 ( -- A highly-decorated Navy chaplain may be kicked out of the military for his Christian views, the result of a possible scheme to weed out pro-marriage Christians.  
Lt. Commander Wes Modder, was accused of failing “to show tolerance and respect” in private counseling sessions regarding issues pertaining to faith, marriage and sexuality, specifically homosexuality and pre-marital sex, according to Fox News
Military veteran and attorney Michael Berry said Modder, who is endorsed as a chaplain by the Assemblies of God, is being punished for his Christian faith.
“We are starting to see cases where chaplains have targets on their backs,” said Berry. “They have to ask themselves, ‘Do I stay true to my faith or do I keep my job?’”
Berry, who is with Liberty Institute, a law firm that focuses on religious liberty cases, is representing Modder. In a letter to the Navy he accused the military of committing a gross injustice against the chaplain, and he expects the Pentagon to respond forcefully and resolutely to the allegations.
“They want chaplains to be glorified summer camp counselors and not speak truth and love into people’s lives,” Berry said. “There are some anti-religious elements in our military. Anytime somebody wants to live their faith out, there are people who say that is offensive.”
Military personnel have faced a wave of religious liberty restrictions and speech control from the federal government in recent years.
Modder, chaplain at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C., was given a "detachment for cause" letter February 17 after the Navy found him unable to “function in the diverse and pluralistic environment.”
The 19-year military veteran has a record full of praise and commendations.
Modder could lose his retirement benefits if the Navy convenes a board of inquiry and officially separates him before he completes 20 years of service, according to the Military Times.
Before he became a Navy chaplain, he served in the Marines, including tours with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Naval Special Warfare Command, where he was the Force Chaplain of the Navy SEALs.
His commanding officer, Capt. Jon R. Fahs, was among those who extolled him, writing in his most recent review that Modder was “the best of the best,” and a “consummate professional leader” worthy of an early promotion.
Yet for some reason, now five months after that review, Fahs’ assessment of Modder diverges greatly, flying in the face of what he previously wrote about the chaplain.
Now Fahs said in a memo about Modder, “On multiple occasions he discriminated against students who were of different faiths and backgrounds.” 
Modder told Fox News he is devastated by the claims, and both he and Berry believe he may have been set up.
On December 6 a new assistant and two Equal Opportunity representatives showed up with a five-page complaint on Modder. The grievances focused on Modder’s views on “same-sex relationships/marriages, homosexuality, different standards of respect for men and women, pre-marital sex and masturbation.”
The junior officer had been working with Modder for just a month, and Modder said the assistant would repeatedly inundate him with questions about homosexuality, while Modder had no idea that he was homosexual and involved in a homosexual “marriage” to another man.
Modder was immediately removed of his duties and told to clean out his office when the complaint was received, with no opportunity to defend himself.
He called the five-page complaint letter “unconscionable.”
“It was insulting and it was devastating,” Modder told the news station. “I felt discriminated against. How could something like this happen at this stage of my career?”
Berry suspects the assistant gained access to private counseling files during his time as Modder’s assistant.
“To be clear,” Berry said, “Chaplain Modder does not dispute that during private, one-on-one pastoral care and counseling sessions, he expressed his sincerely held religious belief that: sexual acts outside of marriage are contrary to Biblical teaching; and homosexual behavior is contrary to Biblical teaching; and homosexual orientation or temptation, as distinct from conduct, is not sin.” But the assistant making the charges against Modder may in fact himself be guilty of a crime, according to Berry. “I believe some of what the lieutenant has alleged could constitute a military crime, false statements, taking what the chaplain said and twisting or misconstruing it, in an attempt to get the chaplain punished,” he said. “He abused the position he was placed in as a chaplain’s assistant.”
After the story broke the Pentagon released a statement that said Modder has been temporarily assigned to Naval Support Activity in Charleston as one of the chaplains on staff, and that the detachment for cause action will be reviewed by Navy Personnel Command.
“The Navy values, and protects in policy, the rights of its service members, including chaplains, to practice according to the tenets of their faith and respects the rights of each individual to determine their own religious convictions,” the Pentagon statement said.

Navy prosecutors claim male submarine sailors traded videos of female officers

KINGS BAY, Ga. (April 1, 2009) The fleet balli...
KINGS BAY, Ga. (April 1, 2009) The fleet ballistic missile submarine, USS Alaska (SSBN 732) arrives at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Alaska had been homeported at Naval Submarine Base Bangor, Wash. for 20 years and was reassigned to Kings Bay after a 26-month refueling overhaul at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. The addition of USS Alaska, increases the number of fleet ballistic missile submarines at Kings Bay to six. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Kimberly Clifford/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A group of male submarine sailors traded illicit videos of female officers in various stages of undress as if they were Pokemon cards, a U.S. Navy prosecutor said Thursday.
Navy prosecutors presented evidence against two of 12 male sailors accused of illegally making and trading videos of female officers aboard a nuclear submarine that was among the first to allow American women to serve alongside men. The two men in court Thursday, both missile technicians aboard the USS Wyoming nuclear submarine, were accused of trading the videos with other sailors. Another sailor aboard the Wyoming made the videos with his smartphone and then told others that he had a "gift for them," Navy prosecuting attorney Lt. Cmdr. Lee Marsh said. The Wyoming is based at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia. Marsh said that once the sailor who took the videos arrived back onshore, he shared them with the others by "bumping" their smartphones together. The videos were not posted online.
"Videos were treated like Pokemon (cards). Something to be collected," Marsh said during the preliminary hearing in the case against two missile technicians charged with conspiracy to distribute recordings of private areas of female officers.
Navy Vice Adm. Michael Connor, commander of the nation's submarine fleet, has characterized the case as a "serious sexual offense, with significant penalties."
The case highlights issues the Navy has faced in switching to coed crews on ballistic-missile submarines. It began the practice in 2011.
More than 50 women now serve aboard submarines, and Connor has said while the change to coed crews has not been without incident, overall it has been a success.
Navy Lt. Paul Hochmuth, defense attorney for one of the accused missile technicians who was in court on Thursday, said his client didn't know what the files were when he accepted the "gift" on his phone.
He argued that the government was unfairly describing the videos as graphic -- he said they were of poor quality, were only ever viewed on smartphones and showed only partial nudity.
"At no point can you ever see a full length view of the person. ... You might see a face ... then a leg ... or a butt ... but there is no full length view," Hochmuth said.

18th century French frigate to visit Annapolis

Hermione took Vern Penner's breath away years ago when he first spotted her in France.
No, not Hermione from Harry Potter.
Hermione is a 213-foot long, 177-foot tall boat constructed by hand using 18th century ship-building techniques.
"When I saw this thing it blew me away," Penner said. "It was magnificent."
Hermione is a replica of the tall ship that reunited Marquis de Lafayette with George Washington in 1780, setting up the end of the Revolutionary War. Lafayette, a French aristocrat and military officer who fought for the United States during the Revolutionary War, visited Annapolis in March 1781.
While in France on vacation, Penner visited a friend who brought him to the small town of Rochefort to show him "L'Hermione," which had become one of France's biggest tourist attractions, Penner said.
"In my mind I could see the Hermione coming to the city dock," Penner said. "Then I got the huge brainstorm…The words just came out."
Penner, a retired ambassador, said he started talking up Annapolis, his "adopted city," in rough French, telling them it was home to the only east coast monument to the fallen French soldiers in the Revoluntionary War and invited the crew to visit Annapolis.
Penner and others from the Parole Rotary Club will be hosting the French crew in their homes when the ship visits June 16.
It took 17 years to recreate the frigate. Artisans specializing in 18th-century techniques had to be found and techniques reinvented, said Deborah Berger, spokesman for the Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America, Inc.
The replica was built from scratch down to the 17 hand-sewn linen sails and 32 cannons. The only alterations to the original were to meet international maritime safety regulations, including two motors, modern navigational equipment and sanitary living conditions for the crew.
The hull is made of 400,000 hand-sculpted pieces from about 2,000 oak trees to recreate the original ship.
"There are 15 miles of hemp rope holding this thing together," Penner said.
The 72- member volunteer crew trained for a year in old world sailing practices, such as climbing the rigging to maneuver the yards and sails by hand, berger said. A committee of historians supervised the ship's construction.
Penner has been working to bring Annapolitans together to welcome the French who share a mutual history, as well as love of the sea and sailing, he said. Annapolis is the fourth of 12 stops on the frigate's 2015 voyage crossing the Atlantic.
First the Hermione will visit Yorktown, Va, where she was part of the blockade that led to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his Army. The other stops are Mount Vernon, Va., Alexandria, Va., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Greenport, N.Y., Newport, R.I., Boston, Castine, Maine, and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
Before the ship arrives to City Dock there will be a Hermione Film Festival in various venues arranged by the City of Annapolis, Berger said. Dates and locations are still to be announced. There will also be a free exhibition of the making of the Hermione pier-side while it is docked and then will be moved to the U.S. Naval Academy Museum after it departs.
After a private welcoming party between American and French officials, there will be a public parade from City Dock to St. John's College where the Sons of the Revolution will lay a wreath at the Fallen French Soldiers Monument. There will be tours of the boat led by sailors, demonstrations of historic shipbuilding and colonial crafts, Lafayette reenactments and afternoon concerts of French and American seafaring songs with sing-a-longs.
Penner said that although he was the one who invited the French, he can take no credit for the Annapolis stop.
"I don't credit myself with anything," he said. "Except maybe getting a few people worked up."

Man once convicted of spying pleads guilty to naval archive document theft

BALTIMORE — A Maryland man whose espionage conviction made headlines in the 1980s acknowledged a more common crime Thursday: theft.
Samuel Loring Morison pleaded guilty to stealing boxes worth of government records from a naval history archive in the nation's capital. The records were related to his grandfather, a prominent historian.
Morison, 70, pleaded guilty to theft of government property and was sentenced to two years of probation. He must also cooperate with officials in returning any additional items that belong to the government. A prosecutor said Morison stole thousands of records — including maps, charts and photographs — from the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, which preserves U.S. naval history.
The records, which filled 34 boxes, were related to his grandfather, Rear Adm. Samuel Eliot Morison.
The elder Morison, a Harvard University professor who died in 1976, was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in the biography category for biographies of Christopher Columbus and John Paul Jones, a hero of the Revolutionary War. He also wrote a 15-volume history of World War II naval operations that was published between 1947 and 1962. Records the younger Morison took were used by his grandfather in writing the series.
Prosecutor James Warwick said Thursday during a court hearing that the stolen records were appraised at $10,000 to $30,000, but he called them "irreplaceable." In court the judge was shown about a dozen of the objects Morison took, including a map with his grandfather's handwritten notes and a photographic print of the famous flag raising on Iwo Jima.
Morison's attorney, James Wyda, said during the hearing that Morison, who did paid research work at the Naval History and Heritage Command, was going through difficult times financially and was in poor health. He said his client "lost his perspective" and "convinced himself he was entitled" to the documents, which were found in his home in Crofton, Maryland. He also had an agreement with a bookstore to sell other records through eBay.
Before his guilty plea Thursday, Morison had only one other brush with the law, Warwick said.
In 1985, Morison was convicted of leaking spy satellite photographs to the British military magazine Jane's Defence Weekly. At the time he gave the magazine the photographs of the Soviet Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier under construction, he was a civilian employed by the Navy as an intelligence analyst. His attorneys defended Morison by saying he was trying to inform the public about a Soviet naval buildup and that in leaking the photos he didn't disclose anything the Soviets didn't already know about how a U.S. spy satellite worked.
Morison was convicted of two counts of espionage and two counts of theft of government property and sentenced to two years in prison. He was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001.

Matthew Hutson joins Naval History and Heritage Command

Matthew Hutson joins Naval History and Heritage Command
Matthew Hutson
Matthew Hutson

By Glenn Sircy, APR
Navy Office of Community Outreach

WASHINGTON – Matthew Hutson, a 1992 graduate of St. Louis University High, and a former resident of Wilmington, recently joined the Naval History and Heritage Command located at the Washington Navy Yard.
Working for an Echelon II command for the U.S. Navy, Hutson is a program analyst for the NHHC’s Director’s Action Group.
“My job is great because I get to participate in telling the Navy's story which is America's story,” said Hutson, who earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1996 from the George Washington University.
Hutson, provides information and counsel to the director needs to bring the appropriate resources to NHHC’s 10 official Navy museums located throughout the United States.

Twenty-Year Project Compiling Oral Histories of Navy's Earliest Women Completed at Naval War College

NEWPORT, R.I. —Some of the earliest women in America’s Navy have a new place where their stories are being told, here at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island through a project just completed by college archivists.
An oral history project more than 20 years in the making, the Naval Historical Collection at NWC collected and preserved the firsthand accounts of female sailors and Marines in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).
Their stories are now available online for the first time.
Before the WAVES program was established in 1942, women had very limited roles and served mostly as nurses or clerks. It wasn’t until 1948, when the U.S. enacted the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act that women were able to serve as permanent, regular members of the armed forces.
The experiences of many of these ground-breaking sailors have never been told completely.
“There was some documentation for WAVES officers,” said Scott Reilly, NWC archivist who helped complete the digitization of the women’s stories. “But there was really little that had ever been done to collect the experiences of the rank and file of the WAVES until this project.”
More than 80 interviews with WAVES, SPARS (the Coast Guard equivalent) and others were recorded.
According to Reilly, he hasn’t heard of any other WAVES collection this comprehensive – both in quantity and context. These stories are about more than just their military experiences.
“They don’t talk just about their Navy service,” said Reilly. “They talk about their lives in general, and they offer insights into women’s lives in the ‘30s and ‘40s. They talk about their lives before and after the service, where they came from and their education. They give you a sense of this particular era.
“We’re making sure that their experiences are being captured for the benefit of future generations.”
These oral histories are valuable in that they not only tell our history, but also highlight the many contributions of women to our Navy.
“You always have the official record, but that doesn’t always tell you what actually went on,” said Reilly. “The official written records only tell you so much, but personal papers can tell you more. And oral histories can sometimes tell you even more than that.”
That’s why projects such as this are important. They capture the experiences of important groups of people who were pioneers in a lot of ways.
“Without the oral history project, we probably wouldn’t have their stories,” said Reilly. “Many of those memories and those experiences of that generation are being lost every day.”
More than 86,000 women served in the WAVES.
To hear their stories, visit
Photo Caption: QUONSET POINT, R.I. (July, 24 1945) First group of WAVES to report for duty with VR-12. They are in the Link trainer building, a Quonset hut at Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island. They are identified as Frances Jacobs, Janice Angle, Evelyn M. Gifford, Mary van Velzer (seated in Link trainer, center), Dorothy Drawbert, Jeanne Euettl, Janet B. Greenwood, Joan de Vore, Fay Mildred Marlette and Priscilla C. Morrison. Identifiable rating badges are Specialist (Teacher), indicating that these WAVES operated the squadron’s Link training unit. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives)

Brooklyn Navy Yard: From WWII warships to Hollywood on the East River

(CNN)It's seen a rapacious Leonardo DiCaprio rip-off the gullible, Sarah Jessica Parker ponder sweet amor and an air-headed Brad Pitt harbor intentions of blackmailing a CIA agent -- all just a bridge away from the madness of Manhattan.
In the old times, Brooklyn's historic Navy Yard would be lucky to attract the stars of the silver screen to a USO show.
Today, its home to one of the largest film studios outside of Hollywood.
The "Wolf of Wall Street", "Sex and the City Two" and "Burn After Reading" are just a few of the major motion pictures shot at Steiner Studios in recent times.
More than 40 feature length and TV productions were filmed here in the last year alone.
Studio chairman, Doug Steiner, opened the site just over 10 years ago. 
    "It was really awful looking with wild dogs -- literally wild dogs -- roaming the streets here," Steiner said. 
    "I liked the industrial landscape a lot and the opportunity. To me Brooklyn was a great opportunity waiting to happen because of the proximity to Manhattan."

    Sixties decline

    At its peak during World War II, the Brooklyn Navy Yard employed some 70,000 people. But the 1.2 square kilometer site fell into steep decline in the 1960s when the sailors moved out. 
    Today, the yard is a vastly different place -- and not just because of the Hollywood A-listers strutting around.
    A non-profit corporation has been regenerating the location with the aim of creating new employment opportunities since the turn of the century. 
    From navy yard to waterfront film studio

    From navy yard to waterfront film studio 02:43
    Steiner studios was one of the first tenants but others have followed.
    One former warehouse represents the corporation's biggest project to date, with more than 90,000 square meters of space up for grabs and the potential creation of 3,000 new jobs.
    "I think our influence on Brooklyn in general has been quite substantial," said David Ehrenberg, CEO of the Brooklyn Naval Yard Development Corporation.
    "We were the first entity that started investing substantially back into these old buildings on the Brooklyn waterfront.
    "And to some extent (we) proved a concept -- that manufacturing and industrial and creative companies would want to take root in Brooklyn," Ehrenberg said.

    The creative class

    Being at the forefront of these wider trends has helped attract a new type of workforce to the area.
    Steiner says housing prices within half a kilometer have risen up to ten times. Some 1,500 people already work at the studio, which is set on a path of rapid expansion.
    It is benefiting from the explosion in demand for high quality content across mobile devices - and Steiner sees it as part of a wider trend.
    "Old media has always been based in New York City and continues to be based (here), film and television has been anchored in LA and high-tech has always been in northern California," Steiner said.
    "But I think right now we're seeing everything coming together in New York."

    What Hawks Have to Say About the US Navy’s New Maritime Strategy

    This week, Breaking Defense published an interesting piece entitled “What Navy’s New Maritime Strategy Should Say,” co-authored by John F. Lehman and Randy J. Forbes. Lehman served as the U.S. Secretary for the Navy under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1987, and Forbes (R-VA) is the hawkish chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee – an influential body in formulating naval policies. The article deals with the U.S. Navy’s new maritime strategy, to be published today.
    It starts off with a predictable yet poorly chosen historical analogy: the 1982 Maritime Strategy and how it inspired the U.S Navy to take the “fight directly to the Soviet Union rather than to consign itself to simply transporting troops to the fight.” This “helped remind the service [the U.S. Navy] of its fighting spirit, but also sent a powerful signal to friend and foe alike that the service remained a force to be reckoned with.” This is one of the usual playbook arguments used by hedgehog analysts suffering from the “Gathering Storm Syndrome” (I wrote about it here and here), and fails on many analytical levels and historical realities.
    The authors then go on to emphasize that the strategy will need to contain four key elements in order to be successful. Again, the first one is almost laughably predictable:
    “A key element of the 1982 Strategy was signaling America’s renewed commitment to robust naval power to both our adversaries and allies. The new Maritime Strategy must follow a similar path, clearly conveying to states like Russia, Iran and China our determination to maintain sufficient capacity to ensure access to the global sea-lanes, freedom of navigation, and a stable balance in key regions of the globe.”
    Whatever happened to Theodore Roosevelt’s “speak softly, and carry a big stick” foreign policy approach? The world’s most powerful navydoes not need to signal its resolve and strengths; rather, let the navy’s capabilities and size speak for itself. Furthermore, signaling uncompromising resolve also fails to take into account the opportunity cost of pursuing such a hawkish line at the expense of trust-building mechanisms and maritime cooperation agreements between the countries mentioned above and the United States, which could help reduce tensions.
    Perhaps, the authors should heed Margaret Thatcher’s saying that “being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” Also as George Smiley notes in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, fanatics (i.e. defense hawks) are always prone to uncompromising attitudes, yet “the fanatic is always concealing a secret doubt.” Thus, signaling strong resolve may actually have the reverse effect.
    However, the article does contain three useful observations.  First, the authors note the importance of budget coherence. “The new strategy must provide high-level thinking to inform the Sea Service’s annual budget proposals, which too often appear to be accounting exercises as much as realistic statements of military requirements.”
    Second, unlike the White House’s National Security Strategy, the new maritime strategy ought to be a document outlining a specific strategic vision and which, like the 1982 strategy, should offer “specific guidance that could be easily operationalized and implemented far down the chain of command.”
    Third, Lehman and Forbes emphasize an holistic approach to strategy formulation and note that “the new Maritime Strategy must include all aspects of American naval power to be successful.” They go on to explain that “the 1982 Strategy spoke not only to the role of the traditional sea services: It considered the role of the Air Force’s maritime aircraft and even attempted to account for the Army’s role in any future maritime conflict.”
    Perhaps the authors can be classified as strategic hedgehog-tactical fox hybrid analysts after all?



    A Guardia Civil patrol boat cut across the bow of a British nuclear submarine as it sailed from Gibraltar yesterday morning, prompting a diplomatic protest from the UK.

    Escort vessels from the Royal Navy’s Gibraltar Squadron and the Gibraltar Defence Patrol raced toward the Spanish vessel Rio Cedena as it came close to HMS Torbay.

    “HMS Torbay had to slow down considerably, nearly to a halt, because of the Guardia Civil launch and wait until it left the area,” an eyewitness told the Chronicle. “The Guardia Civil launch was perhaps 500 metres from the South Mole.” 

    The incident was logged as an illegal incursion by The Convent, although officials there refrained from commenting further due to the sensitivity of UK submarine operations.

    “An unlawful incursion into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters by a Spanish State vessel took place on Thursday 12 March The Royal Navy challenged the vessel, which departed British waters,” the spokesman said. 

    “The actions of the Guardia Civil constitute a violation of British sovereignty and a breach of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.” 

    “We will be protesting this to the Spanish Government.”

    The spokesman also repeated the British Government’s standard response on jurisdiction and incursions.

    “Although unlawful incursions by Spanish state vessels are a violation of sovereignty, they have no legal impact,” the spokesman said. 

    “These incursions do not weaken or undermine the international legal basis for UK sovereignty over British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.” 

    Pic by Moses Anahory
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    Event marks 100th anniversary of 'unusual' World War One poetry

    Poems including one about a woman happily sending her husband off to war have been performed to mark the 100th anniversary of their publication.
    They are part of a book by Lincolnshire poet Bernard Samuel Gilbert about life on the home front during Word War One.
    One poem, Gone To The War, is about a woman celebrating seeing the back of her "beer-swilling, wife-beating" husband.
    The poems were part of a recital at Lincoln's Drill Hall.
    Local historian Andrew Jackson said Gilbert, who came from Billinghay and worked for the ministry of munitions, offered an unusual perspective on "how people left at home felt about the war".
    "He wrote for local people - about women and ordinary working folk and he also wrote in his local dialect.
    "All of this makes his work very distinctive." 
    Cover of Gone To The War, by Bernard Samuel GilbertGone To The War talks about a woman's "beer-swilling husband" being at the "Bull" while she slaved away
    The poem Gone to the War is about a woman celebrating her husband going off to fight, and thinking she is better off as a result.
    Part of it reads: "He's gone to the war, he's gone to the war - I don't give a rap if I see him no more - He leathered me reg'lar, Saturday night, when he collared his wages and allers got tight.
    "I'm sure I prefer to be single by far."
    Another of the poems is about the attempts of a master to stop his servant - who has a "twisted leg" - going off to fight. Not out of kindness, but to make sure he is still around to do all the work.
    Gilbert's poems were performed at the Drill Hall on Friday by Maureen Sutton, a local dialect expert. The date marked exactly 100 years from when they were published.

    More on This Story

    John Edward Cole WWII MIA until now

    World War II veteran to gain grave marker after 72 years of being declared missing in action
    John Edward Cole, left, was declared missing in action in 1943 after the ship he was on was struck by a torpedo by a german submarine and sunk in the Battle of St. Patrick's Day. Cole will gain a grave marker on Saturday. (Photo contributed)

    More than 70 years after being declared missing in action, a local World War II veteran will be remembered with a grave marker this morning at Mountain Home National Cemetery.
    A third assistant engineer with the U.S. Merchant Marines, John Edward Cole was declared missing in action after a German submarine torpedoed and sank the ship he was on, the SS James Oglethorpe, during the Battle of Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17, 1943, when he was 33.
    Although Cole was born in Louisiana, he and his wife, Florence, called Johnson City home – specifically 207 E. Unaka Ave.
    Cole’s grave marker is five years in the making – Cole left behind no children, and while his wife joined the Women’s Army Corps after he was declared missing in action, the rest of her life remains uncertain. The Veterans Administration requires next of kin to supply a grave marker to deceased or missing-in-action veterans. This left some work for Johnson City/Washington County Veterans Memorial Foundation Historian Allen Jackson.
    “They kept turning me down . . . so I broadened my scope in hopes that I could hook someone else to contact me, and after five years, one of the nephews of his twin sister contacted me,” Jackson said.
    Cole’s remaining descendants were looking for him, but their knowledge of their long-lost uncle was limited. The oldest nephew, Ben Swayze, was 3 when Cole was declared missing in action, and barely remembers his uncle.
    And then they contacted Jackson.
    “All they knew is he served in World War II, he was a merchant, and he died,” Jackson said.
    Now, Cole’s nephews and their families will be traveling from Houston, Texas, and Valdosta, Georgia, for this morning’s 45-minute ceremony dedicating a grave marker to Cole.
    “They’re so proud of what their uncle did,” Jackson said.
    Jackson became a historian for Washington County and Johnson City after 26 years of serving the country himself. When he first started his project of giving grave markers to local war veterans, only two men were listed under the World War I memorial.
    After years of work, now 352 local veterans from World War I to the present day have grave markers in the Johnson City/Washington County Veteran Memorial Park.
    Jackson said his years in the service is what drove him to secure a grave for local veterans.
    “I’ve seen how many men have been forgotten, not only in the United States, but overseas as well,” Jackson said. “I want each one to have at least something to see when a person walks by to go ’oh there’s a hero who served for us,’ than for it to just be a blank space on the ground or have nothing at all.” The grave marker ceremony will be held at Mountain Home National Cemetery Saturday at 11 a.m.

    Medals, braid, sashes: what exactly are the military uniforms worn by the Royal family?

    Medals, braid, sashes: what exactly are the military uniforms worn by the Royal family?

    The Royal family were out in force at the service to commemorate the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. But what are all those uniforms?

    royal family
    The Royal family turned out in force at St Paul's Cathedral Photo: REX FEATURES
    With more than a hundred military posts between them, they have enough uniforms to clothe an entire company. 
    And when the Royal family turn out in force, there are enough medals and gold braid to sink a small ship. 
    So what did each member of the Royal family choose to wear to the Afghanistan Service of Commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral today? 
    The Duke of Edinburgh 
    Having seen active service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, the Duke of Edinburgh is one of three members of the Royal family who were wearing campaign medals earned in action. 
    His uniform is the dress uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet, a rank he has held since 1953. He was was appointed Lord High Admiral in 2011, on the occasion of his 90th birthday. He holds 38 other military positions throughout the Commonwealth. 
    The set of 17 medals he wears to military occasions comprise his service medals from the Second World War and the various Jubilee and Coronation medals he has acquired through sheer longevity. 
    The red and blue cross worn on a red and blue ribbon around his neck is the Order of Merit, a dynastic order in the personal gift of the Queen and restricted to 24 members. 
    The white cross on a gold chain around the Duke's neck is the Royal Victorian Chain, another personal award of the monarch currently held by just 12 people, most of them foreign monarchs. 
    Below his medals the Duke wore his Order of the Garter star. 
    The Prince of Wales
    Despite having spent most of his miltary career in the Navy, the Prince of Wales chose to wear a frock coat of his Army rank as a Field Marshal. 
    He wore it with a blue sash with his Army Air Corps wings on it, with his medals on top. The medals, from left to right, are: the Queen's Service Order, the Queen's Coronation Medal, the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Canadian Forces Decoration and the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal. 
    Around his neck he wore the Order of the Bath, with an Order of Merit pinned to his right breast. 
    Like the Duke of Edinburgh, he wore his Order of the Garter below his medals. 
    The Duke of Cambridge
    The Duke of Cambridge, who flew Sea King helicopters during his service with RAF Search and Rescue, wore his RAF uniform, with two medals - the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, awarded to all military personnel serving at the time of the jubilees, depending on length of service. 
    Like his father and grandfather, he wore his Order of the Garder insignia below his medals. 
    Prince Harry
    Prince Harry is a Captain in the Household Cavalry, and he wore his standard dress uniform, with his Army Air Corps wings above his medals. 
    Like the Duke of Cambridge, he wore the Queen's Golden Jubilee and Queen's Diamond Jubilee medals, but unlike his brother he also has an Afghanistan campaign medal. 
    The Duke of York
    The Duke of York served as a helicopter pilot with the Royal Navy during the Falklands War, and now holds the rank of Vice Admiral of the Fleet, the uniform he wore today. 
    As well as his Jubilee and commemorative medals, he wears a South Atlantic Medal (on the far left) from the Falklands campaign.
    He also wore his Order of the Garter insignia.
    The Earl of Wessex
    The Earl of Wessex, who famously failed to complete his Royal Marines commando course and never saw active service, nevertheless holds nine honorary military appointments in the UK and Canada. 
    Today he chose to wear the dress uniform of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, a reserve armoured regiment, of which he is Royal Honorary Colonel. It enables him to wear a striking scarlet peaked cap and gold braid, while on his chest he wears the Silver Jubilee Medal, the Golden Jubilee Medal, the Diamond Jubilee Medal and the New Zealand Commemorative Medal. 
    Beneath his medals he wore the insignia of the Order of the Garter and the Royal Victorian Order.
    Princess Royal
    The Princess Royal holds 24 honorary military appointments, and chose to wear her uniform of Colonel of the Blues and Royals, complete with its cocked hat and red plume. 
    Like her siblings, she wears an impressive array of Jubilee and commemorative medals from Britain and the Commonwealth, together with her Garter insignia. 
    Her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, wears his Royal Navy dress uniform, with the crosses of the Royal Victorian Order and the Order of the Bath around his neck. 
    His medals are Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals and a General Service Medal with a Northern Ireland Clasp and a palm for Mentioned in Despatches.

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