NASA has announced that the public has an opportunity to choose the “wake up songs” for the last two Space Shuttle missions. STS-133, which is slated for a November 2010 launch, currently has a list of 40 previously played songs upon which the public can vote. (God of Wonders does not appear to be on the list, nor any of the songs by Newsboys or MercyMe previously played.)
In addition, the public can submit original music for the February 2011 launch of STS-134, which is slated to be the last Space Shuttle launch ever.
The song “contest” can be accessed directly here.
Former President George W. Bush repeatedly said that serving as the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces was one of his highest honors. His actions demonstrated his devotion to the military, and they continue to do so. Even in the absence of the press or publicity, he continues to treat the troops as special to him.
See pictures and a link to a video of Bush’s visit to DFW on 11 August 2010 to greet returning troops.
Whether or not one agrees with his politics, his sincere, continuing appreciation of and devotion toward the US military is admirable, and appreciated.
According to the Navy Times, a US Navy UAV got “lost” and entered the restricted airspace around Washington, DC.
According to a Navy statement, the incident took place Aug. 2 when, about 75 minutes into a routine test flight, an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter operating out of the Patuxent River test facilities in southern Maryland lost its control link with ground operators.
The aircraft then flew about 23 miles on a north-by-northwest course and entered the National Capital Region restricted airspace, part of the Air Defense Identification Zone surrounding Washington, D.C.
Most UAVs are programmed with “lost link” procedures that command the UAV into a preplanned flight profile if it loses contact with its ground station. According to the article, an “anomaly” prevented this failsafe.
The LA Times blog on the beach baptism of US Marines at Camp Pendleton generated an unusually high amount of vitriol toward religious exercise in the military. There were also accusations of command influence and coercion.
A recent comment posted at the original blog attempts to rebut those accusations with the first public first-hand account of the event:
As a Marine Officer and the Public Affairs Officer who covered this event I would like to say that this amazing event was completely voluntary. In fact the event started with a hand-full of Marines who approached the chaplain to do it. As others heard about it they all got on board. Read more…
A recently retired Army Reserve Chaplain minced few words in criticizing the proposed repeal of the policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Chaplain (Col) Alexander Webster (USA, Ret) said, among other things:
President Barack Obama’s initiative to rescind the “don’t ask, don’t tell” statute of 1993 will, if Congress yields to him later this year, shred the social and moral fabric of our armed forces…Fortunately for the nation and its military defense, many chaplains and their civilian faith group leaders are beginning, at last, to push back on the issue.
Webster cites the ADF letter from the Chaplains and the resolutions from Chaplain endorsers opposing repeal.
The Wall Street Journal picks up on a story covered here previously: Rabbi Menachem Stern has been trying to become a US military Chaplain, but is currently unable because he wears a beard as a tenet of his faith.
The 28-year-old rabbi was notified last year that he had been accepted as a chaplain in the Army Reserve. Almost immediately, Army officials contacted him to say the acceptance was a clerical mistake, and that unless he was willing to shave his beard, he couldn’t join. As a Chabad Lubavitch rabbi, Mr. Stern refused, saying the beard is a tenet of his faith.
Stern is obviously aware of the Army’s previous exceptions allowed, including Chaplain (Col) Jacob Goldstein, who was grandfathered, and Read more…
Michael Weinstein recently published a letter “about the importance of supporting” a left-leaning website that is apparently suffering a financial shortfall. The letter was used in a fundraising push for the site, for which MRFF ally Jason Leopold is a “managing editor” and Weinstein himself is a board member. The message included an allusion to his oft-repeated conspiracy theory that Christians are trying to take over the US military (and the world): Read more…
Contrary to some assumptions, Chaplains in the US military do not exist solely to serve the spiritual needs of American servicemembers. In fact, they often play a strategic role in a conflict. From Chaplain (LtCol) Ira Houck:
Chaplains are the religious leaders in the military and religious political leaders in Iraq have respect for the integrity of our office. It’s because of our position that they will tell us information about their areas of expertise that they wouldn’t share with anyone else.
While the use of Chaplains in these roles has a long history, there is a unique aspect of the cultures currently engaged by the US:
Religion is a big part of Iraqi lifestyle and politics. There is no separation of church and state here.
Read more at Chaplains provide new perspective on Iraq.
According to the Associated Press, US Army PFC Naser Abdo joined the Army last year but has since decided that his faith will not allow him to fight.
Abdo said when he joined the Army more than a year ago, he initially felt he could be a soldier and a Muslim at the same time. But he said he now believes Islamic standards would prohibit his service in the U.S. Army in any war.
According to documents provided to The Associated Press, Abdo cited Islamic scholars and verses from the Quran as reasons for his decision to ask for separation from the Army.
“I realized through further reflection that God did not give legitimacy to the war in Afghanistan, Iraq or any war the U.S. Army would conceivably participate in,” he wrote.
Abdo, for whom a “free Naser Abdo” website has been created, faces a similar problem as others who have thought about claiming CO status. In order to be a CO Read more…
While there seems to remain a percentage of the American population that believes the military cannot enforce rules on moral conduct, continuing cases demonstrate that is not the case.
In the Army, a Sergeant Major was recently charged with raping a lower ranking Soldier. Additional charges included abuse of rank, disobeying Army regulations, and adultery.
In the Air Force, a Chief Master Sergeant is facing court martial over charges of misuse of government position, failure to obey orders, indecent conduct, and adultery, among other charges.
Within the United States, the military remains one of the few places, if not the only, where one can still be charged with the crime of being unfaithful to one’s spouse. Read more…
The change in military abortion law continues to simmer beneath the surface of the debate over the 2011 Defense Authorization Act. The changes, which would authorize abortions at US military facilities across the globe, have been largely been overshadowed by the proposed changes to “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
In early August, 200 “active and retired military physicians” reportedly signed a letter asking their Senators to vote against the DAA with the abortion amendment attached.
Combined with DADT and the second engine for the F-35, there are apparently three separate issues over which the bill may fail, if it is goes to a vote in its current form.
Though a few days older than the original story on the Naval officer who filed a complaint over his naming, a Time Magazine story contains more details on “callsigns” in the military, with some interesting, stereotypical (and likely accurate) comments:
In the testosterone-laden world of military aviation, call signs for pilots and other squadron personnel can be really sticky — the more an aviator complains about the moniker his colleagues bestow upon him, the tighter its grip will be.
Over the years, that has led to lots of embarrassing call signs beyond the famous one brandished by Read more…
In response to an inquiry, Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed his support for what has been dubbed the “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York City. Notably, he criticized those who oppose the mosque/community center because…their criticism offends “jihadists.” Interestingly, Weinstein did not reserve his invective purely for Christians:
This [opposition to the mosque] is the work of fundamentalist Christians and ultra-extreme, rightwing Jews.
Apparently, the man who believes Christians are planning to exterminate Jews believes “rightwing Jews” are now helping them. The cognitive dissonance continues below.
For those keeping track: Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion ground zero, marines, mikey weinstein, Military, mosque, MRFF, new york city, pagan, Religion, religious freedom, USAFA
The Air Force Times notes that a panel of seven former Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force (there have been 16 total in the Air Force’s short history) gave enlisted members guidance on what may happen if “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is repealed. Their commentary seems to largely reflect the feeling that there’s nothing they can do about it, so the only option is to “make peace” with it and move on.
[Jim] Binnicker, the ninth chief, offered up the strongest answer: “It’s going to happen — deal with it. You will be measured by how you deal with it.”
The Stars and Stripes apparently caught up with some servicemembers after they participated in one of the Defense Department’s working groups. Interestingly, the article says most of the concern was on “deckplate issues,” or how their everyday lives would be practically affected by the repeal (examples included berthing and marriage recognition).
Advocacy groups supporting repeal have said these very questions are why these discussion should not be happening.
In a related story, Politico reported the Department of Defense had begun mailing surveys to military spouses in an attempt to gather information on their response to the implementation of the repeal of DADT.