Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks! Troops

A message worth repeating from First Lady Michelle Obama:

Every Thanksgiving, Barack sits down to call some of our troops and thank them for their service.

When he tells me about these conversations, it always reminds me of how blessed we are to live in a country where men and women will stand up to protect our freedoms and preserve our way of life. And whenever I've had the chance to meet with these heroes and their families, I've always walked away inspired by their courage and in awe of their strength.

I can't think of any better way to spend Thanksgiving than letting our servicemembers know how grateful we are for everything that they do. So this year, we're making it easy to do just that.

We've partnered with the USO to create a program called Thanks From Everywhere. To get involved, simply visit and write a quick note that troops and veterans all over the world will be able to see.

Add your message to Thanks From Everywhere.
Send a message of thanks and watch the video

Your note will be added to a map with messages from people all over the country, showing our troops and their families just how much we appreciate their service and sacrifice.

If we all do our part, we'll help to build a wave of support to honor our veterans and their families -- and ensure they get the recognition they deserve this holiday season.

At a time when we are sitting down to share the blessings we've received this past year, please take a moment to be a part of this effort to thank America's heroes and their families.

Send a message to Thanks From Everywhere today:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cong. Smith Comments on Supercommittee Failure

Cong. Adam Smith Statement on Supercommittee
WASHINGTONCongressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement today after the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced the Committee did not reach an agreement:
“It is deeply concerning that after months of discussions the Supercommittee has failed to reach a deal to reduce the federal deficit. Once again, we’ve missed the chance to implement a comprehensive plan that balances revenue and spending reform and puts us on the path toward fixing our long-term fiscal and economic problems.

"There is a firm understanding of the challenges our nation faces. However, there is a lack of will to confront them. The math is simple: the federal government spends far more money that it brings in. The solution to this problem lies in reducing spending while raising new revenues – a fact many of my colleagues have now acknowledged. But simply acknowledging it is not enough.
"Now, due to the divide in Washington and through sequestration, we face significant cuts to a wide range of important programs that have supported our middle class, built our economy and created opportunities for future generations. In addition, the Department of Defense now faces deep, indiscriminate cuts that would not be based on sound policy or strategic review and could undermine national security. This is no way to defend our nation, and this is no way to run our government.
"While today's announcement is very concerning, it is not the end of the road. The now pending cuts will not be implemented until Fiscal Year 2013, but that still does not give us much time. Even the specter of sequestration will be extremely disruptive and could lead to cut backs in defense spending well before January 2013.
"Congress must act now. No committee can address these issues on its own. It is my hope that Democrats and Republicans will recognize the severity of the problems we face and act now with urgency to solve them."

SecDef Comments on Supercommittee Failure

Statement by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta on Supercommittee Negotiations

The failure of the Congressional Supercommittee to reach an agreement on deficit reduction is a setback for the country's efforts to achieve fiscal responsibility while protecting our national security. If Congress fails to act over the next year, the Department of Defense will face devastating, automatic, across-the-board cuts that will tear a seam in the nation's defense.

Despite the danger posed by sequestration, I join the President in his call for Congress to avoid an easy way out of this crisis. Congress cannot simply turn off the sequester mechanism, but instead must pass deficit reduction at least equal to the $1.2 trillion it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act.

In my four decades involved with public service, I have never been more concerned about the ability of Congress to forge common-sense solutions to the nation's pressing problems. Since becoming Secretary of Defense, I have made it clear that the Department has a responsibility to help the country get its fiscal house in order -- and we are doing that. I have been leading a strategy-driven effort to achieve the more than $450 billion in cuts over 10 years required by the Budget Control Act. We will move ahead with that plan.

But as Secretary of Defense, my primary responsibility is to protect the security of the nation. The half-trillion in additional cuts demanded by sequester would lead to a hollow force incapable of sustaining the missions it is assigned. If implemented, sequester would also jeopardize our ability to provide our troops and their families with the benefits and the support they have been promised. Our troops deserve better, and our nation demands better.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Guest blogger:  Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Military Citizen of 2011 a DuPont Resident

Sergeant First Class Luis Jimenez received today 

SFC Jimenez and Mrs. Jimenez

Chamber's 33rd annual John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award, sponsored by TriWest Healthcare Alliance. SFC Jimenez is currently the NCOIC of the 593rd Sustainment Brigade’s Supply and Services Section, JBLM.

SFC Jimenez has consistently been active in the communities where he has been stationed, including Taegu, Korea and Fort Campbell, Ky.  Since being transferred to Fort Lewis in 2006, SFC Jimenez continued his full commitment to volunteering his free time.

Motivated by having two children in the Steilacoom School District, SFC Jimenez became involved, first by attending every school district board meeting, and then running for the school board.  SFC Jimenez was a 2011 candidate for the Steilacoom Historical School District School Board.

SFC Jimenez is a DuPont, Wash. resident and is well known to the city government, having attended every DuPont city council meeting to keep abreast of the city’s issues and activities. Impressed by SFC Jimenez’s commitment, the mayor appointed him to the Parks and Recreation Committee. In this capacity, he has devoted over 100 hours of his time to DuPont just in the past year for their Fourth of July picnic, Safety Week, Salmon Bakes and Easter Hunt. SFC Jimenez has also volunteered with the city of DuPont citizen’s police academy.

In addition to his other volunteering efforts, SFC Jimenez, a member of the Lions Club, Kiwanis Club and Knights of Columbus, networked his services through his membership and assisted in raising $20,000 above the amount forecasted in the budget for the DuPont Parks and Recreation Department. Thanks to SFC Jimenez’s encouragement, the organizations solicited goods and services from local businesses to be auctioned off, helping fund the DuPont Youth Basketball Program in 2011.  The extra funds meant 238 children from DuPont were able participate in the program (as compared to the city’s expectation of only funding 75 children).  Due to SFC Jimenez’s hard work and dedication, the city did not experience any resourcing issues with helping more children from the community.

“There is no question that SFC Jimenez devotes countless hours and boundless energy to improving and serving his community,” said George Cargill, award sponsor TriWest Healthcare Alliance’s representative and Business & Trade Development Vice-Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.
About John H. Anderson:
The Chamber created the John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award to honor an outstanding military citizen to commemorate the civic contributions by our resident military personnel. John H. Anderson served as Tacoma’s mayor in the early to mid 1950s. He is also a past Chair of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Board of Directors, as well as a successful local businessman.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I-5 Grants, Part II

Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Representatives Norm Dicks (D-WA-06) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09) applauded the announcement by the Department of Defense that the City of Lakewood will be awarded a $5.7M grant for a transportation project to improve access to medical facilities at Madigan Healthcare System.

"I’m proud to fight to make sure that our men and women in uniform and their families can access the medical facilities they need in a timely and efficient manner,” said Senator Murray. “That’s why I worked to help secure these funds, and I’m so glad that Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be able to start this long overdue project.”

“Madigan Army Medical Center is one of the busiest hospitals in the Pacific Northwest, providing critical care to our brave men and women in uniform in a six-state region,” said Senator Cantwell. “The successful operation of this state-of-the-art medical facility depends on modernized and efficient transportation infrastructure that alleviates congestion around Joint Base Lewis McChord. I was proud to support this investment, which will improve vital medical access to this technologically advanced facility for our military community. The men and women who serve our country deserve access to the quality health care they have earned.”

“These tangible improvements are expected to significantly reduce the delays that Madigan patients and JBLM employees experience entering and leaving the base, particularly at peak hours,” said Representative Dicks, who serves as the ranking Democratic Member of the House Appropriations Committee and its Defense Subcommittee.

“Working to reduce congestion around Joint Base Lewis-McChord is a priority to my District,” said Representative Smith, who serves as the ranking Democratic Member of the House Armed Services Committee. “This investment is a step in the right direction that will have a positive impact on our local community, though much more needs to be done and I will continue to make this a top priority. I congratulate the City of Lakewood for putting together a quality proposal and for their work with partners in the region to secure this funding.”

I-5 Improvements Grants Approved

The Department of Defense announced today the City of Lakewood will receive $5.7 million from a special fund designed to increase access to military medical facilities – Madigan Healthcare System.

You may learn more at Wednesday's RAMP meeting

DoD plans to distribute $299.6 million to eight transportation projects to improve access to medical facilities affected by the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) process.  Congress included $300 million for these transportation improvements in the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011.

The eight projects will improve transportation access to medical facilities at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.Fort Belvoir, Va., and Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.  A list of the selected projects may be found at:

The projects were selected through a competitive process that considered proposals from states and communities around installations whose medical facilities were affected by the most recent BRAC round.  Congress directed the department to give priority to those locations where BRAC actions created transportation challenges that might impede access to medical care.  The selection panel included health care and transportation experts from the Departments of Defense and Transportation.

Funds will be distributed by Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment once the applicants provide complete applications, including comprehensive plans and environmental information pertaining to the selected projects:

·                     Installation: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, MD
o                               Applicant: Montgomery County, Maryland
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 355 Multimodal Crossing
Funding Request: $40 million
o                               Applicant: State of Maryland
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 185 & Jones Bridge Road/Kensington Parkway
Funding Request: $18.3 million
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 355 & West Cedar Lane/Cedar Lane
Funding Request: $19 million
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 355 & Jones Bridge Road/Center Drive
Funding Request: $4.3 million
·                                            Project Title: Maryland 187 & West Cedar/Oakmont Avenue
Funding Request: $7.3 million

·                     Installation: Fort Belvoir, VA
o                               Applicants: Fairfax County, Virginia / Commonwealth of Virginia
·                                            Project Title: RT 1 Widening from Telegraph Road to Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Funding Request: $180 million

·                     Installation: Joint Base San Antonio, TX
o                               Applicant: City of San Antonio, Texas
·                                            Project Title: I 35-LOOP 410 Connector
Funding Request: $25 million