When you think of a war hero, what image comes to your mind?
Most likely, you think of a man or a woman dressed in desert camouflage, or a wounded warrior learning to walk again after being wounded in battle.
But there is another group of war heroes: the four-legged heroes. War dogs.
Their history in the U.S. military is long and proud. They were used as messenger dogs, scout or patrol dogs, and in the cases of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they have been used as explosive detection dogs.
Unbeknownst to many of the locals, Michigan has one of the few war dog memorials in the nation, located between Milford and South Lyon in Oakland County.
Phil Weitlauf is a U.S. Army veteran, as well as a champion of the Michigan War Dog Memorial. He joined us on Stateside.
There's a huge party happening right now on Detroit's Riverfront!
It's the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 was when Great Britain and the new United States of America slugged it out over trade, over the British habit of grabbing American ships and sailors and forcing them to serve King George (yes, THAT same King George we beat in the Revolutionary War!!)
The War of 1812 Bicentennial and Navy Week are being celebrated this week with events happening from downtown Detroit to Lake St Clair.
A young Army soldier from Boyne City died in Afghanistan last month (November 21) - just two months into his deployment. U.S. Army Pvt. 2nd Class Jack Lee Diener was 20 when he was killed by small arms fire in Kandahar province. Diener graduated from Boyne City High School in 2009. Flags in Michigan are flying at half staff today in his honor. In Boyne City, flags were lowered the day the town heard of his death on November 22. From the November 22 PetoskyNews.com:
Earlier today I posted the stories of two young veterans who had served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Multiple tours overseas is common in today's military. Re-enlistments helped keep these wars supplied with soldiers over the last ten years.
The problem, as Bernard Rostker of the Rand Corporation put it, "the more you go the more you’re exposed, the more likely you will eventually have some adverse psychological reactions."
Rostker is a former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and a former senior policy advisor on recruitment for the Secretary of Defense.
He said the propensity to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is cumulative. And with soldiers serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, they're more at risk than a soldier serving a single tour.
PTSD can show up much later in life.
"This is going to be a huge concern for the military," said Rostker.
"Rand did a study, it was a random telephone interview of large numbers of vets using screening techniques for PTSD, and came to the conclusion that there was a huge number of unreported cases. It was controversial with the Department of Defense who looked at the number of people being treated versus those identified with PTSD and noticed lots were going untreated," said Rostker.
A Marine from Genesee County has been reported killed during combat operations in Afghanistan.
The military says Friday that 28-year-old staff Sgt. Nicholas Sprovtsoff of Davison and 27-year-old Sgt. Christopher Diaz of Albuquerque died Wednesday in Helmand Province.
Sprovtsoff was assigned to the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command at Camp Pendleton, California. Diaz was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California.
When a massive quake struck Japan on Friday, March 11th, Bill Hurles was up north with his sons on a snowmobiling trip. Hurles is head of supply chain for General Motors.
After he saw the first footage of the tsunami slamming into the northern coast, Hurles cut his trip short and returned to Warren. By early Sunday morning, he and his team were in the War Room, desperately trying to get information.
Michigan U.S. Senator Carl Levin is defending President Obama’s decision to get involved in the war in Libya. Critics have complained the president waited too long to act or should have kept the U.S out of the conflict. Levin says the president has chosen the right course.
“He has proceeded in a way which is cautious and thoughtful.”
“The long term goal is to keep the pressure on to have him be removed."
Levin expects the Congress will ask the president to comply with the War Powers Act next week. The president will then have three months to respond to Congress’ request for information about the decision to bomb Libya.
Levin is the chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.
A sniper's bullet hit Boothroyd's Kevlar helmet while on patrol in southern Afghanistan.
Boothroyd thought the helmet stopped the bullet, but the bullet was later found lodged behind his right ear - millimeters away from a main artery and his spinal cord.
From the article:
Boothroyd III travels back to Midland this week with his wife Ashley Boothroyd from Maryland. Their 2-year-old son, Paul Boothroyd IV, is with his grandparents waiting for his parent’s return to Michigan.
He enlisted in the Marines following high school. After acing a linguistics test, the Marines sent him to school, where he learned to speak modern and traditional dialects of Arabic, including Iraqi.
After his time off in Midland, Boothroyd III plans to return to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina awaiting his next tour of duty. He says he appreciates his time off, but wants to return to the Middle East.
Boothroyd says he looks forward to "get back to the fight."
U.S. Senator Carl Levin says success depends on two factors. The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee says the Obama administration should stick to the July deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and make sure the country can continue to build up its own security forces.
The committee’s ranking republican Senator John McCain opposes the deadline.
Levin told a gathering in West Michigan Monday the deadline has helped the Afghanistan police and army exceed recruitment goals. He called a large, effective home-grown security force in Afghanistan “the Taliban’s worst nightmare.”
“Because it would demonstrate that contrary to their propaganda the war against the Taliban is not a war of foreign occupiers seeking control, that it is instead a war that the Afgan people believe in.”
Levin told a crowd in Grand Rapids that President Obama's deadline in July to begin transferring power to the government of Afghanistan has put pressure on the situation in a good way.
President Obama says he has reached a deal with Republican lawmakers to extend unemployment benefits. 180,000 Michiganders were going to see their benefits expire by April if a deal was not reached. In exchange for the benefit extensions, Obama agreed to extend the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels, including the wealthy. The New York Times reports that Obama said the deal is "not perfect, but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery." But a battle may still remain, congressional democrats say they have not agreed to any deal yet.
City bans medical marijuana
A fourth city has banned medical marijuana. Wyoming, a suburb of Grand Rapids, passed the ban last night in a unanimous city council vote. Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reports that Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll says the ban is not a rebuke of medical marijuana rather "this is a vote against the way it is being dispensed." Medical marijuana dispensaries have been popping up in different parts of the state after voters approved the medical marijuana law in 2008. The dispensaries are often in nondescript storefronts. The Detroit Free Press reports that Mayor Poll, a pharmacist himself, says medical marijuana should be dispensed like other legal drugs, presumably at mainstream pharmacies.
State to honor Pearl Harbor Day
Governor Granholm is asking Michigan residents to lower flags to half staff today to honor Pearl Harbor Day. Sixty-nine years ago this morning, Japan attacked U.S. Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. 2,334 servicemen and servicewomen were killed. 1,143 were wounded. Granholm says the action also honors current service men and women:
"We also salute the brave men and women currently stationed around the world, including those fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are defending and protecting the freedom our nation holds so dear."
It's Veterans Day and there are a many articles around the state about those who have made significant sacrifices for our country. Men and women who fought in wars for the U.S. Here's a snapshot of the articles this morning:
Members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church spoke to journalism students at Central Michigan University Monday. The church is known for protesting at the funerals of U.S. soldiers. The group was invited to speak to journalism law students about how far free speech is protected by the first amendment.