Monday, January 31, 2011

U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Named to Minute Man Hall of Fame

The Reserve Officers Association of the United States inducted Rear Adm. Daniel R. May, United States Coast Guard, into its Minute Man Hall of Fame at its National Security Symposium here Sunday.

Admiral May, who hails from Orlando, Fla., stood out among his predecessors as the U.S. Coast Guard Director of the Reserve and Leadership from January, 2008 to April, 2010.

Adm. May receives his award from President Kayye

“He demonstrated he was not only was an advocate of the Coast Guard Reserve but all of the Reserve components,” said retired Navy Rear Adm. Paul Kayye, ROA President. “He did this through strong participation in the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Reserve Chiefs meetings, and other ROA activities. He is acutely aware of the value of Reserve forces to our national security. Certainly the Coast Guard Reserve is better off because of him.”


Among his accomplishments, Admiral May was instrumental in improving cost-effectiveness, efficiency, manpower accuracy, and the effectiveness of the Coast Guard Reserve Program through improvements in the Reserve Forces Readiness System.

During his tenure he spent a good deal of time visiting Reservists and educating himself on Reserve issues and concerns. “He is known for looking out for the troops,” said Admiral Kayye.

Admiral May is currently the U.S. Coast Guard Director of Personnel Service Center.


The first member of the Minute Man Hall of Fame was President Harry S Truman in 1959. Since then other notable recipients of this honor have included President John F. Kennedy, Secretaries of Defense, members of Congress, and chiefs of the various services and reserve components.

McCarthy Sees Reserve as Answer to Strained Force and Belt-Tightening

Dennis McCarthy, assistant secretary of defense for Reserve Affairs, said Monday that many who used to see the Reserve Component as a strategic force that is used “once in a lifetime,” now understand that it will never be that way again.

Speaking at the first-ever Reserve Officers Association (ROA) National Security Symposium, Mr. McCarthy emphasized that these ideas have changed significantly. Along with declining budgets, of which many symposium speakers have noted, it’s the Reserves who will likely get the call in the future.

Secretary McCarthy speaks at the Symposium
“We’re going to continue to need a force that can deploy worldwide for a variety of missions—a full spectrum of missions—perhaps not the least of which will be missions that are designed to prevent war, not to wage it or to engage in it,” he said.

He also noted that the Active Component continues to live under short dwell-to-deploy timeframes, and often times, even dwell time is punctuated with other duties and assignments that impact the long-term dwell times for the force. He suggested the Reserve Component as an answer to this dilemma.


But it all must be done with declining dollars.

“Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates has already announced a number of ways to change the way the department spends money,” Mr. McCarthy said. “[And] we understand that most of the deployments of the Reserve Components over the last nine or 10 years have come from supplemental funding, outside of the regular budget.”


As demand in Iraq and Afghanistan decreases, so must the funding, he said.


“The Reserve Components [are] positioned, I’d suggest to you, to play an important role in putting forth a full spectrum force around the world in an efficient and cost effective way.”
Mr. McCarthy also commented on the symposium itself, suggesting such forums were crucial for a better understanding and interest in the Reserve Component.

“The Reserve Officers Association is one of a very, very few organizations, enterprises in Washington that would conduct an event like this,” he said. “And if you don’t do it, it’s unlikely to get done; and if you don’t continue to do it, it’s certainly not going to get done at the level that it needs to be.”

PTSD, TBI and Suicide Prevention Strong Focus of the Army

Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, noted Sunday that although the complexities of the brain make it challenging to determine treatments for those wounded, the Army continues its effort to find solutions to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stemming the tide of suicide among service members.

His keynote address kicked off ROA's first-ever National Security Symposium at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., which runs Sunday and Monday, along with ROA's Reserve Component Expo. The two day symposium was designed as a cornerstone of ROA's mission to educate members and attendees on national security issues.


Gen. Chiarelli opens the Symposium
Emphasizing soldier and family care as crucial to the endurance of the military, Gen. Chiarelli said Soldier mental well-being is of the utmost importance and directly affects the nation's security, particularly after nearly 10 years in the fight.

"Our soldiers and their families are under a tremendous amount of stress and strain, physically and emotionally," he said. "The reality is, as we continue to draw down operations in Iraq, and eventually in Afghanistan, we're going to see more and more of them returning home, many of them dealing with physical and behavioral health injuries, including depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury, and post traumatic stress [disorder]."


It's not an easy task to tackle, although the Army continues to search for treatments and solutions.

"The fact remains, these wounds are not well understood, yet they affect a significant portion of the Army's wounded warrior population," Gen. Chiarelli said.

Although the Army is taking a holistic approach to dealing with these injuries, the study of the brain is incredibly complex.

"And as of Jan. 1 this year, 63 percent of those wounded have either PTSD (47 percent) or TBI (16 percent)," he said. "But many treatment efforts are still in their infancy, and the challenge is often beset by a latency period before symptoms emerge."

One of the most troubling numbers, he noted, was the increased number of high-risk deaths, suicide attempts, and suicides in the past year. But it wasn't on the side of deployed personnel.

"We saw a substantial increase in the number of suicides of soldiers not serving on active duty, to include a doubling in the Army National Guard," he said.

As a result, the Army is working to determine the factors contributing to this increase.
"One joint study I'm particularly excited about is the Army STARRS [Study To Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers], a 50 million dollar, five-year study to assess risk and resilience in servicemembers," Gen. Chiarelli said.

According to www.armystarrs.org, investigators will look for factors that help protect a Soldier's mental health and those factors that put a Soldier's mental health at risk.

Although a five-year study running through 2014, STARRS will report findings as they come available.

In addition, Gen. Chiarelli said the Army is working closely with employers of the Guard and Reserve in the private sector to try to mitigate economic stress.

"The reality is, what they both desire is predictability," he added. "And we recognize we must do everything we can to provide that predictability and also as much stability as possible."

Collaboration Key to Total Force Future

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz told attendees at the first-ever Reserve Officers Association (ROA) National Security Symposium on Sunday that tight budgets and new threats demand a unified force to face future threats.

"We must continue to steer clear of pure-parochialism in favor of greater Total Force collaboration and integration, to reconsider the tendency for pure self interest and instead acknowledging and sharing the burden," he said.

One particular emphasis is the air-sea battle concept, which would bring Air Force and Navy capabilities closer together to face future threats.

"As it develops, the success of air-sea battle will hinge on the ingenuity of all the people in the Total Force to provide the technical detail and to create an operationally meaningful strategy in concepts of operation for the tactical maneuver of air and maritime forces," Gen. Schwartz said.

For the Reserve Component, he noted the need for more predictability, not only for those who serve, but for their families who also share heavy burdens during deployments.

Overriding all of these issues are budgetary constraints, which he said will require personnel to move forward, but with less.

He said officials continue to trim bureaucracy and overhead looking for up to three percent budget growth. Efficiencies are targeted to save about $100 billion over the next five years.

"Our challenge that is yours and mine is to squeeze as much capability out of every tax payer dollar as we possibly can," he said. "This will be a difficult balance between commitments to today's fight to which we are all in and tomorrow's contingency."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ROA Attends White House Announcement on New Military Family Support Initiatives



Reserve Officers Association Executive Director, retired MG David Bockel, was in attendance at the White House as the President's new commitments to better support military families were introduced Jan. 24.

The administration outlined nearly 50 federal initiatives by federal agencies that establish coordinated and comprehensive support to military families. The program's title: "Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment" seeks to ensure:
  • the U.S. military recruits and retains America’s best, allowing it to maintain the high standards which have become a hallmark of our armed forces.
  • Service members can maintain both strong families and a high state of readiness;
  • family members can live fulfilling lives while supporting their service member(s); and
  • the American people better understand and appreciate the experience, strength, and commitment of those who serve and sacrifice on their behalf.
The initiative tackles four strategic priorities claimed as the primary challenges for military families.
1) Enhance the well-being and psychological health of the military family. 2) Ensure excellence in military children’s education and their development.
3)
Develop career and educational opportunities for military spouses.

4)
Increase child care availability and quality for the Armed Forces.


"This is an unprecedented step to address some very significant issues facing service members and their families today," said General Bockel. "I was proud to represent ROA at the unveiling of this project and look forward to monitoring its progress. Many of the items discussed are things which ROA has highlighted in its legislative advocacy and strategic defense education programs, particularly the psychological health issues plaguing our wounded warriors today."

For more information on how these initiatives fall in line with ROA's top priorities, visit www.roa.org/issues.

The administration is 'all-in' as many partnerships are being established between departments on different issues. Health and Human Services will help confront suicide trends within military family and Veteran populations. They will help normalize preventive training and peer-level counseling to best treat psychological needs of our military families, and expand access and quality of child care resources.

Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Labor and HHS have teamed to achieve the aggressive goal of unqualified elimination of homelessness by 2015. DoD, Labor, Commerce, and the Small Business Administration are committed to collaboratively engaging corporate America and expanding career opportunities for military spouses.

The Department of Agriculture will co-host the Family Resilience Summit in 2011 with DoD to maximize USDA’s reach to military communities across rural America through its cooperative extension network.

The Department of Education will make supporting military families one of its supplemental priorities for its discretionary grant programs. This priority, when applied, will, for the first time ever, favor grant applications to meet the needs of military students. Education has also made accessing and processing of financial aid more tailored to military families and more sensitive to the financial fluctuations of Guard and Reserve personnel.

The Treasury Department is establishing an Office of Service Member Affairs to help educate and protect military families from predatory lending and harmful consumer practices.
The Department of the Interior is making available its facilities on their 500+ million acres of Federal lands to military families for recovery, reintegration, and youth employment.
Treasury, Transportation, Homeland Security, and DoD are accelerating efforts to bring down professional licensing barriers to promote competitive career advancement across states on par with civilian advancement.

In attendance at the announcement were the Joint Chiefs of Staff, most members of President Obama's cabinet, and all of the Reserve Chiefs.

Read the White House transcript of the event.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Introducing the 112th Congress' House Veterans' Affairs Committee

Over the past year ROA has worked extensively with the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) and had the opportunity to submit testimony multiple times. Some of the issues built into testimony included Veteran Status, employment, health related-issues affecting rural veterans, and other Reserve Component-specific matters. In addition, Executive Director Maj. Gen. David Bockel testified on the Home Loan Guaranty Program, and Legislative Director Capt. Marshall Hanson participated in a roundtable about health care claims, as well as testified about health effects of the Vietnam War. Furthermore, ROA submitted more detailed responses to questions the committee had about the Service Members Law Center, Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployments Rights Act (USERRA), and other employment matters.

HVAC Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.)
Congressman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who represents the 1st district, is the new chairman and previously served on the HVAC Subcommittee on Health Affairs. He has served on HVAC since 2001, as well as House Armed Services Committee (HASC). His district has the nation’s first naval aviation training site, is the birthplace of carrier aviation, and contains Eglin Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Pensacola and Whiting Field. Additionally, his district is home to one of the largest veteran populations.

The new ranking member who also formally served as the chairman of HVAC is Congressman Bob Filner (D-Calif.). He represents the 51st district which includes Naval Station San Diego and El Centro Naval Air Field. Filner has submitted new bills for the 112th including HR.117 which would improve housing, employment and other programs for veterans.

The vice chairman is Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) from the 9th district. He is also the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee’s Veterans’ Affairs Task Force. Bilirakis has introduced a bill, HR.303, for the new congress that would allow retired members who have a service-connected disability to receive both disability compensation and retired pay.

The new subcommittee chairmen for HVAC are as follows:

Health – Chairwoman Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.)
Oversight & Investigations – Chairman Bill Johnson (R-Ohio)
Disability Assistance & Memorial Affairs – Chairman Jon Runyan (R-N.J.)
Economic Opportunity – Chairman Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.)

Note: Three of the new subcommittee chairs – Buerkle, Runyan, and Stutzman – are actually freshmen (newly-elected members). The full committee membership has not been assigned yet.

HVAC Links:
-Hearings
-Legislation
-Committee Jurisdiction

Introducing the 112th Congress' House Armed Services Committee

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is one of primary committees that ROA has and continues to work with. Over the past year alone ROA has worked with committee members on such issues as granting eligibility for certain Reserve Component members to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and military personnel issues to include readiness, education, health care, and other areas. ROA also works with HASC through The Military Coalition and the National Military and Veteran Alliance.
HASC Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.)

The new chairman of the HASC is Congressman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.). He was formerly the ranking member of the committee during the 111th Congress. He serves the 25th district of California which holds several military locations including Fort Irwin, Edwards Air Force Base, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, and the Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center. McKeon is adamantly opposed to defense budget cuts and has already spoken out against canceling the Marines' Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, as proposed by Defense Secretary Gates.

The new ranking member is Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) who has served on the committee for 14 years. Prior to the 112th Congress he chaired the Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces and before that the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities. The congressman represents the 9th district of Washington which includes Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.

MG Bockel meets with freshman Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a new member of HASC.
In addition to the chairman and ranking member, there is also a vice chairman. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) of the 13th district is the new vice chairman as well as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.

The new subcommittee chairmen include the following (names in the parentheses are the former names of the subcommittees):

Tactical Air and Land Forces (Air and Land Forces) – Chairman Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.)
Military Personnel – Chairman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.)
Oversight and Investigations – Chairman Rob Wittman (R-Va.)
Readiness – Chairman J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.)
Seapower and Projection Forces (Seapower and Expeditionary Forces) – Chairman W. Todd Akin (R-Mo.)
Strategic Forces – Chairman Michael Turner (R-Ohio)
Emerging Threats  Capabilities (Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities) – Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas)

Additionally, there is the Defense Acquisition Reform Panel, established in 2009. Congressman Mike Conway (R-Texas) will lead the panel during the 112th Congress.

ROA has worked closely with Congressman Joe Wilson over the past couple years. In the new congress he has already introduced a number of bills, including one on earlier retirement (HR.179) and for Guardsmen and Reservists to be credited for their active service in support of contingency operations since Sept. 11, 2001 (HR.181), which ROA has strongly advocated for. He also introduced bills to remove the offset of the Survivor Benefit Plan and Dependency & Indemnity Compensation (HR.178), and extend Chapter 61 concurrent receipt (HR.186).

The full committee membership was recently announced and can be found at the HASC website: http://armedservices.house.gov/.

Note: Chairman McKeon released the new oversight plan for HASC. For more information, please refer to last week's blog Preview of the HASC Oversight Plan and HASC’s Transition Blog which lists the new names of the subcommittees.

HASC Links:-Hearings
-Legislation

-HASC Jurisdiction

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reservists Link American Public to Military


WASHINGTON — The Reserve Officers Association of the United States representing the 1.5 million reservists serving today released the following joint statement by retired Rear Adm. Paul Kayye, ROA President, and retired Maj. Gen. David Bockel, ROA Executive Director:
CJCS at National Defense University - U.S. Navy
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff addresses audience members at the National
Defense University Conference on Military Profes-
sionalism in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 10, 2011.
(DoD photo by Mass Communciation Specialist
1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

“Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told audiences at the National Defense University that the U.S. military was out of touch with the American public Jan 10. [Click here for speech transcript]

“As representatives of the reserve components, we feel this statement is not reflective of the total force. Admiral Mullen’s statements may reflect his opinion of the active component, but should not include the Reservists and National Guardsmen who have mobilized, fought overseas, and carry the burdens of their dual military and civilian lives.

 “The concept of America going to war with its military was founded years ago and is called the Abrams doctrine. This doctrine establishes the military construct forcing a reliance on the reserve components when surging to operational capacities so no war is fought without the heart and soul of America behind it. It is used to gauge the public’s support of our presence in a conflict.

“Reservists and Guardsmen span the country. They are our neighbors, on our local police force, working in our hospitals and in every segment of American society throughout every state. No other group connects the military with grass roots America better. No community goes unaffected when these people are mobilized to fight our wars.

"The American public sees all our servicemen and women in uniform on airplanes, airports, shopping centers, and other public places. But the Guard and Reserve are seen right out in the communities where they live. Citizens in these communities are very aware when their neighbors and friends in the Guard and Reserve are mobilized to go into combat. It would be a real stretch to say that Americans are out of touch with the military when so many of those serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places around the world and here in the U. S. are people that live and work right next door.
“We note that the active component, given the seamless integration of the Reserve components into total force operations, often do not realize the extent of their reliance on Citizen Warriors. Most active component service members and organizations take for granted their presence and do not fully appreciate the sacrifice Citizen Warriors give by temporarily leaving their families, communities and jobs to serve. Such an observation is a great testament to the professionalism, readiness and quality of our Reservists and Guardsmen today.

“However, such an observation perhaps does validate Admiral Mullen’s comment that the U.S. military is out of touch with the American public. That relationship, however, is not reciprocal because the American public is in his ranks through the service of its Citizen Warriors.”

The Reserve Officers Association is the 60,000-member professional association for all uniformed services of the United States. Chartered by Congress and in existence since 1922, ROA advises and educates the Congress, the President, and the American people on national security, with unique expertise on issues that affect the 1.5 million men and women now serving in America’s Reserve Components.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Preview of the HASC Oversight Plan

The oversight plan of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) for the 112th Congress confirms that the HASC has its eye on many issues of interest to the Reserve Officers Association, including a few that reflect ROA’s focus and activities as of late.

Reflecting one of ROA’s new Top Ten Priorities, the plan cites the “defense industrial base and technology transfers” as an important area of focus. The plan notes that the shrinking defense industrial base (DIB) raises concern about DoD’s ability to control costs and encourage innovation through competition, and that HASC will examine policies and funding tools to ensure the health of the DIB.

--DEF Event: The Defense Industrial Base at Risk (Dec. 6, 2010)


HASC also stated its plan to review the 2010 election cycle to evaluate military overseas voter participation and find ways to prevent the disenfranchisement of military voters in future elections.

--Recent law reviews addressing military voter disenfranchisement: 1056 (Maryland), 1074 (New York, Illinois), 1092 (Texas), 1105 (Virginia)

Another notable inclusion is the reference to implementing key recommendations of the Commission on National Guard and Reserves (CNGR) to improve the operation of the Reserve Components, create a continuum of service, and support an operational reserve force. The plan also contains the priority to maintain the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) as a separate procurement account.

ROA is committed to working with the House Armed Services Committee of the 112th Congress to ensure these and other objectives are met. Expect more coverage of the 112th Congress and its new legislative priorities in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Guard Medical Mission Begins Overseas

U.S. Air Force Airmen, assigned to the 451st Expeditionary
Aeromedical Evacuation Flight, transport patients
from a C-130J Super Hercules to an ambulance during
an aeromedical evacuation mission to transport patients from
Camp Bastion at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan,
to Bagram Air Base on July 19, 2009.
(U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller)
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany--The Air National Guard's new Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) mission is preparing this week for it's first transport of critically wounded personnel from Germany back to the United States, returning Guardsmen to a mission it performed early last decade.

Most recently an Active Component mission, Air Force CCATTs provide intensive-care-level treatment for wounded warriors as they move by air between combat theaters such as Iraq or Afghanistan, and even Africa, to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and then back to stateside medical facilities.

Each CCATT,comprised of a critical-care physician, respiratory technician, and a critical-care nurse, is designed to provide a higher treatment level during movement of the most critical medical cases from one medical facility to the next. Based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, this Air Guard mission is one created to provide relief for Active Component Air Force assets and also take advantage of some mature skills and abilities that reside in the Air Guard--often honed in the civilian workplace.

Brig Gen John D. Owen, Air National Guard assistant to the command surgeon and adviser on Air Guard issues, including aeromedical evacuation, noted the Guard's ability to provide a full-time team to take a heavy burden off of the active duty, while enhancing the experience and expertise of the teams.

When we're called to duty for a weekend, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, we are able to step up with our training and provide the same level of care," Brig Gen. Owen said. "I would argue [that] the high level [of experience] is because of the extraordinary civilian background that our Guard members have."

He also noted that the Guard is doing this with out any additional manpower or cost as well. "We're taking a trained, prominent physician, putting him through some training the active duty provides on a regular basis, and we bring him over here to fulfill this need."

Air Guardsmen participated in CCATTs early last decade, but Air Guard missions began to lean toward a variety of homeland and domestic response missions, which pulled it away from CCATTs. The operations tempo of the active Air Force, however, along with the untapped experience of medical personnel within the Air Guard opened the door to the resurgence of the CCATT mission in the Air Guard.

Editor Christopher Prawdzik is traveling with other media this week to observe the relaunch of the Air Guard's CCATT mission in Germany.

Israel Hosts ROA on Tour of Israeli Defense


Pictured left to right: RADM Paul Kayye, ROA President;
Maj. Gen. (Ret) Sid Shachnow, USA (Ret); Brig. Gen. Noam
Tibon, Commander, Israeli Defense Force Command and
Staff College; Maj. Gen. (Ret) David Bockel,
ROA Executive Director.
 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee brought ROA President Rear Adm. Paul Kayye, Executive Director Maj Gen David Bockel, and 5 others from organizations representing the interest of American Veterans to Israel in December. This trip focused on the military and political aspects of the country and its defense. For the most part, the emphasis was on the current state of affairs in the only democracy in that part of the world.

The group saw the entire country and received presentations from experts on topics such as Iran as well as from representatives of the Palestinian Authority. Their visits included the Israel Defense Force’s Command and Staff College, an IDF air force base, army outposts on Lebanon’s border in the Northwest and the Syrian border on the Golan Heights. They visited a kibbutz on the border of the Gaza Strip, which was hit by rocket fire the next day.

“We came to understand the fragile state of the physical infrastructure in terms of the military threat from Iran, as well as their clients in Hamas and Hezbollah,” said Gen Bockel. “We learned that the majority of the fresh water of the country comes from the Sea of Galilee in the North which is piped all the way to Jerusalem. An attack on that resource alone would cripple much of the country.”

Tour guide, archeologist, and military
historian Asher Afriat, briefs the
participants on portions of Israel's
recent history. The group was enroute
to a kibbutz on the border with the
Gaza Strip.
With 50 percent of the population and industrial base of Israel located in a small area on the West coast of the country, they visited an Israeli settlement on the West Bank. This settlement had been in existence and prospered since 1967. “Compared to the surrounding Palestinian desert portion of the West Bank, this settlement reminded me a lot of a small, attractive middle class community in the Southwest United States,” said Gen Bockel.
Among the most informative presentations were from two Israeli general officers. One was a physician who spoke to us about the Iranian threat. The other, who is the only reserve general in the IDF, is a corps commander as well as the dean of a law school in Jerusalem. Both generals were on the famous raid on Entebbe, Uganda. Visits to Yad Vashem, the Old City, Tiberias, and Masada were included.

“From a personal standpoint, the trip had significant meaning to me,” said Gen Bockel. “We don’t understand the daily threat that the citizens of that country face each and every day from countries that would like to see them wiped off the map. This is a country (and religion) that has roots going back over 3,000 years. I would encourage all to learn more about this fascinating and wonderful place.”