Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery

The following is adapted from a speech delivered by Senator Tom Cotton on April 9, 2019, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

Every headstone at Arlington tells a story. These are tales of heroes, I thought, as I placed the toe of my combat boot against the white marble. I pulled a miniature American flag out of my assault pack and pushed it three inches into the ground at my heel. I stepped aside to inspect it, making sure it met the standard that we had briefed to our troops: “vertical and perpendicular to the headstone.” Satisfied, I moved to the next headstone to keep up with my soldiers. Having started this row, I had to complete it. One soldier per row was the rule; otherwise, different boot sizes might disrupt the perfect symmetry of the headstones and flags. I planted flag after flag, as did the soldiers on the rows around me.

Old Guard Soldiers salute departed with ‘Flags In’ tribute

Bending over to plant the flags brought me eye-level with the lettering on those marble stones. The stories continued with each one. Distinguished Service Cross. Silver Star. Bronze Star. Purple Heart. America’s wars marched by. Iraq. Afghanistan. Vietnam. Korea. World War II. World War I. Some soldiers died in very old age; others were teenagers. Crosses, Stars of David, Crescents and Stars. Every religion, every race, every age, every region of America is represented in these fields of stone.

I came upon the gravesite of a Medal of Honor recipient. I paused, came to attention, and saluted. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest decoration for battlefield valor. By military custom, all soldiers salute Medal of Honor recipients irrespective of their rank, in life and in death. We had reminded our soldiers of this courtesy; hundreds of grave sites would receive salutes that afternoon. I planted this hero’s flag and kept moving.

On some headstones sat a small memento: a rank or unit patch, a military coin, a seashell, sometimes just a penny or a rock. Each was a sign that someone—maybe family or friends, or perhaps a battle buddy who lived because of his friend’s ultimate sacrifice—had visited, honored, and mourned. For those of us who had been downrange, the sight was equally comforting and jarring—a sign that we would be remembered in death, but also a reminder of just how close some of us had come to resting here ourselves. We left those mementos undisturbed.

After a while, my hand began to hurt from pushing on the pointed, gold tips of the flags. There had been no rain that week, so the ground was hard. I asked my soldiers how they were moving so fast and seemingly pain-free. They asked if I was using a bottle cap, and I said no. Several shook their heads in disbelief; forgetting a bottle cap was apparently a mistake on par with forgetting one’s rifle or night-vision goggles on patrol in Iraq. Those kinds of little tricks and techniques were not briefed in the day’s written orders, but rather got passed down from seasoned soldiers. These details often make the difference between mission success or failure in the Army, whether in combat or stateside. After some good-natured ribbing at my expense, a young private squared me away with a spare cap. Continue reading “Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery”

AmPart: A Practical Approach to a Neighborhood Defense Plan

Noell Bishop of Bishop 30 Solutions has written a brief introduction at American Partisan on A Practical Approach to a Neighborhood Defense Plan.  If you find that you are interested in more detail on this topic, you can try to get your hands on a copy of A Failure of Civility  (or via pdf[98MB]) by Mike Garand and Jack Lawson which goes into detail on organizing neighborhood protection teams. It is hard to find these days, but AMP-3 still had some copies last I checked.

Before we dive into the subject of Neighborhood Defense, I thought I would share with you some of my experiences that lend to my thoughts on the matter. Although I have actually studied the subject I have had some events that have been very beneficial to me on the subject.

In 2005, I was a DEA agent assigned to the Houston Field Division in Houston, Texas. Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans that year. Myself and two other agents along with members of our air wing based out of Houston responded just after the hurricane had passed. What I saw and what I was told to do was somewhat over whelming to say the least. As a reservist, I had already participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and, to be honest, what I saw in New Orleans was worse because it was in the United States. Growing up, I had always heard it said that “no matter what, we Americans will stick together.” Well, I’m here to tell you that could not be farthest from the truth there in New Orleans. I’m not going to tell a bunch of war stories but let’s just say I used more of my Army Special Forces training than law enforcement training. When developing a Neighborhood Defense plan, I kind of equate it to a guerrilla base when things get really bad out there. So for that, I draw from my days in training at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School attending the Special Forces Officer Qualification Course and the Unconditional Warfare phase, Guerrilla Base Operations, and my time at Robin Sage and other sources.

Let’s start this by identifying what the possible threats are that would lend us to need a Neighborhood Defense plan…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

In regards to Bishop’s statements above about the conditions in New Orleans post-Katrina, I recently heard another speaker, also former military with several years of duty under fire and also deployed to New Orleans/Katrina, make very similar comments about the horrible conditions there.

Benton County Passes Resolution Against I-1639

From YakTriNews.com:

Benton County Commissioners are publicly showing their opposition to Initiative 1639.

On Tuesday [April 2, 2019], commissioners unanimously approved a resolution that supports Sheriff Jerry Hatcher’s opposition to the initiative, which imposes strict gun regulations statewide.

The resolution is meant to “recognize the right of citizens of Benton County to self-defense with the legal and constitutional right to lawfully purchase, own and possess firearms as permitted under the federal and state constitutions,” according to a news release.

Sheriff Hatcher was one of more than a dozen sheriffs across the state who have said they will not enforce I-1639, claiming that the legislation violates citizens’ Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Commissioner Shon Small told KAPP-KVEW the resolution is meant to send a message to the community on where he and his fellow county leaders stand on the matter.

“The bottom line is that we believe in our citizens of Benton County, we believe in our sheriff, we’re going to support our sheriff and any kind of law enforcement action that he’s planning on doing, specifically toward 1639,” said Small.

Franklin County Commissioners passed a similar resolution in January in support of Franklin County Sheriff Jim Raymond.

Self Reliance Public Meeting, Richland, Mar. 28, 2019

The Tri-Cities Self Reliance group is holding a public meeting on Thursday, March 28, 2019 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

EVENT: Public Self-Reliance Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, March 28th 2019
TIME: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Island View Worship Center
LOCATION: 1520 Fowler, Richland, Washington
How to Grow Nutrient Rich Foods Without Pesticides
Delores Beyersdorf has been a biological farmer for 42 years, plus 10 years of gardening and now farms in Benton City. She has transformed farms from conven-tional farms to biological farms in various locations of Washington State. She raises goats, cattle, fruits, veg-etables and many plants including NON-GMO alfalfa hay. She enjoys sharing how to improve the health of the soil through balancing minerals and microbes; disease and insects are the result of improper soil nutrition. Healthy soil equates to healthy food.
Delores will be teaching us the basics of healthy soil, amendments (minerals & microbes), amendment sources, soil testing, and how to analyze test results.

WA 16th Dist. Town Halls, March 23, 2019

From Rep. Bill Jenkin’s office:

Greetings from Olympia!

I’m hosting a trio of town hall events with my seatmate, Rep. Skyler Rude, around the 16th District. This Saturday, March 23, is your opportunity to discuss with us your opinions, concerns and questions about the legislation being debated in Olympia. We will begin each event with a brief legislative update, and then dive into our Q&A session. There is a lot going on and we look forward to this time with you. Please join us at the following locations:

Prosser

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Where: Walter Clore Wine and Country Culinary Center (2140A Wine Country Road)

Walla Walla

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Where: Walla Walla Community College – Performing Arts Auditorium (500 Tausick Way)

Dayton

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Where: Columbia County Youth Building (102 Fairgrounds Lane)

If you cannot attend these events, or would like to submit a question or comment beforehand, please contact my office.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Sincerely,

Bill Jenkin

Benton County, WA Road Closure Update, Feb. 12, 2019

According to Benton County:

Benton County Road Closures as of 4:30 PM, Tuesday, February 12, 2019.

The following roads are now open:

  • Clodfelter Road
  • Locust Grove from I-82 to Plymouth Road
  • Finley Road from SR 397 to end of asphalt (approx. 2.5 miles)
  • Nine Canyon Road from SR 397 to Lower Blair Road
  • Sellards RD from Travis to Plymouth Road

The following roads are still closed:

  • Lincoln Grade
  • McBee Road
  • Nine Canyon from Lower Blair to South end of County Road
  • Sellards RD from SR 221 to Travis Road
  • Ward Gap

Closures will last until further notice. Ward Gap Road, Lincoln Grade, and McBee Road will be closed until the snow melts off. Our crews are unable to get plows into these areas due to significant drifts.

Click here to open the Benton County, WA Road Closure Map. It is supposed to be updated regularly.

KIMA: Winter Storm Kills 1600 Dairy Cows in Region

From KIMA news. Stories of hardships caused by the recent storm continue to come:

YAKIMA, Wash.– Farmers have been devastated across the Yakima Valley, as strong winds of up to 80 miles per hour, and cold conditions have killed about 1,600 cows according to the Yakima Valley Dairy Farmers Association.

Yakima Valley Dairy Farmers are continuing to prepare as more snow is expected to hit the Valley, they’re adding extra bedding to insulate areas for cows to lay in, adding extra feed, and thawing water troughs with hot water.

“Without our employees, there’s no way we, or our cows could survive this storm,” Alyssa Haak , a dairy farmer in Prosser said. “To shield our cows from the wind we stacked straw bales to create a windbreak for our cows. I give a lot of credit to our milk truck drivers, too. Without their bravery, we wouldn’t be able to get our milk off the farm.”

Another farmer in Grandview says he’s been working around the clock to make sure his cows are being protected from the elements.

“These have been the worst few days of my life,” he said. “We’re just devastated. I don’t think we’ve ever been hit with weather like this.”

With severe winter weather continuing to occur in in eastern Washington throughout the next week, dairy farmers are assessing their current losses and preparing for the next round of snow and wind.

Farmers say that they are working together to help each other through these tough times.

Markus Rollinger, a Sunnyside dairy farmer stated, “Saturday was brutal. We put in a 36-hour day, but we’ve been fortunate. I’ve spent a lot of time helping my fellow dairy farmers and supporting what they’re going through,” Markus says. “My brother and I are trying to keep roads plowed for our employees and the milk trucks.”

Governor Inslee has declared a state of emergency for the state of Washington, which the farmers are hoping will lead to further assistance.

The dairy farmers say that they continue to cope with these conditions and over the next few days will be touch and go as they assess the damage and losses to their farm.

2019 Benton County Sheriff’s Citizen Academy Accepting Applications

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is now accepting applications for the Spring Citizen Academy. The Sheriff’s Office offers this free 5-week Citizen Academy for the public to be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6:00-8:00 pm. The Academy teaches the public about law enforcement and the day-to-day operations of the department. Most classes are held at the Benton County Health Department with the exception of two tours.

Classes include:

  • Patrol Procedures and Traffic Enforcement
  • Detectives and Narcotics
  • School Resource Officer
  • Evidence Collection
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Sex Offender Program
  • SWAT Team
  • Crime Analyst
  • Gangs
  • K-9
  • Boat Patrol
  • Corrections
  • Tours of Benton County Jail, Justice Center, and Coroner’s Office
  • Plus more

Classes start Tuesday, April 30th, 2019. Applications must be received by April 16th.

Click here to download a PDF application to fill out.

Rally for Your Rights, Olympia, Jan. 18th, 2019

A rally in support of “the right of the individual citizen to bear arms” (WA state Constitution) will be held on the Capitol Campus Friday, January 18th. The rally will be held on the north steps of the Legislative Building and will begin at 9 a.m., ending at 12 noon. The rally is sponsored by the Gun Rights Coalition.

From The Olympian:

A gun rights rally next week on the Capitol Campus is expected to draw 150 people, including some with guns.

Rally for Your Rights will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 18 on the north steps of the Legislative Building. The event is organized by the Gun Rights Coalition and is permitted by the Department of Enterprise Services.

State law allows people to openly carry guns in most public areas, including on the Capitol Campus. Washington State Patrol will be at the scene that day.

 

Yakima Herald: Trained Volunteers May Be the First to Reach Victims

The Yakima Herald had an article on CERT volunteers and training last year – In an emergency, trained volunteers may be the first to reach victims. Yakima County has an active CERT program. Benton County does not. If you live in Yakima County, you can take advantage of the training from CERT. They do a “CERT Basic Course” for volunteers which includes:

Disaster Preparedness: Addresses hazards specific to the community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during and after a disaster as well as an overview of CERT and local laws governing volunteers.

Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.

Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.

Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.

Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.

Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a disaster activity.

Excerpt from the Yakima Herald article:

If an earthquake, volcanic eruption, wildfire or flood hits the Yakima Valley, you might not see firefighters or paramedics in your neighborhood for a while.

The experience in other disasters has shown that professional first responders can be overwhelmed as they deal with urgent needs, or they might not be able to get to where people need help because roads and bridges are out.

Instead, help for your neighborhood may come from people in green vests and hard hats like Paul Jenkins, a volunteer coordinator with the county’s Community Emergency Response Team

The team has quarterly training exercises and participates in events such as a recent drill at the Yakima Air Terminal, as well as activations of the county’s emergency operations center in Union Gap.

While some people may think that firefighters, police and paramedics will be on the scene right away when a disaster strikes, Jenkins said they could easily be swamped with calls for help in an emergency, or the nature of the disaster might cut off access for a time.

Jenkins has been called out for flooding in West Valley, wildfire near Moxee and the Miriam Fire, where he helped distribute literature and provide security at the site. He was also sent to Outlook to help get information and bottled water to residents after an overflowing manure pond contaminated local wells.

While there are 60 people currently trained, Ward and Jenkins would like to see more people get involved, as it will give them skills to cope in a disaster…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a happy and prayerful Thanksgiving.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.

Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.

– Psalm 100

HHSS Turkey Shoot, Sat. Nov. 17th

sportsmanrangeHorse Heaven Sportsmen Society invites you to compete for your chance to win one of many Turkey and Ham Thanks Giving dinner.

The competition is for all age groups and fun for the entire family. We will shoot .22 Long Rifle from off hand standing position for your chance to win a complete Thanks Giving Meal.

Rifles and ammunition are provided. Bring your own .22’s (scoped rifles are restricted to 50yd targets only). Prizes awarded after each round.

Cost: $1 ages 16 & under, $2 for Adults (bring small bills if possible).

Hot BBQ Food and drinks served (donations gladly accepted).

Horse Heaven Sportsman RangeDump Road, Prosser, Washington 99350  

Veterans Day 2018 in the Lower Valley

Veterans Day events in the Lower Yakima Valley.

West Richland – Veterans Day Parade, downtown – Van Giesen St., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at 9:30 AM. Chili feed at Flat Top Park Pavilion following parade – 4749 W Van Giesen.

Prosser – Veterans Day Parade, downtown, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Prosser – Thank-You Breakfast for Veterans & Their Families, Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center, Saturday, Nov. 10, 7 – 11 AM

Grandview –Annual Veterans Day “SOS” Brunch, Grandview Community Center, Sat., Nov. 10, 10:00 AM

Yakima – Veterans Day Parade, Yakima Ave, Sun., Nov. 11, 10:45 AM

Click here to visit Military.com’s list of 2018 Veterans Day discounts on restaurants, goods, services and events.

Click here for a list of veteran resources at militaryveteranproject.org.