The Guilt of a Veteran by Paul D. Clark, Retired US Navy CPO

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I had the honor of serving in the United States Navy from 1961 to 1981, retiring as a Chief Electronics Warfare Technician. I have always been proud of being allowed to serve my country and also achieving the signal honor of being initiated into the fraternity of Chief Petty Officer (CPO) of the United States Navy. Through the years, however, there has always been a struggle within me when someone thanks me for my service.

 

When thanked, the first thought I always have is one of surprised gratitude that there are citizens who still recognize the value of military service. That event warms my heart. Then comes the ever occurring guilt of trying to find the proper response to the compliment. “You’re welcome” is not a proper response from my perspective. It was my honor to have served. I should be the one thanking America for the opportunity to serve. No thanks needed or wanted. My response of “It was my honor” leaves me feeling guilty of a prideful boasting that I served.

 

This guilt of pride is all about what I was allowed to do and what I was allowed to accomplish. Thanks to the Navy I have been places and experienced things that most people would pay big money for the price of admission. See me back then and you saw a top of his game CPO. That pride lives on, but grows dimmer with time and telling. I am also embarrassed that I am no longer that person. To tell people how glorious that time was seems to be nothing but empty boasting, however well intentioned.

 

The guilt of being mistaken for a hero comes to worry me every time a veterans event occurs. I am no hero by any stretch of the story, and I did nothing remotely heroic for all twenty years served. I saw heroes in action and have seen or heard stories of heroes. All that I can lay claim to is being true to my oath of enlistment and standing on the proverbial wall. Do not mistake me for any of those great ones that paid the price required of true heroes.

 

The Navy may have brought Barbara and I together, however there is always the guilt of the time stolen from my family. I am that thief. I stole from my children and from my wife. I gave that time to the Navy. Barbara, on the other hand, had the toughest job in the Navy – Navy Wife. She was and is jealous of the Navy. Rightly so, but with a wisdom that I lacked in this matter, she allowed me to pursue my dreams in the Navy. For that alone I thank her and owe her for the rest of our days. My children, on the other hand, consider being called Navy Brats as the highest among honors. Go figure.

 

I am guilty of loving the Navy and the ships too much. So much so was this love that separation from the Navy left me feeling guilt ridden and in anguish over abandoning the Brotherhood. Realizing that I could no longer contribute was the cause of a great and dark depression. That is all behind me now and I have moved forward. Now I cherish those memories of days/weeks/months at sea, sailors as close as brothers, and challenging events on the horizon

 

Finally, I am completely guilty of telling sea stories. The stories that are told always contain elements of truth, humor, and amazement. They are meant to entertain as well. They are my hard earned right and privilege to tell. I intend them to educate you and amaze you and to also satiate that longing within me to remain forever young and at sea. If by chance it inspires another to serve then we are all twice blessed.

 

Of all these things I am guilty of because that is who I am. A veteran shaped by the decisions made and the course laid in. A volunteering of service that rewarded the giver more than the gift. All that I ever did was my duty. To be allowed the memory of that is all the reward or thanks I’ll ever need, Thank you.

 

Retired United States Navy CPO, Paul D. Clark

(Paul D. Clark is the father of Tanya Grimsley)

 

Allen West “Happy 238th birthday to the greatest Naval force known to man, our United States Navy”

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by Allen West via Facebook

Happy 238th birthday to the greatest Naval force known to man, our United States Navy. Through time there have been great navies; Athenian, Roman, Spanish, British, German, Japanese. However from the traditions of John Paul Jones, Farragut, Halsey, & Nimitz to today’s exceptional Sailors and leaders, our Naval force spans the globe bringing humanitarian relief or a bullet to the head of evil. From this ol’ Soldier I simply say Bravo Zulu, Anchors Aweigh, and Happy Birthday Sailors. Sure hope we best y’all in football this year.



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U.S. Navy Veteran Jorge Bonilla Announces Congressional Run Against Democrat Alan Grayson

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Jorge Bonilla is proud to announce that he is running as a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

“Hello, my name is Jorge Bonilla and I am proud to announce that I am running to represent you in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

I’m running because as a new father, I am deeply concerned about the direction that our country is headed in. Our current leadership is projecting weakness to our enemies abroad, and overt hostility to our most cherished allies.

At home we are beset by scandal, after scandal, after scandal, all of which arise out of a government that has run out of control and is seemingly unaccountable to ‘we the people.’

The central question of the 2014 election is this, are we the people still capable of self-rule, or do we abandon the American revolution and concede that a small connected elite from Washington, D.C. and New York, is better capable of running are lives than we are ourselves.

This is America guys. We can do better. We must do better, and we will do better.

I know the road ahead is tough, but if you join me I know that we can work hard to restore America’s promise, and secure America’s future.

I thank you for your support. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”

LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP JORGE AND DEFEAT ALAN GRAYSON TODAY:

bonillaforcongress.com

@BonillaCongress on Twitter

Jorge Bonilla for Congress on Facebook

 

Congressman Allen West’s Final Weekly Wrap-Up

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Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and indeed all Americans, it is time to prepare our weekly update for dissemination.

Today is the 71st Anniversary of the attack on US Naval Base, Pearl Harbor which truly marked our entry into World War II. I can still remember my dad sharing with me his feeling when he heard about this attack on the radio. Of course, he would go forth and serve in the US Army during World War II in the European Theater of Operations (ETO).

Little did my dad realize at the time, that he was beginning a legacy of service to our nation that has now spanned four generations. My dad was a member of that “Greatest Generation” and today his grandson, my nephew, carries that honor to this day.

As with the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, America has, and always will, produce the caliber of men and women who stand as guardians for our nation’s honor. These are men and women who have answered the call then and continue to do so now.

Tomorrow many in our nation will watch the next generation of these men and women as “America’s Football Game” takes place, Army vs. Navy. I wonder how many of these young men and women have relatives who were at Pearl Harbor, or served in World War II?

I am proud to know that my own godson, Midshipman John Melvin Hendricks (that rascal who joined the Navy) will be taking that field tomorrow, his second year.

So as we remember Pearl Harbor today, let us never forget those who will stand and answer the call to arms to protect this Republic, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

And in speaking of those who serve, I was angered by the developments this week surrounding Army Major Nidal Hasan who three years ago shot 43 soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians, killing 13. An Army appellate court decision removed the current assigned judge from the case citing that he was not impartial. Furthermore, the court backed the assertion that Major Hasan did not have to be forced to shave his beard.

It just appears again that we are placating and playing the game of political correctness. It is horrific enough that we have classified this terrorist attack as “work place violence” but consider the continued disappointment of those who lost loved ones on that day… for them, it will always be a day which shall live in infamy.

This week we voted in the House of Representatives to remove the word “lunatic” from federal law. However, that does not mean there isn’t plenty of lunacy going on in the workings of the federal government!

Further, I find it interesting when media pundits and talking heads ask the disturbing question, “What will America do if Bashar al-Asad uses chemical weapons in his people?” I would have hoped it would never get to the point of his feeling empowered to use those weapons. It just seems we continue to take a defensive posture reacting to events.

If we had done as military generals on the ground had suggested in Iraq and retained a viable and credible military presence in the region, we could have precluded this. Instead we now have Iran transiting across Iraq to support Asad… and continuing to support terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad.

The Obama Administration was in such a rush to demand former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak step down. Why not the same vigor when it comes to Mohammed Morsi?

I also recall the Obama Administration supporting a Marxist/Socialist President in Honduras and not supporting the movement in Iran against Mahmoud Ahmandinejad.

Confusing? Just imagine what our allies are thinking.

And what happened in Benghazi? America must never stop asking that question, regardless of what the mainstream media wants to hide. Losing an Ambassador, a Foreign Service officer, and two former US Navy SEALS must never EVER become the new normal.

Today, we received the monthly jobs report for November, with 7.7% unemployment and 146,000 jobs created. On the surface it is good news. However, one step beyond the superficial, we realize this is still an economy limping along.

First, the previous job creation numbers from the months of September and October were revised downward by 50,000 respectively. Second, the unemployment rate dropped due to another 350,000 Americans dropping out of the labor force. This means we still have a labor force participation rate hovering at 63.6%, which has and continues to be a record low. At this rate, we could theoretically achieve an unemployment rate of zero if everyone just quit working altogether.

Finally, our U6 computation rate remains dangerously high, due not only to 12 million unemployed Americans, but also a little over 8 million underemployed Americans.

Combined with a fragile economy where the US Federal Reserve is printing money in order to cover a monthly $40 billion mortgage debt, America is hardly out of the woods.

These simple facts just reinforce the need to have sound fiscal, tax, and regulatory policy — not politics — that will incentivize economic growth and wealth expansion. The last thing the private sector and job creators need worry about is more confiscatory economics masquerading as viable solutions to a serious fiscal problem.

Washington DC spends too much, and sending this Administration more American taxpayer dollars is not the answer. It is mathematically impossible to tax “the rich” enough to make a dent in our debt. We must be talking about where to reduce spending first. And why is it that only taxpayers, not the federal government, are expected to “share the burden?”

This is my final weekly update from our Congressional office, but it is by no means my final weekly update… When one door closes, another opens and we shall continue to advocate for truth, the restoration of this Republic, and promote Constitutional conservative principles in the New Year.

It has been my honor to serve as the Representative of the People of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. The fight for our Constitutional Republic has truly begun and I will be on the frontline.

May everyone have a wonderful holiday season and may God bless the United States of America.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update:

-This Week

Coast Guard Authorization—On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation to authorize appropriations for the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) through Fiscal Year 2014 and for the Maritime Administration through fiscal year 2013. H.Res.825, Providing for the concurrence by the House of Representatives in the United States Senate amendments to H.R. 2838, with an amendment, passed by voice. The amended Coast Guard authorization would authorize$17.34 billion for Coast Guard operations and $296 million for the national security aspects of the Maritime Administration. H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011, originally passed the House of Representatives in November, 2011. That bill passed the United States Senate with an amendment in September, 2012.

– Next Week

The United States House of Representatives will meet next week on Tuesday, December 11, for legislative business. The House will consider a number of bills under a suspension of the rules throughout the week. Last votes for the week are now expected on Thursday, December 13 (this is a change from the announced calendar). Also, in a change to the official calendar, the House of Representatives is now expected to be in session the week of December 17.

Highlights of the Week:

– Mon, 3 Dec; presented the USSOUTHCOM Colors, delivered blessing, and gave a short address to open the Annual Caddy for the Cure golf tournament and Wounded Warrior recognition at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs; attended the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) annual Awards dinner.

– Fri, 7 Dec; 71st Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a “day which shall live in infamy;”attended Memorial service for a supporter and dear friend, Warren Maretsky, who unexpectedly lost his life this week. Warren was a great man, husband, and father who will be sorely missed, especially at the morning gatherings at Pomperdale Deli.

– Sat, 8 Dec; will watch America’s football game, Army-Navy, praying for an Army victory, we sure could use it… GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY; traveled over to Tampa to be the keynote speaker for the annual United States Army St. Barbara’s Day Dining-Out and Ball.

–  Sunday, 9 Dec; will participate in the Annual South Florida President’s Council (SFPC) Christmas Toy Run motorcycle ride in Broward County.

Rep. Allen West Statement on Anniversary of Attack on Pearl Harbor

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(WASHINGTON)—Congressman Allen West (R-FL) released this statement today regarding the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor:

“One quiet Sunday morning 71 years ago, a brazen and surprise attack on our shores shocked and galvanized our nation more forcefully than any other single event had ever done.  More than 2,400 Americans were killed and more than 1,100 were wounded. The Pearl Harbor attack sank four United States Navy battleships and damaged four more. It also damaged or sank three cruisers, three destroyers, one minelayer, and damaged 188 aircraft.

Today we remember those who lost their lives on that day, and honor those who valiantly fought on. With courage, sacrifice and selfless dedication, these veteran heroes helped protect our country and preserve our freedoms.

We believed we would most likely never again see an attack of this type on our shores, but we were wrong. As the events of September 11, 2001 have demonstrated, those who wish to engage the United States on the 21st Century battlefield will devise ever more nefarious ways to kill Americans in order to disrupt and harm our way of life.

We must remain vigilant, we must always be prepared, and we must ensure we have the resources to appropriately and adequately respond to those who seek to extinguish our beacon of freedom in the world.

We owe a debt to those who perished at Pearl Harbor, we owe a debt to those who fought on and to those who continue to fight courageously for our country today, and we must remain steadfast for our children and grandchildren so they may live freely and peacefully in this blessed land.”

Speaking To Seniors Oct 23 Rep Allen West “We did still issue bayonets” Read More

STUART, Fla. — Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) knows a thing or two about how the U.S. military uses bayonets, because he sent soldiers into battle with them in Iraq.

Speaking to about 100 senior citizens Tuesday afternoon in this golfing and retirement community, West joined legions of conservatives and Republicans criticizing President Obama’s performance during Monday night’s presidential debate on foreign policy and seized especially on the exchange between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney over the declining strength of the U.S. Navy.

“I can tell you that when I was a battalion commander, we did still issue bayonets to our troops when we deployed to Iraq in 2003. The second thing I will tell you is that in 2001, Special Forces soldiers were on horseback riding with the Northern Alliance to fight against the Taliban,” West said. “So obviously we have a president who does not understand the full capabilities and capacities and what we do in the United States military.”

During the debate, Obama responded to Romney’s concerns about U.S. naval power by noting that “we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”

Obama never said that bayonets were nonexistent — only that they are far less prevalent than they used to be. Indeed, as The Post noted Monday night, the U.S. Marines still train with bayonets in boot camp.

West is a freshman GOP lawmaker and former Army lieutenant colonel running for reelection in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 2004 amid questions about his handling of the interrogation of an Iraqi military official. Questions about his military service are dominating his reelection campaign (more on that here in 2chambers, tomorrow).

CONTINUE READING MORE BY CLICKING HERE: Washington Post

Rep Allen West’s Legislative Low Down & Weekly Wrap Up

Dear Patriot,

Greetings to our constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans.  Reflecting on the past week, I will tell you that Saturday morning got off to a very emotional and great start. My youngest daughter, Austen, was sworn-in as a United States Navy Sea Cadet, part of the USS Spruance Division in Fort Lauderdale. Our family was there as she placed her left hand on the American flag and took her oath.  Could this lead to the first Sailor in the lineage of service in the West family? It will make the Army-Navy game quite personal!

In keeping with this military theme, the past week was really about national security in many different ways. I pray there will be a strong, capable United States Navy and United States Military, for my daughter to join in the future. I am deeply concerned that again our Federal Government is forcing our men and women in uniform to pay the bills for the fiscal irresponsibility of Washington D.C.

Let us not forget that 62 percent of our federal spending is mandatory spending; net interest on the debt, MEDICAID, MEDICARE, and Social Security. Our defense budget, base and overseas operations, makes up only 19.6 percent of the total. Even if we eliminate the entire defense budget, America still runs close to a trillion dollar deficit this year.
It will take courageous leaders who will stand up and tell the American people the truth. We must protect and preserve our mandatory spending programs, however they have to be reformed in order to address our deficits and ever increasing debt.

On the heels of the news about harmful cuts to our military — which will take our Army and Marine force strength down to dangerous levels — Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, stated we are going to end combat operations in Afghanistan sooner than expected. This is a repeat of the strategy which fails to understand the enemy has a vote. There are only two ways to end a combat operation or war — you win or you lose. You do not stop in the 4th quarter and tell the referee that you are going to leave the field. And as expected, following Secretary of Defense Panetta’s statement about Israel’s contemplation of an attack on Iran, America got a threat from Iran’s Supreme Leader.

We MUST stop telegraphing weakness.

I spoke to the Reserve Officers Association this week and laid out a national security strategy for the 21st Century Battlefield of “Engage, Deter and Strike.” We talked about how we must conduct a global threat assessment in order to develop the requirements and capability to meet any threat for the next 15 years.  I also had the distinct privilege of addressing the Arlington Virginia Squadron of the Marine Corps Aviation Association. I built upon the national security strategy and articulated how we must have individuals who understand the tactical level of war serving on Capitol Hill. It is imperative to ensure we have those individuals who can state why we must move away from a Cold War Era forward-deployed military to a power projection force that focuses on strike operations and not nation-building/occupation-style warfare. We discussed how the Marine Corps Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) model is key to understanding how we tailor our forces going forward. Lastly, the Marines and I discussed how we need to create a national military strategy which drives the weapons systems being developed by the defense industrial base.  We need more attack and troop transport helicopters and close air support platforms.

What was special about this week was the chance to speak with allies as well. I had a fantastic conversation with Brigadier General Shmaya Avieli who is head of the Israeli Defense Export and Cooperation Department. We must work with our allies in new weapon system development in order to reduce our procurement and research and development timelines. When we can have more common operating platforms with our allies, we can reduce our logistical support chains and costs which is another driver of the Department of Defense spending.

Also this week, I had the honor of speaking to 30 Officers and Interagency workers attending the Canadian Defense College National Security program, their version of the United States military War College. Having served alongside the Canadian Army in Kandahar, Afghanistan, I was able to use anecdotal stories of how we must have better coordination of National and Operational security strategies to ensure our success at the tactical level. Interestingly enough, we are coming-up on the anniversary of the establishment of the 1st Special Services Brigade “Devil’s Brigade” which was the joint US-Canadian venture and the precursor to our Special Forces.
The closer for this week of national security and defense-related topics was the deployment ceremony for the US Army Reserve 841st Engineer Battalion. Special hat tip to Miami-Dade College North Campus for hosting the event where I was joined by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Men and women from our local area, and other states as far away as Georgia and Alabama, are deploying to Afghanistan’s RC-North. They represent all that is best about America and are the true one percent who ensure the other 99 percent live in a land of liberty and freedom. We must guarantee they have proper ROE (Rules of Engagement) to enable them to engage the enemy on the battlefield.

The lesson learned for all of us is that the world is still a very dangerous neighborhood. We cannot pretend to believe that targeting our military will relieve our fiscal woes. We must listen to our allies and find the means by which we can cooperatively grow stronger and confront the growing adversaries who wish to promote their hegemonic dominance.

At each opportunity to speak, I challenge more of our uniformed men and women to “ruck up” in a suit and tie and seek out offices to run in their communities.  Capitol Hill I can attest is in need of true warriors and those who have a conviction and commitment for our Constitutional Republic.

Steadfast and Loyal,

Legislative Update: The House got back to full legislative work this past week:

– CLASS Repeal — Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 1173, the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act of 2012 by a vote of 267-159, I VOTED YES. Twenty-eight Democrats supported this legislation. The bill would repeal Title VIII of the Democrats’ government takeover of healthcare law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which established the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Program—a national, voluntary long-term care insurance program for purchasing community living assistance services and supports.

– Pro-Growth Budgeting — Thursday, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3582, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2012 by a vote of 242-179, I VOTED YES. Four Democrats supported this legislation. The bill would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to prepare a supplemental estimate of the macroeconomic impact of any major bills reported by a House or Senate committee. Under H.R. 3582, a “major bill” would be defined as legislation with any one-year estimated budgetary effect of more than one-fourth of one percent (0.25%) of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in that year.

– Baseline Reform — Friday, the House approved H.R. 3578, the Baseline Reform Act of 2012 by vote of 235-177, I VOTED YES. Four Democrats supported this legislation. The bill would remove the automatic annual inflation adjustment from CBO’s discretionary baseline spending projections, thereby removing the baseline assumption that discretionary spending will increase each year.

– FAA Authorization (Conference Report) — Friday, the House approved the Conference Report on H.R. 658, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 by a vote of 248-169, I VOTED YES. Twenty-four Democrats supported this legislation. The Conference Report would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operations and programs for four years, from Fiscal Year 2012 through Fiscal Year 2015. The legislation would provide a total authorization of $63.4 billion over the four year period, including $50 billion in discretionary authorizations and $13.4 billion in contract authority through the Airport Improvement Programs (AIP).

Highlights of the Week:

– Tuesday, 31 January, cast my vote and conducted several media interviews on the Florida GOP Presidential primary.

– Wednesday, 1 February, addressed the Reserve Officers Association Conference, met with Kristina Hebert of the Marine Industry Association of South Florida who attended the Small Business Committee full hearing on “The State of American Small Businesses.” Met with Brigadier General Shmaya Avieli, head of the Directorate for Israeli Defense Export and Cooperation.

– Thursday, 2 February, met with representatives from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Taped an interview with CBS News investigative reporter on the two month payroll tax increase fees on government sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) loan guarantees. Video here. Linked up with Iraq combat buddy SGM(R) George Gurrola and escorted him to House chamber and gave a Capitol tour after evening votes. Addressed the Marine Corps Aviation Association.

– Friday, 3 February, conducted an after action review and gave guidance for next Conservative Black forum. Addressed Officers from the Canadian Forces College National Security program. Met with Cindy Chafian Executive Director of “The Mommy Lobby” who asked me to be on her Board of Advisors which I proudly accepted.

– Saturday, 4 February, addressed the Soldiers and Families of the 841st Engineer Battalion at their deployment ceremony. Attended the wedding party for Mr. Bill and Mrs. Sharon Petraglia Jr. The Petraglia Family are just wonderful and have always been there for me, God bless and long life to this new American family.

– Sunday, 5 February, attended the World War II Chaplain’s Memorial Ceremony in Boynton Beach to commemorate the memory of the Four Chaplains who sacrificed their lives during the sinking of the US troop transport Dorchester on 2 February, 1943.

– Monday, 6 February, flew back to Washington DC, recorded video address for Combat Veterans for Congress. Participated in the HASC panel on Business Challenges within the Defense Industry.

REGISTER TO RECEIVE ALL CONGRESSMAN ALLEN WEST’S E-NEWSLETTERS HERE: west.house.gov