Celebrating Women’s History Month: Women Aviators

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Thérèse-Peltier

Thérèse-Peltier

When one thinks of women in aviation, the image of Amelia Earhart normally comes to mind. However, were you aware that women have been flying since the late 1700’s, when in 1784 Elisabeth Thible became the first woman to fly in a hot air balloon, and in 1798 Jeanne Labrosse was the first woman to fly solo, also in a balloon?

Women aviators displayed their skills in aeronautical engineering when E. Lillian Todd in 1906, became the first woman to design and build an airplane, though it never flew. Two years later in 1908, Madame Therese Peltier became the first woman to fly an airplane solo.

Women aviators of color refused to allow discrimination based on both race and gender hinder their dreams of flying planes, as evidence by Bessie Colman who in 1921 became the first African American, male or female, to earn a pilot’s license. Ten years later in 1931 Katherine Cheung became the first woman of Chinese ancestry to earn a pilot’s license.

Let us not forget the women who have assisted in pioneering space travel; Sally Ride the first American woman to travel to space in1983. Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32. Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor on September 12, 1992. Liu Yang served as a crew member on the space mission Shenzhou 9. On June 16, 2012 Yang became the first Chinese woman in space.

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman

Unfortunately, pioneer women aviators were not immune to tragedy in the sky. In 1809, Marie Madeleine Sopie Blanchard become the first woman to lose her life while both flying in and watching fireworks in her hydrogen balloon. Sadly on July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart, the first woman the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the American mainland as having the distinction of being the first president of the Ninety-Nines, an organization made up of women pilots, was lost over the Pacific Ocean. The most well-known tragedy involving a female aviator.

Indian-born astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who has the distinction of being the first Indian woman in space, perished with six other crew members when space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on February 1, 2003. Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space was one of seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986.

From hot air and hydrogen balloons to aircraft to space shuttles, women aviators continue to make strides as well as history.

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Celebrating Women’s History Month: Women Aviators

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Today’s post was written by Barack Obama

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2015 Year in Photos: Top Five Images

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For the 13th consecutive year, the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA) has compiled the best photos from all around the Army. This year, we proudly present the Top Five Photos of 2015.

The selection process involved a yearlong photo search and compilation by OCPA and then voting on the images by the public via Facebook “Likes” and “Shares.”

Photos are gathered from all around the Army — including social media, DVIDS, www.army.mil, and more.

We invite you to view our winning photos as we honor the photographers of these outstanding images.

# 1 –  Sept. 9, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton – 2,809 Likes

YIP-1

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Russell Vidler leaps over the wall at the Fit to Win obstacle course on Fort Jackson, S.C. Vidler, a Reserve drill sergeant assigned to the 98th Training Division, was in a head-to-head competition for the title of Army Reserve’s top drill sergeant.

#2 – Feb. 24, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Army Visual Information Specialist Jason Johnston – 2,491 Likes

YIP-2

A U.S. Army Soldier, assigned to 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), salutes his fellow Soldiers while jumping out of a C-130 Hercules aircraft over a drop zone in Germany.

#3 – Aug. 5, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jason Hull – 1,916 Likes

YIP-3

Snipers from the 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, dash across the rocky desert terrain during a combined-arms live-fire exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif. The 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment was one of several organizations from across the U.S. participating in Operation Dragon Spear, a demonstration which included a joint forcible entry operation with XVIII Airborne Corps, 82nd Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, 10th Special Forces Group and the Air Force.

#4 – Feb. 19, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Sarah Mattison – 1,105 Likes

YIP-4

Soldiers attending the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School in Jericho, Vt., climb Smugglers’ Notch as part of their final phase of the Basic Military Mountaineering Course in Jeffersonville, Vt. Students in the Basic Military Mountaineering course spend two weeks acquiring the skills and knowledge required to operate in mountainous terrain.

#5 – Oct. 21, 2015 – Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Hewitt – 697 Likes

YIP-5

Paratroopers, assigned to 307th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, begin paddling for a boat competition during the unit’s annual “Crossing of the Wall River” event at Fort Bragg, N.C. Seven teams from the battalion crossed Kiest Lake to replicate the five trips across the Waal River.

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2015 Year in Photos: Top Five Images

Climate Change

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Today’s post was written by Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy & Environment

The Honorable Katherine Hammack Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy and Environment)

The Honorable Katherine Hammack
Assistant Secretary of the Army
(Installations, Energy and Environment)

 

From the pope to the president to foreign leaders, there is a growing national and international discussion about the causes of climate change and what actions, if any, should be taken by policymakers.

The U.S. Army, however, does not have the luxury of engaging in this debate – instead, we must respond to the effects of climate change that are already affecting our mission.

We need to look no further than Alaska, long considered to be on the front line of climate change. The Army’s premier training grounds at Fort Wainwright have experienced substantial climate-related challenges in recent years. Warmer weather earlier and for longer periods is restricting live-fire training due to the risk of forest fires, while thawing permafrost threatens our infrastructure.

Loss or restriction on the use of training lands attributed to climate factors incurs real costs in terms of time, money, and resources. Without predictable access to training areas and ranges, individual skills and unit readiness will suffer. This, in turn, can impact the Army’s ability to respond when called upon to meet the needs of the nation – making us more vulnerable at a time when we can least afford it.

The Army is also not immune from the impacts of increasingly frequent extreme weather events taking place across the country.

In August 2013, intense rainfall at Fort Irwin, California, caused severe erosion, washing out roads and toppling training structures and electronics. The event incurred $64 million in flood-related damages, and nearly delayed an important training activity for an Army tactical unit supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Yet Fort Irwin is located in the heart of the Mojave Desert – an area not known for rain, let alone flood waters reaching as high as 15 feet.

Recent National Climate Assessment projections show these and other extreme weather events – droughts, wildfires, heat waves, floods – will continue to increase in both frequency and intensity.

Incredibly, nearly half of the cost of major construction projects in the Army’s FY2016 military construction budget addresses risk and damage associated with a changing climate.

Because the National Guard and Corps of Engineers act as first responders for recovery operations, and our Soldiers assist with humanitarian missions following natural disasters, the Army is increasingly stretched thin to cover these needs.

With the added pressure of sequestration, there could be real implications for our national defense.

The Army is doing its part to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Through our “Net Zero” initiative, we have made significant progress toward the sustainability and resiliency of our installations – ensuring they are able to continue operations, deploy Soldiers, and support their local communities in case of a natural disaster.

While we continue to fight this battle on the front lines, we hope Congress will work with us to better assess the challenges posed by a changing climate.

For the U.S. Army, the existence of climate change is not a theoretical debate. It is a reality that we must act swiftly to address. The security of our Soldiers – and our nation – depends on it.

Katherine Hammack

 

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Climate Change

Army Corps of Engineers works to improve environmental outcomes

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Today’s post was written by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works

The ASA-CW joins the Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division and Charleston District, The Audubon Society, South Carolina State Representatives, and a representative from Volvo to celebrate this collaboration in The Francis Beidler National Forest.

The ASA-CW joins the Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division and Charleston District, The Audubon
Society, South Carolina State Representatives, and a representative from Volvo to celebrate this collaboration in The Francis Beidler National Forest.

This week, President Obama took another significant step to encourage American businesses to invest in conservation, signing a Presidential Memorandum to accelerate restoration efforts and incentivize private investment in our land, water and wildlife.

The Army Corps of Engineers was recognized as an agency that has been doing this for years. The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA-CW), Jo-Ellen Darcy, recently visited a Corps project that exemplifies both mitigating effectively to improve environmental outcomes, and expediting permitting decisions for the economy.

The Corps’ Charleston District issued a permit this summer for an automobile manufacturing and assembly plant for Volvo (Project Soter) located on 2,800 acres west of Charleston, South Carolina. This project will employ 4,000 people and will attract an additional 2,000 jobs at supply vendors. Approximately 218 acres of wetland will be impacted as a result of the project.

Mitigation consists of five sites that collectively highlight the best practice called “landscape-scale” mitigation. Impacts will be offset by permanently protecting 2,496 acres of swampland in the Dean Swamp watershed, Walnut Branch watershed and tributaries of Four Holes Swamp. The Francis Beidler National Forest, located in the Four Holes Swamp, is an old-growth cypress forest whose tributaries feed high-quality water to the nationally-significant Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto (ACE) Basins.

The Charleston district worked hard and fast with local and state governments, as well as environmental organizations to issue this permit in just 90 days, and Assistant Secretary Darcy thanks them for their leadership and commends them for their innovative environmental stewardship.

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Army Corps of Engineers works to improve environmental outcomes

SFL and SFL-TAP: Preparing You to be a Soldier for Life

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Today’s post was written by Maj. Crystal Boring, Communications Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life Program

The Soldier for Life (SFL) initiative is a culture shift in how the Army focuses its support to Soldiers in all phases of their military careers. The Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) is the first of many Army programs to adopt the mindset change.

Soldier for Life and the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program prepare Soldiers and their Families to be Soldiers for Life. From recruitment to retirement or separation, a Soldier always carries with them the intangible, invaluable skills the Army teaches. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Released)

Soldier for Life and the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program prepare Soldiers and their Families to be Soldiers for Life. From recruitment to retirement or separation, a Soldier always carries with them the intangible, invaluable skills the Army teaches. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army/Released)

Soldier for Life
SFL is a new, holistic approach to Soldiering. Whether a Soldier serves one day or 30 years, he or she will one day take off the uniform for the last time. In order for Soldiers and their Families to be prepared for this inevitable transition, former Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno proposed a vision: “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier… A Soldier for Life.” SFL highlights this vision by inculcating a culture change. From the moment a Soldier earns that title, throughout their military career, through transition and after reintegrating into civilian communities, that individual carries with them the intangible, invaluable skills the Army teaches: leadership, problem-solving, and tenacity just to name a few. SFL is also the Army’s connection arm between the “sea of goodwill” that wants to support Soldiers, Veterans and their Families through education, employment and health resources and opportunities, and the Army itself.

Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program
SFL-TAP, formerly known as ACAP, is the Army’s transition assistance program which provides the counseling and resources necessary to prepare transitioning Soldiers for civilian life. Soldiers are eligible for SFL-TAP after 180 days of continuous active duty service.   SFL-TAP is a commanders program that requires leadership involvement during a Soldiers transition process. Soldiers are required to begin transition processing no later than one year prior to their transition date. To support Army-wide transition, SFL-TAP has 700 counselors at 75 locations worldwide and mobile transition teams to support the National Guard and Army Reserve at home station.

How SFL and SFL-TAP Collaborate

SFL, the connection arm, finds employment and education resources and opportunities across the country and provides these opportunities to the SFL-TAP, the prepare arm, to assist Soldiers in reaching their individual transition goals. As the SFL initiative of “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier… A Soldier for Life” is indoctrinated into other Army programs, the SFL mindset becomes increasingly inculcated in Soldiers and Veterans. These Soldiers for Life become Army Ambassadors in their communities instilling Army values and ethos in the next generation who will serve.

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SFL and SFL-TAP: Preparing You to be a Soldier for Life

Mission Critical: Education, and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program

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Today’s post was written by Maj. George Coleman, Education Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life

Seventy-one years ago, in the midst of World War II, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944—better known as the GI Bill. In the peak year of 1947, veterans accounted for 49 percent of college admissions. By July 25, 1956, when the original GI Bill expired, 7.8 million of 16 million World War II veterans participated in an education or training program.

"I never would have completed this degree without the G.I. Bill,” said Master Sgt. Dennis King, 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command's chaplain assistant from Birmingham, Ala.,who  received his Doctor of Education while deployed in Kuwait. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. James Burroughs, U.S. Army/Released)

“I never would have completed this degree without the G.I. Bill,” said Master Sgt. Dennis King, 135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command’s chaplain assistant from Birmingham, Ala.,who received his Doctor of Education while deployed in Kuwait. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. James Burroughs, U.S. Army/Released)

Today, the post-9/11 GI Bill has positively impacted millions of veterans and their families. Thousands of colleges and universities are supplementing Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to facilitate admission.

On July 9, 2015, Soldier for Life participated in a webinar hosted by the American Council on Education or ACE, “Mission Critical: Education and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program.” In the webinar, Soldier for Life gave a snapshot overview of who today’s veterans are and answered audience questions. Click here to access the full audio recording of the webinar.

Who are today’s student veterans?

  • Majority are male
  • 27 percent female (compared to percent of female service members)
  • 15 percent are normal college age (18-23 years old)
  • Many are supporting a family while also attending school

What do student veterans bring to the college environment?

  • A diversity of viewpoints from working in different countries and cultures
  • Leadership and management experience
  • An ethic of teamwork and how to be responsible members of a community
  • A willingness to strive for excellence and push themselves towards their goals

FAQ

I know I can get credit for my military experience, but how do I know what qualifies?

The Joint Service Transcript or JST is an academically accepted document approved by the American Council on Education or ACE to validate a service member’s military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations. The JST provides a description of military schooling and work history in civilian language. Current and former members of the active, Guard and Reserve forces may register at https://jst.doded.mil/smart/signIn.do.

What is a Career Skills Program?

A Career Skills Program, or CSP, assists transitioning Soldiers gain a skill to make them “career ready” when they separate active service. Soldiers participate in a CSPs during their last 180 days of active service at their place of duty. CSPs can include job training, employment skills training, apprenticeship, or internships. There are currently pilot programs established on 13 installations. CSPs lead to direct employment opportunities. Ask your installation education services officers if there is a CSP program at your installation.

Which schools offer in-state tuition for veterans?

Student Veterans of America offers information on the status of state legislation regarding tuition rates for veterans.

For more information on education opportunities and website, visit the Soldier for Life website: www.SoldierForLife.army.mil/education

Soldier for Life Education Director Lt. Col. Ryan Raymond speaks with a veteran participating in a course with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers through Helmets to Hardhats, a veteran service organization that places service members in careers in construction. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Soldier for Life/Released)

Soldier for Life Education Director Lt. Col. Ryan Raymond speaks with a veteran participating in a course with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers through Helmets to Hardhats, a veteran service organization that places service members in careers in construction. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Soldier for Life/Released)

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Mission Critical: Education, and the Army’s Soldier for Life Program