Archive for heroes

Remembering The Fallen – Memorial Day 2015

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2015 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

The following post was originally written and posted on this blog for Memorial Day 2012.  As I considered a post for this Memorial Day, I realized that I could not come up with a better message than this that captures the true essence of my feelings for this solemn day.  Today, we must pause, reflect, honor and appreciate the true sacrifice of our fallen soldiers, sailors and airman.  Those who have gone before deserve nothing less than our deepest gratitude; today, always, and forever.

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Throughout our Nation’s history, ordinary men and women have left the safe bounds of their normal lives to set out to do extraordinary deeds.  These sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers departed their families and the comforts of home to join something greater than themselves, in a noble tradition of patriotism and pride for the purpose of fighting to protect our way of life.

While most are being handed a burger or hot dog off the grill to enjoy on this solemn holiday, somewhere there is a family being handed a folded American flag being told, “On behalf of a grateful nation…”  While many in this Country are celebrating the homecoming of their college friends and family after a long year of study, there will be no homecoming for some who have fought and died in our Country’s battles.  They sacrificed their own homecoming so that others would still have theirs.  These are true heroes, and we owe them much more than one day of solemn remembrance and reverence.

Memorial Day 2015 Facebook.jpgOn this Memorial Day, one of our Nation’s most solemn and revered holidays, we all pause to reflect upon the principles that have made our Nation great.  We pause to remember the true cost of freedom and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  The brave men and women we honor today selflessly gave of themselves to defend a way of life that we all cherish: NEVER FORGET!

Related Content –

Memorial Day History (via usmemorialday.org)

History.com Memorial Day (via The History Channel)

A Memorial Day Message From The VFW (via vfw.org)

Memorial Day – A Pause To Remember (via generalleadership.com)

The True Meaning of Memorial Day (via The Bridge on medium.com)

Reflections on Memorial Day – Past and Present (via The Bridge on medium.com)

Photo Credit:

Memorial Day 2015 Best Soldiers Quotes, Sayings & Images (via http://www.fathersdayrock.com/, accessed 25 May 2015)

This Memorial Day, Pause To Remember (also linked here: http://ow.ly/i/aUfK5/original (via http://www.vfw.org/, accessed 25 May 2015)

Remembering Our Heroes – Memorial Day 2012

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Throughout our Nation’s history, ordinary men and women have left the safe bounds of their normal lives to set out to do extraordinary deeds.  These sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers departed their families and the comforts of home to join something greater than themselves, in a noble tradition of patriotism and pride for the purpose of fighting to protect our way of life.

While most are being handed a burger or hot dog off the grill to enjoy on this solemn holiday, somewhere there is a family being handed a folded American flag being told, “On behalf of a grateful nation…”  While many in this Country are celebrating the homecoming of their college friends and family after a long year of study, there will be no homecoming for some who have fought and died in our Country’s battles.  They sacrificed their own homecoming so that others would still have theirs.  These are true heroes, and we owe them much more than one day of solemn remembrance and reverence.

On this Memorial Day, one of our Nation’s most solemn and revered holidays, we all pause to reflect upon the principles that have made our Nation great.  We pause to remember the true cost of freedom and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  The brave men and women we honor today selflessly gave of themselves to defend a way of life that we all cherish: NEVER FORGET!

Related Content –

U.S. Department of Defense – Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day Message, As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta

Chief of Naval Operations’ Tribute to Sailors – Your American Sailor

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Sends Memorial Day Message

Air Force leaders issue Memorial Day message

Our Soldiers Show Courage Without Limit

Tribute to the Troops (May 2012)

Memorial Day 2012: A Compendium

Memorial Day: Take Pause…The Fallen Deserve At Least That

Memorial Day 2012

Decoration Day

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Vintage Memorial Day Greeting Card Postcard Scan: beautiful old souvenir card of Memorial Days past to print, public domain copyright free Memorial Day picture of a medal of honor topped by a gold American eagle standing on cannons over a wreath and two American flags, card text reads: Freedom smiles, her fate secure beneath its steadfast stars; click to open this Memorial Day Greeting Post Card by itself to be downloaded or printed.

Decoration Day
 
Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!
 
Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.
 
But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.
 
All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!
 
Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.
 
Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
 
   — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 
 
Source –
 
A Memorial Day Poem by Longfellow, From The Atlantic, June 1882 (theatlantic.com)

Heroes and Bragging

Posted in Quote of the Day with tags , , , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

“You know the thing about heroes?  They don’t brag”*

– Senator John McCain

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Biography of a Humble Hero and Leader –

John McCain – United States Naval Academy Graduate (1958), Naval Aviator, and survivor of the 1967 USS Forrestal fire.  In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. McCain experienced episodes of torture, and refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer. His war wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations.  He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, he served two terms, and was then elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, winning re-election easily four times, most recently in 2010.

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*Interview with John McCain – The O’ReillyFactor – April 30, 2012

Additional Resources for this Content –

McCain on Obama’s Bin Laden Death Victory Lap: ‘You Know the Thing About Heroes? They Don’t Brag’ (nation.foxnews.com)

McCain: Obama ‘Politicizing’ Bin Laden Death (video) (video.foxnews.com)

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Source of Biographical Information –

John McCain – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – Page Modified on 3 May 2012 at 03:40 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCain – Accessed 3 May 2012 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/

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Related Articles –

How to Brag Without Being a Braggart (leadershipfreak.wordpress.com)

Senator John McCain’s Speech at the Naval Academy (The Forrestal Lecture Series) (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Commemorating The Success of SEAL Team 6 One Year Later

Posted in Miscellaneous, Quote of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Quotes of the Day Dedicated to Navy SEAL Team SIX and their Successful Mission on May 1, 2011 to Kill Osama Bin Laden

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“Let your plans be dark and as impenetratable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

“Kill one, terrify a thousand.”

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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“We want to be in a situation under maximum pressure, maximum intensity, and maximum danger.  When it’s shared with others, it provides a bond which is stronger than any tie that can exist.”

– SEAL Team SIX Officer

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“Even in great pain, faced with the test of their lives, they had the ability to step-outside their own pain, put aside their own fear and ask: How can I help the guy next to me?  They had more than ‘fist’ of courage and physical strength.  They also had a heart large enough to think about others, to dedicate themselves to a higher Purpose.[i]

– Eric Greitens, author of “The Heart and the Fist – The Education of a Humanitarian, The Making of a Navy SEAL,” discussing BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) Training

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Footnote –

[i]Leadership Secrets from a Navy SEAL” – By August Turak – Posted 9/16/2011 – http://www.forbes.com/sites/augustturak/2011/09/16/leadership-secrets-from-a-navy-seal/ – Accessed 1 May 2012 – Forbes Online – http://www.forbes.com/

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For those who are visiting from the blog Lean Leadership looking for the Chief Tecumseh post, please click HERE – “Chief Tecumseh’s Words of Wisdom (from Act of Valor)”.

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Related Posts on Command Performance Leadership

The True Undercover Boss

Act of Valor (Navy SEALs – Sea, Air, Land…Hollywood)

 

Chief Tecumseh’s Words of Wisdom (from Act of Valor)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Act of ValorAct of Valor is a very powerful movie.  From the personal side of the lives of those in the military, to the fight they face on the front lines in today’s dangerous World, Act of Valor takes you on suspense-filled missions of today’s Navy SEALs.  Although the movie is fiction, you cannot come away from it thinking that the scenarios presented could never occur; they very well could occur.  The members of our military put their personal life on the shelf to go fight our wars.  They leave the ones they love, and the safety of their homes, to go to all points around the World to take the fight to our enemy, so that the enemy never brings the fight to our shores.  The movie reveals the sacrifices of our men and women, who respond when called, to dedicate themselves to the profession of arms, and the courage it takes to do so.  A very good quote from the movie captures all of this very clearly: “If you’re not willing to give up everything, you’ve already lost.”  Our country was founded on this principle, and our military fights for our freedoms and liberties according to it, and damn few choose to make the sacrifices to fight for their fellow-man.  Those who do certainly give up everything for us.

When I was driving home from the movie, it was a beautiful day, with clear blue skies.  Although there was a chill in the air, it certainly looked like a spring day.  The movie had certainly put my mind into a different perspective, and I found myself embracing what we take for granted as citizens.  Of course, on the road with me were people in their hustle and bustle to get to wherever their lives were taking them; for most, I am sure, not a care in the World.  I assure you that I was paying attention to the road, but I couldn’t help day dreaming about the things we take for granted.  Here we are, on such a splendid day, enjoying our freedoms; freedom to go to the mall, to church, to school.  While there are men and women facing the grueling challenges of fighting our enemy, we’re enjoying life.  My mind split between the image of that day’s beauty with that of the images from the battle scenes of Act of Valor.  I thought to myself, “At this moment, there is a soldier somewhere in this World attempting to gain entry into a dilapidated shack in Afghanistan (or anywhere) to eradicate an insurgent who wants nothing else but to destroy our way of life, uncertain of what he might find on the other side of the door.  And, here I am…driving to my home on a beautiful sunny day in my home town.”  Meanwhile, the men and women of our military have put their sunny days aside so that we can enjoy ours.

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At the very end of the movie, the narrator speaks the words from a poem written by Chief Tecumseh, a Native American of the Shawnee tribe.  As I did research on Chief Tecumseh, I found a few other poignant quotes:

“A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.” (teamwork)

“Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.” (courtesy)

“Let us form one body, one heart, and defend to the last warrior our country, our homes, our liberty, and the graves of our fathers.” (common bond for a common cause)

The words of the following poem, spoken at the end of the movie Act of Valor, have deep meaning, and I wanted to share it with you.  As was stated in the Williamsburg Military Insider, the poem is “truly amazing and I hope that it inspires you to make this life count, to pursue noble undertakings, and live to the fullest  having used all your talents and have no regrets.”

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So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled
with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep
and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

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Related Articles –

Shawnee Chief Tecumseh Created a Confederation to Oppose White Encroachment

Act of Valor

Act of Valor ~ (Navy SEALs – Sea, Air, Land…Hollywood)

Prints Tecumseh Poem from Act of Valor Movie

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

Act of Valor ~ (Navy SEALs – Sea, Air, Land…Hollywood)

Posted in Miscellaneous, Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs in a film like no other in Hollywood’s history.  A fictionalized account of real life Navy SEAL operations, Act of Valor features a gripping story that takes audiences on an adrenaline-fueled, edge-of-their-seat journey.

Act of Valor follows a Navy SEAL squad on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent, which unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat.  An elite team of highly trained Navy SEALs must immediately embark on a heart-stopping secret operation, and in the process takes down a complex web of terrorist cells determined to strike America at all costs.

Act of Valor combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the-minute battlefield technology, and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure film–showcasing the skills, training and tenacity of the greatest action heroes of them all: real Navy SEALs.  The filmmakers had unprecedented Naval access resulting in never-before-seen military operation scenes which are composited from actual events in the lives of the men appearing in the film and their comrades.

Here is the Extended trailer for the movie –

The Navy SEALs in Act of Valor

Behind the scenes of Act of Valor

Oh, and did I mention that they’re using REAL BULLETS????

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Related links discussing The United State Navy SEALs –

Inside Navy SEALs Team Six, Training

An Inside Look at the SEAL Sensibility

The True Undercover Boss

Act of Valor

Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals

The True Undercover Boss

Posted in Current Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Meet Admiral William McRaven: The True Undercover Boss

Admiral William McRaven was the Special Operations coach for SEAL Team Six for the operation that brought down the World’s leading terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, last May.  And, last night, Both Adm. McRaven and SEAL Team Six had another big night.  Adm. McRaven was the guest of Michelle Obama at her husband’s State of the Union Address.  And, before President Barack Obama’s speech to combined session of Congress and the American people, forces under Adm. McRaven’s command were carrying out a special operations mission to rescue two hostages from the hands of pirates in Somalia.  Navy SEAL Team Six, the same unit that killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, carried out a nighttime helicopter raid on Somali kidnappers during the rescue of American Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagan Thisted of Denmark, aid workers taken hostage last October.

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A Select Biographical Summary about Admiral William McRaven –

Admiral McRaven is the ninth commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.  USSOCOM ensures the readiness of joint special operations forces and, as directed, conducts operations worldwide.[i-a]

Adm. McRaven served from June 2008 to June 2011 as the 11th commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.  JSOC is charged to study special operations requirements and techniques, ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop joint special operations tactics.[i-b]

Adm. McRaven served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR).  In addition to his duties as commander, SOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and interoperability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.[i-c]

Adm. McRaven has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commanding general for operations at JSOC, commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, commander of SEAL Team 3, task group commander in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, task unit commander during Desert Storm and Desert Shield, squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team 4.[ii-a]

Adm. McRaven’s diverse staff and interagency experience includes assignments as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff, assessment director at U.S. Special Operations Command, on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group 1.[ii-b]

Adm. McRaven’s professional education includes assignment to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish and was the first graduate from the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum.[ii-c]

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Admiral McRaven was the terrorist hunter on whose shoulders Osama bin Laden raid rested.  Soon after the successful operation that eliminated Osama bin Laden, conducted by SEAL Team Six, Adm. McRaven’s name emerged as the architect of the mission.  At the time, Admiral McRaven was former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ recommended new leader of U.S. Special Operations Command.  One of the most experienced terrorist hunters, Adm. McRaven tapped a special unit of Navy SEALs for the mission two earlier.  The author of a textbook titled “Spec Ops,” McRaven had long emphasized six key requirements for any successful mission: surprise, speed, security, simplicity, purpose and repetition.  For the especially risky bin Laden operation, he insisted on another: precision.  A former SEAL himself, Adm. McRaven had overseen weeks of intensive training for a covert operation that could cripple al-Qaeda if it worked, or strain an already troubled alliance with Pakistan if it went awry.[iii]

Choppering 25 Navy SEALs into a populated area covered by the air defenses of an unsuspecting sovereign nation.  Fast-roping them down into a fortified compound containing unknown numbers of enemies.  Killing or capturing the world’s most dangerous terrorist.  Extracting them safely and flying them to Afghanistan the same way they came.[iv]  That was the plan.  A daring plan that we now know was a great success, although one of the two Blackhawk helicopters that carried the SEALs into bin Laden’s Pakistani compound grazed one of the compound’s wall and was forced to make a hard landing.  Osama bin Laden was eliminated, SEAL Team Six became American heroes, and Admiral McRaven became a household name.

Fast forward nine months, and Admiral McRaven again finds himself front and center.  Last night, he was one of Michelle Obama’s many guests, along with other military guests, at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.  As the television cameras captured him sitting in the gallery of spectators, he appeared calm and composed.  He did not look like a person who had just ordered the rescue of two hostages being held by pirates in Somalia, nor did he appear to be stressed or anxious about the mission’s outcome.

U.S. military forces sent helicopters into Somalia in a nighttime raid Tuesday and freed the two hostages who had been captured on October 25, 2011.  The raid was conducted by a joint team involving Special Operations Forces, including Navy SEAL Team Six, the same unit that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.[iv]  See Fox News’ television report on this raid at this link.  The two hostages were freed uninjured after a shoot-out that resulted in nine of their captors being killed.  There were no casualties reported among US forces.

In an interview on ABC News Good Morning America this morning, Vice President Joe Biden said that the senior leadership of the Special Forces (Admiral McRaven) recommended that now was the time and the opportunity to act, and the President authorized the mission.  In discussing the Special Forces that conducted the raid, he said that they are “The most incredible warriors this World has ever seen.”

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Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta released a statement this morning on the hostage rescue operation in Somalia:

Last night U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted, by order of the President of the United States, a successful mission in Somalia to rescue two individuals taken hostage on October 25, 2011. Ms. Jessica Buchanan, an American citizen employed by the Danish Demining Group, and her Danish colleague, Mr. Poul Thisted, were kidnapped at gunpoint by criminal suspects near Galcayo, Somalia.

Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted have been transported to a safe location where we will evaluate their health and make arrangements for them to return home.

This successful hostage rescue, undertaken in a hostile environment, is a testament to the superb skills of courageous service members who risked their lives to save others. I applaud their efforts, and I am pleased that Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted were not harmed during the operation. This mission demonstrates our military’s commitment to the safety of our fellow citizens wherever they may be around the world.

I am grateful to report that there was no loss of life or injuries to our personnel.

I express my deepest gratitude to all the military and civilian men and women who supported this operation. This was a team effort and required close coordination, especially between the Department of Defense and our colleagues in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They are heroes and continue to inspire all of us by their bravery and service to our nation.[v]

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Members of the military, and those who lead them, do not seek fame or fortune for the heroic acts they perform.  They are doing their job.  The results of their success are felt throughout America in the sustained freedom, and the protection from foreign aggressors who threaten that freedom, that we all enjoy.  We sometimes take for granted what these men and women do, and we sometimes forget that they are out there doing these kinds of things when we least expect it.  The members of SEAL Team Six deserve the recognition and praise on this day after such a daring and successful mission.  And, to Admiral McRaven, our gratitude for mastering the profession of arms and the ability to be a leader of character and a gentleman in the face of challenge and adversity.  Admiral McRaven’s charisma displayed on Tuesday night is a true example of what our senior military leaders are all about.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson


Footnotes –

[i-a,b,c] “Admiral William H. McRaven – Commander, United States Special Operations Command – United States Navy” – United States Navy Biography – Updated 24 January 2012 – http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioid=401 – Accessed 25 January 2012 – NAVY.mil (Official Website of the United States Navy) – http://navy.mil

[ii-a,b,c] “What Michelle Obama’s guests tell us about the State of the Union”Guest List for the First Lady’s Box – State of the Union Address – Posted by Brad Plumer – Posted on 01/24/2012 – Ezra Klein’s WONKBLOGhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-michelle-obamas-guest-list-tells-us-about-the-state-of-the-union/2012/01/24/gIQAJw4COQ_blog.html – Accessed 25 January 2012 – The Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/

.[iii] “Adm. William McRaven: The Terrorist Hunter on whose Shoulders Osama bin Laden Raid Rested” – By Craig Whitlock – Published: May 4, 2011 – The Washington Post Nationalhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/national/adm-william-mcraven-the-terrorist-hunter-on-whose-shoulders-osama-bin-laden-raid-rested/2011/05/04/AFsEv4rF_story.html – Accessed 4 May 2011 – The Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/

[iv] “Spec Ops Chief Sketched Out bin Laden Raid…in 1995”– By Spencer Ackerman – Posted May 3, 2011 – Danger Room – http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/risky-bin-laden-raid-came-from-commanders-book/ – Accessed 25 January 2012 – Wired – http://www.wired.com

[iv] “US Military Raid Frees American, Dane Held Hostage in Somalia” – FoxNews.com (with contributions from The Associated Press) – Published January 25, 2012 – http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/01/25/sources-us-raid-frees-american-and-dane-held-hostage-in-somalia/ – Accessed 25 January 2012 – Fox News – http://www.foxnews.com

[v] “SECDEF Releases Statement on Hostage Rescue Operation in Somalia” – Press Released Statement by the Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta – Release Date 01/25/2012 – http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64962 – NAVY.mil (Official Website of the United States Navy) – http://www.navy.mil

Quote of the Day – January 24, 2012

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

“We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al-Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.

Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.

Above all, our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it.

Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.

One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden. On it are each of their names. Some may be Democrats. Some may be Republicans. But that doesn’t matter. All that mattered that day was the mission. No one thought about politics. No one thought about themselves. One of the young men involved in the raid later told me that he didn’t deserve credit for the mission. It only succeeded, he said, because every single member of that unit did their job — the pilot who landed the helicopter that spun out of control; the translator who kept others from entering the compound; the troops who separated the women and children from the fight; the SEALs who charged up the stairs. More than that, the mission only succeeded because every member of that unit trusted each other — because you can’t charge up those stairs, into darkness and danger, unless you know that there’s someone behind you, watching your back.”

Barack Obama, in his State of the Union Address, January 24, 2012

Source –

“Transcript: Obama’s State Of The Union Address”The text of President Obama’s State of the Union address, as released by the White Househttp://www.npr.org/2012/01/24/145812810/transcript-obamas-state-of-the-union-address – Accessed 24 January 2012 – http://www.npr.org

Merry Christmas

Posted in Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , on December 22, 2011 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

With Christmas only a few days away, I felt it was fitting to share a couple of videos that capture the spirit of the season. The first video shows Christmas being celebrated by our troops, wherever they may be in the World, and images of military families celebrating the holidays without their loved ones who are serving overseas.

The second video…well, let’s just say, get some tissues ready; you’ll need them. In the spirit of gift-giving, there is no better gift to receive than the gift of your dad, husband, brother being home from being deployed for a long period of time; especially if they were in a war zone such as Afghanistan. These images are being repeated thousands of times this particular holiday season, as our troops from Iraq are coming home in time for the holidays. The war in Iraq is over, and our war heroes are returning home to their families who have waited patiently.

Our soldiers, sailors and airmen have sacrificed so much for all of us. Today’s blog post is a tribute to all of our troops everywhere on this planet. We love you, we miss you and we support you!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Thank you to our military both home and abroad!!!

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