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VA Now Fixing Florida, But Has It Fixed Walter Reed YET?

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posted on Apr, 5 2008 @ 10:52 AM
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North-east Florida is referred to - advertising-wise - as “First Coast” but I don’t know what or where the SECOND coast is? Or even if there is a second coast.

Florida is the #4 state in population, about 18 million. At it current rate of growth it will surpass NY, now #3, around 2010. The state will pick up 3-4 seats in the US House of Representatives as NY will lose 1 or 2. That’s life in the fast lane!

Florida has a disproportionate number of American Armed Forces veterans residing here. John McCain was stationed here - at now closed Cecil Field - for his pilot training. His family lived here during the time he was a POW in Vietnam. He has many old rich retired admiral friends living at Fleet Landing and other exclusive resort like places along the Florida East Coast.

McCain’s father and grandfather were both admirals in the Navy, which puts them into a very elite group that watches over the Navy and the Navy’s BEST. Their sons and grandsons. Hey, if you can’t help your relatives, who can you help?

Aside:
US taxpayers take an inordinate beating at the hands of retired flag officers and general officers from the other services. For example, say you’re an old admiral living in Florida and you want to fly out to San Francisco for a luncheon at the Top of the Mark. Some of your old buddies are in SF and want a get-together luncheon followed by some low stakes poker playing. Old times. Call United? No, they don’t do their required inspections. Call Southwest? Heck no, they went 2 years past due on their required inspections and got a slap on the wrist. Call Delta? Hmm? Delta is keeping very quiet these days. Makes you wonder.

No, none of the above. The retired admiral calls the nearest US Air Force base. Tells them his plans. 100 to 1, the AF flunkie on the line will reply, “Sir, we have a flight out to Travis AFB - next to SF - leaving tomorrow at 9 AM. Do you want on it, space available of course?” So the retired admiral says “yes, book me on that one please.” AF guy: “When will you want to return, Sir?” Retired admiral: “The next day.” AF guy: “Great luck for you Sir, the plane is returning here the next day around 1 PM.” Retired admiral: “I’ll take it.” AF flunkie: “Will you need ground transportation, Sir?” Retired admiral: “Yes.” AF guy: “I’ll have a Army car with driver standing by at Travis, Sir.” Retired admiral: “Very good.” AF guy: “Will you need a car here, Sir?” Retired admiral: “Yes, can you send one for me?” AF guy: “Yes Sir. What time do you want the car (and driver)?” Retired admiral: “Just in time to make the flight.” AF flunkie: “You got it Sir!”

The Air Force Base Commander schedules a “cross-country training flight” from Florida to San Francisco and back. The crew will be tired, so he sets the return flight for the next day. The AF keeps a FLEET of 2 engine VIP jets, like Grumman Gulfstream II types and the AF Base Commander will allot one of those for the “training flight.”

Cost to taxpayers? Well, let’s figure. Cost of the Gulfstream II plane, $750 per flying hour. Time to SF and back, 12 hours. Cost of plane: $9,000. Two pilots, value of $150 per hour for each, plus a Flight Attendant at $45 an hour, total crew cost: $4,140. Cost of car and driver at SF and also in Florida, about $200 per day for each, total $800. Miscellaneous costs, food, lodging, etc., about $1,500. Total cost to US taxpayers to fly retired admiral out and back, $15,540! This is known as RHIP. Rank Has Its Privileges. End of aside.

Back to the VA.
The VA is building a new cemetery for dying vets who have removed themselves to Florida. 550 acres bought about 15 miles north of downtown Jax, near the JIA airport. That’s good. The VA is also building a new 120 bed extended care nursing facility. It should have been 1,200 beds, but what the hey it sounds good no matter what its size. The voters won’t know the difference. A nursing home is a nursing home. It will “get the voters OFF our backs” at least for 2 years of ribbon cutting and photo ops.

Now here’s the object
of the overly long dissertation. The VA in its wisdom has decided to let the public choose the name for the new nursing facility. They have given us the names of EIGHT deceased American veterans to choose from. Unlike politicians you don’t get things named for you until you DIE. I wish that same rule of modestly applied to ALL things publicly owned. But self-aggrandizement is a social disease afflicting most politicians.

All 8 of the men offered for the honor were winners of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

1) W. M. Corry, Jr.
An aide to the Navy’s Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, he died when rescuing another airman trapped in a crashed and burning plane. He died 4 days later of burns. Note: There must have been other rules in effect then for this happened AFTER World War 1 had ended. In peacetime. I wonder if Corry Sr was an admiral? Also, being the AIDE of the Admiral in Charge must have had a bearing on the Award. It’s tainted I’d say. Anyway, there are already 3 ships named after him and a runway at Pensacola NAS.

2) F. E. Ormsbee Jr.
Another WW1 aircrew member who bravely rescued 1 out of 2 crew trapped in a crashed plane at Pensacola NAS. Also, a non-combatant awarded the CMO. Old rules I guess. Back then it may have been more WHO you knew as much as WHAT you did that got the CMO?

3) C. E. Lassen.
Vietnam War. Helicopter pilot. First USN to receive the CMO. Although he acted bravely in his combat exploit, it does not rise to the level of courage I’d expect in a CMO. I believe the Navy just wanted ONE for its own and he got lucky. He died of old age in 1994. There is a destroyer named after him.

4) R. M. McTureous Jr.
USMC. Killed at Okinawa in 1945. He did truly heroic deeds, facing death on behalf of his comrades and dying 4 days later of wounds received. On its face, he earned the CMO. A MC private, no ships are named after him?

5) H. L. Bowen, Jr.
Joined the Army and died in Vietnam, the old fashioned way, falling on a grenade to save 3 fellow soldiers. The town of his birth named a school after him but the Army has not named anything after him. Not even a latrine! Only the good die young!

6) R. E. Femoyer.
He stayed at his post as navigator on a B17 over Germany in WW2, which was hard hit by flack. He died of his wounds but not before he successfully navigated the damaged plane to a safe place to ditch. Had I been the CG, I’d have given him an Air Medal, Silver Star and Purple Heart but no CMO. But the AF, like the Navy, is hard pressed to find “stand up” heroes. Unlike the Army and MC, the Navy and AF are NOT eyeball-to-eyeball services.

7) C. N. Condon.
Sorry to be irreverent but you can guess what the guys called him in the barracks? Philippine Insurrection. After we “liberated” the Philippines from the Spanish in 1898, the locals got mad as heck when they learned we were NOT there as liberators but we came as CONQUERORS. In a little publicized counter-insurgency against Muslim Filipinos fought from 1901 to 1905, we quit after losing 4,000 KIA. (That insurgency is still on-going). This man was heroic in this actions even if I denounce his cause. He led 4 man in a charge that killed more than 40 of the enemy with no losses on his side. No fault of his, but to popularize the war he was awarded the CMO.

8) B. W. Carter.
Vietnam. Barely 18, he enlisted in the USMC and before attaining his 19th birthday, he was dead. KIA in ‘Nam. Like Bowen Jr, above, he too gave his life that his comrades might live. He also threw himself on a grenade. A PFC radio operator in the 3rd Marine Division. Nothing named after him, either.

I find it a mathematical anomaly that 4 out of 8 candidates have a “JR” behind their names? Fifty percent! Are half the men you know named after their fathers? I’d wager who the SR was had a lot to do with the JR son receiving the CMO. Hey, one hand washes the other.

Another oddity. EVERY CMO AWARD MAN HERE IS WHITE.

I wonder if NOT one black man connected to Florida ever won a CMO? Or is that yet another “white’s only” club? Racism? Alive and well in the US of A, in 2008.

[edit on 4/5/2008 by donwhite]




posted on Apr, 5 2008 @ 01:27 PM
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from the first post
The VA has decided in its wisdom to let the public choose the name for the new facility. They have given us the names of EIGHT deceased American veterans.


I am voting for the name of the nursing home. See my numbers assinged in the preceding post.

TO "Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, Tallahassee FL

I decided against the first man named because he has ships already named in his honor. Number 2 was just too long ago. Number 3 has a destroyer named for him. Numbers 4 and 5 meet every reasonable criteria. As an AF veteran, I especially liked Number 6. Number 7, like Number 2, is from another era. Number 8 shares the claim for naming honors equally with Number 5.

This leaves Numbers 4, 5 and 8 for me to choose between. I am by no means discounting the courage and self-sacrifice inspiringly exemplified by Numbers 4 and 8, but I must finally come to rest my choice on Number 5.

NCOs are the backbone of the Armed Forces. He most nearly showed the essential acceptance of responsible leadership when he, the platoon leader, gave his life for other members of his platoon. “HIS” platoon really meant something to Sergeant Bowen. It’s that kind of personal fortitude on which all good armies are built!

My choice, Staff Sergeant Hemmett L. Bowen, Jr."

[edit on 4/5/2008 by donwhite]



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