Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Capt. Thomas David Parham, Navy's First Black Captain; VA Budget Gets Mixed Reviews; GE Plans On Hiring 5,000 Veterans; Women To Serve Closer To Front Lines; Navajo Code Talkers; NYPD Officer Survives Gun Shot To Head

"Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They're just braver five minutes longer." Ronald Reagan

Black History Month Salutes The Navy's First Black Captain

Navy Captain Thomas David Parham was the United States Navy's first black captain. He died last year at the age of 87.
He graduated from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1944, and became an ordained by the United Presbyterian Church in May of 1944. He was initially rejected to serve as a chaplain in the Navy. But later that summer, he noticed a newspaper photograph of a recently commissioned black chaplain. He returned to the recruiting office where he had been rejected. He showed the newspaper photo to the recruiter and was told, "We can take your application now."

Captain Parham was commissioned in 1944 and promoted to captain in 1966. His Naval duty assignments included the Naval Training School in Hampton, VA.; Camp Smalls at Great Lakes, Ill. He left active duty in 1946 and returned to the ministry in Youngstown, OH. He remained in the Naval Reserve. In 1951, he returned to active duty. During the Korean War he was the only black chaplain on active duty.

Captain Parham's  duty stations included the USS Valley Forge; Fleet Activities in Japan; First Marine Division at Camp Pendelton and several other duty stations. He later earned his doctorate at American University. Capt. Parham retired in 1982. (Navy.mil)

VA Budget Gets Mixed Reviews

The American Legion is reporting although the VA budget will not experience the reductions proposed for the Pentagon in the 2013 budget, they are disappointed in some of the reduced budget provisions targeted for the VA.  USA TODAY reported benefits for military retirees are targeted for major reductions. For example, premiums for TRICARE will nearly quadruple from the current $520 per year to almost $2500.00 per year. Retired Vice Admiral Norb Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of American said it {the proposed budget cuts} is "a significant breach of faith with those who have completed arduous careers of 20-30 or more years in uniform." In addition, the spokesperson for the American Legion said, "...we are very disappointed that the major construction budget is taking a big hit."

GE To Hire 5,000 Veterans

Earlier this week, GE announced it plans on hiring 5,000 veterans over the next 5 years. The company said it will work with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at 400 job fairs starting this year. They are calling the hiring initiative, "Hiring Our Heroes." The company's plans are to double their engineering internships to more than 5,000. The company said it usually hires 80% of its full-time engineers from the pool of interns. GE currently has about 10,000 veterans working for the company. (Orange County Register). Dedicated to Heroes commends GE for this initiative and recommends other companies follow suit.

Pentagon Announced Women To Be Eligible For More Jobs In The Military

Last week the Pentagon announced it will recommend changes to rules to allow women to serve in more jobs closer to the front lines. The Pentagon said the rule changes will catch up with reality. Namely, women have been fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for almost a decade now. However, women will probably still not be allowed to in armor and special operations.(AP)

The Navajo Code Talkers

"They were a small band of warriors who created an unbreakable code from an ancient language of their people and changed the course of modern history." Navajo Code Talkers

On the battlefields of WWII, these brave young warriors transmitted secret , unbreakable communications by creating some of the most clever and successful code in American military history. They served honorably and bravely from Guadalcanal to Iowa Jima. Their ingenius code saved many lives.

Bravest Survives Bullet To His Head

On January 31, 2011, NYPD Officer Kevin Brennan was shot in the head at point-blank range by a gangbanging thug after a foot chase through a Brooklyn housing project.  Luis Ortiz, the alleged perp, tried to squeeze off another shot at Officer Brennan but the bullet never discharged. Officer Brennan survived his injuries and returned home from the hospital to his wife and 7-week-old daughter two weeks after the incident. "It's a higher power that came to play here, there is no question about it," said NYPD Police Commish Ray Kelly. (NY Post)

Total Line of Duty Deaths This Year To Date: 17 (Officer Down Memorial Page)

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