Archive for 14 Dec 2006

Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, December 13, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. — All active branches of the service met or surpassed their November recruiting goals, the Defense Department announced Tuesday.

The Army topped the list with 6,485 new recruits, or 105 percent of its recruiting goal, a Defense Department news release says. Of the other services: The Marine Corps achieved 104 percent of its goal with 2,095 recruits; the Navy met 100 percent of its goal with 2,887 recruits; and the Air Force hit 100 percent of its goal with 1,877 recruits.

The Army National Guard led reserve components with 5,094 recruits, or 113 percent of its November goal, the news release says. The Air National Guard made 115 percent of its goal with 752 recruits; the Marine Corps Reserve achieved 102 percent of its goal with 547 recruits; and the Air Force Reserve met 100 percent of its goal with 436 recruits.

The Navy Reserve fell short of its November recruiting goal with 687 recruits, or 91 percent of its goal; and the Army Reserve made only 79 percent of its goal with 1,888 recruits, the news release says.

The Army Reserve expects to make up this shortfall in January, said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Brian Hilferty in a Monday e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

On the retention side, the Army National guard met 137 percent of its goal with 5,930 retentions, and the Air National Guard got 101 percent of its goal with 1,607 retentions, a Defense Department official said on Tuesday.

No retention information was available on the other reserve components, the official said.

Here is a fine example of Soldiering and needs to be recognized.

By Mark St.Clair, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Schweinfurt, Germany-based infantryman who jumped on a grenade to save other troops is being recommended for the Medal of Honor.

The 1st Infantry Division soldier, Spc. Ross Andrew McGinnis, 19, was killed Dec. 4 while on a combat patrol in Baghdad.

Soldiers in his unit said he used his body to cover a grenade that had been thrown into his Humvee by an enemy fighter on a nearby rooftop.

McGinnis’ actions probably saved the lives of the four other soldiers in the vehicle, his company commander and other officials said during a Tuesday memorial ceremony.

As the U.S.’s highest award for wartime valor, the Medal of Honor is approved sparingly, and only one has been given out since Sept. 11, 2001, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That award, to Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, was presented to Smith’s widow and two children by President Bush on April 4, 2005 — two years to the day after Smith’s death.

Smith was honored posthumously for his actions during the battle for the Baghdad airport in 2003, when he killed as many as 50 enemy fighters while helping wounded comrades to safety.

On Nov. 10, while speaking at the opening of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia, Bush announced that a second Medal of Honor would be awarded to Marine Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, who also used his body to smother a grenade and protect two of his fellow Marines.

Bush’s announcement came on what would have been Dunham’s 25th birthday, more than 2½ years after his death on April 14, 2004.

A date for the presentation ceremony has not yet been given.

According to the Army’s official Web site, “because of the need for accuracy the (Medal of Honor) recommendation process can take in excess of 18 months with intense scrutiny every step of the way.”

In McGinnis’ case, the recommendation has started with his company commander in 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, Capt. Michael Baka.

If approved, it would end with Congress.

Because of this, the award is often erroneously referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A Silver Star already has been awarded to McGinnis for his bravery, and even if he is eventually awarded the Medal of Honor, the Silver Star will stay on his record.

“In essence, he could receive two awards,” said Maj. Sean Ryan, public affairs officer for 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which McGinnis’ unit currently falls under while deployed.

Ryan also said that if the Medal of Honor is not approved, it could be downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.

By Brian Bowling
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, December 7, 2006

A Clarion County soldier was killed when he threw himself on a grenade to protect the lives of his fellow soldiers, relatives said Wednesday.

Pfc. Ross A. McGinnis, 19, of Knox, was the gunner in a Humvee patrolling in Baghdad on Monday when someone on a rooftop threw a grenade into the vehicle.

Tom McGinnis, of nearby Paint, said his son’s unit commander told him Ross McGinnis knew he didn’t have time to throw the grenade out of the Humvee.

“He lay down on it on his back, trying to cover it with his body armor,” Tom McGinnis said.

The Army told him four other soldiers in the Humvee suffered minor injuries in the blast.

An Army spokesman said he couldn’t confirm the details of McGinnis’ death until the Army finishes the routine investigation it conducts for any combat casualty.

Rebecca McGinnis said her son drew a soldier in kindergarten when he was supposed to picture what he wanted to be when he grew up.

“Ross decided at a very young age that he wanted to join the Army,” she said.

On his 17th birthday — the first day he was eligible — Ross McGinnis stepped into the recruiting station and joined the Army through the Delayed Enlistment Program, she said.

During his infantry training, the left-handed McGinnis qualified as an expert shooting left-handed and as a sharpshooter — one step below expert — shooting right-handed, she said.

His physical proficiency was no surprise to his parents, who said Ross McGinnis was bright but restless and wasn’t a stellar student.

“He wasn’t academic,” his mother said. “He was hands on.”

Tom McGinnis said his son’s passions – other than the Army – were video games and mountain biking. He later became a car enthusiast while taking automotive technology at the Clarion County Career Center.

“He was always outside, going. He couldn’t sit still,” Tom McGinnis said.

Ross McGinnis graduated from Keystone Junior-Senior High School in 2005. Principal Vicky Walters said the news of McGinnis’ death shocked the small school.

“The teachers who knew him are very distraught,” she said.

Brent Johnson, the automotive instructor at the career center, said McGinnis became an “outstanding student” in his class, participated in the student congress and served as secretary/treasurer for the automotive department.

“Ross was the type of student that made me proud to be a teacher,” Johnson said. “He will be greatly missed.”

The family is still discussing funeral arrangements with the Army.

powered by performancing firefox

Most people already realize this, but it seems that no one really cares in the halls of Academe.
Professor Bauerlein brings it home.

Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, has an interesting article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Academe Shortchanges Conservative Thinking:”

The absence of conservative minds from the liberal-arts curriculum and
the off-campus ignorance of them — or worse, treatment of them as hired
hands — are standard features of intellectual life, and they are not
unrelated. When it comes to ideas and values, campuses remain the
foremost site of study, and the curriculum has a certifying effect. It
bears the duty of imparting ideas and writings essential to the
formation of thoughtful, informed individuals. The campus provides a
space in which that can happen, an occasion for learning — not for
advocating or using knowledge, but for acquiring and reflecting upon
it. The ideas included are deemed suitable for academic study, which is
to say they possess enough autonomy to be handled as part of an
intellectual tradition.

The division of campus discourse from public discourse has a
discrediting result. If a set of ideas and writings are missing in the
classroom but present in the marketplace or government, we tend to
explain them by their instrumental value. They owe their clout to their
usefulness to business or politics, the reasoning goes, not to
intellectual substance. If the university doesn’t put those works and
ideas on the syllabus, they aren’t subject to the free analysis and
contemplation that respectable works and ideas merit. When they crop up
off campus, then, they seem to have no independent validity, no import
separate from the interests they satisfy.

This is a disabling situation for conservative intellectuals. When a
distinctive intellectual identity emerged 100 years ago in France, it
did so as an adversarial one. People qualified as intellectuals by
acquiring knowledge through education and extending their expertise
into protest, rising above the blandishments of money and position to
represent higher things. What kept them honest and credible was,
precisely, their independence. What kept them authoritative was the
fact that they had developed their opinions in a disinterested setting.

Herein lies the plight of conservative intellectuals. They seek to
reflect upon the events of the day, but the ideas they draw upon are
ignored by professors and cheapened by liberal intellectuals. Count the
names Hayek, Russell Kirk, Irving Kristol, etc., on syllabi in courses
on “Culture Society.” Tally how often, in left-of-center
periodicals, those names are linked to moneyed interests. The framing
is complete. Heralds of conservatism start and finish in the messy
realm of politics and finance, never rising into the temple of
reflection…

…The denial of legitimacy creates a distorted intellectual
environment, and everyone suffers. American society, not to mention
students, is poorly served when ideas in the public sphere don’t
undergo conceptual, historical, and political analysis in the
classroom. Unfortunately, the curricular attention that conservative
minds and ideas actually gather is reflexive and shallow. It’s not even
an adversarial relationship. It’s barely any relationship at all.

powered by performancing firefox

Most people already realize this, but it seems that no one really cares in the halls of Academe.
Professor Bauerlein brings it home.

Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, has an interesting article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Academe Shortchanges Conservative Thinking:”

The absence of conservative minds from the liberal-arts curriculum and
the off-campus ignorance of them — or worse, treatment of them as hired
hands — are standard features of intellectual life, and they are not
unrelated. When it comes to ideas and values, campuses remain the
foremost site of study, and the curriculum has a certifying effect. It
bears the duty of imparting ideas and writings essential to the
formation of thoughtful, informed individuals. The campus provides a
space in which that can happen, an occasion for learning — not for
advocating or using knowledge, but for acquiring and reflecting upon
it. The ideas included are deemed suitable for academic study, which is
to say they possess enough autonomy to be handled as part of an
intellectual tradition.

The division of campus discourse from public discourse has a
discrediting result. If a set of ideas and writings are missing in the
classroom but present in the marketplace or government, we tend to
explain them by their instrumental value. They owe their clout to their
usefulness to business or politics, the reasoning goes, not to
intellectual substance. If the university doesn’t put those works and
ideas on the syllabus, they aren’t subject to the free analysis and
contemplation that respectable works and ideas merit. When they crop up
off campus, then, they seem to have no independent validity, no import
separate from the interests they satisfy.

This is a disabling situation for conservative intellectuals. When a
distinctive intellectual identity emerged 100 years ago in France, it
did so as an adversarial one. People qualified as intellectuals by
acquiring knowledge through education and extending their expertise
into protest, rising above the blandishments of money and position to
represent higher things. What kept them honest and credible was,
precisely, their independence. What kept them authoritative was the
fact that they had developed their opinions in a disinterested setting.

Herein lies the plight of conservative intellectuals. They seek to
reflect upon the events of the day, but the ideas they draw upon are
ignored by professors and cheapened by liberal intellectuals. Count the
names Hayek, Russell Kirk, Irving Kristol, etc., on syllabi in courses
on “Culture Society.” Tally how often, in left-of-center
periodicals, those names are linked to moneyed interests. The framing
is complete. Heralds of conservatism start and finish in the messy
realm of politics and finance, never rising into the temple of
reflection…

…The denial of legitimacy creates a distorted intellectual
environment, and everyone suffers. American society, not to mention
students, is poorly served when ideas in the public sphere don’t
undergo conceptual, historical, and political analysis in the
classroom. Unfortunately, the curricular attention that conservative
minds and ideas actually gather is reflexive and shallow. It’s not even
an adversarial relationship. It’s barely any relationship at all.

powered by performancing firefox