Slide background


Meet Your Military: Marine Shapes Silent Drill Platoon

[caption id="attachment_3080" align="alignleft" width="166"]MarineShapesSilent As drill master for the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, Cpl. Robert Dominguez is tasked with memorizing, teaching and passing down the platoon’s unique drill manual, creating a new drill sequence for the platoon to perform each year, and selecting new members and the 24 Marines who will drill during performances. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Austin Hazard[/caption] MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz.,– The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon performs around the world, demonstrating discipline, precision and dedication to tradition. But who chooses these men? Who teaches them the time-honored tradition of representing the Marine Corps with their silent performances? Marine Corps Cpl. Robert Dominguez, a 26-year-old native of Selma, Calif., serves as the platoon’s drill master. He is tasked with memorizing, teaching and handing down the platoon’s unique drill style, called “slide drill.â€Â “It’s a great honor to be the 62nd drill master of the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, teaching the manual to Marines and passing it on,â€Â said Dominguez, who became the drill master Nov. 4. “I am the keeper of the Silent Drill Platoon’s traditions.â€Â The drill master keeps the manual for slide drill and passes it to the next drill master, a rite of succession that has remained unchanged since its creation. “Back in 1948, all the drill was choreographed and slide drill was created,â€Â said Dominguez, who is in his third year with the platoon. “What I do as the drill master is use that manual and come up with a new sequence for the year. I think up some cool ideas and go back through old drill sequences and try to make a new, fresh sequence with some more flavor.â€Â Marines may remember drill from their boot camp landing-party manual, but slide drill is different. It uses no verbal commands and modifies common drill maneuvers, such as port arms, to best fit the platoon’s style and varying formations. “It’s very difficult to learn,â€Â Dominguez said. “You’ve got to have a lot of bearing, coordination and discipline to be able to learn slide drill.â€Â However, teaching drill is not the drill master’s only responsibility. “To represent the Marine Corps, the Marine Corps wants the best, and it’s my job to select them,â€Â Dominguez said. Dominguez trains and chooses the platoon members during their initial training, determining who makes the cut and who gets cut. After that, he decides which members make up the “marching 24,â€Â the two dozen Marines who actually perform. If Dominguez believes the platoon’s proficiency declines, he can declare a challenge day, during which members audition for spots among the marching 24. The drill master is a coveted and respected position among the platoon, and Dominguez is equally respected by his platoon. “As a drill master, he does demand the perfection needed of this platoon,â€Â said Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Perry Bell, who is in his first year with the platoon. The downside to being the drill master is watching from the sidelines and not being able to perform with the platoon, Dominguez said. “Performing is an adrenaline rush,â€Â he explained. “You can’t get that feeling anywhere else. It’s unfortunate that I’m not in the fight with them, not performing, but I get to critique them and make them better.â€Â For decades, the Silent Drill Platoon has been an American icon, personifying the discipline and precision of the Marine Corps through public demonstrations, recruiting posters and commercials. Now that responsibility lies primarily in Dominguez’s hands as the drill master of the nation’s most famous drill team. “Nothing that we do is about us,â€Â Dominguez said. “The picture is bigger than us. To the public, we represent the Marine Corps.â€Â March 12, 2010: By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Austin Hazard- Special to American Forces Press Service (Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Austin Hazard serves at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.) ***SOT***    

Meet Your Military: Guard Members Skate in Roller Derby

[caption id="attachment_3943" align="alignleft" width="250"]GuardMemebersSkate Left to right, roller derby teammates Army Sgt. Karli Wahkahquah, Army 1st Lt. Kristin Sloan and Army 1st Lt. Jessica duMonceaux, all members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, proudly show off their dainty, powder blue Thunderbirds -- symbolic of the parent 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team under which they serve. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Darren D. Heusel[/caption] OKLAHOMA CITY  Some soldiers will do almost anything to stay in shape.
Three soldiers from the Oklahoma Army National Guard are lacing up their roller skates, strapping on elbow and knee pads and taking to the rink as members of the Oklahoma City Red Dirt Rebellion Rollergirls.For those new to the sport, this isn’t the roller derby of the 1970s, when practically every move was choreographed as in professional wrestling.No, this is the real deal -- as evidenced by the bruised and battered bodies of 1st Lt. Jessica duMonceau, 1st Lt. Kristin Sloan and Sgt. Karli Wahkahquah.All are members of the military intelligence community and became interested in roller derby after attending an evening contest between the Oklahoma City Red Dirt Rebellion and a team from Amarillo. "We all went to our first bout together, and Kristin and I looked at Karli and said, 'We have to do this!'" said duMonceau, who attended high school in Foley, Minn., before moving to Oklahoma City six years ago. "We can be pretty persuasive like that sometimes." Wahkahquah said it has been at least 10 years since she donned a pair of roller skates, but she was up to the challenge. "I'm sure I must have looked like a baby giraffe on skates out there at first," said Wahkahquah, who also hails from Oklahoma City. "There were a lot of bumps and bruises initially, but it’s proven to be a lot of fun." Sloan, a native of Mustang, Okla., said one of the clinchers for her was when "Energizer Honey," a member of the Red Dirt Rebellion, was sent flying over the railing, landed on her feet and got right back into the action without ever batting an eyelash. "She jumped right up like she knew what she was doing," Sloan recalled. "The crowd went wild, and we knew right then this was the sport for us." Founded in July 2007 by a group of women with previous flat-track experience, the Red Dirt Rebellion Rollergirls are members of Oklahoma's only all-female banked-track roller derby league. While flat-track roller derby has taken the nation by storm in recent years, the Red Dirt Rebellion is one of only 11 elite banked-track roller derby teams in the country. In its heyday, roller derby was one of the most popular sports broadcast on TV. The late 1970s brought viewers professional wrestling-style derby with mixed teams, heated fist fights and dramatic moves. Then, as if overnight, roller derby disappeared from public view, only to re-emerge 20 years later with a totally revamped attitude. You won't often see men on the derby track any more, unless they're sporting a black-and-white striped jersey and a whistle. You also won't see any overly dramatic "scriptedâ€Â behavior on the rink. What you will see are short skirts, fishnet stockings, tattoos and smash-mouth roller derby action. All the hits, spills, falls and breaks are real, and they’re revered in the roller derby community. Named after the infamous "red dirt" of Oklahoma and their wild "rebellious" spirits, members of the Red Dirt Rebellion Rollergirls come from all different lifestyles and backgrounds, from graphic designers and nurses, to stay-at-home moms and soldiers. The ladies get together at least three nights a week, and for a few bone-crushing hours, they fly around the track hurling themselves at each other as they participate in their own version of ultimate fighting. They like to have fun, and they like to play rough, as their motto, "Skate Fast and Kick Butt," states. Once the ladies step onto the rink, they immediately transform into their "alter egos." Wahkahquah, or "Rolling Death," as she is known by her Red Dirt Rebellion sisters, bulldozes her way through a crowded pack of five girls as she makes her way for the "jammer." Sloan, or "Bruise Clues" as she is known in roller derby circles, finds the gap through the pack and darts in and out as she bursts her way through, dodging opposing "blockers" as they lunge at her. The jammers, duMonceau or "La Fleur de Mort" among them, claw their way through what seems like a school of piranhas, while the blockers seek to catch an opposing skater off guard and send her skidding across the floor. Belly flops, bruised jaws, bloody noses and twisted ankles come with the territory. But these ladies say, "Bring it on!" After an intense bout, the skaters may seek treatment for their wounds. But, you won't see a single unhappy skater in the bunch. They'll limp out with a grin on their face and glints of roller derby glory in their eyes, eager to live on and to fight another day. "There are definitely some dedicated people on our team," duMonceaux said. What makes the trio so successful on the banked track is the same tenacious attitude and "can-do" spirit that helps them thrive and survive in the Guard. "For me, the organization and the planning are huge," said Sloan. "There was no real structure when we first got started. We used troop-leading procedures to make it go a lot smoother." Wahkahquah said she noticed the team's method of notifying people about an upcoming practice or bout was broken when she first was involved. One person was contacting everyone on the team, and it was taking hours to get people notified. So she instituted a procedure similar to a military recall roster to help speed up the process. "Now, all is well," she said. "Roller derby has definitely taught me to be a better leader. When we first got here, it was like herding cats. Now, it's like herding sheep. It's a lot more organized." "I'm definitely developing my communication skills," duMonceau said. "I'm very direct these days and that helps transition over to the Guard." The women all claim to have been standout athletes in high school. All said roller derby has helped them elevate their physical fitness. "We're guaranteed at least three practices per week, even more than that, if we have a ‘bout’ coming up," Wahkahquah said. Sloan said their experience has helped with recruiting as well. Sporting a baby blue Thunderbird on their right shoulder that’s symbolic of the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team with which they serve, Sloan said some of the other women will come up to them and ask about the National Guard. Choosing the perfect roller derby nickname is important, the women said, because it becomes registered and is theirs forever. "Someone can call and ask to create a version of your name, but they have to get your permission," Wahkahquah said. Wahkahquah's last name in Comanche means "riding death." So, in keeping with the Native American theme, she chose "Rolling Death" as her alter ego. In French, duMonceaux's name means "the mound." So, she "just went a little darker," as she put it, with "La Fleur de Mort," which means "the flower of death." Sloan said the nickname she arrived at, "Bruise Clues," is probably the least exciting of the three. "That's just the one I ended up liking," she shrugged. "It was an original." As for the reaction the Guardsmen get from people when they discover they are members of the Red Dirt Rebellion, they said most people at first don't realize Oklahoma has a team. Second, they said, people will ask, "Is that real?" "I tell them everything about it is definitely real," Wahkahquah said, pointing to the bruises on her left arm. Meanwhile, the Guard members are slated to deploy to Afghanistan next year. Yet, the women will have each other to lean on, just as duMonceaux and Wahkahquah did when they were deployed together to Afghanistan in 2002. "We're all pretty tight," said Wahkahquah. "We pretty much became mutual friends after that first deployment. We like to mountain bike, rock climb -- just about anything you might consider extreme." Some might consider roller derby extreme. But for Oklahoma's Guard trio, sustaining a few more bumps and bruises in the rugged, mountainous terrain of Afghanistan might just make them feel right at home. March 10, 2010: By Army Sgt. 1st Class Darren D. Heusel- Special to American Forces Press Service (Army Sgt. 1st Class Darren D. Heusel serves with the Oklahoma National Guard.) ***SOT***


The Support Our Troops! license plate hits the road in North Carolina!

NC-PlateProofPhoto2-300pxMarch 1, 2010 Bolt one on for the troops today!„¢ Yes, today! The new North Carolina Support Our Troops! license plate is out and selling hot at all DMV offices statewide and online at the DMV's fantastic website Don't wait for your renewal month to get into this great plate! You can swap out early! The troops didn't wait. They went half way around for the world for us; let's all do this simple thing for them! It's a perfect way to show them you care.

Meet Your Military: Soldier Keeps Units Connected

[caption id="attachment_4138" align="alignleft" width="300"]SoldierKeepsUnits02142011 Army Spc. Joseph Sirovy works on a satellite dish at Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan’s Logar province, Jan. 16, 2011. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Ashley Allen[/caption] LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Operating in a country with rugged, mountainous terrain can present many communications challenges, but Army Spc. Joseph Sirovy is keeping his units connected.
Sirovy, a multichannel transmissions systems operator from Knox, Ind., assigned to the 10th Mountain Division’s Company C, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, ensures his units throughout Wardak and Logar provinces in eastern Afghanistan can communicate. “I am trying to make a difference at the company and platoon levels for soldiers to be able to communicate to their command,â€Â he said. As the technical expert for a team that assesses and repairs communications equipment, Sirovy provides communication analysis throughout the brigade’s area of operations. This support allows Task Force Patriot to communicate in a clear and timely manner, even at the lowest levels, so the soldiers can conduct effective military operations and, more importantly, keep ahead of insurgents and the Taliban, said Army Capt. Craig Starn, Company C commander, from Grafton, W.Va. Afghanistan has limited fixed-line telephone service, ranking 139th in the world, according to the CIA's World Fact Book website. Terrain is the biggest obstacle for establishing communications within Task Force Patriot’s operating area of Afghanistan, Sirovy said, and communications leaders are using commercial equipment to push network services to companies and platoons that aren’t located on larger forward operating bases. Signal site assessments play a significant role in maintaining reliable tactical communications down to the lowest levels, said Army Maj. Keith Dawson, Task Force Patriot brigade communications and automations officer in charge from Hammond, La. Sirovy said he enjoys conducting assessments throughout Logar and Wardak provinces because he leaves the forward operating base and gets to fix and prevent communication problems. Dawson said Sirovy and the assessment team are vital to maintaining communications within the task force because the host nation has very limited landlines, forcing the brigade to rely mainly on its own signal equipment, such as satellite communication. And because Task Force Patriot’s communication network is four times the size of an average brigade’s, he added, an active assessment team is especially important. Sirovy said he has learned to assess and maintain satellite communications equipment and computer networking systems, and that his training and experience would be valuable in the civilian sector, thanks to the latest technology the Army is using. However, Sirovy added, he is not necessarily thinking of leaving the Army any time soon. While he joined the Signal Corps to learn about the signal and communications field, he said, he also enlisted for three reasons: to serve his country, to make something of himself and to provide for his child. Sirovy and Starn travel to different locations weekly to complete surveys. Sirovy inspects all of the signal equipment for each unit to make sure it’s functioning properly. He fixes issues on the spot and determines whether parts need to be ordered or repaired. That work is critical, Starn said, because the units must have uninterrupted communications to their higher authority during combat operations. Army 1st Sgt. Adrian Borel of Lafayette, La., Company C’s first sergeant, explained why Sirovy was chosen for his position on the assessment team and why he is so successful. “Specialist Sirovy is dedicated to mission accomplishment and will not accept failure,â€Â he said. “He continuously seeks to expand his knowledge base of signal equipment and its capability pertaining to each unit’s primary mission focus.â€Â Feb. 14, 2011: By Army 1st Lt. Ashley Allen and Army 1st Lt. Jose Perez Task Force Dagger


Marines Get $1,910, 844.64 of Trail Mix and Microwave Popcorn!

marinecorpshookFebruary 9, 2010   $1,910, 844.64 of trail mix and microwave popcorn has just been delivered to Marine Corps bases all across America.   Yes, that's one million nine hundred thousand dollars.   383 pallets! 9 tractor-trailer loads! And all from individual American citizens to their troops. It is a showing of the goodwill of the people for their troops.   It is especially amazing because it was done during a recession.   It just goes to show how real Americans step up for those who step up for them.   Is this a great country or what. The tractor-trailers delivered the goods to the Marine Forces Reserve in Louisiana, Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany Georgia, Headquarters Battalion  Washington DC, Marine Barracks Washington DC,  Recruitment Depo San Diego, Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton,  Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms,  Air Station Yuma Arizona,  Air Station Cherry Point North Carolina, Quantico, Marines Corps Community Services Command,   Air Station Miramar California, Air Station New River North Carolina,  Logistics Base Barstow, and the Mountain Warfare Training Center California. A fun and positive way to show support for the troops! "Thanks Marines and  we hope it shows you how much we all appreciate you", said Support Our Troops® Chairman Martin C. Boire.  "What a gesture of Americans' trust in you, and our honest gratitude for everything you do for us." Each case is labeled with a thank-you sticker.   What a fun way to show them how much we think of them!  What a tremendous gesture of good will. "Your [popcorn] service makes a world of difference and helps to boost the morale of the service men and women throughout the world."  ~~ an Admiral. Where did all this popcorn come from? From the American People!   The Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts went door to door down street alls across America and asked people if they would like to donate $25 of popcorn treats to the troops.  And at $25 a pop this many people did. Who did this? SupportOurTroops.Org, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Trail's- End Popcorn Company teamed up to pull this off.  Said Support Our Troops Chairman Martin C. Boire: "kids, you want to know how to pull off something this huge?  Get into Scouting, you'll get to organize hundreds of things." Who manufactured it? Nothing but the best for our troops!  Trail's-End® popcorn is known as America's Best Popcorn. It is produced by Weaver Popcorn Company, one of the largest producers and manufacturers of popcorn products in the world. An 80-year-old, family-owned company located in Indiana, Weaver Popcorn distributes its products in more than 90 countries. About SupportOurTroops.Org. The free online troop-supporter Community at SupportOurTroops.Org offers simple ways for all of us to thank and show support to American troops (our deployed neighbors) serving all over the world.  It is a non-partisan, non-political civilian organization, welcoming civilians, active-duty families, and veterans as members.   Donations at SupportOurTroops.Org help us do wonderful  things like this for the troops and their families.OhioPlatePhoto200px What else are we doing? Chairman Martin C. Boire, said, "we're the license plate people.  We have completed state-issuance of  Support Our Troops! plates in 25 states to date, and have more underway.  Those plates help us do good things like this for our deployed neighbors.  Sign up for your plate today. You  can find out the status of the effort in your state at" What is Support Our Troops? Support Our Troops® is a patriotic family organization aimed at protecting the well-being of the troops and their families.  They Support Us Let's Support Them!  Civilian-led, SOT enthusiastically welcomes civilians, active-duty families, veterans, and folks from all political parties.  We offer simple, easy, everyday methods through which folks can stick up for those who stick up for all of us: official license plates, yellow ribbons, apparel, and accessories, knowing that it works to benefit the deployed troops (our neighbors) and their families.  Support Our Troops is a nation-wide 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with chapters in 37 states to date. How does get all of this done? Through our free  online community forum at SupportOurTroops.Org, and a lot of hard work by a lot of good kids and adults across America. CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) Member #31529. Support Our Troops®  is an authorized private civilian national and international nonprofit in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).  It is the largest and most successful workplace charity campaign in the world.  Federal employees can help Support Our Troops® by designating to code 31529.

Op Pop Hits Forts Polk, Jackson, Irwin, Campbell

FtIrwinPaintedRockNCOmdJanuary 3, 2010 - Fort Polk, LA, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Fort Irwin, California, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, just got 35 pallets, or $148,995 worth, of trail mix treats, tins of flavored prepopped popcorn, and microwave popcorn from SOT's Operation Popcorn.  OP POP happens only thanks to the individual Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts who go door to door down most streets in America each Fall in their annual popcorn sale.  The Scouts, and the average people who answer their doors on those streets, care enough about the men and women who step up for all of us, that they make OP POP happen during the Scout's  popcorn sale every year.   Are you are kid?   Want to learn how to do millions of dollars worth of business and help people all over the world?  Check out Scouting.

* Service members, please provide a non .mil address. Thank you.