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Christmas Traditions on the Way to the Troops!

Christmas Traditions on the Way to the Troops!

December 16, 2015: Absence from loved ones,  Christmas traditions, and the comfort of family rituals is one of the most difficult moments of a soldier’s deployment.   In some of the most dangerous locations, even the sound of Christmas carols could bring trouble.

This Christmas, our soldiers are holding their posts in Kuwait, Afghanistan and other undisclosed locations.  Some of these places may have electricity while others, like FOB’s, may be void of modern amenities. A Christmas card, a ribbon or a bow can go a long way in reminding troops that we are here and we are thinking of them.  A string of lights and a few sweets to remind them of the taste of home can make time overseas easier in a moment where nothing has been easy.

The cards that travel in our care packages come from children and schools, nursing homes and churches from across America.  Every care package contains a note from Support Our Troops® showing soldiers where their gifts come from, so they know that those warm wishes are from a town and from a community much like the one they left behind.

Pentagon Warns Troops about Possible Government Shutdown

support our troops world war 2 memorialThe World World II Memorial was one of many attractions closed in 2013 during a partial government shutdown.
(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Recently, Washington –  On Sept. 25, the Pentagon sent down an official warning to all troops and defense civilians that gridlock on Capitol Hill is threatening a government-wide shutdown, which could come as early as next week, and that there would be no immediate procedure in place to continue military pay, according to an article by Military Times. The deadline in Congress is Oct. 1 to reach a budget deal, and both sides of congress are trying to figure out a stopgap measure that would stop many civilian-run government operations and jeopardize troops' mid October paychecks.

"During a government shutdown, all military personnel would continue in a normal duty status; however, they would not be paid until Congress provides funding," Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work wrote in a memo sent to all Defense Department troops and civilian employees Friday morning. Previously, there was legislation passed to protect military pay during a shutdown, but it has expired.   The shutdown, if it occurs, would begin on Oct. 1, and bimonthly military paychecks will likely be unaffected because they're processed at the end of September.

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Did scientists just invent an invisibility cloak? If so, the military is interested.

support our troops invisibility cloak us militaryResearchers are working to create a new design for the Harry Potter-esque invisibility cloak, which will conceal objects, making them more difficult for adversaries to detect. (Photo: DoD photo Illustration )Recently – To scientists, it's called the "dielectric metasurface cloak." To the rest of us, it's something that makes you invisible, at least according to the people at the University of California-San Diego. It was invented by a team that includes professor Boubacar Kante, and it's possibly a huge step breakthrough in the ongoing quest for invisibility, according to an article in the Army Times. Not surprisingly, the work has military interest, and Kante and his team are planning to submit a proposal this month. The applications are obvious – something that could aid the military in hiding an object trying to get close to an objective would be valuable indeed.

"Unmanned Areal Vehicles and other planes, ships and anything else interested in dodging radar could have a use for it. And it could also be used as high-end camouflage for any background colors," the article said. "The Homeland Defense & Security Information Analysis Center is a Defense Department contractor tasked essentially to be a matchmaker for the Pentagon and academia/industry. Kayla Matola, research analyst for HDIAC, told Army Times the UCSD design is lighter and cheaper than anything else out there, and “basically what the military’s looking for” regarding cloaking capabilities.

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Military Airman Who Helped Stop Attack on Paris-Bound Train Will Get Purple Heart

support our troops us airman 1st classU.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone meets Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Easton, 86th Airlift Wing command chief, upon his arrival to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Aug. 24. 2015. (Sara Keller/U.S. Air Force)Recently - Spencer Stone, the Military Airman 1st Class who helped his two American friends take down a terrorist with an AK-47 assault rifle on an Amsterdam-Paris train last month will be awarded a Purple Heart. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced the news on Monday, according to an article by Military,com.

Stone has been called our very own "Captain America," and was already getting the Airman's Medal, the highest non-combat award in the Air Force. The honors will be issued at a Pentagon ceremony on Wednesday, the article said.

Stone, Skarlatos and their friend Anthony Sadler were on vacation Aug. 21 when they subdued, disarmed and hogtied a heavily armed gunman on a train heading from Amsterdam to Paris, according to Air Force Times. The gunman, who was armed with the gun, a Luger and a box cutter, stabbed Stone during the melee, sending him to the hospital. France awarded all three Americans the Legion of Merit within days of the attack.

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Meet Your Military: Minnesota Guardsman Helps Croatian Village

support our troops us army spc fixes roofs croatiaArmy Spc. Christopher Anderson, a carpentry and masonry specialist, smooths plaster on a ceiling while working with fellow Minnesota Army National Guardsmen and Croatian soldiers to repair and rebuild a roof on a damaged community center in Racinovci, Croatia, June 18, 2015. Anderson is assigned to the 851st Vertical Engineer Company. Minnesota National Guard photo by Air Force Tech Sgt. Lynette OlivaresRACINOVCI, Croatia, July 27, 2015 – The Minnesota National Guard's State Partnership Program with Croatia has been going on for decades. In conjunction with U.S. European Command, Minnesota units or teams take on logistics and labor-intensive projects in a village in Croatia.

The experience of helping a community in need isn't new for most Minnesota Guard members, including Army Spc. Christopher Anderson, a carpentry and masonry specialist from the 851st Vertical Engineer Company out of the Camp Ripley Training Center.This year marks his second trip to Croatia. This year's trip includes a team of about 30 Minnesota Guardsmen who have less than three weeks to repair the large roof of a village community center badly damaged by flooding last year. "Being able to come and do missions like this is awesome," Anderson said."Trips like this make your time in the Guard a lot more enjoyable, and it's nice to change things up."

'A Big Satisfaction' The project in the local community has attracted onlookers from around the village. Many are interested in the progress and the American military unit which has joined them temporarily in their villages and places they call home. "It's a big satisfaction to build something, see people enjoy it and how it affects the community," Anderson said.

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Military standoff between North, South Korea quells after talks

support our troops military standoff north south korea North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un (left) and South Korea's Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan Photo: AFP/Getty Images/EPASEOUL, Tuesday - After days of escalating military tensions between North and South Korea, the contentious countries have agreed to end a standoff, according to ABC News. The countries had been quarreling over a series of events that led to one of the most serious escalations of military intent in over five years.

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, ordered a "quasi-state of war" and South Korea had raised its military readiness to the its highest level. The two Koreas fired artillery shells across their heavily-fortified border, known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and South Korea broadcast anti-North Korean messages over a loudspeaker. The exchange of fire did not result in any damages or injuries, but the two countries argued over who had fired first.

Had the military standoff escalated, the implications could have potentially sparked a global conflict, one that the United States Military might have intervened in. North Korea said it would lift its semi-state of war and said it "regret" causing injuries to South Korean soldiers from a landmine blast on Aug. 4. South Korea, starting on Tuesday, will stop its broadcasts over the border.

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