Monday, July 23, 2012

Youth Preparedness initiative

Today, FEMA announced the formation of its first Youth Preparedness Council. The Council supports FEMA’s emphasis on and dedication to involving the whole community in preparedness related activities.  

FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for a select group of youth leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council and to voice their opinions, experiences, ideas and solutions to help strengthen the nation’s resiliency for all types of disasters. Nominated by individuals who can attest to their preparedness activities, Council members demonstrate a willingness to represent the youth perspective on emergency preparedness and take information back to their communities to share it.

“Engaging youth is an integral step in preparing the nation for all hazards,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Youth have a unique ability to influence their peers and families to be more resilient, and children play an important role in disaster preparedness, during and after a crisis.”

Children comprise approximately 25 percent of our nation’s population and are the future of our communities. They can play an important role in disaster preparedness and each have the unique ability to help their communities be safer, stronger and more resilient before, during and after a disaster or emergency event. As such, we all have a vested interest in engaging and empowering youth to become active participants in individual, family, and community preparedness. Research states that:

  • Youth who are trained in preparedness are more resilient in actual disasters.
  • Youth are highly effective messengers for reaching and influencing parents and other adults.
  • Youth who are engaged today will ensure a future generation of prepared adults.

Additionally, youth have proven to be positive influencers, leaders, and first responders to their families, peers, and neighbors when they take the preparedness message home.  The Youth Preparedness Council will provide a venue to engage an often overlooked population and take into account their perspectives, feedback, and opinions. 

The Youth Preparedness Council is comprised of 13 diverse leaders (13 – 17 years of age) from across FEMA’s ten regions and who are:

  • dedicated to public service;
  • making a difference in their community; and
  • expanding their impact as a national advocate for youth preparedness.

The distinguished members selected are as follows:

  • FEMA Region I:  Rachel Little (Massachusetts)
  • FEMA Region II:  Gabriela Rodriguez Boria (Puerto Rico)
  • FEMA Region III:  Donald “Diesel” Embrey (Virginia)
  • FEMA Region IV:  Benjamin Cooke (Tennessee)
  • FEMA Region V:  Jason Reed (Indiana)
  • FEMA Region VI:  Dorian Tre’Vaughn Gregory (Louisiana)
  • FEMA Region VI:  Jonathan DeLong (Texas)
  • FEMA Region VII:  Nimansha Jain (Nebraska)
  • FEMA Region VIII:  Ashley Houston (Utah)
  • FEMA Region IX:  Divya Saini (California)
  • FEMA Region IX:  Tiffany Espensen (California)
  • FEMA Region IX:  Christian Chowen (Hawaii)
  • FEMA Region X:  Cayman Kirkhart (Idaho)

This year council members will have the opportunity to participate in a community preparedness roundtable event in Washington D.C. where they will advise and ask questions on youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of national organizations working on this critical priority. It is also expected that members will meet with FEMA on a quarterly basis via conference call or webinar and provide ongoing input on strategies and initiatives. Council members are eligible to serve on the Council for two years.

To learn more about FEMA’s youth preparedness efforts please visit:

Together, we can make the Nation more resilient and secure.

How hot is it? #OKwx

It Is Soooo Hot in #Oklahoma That:

The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

The trees are whistling for the dogs.

The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.

Hot water now comes out of both taps.

You can make sun tea instantly.

You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.

The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.

You discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.

You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.

You burn your hand opening the car door.

You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 am.

Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"

You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

Potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one out and add butter, salt and pepper, sour cream, diced onions and a few serving spoons of chili.

Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying boiled eggs.

The cows are giving evaporated milk.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Mobile Marketing" get a head start in #AltusOK

"Mobile Marketing" by Ethan Hale
Monday August 6, 2012
Room 102, SWTC
Cost $50 (registration deadline: noon August 3)

Mobile marketing is trending hot, and only continues to grow at wild
rates. There are more mobile users than laptop users, and people are
buying, discussing, and searching for products like yours all the time
via mobile devices.

The uses and value of mobile web sites and mobile apps are phenomenal.
What other form of advertising can you come up with a concept in the
morning and have buyers responding to your call to action that very

Features & Benefits
· Personal interactivity in no-pressure setting
· Leverages buyer impulses on the most important device of their lives
· Can be applied to almost any industry or niche
· Messages are delivered fast, and nearly almost opened & read quickly
· Urgent announcements can instantly be drafted and delivered
· Subscribers can choose content preferences
· Integrates with other marketing campaigns & platforms
· Enables easy and convenient brand interaction
People looking via mobile are motivated buyers! They want what you have.

Attend this seminar/training and discover ways to integrate this
technology into your own company. You will learn how to create your
own mobile website and how to build your first app.

CRegister today. 580-480-4723 or

Thursday, July 19, 2012

USFA Releases Report on Fire Service Operations

EMMITSBURG, MD – The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has completed a review of fire service operations surrounding the challenges faced in April 2011 as fire departments in the southeastern United States responded to a significant weather event.

On April 27, 2011, a devastating series of tornados struck Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The dollar loss has been roughly tallied at $6 billion in insured losses and a total of over $10 billion for all losses. An estimated 336 lives were lost in the region's tornados and related events, with 239 of those in Alabama. At least 10,000 homes were heavily damaged or destroyed and dozens of public facilities were rendered inoperative. Many areas that were isolated by road closures and power outages extended over two weeks in some rural areas. At least five tornados were rated at EF5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale).

A series of meetings was held in the summer of 2011 to look at fire department and emergency medical services (EMS) organization activities in Alabama and Georgia during the tornados. Over 50 representatives of impacted departments attended and each had an opportunity to respond to specific questions as well as provide a free range of their own inputs.

The report, Fire Service Operations for the Southeastern Tornados – April 2011 (PDF,1.5 Mb), condenses those meetings and inputs and provides an insight into the routines, challenges and needs of local fire and EMS agencies during preparation for, response to and recovery from, natural disasters. It serves as a benchmark to provide USFA an opportunity for evaluation to ensure we are providing the services that the first responder community requires for success, as well as to guide directions for future activities.

A copy of the report is available on the USFA website at under the Publications section.

Alert for Tulsa (Oklahoma) Issued by the National Weather Service

This was sent at 6:27 am on the 19th of July.  One twitter account sent it at 7:51 am.  That's about a 30 minute delay for a message that reads:


Social media in Emergency Management users will quickly note that alerting may not be the BEST use of social media.  It is ONE use.  

Following local media on Twitter and Facebook may be better as well.  

After all, it is their job to informed.  Monitoring an all-hazards radio with an alarm is good as well.

Nevertheless, it is important, if following social media accounts, to notice 
the time stamp on the message.  

After all, the link below will show the message expired, 
after a time and media is reported the suspect is shot now too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

#AltusOK resident speaking

Oklahoma Poet Laureate Eddie D. Wilcoxen will be the guest speaker at
the Ardmore Public Library this Saturday July 21st from 2 to 4 in the
afternoon. Eddie will be sharing stories and poems about Oklahoma
heritage and life in the Southwest, as well as visiting, autographing
books, and answering audience questions.

Eddie is the author of a dozen books of poetry and nonfiction, as well
as a three time national Karate Champion, a popular morning show radio
host, and an award winning gardener whose work has been featured in
magazines and on television.

Widely known as "Oklahoma's Storytelling Poet" Eddie is in much demand
as a public speaker and is acknowledged as an Oklahoma Original, in
the spirit of Will Rogers. Everyone is invited to this entertaining,
interesting and thoroughly enjoyable free presentation.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Build an App for a Chance at a Cash Prize

The U.S. Department of Labor invites you to build an app that helps promote the employment of people with disabilities. Visit to learn more about this challenge, which runs until 11:59 pm on August 23, 2012

The following three prizes will be awarded:
1. Innovation Award, $5,000
2. The People's Choice Award, $3,000
3. Above and Beyond Accessibility Award, $2,000

Friday, July 13, 2012

#VOST Leadership Coalition Update

The past two weeks have been busy with a couple of notable VOST
support activations.

· The WildlandFires.Info VOST has been busy. This activation
has been supporting a number of wildland fires in multiple states
including Colorado. The Colorado Project Team, Kris Eriksen and other
PIO's have been providing guidance & direction. Jeff Phillips has
been the Team Leader. The key website has been if you want to check out the work
involved in this effort.

· The Arapaho Fire resulted in a VOST activation to support
PNW 2 (@pnw2) Incident Management Team's deployment to Arapaho,
Wyoming. Mar Reddy-Hjelmfelt and Jared Woods have been providing team
leader support to this activation.

In #VOST News shared on Twitter,

· Congrats to the Hawaii VOST Team for completing CERT
Training….your pictures were fun to see!

· Thanks to Scott for sharing changes to the Twitter search
function at this link location.

· NPR recently covered the emergence of social media in
emergency management and interviewed Kris Eriksen & I for some
comment. It was aired in Eastern WA yesterday and should be running
nationally, I am told by the reporter by the end of this week.

Thanks so much!

Cheryl Bledsoe,
Emergency Mgt Division Manager
Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA)
710 W. 13th ST, Vancouver, WA 98660

The Ten Things Every American Student Should Know About Our Army in
World War II

Follow the link for the article formatted properly.

Editor's Note: Rick Atkinson is author of The Army and Dawn and The Day of Battle, and is currently at work on the third volume in his trilogy on the role of the U.S. military in the liberation of Europe in World War II. He joined the Washington Post, from which he is now on book leave, in 1983, where he has served as reporter, foreign correspondent, and editor. He has won the Pulitzer Prize three times.

By Rick Atkinson

#1. The U.S. Army was a puny weakling when the war began. When the European war began in earnest on September 1, 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, the U.S. Army ranked seventeenth among armies of the world in size and combat power, just behind Romania. It numbered 190,000 soldiers. (It would grow to 8.3 million in 1945, a 44-fold increase.) When mobilization began in 1940, the Army had only 14,000 professional officers. The average age of majors--a middling rank, between captain and lieutenant colonel--was nearly 48; in the National Guard, nearly one-quarter of first lieutenants were over 40 years old, and the senior ranks were dominated by political hacks of certifiable military incompetence. Not a single officer on duty in 1941 had commanded a unit as large as a division in World War I. At the time of Pearl Harbor, in December 1941, only one American division was on a full war footing.

Some American coastal defense guns had not been test fired in 20 years, and the Army lacked enough antiaircraft guns to protect even a single American city. The senior British military officer in Washington told London that American forces "are more unready for war than it is possible to imagine." In May 1940, the month that the German Blitzkrieg swept through the Low Countries and overran France, the U.S. Army owned a total of 464 tanks, mostly puny light tanks with the combat power of a coffee can.

There was also a mental unreadiness in many quarters. In 1941, the Army's cavalry chief assured Congress that four well-spaced horsemen could charge half a mile across an open field to destroy an enemy machine-gun nest, without sustaining a scratch. This ignored the evidence of not only World War II, which was already two years underway, but also World War I.

#2. The war encumbered all of America. Obviously a lot happened to get from an army of 190,000 to an army of almost 8.5 million. A total of 16 million Americans served in uniform in WWII; virtually every family had someone in harm's way, virtually every American had an emotional investment in our Army. That WWII army of 8.5 million existed in a country of about 130 million; by comparison, today we have an army of roughly 500,000 in a country of 307 million.

About the time of Pearl Harbor, Army planners estimated that the U.S. Army would require 213 divisions by 1944. (A division typically had about 15,000 soldiers.) We never even got close to 213; instead, the Army mobilized only 90 divisions by the end of the war. That compares to about 300 divisions for Germany; 400 for the Soviet Union, and 100 for Japan.  

There were several reasons for this. First, the manpower demands of the air forces and particularly of the supply services competed with the manpower demands of the Army. (Service forces--quartermaster, transportation corps--were more than one-third of the strength of the Army by September 1942.) Second, there was a gradual recognition that the Soviet Union was fighting most of the German army, which meant the United States would not have to face as many Germans as originally feared. There was also a recognition that the United States could provide industrial muscle unlike any nation on earth, to build tanks, airplanes, and trucks, to make things like penicillin and synthetic rubber, not only for us but for our Allies. That meant keeping a fair amount of manpower in factories and other industrial jobs, while of course also getting women into the workforce as never before.

Because we had relatively few divisions, virtually all of them had to be committed to combat. A bit more than two- thirds of the U.S. Army fought in Europe and the Mediterranean, with the remainder in the Pacific (along with all six U.S. Marine Corps divisions). That also meant that you couldn't easily pull the divisions out of the war to let them rest or rebuild; they had to be kept up to strength while in the fight.

The First Division is an example. It had fought in North Africa and in Sicily in 1942 and 1943, and when it was committed to battle in Western Europe, on Omaha Beach on D- Day, June 6, 1944, of the next 11 months, until the war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945, it spent 317 days in combat. During that period it typically took two to three thousand casualties a month, up to five thousand or more a month. In Western Europe, it had almost 30,000 battle and non-battle casualties (like frostbite or trench foot.) Remember, a division typically has about 15,000 soldiers.  

Yet the division ended the war almost at full strength. The Army's replacement system, although poorly run in some fundamental ways, still managed to keep units muscled up, in very sharp contrast to our adversaries, which tended to crumble to nothing. In Western Europe, from Normandy to Czechoslovakia, the Army had 18 divisions with more than 100 percent casualties, and five divisions-including the First-with more than 200 percent casualties. That means the division would be wiped out twice and still be at nearly full strength.

#3. The U.S. Army did not win World War II by itself. We can be proud of our role, proud of our Army; we must not be delusional, chauvinistic, or so besotted with American exceptionalism that we falsify history. The war began 27 months before American entry into the war. It was fought on six continents, a global conflagration unlike any seen before or since. The British had done a great deal in those 27 months to keep alive the hopes of the western democracies. Russia lost an estimated 26 million people in the war, and its military did most of the bleeding for the Allied cause.

By the end of the war, there were about 60 nations on the Allied side, aligned in what President Roosevelt had long called the "united nations." In Italy alone, Brazilians, Poles, Nepalese, New Zealanders, French, Italians, and a number of other nationalities fought beside us.

Coalition politics played an enormously important part in shoring up the U.S. Army's fighting strength--a recognition that in a global war, the best team wins. In WWII, this was best embodied in Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who demonstrated diplomatic skills of the first order, including compromise, resolve, coercion, flattery, and patience.

#4. The U.S. Army's role in the liberation of Europe didn't start at Normandy. The army, those soldiers and commanders, who landed in France on June 6, 1944, did not leap fully armed from the ether. They had a pedigree, individually and collectively, and it's difficult to understand what happened in those final eleven months of the European war following the invasion at Normandy without understanding what preceded it.

In fact, the path to Normandy began more than two years before D-Day, and involved other, earlier D-Days. On the battlefield, it really started in North Africa. How did the U.S. Army end up in North Africa? The United States, famously, entered the war in December 1941, and almost immediately there was agreement between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill that the first task at hand was to defeat Germany. Their presumption was that Germany was the strongest of the Axis powers, and that clubbing it into submission would inevitably lead to the defeat of its two main partners in crime, Japan and Italy. But beyond that concurrence, of Germany first, there was little agreement on how to translate the principle into a strategic plan.

In fact, there was savage disagreement between the Americans and the British, among the bitterest arguments of the war. Through the spring and early summer of 1942, the American military brain trust led by Gen. George C. Marshall, the Army chief of staff, argued that the quickest, surest way to defeat Germany would be to stage an invasion army in the UK, cross the English Channel, and march for Berlin. The British said "Whoa! Not so fast."

It would be much more sensible, argued the British, to begin the liberation of Europe by attacking the periphery of the Axis empire. North Africa was proposed as a candidate, its most attractive characteristic being that there were no Germans there. After Germany invaded France in the spring of 1940, Hitler offered the French a deal with the devil. He proposed the creation of a French rump state, occupying the bottom one-third of metropolitan France with a capital in the spa town of Vichy. (The Germans would keep Paris.)

As part of the deal, the French could keep their empire, notably the French possessions in northwest Africa: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The French could also retain their navy and an army of about 100,000 soldiers in North Africa, with the proviso that they agreed to fight any invading force, notably the British. Hitler knew that there were more than 17 million Arabs living in these French colonies, and he wanted the headache of governing them to fall on the French. France of course agreed to the deal, except for a few renegades like an obscure brigadier general named Charles de Gaulle.

In the high councils of the British and Americans this debate over where to strike raged secretly for months. In late July 1942, Roosevelt at last sided with the British against the advice of virtually all his senior military officers. He ordered an Anglo-American invasion of North Africa.

The landings--known as Operation Torch--occurred on November 8, 1942, in Morocco and Algeria. After three days of resistance, the Vichy French in North Africa capitulated, joined the Allied cause, and the Anglo-American army pushed eastward into Tunisia; they were close to within sight of the minarets of Tunis before being stopped cold by the Germans and Italians in late November 1942. The Germans, under the command of Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, reacted with much greater agility and audacity than the Allied brain trust had anticipated, shoving tens of thousands of troops across the Mediterranean. A stalemate persisted in Tunisia for months.  

At the same time, 2,000 miles to the east, the British Eighth Army under General Bernard L. Montgomery had defeated another German-Italian army at the Egyptian crossroads of El Alamein, and for the next three months that Axis army, under Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, retreated across the breadth of North Africa, languidly pursued by the British. By late winter 1943, there were four armies--two Allied and two Axis--in Tunisia, a country the size of the state of Georgia.

Over the next two months, Allied strength waxed and Axis strength waned. The Allies gained air supremacy and almost complete control of the seas, effectively strangling the Axis supply line from Europe; the sea passage from Italy became so harrowing that Italian sailors called it "the death route." Hitler decided not to try to evacuate his forces from North Africa; the result was the capture of roughly a quarter million Germans and Italians, a defeat almost as catastrophic for the Axis cause as Stalingrad had been a few months earlier. After Africa came Sicily, then the campaign in Italy. That is the context for Normandy.

#5. The U.S. Army for some considerable time after we entered the war was not very good. Part of the WWII mythology is that all the brothers were valiant and all the sisters were virtuous. War is the most human of enterprises, and it reveals every human foible and frailty, as well as human virtues: cowardice and tomfoolery, as well as courage and sacrifice. The Greatest Generation appellation is nonsense. And which generation are we talking about-the generation of senior Army leaders like George Patton, born in 1885, Dwight Eisenhower, born in 1890--or the generation of trigger-pullers, mostly born in the 1910s and 1920s?

In the first couple years of American involvement in WWII the Army was burdened with equipment that in some cases was clearly inferior to the enemy's, tanks being a good example. It was burdened with a number of commanders who were not up to the task: of the first five corps commanders in action against the Germans, three were sacked for incompetence. Our first adversary in the liberation of Europe was the French, and we were hardly brilliant in combat against them.

Those first couple years of war required a sifting out, an evaluation at all levels within the Army of the competent from the incompetent, the physically fit from the unfit. It has sometimes been argued that in an even fight, when you matched one American battalion or regiment against a German battalion or regiment, the Germans tended to be superior, the better fighters. But who said anything about an even fight? Global war is a clash of systems. Which system can generate the combat power needed to prevail, whether it's in the form of= the 13,000 Allied warplanes available on D-day; the 10:1 American advantage in artillery ammunition often enjoyed against the Germans; or the ability to design, build, and detonate an atomic bomb? Which system can produce the men capable of organizing the shipping, the rail and truck transportation, the stupendous logistical demands of global war?

Germany could not muster the wherewithal to cross the English Channel, which is only 21 miles wide, to invade Britain. The United States projected power across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific and into Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Power- projection, adaptability, versatility, ingenuity, preponderance--these are salient characteristics of the U.S. Army in WWII.

#6. The U.S. Army in WWII comprised much more than just riflemen. It also included, for example, the Army Air Forces, which in turn embodied the single greatest military disparity between us and our enemies: the ability to flatten fifty German cities, to firebomb Tokyo, to reduce Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ashes.

Those fleets of airplanes--a thousand bombers at a time attacking enemy targets--are perhaps the most vivid emblem of the "arsenal of democracy" that outfitted our military and, to some extent, our military allies. The United States built 3.5 million private cars in 1941; for the rest of the war, we built 139. Instead, in 1943 alone, we built 86,000 planes, 45,000 tanks, and 648,000 trucks. We made in that one year 61 million pairs of wool socks; every day, another 71 million rounds of small-arms ammunition spilled from Army munitions plants.

The American war machine was "a prodigy of organization," in Churchill's phrase, derived from a complex industrial society. To service those planes and tanks and trucks required a vast army of support troops within the larger Army, an army that benefited from "the acquaintance of Americans with the gadgetry of American life," from what the historian Russell Weigley called a "confidence born of familiarity with the machine age." All of this gave the U.S. Army a mobility unmatched by any of our adversaries, a mobility that permitted the rapid movement and concentration of firepower. The German army by contrast relied on hundreds of thousands of horses to pull their artillery and to haul supplies.

#7. The Army remained under civilian control throughout the war. When the president, in July 1942, made the decision to invade North Africa, contrary to the advice of virtually all of his uniformed military advisers, he signed the order: Franklin D. Roosevelt, commander in chief. Harry S. Truman, not the military, made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Military strategy, not to mention decision-making, tended to be made during WWII by the civilian leadership, frequently counter to the military's druthers. In American Strategy in World War II: A Reconsideration (1982), Kent Roberts Greenfield, a senior Army historian, listed almost two dozen decisions made by Roosevelt against the advice, or over the protests, of his military advisers, from 1938 to 1944. Besides the decision to invade North Africa, there were more than a dozen strategic decisions for which the initiative apparently came from the president. A good example of this is his initiative to declare that= unconditional surrender would be a central Allied war aim.

#8. The U.S. Army in WWII was among the greatest agents, perhaps the greatest agent, of social change in the country during the 20th century. This is ironic given the inherent conservatism of the institution. Our national evolution on core issues of racial and gender equality are very much shaped by WWII.

The U.S. Army was segregated in WWII and exclusionary. In 1939, fewer than 4,000 blacks served in the Army. By early 1944, that number exceeded 750,000, and the disparity between the avowed principles for which the nation fought and the stark, hypocritical reality of American life in the 1940s gave impetus and legitimacy to the civil rights movement. Many African-Americans endorsed what they called the "Double V" campaign: a righteous struggle for victory over both enemies abroad and racism at home. Severe restrictions on combat roles for black troops gradually eased; a group of fighter pilots known as the Tuskeegee airmen demonstrated the inanity of those restrictions, including assertions that black pilots lacked the reflexes to be good fighter pilots. It's hard to imagine Barack Obama elected as president of the United States in 2008 without the accelerated social change of WWII.

The Army in WWII was also an overwhelmingly male institution, and exclusively male in senior leadership roles. Of 1,300 generals in the Army in July 1944, not one of them was a woman. (The first female Army general didn't come into being until 1970.) But the extraordinary demand for military manpower meant that women were drawn into the national workplace in exceptional numbers; it's very hard to put that genie back in the bottle.

Moreover, the Army was a democratizing institution, even though it was and remains relentlessly hierarchical. Of 683 graduates from Princeton University's Class of '42, 84 percent were in uniform by 1945, and those serving as enlisted men included the valedictorian and salutatorian; 25 classmates would die during the war, including 19 killed in combat.

#9. The history of the U.S. Army in WWII is among the greatest stories of the 20th century. It ought to be taught and learned as a story, with character, plot, conflict, and denouement. John Updike wrote that WWII was the twentieth century's central myth, "a vast imagining of a primal time when good and evil contended for the planet, a tale of Troy whose angles are infinite and whose central figures never fail to amaze us with their size, their theatricality, their sweep."

Samuel Hynes, a fighter pilot in World War II who became a professor at Princeton, observed that the war "was an action in Aristotle's sense--it had a beginning, a middle, and an end." That should make for lively, coherent narrative, and narrative can be a wonderful teaching tool.

Two cautionary notes: first, as the British historian Sir Michael Howard warns, military history has "all too often been written to create and embellish a national myth, and to promote deeds of derring-do_. The Second World War is ransacked to provide material for the glorification of our past." Triumphalism is not the point. Second, we've got to take care not to view the present and the future through the distorting lens of the past. One residue of WWII is a tendency to narrowly define power in military terms, and to define threats in terms of traditional human enemies bent on doing ill. Climate change and our addiction to foreign oil have the potential to do more damage to American sovereignty and our way of life than anything al Qaeda can pull off.

#10. They died for you. We've talked about the WWII Army in as both an organism and a machine, an institution that grew stupendously, that demonstrated flexibility and adaptability. But we ought never forget that at the core of this story is suffering. The U.S. military sustained almost 300,000 battle deaths during the war, and about 100,000 others from accidents, disease, suicide. Many of those deaths were horrible, premature, and unspeakably sad. One, two, three, snap.

War is a clinic in mass killing, yet there's a miracle of singularity; each death is as unique as a snowflake or a fingerprint. The most critical lesson for every American is to understand, viscerally, that this vast host died one by one by one; to understand in your bones that they died for you.

I will close by offering a meditation on one death. Among those fighting in the ferocious battle in mid-December 1943 for San Pietro in central Italy, midway between Naples and Rome, was Captain Henry T. Waskow. Waskow was from Belton, Texas, born on a farm, and while he was a student at Trinity College he had joined the Texas National Guard.

The Texas Guard was federalized and became the 36th Infantry Division, and Henry Waskow eventually became commander of Company B, in the 143rd Infantry Regiment. He survived Salerno, but on December 14, 1943, while leading his company up Monte Sammucro, above San Pietro, he was killed by shellfire. His body lay on the mountain for several days until the company runner could get a mule from the valley below and bring Capt. Waskow down. At the foot of the mountain was, by chance, Ernie Pyle, the great war correspondent. Here's part of Pyle's account of that scene:

"I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow's body down. The moon was nearly full at the time, and you could see far up the trail, and even part way across the valley below. Soldiers made shadows in the moonlight as they walked. Dead men had been coming down the mountain all evening, lashed to the backs of mules. They came lying belly-down across the wooden packsaddles, their heads hanging down on the left side of the mule, their stiffened legs sticking awkwardly from the other side, bobbing up and down as the mule walked.

The Italian mule-skinners were afraid to walk beside the dead men, so Americans had to lead the mules down that night. Even the Americans were reluctant to unlash and lift off the bodies at the bottom, so an officer had to do it himself, and ask others to help.

The first one came early in the morning. They slid him down from the mule and stood him on his feet for a moment, while they got a new grip. In the half light he might have been merely a sick man standing there, leaning on the others. Then they laid him on the ground in the shadow of the low stone wall alongside the road. I don't know who that first one was. You feel small in the presence of dead men, and ashamed at being alive, and you don't ask silly questions.

We left him there beside the road, that first one, and we all went back into the cowshed and sat on water cans or lay in the straw, waiting for the next batch of mules.

Somebody said the dead soldier had been dead for four days, and then nobody said anything more about it. We talked soldier talk for an hour or more. The dead men lay all alone outside in the shadow of the low stone wall.

Then a soldier came into the cowshed and said there were some more bodies outside. We went out into the road. Four mules stood there, in the moonlight, in the road where the trail came down off the mountain. The soldiers who led them stood there waiting. 'This one is Captain Waskow,' one of them said quietly.

Two men unlashed his body from the mule and lifted it off and laid it in the shadow beside the low stone wall. Other men took the other bodies off. Finally there were five lying end to end in a long row, alongside the road. You don't cover up dead men in the combat zone. They just lie there in the shadows until somebody else comes after them.

The unburdened mules moved off to their olive orchard. The men in the road seemed reluctant to leave. They stood around, and gradually one by one I could sense them moving close to Capt. Waskow's body. Not so much to look, I think, as to say something in finality to him, and to themselves. I stood close by and I could hear. One soldier came and looked down, and he said out loud, 'God damn it.' That's all he said, and then he walked away. Another one came. He said, 'God damn it to hell anyway.' He looked down for a few last moments, and then he turned and left.

Another man came; I think he was an officer. It was hard to tell officers from men in the half light, for all were bearded and grimy dirty. The man looked down into the dead captain's face, and then he spoke directly to him, as though he were alive. He said: 'I sure am sorry, old man.' Then a soldier came and stood beside the officer, and bent over, and he too spoke to his dead captain, not in a whisper but awfully tenderly, and he said: 'I sure am sorry, sir.'

Then the first man squatted down, and he reached down and took the dead hand, and he sat there for a full five minutes, holding the dead hand in his own and looking intently into the dead face, and he never uttered a sound all the time he sat there.

And finally he put the hand down, and then he reached up and gently straightened the points of the captain's shirt collar, and then he sort of rearranged the tattered edges of his uniform around the wound. And then he got up and walked away down the road in the moonlight, all alone.

After that the rest of us went back into the cowshed, leaving the five dead men lying in a line, end to end, in the shadow of the low stone wall. We lay down on the straw in the cowshed, and pretty soon we were all asleep."

But Capt. Waskow had the last word. In a final letter to his parents, one of those just-in-case letters that soldiers sometimes write, he told them this: "I would like to have lived. But since God has willed otherwise, do not grieve too much, dear ones_ I will have done my share to make this world a better place in which to live. Maybe, when the lights go on again all over the world, free people can be happy and gay again_ If I failed as a leader, and I pray I didn't, it was not because I did not try." He added: "I loved you, with all my heart."

The first duty is to remember. We have an obligation to the Captain Waskows of World War II, and all our wars, to remember.


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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Personal Assistance Services in Disasters - Frequently Asked Questions

The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act (PKEMRA) identified an area of need in functional needs support services (FNSS) in general population shelters.  To fill this gap, FEMA developed the Personal Assistance Services (PAS) contract vehicle. This service will be provided upon request by the affected state for survivors in shelters and other congregate sites who have access and functional needs and require PAS in order to maintain the same level of independence as they have at home.

FEMA Mass Care awarded two contracts, one to Dynamic Service Solutions, Inc. (DSSI), and the other to ResCare.  DSSI has 3,000 federally funded health centers in all 50 states, including some US territories, and ResCare has 220 branches in 40 states with 1,200 nursing assistants.  Both agencies provide home health aides. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q    Why did FEMA award a contract for Personal Assistance Services (PAS)?
A     The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 93-288), as amended after the hurricane season of 2005, assigned new authorities to FEMA, including the provision of services to individuals with access and functional support needs in congregate facilities.  FEMA awarded the PAS contract to augment the ability of States, tribes, and Territories to help individuals with access and functional needs maintain their health, safety, and independence in congregate facilities after a Presidential declaration.  FEMA has contracts with two personal assistance services providers.

Q    What types of services does the PAS contract provide?
A     The PAS contract provides two levels of support to help individuals with access and functional needs maintain their independence in congregate facilities:
·         Basic personal care, such as grooming, eating, bathing, toileting, dressing and undressing, walking, transferring, and maintaining health and safety. 
·         Higher level of care, including changing dressings on wounds (such as pressure point sores), administering medications / injections (such as insulin), catheterization, and respiratory care (to include mechanical ventilation) when allowed by the State or Territory.

Q    What is the timeframe to deploy PAS staff?
A     A maximum of 50 PAS staff per contractor will deploy a minimum of 24 hours after the task order has been issued and funding has been secured.  Minimum deployment time expands to 48 hours for jurisdictions outside of the continental United States. 

Q    Who is the client for the contract?  Is it the disaster survivor, the State, or the shelter provider (e.g., American Red Cross or local community group)?
A     Eligible applicants are State, tribal, or Territorial governments that request FEMA to provide PAS in congregate facilities after a Presidential declaration.

Q    If there is a need for PAS in an independent or spontaneous shelter, would it be considered an eligible applicant?
A     No, only States, tribes, and Territories are eligible applicants.  The independent or spontaneous shelter provider would need to request support through its office of emergency management for this, or any other, State or Federal resource.

Q    Is PAS covered under Stafford Section 403?  Is there a cost to the State, or is this contract 100% Federally funded? 
A     PAS is provided under Stafford Section 403.  There is a cost-share to the State, tribal, or Territorial government to implement PAS under this contract.   The cost-share is typically 25% of the cost. This contract does not have a readiness component and must be funded from the Disaster Relief Fund.

Q    Would an Emergency Declaration need to be in place prior to activating this contract? Or is there money available to fund the contract when needed?
A     A declaration of emergency or major disaster would be needed for FEMA to implement the contract, as it is funded through the Disaster Relief Fund/Fund Code 6.  Readiness and non-disaster funding have not been allocated to support the contract.

Q    What is the process for requesting PAS support under this contract?
A     The intent of the contract is to augment State, tribal, and/or Territorial PAS staff when shortfalls exist.   The request process follows the usual Action Request Form/40-1 procedure when there is a declaration of major disaster or emergency.  The need for PAS is evaluated and, if validated, the Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) for the PAS Contract works with FEMA Acquisitions to activate the contract.  Although this is a national contract, it can be implemented at the Region or JFO level.

Q    Will there be a potential duplication of benefits, leading to some form of recoupment, if the individual receiving the benefits has private insurance, receives Medicare, Medicaid, or State-provided medical benefits that would normally pay for such services? 
A     Individuals who need PAS cannot wait for the contract to be activated; therefore, if other resources are available, those options will be implemented first.  Not all individuals who need PAS have Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance.  PAS are often provided by family, friends, and volunteers who may have become separated during a disaster or emergency.  As there is a cost-share for this service, States, tribes, and Territories will exhaust other, less costly, options before requesting activation of the contract.

Q    Will individuals who need PAS be required to accept the service?
A     Individuals requiring PAS have the right to choose or reject a PAS provider and cannot be required to use a friend, family member or volunteer simply because this is the most cost-effective option.  All decisions regarding PAS providers will be made with the consent of the individual requesting the service.

Q    Is a cost-benefit analysis required when activating a government contract to perform these functions? 
A     The Stafford Act assigns FEMA responsibility for providing life-sustaining services and support to disaster survivors when there is a Presidential declaration.  As the PAS contract is designed to augment State, tribal, and Territorial resources, it is designed to be implemented when the capabilities of non-Federal resources have been exceeded.  The services performed under the contract enable individuals to maintain their health, safety, and independence in congregate facilities, thereby lessening the burden on the medical system and substantially reducing the overall cost of care.

Q    Who identifies who will receive PAS under the contract?  How is this decision made? 
A     The congregate facility manager, nursing staff, and, in some cases, the shelter critical assessment team, will identify and validate PAS requirements.  The facility manager will forward requests to the County/Parish office of emergency management for action.  If PAS staff cannot be provided at the local level, the office of emergency management will send the request to the State, which will either deploy resources or request FEMA to implement the PAS contract.

Q    Can PAS staff provide assistance to more than one individual? 
A     The answer to this question will depend on the extent of assistance required by an individual.  In some cases, the ratio will need to be one-to-one.  In other cases, PAS staff will be able to assist more than one individual.

Q    Who supervises contracted PAS staff in congregate facilities?
A     Contracted PAS staff report to the congregate facility manager.  In addition, the COR and/or technical monitor(s) for the contract will deploy to the field to ensure that the services provided comply with the requirements of the contract.

Q    What is the minimum number of PAS staff FEMA will deploy under this contract?
A     There is a cost-share to the State, tribe, or Territory to implement the PAS contract, as well as the need to deploy FEMA staff to monitor contractor performance.  Although there is no minimum number of PAS staff that FEMA can deploy under this contract, it would be more cost-effective for the State to deploy State/local resources if fewer than 20 PAS are required when the contract is initially activated.

Q    Are PAS staff deployed under the contract required to meet training, certification, and other requirements?
A     The contractor is required to ensure that all PAS staff are properly licensed, trained, and certified per the local, State, Territorial, and Federal laws and regulations where the congregate facility is located. PAS staff deployed under this contract are required to have successfully passed a background investigation.

Q    When would PAS staff demobilize?
A     As implementation of the PAS contract must be requested by the State, the State also determines when the resource is no longer needed.  Throughout the period that congregate assistance is provided, State and local governments are encouraged to seek State/local resources to meet the needs of individuals with access and functional needs in congregate facilities.  The State is requested to provide 48-hour notice when demobilizing the contract at each site.

Q    Will the services provided under the PAS contract be evaluated?
A     The COR and technical monitor(s) assigned to the contract will evaluate PAS staff performance.  In addition, the contractors are required to submit an after action report to FEMA within 30 days after the period of performance.

Marcie Roth
Office of Disability Integration and Coordination
Department of Homeland Security/ FEMA

Thursday, July 05, 2012

July #CMAS RDT&E Update #IPAWS

Please find attached the most recent edition of the Commercial Mobile
Alert Service (CMAS) Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation
(RDT&E) Update.  This edition of the highlights the recent CMAS RDT&E
Town Hall Meeting that was held in Columbus, Ohio during the National
Homeland Security Conference.

Also, please save-the-date for our next CMAS RDT&E, Webinar on July
19th from 2:30-3:30 PM EST.

·         The RDT&E Team is developing guidance to help you
effectively implement CMAS.

·         This webinar discussion provides your agency a timely
opportunity to ask questions and share insights regarding the
acquisition, development, and operation of CMAS for your community.

·         We hope you can join us for a lively discussion around how
to successfully integrate CMAS into legacy alerts and warnings

o   Participants will be able to provide inputs that directly impact
the CMAS integration strategy in areas such as:

§  Organizational: Including usage authorization, training, budgeting,
and governance planning

§  Technical: Including security assessment planning, sustainment, and
decisions on having a stand-alone or integrated CMAS system

§  Operational: Including determining when CMAS should be used and
coordinating with other systems and jurisdictions

o   This discussion will help both alert and warnings officials and
DHS identify the gaps and barriers to adopting CMAS under different

·         If you have any questions please send them to

·         We look forward to speaking with during the July 19th CMAS
RDT&E Webinar.


Denis A. Gusty, PMP ™

Program Manager

Homeland Security Enterprise and First Responder Group

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Science and Technology

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Create a Competitive AmeriCorps NCCC Application #AltusOK

Could your organization use a team of dedicated young adults to launch your program goals forward?  The mission of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through team-based national and community service.  AmeriCorps NCCC's Southwest Region Campus is based in Denver, CO and serves Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.  NCCC deploys teams of 9 -12 members to serve on service projects lasting an average of 6-8 weeks (although shorter time frames or rotational teams may be available).  We are a fully federally funded program.  Some project examples include construction of low income housing, mentoring youth, trail building and tax preparation, flood response and disaster related projects.
Examples of benefits to past sponsors in our region include:
l  Reach short term goals with additional manpower
l  Catalyst for that new project you want to launch
l  Provide support for large-scale events
l  Added visibility
l  Maximize resources

What are they saying about us?
"I would estimate the value of the work to be  way beyond the hourly wage that we are allowed to accrue  (claim?)by IRS standards.  This building would cost $300,000 to construct new and with AmeriCorps' help we will have done it for 20% of that cost." Mark Oppelt, President of the Land Heritage Institute Foundation, Inc.
"While it was a joy to have them around, the most important contribution they made was their ability to expand our capacity to help homeowners. Through their hard work and weatherization efforts , over 100 homeowners in Metro Denver are able to live at a lower cost. There is no doubt that this group … made a huge difference for us and the homeowners we assist." Kathryn Arbour, Rebuilding Together Metro Denver
Interested in learning how to make your application as competitive as possible?
Join us on an informational conference call and speak with a staff member from the Southwest Region NCCC Campus. The call will take place at 10:00 am Mountain Time on Thursday, July 26 2012.  Please RSVP by Monday, July 20th to Angela Young, 303-844-7400, (be sure to include your name, organization, and contact info).  Once you RSVP we will send you the conference call number.  To increase sound quality we have a limited number of phone lines available, so to ensure your spot RSVP sooner rather than later.
Please forward this email to anyone that may be interested in joining us!

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