From the Commanding General

Thank you all for the warm welcome into the 108th. It’s truly my honor and privilege to be a part of this great unit. I have to tell you that after I got the call verifying my assignment, being a good intel weenie I started collecting information on the 108th. What I found was this unit has an absolutely stellar reputation. It consists of very talented and dedicated individuals who are providing significant and meaningful contributions to the missions of the command, USARC, TRADOC and the greater Army. I consider this to be a reflection of your skills, knowledge and expertise and the outstanding leadership of my predecessor. Maj. Gen. Stall shaped the destiny of this unit and set the standard, leading it to be one of the premier training units within the Army. I think Command Sgt. Maj. Derezza said it best in his article in the last GRIFFON when he said, “this is a man that is truly dedicated to the Soldiers under his command...he was devoted to the Soldiers in the 108th.” So he leaves big shoes to fill and I pledge to do my best to carry on his great leadership.

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From the Command Sergeant Major

Recently I participated in a conference call with the Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler III, where the major topic of discussion was the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). I know I’ve discussed this topic in previous articles but evidently it’s time to revisit it. There seems to be an Army wide problem with Soldiers not being held to the APFT standards as outlined in TC 3-22.20, Appendix A. Soldiers are arriving at schools for training and when the APFT is administered using Army standards, many are failing. Many of these Soldiers pass the APFT at their home unit, but when they get to the school they fail. This leads us to believe that Soldiers are not being held to the Army Physical Fitness Test standards at their home unit.

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108th Training Command (IET) Changes Command

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — The time honored tradition of passing the Colors from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander was instrumental in a Change of Command Ceremony held on Victory Field here. Presiding over the ceremony was Maj. Gen. Glenn Lesniak, deputy commanding general, U. S. Army Reserve Command.

During the opening ceremony, parade cannons sounded off and the outgoing commander, Maj. Gen. Robert P. Stall, 108th Training Command (IET), was presented an honorary shell casing to mark the occasion. The Commander of Troops, Col. Andrew Bassford, began the ceremony by forming the command.

In keeping with military tradition, Stall passed the Colors relinquishing command to the incoming commander, Maj. Gen. Leslie Purser. The ceremony emphasizes the continuity of leadership and unit identity, and symbolizes the transfer of command responsibility from the departing commander to the arriving commander.

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Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Command officials describe drill sergeants as “top-quality, professional noncommissioned officers (NCOs) from virtually all branches of the Army”. Their role is to turn citizens into Soldiers. Approximately 2,000 drill sergeants train 160,000 new Soldiers each year.

What makes these individuals vital to the Army is their passion for the profession and the composite mastery of transitioning civilians to Soldiers.

Six of the Army’s top drill sergeants spent the past week enduring a mentally and physically grueling competition to win top honors as the 2013 Drill Sergeant of the Year (DSOY). The days were long and exhausting and the drill sergeants were required to perform the same tasks as the trainees they lead, evaluating their endurance, stamina, and character.

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Army Reserve hopes to recruit more drill sergeants

FORT BENNING, Ga., (July 10, 2013) — With a continuous need for leadership, U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeant recruiters are seeking men and women with a strong desire to guide and mentor future Soldiers.

Recruiters from the 98th Training Division at Fort Benning said finding those drill sergeants requires a weekly effort. Part of their efforts include visiting the Army Career and Alumni Program to speak with Soldiers about the option of transitioning to Reserve status in the Army, which could lead to future drill sergeant positions.

“Our strength is a little over 1,300 ... we’re constantly recruiting because some drill sergeants get promoted and they leave drill sergeant duties and go to other units,” said Sgt. 1st Class Richard Accardi, a Reserve recruiter with the 98th Training Division. “Promotion is the biggest reason ... they want to get promoted to senior rank and often have to take a position with another unit that may not be a drill sergeant unit.

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Breaking Down Barriers

The drill sergeant is at the core of training recruits, taking them from civilian to Warrior. Both men and women drill sergeants from active duty and the reserves mold the new Soldiers into the force of today and the future. This position has been iconized in American military and media culture, with many males taking a lead role. The reserve component now has two female graduates that have taken the top graduate spot for the first time since the active duty and reserve joined together to train these pivotal leaders.

Sergeant First Class Tracy Wilson-Goldwire and Staff Sgt. Charlene Peterson were awarded Distinguished Honor Graduate and Commandant’s List for highest grade point average in consecutive classes at the United States Army Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, S.C. Goldwire also received the Iron Drill Sergeant award for top physical performance in class 507-13, scoring a 363 on the Army Physical Fitness test.

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Inventing a Family Tradition

Sgt. Jesse Tuttle, Company B, 1-330th Infantry Regiment, graduated from the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School last week. His father, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Tuttle, was in the audience and no stranger to the grounds. Now assigned to Company C, 1-330th Infantry Regiment, the elder Tuttle graduated from the school in 2009.

Both men are Army Reservists who reside in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“I was very proud,” Michael said. “It was an excellent experience. Going through it yourself is a little bit different than watching your son or daughter go through it. A lot of pride instilled, knowing what they went through, what you went through and knowing they went through the exact same thing at the exact same place.”

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JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — As part of Task Force Cobra, 95th Soldiers are training here for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan for participation in the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTM-A).

Task Force (TF) Cobra is the third iteration to assist in NTM-A. It will replace TF Griffon who deployed in 2012 relieving TF Scorpion.

Once Cobra Soldiers are in country, they will be tasked to various locations. Most will serve as police advisors at military training centers throughout Afghanistan and a small contingency will actually work as advisors to key leaders.

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Leader’s Training Course

FORT KNOX, Ky. — It all begins here for the cadre that will be training over 1,500 cadets. The Leader Training Course (LTC), which began in 1965, is an ROTC summer designed program to develop future officers.

Over 1,500 cadets will travel to Fort Knox for the course, which includes rappelling off of a 50-foot high tower, crossing a stream on rope bridges, a high rope obstacle course, combat water survival training and military skills training such as land navigation. They will learn a variety of operational and leadership approaches.

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Drill Sergeants set the tone at course’s start

As soon as the bus full of Cadets arrived to the Leader’s Training Course, drill sergeants welcomed Cadets in a manner only drill sergeants can: By yelling.

From the outset, those Soldiers in the brown round hats circled the bus, expressing a sense of urgency. “Get off the bus!” one commanded. “Hurry!” they ordered.

Many Cadets didn’t expect such forcefulness. Some donned dress clothes and even high heels. A rush of Cadets were trying to grab their bags as many, scurrying from the bus, were falling down.

Drill sergeants, such as Sgt. 1st Class Vernon Williams, a senior drill sergeant with Bravo Company, got up close and personal as Cadets were ordered into formation.

“I was pretty nervous seeing the drill sergeants,” said Cadet Minsog Ryu, a junior at the University of Southern California. “This is my first time ever experiencing something like this.”

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Warrior Forge

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. ­— At one of the largest CONUS training events held each year, Leadership Development Assessment Course (LDAC), more than six hundred Army Reserve Trainers and drill sergeants found their summer home at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to support the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s training and evaluation of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets from across the country.

Reserve Officer Training Corps is a college-based program that trains the largest source of commissioned officers for both the Active Duty and the Army Reserve. Although the name reflects the ‘Reserve’, few realize the large role that Army Reserve cadre, trainers and drill sergeants play in the development of our Army’s future leaders.

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Career Day

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. — The Warrior Forge training conducted at Joint Base Lewis-McChord not only trained and evaluated cadets from across the country but also provided an opportunity for the cadets to take the first steps in planning their military career.

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mtvU ROTC Challenge

FORT KNOX, Ky. — The morning mist and fog obscure the frantic search for materials at the edge of the lake. Collegiate team members scream back and forth about the plan not working while other teams are set to launch their watercraft. As the sun rises and increases the heat of the day, the frustration builds, and one team successfully makes their way across the lake. All captured on camera, but it is not one of the typical reality shows. This show features the up and coming Army leaders battling for bragging rights in the public arena.

As a part of U.S. Army Cadet Command’s Leadership Training Course program, MTV’s mtvU ROTC Challenge demonstrates the ideas of leadership in a multi-part, multi-event reality series highlighting what attributes are needed to be a leader. The mtvU ROTC Cadet Challenge held at Fort Knox, Ky., geared towards recruiting commissioned officers, enlists members of the 108th Training Command (IET) and U.S. Army Cadet Command that kicks off the annual ROTC Leaders Training Course.

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Helping shape boys into men

DALLAS, Texas — The Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp is a program started by Steve Harvey and his wife Marjorie. The mission of the camp is to share, teach and demonstrate the principles of manhood to young men, enabling them to achieve their dreams and become men who are strong, responsible and productive. The program admits 100 young men a year and was held in Dallas, Texas on Harvey’s 300-acre ranch.

“These boys come from homes that are headed by single moms, so there is no male influence in their lives. Our job is to teach them the discipline of manhood,” said Harvey.

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Battalion Training Exercise

LEXINGTON, Va. — During July battle assembly, the 1/320th Battalion, 98th Training Division (IET), held their third annual combatives and fight weekend field training exercise (FTX). The FTX was held on the campus of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). This battle assembly (BA) included repelling over the Maury River Cliff. The repelling lanes were facilitated by VMI Cadre. Additional highlights of the weekend included the obstacle and confidence courses on campus and a battalion run on Saturday. In previous years, the 1/320th utilized the VMI high ropes and air assault courses.

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Cutting Edge Technology

FORT KNOX, Ky. — Twelve members of the Headquarters, 2-399 Regt., 1st Bde., 104th Training Division (LT), located at Fort Knox, Ky., took advantage of a rare and unique opportunity to train the headquarter element on a variety of command, control and communication skills using a cutting edge technology called the Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS). The purpose of the training was threefold. The battalion commander wanted to provide an event for the staff that tested their ability to work together as a team, communicate effectively to complete a mission, and use the military decision making process to lead a team through a virtual tactical environment.

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Drill Sergeants prepare for the summer surge

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — The pre-dawn stillness here at Range 29 was disturbed by the gurgle of diesel engines, as drill sergeants from the 3rd Battalion, 385th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 98th Training Division pulled up to begin off-loading weapons and ammunition in preparation for the day’s training April 5.

However, these drill sergeants based in nearby Edison, N.J. weren’t training Privates. They were training their own battalion of U.S. Army Reserve drill sergeants in the latest tactics and training equipment. The knowledge learned here continued to prepare them for summer missions of training newly-enlisted Soldiers at Basic Combat Training facilities throughout the country.

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Best Warrior Competition Train-Up

EASTOVER, S.C. — Classes begin early at Camp McCrady for the Soldiers learning the skills necessary to compete in the USARC Best Warrior Competition.

Master Sgt. Morrison, 108th Training Command (IET) said, “Once these Soldiers complete these train-up classes they will be more prepared when they continue on to the USARC competition next.”

They are trained on how to use, break down and put a variety of weapons together to include the 50 CAL Machine Gun, M16, M240B, 9MM, and the SAW. Instructions expand on non-lethal weapons explaining using weapons in your tool box and the appropriate tool for any given situation.

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2013 Army Reserve Best Warrior—

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — To say his road to success has been tough, would almost be an understatement. Nevertheless, this Westville, N.J., native has managed to remain in high spirits as he continues to compete in the 2013 Army Reserve Best Warrior.

Spc. Russell Williams, a member of the 108th Training Command based out of Blackwood, N.J., is the oldest competitor in this level of the Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition. He is in the same category as Soldiers half his age, yet he shows the same competitive spirit they do and says he has a few reasons for being here.

“I re-enlisted a year ago, February,” Williams said. “My intention is to go to drill sergeant school and to earn an Airborne slot.”

The 42 year old said he served previously for four years, but had to take a 15 year break in service because his dad became ill and he needed to take care of him. He has now re-enlisted to complete the goals he had then.

After arriving at the 108th, Williams said they asked him if he would like to compete in their Best Warrior competition and he jumped at the chance.

“I saw it as an opportunity to remember stuff from before, but also as a way to learn some of the newer things,” he said.

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Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition supported by the total force

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — “Your task here is to search a detainee according to performance steps, locate and confiscate all weapons, contraband and any items of intelligent value. Hooah! Do you understand what you must do?” asked Staff Sgt. Martin Jones, drill sergeant from the 108th Training Command in Charlotte, N.C.

Approximately 200 Army Reserve support personnel served as cadre and subject matter experts during the 2013 Army Reserve Best Warrior competition held here June 23-28, to include drill sergeants like Jones.

“We reached down to all of our major commands and pulled-in our specialized unit personnel to include units like the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, because operations and training is their job,” said Sgt. Maj. Richard Prater, the U.S. Army Reserve Command noncommissioned officer in charge of the competition.

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Army Reserve Best Warrior stays physically, mentally strong

FORT McCOY, Wis. — A soldier’s physical and mental fitness is pushed to the limit while participating in the 2013 Army Reserve Best Warrior competition at Fort McCoy, Wis.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Allen, representing the 98th Training Division, North Charleston, S.C., will use his strength, endurance, time management, and multi-tasking skills to try and overcome the challenges of the events.

Allen a native of Durhamville, N.Y., has been in the Army for 12 years, both in the active duty and reserve components. During his active duty time, Allen spent three years in the recruiting command where he was awarded the Gold Recruiters Badge for recruiting a high number of new soldiers.

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Third Brigade, 98th Changes Command

SALEM, Va. — After three years in command, Col. Daniel E. Reid relinquished command of the 3rd Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) to Col. Keith P. Brelia on May 5, 2013. The change of command is a time honored tradition that symbolizes the transition of leadership through the passing of the colors from the outgoing to the incoming commander.

Brig. Gen. Mikey Kloster, commanding general of the 98th Training Division (IET) presided over the event, which included the 1/320th Color Guard and leadership with Colors from the brigade’s five subordinate battalions. The commander of troops for the ceremony was Lt. Col. Bob Sile, executive officer, 3rd Brigade.

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From the 95th Division Commander

Soldiers and Warriors of the 95th Training Division (IET) — hooah — trust this finds our formation — individually and collectively — continuing to work ongoing mission sets with passion and a deliberate intent toward successful outcomes while completing the mission above and beyond all expectations. The past couple months have brought — and continues to bring — multiple challenges and opportunities in a dynamic and complex environment. The division continues to stand ready – mentally, physically, and spiritually — in support of any/all incoming 108th Training Command (IET) directed missions without failure. We remain prepared to execute every mission with no room for failure — partial or complete - at a time in our history that defines the future of our American way of life. This challenge exists within a global community that continues to transform beyond one’s imagination at a pace that far exceeds our understanding most times.

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The Army Profession and Ethics — A Call to Arms

Recent headlines relating to the repugnant behavior of a few has brought discredit to our profession and has broken the sacred trust not only with our Soldiers; but also, with the American people. We must mobilize to eradicate the bad seed that has infiltrated our ranks. This is a call to arms.

According to Merriam Webster the political definition for a call to arms is “a summons, invitation, or appeal to undertake a particular course of action.” This call to arms is broader than that definition. This call is for a cultural change within our ranks, a change in our internal operational environment, and a personal calibration of the Army’s certification criteria of competence, character, and commitment.

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Army Reserve presents ACOE Awards

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army Communities of Excellence Award Ceremony (ACOE) for Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve was conducted at the Headquarters, National Guard Bureau to recognize exceptional achievement of National Guard and Army Reserve units, May 30. The 88th Regional Support Command and the 108th Training Command (IET) were recognized for exceptional achievement and received top honors for the Army Reserve. Thirty-six Army National Guard units from across the U.S. were recognized with the Georgia National Guard receiving top honors for the Army National Guard program.

The ACOE Program was created in 1988 to promote and recognize effective management systems and overall performance improvement within the Army. This program ties in well with the Army’s commitment to continuous process improvement through the Lean Six Sigma program.

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Tornado Destroys Soldier’s Home

NORMAN, Okla. — Imagine sitting in your vehicle staring into your rearview mirror watching a mile wide tornado barreling down on your neighborhood. The heart hopes it can’t be true, but the mind knows otherwise.

Master Sgt. (Ret.) Adam C. Rudy doesn’t have to imagine. He knows the feeling firsthand. Rudy lives in Moore, Okla. and on May 20, when he received word a tornado was eminent, he got in his truck and left his home to find shelter. With about an eight minute lead, Rudy made it barely five miles before he saw the reflection of the twister mowing down neighborhoods in its path.

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98th Soldier Raises Money For 95th Soldier

Staff Sgt. Alfred Rocha, 1/378th, 3d Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET) watched the news coverage of the tornado that ripped through Moore, Okla. on May 20. He had previously served in the 95th and had friends in Oklahoma. He was moved to help.

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Warrant Officer Milestones

Congratulations to the newly selected Warrant Officer Candidate, Brian Hightower. Warrant Officer Candidate Hightower was selected for the Warrant Officer Candidate (WOC) Program by the WOC Board conducted on 23 July 2013. Warrant Officer Candidate Hightower will transition into the warrant officer ranks as a 920A, Property Accounting Technician, under the 95th Div, 2nd Bde, 1st Bn, 414th REGT, in Eugene, Oregon. WOC Hightower served in the USMC (active) from 1988 through 1992 as a TOW Gunner and as a Small Boat Coxswain. After a 16-year break in service, he joined the Washington National Guard then transferred to the Army Reserve in October 2009. He has served in the Army Reserve for nearly four years as a Unit Supply Specialist and Supply Sergeant.

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Vehicle Safety

It’s summer and historically that means the number of vehicle fatalities, especially those occurring off duty, statistically will increase. Although the total numbers are down this year, the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center is reporting disturbing trends. My concerns are that 45% of the Army’s fatal motorcycle accidents are indiscipline-based, that NCOs comprise a majority of those fatalities, and that ATV fatalities are rising. These are all NCO leader issues.

As of 7 July 2013, the Army has had 22 motorcycle Soldier fatalities this fiscal year. As previously noted, nearly half of those accidents were indiscipline-based and, of these, 68% occurred between Friday and Sunday.

Most troubling to me, however, is the fact that 14 of the 22 motorcycle fatalities involved Soldiers in the ranks of E5 to E7.

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Spend Time Wisely

Adapted from a devotion by Rev. Mark Jervis, Pastor, First Baptist Church Gillette, WY

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 NIV

This summer is nearly over and I could do this devotional on the ever popular topic, “What I did this summer.” However, I also realize most of you would likely get bored. Interestingly, most of my big goals for this summer are still incomplete. In fact, several are not even started. The things I wanted to accomplish during this summer, met only with limited success. And like so many others with whom I’ve talked, “I wonder where the days went.”

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Do you want to be a Unit Public Affairs Representative?

As the 108th Training Command (IET) continues to grow, it will be difficult for the Public Affairs Staff to visit each brigade, battalion and company to cover news events. Public Affairs is the responsibility of commanders and Soldiers alike.

The PAO is kicking off the Unit Public Affairs Program (UPAR), which will allow any Soldier to be the additional eyes and ears for your unit and the PAO. By volunteering you will assume the duties of UPAR as an additional duty.

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Army Suicide Prevention Month

September 2013 is the Department of the Army (DA) Suicide Prevention Month. The theme is “Shoulder to Shoulder - Standing Ready and Resilient.” The Ready and Resilient Campaign is the latest initiative from Army leaders to encourage and promote physical, moral and mental fitness. Numerous efforts and programs are integrated within the campaign to improve the readiness and resilience of Army Soldiers, DA Civilians, and Family members. DA hopes to build upon the physical, emotional and psychological resilience that allows us to deal with the rigors and challenges of a demanding profession by utilizing a more holistic, collaborative and coherent approach.

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Soldiers Gold Mine


Payment of Additional Training Assemblies (ATAs) for Electronic Based Distribution Learning (EBDL) Courses

Soldiers can now receive compensation for some distance learning (DL) courses they are required to take. Army Directive 2010-06 authorized compensation for the successful completion of electronic based distributed learning (EBDL) coursework. The Army Reserve has allocated ATA funds for eligible EBDL courses. Here is who is eligible, how to request compensation and how to pay Soldiers that earn compensation.

Who is eligible and how do I apply for EBDL?

Soldiers in all grades are now eligible for this compensation. Commanders must direct, in writing, Soldiers to complete EBDL training, citing availability of funds. The courses must attain unit readiness and be listed on the approved course list in AR Pay Message 12-07. Soldiers must complete the course before receiving payment. Payment for partial completion is NOT authorized.

What courses can be compensated?

First, the course must directly apply to the eligible grade of Soldiers listed above. The course must also be listed on the approved list of courses published in AR Pay Message 12-07. See your unit for the list of courses. In general, DL portions of MOS producing courses and DL portions of Professional Military Education (PME) courses are eligible for compensation. There have been two additions to the approved course list. The DL portions for Warrant Officer MOS and PME were originally omitted from the approved this. Those are also eligible for compensation. The Supervisor Development Course has also been added, but the grade of the supervisor must meet the grade requirements listed above.

How much is a Soldier compensated?

Soldiers will be compensated 1 ATA for every 8 hours of completed EBDL coursework but may not receive payment for more than 12 ATAs during the fiscal year (1 Oct - 30 Sep). RMAs cannot be used to compensate Soldiers for coursework if a Soldier uses all 12 ATAs during the fiscal year.

Soldiers must attach the commander’s memo authorizing the course and a DA Form 87, certificate of completion, or ATRRS printout showing course completion to a DA Form 1380 and submit it to their unit administrators to receive compensation.

How does a Soldier receive compensation?

Unit administrators will pay ATAs using ADARS in the RM module of RLAS as drill type 41. Input the ATA date using the date of course completion. Use the dates immediately prior to the course completion date that do not conflict with other paid military duty if the Soldier earns multiple ATAs for completion of an approved course.

What location do I have to be at to complete my DL courses?

Soldiers may complete Commander approved EBDL course work at any location, including but not limited to US Army Reserve Centers, Digital Training Facilities, other public computer use facilities, and their residence. The effective date of this policy was 1 October 2012. Compensation for courses completed prior to 1 Oct 12 is not authorized.

Contact your unit administrator if you have any questions.

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Griffon Association awards fall 2013 scholarships

One of the primary objectives, among many, is to award scholarships for post secondary education to deserving 108th Tng Command members, both military and civilian and/or their dependents to include grandchildren. This past summer, four $1000 scholarships were presented. Most of these were local to the Carolinas but please be advised that these scholarships are open to all units of the command from Hawaii to Puerto Rico and these scholarships will go wanting unless someone applies.

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Informational interviews can be key in job hunt

(This content is provided courtesy of USAA.)

Transitioning out of the Army after five years of active duty, I was completely unprepared for how to land a civilian job commensurate with my military experience. Oh sure, I could put together a resume that outlined my Army duties and blast it to dozens of unknown companies for positions I knew nothing about. But of the 100 or more resumes I sent, I landed only one interview.

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Rent or buy: What Military Families need to know

This content is provided courtesy of USAA

You’ve seen the headlines: The housing market is beginning to stabilize. Home prices in some cities are increasing, and much of the U.S. housing market is in recovery.

Buying a home is 45 percent cheaper than renting in all of America’s 100 largest metro areas, according to Trulia, a company that provides housing-market analysis. In the Seattle-Tacoma region (within a stone’s throw of Joint Base Lewis-McChord), for example, buying a house is 42 percent and 41 percent cheaper than renting, respectively.

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Animal therapy an alternative PTSD Treatment

Life-threatening combat situations cause many veterans to be affected by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports that up to 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and 10 percent of Gulf War veterans are affected by PTSD. Also affected are as many as 30 percent of Vietnam War veterans. About 400,000 veterans are currently being treated for PTSD.

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Relevant Tags: MILITARY TRANSITION RESOURCES, veterans, service, ptsd, dogs, service dogs, animal therapy, ptsd treatment, alternative ptsd

Turning the American dream into a reality

Did you know that a military service man or woman owns one out of every seven franchises in the United States? According to International Franchising Association, from 2010 to 2011 the number of veterans investing in the franchise industry almost doubled. With the Bureau of Labor Statics measuring the current unemployment rate at 7.6 percent, finding employment directly after returning home from long-term deployment can be an intimidating prospect. However, owning a franchise may a great perfect alternative to traditional employment for veterans seeking a secure and independent career option after exiting the military.

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Relevant Tags: MILITARY TRANSITION RESOURCES, veterans, franchise, military, dwyer, vet, franchise industry, american dream, don dwyer, veterans investing

Budgeting can help you weather tough times

(This content is provided courtesy of USAA.)

When it comes to money, do you feel like you’re always coming up short? Well, you’re not alone. Only half of Americans say they could cobble together $2,000 if an unexpected expense occurred in the next month, according to a March 2013 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

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Relevant Tags: MILITARY TRANSITION RESOURCES, expenses, income, money, budget, tough times

Homeschool teachers don’t strike but need support

Every August and September, it seems, we hear news of public teachers going on strike. Last year one of the most notable locations where this annual tradition occurred was in Chicago. Second City parents were outraged that teachers would wreak havoc with their families’ lives and schedules by being so selfish. Where was their love of teaching and commitment to education that are supposedly more important than money?

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Relevant Tags: HOMESCHOOL OPTIONS, strike, teachers, office, perfect attendance, need support, outraged teachers

Seasons change gently in the Greater Valley Area

There’s no abrupt change from summer to fall in the Greater Valley Area. The new season just sort of floats in on breezes that are increasingly cooler until you finally notice. Leaves go from dusty end-of-season shades to colors that deepen into glowing intensity. Still, there’s no rush to drag out the jackets.

In this heart of the South, it’s a gentle passing. For weeks, summer fun continues as fall fires up. Cooler weather brings out the best of the bass and hybrid stripes on West Point Lake, and there’s also good fishing in area streams. At least two major annual bass tournaments are based at Southern Harbor Marina on the lake’s Alabama side.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, area, county, fall, valley, russell county, valley area, west point, chattahoochee river, point lake, creek indians

Make your memories on Alabama’s Gulf Coast

What will it take to make your next vacation a story to remember? The 32 miles of sugar white sand, turquoise water, and small town family fun waiting on Alabama’s Gulf Coast are sure to complete your family’s recipe for a whole different state of memory-making.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, gulf, coast, family, coastal, sand, beach, alabama, gulf coast, alabama’s gulf, sugar white, white sand, deep sea

Military friendly with great R&R

We celebrate Autumn in Three Rivers and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with the sound of rivers tumbling over rocks, the sight of dogwood turning pink under giant sequoias, and the antics of black bears as they hunt for every last acorn among the golden leaves of oak trees. Wild turkeys seek their mates then look for the best places to make their nests, tarantulas dance in the middle of the highway, and Crystal Cave offers some really cool Halloween tours. Apples and persimmons ripen, harvest festivals abound, and the Hand weavers of the Valley hold their annual show and sale. It’s the perfect time to view the full moon from Moro Rock, hear High Sierra Jazz Band in concert, or take in our annual Concert in the Grass. And in October, our regular monthly 1st Saturday art festival expands from a one day event to a month-long celebration of life in Three Rivers.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, national, sequoia, autumn, friendly, kaweah, three rivers, lake kaweah, kings canyon, national parks, sequoia kings, family friendly, national park

Visit Pooler, Georgia for an affordable vacation

There is plenty to do this fall in Pooler, with outdoor music concerts, running events, SK8 City Roller Derby team, races and more.

Kick back and relax in a fun environment that is friendly to your wallet. Come to Pooler, where we have great, affordable hotels, lots of attractions, and a short drive to Tybee and other beaches. Plus, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield’s PX are nearby.

Pooler is a military-friendly community and the closest interstate connection to Savannah and a short drive to the beaches at Tybee Island, GA and Hilton Head Island, SC. If you’re ready for a change, we have what you need and your wallet will enjoy the savings, too. We have hotels with ample, free parking — some with pet friendly areas — dozens of restaurants, shopping areas, and other attractions.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, pooler, hotels, visit, affordable, friendly, air force, sk8 city, free parking, friendly areas, pet friendly, outdoor music, eighth air, pooler georgia

Central Florida kicks off fun-filled fall season

With the kids back in school, memories of summer will fade quickly as the mercury begins to dip. Ward off the coming chill by planning a trip to Central Florida’s Polk County. Conveniently located between Orlando and Tampa, and an easy drive to Florida’s famous beaches, the area is sunny and warm nearly year-round.

Central Florida comes alive with an assortment of outdoor activities, festivals and events as milder autumn temperatures settle in. Polk County hosts the Central Florida NatureFest from Oct. 3-6, 2013; which offers more than two dozen nature tours over the course of four days.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, florida, central florida, polk county, tower gardens, lake mirror, world chima, legoland florida, bok tower

‘The Walking Dead’ resurrected at Universal Orlando

Fans with a voracious appetite for AMC’s “The Walking Dead” will have a chance to walk in the footsteps of human survivors when Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort debut all new terrifying mazes inspired by season three of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning television series at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights events beginning Sept. 20.

The eerily authentic and disturbingly real maze experiences will place “Halloween Horror Nights” guests at the heart of the show’s once impenetrable prison, the West Georgia Correctional Facility, now overrun by hordes of flesh-eating walkers. The mazes at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando will send guests cowering through the walker-infested wilderness that surrounds the prison and into the seemingly utopian town of Woodbury where gruesome secrets are concealed.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, universal, orlando, studios, horror, hollywood, universal orlando, universal studios, orlando resort, hollywood universal, resurrected universal

‘Mail Call’ exhibition travels to Cape Fear

A name is shouted out, and a parcel is handed through the crowd to its eager recipient — mail call is a moment when the front line and home front connect. Letters, news, and packages from home unite families, boost morale, and in wartime, elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary. The traveling version of the National Postal Museum’s permanent exhibition, “Mail Call” explores the history of America’s military postal system, and examines how even in today’s era of instant communication, troops overseas continue to treasure mail delivered from home.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, mail, military, postal, exhibition, letters, mail call, military mail, cape fear, armed forces, home mail, line home, postal system

Admission is free— the experience is priceless

The 40,000 square foot Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina — Billy Graham’s hometown — chronicles the life and ministry of the world-famous pastor. The library is a multimedia experience that continues Graham’s more than 70 year legacy of delivering the simple yet profound message of God’s love. Built to resemble a large barn symbolic of his formative years as the son of a dairy farmer, the main facility houses six exhibits, four galleries of memorabilia from around the world, and two theaters, which cover the span of Graham’s lifetime ministry and the innovative outreach of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association today.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, library, graham, experience, billy graham, attic bookstore, dairy bar, pastor library, multimedia experience

Gateway Festival at Kings Mountain, N.C.

The Gateway Festival, celebrating Kings Mountain, North Carolina’s designation as the Gateway City to all three area parks, will bring “Music, Muskets and Merriment” downtown to Patriots Park on Oct. 12, 2013. This day long, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., fall festival is a community celebration of music, art, history and culture and will feature music from the North Carolina Foothills, including Bluegrass, Folk, Americana and Country music at the Gazebo in Patriots Park. Visitors will have an opportunity to witness a battle re-enactment with live musket and cannon fire and there will be a Revolutionary War encampment at the park. The ever favorite Cute Critters beauty contest will showcase some unique and cuddly pets and Classic cars will surround the park.

A free shuttle will take visitors to the Historic Museum where Civil War re-enactors will be encamped, the Southern Arts Depot for their “Gateway to the South” exhibit with children’s “make and take” art activities and an open house at the Joy Performing Arts Center.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, mountain, park, gateway, festival, patriots, kings mountain, patriots park, gateway festival, oct 2013, downtown patriots

Make North Myrtle Beach your fall destination

Pleasantly located on the northern end of the Grand Strand, North Myrtle Beach offers an abundance of exciting activities that are sure to please anyone. It’s no wonder North Myrtle Beach welcomes millions of visitors each year!

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, myrtle, north, fall, free, vacation, myrtle beach, north myrtle, fall destination

Berkeley County Naturist paradise

Berkeley County is known for being a naturist paradise with the lush green forest, and 250,000 acres of diverse plant and animal communities in the Francis Marion National Forest. Visitors flock to the forest to catch a rare glimpse of the endangered red cockaded woodpecker, amongst other intriguing birds such as the bald eagle and blue heron. While in Francis Marion National Forest, be sure to enjoy the numerous biking, hiking and horse trails.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, berkeley, forest, paradise, naturist, cooper, national, marion, berkeley county, naturist paradise, national forest, francis marion, cooper river, forest visitors

Fall in love with Charleston, S.C.

The cooler days of fall are a great time to explore South Carolina! Families of all interests will find so much to experience in Charleston. Each year, Charleston is consistently rated amongst the country’s top travel destinations.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, park, county, island, charleston, james, fall, events, county park, james island, island county, dog park

Alamogordo: birthplace of America’s missile activity

Not far from the city of Alamogordo, nestled in the Tularosa Basin in southern New Mexico, lies “The Birthplace of America’s Missile and Space Activity” at a facility known as White Sands Missile Range. It was also known in the past as “White Sands Proving Grounds” and a few other “White Sands” names. This facility is still an important part of on-going research and space exploration. Range control in this area will soon be joined on the west side of the Organ Pass by the newest private commercial space endeavors known to all world-wide as New Mexico’s Spaceport America. What is not widely known about White Sands Missile Range or “WSMR” (pronounced “Whiz-Mar” by the locals) is that the wealth of all this military history and space engineering is available to the average tourist, military and civilian alike. Just inside the main gate at WSMR is the small but mighty White Sands Missile Range Museum and Missile Park featured here. Although the Museum is located on an Army installation, it is open to the public. Both the museum and the park are fascinating places, and here everyday tourists can browse through the history of the area which makes up the Missile Range. This history includes things from the Native Americans, through the Old West ranching and mining era, as well as, the Atomic and Missile age.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, missile, museum, military, white sands, missile range, missile park, new mexico, range museum, missile activity

Create your experience in Butler County, Pa.

Just north of Pittsburgh are beautiful rolling hills and refreshing opportunities. Butler County, Pennsylvania is easily accessed via the PA Turnpike, I-79, I-80 and Routes 422, 19 and 8. Discover Moraine State Park, a 16,725-acre hot spot for activity. During autumn, take in the crisp breeze and the colorful scenery during a cruise on the Nautical Nature pontoon boat. Moraine has a 3,225-acre lake, great for sailing, swimming, fishing, kayaking and windsurfing. You can experience a plethora of land activities as well, including biking, bird watching, disc golf, geocaching and hiking. By the way, the disc golf course is exceptional!

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Relevant Tags: butler, trail, moraine, butler county, moraine state, create experience, state park, army reserve

New York’s great autumn getaway

Wayne County New York is located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse in the northern Finger Lakes Region — known for its rural charm, vast apple orchards, trophy fishing, drumlins and scenic beauty.

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Relevant Tags: apple, lake, ontario, autumn, wayne county, lake ontario, new york, autumn getaway, apple orchards, trophy fishing

‘Fishing Behind the Lines’

Combining soldiers’ experiences in the military with great fishing creates a natural way to relieve stress and makes for an interesting and exciting television series!

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Relevant Tags: fishing, military, soldiers, salmon river, lake ontario, relieve stress

Fishing in the Alleghany Highlands

Year round in the Alleghany Highlands, the fly fisher can find wild reproducing trout, state stocked trout, trophy stocked trout on private waters, smallmouth and largemouth bass, native brookies, muskies, panfish and perch caught in our lakes, rivers, and streams. The opportunities here are quite diverse, and you can be assured that there are more trout than humans in these mountains. The area offers small outfitters, shuttle service and private water, and you will find that these businesses will go the extra mile because your business really does matter to them and the area.

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Relevant Tags: trout, highlands, alleghany, fishing, alleghany highlands, mountain biking, private waters, jackson river, panfish perch

Scott County, Va. for music lovers and history buffs

As the home of A.P. and Sara Carter and Mother Maybelle, Scott County is the true “birthplace” of country music. It was through the local hills and hollows that A.P. roamed collecting his songs, such as the “Hello Stranger,” “My Clinch Mountain Home,” “Keep on the Sunny Side,” and the well-known “Will the Circle be Unbroken.” Janette Carter, one of A.P. and Sara’s three children, established the Carter Family Fold in 1974 to preserve her parent’s legacy. Janette, and brother, Joe, have since passed, but the legacy continues with a third generation of Carters.

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Relevant Tags: history, trail, music, park, scott county, natural tunnel, state park, daniel boone, music lovers, county music, history buffs

Wytheville — a community of hospitality

Since the beginning of our nation, the Wytheville area has been rolling out a unique brand of hospitality to visitors from near and far. As a community on the Great Road to the West, it was a frequented stopping point. Two hundred years later, two major north-south arteries, Interstates 77 and 81, crossed their routes in the town of 9,000 and made Wytheville a transportation hub of the East Coast.

But the town’s true success can be measured by the vast number of people from generation to generation who return to the community each year to stay a few hours, a few days, and some, for the rest of their lives. It’s a welcoming spirit that just makes the visitors want to stay.

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Relevant Tags: wytheville, community, visitors, new river, community hospitality, wythe county, army reserve

Pearland is the perfect pick to stay, play, getaway

Perfectly placed in the Gulf Coast Region of Texas and within 10 miles from downtown Houston and Hobby Airport, this fast growing city has transitioned from a road-side stop on Texas 288 (Off I-10) to a suburban destination in Brazoria County “Where Texas Began,” with Stephan F. Austin’s original 300 settlers. Pearland provides a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city, but with metropolitan amenities and sites to see just minutes away.

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Relevant Tags: pearland, texas, downtown houston, play getaway, road side

Fall in North Texas: Family fun and relaxation

When it comes to rest and relaxation, the City of McKinney — 30 miles north of Dallas and 50 miles south of the Red River — does it in style and with plenty of excitement to boot. Active duty and retired military personnel looking for a comfortable and quaint place for a fun weekend getaway with that special someone, friends or the family will find plenty to do throughout McKinney.

The fall months in this quaint historic community are especially festive and fun, with offerings including big annual events like Oktoberfest, the Spirit of the Cowboy Festival, Dinosaurs Live — fun for all ages — the Legends of McKinney Ghostwalk and the community Christmas festival, held on Thanksgiving weekend. Add to the mix an always heartwarming and respectful Veteran’s Day tribute at the McKinney Veterans Memorial Park, and new this year, the Commemorative Air Force Airpower Tour, coming to McKinney in early October. And of course, there are regular seasonal and year-round events to enjoy any time you visit.

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Relevant Tags: mckinney, family, event, festival, historic, cowboy festival, chestnut square, family fun, fun relaxation, north texas, air force, visitors bureau, airpower tour

44th Annual Colonial Cup 'Saluting Our Military' Day in Camden, S.C.

Please be our guest for the 44th annual Marion du Pont Scott Colonial Cup International Steeplechase Race Day and our fourth annual special “Saluting Our Military” celebration. We’re giving away 3,000 free general admission tickets along with 500 free Infield reserved parking spaces to our military, active and retired, and their families to this year’s Colonial Cup. It’s our way of saying “thank you.” Read More »

Relevant Tags: military, colonial, annual, camden, colonial cup, 44th annual, international steeplechase, steeplechase race, race day, army reserve

The Home School Foundation — Help for Struggling Homeschooling Families

With Memorial Day and Independence Day behind us and Veterans Day still to come, our thoughts turn frequently to the brave men and women in uniform defending us at home and abroad. As the military lifestyle demands unique sacrifices from a spouse and family, we also remember the sacrifice military families make every day to support their loved one serving our country.

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TMC Transportation's Kyle Lee Named Trucking's Top Rookie

DES MOINES, Iowa, August 27, 2013 – TMC Transportation is proud to announce that company driver Kyle Lee was recently named Trucking’s Top Rookie at the 2013 Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas.

Lee was chosen for the award by an expert panel of judges, which included representatives from motor carriers, training schools (both public and private), suppliers and trade associations. As the Top Rookie, Lee wins more than $10,000 in cash and prizes. He will be featured in an array of industry publications and in an interview with RedEye Radio’s Eric Harley. Read More »

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Veteran Appreciation Golf Tournament

Sponsored by the Golf Academy of America in Myrtle Beach, the Veteran Appreciation Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, starting at 0930. It is free. Read More »

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Coming Home: How do I Find a Job?

Have you ever wondered, as a U.S. military serviceman or woman, “what’s waiting for me when I come home to stay”?  Many active duty service members struggle with this question, often times as it relates to employment. The biggest blessing awaiting your return may be the greetings of loved ones and missed comforts; but if long range career goals haven’t been thought through, this could turn into a stressful time. Read More »

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The Griffon Vol. 37.3 (Fall 2013)

The Griffon Vol. 37.3 (Fall 2013)
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The 108th Training Command got its start as part of an elaborate deception prior to Operation Overlord, the D-Day Invasion of France in World War II. The Division was a "phantom" division created on paper and assigned to the First United States Army Group under the command of General George Patton. We were the original Institutional Training (IT) Division and remain one of seven training divisions for the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard. The Griffon is in its 30th publishing year as an award-winning authorized publication written in the interest of the men and women of the 108th Training Command.

  • The Griffon is written and published quarterly in the interest of the 108th National Training Command. It is shipped directly to member's homes and to Training Command bases throughout the U.S.
  • The Griffon is regularly recognized by the Pentagon with their highest rating of Four Stars as one of the largest and most informative authorized publications in the Army.
  • Our members use The Griffon for prescreened, approved resources and opportunities for themselves and their families.
  • The Griffon is required reading material with a message straight from the General.