Thoughts for 2011

This is a new year of transition and change. The Army is in a constant state of flux and this year is no different. There are many leadership changes that will happen in the coming months. Gen. George Casey, after a long and distinguished career will be leaving as the 36th Chief of Staff and be replaced by Gen. Martin Dempsey, commanding general, Training and Doctrine Command. His Command Sgt. Maj., Kenneth Preston, 13th Command Sergeant Major of the Army, will also be retiring. Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, current deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training has been chosen to be the next Commanding General of United States Army Europe, replacing Gen.Carter Ham, who is going to be the Commanding General, U.S. Africa Command. Mr. Robert Gates will also be leaving as the Secretary of Defense. He has been the Secretary for two different administrations and is due to leave this summer.

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The changes continue

As of this writing, I had just returned from the Nominative Command Sergeant Major Conference, commonly known as the Sergeant Major of the Army Conference at Fort Bliss, Texas.

A couple of significant events occurred at this conference. First, this was the last time for us to be addressed by the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George W. Casey who will shortly retire after over 40 years in uniform.

This was also the last conference for the current Sergeant Major of the Army, Sgt. Maj. Kenneth O. Preston. After seven years, by three years the longest tenure as the Sgt. Maj. of the Army, he will be retiring concluding an Army career of over 35 years. As of this writing his successor has yet to be named.


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Combating suicide in our ranks

Hello Soldiers, families and friends of the 108th Training Command! In my second Griffon column I am compelled to write about what I feel is the Army’s most disturbing trend: “Suicide”.

Suicide is not difficult to define: It is the intentional termination of one’s own existence. However, suicide is difficult to explain. It is a complex and tragic act, one that is often unpredictable, inexplicable, seemingly motiveless and intensely personal. Among all living species, human beings are the only ones that consciously take their own lives.

Suicides and attempted suicides within the Army and the 108th Training Command have reached an all-time high. As a result, leaders at all levels are being tasked with taking a more active role in suicide prevention. As of 16 November 2010, 140 active duty Soldiers and 71 non-active duty Soldiers were suspected of having committed suicide.


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Homeschoolers: How do you teach physics?

So, the word physics has entered your homeschool conversations as of late, and you’re a bit stumped as to what to do with it? Yes, you could ignore it, but that wouldn’t be in the best interest of your child. Your child is nearing an age where it may be an option, but does he/she need it? And if so, how will you teach it? How could you possibly? Will it consume your time? Read More »

Relevant Tags: homeschool, physics, teaching, algebra, physics concepts, trigonometry

Promising new year

Happy New Year to all of you. It looks like a very promising year with many new and exciting chances to rise to new levels of leadership. The 108th Training Command (IET) Warrant Officer Program has grown and spread its wings in many directions. I have been very privileged to be a part of this growth and know that with all the new vacancies, our program will continue to grow and become one of the best. I wish everyone much success in the coming year.

Last November I attended the Army Reserve Command Chief Warrant Officer Summit at the Pentagon. This was a new experience for me. I was filled with pride, excitement, and honor as I was ushered through the many gates and security stations to get to the conference room. Our group was taken on a tour and given a brief history of the Pentagon since it began in 1941. I was in awe of the historical paintings, museums, and filled with emotion when I walked into the section where the 9/11 attack occurred. This building is a city within itself housing 23,000 military and civilians contributing to the planning and execution of the defense of our nation.

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Education in America: Homeschooling on the Rise

The homeschooling movement continues to gain momentum as home-educated students and graduates demonstrate success academically and socially.

Boasting an increase of 74% since 1999 and now in its fourth decade, the modern homeschooling movement is gaining followers at an astonishing rate. Homeschool, for the most part an unfamiliar term only thirty years ago when the movement began, has become a household word. U.S. educators from both public and private school arenas are very much aware of the movement and its impact, and today popular media frequently make mention of “homeschoolers,” from characters in CBS’s #1 show, NCIS, to homeschool grads who appear as contestants on shows such as Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Homeschooling has firmly established itself as a mainstream education alternative.

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Stall promoted to Major General

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Maj. Gen. Robert P. Stall, commanding general of the 108th Training Command (IET) received his second star in a ceremony held here Feb. 5 at the Hilton Charlotte Center City.

Command Sgt. Maj. William Payne, senior enlisted advisor to the 108th Training Command (IET) and Stall’s wife Nancy watched as Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, Chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general of U.S. Army Reserve Command, affixed the two-star rank on Stall’s ACU jacket. Nancy then handed Stall his new beret adorned with two stars. Stultz, a former member of the108th Training Division, then issued the oath of office to Stall.

“What I want the audience to understand is how special this is, you see it takes a lot to become a general officer in the Army Reserve,” said Stultz. He added, “Today we have about 206,000 Soldiers in the Army Reserve, a pretty sizable force, and I’m authorized 115 general officer positions. There’s not a whole lot of space at the top. As an officer you have to be pretty elite to get to that level.”

“All of us need to mentor that next generation coming up, those folks need our help, our guidance our teaching and our leadership,” said Stall.

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History Uncased

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A new chapter in Army Reserve history began December 4 when 1st Battalion, 389th Regiment, 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), 108th Training Command uncased its unit colors in Old San Juan making it the first ever Army Reserve drill sergeant battalion on the island.

The ceremony took place atop Castillo San Felipe del Morro (“El Morro”) a fortification overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. El Morro was built by Spain beginning in 1539 to protect Puerto Rico’s harbor. Rich in its own history, El Morro was a fitting location for such an historical event.

Lt. Col. Jennifer Ryan, battalion commander and 1st Sgt. Manuel Vergne, acting command sergeant major, uncased the colors as Maj. Otto Padron, the master of ceremonies, described the importance of the unit’s colors.

“Today the colors serve as a binding symbol of continuity and a point of inspiration for the future,” said Padron.


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3-385th Regiment change of responsibility

JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — On November 5, 2010, the 3-385th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 98th Division (Initial Entry Training) from Edison, N.J., conducted a ceremony on the foggy fields of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. While many people are familiar with a change of command ceremony, it is far rarer to see an actual change of responsibility ceremony conducted with pomp and tradition.

While a change of command entails the passing of a command from the outgoing officer in command to the incoming commander, the ceremony held on this overcast day was marked by the passing of responsibility in the enlisted ranks, from outgoing battalion command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie S. Thomas, to incoming command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Robert J. Bruce.

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Basic training changes to improve combat readiness

WASHINGTON - Blind obedience-oriented basic combat training is out; confidence-building and thinking-oriented training is now in.

That’s the bottom line of how Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is shaping changes in Army boot camp; changes leaders say are improving Soldiers’ preparedness for combat once they reach their units, said Command Sgt. Maj. John R. Calpena, Initial Military Training Center of Excellence, at an AUSA meeting of senior Army enlisted.

“When we went through basic, total control and fear of authority was taught -- you could see the fear with that stupid look on their faces. Instead of creating obedient machines to do what they’re told to do when they’re told to do it, we’re teaching our young Soldiers how to think, how to understand the circumstances and make decisions in stressful conditions because that’s what’s going on downrange,” Calpena said.

“Young Soldiers receiving fire in a marketplace need to make an on-the-spot decision whether to shoot or not under stress,” he continued. “We had to radically change the way drill sergeants teach to do this as well. They’re no longer strictly disciplinarians, they’ve got to train Soldiers on tasks that are relevant to combat so when Soldiers graduate, they’re ready to go into the fight, in a relatively short amount of time. 

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“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repealed

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, Dec. 22nd, 2010 President Barack Obama signed the bill to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays in the military.

“No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love,” he said. “So this morning, I am proud to sign a law that will bring an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It is a law, this law I’m about to sign will strengthen our national security and uphold the ideals that our fighting men and women risk their lives to defend.”

The president relayed the story of Pvt. Lloyd Corwin who in the final days of the Battle of the Bulge 66 years ago had taken a 40-foot fall into a ravine during a fierce firefight.

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Army Reserve officer experiences the best of both worlds...

After serving four years as an Army Airborne Ranger in the 75th Regiment and six as a Special Forces Guardsman, Maj. Otto Padron had reservations that the Army Reserve—better known for specialties like medical and engineering—would provide the regular adrenalin rushes he had become used to. Nevertheless, he wanted to find a way to balance a successful civilian career as a senior broadcast television executive with a predictable deployment schedule and the opportunity to continue serving.

Today, Padron serves as executive officer with 2nd Battalion, 321st Infantry Regiment, 98th Training Division (IET) in Perrine, Fla.

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Singing on the trail

HICKORY, N.C. — Everyone knows when a drill sergeant walks into a room, he commands respect. December 4, 2010 was no different than any other day. Drill sergeants from the 3/518th Infantry Battalion, 98th Training Division (IET) entered through the glass doors of a different type of training area on this day, ready and eager.

The drill sergeants didn’t enter a Soldier laden barracks or an old World War II Quonset hut; they entered the Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory, N.C., a town which is home to many people who are Soldier supporters. Christmas cheer and Yule tidings were on the training schedule during this visit.

This scenario was a bit different from their routine training missions. No pushing a Soldier to do their best on this day, just the happy voices of a caroling group of drill sergeants moving about the halls trying to pass the Christmas spirit to the residents, staff, and patients. In fact, the only yelling the drill sergeants might have done came from their singing voices.

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108th Training Command (IET) wins 2010 Combined Logistics Excellence Award

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The 108th Training Command (IET) headquarters company supply section received a United States Army Supply Excellence Award, recognizing the section’s proficiency, teamwork and management skills. Sgt. 1st Class Dana Lyon, non-commissioned officer in charge of supply with the 108th Training Command headquarters company, accepted the award from Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., in a ceremony held June 24 in Richmond, Va.

The 108th Training Command was one of three Army Reserve supply units selected by Department of the Army evaluators as a winner or runner-up. Army-wide, 82 winners were selected from 316 submissions.

“We have 200-plus Soldiers to support with an active guard and reserve supply sergeant and a troop placement unit supply clerk,” Lyon said. “It’s a lot of work, but we do what we can with what we have. It is definitely a team effort by Sergeant Samuel Pelton and me to support the Soldiers of HHC.”

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Drill Sergeant graduate leads by example

FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Sgt. Jon P. Weberg graduated from the USAR Drill Sergeant School with high expectations and hopes for a rewarding outcome. He was not disappointed.

Weberg was recognized on December 11, 2010 as the Distinguished Honor Graduate, Class 001-11, at Fort Jackson after displaying the highest standards in testable academic subjects, leadership abilities and outstanding performance on the Army Physical Fitness Test.

“Becoming a drill sergeant is a challenging transition that gives notable noncommissioned officers an opportunity to guide and motivate new Soldiers,” said Weberg. “I’m glad that I’m officially qualified and can be an asset to the Drill Sergeant Corps.”

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Auction raises funds

OKLAHOMA CITY —-Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 95th Training Division held a live auction following a Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen Ceremony on November 7.

The auctioneer’s quick tongue rattled the words, “The bid is at $350, who’ll give me $375. The guy back there in fatigues bids $375.” The whole crowd laughs since ninety-percent of the crowd is dressed in ACU’s. It is after all battle assembly weekend and the auction is to benefit the unit’s Family Readiness Group (FRG).

The auctioneer with his quick wit and selling agenda kept managing to entertain the crowd while raising the bids. The auction cry continued. “Who’ll give me 400? 400? 375 going once--375 going twice--sold to the lucky man in the fatigues for $375.”

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98th hosts Strong Bonds event

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Military couples, whose duty station is as far away as Florida, attended the final Strong Bonds event of 2010 in the tiny village of Lake Placid, N.Y., nestled deep in the Adirondack Mountains.

According to the Strong Bonds webpage, Strong Bonds is a unit-based, chaplain led program that helps Soldiers and their Families build strong relationships. The program’s mission is to build Soldier readiness by providing skills the Soldier can use to strengthen his or her marriage and other relationships.

The program, which began in 1997, puts couples through a series of role plays, group exercises and discussions to strengthen the army family by creating and maintaining better relationships between spouses. Military couples face the same potential pitfalls faced by all married people with a significant conflict multiplier such as enduring long deployments in often perilous environments.

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Beware the “F” word

One of our essential duties as Commanders, Senior NCOs and Senior Civilians is that we must remain attentive to the potential for fraud. Fraud is something that could not happen to a Training Command. Fraud only occurs in the corporate world and could never happen in an organization that cherishes “seven” values. After all, our formations are primarily comprised of senior ranking NCOs and Officers. The unsympathetic reality is that fraud can happen in any organization, even the 108th Training Command (IET).

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108th Training Command (IET) hosts Yellow Ribbon Event

More than 450 Soldiers and Family members from the 108th Training Command (IET) came to Charlotte, N.C., on Feb. 5 for a Yellow Ribbon Program event, intended to educate the Soldiers and their Families on the many opportunities available while the Soldier is deployed.


Soldiers from the 98th Training Division (IET), a subordinate unit of the 108th Training Command (IET), will deploy to Afghanistan later this year as part of Task Force Scorpion in support of the NATO training mission.

The Yellow Ribbon Program is a Department of Defense-sponsored effort to help Reserve and National Guard members and their Families find available resources while dealing with deployments.


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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. The Public Affairs Office will hold training sessions and workshops during battle assembly (BA) to meet, train, and certify you as an UPAR.

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It’s Tax Time!

Military OneSource is pleased to announce that beginning Monday, January 17, 2011, we will once again provide free tax consultation and free on-line tax filing services to military service members and their families during the tax season. As in the three previous years, participants will have free online access to the H&R Block At Home (formerly TaxCut) Basic tax product.

A brief overview of the program:

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New Year’s resolution time…

It is January and I am pulling into the YMCA parking lot and much to my dismay there isn’t a single spot in the entire lot! Then it hits me, New Year’s resolution time. If you are like me you see little value in New Year’s resolutions simply because often in our lives resolutions come and go with very little long term results. Yet, we all long for changes in those areas of our lives where improvement is necessary. Examples are: taking our health and fitness more seriously, finding a job that is more in line with our talents and worth, being a better spouse or parent and the list goes on.

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Chaplain’s assistant recipient of AJC Army Reserve Achievement Award

Spc. Allison L. Hubbart, a chaplain’s assistant assigned to Headquarters, 1st Brigade, 98th Training Division (IET), Columbus, Ga., was awarded the 2010 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Army Reserve Component Achievement Award in a ceremony held Nov. 18, 2010 at the U.S. Army Reserve Command Headquarters. Hubbart, one of four recipients, two Army Reserve (Georgia based units) and two Georgia Army National Guard, won in the category Pvt. 1 – Spc.

Hubbart was recognized for her outstanding duty performance and exemplary conduct in her current assignment with the 1st Bde., 98th Div. She is passionate about her specialty and the Chaplains she serves.

As a Citizen-Soldier Hubbart dedicates much of her personal time to working with children in the performing arts arena. She is currently a junior at Columbus State University pursuing her Bachelors of Arts in Theater.

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The 108th Griffon Association

The 108th Training Command (IET) continues to be supported by the newly re-activated and improved 108th Griffon Association. The association was created several years ago to enable former members of the 108th Training Division (IT) to maintain contact with fellow Soldiers and to keep informed of the present activities and missions of the command. In addition to the social aspect of membership, the association was also created to support the command with such tangible benefits as scholarships for present members along with children and possibly grandchildren of present and past members of the command.

There are times when specific programs and projects cannot be funded through normal channels. This is again where the 108th Griffon Association steps up to the bar.

An example of this was monies raised and given for a marker at Ft. Jackson, S.C. commemorating 50 years of command association with that installation. Present projects have been supporting Family assistance for deployed Soldiers and for purchasing appreciation awards for outstanding service to the command.

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Commentary: It takes strength to ask for help

FORT KNOX, Ky. (Army News Service, Sept. 14, 2010) — Watching Soldiers carry the coffin of a warrior who has been killed in action is a tough story to cover.

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Soldier’s Gold Mine


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Handling your Office 2010 migration

Microsoft Office 2010 is anticipated to have broad adoption in the upcoming year. Challenges include the need to minimize admin and IT support costs, fit the migration process into the workload of already-busy IT staff, and avoid impacting user productivity. With the right preparation and execution, you can simplify the process and ensure an ROI.

Minimize admin workload and IT cost with careful planning

Start by investigating your user requirements and monitor current Office utilization to determine which users are most active in each component. You can eliminate those who are not actively using an Office suite from the migration project to reduce deployment time and license cost.

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Relevant Tags: GSA/DOD, office, migration, training, support, users, increase user, office migration, user productivity, minimize admin, microsoft office

Norwich University offers diversity

Norwich University, located in Northfield, VT, is the birthplace of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and the nation’s oldest private military college. For almost 200 years we have been guided by a tradition of innovation. On our Northfield campus we educate a full range of students from traditional-aged to seasoned combat veterans to middle aged adults seeking new career opportunities. We created online programming to deliver graduate programs to mid-career professionals, many of whom complete their studies while serving active duty; professional certificate programs and one online bachelor’s completion program.

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Why study the Bible?

Among all literature available to mankind, the Bible is unique in many different ways. A comparatively small amount of literature from the ancient world survives and is available to us today. Given the technology of the ancient world, comparatively few copies of ancient manuscripts were created and most of what existed before the time of Christ was destroyed due to the ravages of wars and time. Despite the factors that limits what we know of the literature of the ancient world, the Bible has survived across the centuries and comes to us so robustly documented that we can be confident that it has been transmitted through the ages with an incredible degree of accuracy. For people of faith, it is not surprising that the Bible survived so successfully. We believe the Bible is God’s special message to mankind. It reveals truth to us that we simply could not discover by our own efforts. It comes to us from a God who created us and wants to relate to us. It teaches us about the God who made us so that we can know Him and understand His characteristics.

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Liberty University honors service members

In appreciation for the heroes who risk their lives to protect our freedoms, Liberty University celebrates Military Emphasis Week each year. The entire week is dedicated to honoring members of the United States Armed Forces.

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Enhancing Force Readiness with Online Driver Safety Training

Upon the release of AAA’s new online Fleet Driver Safety Training program, the value of ongoing driver training, including computer-based training, is explored. Key considerations are discussed, toward achieving the desired goal: risk management to maximize force readiness.

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Relevant Tags: SAFETY, driving, program, aaa, training, driver, drivers, van, tassel, driving safety, van tassel, commanders can, safety education, among young, driver improvement, training program, their soldiers, driver safety, safe driving

ABC’s of home schooling

When you hear the word “home school,” what comes to mind? For many the question is where to start or even why to start. It may appear daunting at first, I know I had some reservations before I began home schooling two years ago. What follows are some simple tips to determine if home schooling is right for your family. I call it the “ABC’s of Home Schooling.”

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Relevant Tags: HOME SCHOOLING OPTIONS, home, school, education, home schooling, home school

Sequoia Foothills Chamber’s Hero Appreciation

Nestled at the foot of Sequoia National Park and the head of Lake Kaweah, is probably the best kept secret in California — the magical foothill village of Three Rivers, resident population: 2,600. 

This quaint village is spread out along three Forks of the Kaweah River, which itself originates from high in the neighboring Sierra Nevada Mountains in Sequoia National Park. Only a few hours drive from Los Angeles or San Francisco, your cell phones and pagers won’t work here and the air is crisp and clean. Experience peace and quiet, where stunning sunsets and star-filled nights replace streetlights.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, national, park, sequoia, rivers, kaweah, canyon, national park, three rivers, hero appreciation, sequoia national, lake kaweah, kings canyon, sequoia foothills, foothill village

Explore Clay County this Memorial Day

The City of Green Cove Springs in Clay County is the place to be in Northeast Florida over Memorial Day Weekend! Located southwest of the City of Jacksonville, Clay County can easily be reached by car in less than two and a half hours from other sunny, southern destinations such as Savannah, GA, Orlando or Daytona Beach.

This year will mark the 23rd anniversary of Memorial Day Riverfest’s annual tribute to members of the military with a Military Memorial Service and Veterans’ Tribute on May 30.

The 2011 Memorial Day Riverfest will kick-off on Saturday, May 28 with a Patriot’s Art Festival and all day entertainment in the City of Green Cove Springs’ Spring Park. A two-day Freedom 8k Health and Fitness Expo will also open that day at the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center in Orange Park. As festivities and entertainment continue throughout the day on Sunday, May 29, the evening will feature a lawn concert by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra followed by a dazzling fireworks display over the St. Johns River.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, national, park, sequoia, rivers, kaweah, canyon, national park, three rivers, hero appreciation, sequoia national, lake kaweah, kings canyon, sequoia foothills, foothill village

Mardi Gras at Universal

Orlando, Fla. (January 13, 2011) — It is the biggest, best, party in the country — and Universal Orlando Resort brings it straight from New Orleans to you Feb. 12 - April 23.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, national, park, sequoia, rivers, kaweah, canyon, national park, three rivers, hero appreciation, sequoia national, lake kaweah, kings canyon, sequoia foothills, foothill village

Wet ‘n Wild ­— share the rush!

Thrills are for sharing! Wet ‘n Wild gives you more themed, multi-person thrill rides than any other waterpark around. Disco H2O™, Brain Wash™, Flyer, The Black Hole™: The Next Generation and more - high-speed, seriously twisted, multi-person adventures that let you feel the fun and Share The Rush!

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, national, park, sequoia, rivers, kaweah, canyon, national park, three rivers, hero appreciation, sequoia national, lake kaweah, kings canyon, sequoia foothills, foothill village

Take a hike at Georgia state parks

Longer days, warmer weather and eye-catching blooms like dogwoods, azaleas and irises are sure signs of spring. To celebrate the season, Georgia State Park rangers are hosting a series of guided wildflower hikes throughout the state providing nature enthusiasts a close-up look at these spectacular blooms.

Spring bloom hikers will look for Canada Violet, Trout Lily, Wild Azalea, Spring Beauty, Foamflower, Trillium, Indian Pink, Buckeye and many more native blooms. The wildflower hikes are hosted by state parks that have a large number of native plants, including Sweetwater Creek, Amicalola Falls, Unicoi, Tallulah Gorge and Mistletoe.

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Relevant Tags: TRAVEL USA, national, park, sequoia, rivers, kaweah, canyon, national park, three rivers, hero appreciation, sequoia national, lake kaweah, kings canyon, sequoia foothills, foothill village

Charleston summer fun!

It’s time to start planning your next fun-in-the-sun summer vacation! How about a coastal, family-friendly destination? In Charleston, South Carolina, you’ll discover scenic beaches, a historic downtown, plus unlimited hours of recreation through waterparks, beach parks, fishing piers, camping and marsh-front vacation cottages.

Waterparks and Beach Parks

Kick off your family vacation with a splash at one of Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission’s three area waterparks: Splash Zone, Splash Island or Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark. Staffed with award-winning lifeguards to provide a safe experience, each park offers a full range of amenities, including snack bars, concessions and lockers. Also available for party rentals, the Charleston waterparks are your place for fun and relaxation, for groups of any size.


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In Clarksville, Tennessee you can’t beat the price of FREE

What better way to honor the courage and sacrifice of our military families than a FREE three-day festival? In 2003, the Rivers and Spires Festival began as just that, a special tribute to the soldiers of Fort Campbell Army Installation and the 101st Airborne Division Screaming Eagles. Now in its ninth year the Festival is bigger than ever, and you can experience it all April 14-16, 2011 in Historic Downtown Clarksville, Tennessee.

Rivers and Spires has become one of the most anticipated yearly events in Middle Tennessee. Admission to the festival is free and this includes all music, art shows, kids’ activities and more. Tickets may be purchased at the festival for food and drink. In 2010, a record breaking 42,000 people filled the streets of downtown. This year is sure to surpass that, as the list of activities, attractions, special events and vendors continues to grow.


Taking It to the Streets

Lined with craft and food vendors, five music stages, kids’ activities and artisan booths, Historic Downtown transforms each year as the festival goes into full swing. Music is a big part of the event, with at least two artists on one of the (many) stages at any given time. No matter your taste, Rivers and Spires books bands that span the genres; country, jazz, rock and even hip hop.


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Escape to Texas

Lubbock is the home of Texas Tech University, Buddy Holly, unique shopping, dining and a legendary ranching and music heritage. Located in West Texas, Lubbock is also known for being the Hub City of the South Plains, the cotton capital of Texas, the center of a flourishing wine industry and home to a major health care center.

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Mission, Texas is hometown to Tom Landry

Mission, Texas, known as the Home of the Grapefruit, is in southwestern Hidalgo County on U.S. Highway 83. We are located on the Rio Grande River, four miles northeast of Anzalduas County Park, five miles northeast of the World Birding Center, and 23 miles northwest of the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Midway between the beaches of South Padre Island and Falcon International Reservoir, Mission Texas is truly Nature’s Paradise.

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Walk in the footsteps of Civil War Soldiers

For the Monacan Indians who discovered it, the Natural Bridge of Virginia became a sacred site. When George Washington surveyed the area he carved his initials 23 feet up the wall of the Bridge. Thomas Jefferson, captivated by it, purchased the “rock bridge” in 1774 from King George III, to ensure that visitors from all over the world had the opportunity to experience the remarkable natural wonder. They painted it, sketched it, wrote about it. Word got out. And the Natural Bridge, like Niagara Falls, became an icon of the new world’s stunning and expansive natural beauty that visitors didn’t miss seeing in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Pass beneath the immense National Historic Landmark and imagine it as a shot tower. The Bridge played a part in the colonist’s defeat of the British when it was used to make ammunition for the Revolutionary War. From the top, men dribbled molten lead down through metal pipes to the creek bed. On its 245-foot descent, the lead drops formed spherical shapes and hardened before falling into canvas that collected the shot when it hit the bottom.

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Civil War history of Front Royal

The streets of Front Royal were the scene of one of the greatest maneuvers in military history. It was here that General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson delivered the first decisive action against unsuspecting Union Forces during his famous Valley Campaign of 1862. This fight would become known as “The Battle of Brother against Brother.” First Maryland Confederates were pitted against their peacetime friends and relatives now serving with Union forces.

Having marched his men over 400 miles in 40 days, Jackson struck a blow here that would so alarm President Abraham Lincoln and Union General George McClellan as to divert nearly 40,000 men away from a planned attack on Richmond. (Such an attack on the capitol of the Confederacy could possibly have ended any chances of a Confederate victory over the north). These troops were then hurried to the Shenandoah Valley in an attempt to track down and destroy Jackson and his army.

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Virginia Arts Festival adds Flying Proms to lineup

For 15 memorable years, the Virginia Arts Festival has been lighting up stages, arenas and outdoor venues across Southeastern Virginia with brilliant artistry, spectacular performances and can’t-miss special events. This spring, a celebration is in the works, from the beautiful Virginia Beach Oceanfront to historic Williamsburg, featuring a world-class lineup that promises something for every taste.

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The Griffon Vol. 35.1 (Spring 2011)

The Griffon Vol. 35.1 (Spring 2011)
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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.