The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President in the name of Congress on members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.
Members of all branches of the armed forces are eligible to receive the medal, and there are three versions; one for the Army, one for the Air Force, and one for the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an individual by the passing of a Joint Resolution in the Congress; and is then personally presented to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin, by the President of the United States, on behalf of the Congress, representing and recognizing the gratitude of the American people as a whole.
On November 12, 2015, President Barack Obama will award Captain Florent A. Groberg, U.S. Army (Ret), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Captain Groberg will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Personal Security Detachment Commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division during combat operations in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on August 8, 2012.
.. November 12, 2015 President Barack Obama awards Captain Florent A. Groberg the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry White House
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
November 1-7, 2015 First Lady Michelle Obama visits Doha, Qatar and Amman, Jordan
October 28, 2015
First Lady Michelle Obama to Travel to the State of Qatar and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
As part of the Let Girls Learn initiative, the First Lady will make stops in Doha and Amman; the First Lady will also visit US military service members stationed at Al Udeid Air Base as part of the Joining Forces initiative
As part of Let Girls Learn, the First Lady will visit Doha, Qatar and Amman, Jordan from November 1-7, 2015.
In Doha, Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks at the 2015 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), addressing an audience of education leaders from the region and around the world about global girls’ education and the Let Girls Learn initiative. Since 2009, WISE has brought together leaders annually to explore concrete steps to improve education worldwide.
As part of the Joining Forces initiative, Mrs. Obama will also visit service members stationed at Al Udeid Air Base.
Around the world 62 million girls are not in school. Millions more are fighting to stay there. Let Girls Learn is a new effort by the United States Government, and led by USAID, to provide the public with meaningful ways to help all girls to get a quality education. In support of the effort, USAID also announced over $230 million for new programs to support education around the world. Then, even if they can reach a school, they may not have the trained teachers, adequate materials, or support they need to learn to read, write, and do basic math. Recent events in Nigeria focused the world’s concern on their plight. It’s time toLet Girls Learn.
Let Girls Learn is an effort by the United States Government to provide the public with meaningful ways to help all girls to get a quality education. It is led by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead U.S. Government Agency working to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. In support of the effort, USAID also announced $231.6 million for new programs to support primary and secondary education and safe learning in Nigeria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Jordan, as well as support for Guatemala’s ongoing, successful efforts to improve quality of education for under-served populations.
WHY LET GIRLS LEARN?
When girls are educated, their families are healthier and they have more opportunities to generate income in adulthood. An educated girl has a ripple effect:
On Her Family:
One more year of education increases a woman’s income by up to 25 percent.
A girl who has a basic education is three times less likely to contract HIV.
Children born to educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of 5.
If all women in sub-Saharan Africa had a secondary education, 1.8 million lives would be saved each year.
Simulations using data from women farmers in Kenya suggest that crop yields could increase by 25 percent if all that country’s girls attended primary school.
After looking at 100 countries, the World Bank found that increasing the share of women with a secondary education by 1 percent boosts annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percentage points.
Countries where women hold more than 30 percent of seats in political bodies are more inclusive, egalitarian and democratic.
Learn what organizations around the world are doing
to help girls learn and how you can help .
An educated girl has a ripple effect. Explore how giving a girl the tools to learn can
impact families, communities, and the world – for generations.
Tell us about the creative and inspiring ways you are working to help educate
Answer by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest:
“The last I heard is that the White House had not yet received the defense authorization bill. But the President’s intention to veto that legislation still stands, primarily because the bill includes this slush fund tactic that’s an irresponsible way to fund our most basic national security priorities. And, again, slush fund is not just the appropriate word that I’ve used but that’s actually the description that some Republicans have used for this tactic.
There are also concerns in that legislation about the obstacles to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay that are included once again in the NDAA bill. I’ll just point out that based on the vote in the House of Representatives, that there is sufficient support for the President’s position in the House to sustain his veto. And that’s not something we’ve seen in the past, but it is something that we see this time.“
History on The Closing of Guantánamo Bay Naval Base
Remarks by the President at Veto Signing of National Defense Authorization Act
3:52 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: As President and Commander-in-Chief, my first and most important responsibility is keeping the American people safe. And that means that we make sure that our military is properly funded, and that our men and women in uniform get the support, the equipment, the support for their families that they need and deserve when they protect our freedom and our safety.
The bill that has been presented to me authorizing our defense — excuse me — the bill that’s before me, authorizing our defense spending for this year, does a number of good things. It makes sure that our military is funded. It has some important provisions around reform for our military retirement system, which is necessary to make sure that it is stable and effective. It’s got some cybersecurity provisions that are necessary for an increasing threat.
Unfortunately, it falls woefully short in three areas. Number one, it keeps in place the sequester that is inadequate for us to properly fund our military in a stable, sustained way and allows all of our armed forces to plan properly. I have repeatedly called on Congress to eliminate the sequester and make sure that we’re providing certainty to our military so they can do out-year planning, ensure military readiness, ensure our troops are getting what they need. This bill instead resorts to gimmicks that does not allow the Pentagon to do what it needs to do.
Number two, unfortunately it prevents a wide range of reforms that are necessary for us to get our military modernized and able to deal with the many threats that are presenting themselves in the 21st century. We have repeatedly put forward a series of reforms eliminating programs that the Pentagon does not want — Congress keeps on stepping back in, and we end up wasting money. We end up diverting resources from things that we do need to have the kind of equipment and training and readiness that are necessary for us to meet all potential threats.
And the third thing is that this legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world. Guantanamo is one of the premiere mechanisms for jihadists to recruit. It’s time for us to close it. It is outdated; it’s expensive; it’s been there for years. And we can do better in terms of keeping our people safe while making sure that we are consistent with our values.
So I’m going to be vetoing this authorization bill. I’m going to be sending it back to Congress. And my message to them is very simple: Let’s do this right. We’re in the midst of budget discussions — let’s have a budget that properly funds our national security as well as economic security. Let’s make sure that we’re able, in a constructive way, to reform our military spending to make it sustainable over the long term, and let’s make sure that, in a responsible way, we can draw down the populations in Guantanamo, make sure that the American people are safe, and make sure that we’re not providing the kinds of recruitment tools to terrorists that are so dangerous.
3:57 P.M. EDT
October 22, 2015 President Obama vetoes a major defense policy bill H.R. 1735 Oval Office
The First Lady is the ship’s sponsor. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will be present at the ceremony, an invitation-only event, as the principal speaker, General Dynamics announced on Monday.
The Illinois, the 13th ship of the Virginia class, is the first nuclear-powered attack submarine U.S. Navy combatants designed for the post-Cold War era. Unlike many of their contemporaries, Virginia class submarines are designed for a broader spectrum of combat operations, including open-ocean and littoral combat missions. They are planned to replace the older Los Angeles-class submarine.
Remarks by the First Lady at the Keel Laying Ceremony for the PCU ILLINOIS
General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard
Quonset Point, Rhode Island
2:24 P.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. Good afternoon. Wow. All right, can I just break with protocol and say, this is really cool. (Laughter.) I mean, come on. This is so nice. (Applause.)
I want to start by thanking Secretary Mabus for that very kind introduction, but more importantly, for his tremendous leadership for our country for so many years. I also want to recognize Governor Chaffee, Governor Malloy, Senators Reed and Whitehouse, and all of the members of Congress and the elected officials that we have with us today, and all of the distinguished guests and military leaders who serve our country so bravely every single day.
Now, I have been a sponsor for a Coast Guard cutter before, but I’ve heard that working with submariners is a whole different ballgame. Is that true? So I am beyond excited, and I am truly honored. And I couldn’t be more proud that I have my daughters, Malia and Sasha, who join me to serve as maids of honor for this vessel. They are not here today because they had tests to take. That’s no indication of their commitment going forward, but today they had history and something else. But they send their love, and they are truly excited by the honor. But know that you have three really solid Chicago girls that are very excited to support this vessel.
And we understand what a fine submarine the ILLINOIS will be. And it has been fascinating for me to learn more about all that goes into building a submarine -– from laying the keel, to the christening, to the commissioning. It is truly a privilege to be part of this very unique process. It is something that I will take away as one of the extraordinary experiences that I’ve had in my entire life.
So I want to thank everyone from General Dynamics Electric Boat for hosting us here today, for all the work that they’re doing, along with the folks from Newport News Shipbuilding to build this submarine. And I especially want to, again, join in thanking all of the outstanding folks who work to make these submarines happen — all of the welders, the machinists, the metalworkers, the electricians. I know there are so many more. I got to see some of you guys earlier — some of you guys and gals, because we got some strong women on the team, as well. But thank you for everything that you do, for being part of this effort. I’ve heard that you all are some of the most skilled shipbuilders we have around, so I’m confident that this is going to be an outstanding vessel.
First Lady Named Sponsor of New Navy Submarine, USS ILLINOIS
May 28, 2012
Accepts Honor During Visit with First Female Navy Submariners
As part of the Joining Forces initiative to honor, recognize and serve military families, today at the White House President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with the U.S. Navy’s first contingent of women submariners to be assigned to the Navy’s operational submarine force. In 2009, U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that for the first time in Navy history, women would be assigned to the submarine force. The 24 women who met with the President and First Lady today were accepted into the Navy’s nuclear submarine program after completing an intensive training program. They are serving on ballistic and guided missile submarines throughout the Navy. A photograph of the President, First Lady, Defense Secretary Panetta, Secretary Mabus and the women submariners can be found at this LINK.
As part of the visit to the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama accepted Secretary Ray Mabus’ invitation to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Illinois (SSN 786). Illinois is a Virginia-class submarine, the Navy’s newest class of attack submarine, and is being built in Groton, Connecticut and Newport News, Virginia. Illinois is expected to join the fleet in late 2015. In sponsoring USS Illinois, the First Lady joins a tradition of First Lady sponsorship of U.S. Navy submarines. First Lady Laura Bush is USS Texas’ (SSN 775) sponsor and christened it in 2004; First Lady Hillary Clinton is USS Columbia’s (SSN 771) sponsor and christened it in 1994. As sponsor, the First Lady will establish a special link to Illinois, her Sailors, and their families that extends throughout the life of the submarine.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as sponsor of the USS ILLINOIS,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “I’m always inspired by the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Navy, as well as the families who support them. This submarine is a tribute to the strength, courage, and determination that our Navy families exhibit every day.”
The Keel Laying Ceremony took place on 2 June 2014. First Lady Michelle Obama took sponsorship.
The Official ship’s crest was designed by Christopher Durdle of Roseville, IL and accepted by the Navy at an unveiling ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago on April 2, 2015. First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated the contest finalists and crew via video at the ceremony. The ship will also receive ongoing support from the 786 Club of the Union League Club of Chicago.
Defense Prisoner of War * Missing Personnel Office
“Keeping the Promise”, “Fulfill their Trust” and “No one left behind” are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation.
More than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War. Hundreds of Defense Department men and women — both military and civilian — work in organizations around the world as part of DoD’s personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home. The mission requires expertise in archival research, intelligence collection and analysis, field investigations and recoveries, and scientific analysis.
World War II
Of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, more than 400,000 died during the war. At the end of the war, there were approximately 79,000 Americans unaccounted for. This number included those buried with honor as unknowns, officially buried at sea, lost at sea, and missing in action.
Today, more than 73,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from WWII.
The Korean War accounting effort remains a priority for the U.S. government. DPMO pursues opportunities to gain access to loss sites within North Korea and South Korea. Additionally, identifications continue to be made from remains that were returned to the United States using forensic and DNA technology.
More than 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.
Since 1973, the remains of more than 900 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
For more than a decade the United States has conducted joint field activities with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover the remains of missing Americans. Throughout those countries, teams continue to investigate crash and burial sites, as well as interview locals to gain additional knowledge. The United States also continues to obtain access to historical wartime records and archives that provide information relevant to the fates of missing Americans.
Today, more than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the conflict.
In addition to the thousands of service members who fought communist forces during wars in Korea, Vietnam, and other conflicts, many service members risked their lives off of the battlefield while collecting intelligence on the Soviet Bloc, the People’s Republic of China, and North Korea during the Cold War. The sacrifice made by these Americans enabled the United States and our allies to contain the threat of communist expansion until the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Today, 126 service members remain unaccounted for from the Cold War.
On Dec.1, 2011, the responsibility to account for missing U.S. personnel in Iraq transferred from the U.S. Central Command to DPMO. The current number of personnel missing from operations in Iraq and the Persian Gulf being actively pursued by DPMO is five – two service members from Desert Storm, and three DoD contractors from Iraqi Freedom. DPMO continues to pursue the fullest possible accounting of one serviceman lost in 1986 during Operation El Dorado Canyon in Libya.
DPMO is not only responsible for accounting for service members missing from past conflicts, it also provides policy and oversight of efforts to account for and recover personnel
Operation El Dorado Canyon, 1986
Capt. Paul F. Lorence, U.S. Air Force, was lost on April 15, 1986, when his F-111 aircraft was downed during a strike over Libya.
Operation Desert Storm, 1991
Lt. Cmdr. Barry T. Cooke, U.S. Navy, was lost on Feb. 2, 1991, when his A-6 aircraft went down in the Persian Gulf.
Lt. Robert J. Dwyer, U.S. Navy, was lost on Feb. 5, 1991, when his FA-18 aircraft went down in the Persian Gulf.
Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003-2010
Mr. Kirk Von Ackermann, DoD contractor, was lost on Oct. 9, 2003, while working in Forward Operating Base Pacesetter, Iraq.
Mr. Timothy E. Bell, DoD contractor, was lost on April 9, 2004, while working in Baghdad, Iraq.
Mr. Adnan al-Hilawi, DoD contractor, was lost on March 3, 2007, while working in Baghdad, Iraq.
President Obama: “We Do Not Leave Anybody Wearing the American Uniform Behind”
“ We do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind.
We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about, and we saw an opportunity and we seized it. And I make no apologies for that.
We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur. But because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations, we felt it was important to go ahead and do what we did. And we’re now explaining to Congress the details of how we moved forward. But this basic principle that we don’t leave anybody behind and this basic recognition that that often means prisoner exchanges with enemies is not unique to my administration — it dates back to the beginning of our Republic.
And with respect to how we announced it, I think it was important for people to understand that this is not some abstraction, this is not a political football. You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land, who they hadn’t seen in five years and weren’t sure whether they’d ever see again. And as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, I am responsible for those kids. And I get letters from parents who say, if you are in fact sending my child into war, make sure that that child is being taken care of. And I write too many letters to folks who unfortunately don’t see their children again after fighting the war.
I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody’s child and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back.”
These are the Army’s first female Ranger School graduates
August 18, 2015 By Dan Lamothe – washingtonpost
For more than 120 days, Capt. Kristen Griest and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver have ground it out at Ranger School, the Army’s famously difficult school designed to build elite leaders capable of withstanding the rigors of combat. They’ve withstood fearsome weather, exhausting hikes, sleepless nights and simulated combat patrols designed to test their reaction time, teamwork and tenacity under fire.
On Friday, the two women will become the first female soldiers ever to graduate from the course at Fort Benning, Ga., receiving the coveted black and yellow Ranger Tab alongside 94 male counterparts. Griest, a military police officer from Orange, Conn., and Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot from Copperas Cove, Tex., are among a group of 20 women who qualified to attend the first gender-integrated Ranger School beginning April 20, and the only two female soldiers to complete it to date.
The graduation of Haver and Griest, both in their 20s and alumnae of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., increases pressure on the Army to integrate women into more combat jobs. They have not previously been identified by the Army, but The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in Georgia were able to do so after observing Ranger School training several times this year.
Ranger School was opened to women for the first time in April as the Army assesses how to integrate women into more jobs in combat units across the service. That followed a January 2013 decision by senior Pentagon leaders to open all jobs to women, with the services granted until this fall to make recommendations on whether anything should remain closed. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter is expected to rule on each request by Jan. 1.
After historic graduation, Army removes all restrictions on women attending Ranger School
September 2, 2015 Dan Lamothe – washingtonpost
The Army announced Wednesday that it is opening its legendary Ranger School to women on a full-time basis, following the historic graduation last month of two female soldiers.
The school, with headquarters at Fort Benning, Ga., has been a centerpiece of the military’s ongoing research on integrating women into more jobs in combat units. Capt. Kristen Griest, 26, a military policy officer, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, 25, an Apache helicopter pilot, became the first women to graduate from school Aug. 21, after spending months alongside men enduring the grueling training.
Army Secretary John McHugh said in a statement that the service must ensure that the opportunity afforded to Griest and Haver is available to “all soldiers who are qualified and capable,” and that the Army is continuing to assess how to select, train and retain its best soldiers. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the service’s top officer, added in the same statement that combat readiness remains the Army’s top priority.
“Giving every qualified soldier the opportunity to attend the Ranger Course, the Army’s premier small unit leadership school, ensures we are maintaining our combat readiness today, tomorrow and for future generations,” Milley said.