Slew Of Violence Takes Place

How we doing hard-chargers!!

February is now amongst us, so may you all enjoy the upcoming day of love in about 12 days. That’s for civilians and also military, but specifically… those who are sending rounds down range. 🙂

So, the Islamic State group and the Taliban are now competing to take credit for the increase in violence in Afghanistan over the past month. Both groups seem to be growing in strength as security forces wither under their relentless attacks. Still, the two insurgent groups embrace different agendas and are at war with each other as well as the Afghan government.


Recent attacks, that included both suicide bombings and small arms fire, have left nearly 200 people dead and hundreds more wounded. Insurgents have targeted heavily secured areas in the heart of the Afghan capital, including an Afghan military academy, on Monday and a hotel, owned by the government and frequented by foreigners.

The tactics behind this particular strike was an ambulance in order to hide deadly cargo, from there insurgents slipped passed checkpoints in Kabul’s heavily fortified center on Saturday to kill more than 100 people.

Terrors in Kabul 2017 12.jpg

The insurgents have similar views and goals of delegitimizing the governments they are fighting against. However, in Afghanistan the similarity between ISIS and the Taliban ends there. Beyond toppling the Afghan government, the Islamic State affiliate and the Taliban have divergent goals, the Taliban are seen as possible negotiation partners in a search for peace, the ISIS is not.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 15.54.11.png (ISIS)

taliban.jpg(Taliban) I know what you’re thinking… they look the same.

Taliban fighters in northern Afghanistan recently displayed the ISIS flag after the Taliban leadership ordered them to hand over their tax collection revenue to the governing Taliban shura (council).

A major source of revenue for the Taliban is the tax they charge locals for safe passage or to move legal as well as illegal commodities to market. The strongest fighting force within the Taliban that we know of  is the Haqqani network, which has been blamed for the most atrocious attacks in Kabul.

The Haqqani network has historical ties to Pakistan’s powerful ISI spy agency and both the United States and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of providing sanctuary for Taliban fighters, a claim Islamabad denies.

BC42FDBD-0E01-4421-A1D2-7BF34AAB7631_w1023_r1_s.jpg(Jalaluddin Haqqani, head of the dreaded Haqqani)

Meanwhile, the ISIS affiliate known as IS in Khorasan Province, named for the ancient region that once included Afghanistan, parts of Iran and Central Asia, is a toxic mix of Taliban, ferocious Pakistani Taliban, who have sworn allegiance to ISIS against Pakistan, as well as Uzbeks, mostly from the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan terror group.




With the success of the U.S. and its allies driving Islamic State fighters out of Iraq and Syria, this has pushed many toward Afghanistan.

 Nearly 3,000 Afghan Uzbeks may have joined the ISIS affiliate already believed to have several thousand Uzbeks from central Asia. The role of Afghanistan’s neighbors further muddies the insurgent landscape.


Pakistan, widely blamed for the Taliban’s longevity as a fighting force, is aided by both Russia and Iran, who fear an ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan.

It’ll be very interesting to see how the secretary of defense will plan the next few moves in order to deal with these heinous groups.

Isaac J. Hall II 



Governmental Shut-Down

How we doing hard-chargers!!

Today we’ll discuss a situation we’ve all heard about the last few weeks, and that is the Governmental shut-down.


The United States government is on the brink of a shutdown as we all know. I’ll try my best to give you a better understanding of this fiasco.

There are groups of individuals in the House of representatives (Republicans) who have passed a stopgap measure that would fund the US government for four weeks, known as a continuing resolution, or CR.

President Donald J. Trump will support the measure.

The Republicans now need the backing of some Democrats for the bill to pass the Senate by midnight on Friday, when funding for the US government runs out.

This disagreement could cause the shut-down – a costly political move for either party – comes after the collapse of bipartisan talks on a US spending bill. Which hinged on continued protections under the DACA programme for undocumented immigrants, which Democrats support.

With less than 24 hours left for tactics, the shut-down appears very possible. People seem to forget that the last shutdown was in 2013 and lasted 16 days.

What will be the impact of shut-down?

The direct impact, would be an immediate loss of productivity from about 700,000 government employees deemed “nonessential”. That’s very unsettling in the eyes of governmental employees.


These workers will be furloughed, meaning they will be put on leave until the government resumes functioning but for how long???

While there is no guarantee government workers will be paid for this leave, historically they have been paid retroactively in the case of a shutdown.

It’s been estimated that even if they are paid, the US government will experience lost productivity from almost a million people.

Who will be affected?

National parks, museums and monuments will shut down, as well as the processing of passports and visas, if the shut-down continues beyond a few days.


This will impact tourism. National parks in the west and the Smithsonian Institute museums in the east will not be open to the public

Another indirect loss will be to contractors – government employees are not the only ones waiting for a paycheck from Uncle Sam.

Over $43 billion has been awarded in contracts for the fiscal year 2018, according to government figures. None of this money will be paid as long as the shut-down continues.

That will remove a fair amount of money from the pockets of private citizens throughout the country. Some even suggest retail sales will drop, It’s no longer considered the holiday season but holidays sales continue into January.

Government services that will continue?

Those related to national security and domestic safety, including the military, law enforcement and air traffic control.


Certain entitlements, such as hospitals for veterans administered by the government and food stamps for families in need, would be unaffected.

Federal courts, where the Trump administration is currently battling an order to undo his decision to end the DACA programme, will continue but are subject to disruption.

Timeframe of shut-down?

In the case of the 16-day 2013 shutdown, Republicans and Democrats were at odds over funding then-President Obama’s landmark healthcare law, known as Obamacare. Which was the debt ceiling, for the US which allows the US Treasury to continue borrowing to pay debts.


There was a 27-day shutdown from December 1995 to January 1996, resulting from a clash between Republicans and Democrats over funding a health insurance programme for the elderly. That came a month after a November shut-down that lasted four days.

Before these examples, shut-downs were seldom.

The US government typically only experienced funding gaps over the weekend, not impacting the economy in any major way.

Will US economy be hurt by shut-down?

The 2013 shut-down cost the US economy $24 billion, according to estimates from S&P. While costly, GDP was over $16 trillion that year.

The firm estimates a shut-down would cost the US economy about $6 billion per week in 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 12.49.56.png

Any losses this early in the fiscal year could be regained later.

There are those who are hopeful feeling that the shut-down is not likely.

People think the government will come to its senses. As they understand it’s pretty touch and go right now in Washington, however, it doesn’t seem like a shutdown is in the government’s interests.

Only time will tell, however, as far as the military, speaking in terms of active, reserve and veterans. If this does actually happen you will not be affected. I repeat you will not be affected.

Lets hope they can come to an agreement in order to prevent this from happening for the others that possibly will be affected.

Isaac J. Hall II



Veterans Hopeful For MMJ

How we doing hard-chargers!!

I have news about the possibility of medical marijuana being issued to veterans as there is word of its healing properties. 


Members from democratic side on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee requested the committee’s officials to research medical marijuana for issues like post-traumatic stress disorder. Many believe there is HUGE potential for veterans’ health through this plant.

In a letter signed by every Democratic member of the panel, lawmakers requested that VA Secretary David Shulkin challenge his department’s Office of Research and Development to “fulfill its stated mission” by looking into the value of cannabis medication as an alternative to addictive prescription opioids.



The letter stated. “VA is uniquely situated to pursue research on the impact of medical marijuana on veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD. Given its access to world-class researchers, the population it serves, and its history of overseeing and producing research resulting in cutting edge medical treatments.”

As of now Cannabis is still illegal under federal law, but 26 states (and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) allow access to the drug for medical needs.

At a White House press conference in May, Shulkin said federal law does not prohibit his department from looking at marijuana research as an option for veterans, but not to prescribe the substance.


VA officials have been reluctant to move ahead with assisting in outside research projects. An Arizona study lauded by the American Legion, which has repeatedly petitioned local VA facilities to help find participants.


Department of Justice officials have made very clear verbally that they do not support loosening rules on marijuana research and have looked into expanded authorities to go after cannabis dealers and companies even in states where the substance is legal.


American Legion officials last year passed a resolution calling for expanded research into medicinal use of marijuana, noting that opioid abuse presents a serious health threat to the veterans community and any alternatives should be considered.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America released a new survey indicating that 63 percent of their members support legalization of the drug for medicinal purposes. Only 15 percent opposed the idea.


64 percent of Americans favor making marijuana legal, the highest figure researchers have recorded in nearly 50 years of polling on the issue.

Cannabis and medicine


In addition, one of the letter signers — Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif. — introduced a House resolution on Thursday calling for VA to recognize “the urgency and importance of finding alternative successful treatments to opioids” and conduct cannabis research to compare the side effects with current treatment methods.

This may come into fruition after all, we’ll have to keep our eyes open to see. I’ve seen many veterans who unequivocally stand on this and it may be that time for everyone to listen. May the research taking place find new grounds in order to better treat that veterans of this country.

Isaac Hall


Tattoo Policy Hurting Good Marines

Good day Hard-Chargers!!

Today we’ll focus on the tattoo policy of the Marine Corps. As you’ve heard before time may be the factor causing combat veterans to leave the Corps. There is also another reason that should not be underestimated, and that is the Corps’ tattoo policy.


There have been Marines who were barred from re-enlistment because tattoos were too close together and were considered to be one piece that was too big under the Marine Corps’ tattoo policy at the time.

Other Marines have similar stories, this is due to the Corps not deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan in large numbers. Once that happened tattoos became a career killer for them, even if they had ­combat experience.


Marines are now stating that their combat experience is not valued as it once was. As you have leaders saying “We don’t care that you’re a combat veteran.”

Boot Lieutenants are stating that no one cares about Afghanistan, it’s over and we as a branch are moving on as there is a new Marine Corps.”


This is partly due to the drawdown of the Corps from 202,000 to 182,000 active duty Marines, which was driven by cuts to defense spending.


Starting in 2014 Marines were required to submit photos of their tattoos for re-enlistment as the Corps became very stern about the policy.

Commandant General ­Robert Neller, explained the reasoning behind the policy. “We’re not in a rock and roll band. We are ­Marines. We have a brand. People expect a ­certain thing from us.

CMC Neller MWM 20160120

Marine veterans often look to get jobs as police officers, but local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are very strict on whether applicants can have visible tattoos.

This is very true as I myself was recently denied entrance to the academy due to my sleeve of tattoos.


In the year prior to the Marine Corps’ new tattoo policy being announced, only a fraction of Marines were denied re-enlistment because of their tattoos.


From June 2015 to June 2016, there were more than 14,000 re-enlistment packages submitted. Out of those, 33 were denied due to non-compliance with previous policies and the current tattoo order.

There are still Marines who believes the tattoo policy has unfairly ended good Marines careers. Men that wanted to have a career in the Corps, and re-enlist were made very difficult because of the tattoo policy.



There are even Marines, being denied re-enlistment due to tattoos even though they got a waiver for those.

Officials are stating  just as Marines are expected to meet the highest physical standards, the Corps also sets high standards for Marines’ professional military appearance.

Think before you ink Marines!!


Isaac J. Hall II


More Vets In College Than Ever Before!

How we doing Hard-Chargers!!!

So there is a bit of research on veterans in higher education, and to our surprise we see that the Post-9/11 GI Bill has generated a significant increase in college enrollment.


The largest point of growth has been among veterans pursuing/earning advanced degrees, particularly our older veterans who already have a master’s degree.


It’s unclear why, more veterans are pursuing advanced degrees, however, many feel that it’s the job market.

Everyone is going to college to pursue degrees, in order for one to beat out a competitor for the job you are going to need a more advanced degree.

Veterans see this and they are also a part of the crowd as the growth of veterans in school has risen significantly.


The Post-9/11 GI Bill, which was enacted in 2009, represents an expansion of educational benefits. Student veterans get up to 36 months of in-state tuition covered at public universities and stipends for textbooks and housing.

At private universities, the GI Bill caps at $22,800.00 for the 2017-18 school year. Students at schools who have entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, can also receive help through the Yellow Ribbon Program.



Veterans with a master’s degree pursuing a second master’s, doctorate or other advanced degree, has increased to 30 percent growth.


Here is a perspective to think about. Education improves decision making, therefore better educated veterans are more likely to make informed decisions and take full advantage of the generous education benefits offered by the (Post-9/11) GI Bill.


I’m glad to see more veterans pursuing education in order to be a dominate in the next chapter of their lives. May you all reach what you consider success.



Isaac J. Hall II


Call For Fire (Polar Mission)

How we doing Hard-Chargers!! today I give light to the Polar Mission.


A call for fire is a concise message prepared by the forward observer. It contains all the information the Fire Direction Center needs to determine the method of target attack.

The call for fire is a request for fire. It must be sent quickly and be clear enough to be understood, recorded, and read back verbatim by the FDC. There are also six key elements.


Observer Identification: This element of the call for fire tells the FDC who is calling for fire.

Warning Order: The warning order clears the net for the fire mission and tells the FDC the type of mission and the type of target location that will be used.

Target Location: If the target is located by the polar plot method of target location, the observer announces Polar, for (i.e. adjust fire, Polar, Over).

Target Description: The observer must describe the target in enough detail that the FDC can determine the amount and type of ammunition to use. 

Method Of Engagement: The observer may indicate how he wants to attack the target. This element consists of the type of adjustment, trajectory, ammunition, and distribution.

Method Of Fire & Control: The method of fire and control element indicates the desired manner of attacking the target, whether the observer wants to control the time of delivery of fire, and whether he can observe the target.

Now the fun part, I shall give you a transmission of a mock polar mission.


Me: Bandini, this is Charlie II, requesting fire support how copy.

FDC: Charlie II, this is Bandini, fire support, over.

ME: Enemy fighters in the open, 15-30 rebels, -Break- Grid: three, six, two, fife, one, four, over.

FDC: Roger, Charlie II, I copy 15-30 rebels, -Break- Grid: three, six, fife, one, four, over. 

Me: Affirmative

FDC: Shot Out (Wait to see splash/explosion) Splash in over.

ME: Bandini adjust fire, left two zero zero, add six zero, over.

FDC: Roger, left two zero zero, add six zero, over.

ME: Affirmative, over.

FDC: Shot Out (wait for splash/explosion) Splash in over.

ME: On target, fire for effect, over.

FDC: Charlie II, rounds complete, over.

ME: Roger, stand by for BDA( Battle Damage Assessment) over, Bandini, 100% enemy dead. Log and record mission how copy.

FDC: Roger Charlie II, mission recorded, predesignated target two zero Alpha. Bandini, over.

 ME: Roger, Bandini, I copy two zero alpha, Charlie II, out.


That is the basis for a Polar Mission. You have to be confident, smart and have the ability to transmit rather fast while under extreme stress and harsh conditions.

I hope this helps and if you ever have any questions PLEASE feel free to contact me.

Isaac J. Hall II


Ms. Kemp

Good day hard-chargers!!

Today we have un-fortunate news.

Dr. Janet Kemp, a longtime Veterans Affairs administrator who established the Veterans Crisis Hotline Line, passed last week.



Kemp had an illustrious 30-year career at the department which featured numerous honors for her mental health work, including a 2009 award, Service to America Medal for her work on the veterans suicide prevention hotline.

Since the initial launch ten years ago, the Veterans Crisis Hotline has answered over 3 million calls and initiated emergency intervention in almost 75,000 cases.


It’s become the keystone of the department’s efforts, and employs more than 500 specialists.

Kemp oversaw much of that expansion, growing the program from small offices at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center.


In 2011, during a military suicide conference in Washington, D.C., Kemp admitted she did not initially think the hotline would be such a critical tool.



“I said, “I don’t think veterans will call … We have (other) crisis lines in the country. Why don’t we use those?’”. “And I have never been so wrong about anything in my entire life.


“Veterans do call. All genders, all ages, people with all sorts of needs. If the services are there and help is there, people are reaching out to get them. Now our main task is being available for the veterans in need.

At this point it’s working in all sorts of ways and shapes that we didn’t imagine.

Kemp worked as VA’s National Mental Health Program Director for Suicide Prevention from 2007 until 2014. From there she was Chief of Education for the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention until retiring in 2016.


She was the lead author on numerous reports on mental health and suicide prevention at the department. Kemp earned nursing degrees from SUNY Plattsburgh and University of Colorado-Denver before starting her work with VA in 1986.


Ms. Kemp, thank you for your unwavering support and dedication to veterans. You’ve saved more lives than people can actually comprehend and for that you will never be forgotten.

May you rest in paradise ma’am.

Isaac J. Hall II


Forever G.I. Bill???

How we doing hard-chargers… 

I thought I’d break down the changes to the G.I. Bill and give you a better understanding of how it affects veterans.

Now you may have heard of the G.I. Bill, as it was started in 1944, and is law passed that provides educational and other benefits for people who had served in the armed forces in World War II.

Of course these benefits are still available today for those who serve and get out honorably.

I’m going to attempt to give you a better understanding thereof, bare with me vets.

Forever G.I. Bill


* Time Limits

One of the biggest changes would be the fact that the 15 year time limit has been removed for those using Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. This only goes into affect for veterans and dependents using transferred benefits, and they are eligible after January 1, 2018.

That means is you’re a veteran using the G.I. Bill  or active duty military planning to use the G.I. Bill or even a dependent of a veteran or active duty this does not apply to you.

As of now it still remains the same, pertaining to veterans, active-duty military, and dependents. As they still have 15 years from their discharge date to use up all their G.I. Bill benefits, or they will lose them.


* Reservists

Any Reservist called to active duty (When a Government request federal assistance in responding to a major disaster or emergency) are now eligible to use the new G.I. Bill.

Prior to only reservist called by the President as a result of a national emergency were eligible.This would apply to reservist who were mobilized after August 1 2009, Reservist can only receive payment for classes that start August 1st 2018.

* Dependents

Fry Scholarship recipients are now eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.


Dependents Education Assistance (DEA) payments will increase to 50 percent, but the maximum number of months a dependent can get DEA decreases from 45 to 36 months and is effective Aug. 1, 2018.

Some changes will be made to the transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill to make it easier to reallocate transferred benefits if the sponsor or dependent passes away.

* Housing Allowance

Housing allowance is now based on the campus location where you attend classes.


* Institution Closings

For those attending a school that has closed or lost accreditation and you lose credit for the classes you took, you don’t have to pay back any G.I. Bill benefits you received at that school. It is not retroactive either.

* Benefit Tiers

G.I. Bill is currently based on the amount of active duty time you have. If one were to have less than 36 months of active duty you could possibly get less than the full amount. So the new law makes it where anyone who receives a Purple Heart will get the full G.I. Bill no matter how long they served active duty.

* STEM Classes

There is a huge emphasis on getting veterans enrolled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs. The new G.I. Bill creates the

“Edith Nourse Rogers Scholarship.” 

2008_270_000 (Very important person, perhaps another post in itself)

This pays veterans $30,000 if they are enrolled in a STEM program, have used up all their G.I. Bill benefits, and have at least 60 semester/90 quarter hours credit toward a STEM degree, effective Aug. 1, 2018.

* Taxation

So from all of this we see clearly that more people are now eligible for the G.I. Bill, there is more types of training, and also more money paid to veterans.

This will be paid for by reducing the amount of monthly housing allowance the new users get.


A provision was  made in 2015 about slowing the increase of basic allowance housing, active duty no longer pays the full amount of the housing cost.

Active duty BAH is being reduced to 1 percent every year from 2015 to 2019, when 2020 hits BAH will only cover 95% of military members housing cost.

January 1st 2018, the G.I. Bill housing allowance will also decrease. So anyone eligible will get an average of about $100.00 less housing allowance.

Please feel free to let me know your thoughts about the new forever G.I. Bill, as I’ve already heard that a large majority of vets aren’t happy.

Many feel this is nothing more than a recruiting scheme to get younger people to serve yet nothing is being done for the actual current Veteran.

Isaac J. Hall II



Would A Military Draft Work In Todays Society???

Good day Hard-Chargers!!

It was brought to my attention that there is a plan being formulated in order to implement a military draft.

This draft, however, would be a bit different, I’m sure you’re wondering how it would work so let me give you further explanation.


The proposal is for young people to have two years on active duty or six years in the reserves. Either way, they’d first have to undergo basic training and MOS training.

If the draftee would rather attend college first, they must participate in a Reserve Officer Training program and from there serve. If they fail or quit ROTC, they then enlist.

No matter the option that is chosen, their obligation is fulfilled with a single combat deployment. 

There are lawmakers and others who believe that current wars have stretched the military to its breaking point. With more than a decade of bonuses and expanding benefits has brought personnel funding to its limits.

A big concern is that civilians are more disconnected from the military than at any time in history.

The American public ignores volunteers while military families are carrying the burden of multiple combat tours and suffering the consequences, including post-traumatic stress, divorce, addiction, injury and suicide.

Some feel its time for us to consider reinstating conscription. As it’s been more than a decade of all volunteer armed forces.

I’m not sure if this would do any better besides increasing numbers as volunteer force is better educated, more diverse, more professional and capable than the military has ever been.


There are those who also believe that conscription would sacrifice readiness in the name of vague notions of shared sacrifice.

Also a poor attempt to restructure how America fights its wars.

History of Draft

The nation moved from a lottery-based draft system during the Vietnam War to a full volunteer service in 1973.

This was pushed and driven by President Richard Nixon’s campaign promise to end the draft, which was a highly unpopular practice, in part due to a controversial war.

Over 2 million men were drafted during the Vietnam War-era period of 1961 to 1973.


More than 9 million served during the period, however, the majority of draftees served in Vietnam.

Among some draft boards, those with wealth or connections could find ways to avoid military service while those without those advantages could not.

Many argue this contributed to a larger distrust of the system that was sending men to war.

Multiple commissions and studies throughout the 1960s evaluated what a move to a volunteer force would mean.

Some cautioned that it would be too expensive and would divorce the citizenry from its armed forces, thereby increasing militarism.

Cost Of Volunteers

A combination of pay, benefits and other bonuses has contributed to a 41 percent increase in personnel costs.

This was in the decade following 9/11, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Now, recent plans to increase the size of the military call for re-enlistment bonuses across the force.


* The Air Force is offering up to $35,000 a year to keep pilots and $90,000 for enlisted airman in key career fields.

* The Army is offering up to $60,000 to non-commissioned officers from the special operations community.

All of the services are offering bonuses based on specific MOS and ranks.

Eliminating enlistment bonuses and reducing recruiting budgets would cut much of these costs.

Yet beyond cost lies a more fundamental concern which is the perception of an isolated military that is less and less understood or considered by a seemingly apathetic public.


The draft argument shouldn’t be considered until the nation and its leaders figure out what kind of military they want.


Are they wanting a small, highly professional force that fits a specific desired performance model or do they want a much larger body that requires adjustments but can also be reasonably effective on the battlefield.

These are things that need to be put into perspective.

The nation seems to send its all-volunteer military into conflicts more often. In the 27 years preceding the all-volunteer military, the U.S. engaged in 19 overseas military operations. Between 1973 and 2012, the military executed 144 operations.

Alternate Method

There are alternatives to the all-volunteer force, including national service, universal military training, conscription and continuing with the current setup. Would conscription be the most fair, efficient choice among these three options.


A “fifth alternative,” which would reduce the Army’s ranks by 200,000 soldiers and draw down the Marines by 28,000.

Adding 100,000 service members to the Guard and Reserve components of both while keeping the Air Force and Navy at current levels.

The shift alone would save taxpayers $75.3 billion annually.

Do we really want this and will we still remain efficient and ready when the time calls??

Isaac J. Hall II




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