Defense bill sets aside $9 million for Cannon

Staff and wire reports WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday passed a defense policy bill that would offer more help to troops returning from combat and set conditions on contractors and pricey weapons programs. The bill will make approximately $9 million available to Cannon Air Force Base and also sets funding for the Waste Isolation […]

Spinning tragedy into opportunity a pathetic play

By Freedom Newspapers Military officials are getting a much-deserved scolding for their dishonest efforts to spin some tragic events in Afghanistan and Iraq into heroic military endeavors as a means to gin up public support for these wars. The congressional testimony from relatives of Cpl. Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals defensive back, was particularly […]

Kassin remembered in Louisiana service

By The Associated Press FORT POLK, La. — Family members wearing T-shirts with pictures on the backs of a soldier killed in Afghanistan who had ties to Clovis attended a memorial service for him at Fort Polk’s main chapel. Sgt. Robert P. Kassin, 29, was serving as part of Task Force Warrior in the southern […]

Kassin was giving, caring

By Tonya Garner: CNJ Staff Writer She was working for a loan company near Fort Benning, Ga. He was a soldier who came in to make regular payments. And then he started coming in to purchase money orders. And then just to buy stamps. Pretty soon, she suspected he was inventing reasons to see her. […]

Clovis soldier killed in Afghanistan

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Courtesy photo Robert Paul Kassin, 29, of Clovis was killed Sunday in Afghanistan when his unit came under fire, according to the Army. By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer A Clovis soldier killed Sunday in Afghanistan was helping to rebuild communities in the war-torn country, his father said. Sgt. Robert Paul Kassin, 29, died near […]

Preparing the troops: A comparative look at eastern New Mexico, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The similarity of the Melose Bombing Range’s terrain to that of Afghanistan and Iraq was mentioned as one reason the 16th Special Ops Wing was assigned to Cannon. Sharna Johnson: CNJ Staff Writer When the congressional delegation announced last week Air Force Special Operations Command had selected Cannon Air Force Base as the home for […]

Leaving Iraq would embolden terroists

By Mona Charen: Syndicated columnist President Bush has made errors, as all humans do, but one thing he has not been guilty of is bad faith. The same cannot be said of his critics. One thinks of those liberals and Democrats who accused President Bush of “lying” about weapons of mass destruction and about ties […]

Clovis native deployed to Afghanistan

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer For years, he has prepared and trained as a Special Forces soldier in the Army. While he has traveled extensively and spent months on end away from home, this time is different. For the first time in his career, Gilbert Gonzales will be entering a combat zone. In 1994, […]

Flags at half-staff for N.M. soldier

Staff and wire reports SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson today issued an executive order directing that flags in New Mexico be flown at half-staff to honor U.S. Army Pfc. Damian Garza. Garza was killed Aug. 4 when his vehicle crashed into a river near Jalalabad, Afghanistan. “Our heartfelt sorrow and gratitude go out to […]

Former area resident dies in Afghanistan

Freedom Newspapers Jaime Garza said his son wanted to be in the military since he was youngster growing up in Portales watching planes take off from Cannon Air Force Base. Army Pfc. Damian Garza, 19, of Odessa, Texas, died Thursday in Afghanistan after his vehicle slid off the road into a river near Jalalabad. It […]

Two initiatives open to help injured vets

By Tom Philpott Service members and veterans severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan have inspired two new initiatives to help them and their families through difficult times. The first is a call center, with its title and phone number hard to memorize but worth the effort: The Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center with […]

Bush defends base closings in commencement speech

By Stephen J. Hedges: Chicago Tribune WASHINGTON — President Bush pressed the case for closing U.S. military bases in a commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy on Friday, telling the newest officers of the Navy and Marine Corps that the money saved would fund advanced military technology and modernization of U.S. forces. “We have […]

Bombing victim leaves legacy of compassion

Freedom Newspapers Looking at photographs on various Web sites of the smiling 28-year-old California blonde with more than a hint of impish good humor in her eyes, it is difficult to believe such a person could be dead. But Marla Ruzicka, who had spent much of her time in Iraq since 2003 working on behalf […]

Afghanistan steps into democracy with first election

Freedom Newspapers I t likely will take some years to know if the Oct 9 election in Afghanistan was more than an exercise in futility. Preliminary results show that incumbent President Hamid Karzai “won a landslide victory in Afghanistan’s first ever presidential election at the weekend,” reported The New York Times. However, on the afternoon […]

U.S. wrongfully distracted by Iraq

By Steve Chapman: Guest Columnist In its final report, the 9/11 commission reached an obvious conclusion that explains how terrorists were able to kill nearly 3,000 Americans: “Terrorism was not the overriding national security concern for the U.S. government under either the Clinton or the pre-9/11 Bush administration.” And guess what: it still isn’t. In […]

Commission to decide on military pay

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Given the rising demands on U.S. forces from a global war on terror, including long, arduous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Defense officials will ask an independent commission to assess whether current pays and benefits are right for attracting and retaining a quality force. The Department of Defense plans to […]

Mission funding placed on hold until elections

Freedom Newspapers en. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Tuesday he was simply describing the possible consequences of a possible shortfall or delay in funding next year for the U.S. military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The general was not questioning the judgment of Defense Secretary […]

Afghani candidate making plans for reconstruction

Freedom Newspapers Hamid Karzai, the interim leader of Afghanistan who just announced his candidacy for president in the election scheduled for next year, may face political revolt as he returns from an extended tour of the United States and Britain. He was interviewed via conference call recently and some journalists came away with a little […]