Dec. 27, 2006 Hometown Heroes

Army Pfc. Jose Rivas has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla., according to a news release from Army & Air Force Hometown News Service. He is the son of Guadalupe Rivas of Clovis, and a 2003 graduate of Clovis High School. During the nine weeks of training, the soldier studied the […]

Military feature: Bishop

By CNJ STAFF Air Force Lt. Col. Darren L. Bishop has assumed command of the 339th Recruiting Squadron in Clinton Township, Mich., according to an Army and Air Force Hometown News press release. A 1980 Clovis High School graduate, he is the son of W.A. and Rosetta Bishop of Clovis. Additionally, he has been decorated […]

Miss N.M shares identity theft story

By Paula Cronic: Freedom Newspapers A victim of the growing identity theft problem, Miss New Mexico 2006 Christina Hall is helping others avoid a similar situation. “When I was 19 my identity was stolen by a girl who renewed her driver’s license under my name,” said Hall, a 2005 Eastern New Mexico University graduate. “I […]

Military families must expect unexpected

By Tom Philpott: Military update By July 26, Jennifer Flower had resigned from her civilian job at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. With her husband, Army SSgt. Brian Flower, expected home within days after a tough year in Mosul, Iraq, Jennifer planned to welcome him home and then to pack for reassignment to Fort Knox, Ky. That […]

Military back pay cost will be shared

By Tom Philpott: Military update The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have worked out a plan for sharing the cost and the task of delivering about $500 million in back pay to more than 100,000 military retirees with VA rated disabilities. The retroactive payments are owed to nearly half of all recipients of Combat-Related […]

Retirees hoping for back pay

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Retired Army Staff Sgt. Daniel F. Purinton, 71, has argued for almost two years that the Department of Veterans Affairs owes him an additional $8,044. Purinton said the underpayment occurred as Department of Defense and VA officials implemented a complex series of laws, starting in 2003, to end for many […]

Special Operations work under cover of dark

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CNJ Staff Photo: Andy DeLisleTech. Sgt. Erik Thompson shows pictures in the stairwell of the 15th Special Operations Squadron building Wednesday at Hurlburt Field. By Marlena Hartz: CNJ Staff Writer Editor’s note: This is one in a series of reports from Hurlburt Field, Fla., which is home to Air Force Special Operations Command. The 16th […]

Clovis Guard commander touts new mission as civilian-job friendly

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Trailers at the National Guard Armory on Tuesday are prepared to be shipped to Gallup, Santa Fe and Las Cruces to clear out space for new equipment to aid in the new water distribution mission. (Staff photo: Andy DeLisle) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The new commander of Clovis’ National Guard said the skills […]

Tax laws favoring military combatants

By Tom Philpott: Military Update If tax laws mirror a nation’s values, then America clearly values its military personnel, and more so today than a few years ago. Combat-zone tax exclusions, combined with changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and child tax credits, have reduced or even wiped out the tax liability of […]

Quick, improved trauma care saves lives

Tom Philpott: Military Update GRASSAU, Germany — The survival rate for U.S. service members wounded in Iraq has reached 90 percent, higher than in any previous war, and 10 points higher than in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The major reason, says the general in charge of Army medical training, is improved trauma care being […]

Steve P. Owen

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles. Steve P. Owen Date of birth: Jan 10, 1918 Dates of Service: July 8, 1942 through Dec. 21, 1945 Hometown: Clovis Lives in: Clovis […]

Military death benefits need adjusting

By Tom Philpott : CNJ columnist Last February, a week after returning from his second, stress-filled tour in Iraq, Marine Lt. Col. Richard M. Wersel Jr., 43, had a fatal heart attack while lifting weights in a base gymnasium at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Had the decorated Marine died under identical circumstances in Iraq, his widow, […]

Boots make for kickin’ occasion

By Ryn Gargulinksi: CNJ staff writer Boots have always had a special place in my heart — and feet — ever since I was a kid. Mom may have even had my first pair bronzed and made into excruciatingly garish bookends before I learned to walk. When I did learn to walk, I started off […]

House approves military pay raise

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The House passed a $441.6 billion defense authorization bill for fiscal 2006 that includes a 3.1 percent military pay raise for next January and higher ceilings on bonuses and special pays. Before Wednesday’s vote, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the armed services committee, pulled a provision that would have […]

Committee votes to open ‘tricare select’

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The House Armed Services Committee has voted 32-30 to open the new TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) program to any drilling reservist or National Guard member willing to pay the premiums, now set at $75 a month for member-only coverage or $233 for family coverage. An unprecedented fulltime health plan for […]

Officers oppose two-tiered death benefits

Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist The vice chiefs of armed forces gave a frosty reception to a Defense Department plan that would raise the military’s $12,400 death gratuity to $100,000 but only for survivors of service members who die in combat areas. In testimony last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the second-highest ranking officers […]

More room to roam

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by Mike Linn If approved, Cannon Air Force Base’s proposed airspace expansion will allow pilots to better train for combat and decrease Cannon’s chances of ending up on the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list, military officials and community leaders said this year. Cannon officials began the first of many steps to implement the airspace […]

Senior service members use tax breaks

by Tom Philpott Congress has passed legislation to end a quirky reduction in tax breaks that hits lower-income military families when their service members are assigned to Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat areas. Relief from the tax break glitch was part of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 approved Sept. 23 and sent […]

Combat taxes clashing with income tax

Tom Philpott: Military Update An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 military members fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan last year received combat-zone tax exclusions that had a surprising effect: They lowered family incomes. Some families saw a net loss in tax benefits of more than $4,000 because wartime tax exclusions disqualified them for more valuable tax breaks […]

War deaths could help increase support

Mona Charen: Syndicated Columnist “They are the images of war the Bush Administration doesn’t want the American public or anyone to see. But a Web site is showing hundreds of flag-draped caskets arriving at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Official Bush Administration and Defense Department policy forbids such photographs, saying they are disrespectful of […]