Archive for the ‘Georgia National Guard’ Category

Your daily jolt: A state Senate under new management

In the minutes surrounding the passage of Senate Bill 24, Gov. Nathan Deal’s solution to the “bed tax” dilemma, the sharp-eyed could – through the door leading to President pro tem David Shafer’s office – spot a giddy state Sen. Jeff Mullis dancing through the anteroom, arms in the air.

That’s how happy the new leaders of the state Senate were on Thursday, following passage of the Hospital Medicaid Financing Program Act. The bill, which now will receive the same railed treatment in the House, solves the sticky problem of legislative approval for a continued levy on hospitals by shoving the issue behind the executive curtain of the state Department of Community Health.

In fact, the contrast with Senate passage of the original “bed tax” in 2010 couldn’t be starker. Three years ago, GOP senators tortured themselves over the issue for three months. The caucus split, and two Republicans lost chairmanships when they refused to go along – despite furious arm-twisting.

On Thursday, …

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Air Force insiders foresaw breathing woes for F-22 pilots

The final Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet is rolled off the assembly line in Marietta last December.  The aircraft, regarded as the world's premier 5th generation fighter, will be delivered to the Air Force in 2012 after receiving a top secret coating and other testing. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

The final Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter jet is rolled off the assembly line in Marietta last December. The aircraft, regarded as the world's premier 5th generation fighter, will be delivered to the Air Force in 2012 after receiving a top secret coating and other testing. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Some interesting history on the Marietta-made F-22, via the Associated Press:

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan — Years before F-22 pilots began getting dizzy in the cockpit, before one struggled to breathe as he tried to pull out of a fatal crash, before two more went on television to say the plane was so unsafe they refused to fly it, a small circle of U.S. Air Force experts knew something was wrong with the prized stealth fighter jet.

Coughing among pilots and fears that contaminants were leaking into their breathing apparatus led the experts to suspect flaws in the oxygen-supply system of the F-22 Raptor, especially in extreme high-altitude conditions in which the $190 …

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Your morning jolt: The 2013 campaign season begins — for GOP chairmanship

The Republican world – at least the Georgia part of it – is headed down to Columbus today for its two-day state convention.

Former state senator Chip Pearson of Dawsonville

Former state senator Chip Pearson of Dawsonville

Delegates will be pointed to November and, in at least one case, beyond. Among the many fliers on their seats will be one from former state Sen. Chip Pearson of Dawsonville, announcing his candidacy for state party chairman in 2013.

He’s already got a website that includes this shout-out to the current term-limited chairman, Sue Everhart:

With your help, we will continue Sue Everhart’s proud tradition of grassroots leadership and build on her great successes. I want to hear your ideas on how we can build on the successes of the Georgia GOP and make our Party even stronger…

Pearson, who has spent the last year raising money for the party, will be emphasizing his loyalty to the grassroots rather than officialdom. “People don’t know that there’s a whole lot more of me in the party than there is in the …

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Your morning jolt: Polls miss evangelical surge in Mississippi, Alabama

On Tuesday night, Rick Santorum dashed the GOP presidential aspirations of Newt Gingrich and complicated Mitt Romney’s slog toward the Tampa convention.

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gives a thumbs up during his election night partyon Tuesday in Lafayette, La. AP/Eric Gay

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gives a thumbs up during his election night partyon Tuesday in Lafayette, La. AP/Eric Gay

More than that, Santorum thwarted pollsters who had suggested a happy night for both the former U.S. House speaker and former Massachusetts governor. The culprit was a serious undercount of evangelical clout.

From Stefan Hankin and Campaign & Elections:

Two firms released polling in the days leading up to the primaries and both were badly off the mark. American Research Group (ARG) had Mitt Romney up in Mississippi at 34 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 32 percent and Rick Santorum at 22 percent. Public Policy Polling (PPP) had Gingrich in the lead at 33 percent, followed by Romney at 31 percent and Santorum in third at 27 percent.

…Looking at the PPP …

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The tribal fight for the Georgia National Guard

Many have observed that the 14,000-member Georgia National Guard is just one big family.

Never has this been more true than now – if, by family, we’re talking about dysfunctional siblings and cousins whose every reunion requires a call to the cops and a supply of tourniquets.

No, “family” could be the wrong word. “Tribe” may be the better one.

Six months ago, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the involuntary retirement of Adjutant Gen. Terry Nesbitt. State Capitol veterans immediately identified the reason given for the abrupt departure as a red herring.

State law, we were told, required the Vietnam-era Special Forces veteran to retire by his upcoming 65th birthday, rather than before he turned 66.

But Nesbitt’s No. 2, Major Gen. Maria Britt, a West Point graduate and the first female commander of the Army National Guard, was his natural heir as adjutant general. She was dismissed as well –- and was nowhere near 65.

Last week, a request made under the state Open Records Act turned up …

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Two Guard generals accused of ‘improper’ relationship

Before he was forced to retire last year, the head of Georgia’s National Guard was accused of maintaining an “improper” personal relationship with the Guard’s No. 2 ranking general, the first female head of Georgia’s Army National Guard.

The charge that the two had developed a bond “recognized and feared” within the Guard was leveled last August by the force’s No. 4 ranking officer, Brig. Gen. Larry Dudney.

Three weeks later, with personnel scattered across the globe, amid hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gov. Nathan Deal began an overhaul of National Guard leadership.

Dudney alleged that the relationship compromised the authority of the top two commanders of a statewide organization where structure, rank and trust are essential to the job of directing 14,000 personnel. It also harmed morale and fostered the “perception of favoritism and unfairness throughout the leadership ranks of the Georgia National Guard,” according to the complaint filed with the inspector general’s …

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Your morning jolt: Rick Santorum leads, Newt Gingrich trails in Tennessee poll

A Vanderbilt University poll this morning shows Rick Santorum with a commanding 38 percent lead in the GOP presidential contest in neighboring Tennessee, with Newt Gingrich in a statistical tie for fourth place with Ron Paul.

Gingrich will spend all of today at events in Nashville. Tennessee voters, like those in Georgia, will cast their primary ballots in the 10-state, Super Tuesday vote on March 6.

The top line in Tennessee:

– Santorum, 38 percent;

– Mitt Romney, 20 percent;

– Ron Paul, 15 percent;

– Newt Gingrich, 13 percent;

– Undecided, 13 percent;

That’s based on telephone interviews with 815 likely GOP voters with an MOE of +/-4.1 percent. A larger aspect of the poll, also conducted Feb. 16 to 22 by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt, indicates that both Santorum and Mitt Romney would narrowly defeat President Barrack Obama in November.

The Vanderbilt poll measured antipathy toward the current occupant of the White House this …

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Leaders removed from Georgia-based Guard unit in Kosovo after hazing investigation

More than a dozen leaders from a Georgia-based National Guard company deployed for peace-keeping duties in Kosovo have been removed from the unit following a U.S. Army investigation into hazing. From John Vandiver and Stars and Stripes newspaper in Stuttgart, Germany:

“The ones pulled out were all NCOs and officers. Right now, we have a total of 17,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said in an interview with Stars and Stripes. “Some have committed more serious offenses than others.”

Among those reassigned was the commander of the company, which is from Georgia’s 3rd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, Hertling said.

Hertling declined to go into detail about the nature of the abuses, citing the continuing investigation that is expected to result in formal charges within a week. However, Hertling said that many of the problems stemmed from “excessive physical demands” on soldiers in an attempt to initiate them into the unit.

“Think of the opening scenes to (the film) ‘G.I. Jane’ with the …

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A letter of protest from two retired Guard generals

Earlier this month, we told you that Gov. Nathan Deal’s No. 2 appointment to run the Georgia National Guard last year didn’t meet the requirements spelled out by state law.

The Georgia code mandates that an assistant adjutant general have five years’ Guard experience. Joe Jarrard, a retired lieutenant colonel from Dahlonega with 20 years’ service in the U.S. Army, has a Bronze Star and a tour of Iraq duty in his background. But Jarrard doesn’t have a Guard background.

David Petraeus wouldn’t qualify, either, a spokesman for Deal pointed out.

Last week, the House Defense & Veteran Affairs committee had a hearing on HB 800, the bill intended to set everything right – by approving five years’ national military service as a substitute for Guard service. The committee approved the legislation over the voiced objections of two retired leaders of the U.S. Army Reserve, Major Gen. Robert C. Hughes and Brig. Gen. William T. Thielemann.

The two generals wrote the following Feb. 10 …

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Your morning jolt: Oops. Georgia National Guard’s No. 2 doesn’t meet state requirements

Ever since he sacked the head of the Georgia National Guard and his No. 2 last year, Gov. Nathan Deal has been dealing with the intricacies of a system that attempts to mesh – sometimes poorly – aspects of a state militia with a national military machine.

For instance, when the governor replaced Major Gen. William Nesbitt with state Sen. Jim Butterworth, R-Cornelia, there was the matter of rank. Butterworth had left the Air Guard years earlier with the rank of captain — but now wears the uniform of a two-star general.

Now it seems that the governor has been handed a problem from the other side of the fence.

Shortly after he named Butterworth the state’s new adjutant general, Deal appointed a No. 2: Joe Jarrard, a retired lieutenant colonel from Dahlonega with 20 years’ service in the U.S. Army.

Jarrard has a Bronze Star, has served in Iraq, did some advising in Afghanistan – but it turns out that, according to state law, he isn’t qualified to hold the post of assistant …

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