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Springboro to unveil veterans memorial decades in the making

Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 10:01 AM

Springboro has a new veterans memorial in Gardner Park.

The long-anticipated formal dedication of the Springboro Veterans Memorial will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

The dedication comes six months after it was originally planned and more than three decades after Springboro Mayor John Agenbroad and Eddie Lawson Jr., a local lawyer and veteran’s advocate, first pitched the idea.

RELATED: Springboro to get long-awaited memorial

The memorial is one of several new ones taking shape around the Miami Valley. Another was dedicated last November in Troy.

Agenbroad and Lawson first broached the idea in 1994 while on Springboro City Council.

Agenbroad, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, served in Vietnam and was awarded a Purple Heart.

An avid veterans advocate, Agenbroad has kept at the project, taken up by city staff, including recently retired City Manager Christine Thompson.

The design was funded with $9,100 donated in March 2016 by the Rotary Club of Springboro.

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The memorial was originally planned for North Park in Springboro, but moved to Gardner Park, 16 acres off North Main Street, Ohio 741 in Springboro.

Outdoor Enterprises of Casstown in Miami County was awarded the contract for the project.

Final laser imaging on the granite-wall monument was completed by Laser Imaging & Design in Lebanon.

“As the process unfolded, the city of Springboro wanted to get more and more involved,” owner Jim Smith said Thursday.

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Plans for five military emblems morphed into the existing design, which features a continuous wall mural stretching 20 feet in length and 5 feet high. Panels tell the story of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

A second monument, a 9-foot tall, 6-sided monolith spelling out the stories of each branch, as well as the city itself, was added.

The memorial also includes walks and trees around a central plaza fashioned from stone, including imported granite.

Laser Imaging is also working on tree markers that will be placed by trees in memory of lost loved ones.

“It was an absolute pleasure working with the city of Springboro,” Smith said.

The Lebanon-based company has completed work on a series of veterans memorials, most recently the U.S. Navy Seal Memorial in Virginia Beach, Va.

Twice the Springboro unveiling was delayed while the contractors continued to work on the project.

Ceremonies planned on Memorial Day and Independence Day were postponed.

The total price tag is $228,078, including $13,400 in donations, according to city records.

Beginning at 11 a.m., there will be a presentation of the colors by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, police department, Clearcreek Fire District and ROTC Honor Guards, as well as a 21-gun salute.

Retired 3-star General Michael Zettler, a Springboro resident, is to make remarks. Local pastors Terry Carlisle and Wayne Mock will handle the invocation and benediction.

EARLIER: Memorial unveiling delayed in Springboro

Agenbroad will open the ceremony, the fruition of more than 30 years of work.

“I’m ecstatic,” Agenbroad. “I’m so proud.”

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Dayton VA nursing home scores low in quality survey

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 10:39 AM


            The Dayton VA Medical Center. LISA POWELL / STAFF PHOTO
The Dayton VA Medical Center. LISA POWELL / STAFF PHOTO

The Dayton VA Medical Center nursing home earned two stars out of five in a quality rating system, according to the agency.

Cleveland and Cincinnati also received two stars while Chillicothe received one, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Nearly half, or 60 of the VA’s 133 nursing homes received a one-star rating, the newspaper reported.

The results were disclosed after USA Today and Boston Globe obtained the internal VA reports, officials said. On average, VA nursing homes scored worse last year then their private sector counterparts on nine of 11 key indicators, including rates of anti-psychotic drug prescription and residents’ deterioration , officials said.

The VA nursing home system overall compares “closely”with private nursing homes despite caring for typically sicker patients,

VA officials reportedly told USA Today.

Sixty VA nursing homes saw improvements in their ratings over last year, and only one had a “meaningful decline” VA spokesman Curt Cashour told the newspaper.

A request for comment was left with a Dayton VA spokesman Monday.

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This Wright-Patt office helps broker our military sales to foreign countries. Here’s how it’s changing.

Published: Saturday, June 16, 2018 @ 10:12 AM


            A Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II performs at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in June, 2017. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
A Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II performs at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in June, 2017. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

Foreign military sales at a Wright-Patterson agency are likely trending to a “new norm” of about half of last year, according to the leader of the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate.

Brig. Gen. Greg Gutterman, outgoing leader of AFSAC at Wright-Patterson who retires next month after three years in the top spot, projected sales of about $13 billion to $14 billion – although figures won’t be final until later this year.

In 2017, sales nearly tripled compared to the prior year, reaching $27.5 billion, driven by the $13.4 billion sale of 36 F-15 jets to Qatar.

Overall, the United States expects to deliver $61.4 billion in foreign military sales by the end of the fiscal year, according to the State Department, compared to $41.9 billion last year.

Some of the big ticket pending sales included 34 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to Belgium for $6.5 billion, 14 F-16s to Slovakia at a cost of $2.9 billion and six C-130 aircraft to Germany at a cost of $1.4 billion, according to the Defense Security and Cooperation Agency.

Rival adversaries

As China has aggressively expanded its military presence in the South China Sea, and North Korea has — until the most recent Singapore summit-brokered deal — threatened war with the United States, Japan and South Korea, arm sales have spread throughout Asia, Gutterman said.

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In the Middle East, the threat of the Islamic State has fueled sales, also, he said.

“The global environment is certainly creating a little bit of demand,” he said.

Now and in the future, sales to foreign countries of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling tanker were expected to be big boosters, he said. So, too, are demands for drone and munitions.

One defense analyst said the United States weapons export process is “slow and bureaucratic” compared to foreign competitors.

“It’s a global market and we have competitors in that global market who are willing to move very quickly,” said Andrew Hunter, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group and a senior fellow of the International Security Program at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Security.

The commercial market is often a faster alternative for some weapons buyers for items such as small drones, he said.

A leading defense industry organization has called for a speed up in the export “review, approval and advocacy” process to grow the U.S. defense industrial base.

“Our industry is competing against our adversaries in a global defense marketplace where every export opportunity is a zero-sum, time sensitive competition with an enduring impact on American influence, security and our defense industrial base,” a May 29 letter from Aerospace Industries Association officials said to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The State Department recently announced a push to speed up conventional arms transfers as part of a push to tie economic security to national security needs.

Speeding up wait times

AFSAC has been under an Air Force directive to shorten wait times for customers.

“The foreign military sales process is not broken, but it is certainly burdened,” Gutterman said.

The agency’s workforce made significant gains in cutting down wait times in recent years, he said.

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Gutterman, 52, the second longest-serving AFSAC director who’s next assignment in civilian life will be writing books at his Beavercreek home, focused on improving communication and accountability among different agencies with oversight of foreign sales and reducing customer wait times.

“The way that we communicate has been formalized and in the past it was really the power of the personalities,” he said.

In the most recent statistics released, AFSAC reported the time from when a foreign request is received to acceptance has dropped from nearly 151 days in 2016 to 88.5 days in fiscal year 2017.

In more complex cases, such as the sale of a fighter jet, the time between when an offer is received and acceptance has dropped from 228 days in fiscal year 2016 to less than 203 days in 2017, AFSAC has said.

Delivery of a major weapons system, such as an F-16 fighter jet, may take four or five years.

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Memphis Belle star to appear at Air Force museum

Published: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 12:12 PM
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 4:59 PM


            The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force opened the Memphis Belle exhibit to the public on Thursday after a 13-year restoration. Staff and volunteers worked 55,000 hours to restore the iconic World War II bomber. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
            Ty Greenlees
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force opened the Memphis Belle exhibit to the public on Thursday after a 13-year restoration. Staff and volunteers worked 55,000 hours to restore the iconic World War II bomber. TY GREENLEES / STAFF(Ty Greenlees)

An actor in the Hollywood film Memphis Belle will be at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to see the real Memphis Belle on Saturday.

Matthew Modine, who played a pilot in the film and whose uncle, Wylder Modine, was a World WarII B-17 bomber pilot, will sign autographs between 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

He’ll also speak at 4 p.m. the Air Force Museum Theater before a showing of the 1944 film “Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress.”

After 13 years of restoration, the iconic B-17 Memphis Belle was rolled out in a new exhibit at the museum May 17, 2018, the 75th anniversary of the completion of its 25th and final combat mission over Europe. The four-engine Boeing-built bomber was the first to finish 25 missions and return to the United States on a celebrated war bonds tour.

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Top Air Force leaders gather at Wright-Patt

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 9:53 AM


            Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employs more than 27,000 employees and is the largest single-site employer in Ohio. The base has a $4.1 billion economic impact in Ohio. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base employs more than 27,000 employees and is the largest single-site employer in Ohio. The base has a $4.1 billion economic impact in Ohio. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The Air Force’s top leadership brass was at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base this week in an annual closed-door gathering known as Corona Top.

Air Force officials were tight lipped on the meeting this year,set to end Thursday, but the event focused on strategy, acquisition, science and technology and innovation, according to Air Force spokesman Michael Martin.

Wright-Patterson is a key hub for the Air Force as headquarters for the Air Force Materiel Command and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“Wright Patterson Air Force Base is a logical venue because so much of the needed expertise is resident there,” said Loren B. Thompson, a Virginia-based defense industry consultant. “Some insiders consider Wright-Patt the best base that the Air Force owns.

Thompson said the issues debated behind closed doors likely included “plans for ‘multi-domain’ warfare that require coordinated Air Force operations in the air, in space, and on the electromagnetic spectrum; concern about growing threats to U.S. space systems; and the status of major developmental programs such as a new tanker and bomber.”

Maurice McDonald, Dayton Development Coalition executive vice president of aerospace and defense, said having the future of the Air Force strategized at Wright-Patterson makes sense.

“Many of the missions of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are about the future of the Air Force and that truly corresponds to the activities at Corona,” he said.

The event draws, which draws heavily on support from the base, was at Wright-Patterson in 1999, 2003 and every year since 2006.

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