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Latest deployments to Middle East a source of pride, worry for families

Latest Deployments To Middle East A Source Of Pride, Worry For Families

Gov. Chris Sununu talks with Master Sgt. T.J. Hackett, left, and his son, Senior Airman Travis Hackett, as the two prepare to deploy to the Middle East next month. (Courtesy of Staff Sgt. Curtis Lenz)

Latest Deployments To Middle East A Source Of Pride, Worry For Families An airman with the New Hampshire Air National Guard’s 157th Security Forces Squadron listens during a ceremony Sunday to honor him and 28 other airmen who will deploy to the Middle East next month. (Jason Schreiber)
NEWINGTON Master Sgt. T.J. Hackett of Durham hopes he has a chance to catch up with his son when both are deployed to the Middle East next month.

The 55-year-old Hackett is with the New Hampshire Air National Guard s 157th Security Forces Squadron; his son, Travis, 22, is deployed to the region as a senior airman with the 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The father and son were together Sunday for a ceremony recognizing the 29 airmen from the 157th Security Forces Squadron based at Pease Air National Guard Base as they prepare for the upcoming deployment, which will involve providing security at six air bases throughout the region. The younger Hackett said he learned that he would be heading out on a six-month deployment about two weeks after his dad found out that he would be deployed on the same day for the same length of time.

We ll probably see each other in transit when we re flying to whichever location he s going to or I m going to, Travis said.

The dual deployments won t be easy for Christine Hackett, a teacher at Oyster River Middle School who will be thinking of her husband and only child every day and hoping for their safe return.

I know that both of them have wanted to go. I know that it s something that they re very passionate about. I m very proud of them, but at the same time I think it s going to be a long six months, she said.

She s as much of a warrior as we are, said T. J. Hackett, a retired New Hampshire State Police trooper. The sacrifice made by the military families left at home was mentioned by several who spoke at Sunday s ceremony, including military leaders and Gov. Chris Sununu, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Congressman Annie Kuster. The ceremony also celebrated the 281 airmen from the 157th Air Refueling Wing who have deployed this year.

When you think about it, most families in America are waking up and figuring out, Are we going to go to the lake? Are we going to go to the ocean? Are we going to have a barbecue today? Not many of them are saying goodbye to a loved one to go to war, said Major Gen. William Reddel III, adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard.

Reddel said it was important to hold the ceremony to remind people that the nation is still at war.

Aug. 2, 1990. That s when this unit started to go to war and we haven t stopped yet, he said, referring to U.S. military operations during the Gulf War and in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now the war on ISIS. Next month s deployment will be the fourth for some members of the unit.

Our nation has made extraordinary demands on you and your families, Shaheen said. Sgt. Andrew Ducharme, 23, of Weare, is one of the 29 airmen deploying next month. It will be his first deployment.

He said he s excited about the opportunity, but admitted that it will be difficult to be away from his family.

It will be a good experience and a good building block, he said. Ducharme was joined by his family, including his grandmother, Annette Ducharme, 75, of Amherst.

I m feeling sad, but I m proud of him and I m thankful that there are young men and women who are willing to sacrifice for us because that s why we have our freedom, she said. Technical Sgt. Jared McGouldrick, 35, of Belgrade, Maine, will leave behind his wife, Caitlin, and 3-year-old son, Colin.

I ve got a lot going on right now. I m trying to get everything buttoned up for my civilian job before I head out the door, he said.

His wife said their son is really too young to understand what s happening, but they had a pillow made with his dad s picture on it to remind Colin of his father.

We re just trying to talk to him about how daddy s going to leave and daddy s at work. It s going to be tough, but you ve gotta do what you ve gotta do, she said.

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Mom says TSA made special needs daughter choose between health and pat down

DENVER — A Colorado mom says TSA needs to change its screening protocol for special needs children. Stephanie Griggs says her 13-year old daughter, Bella has been diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a chromosome breakage disorder that can lead to bone marrow problems and early cancer.

“Doctors have told her to avoid any unnecessary radiation,” Griggs said. On Tuesday, the Griggs family began a cross-country journey to Maine, to attend Camp Sunshine, a retreat for kids with life-threatening diseases, and their families.

As they were going through security at Denver International Airport, Bella had to face something she d never experienced before.

I always let TSA know that we re traveling with medical liquids, Griggs said. I also request that Bella be allowed to go through metal detectors, as opposed to a full-body scanner. I reiterated that [the scanner] could be detrimental to her health. Griggs said the agent told her that if the daughter opted out of the full-body scan, she would be patted down. Griggs told Denver7 that she and her husband have always taught their kids that no one should touch them on private parts of their body, except a physician.

She asked to talk to a supervisor and said she was told that her daughter had three choices. She could go through the metal detector and be patted down, go through the full body scan or leave the airport and not go to camp.

I was understandably upset, she said. Bella was very, very upset. Griggs said they ve traveled through DIA and other airports multiple times and never ran into this issue.

It s unfair, she said. Bella s got enough crap in her life to deal with; she doesn t need this. To avoid the pat down from a stranger, Bella opted to go through the full-body scan.

It just kind of felt scary to me, Bella said. So, I just decided to go through the full-body scanner.

During the scan, there was an alert, so Bella ended up being patted down anyway.

Every other time she has flown, she s been deemed safe, Griggs said. Nothing has changed. Griggs said nothing was found during the pat-down, which makes her wonder if the machines weren t calibrated appropriately. She said she also wonders if the security officer was on a power trip.

A TSA spokeswoman provided Denver7 the following statement:

We regret that the passenger and her family found their screening experience stressful. After an internal review, we determined that screening protocols were followed. TSA s screening procedures have been developed to ensure that passengers can be screened regardless of their disability or medical condition. In this case, the passenger elected to go through Advanced Imaging Technology when presented with her options, and required further screening to clear an alarm.

Last March, TSA issued this statement about pat-downs, which applies to passengers 13 and over:

Effective March 2, 2017, TSA consolidated previous pat-down procedures into one standardized pat-down procedure at airport security checkpoints and at other locations within the airport. This standardized pat-down procedure continues to utilize enhanced security measures implemented several months ago, and does not involve any different areas of the body than were screened in the previous standard pat-down procedure. Individuals transiting the TSA security checkpoint who have opted out of technology screening, or have alarmed certain technology or a canine team, will undergo a pat-down. Passengers may also receive a pat-down as part of our unpredictable security measures. TSA continues to adjust and refine our systems and procedures to meet the evolving threat and to achieve the highest levels of transportation security.

You can finally, legally harvest your roadkill in Oregon

It used to be against Oregon law to harvest the meat of certain critters killed by the state’s drivers. Gov. Kate Brown changed that with the stroke of a pen last week[1], approving a law passed without a single “no” vote in the state legislature. The Associated Press reports that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has until January of 2019 to adopt rules for permits allowing the harvesting of meat from deer and elk killed on state roadways.

(What? Did you really think they’d let you do this without a permit?)

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s current roadkill guidelines[2], only licensed furtrappers are allowed to handle protected animals killed by vehicles. (Other critters, such as coyotes, skunks and nutria were fair game.)

“It’s not a legal method of hunting,” the agency’s site claims. The state’s current roadkill guidelines come into play rarely enough between 2007 and 2013, ODOT recorded 42,904 wildlife deaths[3] that some folks have broken them for years. A Republican official in far-flung Josephine County told the AP that residents there have harvested roadkill for years “and they never needed a law or permit to do it.”

And if you’re wondering how to prepare a dish made from roadkill, well, there are tutorials for that.

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–Eder Campuzano | 503.221.4344
@edercampuzano

References

  1. ^ Gov. Kate Brown changed that with the stroke of a pen last week (apnews.com)
  2. ^ Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s current roadkill guidelines (www.dfw.state.or.us)
  3. ^ between 2007 and 2013, ODOT recorded 42,904 wildlife deaths (www.oregonlive.com)
  4. ^ @edercampuzano (twitter.com)
  5. ^

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