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Thanks to Ricky Andersen, for this information: visit the Guest Book for *Tech Sgt. Walter M. Moss*. .  He will be buried in Houston, and I still have not seen any information in our news about when that will be. He will be buried at Houston National Cemetery.


This was on Steve’s blog. He apparently got it from Doug. Watch this video .


This is an interesting article. It also mentions Walter Moss:


April 4, 2006, 11:30PM
NEW TASKS FOR AIR FORCE
Airmen at Texas camp train for ground action
Installation near San Antonio replicates combat zone conditions


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CAMP BULLIS – A roadside bomb detonated and small-arms fire crackled in the brush, pinning down a U.S. military convoy whose gunners leapt out of their vehicles into defensive positions as medics prepared the wounded for evacuation.


Drills simulating attacks by Iraqi insurgents have been done countless times on U.S. Army installations, but the one executed earlier this week was unusual because the trainees were all members of the Air Force.


At the request of the Army, whose troops and resources have been severely stretched in Iraq, the Air Force is now providing special training to some airmen to help with risky ground combat duties.


And starting in the fall of 2007, all recruits will get an extra two weeks of basic training — 8 1/2 weeks in all — as a transforming Air Force takes on new tasks amid evolving enemy threats.


The Air Force’s basic mission continues to revolve around air support.


That includes air cargo runs that increasingly reduce the number of trucks needed to supply troops in Iraq; close air support for ground troops; and running the unmanned Predator drones used to hunt and kill insurgents, said Air Force spokeswoman Jean Schaefer at the Pentagon.


The Air Force has 21,000 airmen and women in the Central Command zone, which includes Iraq, Afghanistan and also places like Kuwait and Qatar where the U.S. has bases, Schaefer said.


Although Air Force personnel levels in Iraq have been steady in recent months, the service continues to take on roles previously assigned to the Army, Schaefer said.


“We have picked up some missions from the Army since the beginning of operations in Iraq, including some ground convoy duties, guarding detainees and interrogating prisoners,” Schaefer said.


The Air Force also operates a large hospital in Balad and conducts security operations and explosive ordnance disposal, she said.



Houston sergeant killed



In a week in late March, Schaefer said, Air Force personnel conducted 506 combat air missions, 146 reconnaissance flights, 1,114 airlifts and 249 air refuelings.


The conflict claimed the life of an airman from Houston, Tech Sgt. Walter Mark Moss Jr., a specialist in the detection and removal of explosive devices who was killed March 30 by a makeshift bomb.


Moss, 37, a graduate of Aldine High School and a veteran of Operation Desert Storm, had been in Iraq since mid-January.


Officials hope to limit casualties with additional training for all airmen.


Gen. William R. Looney III, commander of the Air Force Air Education Training Command, announced the revised basic training regimen in February, saying it will “produce more lethal and adaptable airmen.”


Already added to the basic curriculum, which has run about six weeks since the Vietnam era, were M-16A2 weapons training and more ground combat tactics.


Since late 2004, when the Army asked for Air Force help, airmen headed to convoy duty also have been required to complete 30 days of drills at this Army installation northwest of San Antonio, where Iraqi hostilities and life on a small U.S. base there are painstakingly replicated.



‘Now we are up front’



This week, 175 airmen from Lackland AFB are in their final days of training before they go to Fort Sill, Okla., for pre-deployment certification.


Then it’s off to the war zone for final validation before entering Iraq as a team.


The Air Force began prepping transportation, medical and security specialists for convoy duty in late 2004 after the Army asked for help.


Nearly 1,700 airmen have received the training before being deployed to Iraq in teams of 175.


“We used to be in the rear with the gear, but now we are up front,” said Master Sgt. Martin Lund, a combat veteran who trains airmen to survive road duty in Iraq.


Even after completing the “Basic Combat Convoy Course,” four airmen have been killed and at least 40 wounded on convoy duty in Iraq, Lund said.


“Battlefield focus is the big key. We need to make sure these guys are focused before they get into theater,” Lund said.


Working on six-month tours of duty, those who completed training have conducted 8,000 missions and endured 6,000 engagements with the enemy, resulting in awards of a Silver Star, 180 Bronze Stars and 100 Purple Hearts, Lund said.



Preparing for insurgents



About 80 instructors, many with combat experience, work with the trainees, some playing roles as insurgents who use the latest tactics to assault U.S. convoys that move fuel, water and other supplies from Kuwait to Iraq.


And while the training is meant to keep the airmen constantly on guard, threats can be sporadic.


“They can go a month without getting touched, and then they can get hit three times in one week,” Lund said.


Airmen, who usually serve one or two weeks at a time on convoy duty, have, for the most part, accepted the new chores.


“You have some that say, ‘Hey, I didn’t join the Army,’ ” Lund said.


“I’d say 80 to 85 percent are behind it now. It’s what we do.”


Yet, when she signed up for the Air Force 10 years ago, Staff Sgt. Laurieann Borger said there was no convoy combat training.


Now, after surviving real attacks with roadside bombs and small-arms fire, she helps prepare others for the dangers.


“I had no idea I’d be doing this,” Borger said.


A driver who was among the first trainees to deploy in 2004, Borger said that teamwork is crucial.


“If they don’t come together as one, they’re never going to make it through,” she said.


With training, she said, “every time you’re on the road, everything you learned just comes to you automatic, so you just react.”


Chronicle reporter Michael Hedges contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.


john.gonzalez@chron.com


And this article was sad, in more ways than one:


April 4, 2006, 6:06PM
Paperweight Severs Calif. Teacher’s Hand


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VENTURA, Calif. — A teacher who kept a 40 mm shell on his desk as a paperweight blew off part of his hand when he apparently used the object to try to squash a bug, authorities say.


The 5-inch-long shell exploded Monday while Robert Colla was teaching 20 to 25 students at an adult education class.


Part of Colla’s right hand was severed and he suffered severe burns and minor shrapnel wounds to his forearms and torso, fire Capt. Tom Weinell said. No one else was injured. He was reported in stable condition at a hospital.


The teacher slammed the shell down in an attempt to kill something that was buzzing or crawling across the desk, said Fire Marshal Glen Albright.


Colla found the 40 mm round while hunting years ago and “obviously he didn’t think the round was live,” said Dennis Huston, who teaches computer design alongside Colla.


 

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6 thoughts on “

  1. That last thing about the teacher’s hand being blown off, wow. A reminder that we all ought be careful with those things. The majority of my family are police officers and ex military folk, so bullets and larger shells are common around here. Glad I read this. Hope you have a great day!

  2. You’re welcome. Walt was friend of mine; easily one of the best Tech’s I ever worked with. And easily one of the greatest men I’ve ever known.

  3. Hi, Ricky. That’s quite a tribute. I know what you wrote will be a comfort to his family. There were many very nice things said about him. We cannot pray enough for those who are in harm’s way right now. I’m definitely praying – especially for those playing with bombs.
    I was impressed with what his brother said about him – that he was probably doing a job he didn’t want anybody else to do.  
    John 15:13…..13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  KJV

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