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International hero, Alek Skarlatos takes on politics in Oregon

 

Exactly three years ago this month, Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos and life-long friends Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, physically took down a terrorist on a Paris-bound train; an event so dramatic that it was made it into a book and later into a movie.

The international recognition landed Skarlatos a spot on the hit TV show, Dancing With the Stars, where he and Lindsay Arnold danced their way into the final rounds.  Now, Alek Skarlatos has changed moves, once again, and is running for a county commissioner position in Douglas County, Oregon. 

Douglas County, a large but generally rural county, was once home to thriving timber concerns, lumber manufacturing, and mining industries. Skarlatos would like to see some of that return.  When interviewed by Army Times in May, Skarlatos said, if elected he “plans to bring more jobs to the rural county, particularly industrial jobs for skilled trade workers.”

Although family members knew early in Alek’s life that he had aspirations of serving his country, not only in the military, but via politics, outsiders likely didn’t see it coming.

The now retired Oregon National Guard Soldier’s platform is straightforward.  He is interested in creating and keeping jobs in Oregon, specifically in Douglas County; creating sustainable and realistic forest management and working towards a more prosperous future for the citizens of Douglas County.  Skarlatos, 25, also looks forward to bringing younger voters to the polls and hoping they will step forward and remain interested in politics while “moving the county in a better direction”.  Skarlatos also stated that he looks forward to establishing a good working relationship with the existing commissioners.

Come November, Douglas County could not only have a newly minted commissioner but one who is in fact, a real-life hero.

55 cases of remains-one dog tag- head to Hawaii from North Korea

While the remains of thousands of American soldiers are still missing in North Korea, 55 caskets of remains-one with dog tags- are due to arrive at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam later today.

Those returned caskets, draped with the flag of the United Nations, were part of an agreement brokered by the current U.S. administration and the North Korean government after President Trump’s visit to North Korea last month.

What most Americans don’t realize is that it could take a minimum of two years to identify the presumed remains inside the boxes.  In fact, some of the returned remains might, in fact, be those of Allied Forces who fought alongside their American partners in the Korean Conflict.  It’s quite possible that some of the remains are “co-mingled” and that could further delay the identification process.

According to the Washington Examiner Online:

While North Korea may say the remains it returned this week were “discovered” by farmers, U.S. intelligence has reported that Pyongyang has warehoused perhaps hundreds of U.S. remains (hoping)  to slowly sell back to Washington for cash.

In other cases, Pyongyang has returned mingled and misidentified remains and, in the case of case of a non-American but allied POW/MIA, the bones returned by North Korea turned out to be animal remains.

One Soldier, who does not speak on the behalf of the government, but who has been deployed on recovery missions to foreign countries in the past, said that some 10 years ago, the Democratic Republic of North Korea returned approximately 200 boxes of remains; governmental labs are still processing to to make positive identifications.

For Americans who think a loved one might have died in what is now the Democratic Republic of North Korea,  DNA is important to a timely identification.  Please follow this link if you think your DNA might be helpful in identifying a grandfather, father, uncle, cousin or nephew: https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Research-and-Innovation/Armed-Forces-Medical-Examiner-System/DoD-DNA-Registry

Related article from 2007.:  Repatriation ceremony held for returned remains

 

Seymour-Johnson Airman dies in United Arab Emirates

 

Late Friday, July 13, 2018, the Pentagon announced the death of a United States Airman who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in the United Arab Emirates.

Staff Sgt. James Tyler Grotjan, 26, of Waterford, Connecticut, died July 12, at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, from injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident July 8, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

According to the Sgt. Grotjan’s family he died of over-exposure to methane gas while working underground in a manhole.  “As he was trying to climb out of the manhole, he went unconscious and fell back down”, his family stated.

He was assigned to the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

Additional information including previous deployments, marital status, and commendations, is available to media sources by contacting the 4th Fighter Wing public affairs office at (919) 722-0027, (North Carolina).

 

 

 

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