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A closer look at the eight teams in the ALWS

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Two teams from last year’s American Legion World Series (ALWS) are back in the field this year, and they’ll have to contend with each other to start off pool play.

Southeast Region champions Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45 and Great Lakes Region winners Midland (Mich.) Post 165 are both in the Stars Division.

In 2017, Randolph County went 2-1 in pool play to advance to the ALWS semifinals, where they fell 3-1 to Creighton Prep (Neb.) Post 1. Meanwhile, Midland was one of three teams to finish 2-1 in the Stripes Division; a tiebreaker sent eventual series champions Henderson (Nev.) Post 40 on in the tournament. The top two teams in each division advance from pool play, with the respective division winners facing the second-place team from the other division in the semifinals.

The tiebreakers for pool play have been simplified for the 92nd ALWS if three teams finish pool play with identical records. The first tiebreaker is fewest runs allowed overall, the second is most runs scored overall, and the third tiebreaker is a coin flip.

Another change: all games will be seven innings instead of the nine-inning format in years past.

Games get underway Thursday. Here’s a look at each of the eight teams in this year’s ALWS:


Southeast Region — Randolph County (N.C.) Post 45

Record: 29-17

Last ALWS appearance: 2017.

Top regional performers:

  • Batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Dawson Painter, .529.

  • Runs scored: Painter, 9.

  • RBI: (tie) Austin Curry, Bryce Marsh, 6.

  • Home runs: (tie) Blake Marsh, Bryce Marsh, Painter, 1.

  • Innings pitched: Painter, 9.

  • ERA (minimum 5 innings pitched): Bryce Marsh, 0.00.

  • Strikeouts: Bryce Marsh, 7.

  • Opponents’ batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Painter, .071.

How they got here: A perfect regional run for Randolph County featured both dominant wins — by scores of 8-2, 8-3, and 11-1 — and close ones, including 6-5 and 3-2 victories over Troy (Ala.) Post 70.

Great Lakes Region — Midland (Mich.) Post 165

Record: 44-9

Last ALWS appearance: 2017

Top regional performers:

  • Batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Martin Money, .500.

  • Runs scored: Money, 8.

  • RBI: (tie) Nick Dardas, Money, 4.

  • Home runs: None.

  • Innings pitched: Garrett Willis, 7.

  • ERA (minimum 5 innings pitched): Willis, 0.00.

  • Strikeouts: Willis, 9.

  • Opponents’ batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Seth Gower, .067.

How they got here: Midland bounced back from a 3-1 loss to Danville (Ill.) Post 210 on Sunday in the regional with a win in the second game of the doubleheader to return to the ALWS.

Northwest Region — Meridian (Idaho) Post 113

Record: 38-16

Last ALWS appearance: First appearance.

Top regional performers:

  • Batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Carson Smith, .583.

  • Runs scored: Jon Milner, 8.

  • RBI: Matthew Reynolds, 9.

  • Home runs: None.

  • Innings pitched: Jaydon Yancey, 9 1 / 3.

  • ERA (minimum 5 innings pitched): Alex Nielebeck, 0.00.

  • Strikeouts: Cody Decker, 4.

  • Opponents’ batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Yancey, .243.

How they got here: Meridian shut out Yakima Valley (Wash.) Post 36 to complete a perfect regional run.

Western Region — Las Vegas Post 40

Record: 48-14

Last ALWS appearance: First appearance.

Top regional performers:

  • Batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Parker Schmidt, .692.

  • Runs scored: Schmidt, 9.

  • RBI: Chaison Miklich, 7.

  • Home runs: Aaron Roberts, 1.

  • Innings pitched: Joshua Sharman, 9.

  • ERA (minimum 5 innings pitched): Jimmy Gamboa, 0.00.

  • Strikeouts: Gamboa, 7.

  • Opponents’ batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Colby Smith, .192.

How they got here: After eking out a 3-2 win in the regional opener, Las Vegas cruised, outscoring their final four opponents 38-4.


Northeast Region — Braintree (Mass.) Post 86

Record: 24-8

Last ALWS appearance: 1989.

Top regional performers:

  • Batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Alex Kennedy, .429.

  • Runs scored: (tie) Andrew Donahue, Jackson Duffy, 6.

  • RBI: (tie) Justin Adams, Donahue, Cole Flannery, Kennedy, 4.

  • Home runs: Duffy, 1.

  • Innings pitched: Jack Collins, 6 1 / 3.

  • ERA (minimum 5 innings pitched): Kyle Roche, 1.40.

  • Strikeouts: Kyle Gray, 8.

  • Opponents’ batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): John Tellier, .222.

How they got here: Braintree capped off a perfect regional by cooling off Shrewsbury (Mass.) Post 397, 7-4, after Shrewsbury had scored double-digit runs in each of its regional games.

Mid-Atlantic Region — Wilmington (Del.) Post 1

Record: 34-3

Last ALWS appearance: 1976.

Top regional performers:

  • Batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Nate Thomas, .571.

  • Runs scored: Jack Dubecq, 6.

  • RBI: Thomas, 6.

  • Home runs: Dubecq, 2.

  • Innings pitched: Chris Ludman, 11 2 /3.

  • ERA (minimum 5 innings pitched): Ludman, 0.00.

  • Strikeouts: Ludman, 9.

  • Opponents’ batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Ludman, .079.

How they got here: The first ALWS participant from Delaware since 1976 rebounded from a 10-9 loss to Souderton (Pa.) Post 234 on Saturday with a 10-0 victory over Leesburg (Va.) Post 34 on Sunday to win the regional.

Mid-South Region — Gonzales (La.) Post 81

Record: 37-4

Last ALWS appearance: 2013.

Top regional performers:

  • Batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Zane Zeppuhar, .467.

  • Runs scored: Zeppuhar, 7.

  • RBI: Reed Babin, 4.

  • Home runs: Zeppuhar, 1.

  • Innings pitched: Dwain Guice, 12.

  • ERA (minimum 5 innings pitched): Austin Bankert, 0.00.

  • Strikeouts: Guice, 9.

  • Opponents’ batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Guice, .146.

How they got here: Gonzales avenged a loss to Tupelo (Miss.) Post 49, then defeated Bryant (Ark.) Post 298 for the second time in as many days to win the regional.

Central Plains Region — Dubuque County (Iowa) Post 137

Record: 12-3

Last ALWS appearance: First appearance.

Top regional performers:

  • Batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Sam Link, .556.

  • Runs scored: Link, 10.

  • RBI: Joel Vaske, 6.

  • Home runs: (tie), Wil Courtney, Vaske, 1.

  • Innings pitched: Samuel Goodman, 11 2/3.

  • ERA (minimum 5 innings pitched): Goodman, 0.60.

  • Strikeouts: Goodman, 12.

  • Opponents’ batting average (minimum 10 at-bats): Goodman, .132.

How they got here: Dubuque County defeated West Fargo (N.D.) Post 308 twice on Sunday to win the regional. It’s the first trip to the ALWS for an Iowa team since 1986.

Follow the American Legion World Series on Twitter, Facebook and use the hashtag #ALWS18. And follow along here. The ALWS mobile app makes it easy to follow game coverage. The app, available through the Apple Store and Google Play, keeps baseball fans connected with game schedules, pairings, scores, video highlights, photos and more.

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Researchers will present findings at Military Health System Research Symposium

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Researchers from Naval Medical Research Center will discuss their latest findings during the 2018 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS), Aug. 20-23. 

The scientific meeting will be held at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida and will focus on the unique medical research needs of our armed forces. NMRC researchers will present their work to counter wound infections, malaria, pneumonia, arthritis, and more and how it protects the health of warfighters on and off the battlefield. 

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Medical Innovation for Warfighter Readiness,” and will feature presentations by Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Thomas McCaffrey, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Readiness Policy and Oversight, Terry M. Rauch, Ph.D., and Director of the Defense Health Agency, Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, among others.

As the DoD’s premier scientific meeting, MHSRS helps to facilitate the exchange of information between almost 3,000 attendees from around the world on health care topics related to combat casualty care, rehabilitative medicine, infectious diseases, medical simulation, and the operational readiness of the warfighter.

“Our researchers are committed to conducting medical research to improve the readiness of our Sailors and Marines across the globe, and to protect our warfighters operating in harm's way," said Navy Capt. Adam Armstrong, commander, Naval Medical Research Center. 

Scientists from across the entire Navy Medicine research and development enterprise will join scientists from across the Department of Defense to share information about current research initiatives for new treatments and prevention measures for injuries and diseases that improve mission readiness. They will discuss with their military medicine colleagues and partners from academia and industry a broad range of topics during breakout and poster sessions that highlight the innovative work they’re doing, including: 

  • PfSPZ Vaccine: A Whole Organism Malaria Vaccine for Protection of Military Personnel, Travelers, and Individuals in Malaria-Endemic Regions
  • Development of Strategies to Counter Wound Infections in Maritime Environments
  • Histopathological Evidence of Multiple Organ Damage After Simulated Long-range Flight in a Swine model
  • Multi-functional Hydrogels for Advanced Wound Contact Materials: Combating Drug Resistance in Traumatic Limb Injuries

Among the many presenters, Navy Cmdr. Matthew Bradley, department head of regenerative medicine in the Operational Undersea Medicine Directorate, will introduce an updated version of the model NMRC developed to identify predictors of pneumonia in combat trauma patients.

“Pneumonia is the most common hospital acquired infection in trauma patients. As part of our ongoing iterative process, we developed a more sensitive predictive model for pneumonia, which is an important test to ensure the disease does not go undiagnosed,” said Bradley. “Advancing modeling for the development of clinical decision support tools is a huge step forward in continuing to care for the warfighter.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.     



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Talking Turkey

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent reelection – complete with constitutional changes eliminating the post of prime minister and downgrading the role of parliament – steers longtime U.S. ally Turkey further away from liberal democracy and ever closer to authoritarianism.

Today’s Turkey is a reminder that standing up for democracy while standing by less-than-democratic allies is one of the great tests of U.S. statecraft. President Ronald Reagan offered an example of how America can stay true to its friends and its ideals. It all begins with having a set of core beliefs to guide U.S. foreign policy. Before learning from Reagan’s example, we need to talk Turkey.

Not free while serving as Istanbul mayor in the 1990s, Erdogan was arrested for fomenting religious hatred, after declaring, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.” It was an early indication of Erdogan’s bent toward Islamist governance – something that’s at odds with liberal democracy.

Also during his stint as Istanbul mayor, Erdogan explained, “Democracy is like a train: We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want.” This provided a window into Erdogan’s views on political power and a glimpse of what Erdogan would do if he ever gained control over the Republic of Turkey.

In 2003, Erdogan became prime minister – a post he has since abolished – and by 2010, Erdogan’s party was using brute political force to weaken the judiciary and shut down newspapers.

In 2014, he was elected president and proceeded to transform what had been a ceremonial head-of-state role into a powerful – and largely unchecked – chief executive.

By early 2016, Freedom House concluded that Erdogan “exhibited increasingly authoritarian behavior.” And in summer 2016, the backlash created by his authoritarian style spawned an attempted coup. Erdogan used the coup as a pretext to eliminate his opposition.

As CNN details, a year after the coup, Erdogan’s security forces had arrested/detained 113,000 people, including 1,000 police officers, 7,500 military personnel, 2,500 judges and prosecutors, and 2,700 journalists.

In the months following the coup, the Erdogan government summarily fired 1,577 college deans, 40,000 civil servants (including 4,000 judges) and 40 percent of Turkey’s general officers.

In mid-2018, Erdogan’s unchecked state machinery dismissed another 18,632 people from the civil service, including nearly 9,000 police officers and hundreds of teachers, as the Guardian reports.

If that many people had been involved in the coup, it quite simply wouldn’t have failed. But Erdogan, like all despots, was – and is – paranoid. The coup fed his paranoia – and fueled his drive to stamp out any opposition to his one-man rule. Thus, he has shut down 1,200 schools, 370 civil-society groups, 179 media outlets, 50 hospitals and 15 universities – transforming Turkey into “an open-air prison,” in the words of a purged public-transit operator.

In the days following the coup, Erdogan grounded flights into and out of the U.S. airbase at Incirlik – in the middle of the air war against ISIS – and his government has continually threatened to pull the plug on the strategically-located facility U.S. and NATO assets have relied on since the 1950s.

“In the aftermath of the coup, there were several attempts to impress upon the United States that Incirlik could be cut off at any time,” according to former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman. By March 2018, word leaked that the Pentagon was considering a dramatic drawback from Incirlik.

Erdogan’s Turkey – ostensibly a NATO ally – also has barred German officials from visiting German military personnel based in Incirlik, threatened to target U.S. forces operating in Syria, armed Hamas terrorists, purchased weapons systems from Russia and turned decidedly toward Moscow on the international stage.

Add it all up, and it’s no surprise Freedom House has downgrade Turkey to the “Not Free” category – citing the centralization of power under Erdogan, mass-removal of elected mayors, arbitrary prosecutions and civil-service purges.

This is not a defense of the military coup that tried to take down Erdogan. Although the military has intervened in Turkish politics several times over the decades, military coups are seldom the pathway to liberal democracy, as Gen. Sisi’s Egypt reminds us. Of course, it’s evident that “Erdoganism” is not the pathway to liberal democracy, either.

Unbeatable Given its strategic location, NATO membership and contribution to U.S. security interests over the decades, Turkey represents one of those tough tests for Washington in trying to balance U.S. interests and ideals. It’s a test Washington hasn’t aced.

Early on, President Barack Obama put a lot of faith in Erdogan – and gave him a lot of latitude. Hoping Turkey could play a larger role in regional security, “Obama began to court Erdogan, whom he saw as a moderate Muslim democrat who could help him stabilize the Middle East,” as Politico details.

But events across the Middle East – the fracturing of Iraq after U.S. withdrawal, the Arab Spring uprisings, the rise of ISIS, the civil war in Syria, the involvement of Iran and Russia in Syria, the coup in Turkey – overwhelmed Obama’s well-intentioned plans.

After the coup, the Obama administration urged “restraint by the Turkish government and respect for due process” and “the rule of law.” But by then, it was too late. Erdogan had ridden the train of democracy to his desired destination – using democratic means to undermine Turkey’s democratic institutions.

President Donald Trump has taken an approach similar to Obama’s – one that downplays Turkey’s democracy deficit and emphasizes Turkey’s role in bolstering U.S. interests.

“I think Turkey can do a lot against ISIS,” Trump said in 2016. “We need allies. I don’t know that we have a right to lecture.”

In 2017, Trump explained, “We face a new enemy in the fight against terrorism, and again we seek to face this threat together ... working together with President Erdogan on achieving peace and security in the Middle East.” Calling the U.S.-Turkey military partnership “unbeatable,” Trump returned to his theme from 2016: “We want to get as many to help fight terrorism as possible.”

To his credit, Trump has recently increased political and economic pressure on the Erdogan government in an effort to gain the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who's been detained on dubious espionage charges.

Addition Obama and Trump’s realpolitik approach to Erdogan’s Turkey is understandable. But it certainly leaves an unpleasant aftertaste.

What Reagan’s example teaches is that it’s helpful and indeed necessary – especially amidst these moral mismatches with less-than-democratic partners and allies – to talk about freedom, the rule of law and liberal democracy. Reagan didn’t lecture America’s allies, but he never was afraid to use the language of freedom to challenge less-than-democratic partners to aspire to something better for their people. Nor was he afraid to offer material and moral support to civil-society groups, independent journalists, universities and NGOs – what he called “the infrastructure of democracy.” Erdogan’s targeting of these groups speaks volumes about his long-term goals.

Reagan understood the best way – perhaps the only way – to balance U.S. interests and American ideals is to keep an eye on the big picture. For Reagan, the big picture was defeating the Soviet Empire – America’s main enemy after World War II. Operating from that framework, Reagan backed pro-democracy and anti-communist movements (the two were not always one in the same) in Poland and Eastern Europe, Afghanistan and Africa, El Salvador and Nicaragua. All the while, Reagan supported partners like Turkey, South Korea and Spain as they struggled through difficult transitions to democracy. And he stood by partners like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, even though they were less than democratic, recognizing that the alternative was worse.

That’s the real test within this test: determining if the alternative to Erdogan is worse than Erdogan. Trump, like Obama before him, has concluded that Erdogan is better than what might replace him. And it’s clear that both Obama and Trump have viewed Erdogan as, on balance, more helpful than harmful in pursuing America’s big-picture goals today – namely, targeting and defeating jihadist terror groups.

However, supporting representative government is also part of the big picture for America, as Reagan illustrated when the tide of free government swept over the Philippines.

After Corazon Aquino defeated America’s longtime anti-communist bulwark Ferdinand Marcos at the ballot box, Reagan privately appealed to Marcos to accept the results and refrain from using force to stay in power – and then provided America’s old friend a dignified way out: a one-way ticket to Hawaii. It was a striking and welcome change compared to how Washington had dealt with pro-U.S. autocrats during much of the Cold War.

In a similar way, it’s time for Washington to speak plainly and privately with Erdogan – an increasingly anti-American autocrat. Since Erdogan’s values do not align with the West’s, the focus for now should be on his interests. The message may best be conveyed in a series of questions: Are you with Russia – your ancient foe – or the West? Do you trust Putin – serial violator of treaties, patron of Assad and self-interested opportunist – or America, which has stood by you for almost seven decades? Do you want your country to be alone again – accepted neither by Europe nor Asia – or under the protective umbrella of NATO? Washington should use NATO as both carrot and stick to steer Turkey back on the path to liberal democracy. There are many economic and security benefits associated with NATO membership – and many risks and costs that Erdogan would have to shoulder outside the NATO alliance.

Hopefully, such a message would get Erdogan’s attention. But Washington should be prepared for Erdogan responding in a manner that accelerates Turkey’s drift away from the West. And if Erdogan continues to play games with NATO and with U.S. access to Incirlik, he should be prepared for the consequences. These might include withdrawing U.S. forces from Turkey and relocating them to existing bases in Jordan and Iraqi Kurdistan; downgrading Turkey’s position within NATO; canceling Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program (something Congress is already contemplating); and most worrisome of all for Ankara, formally endorsing an independent Iraqi Kurdistan.

Policymakers spanning the political spectrum – from Obama’s vice president to Trump’s national security adviser – have argued that it's time to stop resisting the centrifugal forces tearing Iraq apart. For now, Washington is right not to hasten Iraq’s dissolution. But when/if Iraq finally comes apart, the United States should be prepared to help the freest, most stable, most pro-American piece of Iraq join the family of nations – regardless of what Erdogan thinks about it.

The counterargument that America needs more allies in the region – not fewer – is sound in theory but shaky in practice, since Erdogan’s Turkey doesn’t act like much of an ally. Losing an authoritarian, pro-Putin, pro-Tehran “ally” could be a case of addition by subtraction.

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The American Legion changes lives every single day

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Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

“We change lives every single day.”

That was an important part of my address to attendees at The American Legion’s National Membership Workshop Aug. 10 in Indianapolis.

Our youth programs, on full display over the summer, shape tomorrow’s leaders.

I had the honor to meet with our 100 American Legion Boys Nation senators a few weeks ago at Greenbelt (Md.) Post 136. As I shook the hands of those fine, young men, I felt a sense of rejuvenation. I also felt a sense of pride in the American Legion Family.

Thanks to The American Legion’s Americanism program and our support of these boys, they are committed to giving back and serving our nation in some way.

Not only do we have an impact on the future, The American Legion’s influence is felt all across our great nation each and every day.

In small towns and large cities, American Legion posts, volunteers and staff members support and host job fairs throughout the year.

But that’s not all. We are making sure that as younger servicemembers transition out of the military, their training converts to jobs and college credits. We are keeping the GI Bill relevant with modern revisions that reflect our changing work force and education standards. All of these efforts – and others - help propel our brothers and sisters into rewarding careers.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures, The American Legion’s support for veterans benefits directly leads to improved quality of life for veterans and their families.

Our comrades also rely on American Legion service officers for assistance when it comes to understanding and applying for the benefits they earned through their service.

We also support those who are suffering from visible and invisible wounds of war.

The American Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors (OCW) program delivers items that improve the lives of our wounded veterans and servicemembers. Sometimes wounded warriors need equipment for music, yoga or other recreational therapy. Others might require a mobile device to help them learn to communicate once again. OCW has provided the proper recovery items for countless wounded servicemembers, through the kindness of the American Legion Family.

These are just a handful of ways that The American Legion’s 2 million members are brightening the lives of veterans, servicemembers, their families and the communities in which they live every day.

None of these successes would be possible without your support and your membership. Please renew today, if you have not already for the new membership year. And don’t forget to encourage other eligible veterans to join our community of veterans who are still serving.

Family First.

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Post 519 and K6TAL sponsors 'Greatest Generation Appreciation Day'

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At the request of American Legion Post 519 (Palm Springs, Calif.) World War II Legion members, Commander Michael Templeton has organized a “Greatest Generation Appreciation Day” on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018, from 3 to 7 p.m.

Again K6TAL will be partnering with Post 519 by holding a special event station honoring World War II veterans and their families during the same hours. We will try to get as many World War II vets on the air as possible, talking to other World War II vets in the country.

We invite all TALARC and CALARS members to participate in the event, whether at their posts or at their QTH. They can act as special event stations and/or relays to K6TAL, who will be coordinating incoming traffic.

We will be transmitting on:

HF 7.278+/- MHz and 14.278+/- MHz

Local repeaters:

DRATS 146.940 - 107.2 MHz

WB6RLC 445.640 - 107.2 MHz

We look forward to everyone participating.

POC: Tom McLean (KJ6DZT) 760.393.1799

Commander Michael Templeton 760.217.2340


Tom McLean

V.P., American Legion Post 519 Amateur Radio Club

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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.