Senior Master Sgt. Michael Henderlong received the American Red Cross Exceptional Volunteer Service Award earlier this month in St. Louis. Henderlong has been involved with the Red Cross since 1999, and his efforts to contribute have earned him the peer-nominated award, according to a statement from the 375th Air Mobility Wing public affairs office.
“I am very honored, humbled and surprised about the award,” Henderlong said. “I follow the old mantra of ‘paying it forward,’ in that you give to the community, and the community is going to give back to you in your time of need.”
Henderlong works as the U.S. Air Force Command Emergency Management superintendent, and as Scott Air Force Base’s Red Cross station chairman, which is the top volunteer for the base.
A Springfield, Missouri native, Henderlong wanted to get involved with the Red Cross when a friend volunteered with Hurricane Andrew disaster response efforts in 1992. He said it was a trigger that launched him in a new direction to which he has dedicated his life.
Low morale was a big problem two years ago among the airmen assigned to the Air Force’s nuclear weapons arsenal, a situation acknowledged by Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, the commander of the 20th Air Force, which oversees the service’s intercontinental ballistic missile program.
Weinstein, during a hearing last Thursday on Capitol Hill, acknowledged that many airmen in the nuke force were dissatisfied with their jobs at the time of last year’s cheating scandal, according to the Military.com website.
“There was a huge morale problem before we started the changes,” he said in a response to questioning from Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, during a hearing of the House Armed Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
Almost 100 launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana — about half of the missileers on the post — were involved in cheating on monthly proficiency tests administered in late 2013. The cheating probe was spurred by a separate investigation of drug possession allegations involving 11 officers at six Air Force bases in the U.S. and the U.K.
After multiple Air Force and Pentagon reviews of the incident, the commander of the 341st Missile Wing resigned, nine mid-grade officers at the base were relieved of command, and 79 junior grade officers were disciplined. Weinstein oversaw the dismissals.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is begging Congress for more money to bridge its latest budget shortfall. Yet for three years more than $43 million that had set aside to inform veterans about their benefits sat in an account, not a penny spent, until an agency financial manager happened to notice, according to a story in the Washington Post.
By then, it may have become too late for the cash-strapped agency to spend the money, a new report says.
The Inspector General’s office, in a report issued last week, cited a “breakdown of fiscal controls” and “lack of oversight” in concluding that VA officials had “no need” for the $43.1 million. At least not for the purpose they claimed, which was to print personalized handbooks that explain in detail what benefits a veteran is eligible for.
Federal authorities have warned local law enforcement officials across the country to ramp up their concern regarding possible terror attacks targeting the July 4th holiday, a U.S. law enforcement official said, according to a story in Stars and Stripes.
While there was no specific or credible threat of attack, the official said the intelligence bulletin prepared by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI alerted local colleagues to the ongoing threats posed by the Islamic State and other homegrown extremists. The official was not authorized to comment publicly, according to Stars and Stripes.
The warning comes as federal investigators have worked to disrupt a number of Islamic State-inspired plots, including a planned assault earlier this month on police officers in Boston. In that case, authorities fatally shot Usaamah Rahim as he allegedly planned to attack police with military-style knives.
Also this month, a New York suspect in a Islamic State-related terror investigation was arrested after attacking an FBI agent with a kitchen knife during a search of his home
Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at email@example.com or 618-239-2533.