Saturday, 26 November 2016
Reprinted from an email received from: Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62, Captain USN(Ret)/Former FBI; Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC; 2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184, San Diego, CA 92108
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Captain John writes: Today, Navy won its 9th game, in its 9 and 2 record to date, by beating SMU 75 to 31. Navy will play for the AAC Championship on December 3rd, will play Army on December 10th, and has accepted an invitation to the Armed Forces Bowl on December 23rd. Go Navy!!
By Captain Matthew T. Provencher ’93, MD MC USNR
Pictured above: Bill Belichick and CAPT Matthew Provencher after the AFC Championship Game in 2015 in Foxboro, MA
Although four hundred miles apart, the United States Naval Academy (USNA) and Gillette Stadium, home of the National Football League’s New England Patriots football franchise, are fundamentally close as a result of the firm bridge built between each location. This bridge paved by many former and current members of the New England Patriots football franchise continues to stand strong until this day. The rich connection between the New England Patriots and USNA began to initially form in 1956. That year, Stephen Belichick took on the roles of assistant coach and scout for the Navy football team. Steven excelled in these positions and was a fundamental leader for Navy Football for 34 years (1956-1989). While at the Naval Academy, Steve wrote the scouting bible “Football Scouting Methods,” which many in football coaching consider the standard to follow in order to identify and cultivate football talent. During Steve’s tenure as a Navy Football coach, his son Bill learned the fundamentals of football. Bill Belichick was often seen on the sidelines with his Dad during practice and games since the age of ten. Bill’s coaching career truly began in Annapolis, side-by-side with his Dad, decades before he set foot in Fox borough, MA.
Pictured above: After Super Bowl 49, the New England Patriots traveled to the White House for a visit with the President, where the 4 Lombardi trophies were on display
Now as Head Coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick is the 5th-ranked winningest head coach in NFL history (225-113, .666 winning percentage) and has maintained himself atop the National Football League for over fifteen years. In his time as head coach, he has won four Super Bowls, six AFC Championships and built a legacy of excellence and triumph. Currently, the New England Patriots are #1 in the AFC this season following their loss to the eventual Super Bowl Champions Denver Broncos in the 2015 AFC Championship Game. In the year prior, the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX over the Seattle Seahawks in a dramatic finish, 28-24. Earlier this year, Super Bowl XLIX was ranked #2 Super Bowl of all time by ESPN.
Pictured above: CAPT Provencher attends to an injured player, Rob Gronkowski (#87)
I was on the sidelines as the Medical Director and Head Team Physician for the New England Patriots for Super Bowl XLIX. In my capacity, I served as the Chief of Sports Medicine and Surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Head Team Physician for the Patriots, where I was in charge of approximately 75 medical professionals that assist in the day-to-day care of the team. These medical professional ranged in training from experts in sports science, nutrition, physical therapy and concussion care to surgical consultants. Under my leadership, as well as The Patriots Head Athletic Trainer Jim Whalen, these medical professionals provided comprehensive care to the team during the past two NFL seasons. My father, Michael Provencher ’69 played for Navy football for two seasons under the tutelage of Steve Belichick. In addition, a Navy Reserve officer and orthopedic surgeon, CDR Mark Price, MD, PhD, MC USNR is the current Head Team Physician for the New England Patriots, following my recent departure to the Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO.
In my capacity as Head Team Physician, I would spend approximately three afternoons a week with the team at their training facility.
Pictured above: The New England Patriots visit the Naval Medical Center San Diego in December 2014. The entire team (63 players) as well as coaches and administrative staff attended a special visit to active duty wounded warriors. Pictured are Bill Belichick meeting with CAPT (Ret.) Jennifer Town, CIV, the C5 (Combat Casualty Care) Program Director.
at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, and attended all games, home and away, and all events with the team. In addition, I attended the NFL Training Combine each February, the Combine Recheck in April, the NFL Draft in May, Off Season Training Program and a majority of summer Training Camp. Furthermore, I coordinated the care for all players, coaches and extended family of the team. At every Patriots game, my core team oversaw the care provided by 27 medical professionals who were stationed on the field to assist in the care of game-day injuries.
When the New England Patriots were facing the San Diego Chargers in December 2014, I setup a visit to the Naval Medical Center San Diego, where I had trained in orthopedic surgery and also spent many years as staff surgeon (1998-2013) treating our military wounded warrior athletes. The entire Patriots team (63 players, 15 coaches and 15 administrative personnel) volunteered to spend time at Naval Medical Center San Diego, where players had the opportunity to meet up-close and personal with active duty military members receiving care at the hospital. Bill Belichick said of the event, “I’d say the moving things were just how appreciative they were of us being there. But the reality of it was, they’re the heroes. Not us. Even more than that, the real heroes are the ones that didn’t come back.”
Aside from the coaching and medical staff, the connection between the Patriots and USNA is also evident by a recently added player on the team. A newcomer to the team this year and a 5th-round draft pick (#166) in the 2015 NFL Draft, Ensign Joe Cardona ’15 is the current starting long snapper for the New England Patriots. He was the highest Navy player drafted since Napoleon McCallum ’85 was selected in the 4th round of the 1986 NFL Draft.
Pictured above: ENS Joe Cardona, CDR Mark Price and CAPT Matthew Provencher in the New England Patriots training room facilities
The rich tradition of Navy and USNA involvement in the team is also often apparent on the sidelines during practice and games. Often you can see those that were coached by Steve Belichick while at USNA on the Patriots sidelines, including Ed Reid ’78, who was a Defensive End at UNSA, and currently lives in Annapolis where he works as the Nat
ional Account Sales Manager for Auto Desk in Washington, DC. Ed is often accompanied on the sidelines by his classmate, partner in crime and spiritual adviser Kevin “The Grinch” Lynch ’78, who resides in Portsmouth, RI, where he works as the Executive Director of Business Development for TYCO Integrated Security.
Even in the air for game travel, the connection is apparent. The team’s Delta 757/767 Captain for the Patriot Charter Flights has often been Matthew McLaughlin ’81. A former tight end for USNA, Matthew played for Steve Belichick. Captain McLaughlin’s head coach during his time at the Naval Academy was George Welch. During his time there, Captain McLaughlin and the team held a 3-1 record versus Army and competed in two bowl games, including the inaugural Holiday Bowl in San Diego in 1978 against BYU (Navy won 23-16). This bowl game was particularly exciting as it was the first bowl game Navy competed in since the era of Roger Staubach. In addition to Captain
Pictured above: CAPT Matthew Provencher after Super Bowl 49 in Glendale, AZ with Tom Brady (#12)
McLaughlin, another Delta 757/767 pilot, Jeff Johnson ’84 has provided the Patriots charter service as well. Robert Kraft, Chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots, and the Kraft family have also demonstrated great support of multiple wounded warrior foundations and military personnel. They have not only surrounded the New England Patriots with many alumni of the Naval Academy, but have consistently shown their support for the Navy and USNA through their many charitable efforts.
It is fully evident that the USNA legacy is alive and well within the Patriots organization. The bridge initially paved almost six decades ago remains unshakable.
POSTED BY: Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III, USNA Class of 1975, U.S. Navy Retired
Saturday, 26 November 2016
Saturday, 26 November 2016
JAG HUNTER here:
Only eighteen days following the start of OPERATION TORCH, whereupon my dad–Navy Doctor, Lieutenant Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, Jr. and his shipmates in USS COLE (DD – 155) survived a suicide amphibious assault into the French Moroccan city of Safi, the movie CASABLANCA splashed on to the silver screen for the first time.casablanca-release
“CASABLANCA, which was rushed out several months before its originally planned 1943 release, premiered in New York City on Thanksgiving Day, [26 November] 1942. The Hollywood reporter raved: ‘Here is a drama that lifts you right out of your seat.’ The New York Timescalled it ‘highly entertaining and inspiring…a picture which makes the spine tingle and the heart leap.’
“As near and dear to the heart as CASABLANCAis today, audiences in ’42 had an especially unique perspective. The world was embroiled in desperate conflict as the Nazi regime spread its savage poison across Europe, and the events on the screen mirrored events on the global stage. As Variety noted: ‘By curious quirk of fortune, history-making caught up to this picture set against a background of French Morocco, and its timeliness assures big box-office reception. Only a few days ago, world interest rested in the town of Casablanca, with the landing of Allied forces there and bare mention of the name still excites the imagination.’ “
(Courtesy of MGM and Turner Entertainment)
26 November 1942 Thanksgiving Day Menu aboard
USS AUGUSTA (CA – 31)
(Assigned to OPERATION TORCH with USS COLE and USS BERNADOU)
Cream of Tomato Soup a la Casablanca Fruit Cocktail Saltines Chicken and Turkey en Casserole a la Hewitt Baked Spiced Spam a la Capitaine de Vaisseau Giblet Gravy Cherry Dressing Buttered Asparagus Tips a la Fedala Chantilly Potatoes a la Patton Buttered June Peas de Safi Scalloped Tomatoes Cranberry Sauce Hot Parker Rolls du Lyautey Butter Jam Apple Pie a la Michelier Strawberry Ice Cream Mixed Nuts du Jean Bart Sweet Pickles Ripe Olives Cigars Cigarettes Cafe Noir
THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION to the
UNITED STATES SHIP COLE
for service as set forth in the following
“For outstanding performance as guide for the first wave of landing boats in the attack on Safi, French Morocco, November 8, 1942. Under crossfire from enemy coast defense batteries and machine gun emplacements, the COLE, proceeding through a narrow harbor entrance in total darkness, effectively countered hostile opposition, disembarked a company of U. S. Army assault troops, and supported their attack by accurate fire from her main battery. Her distinctive fulfillment of a difficult and hazardous mission contributed materially to the victorious achievement of the Southern Attack Group.”
For the President
/s/ Frank Knox
Secretary of the Navy
One sailor in USS COLE was shot through the lungs during the assault. My dad stitched up and treated his wounded shipmate who survived to enjoy his 1942 Thanksgiving dinner. The man reported to full shipboard duty a month later.
Commander Greg Palmer, my dad’s skipper, was awarded the Navy Cross for his performance of duty during OPERATION TORCH.
My dad was awarded the Bronze Star with with a Combat “V” for valor; the highest combination for valor awarded to medical officers performing as doctors under fire while engaged with an enemy force.
Thursday, 17 November 2016
Monday, 18 August 2014
There are too many addresses to send this email to all in one shot. So, it is also going out to dozens more in the second wave…
I was at the hearing at CampPen yesterday, and it was a long day. We were in court for nearly 8 hours. What I couldn’t tell you before, is what you will see in the short video below regarding his new civilian attorney Chris Oprison (now assisting his assigned military attorneys). Chris used to be one of president George Bush’s attorneys, when he was president. Also, Chris is a former Marine and has had cases heard before the Supreme Court as well. He is a genius in the courtroom. And he has taken on this case pro bono. I was unable to make the hearing that followed today, but having just talked with Larry, it was more of the same by Chris today. And he is just getting started. The August court martial that was delayed to the Oct/Nov timeframe has now been re-scheduled for next January. The trial date is a moving target, and I expect that we will see further delays. Now, after eight long years of getting the short end of the stick, the playing field is level. And at long last Larry and his legal team are able to “Roll in Hot.” The defense is now on the offense.
For those who are not entirely familiar with Larry’s case, if you google Sgt Larry Hutchins or Hamdaniya, it will bring you up to speed. However, what you will most likely see in print is far short of the entire story. As most of you know, I have been involved in Larry’s case for the past four years. I was appointed by his outstanding appellate attorney, Maj Babu Kaza, to act as Larry’s legal liaison for the three years while he was incarcerated at the MCAS Miramar Consolidated Brig. Prior to that, Larry, was at Ft. Leavenworth and the Camp Pendleton brig. He was initially sentenced to 15 years behind bars. His case was overturned in 2009, he was released only to find himself re-tried again, and he was re-incarcerated. As you research this case you will see how politics reared its ugly head that has caused this to continue on for eight long years now.
Without question, his case is the most well known, and probably most infamous, in military legal circles. It is extraordinary what he and his family have had to endure these past eight years. In November of 2012, the highest court in the military legal system, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF), found in his favor regarding an illegal NCIS investigation conducted in-country in Iraq. They had essentially locked him up in solitary confinement in little more than a CONEX box for a week. Even upon his release based on the CAAF decision, a little over a year ago, the prosecution still wanted him held in pre-trial confinement until the outcome of their third attempt at court martial. Had it not been for the intervention of his appellate attorney, Maj Kaza and the Honorable Bing West (former Vietnam Marine, Asst. SecDef in the Reagan administration and highly accomplished novelist), Larry would still be behind bars today. Additionally you should know that former congressman and retired army LtCol Allen West has been an advocate for Larry and the “Leavenworth 10” since the beginning of this unbelievable journey. I have nothing but the highest admiration for the above mentioned men, as I know you do.
Please don’t ask me how this whole evolution for eight years can still be continuing on until this time. I have learned more about the military legal system in the past four years than I ever thought possible, or wanted to… and I still don’t understand it. It’s the old adage, “one step forward and two steps back” when it comes to me, as just when I think I have it kinda figured out I discover that I still don’t know a damned thing. Lastly, you should know that in the past year since Larry’s release, he has truly been what he always was… A Sergeant of Marines. He is the top rated Sgt amongst 33 others in his command. For those who will be doing further research, believe me, you will be scratching your head as to how this could ever happen to one of our own. We never left a Marine in need behind in a hot LZ in Vietnam… and we are not about to change our ways now.
So, here is the latest unbelievable thing that the prosecution has pulled. In the link below, the reference by Bridget Naso has to do with CID a few months back coming into the CampPen defense attorney’s offices, and required that the attorneys stand out in the passageway as they rifled through all the lawyer-client confidential files throughout the entire complex that encompasses the defense attorney’s offices. To say the least there has been nothing but outrage out this way as to this latest event. They were looking for a cellphone that was pertinent to another case, but after finding the phone early on, they continued to go through all of the other defense attorney’s case files, including Larry’s. On the stand yesterday, Chris questioned the CID agents and others. He caught them during questioning in several instances of “inconsistencies.” To put it into a vernacular we are all familiar with… “He ripped them a new one.”
Saturday, 16 August 2014
Monday, 4 August 2014
Saturday, 2 August 2014
Friday, 1 August 2014