Archive for the ‘2011 retirements’ Category

Jeff Mellinger Last Draftee

07/3/11 11:27 AM ET

A homemade wind chime with the word “Whining” under a red slash is made from metal parts put in his leg after a parachute accident. Every Sunday he trims his crew cut. He didn’t join the Army willingly, but as Command Sgt. Maj. Jeff Mellinger prepares to retire, he’s grateful he found his calling.

Mellinger was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, and the Army believes he’s the last draftee to retire, after 39 years. Most did their two years and left. But Mellinger had found home.

“I think I’m pretty good at it, but I like it. That’s the bottom line. I love being a soldier and I love being around soldiers,” he said.

Mellinger’s motto is simple: No whining – as the wind chime attests.

When the draft notice arrived in the mail in 1972 at his home in Eugene, Ore., tens of thousands of troops had been killed. Anti-war protests were rampant. Draft cards were being burned and returning soldiers were treated as part of the problem. The military wasn’t a popular job.

The return address on the letter was the White House. Just 19, he was impressed that President Richard Nixon would write to him.

“I opened it up and it said, `Greetings from the president of the United States.’ I said, `Wow, how’s he know me?'” Mellinger said, laughing. “It was a form letter that said my friends and neighbors had selected me to represent them in the Armed Forces and I was hereby ordered to report for induction.”

Mellinger told the draft board there was a mistake.

“I … told them I don’t need to go into the Army, I’ve got a job,” said Mellinger, who hung drywall for a living. “They just kind of laughed.”

Once the path was set, he said, he didn’t consider trying to find a way out.

He heard so many war stories in training that he was fired up about going, and was disappointed he was instead assigned to be an office clerk in Germany.

In Germany, Mellinger immediately stood out with his positive attitude, short haircut and mastery of physical fitness skills, said Bob Myers, 64, of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, then his company commander who now runs a chain of convenience stores. He replaced a soldier in trouble for illegal drug use, Myers said.

“He wasn’t a part of that culture and everyone knew that,” said Myers, who was instrumental in getting Mellinger to enlist when his draft term was over.

Mellinger wasn’t long for clerking. He earned a spot in the Army Rangers, and would go on to do more than 3,700 parachute jumps. And despite the 1991 parachute accident that gave him the material for the wind chime, breaking his leg in several places, he went on to run nine marathons. He was made a command sergeant major in 1992.

Nearly a decade later, he was sent to ground zero in New York right after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as part of an advance party from the First Army. Then came his time in Iraq as the top enlisted soldier of the multi-national forces in Iraq, where he says he survived 27 roadside bombings during his deployment of nearly three years straight.

Mellinger, 58, says his stories of being in the Army during the tumultuous 1970s as the Army struggled with issues of drugs, race and the role of women are so foreign to young troops that they look at him like he’s a dinosaur when he shares them.

A recruiting poster hanging today on Mellinger’s office door at Fort Belvoir, where he’s the command sergeant major for the Army Material Command, that encourages female troops to try out for female engagement teams that work in war zones with Special Forces troops shows just how much things have changed since Mellinger was drafted.

Until 1978, female troops were in the Women’s Army Corps separate from the regular Army. Mellinger said he recalls when most female troops weren’t allowed to carry weapons and were taken out of the field at night to sleep in a separate barracks away from the men.

“There were some stymied leaders. What do we do with all these females?” he said. “A lot of those things together caused a lot of turmoil, caused a lot of difficulty and problems and a huge leadership challenge because the military was being torn apart like the country was.”

Mellinger understands well the tragic side of soldiering. He knows 40 to 50 people buried at Arlington National Cemetery and goes to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit wounded troops and their families most weekends he’s in town.

It was in a hospital room in 2009 that Jill Stephenson met Mellinger, who was standing near the bedside of her son, Cpl. Benjamin Kopp, 21. Mellinger had heard that Kopp, a fellow Ranger, had been shot in Afghanistan and he went to see him. Mellinger immediately embraced Stephenson, she said.

“It was the most compassionate, caring hug around me that I ever have received from a stranger. It was very comforting,” said Stephenson, 44, of Rosemount, Minn.

Kopp died soon after. Stephenson has since stayed with Mellinger and his wife, Kim, on multiple occasions while in Washington to attend ceremonies at Arlington cemetery, where her son is buried.

Several soldiers who served directly under Mellinger in Iraq have reached out to him to talk about their combat-related mental health issues. One was a soldier who rang his doorbell and said he was haunted by the memory of helping to collect the remains of a fallen Marine, and he was bothered that he didn’t know the Marine’s name.

“I told him his name and we sat and talked for several hours,” Mellinger said.

Mellinger said he has a roster with the names of the 2,614 troops killed, the 19,304 wounded, and two missing in action from his time in Iraq. He wears a metal bracelet with those numbers sketched in it in their honor.

Mellinger’s happy with the set-up of today’s all-volunteer force, but he does think the contributions of draftees have been forgotten, particularly since there’s such a romantic notion that after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in World War II, everyone “ran down to the recruiting station.” In reality, thousands were drafted in that war and many others, he said.

“Draftees are pretty maligned over time,” he said, “but the fact is they are part of every branch of service up to 1973, and when you look at what those military branches accomplished over time, I’ll let the record speak for itself.”

from:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/03/last-vietnam-draftee-army_n_889546.html


using the number/letter grid:

1      2      3       4       5       6      7      8      9
A      B     C       D       E       F      G      H      I
J      K      L      M      N       O      P      Q      R
S      T      U      V      W      X      Y      Z


A = 1              J = 1              S = 1

B = 2              K = 2             T = 2

C = 3              L = 3             U = 3

D = 4              M = 4            V = 4

E = 5              N = 5            W = 5

F = 6              O = 6             X = 6

G = 7              P = 7             Y = 7

H = 8              Q = 8             Z = 8

I = 9               R = 9

   5    5 9   5       24

Jeff Mellinger              68

1 66 4 33 57 9     44

his soul number = 24 = Sergeant.  Clean cut.  Crew cut.  Fit & trim.

his outer personality = 44 = Comfortable in his own skin.

his path of destiny = 68 = Drafted.




find out your own numerology at:


Read Full Post »


June 2nd, 2011

It’s the fun and games I think of first with Shaq. It’s the running up and down
a hotel corridor in downtown Chicago at 100 mph, playfully chasing little kids
in town for a wedding; or picking up a 250-pound reporter and carrying him like
a little baby down the hallway of the old Orlando Arena; or getting out of his
car at a stoplight in Los Angeles to hop in the car of some unsuspecting



Shaquille O'Neal

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesShaq
has always been able to charm the kids off the court as completely as he could
dominate the paint on it.


More than the dunks, blocked shots and terrorizing opponents, it’s the
rapping at Prince’s nightclub in Minneapolis one night, the creating of
nonsensical but completely clever nicknames, the understanding that sports is
show biz and what his place is in that universe. That’s what set Shaquille O’Neal apart from virtually every other
basketball player — make that athlete — of his time.

In the period between Michael Jordan‘s retirement from the Chicago Bulls in
1998 and the ascension of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to the top of the heap a few years
ago, Shaq was the most important basketball player in the world. And given the
long transition the NBA was in post-Jordan, the league ought to be damn glad it
had him. A great many of the big markets, including Chicago, New York, Philly,
Washington and Houston, had teams that were flops. The Spurs, no matter how
wonderfully skilled and unselfishly they played, put people to sleep. Shaq and
his foolishness were there, fortunately, to save the day.

You want legacy? He won championships, four of them, and he had a helluva lot
of fun. Oh yes, he annoyed people, too, particularly former teammates and
coaches left behind, from Penny Hardaway to Kobe Bryant. But tell me you
didn’t chuckle a little when Shaq called Stan Van Gundy “The Master of Panic,”
or Chris Bosh the “Ru Paul of big men.” Ungracious at
times? Yes, absolutely. Difficult as a teammate at times? Yes, unquestionably.
But Shaq was and is an American original, Goliath who loved being Goliath, a big
man always completely comfortable in his skin.


What other 7-foot man said his goal was to work undercover for the FBI, or
actually drove around with some sort of law enforcement badge?

Tim Duncan might have been as good at what he did
as Shaq was, but who would you rather hang out with if you had a free Friday



Shaquille O'Neal

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesHis skills put
him among the very best big men of all time.

Not only that, but Shaq was so damn dominant as a basketball player that his
silliness didn’t detract from his greatness. Let Dwight Howard figure that out.

You want more legacy? If we’re talking old-fashioned centers, guys who played
down in the hole and did dirty work and didn’t take jumpers or step out of the
paint ever in their lives or double as power forwards (McHale, Elvin Hayes,
Duncan) — I’m talking about guys who were always the biggest men on the court
for their teams — my working list is George Mikan, Bill Russell, Wilt
Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Moses Malone, Bill Walton, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaq. That’s it, with apologies
to Willis Reed, Big Bob Lanier, Wes Unseld, Dave Cowens, Nate Thurmond, Robert Parish, Artis Gilmore, Brad Daughterty, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing, among others.

And if we have to pare that list down even further, because what we do now is
rank greatness and create lists, it’s Mikan, Russell, Wilt, Jabbar and Shaq who
move to the head of the class. My man Tony Kornheiser and I like to use the
Mount Rushmore model in making all-time comparisons, in separating the merely
great from the greatest of all-time. Four heads, one quartet, greatest ever.
Like, if we’re doing R&B male singers, the Mount Rushmore is Marvin
Gaye/James Brown/Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson.


If we’re talking big men, I’m stuck with a quintet. What, I’m going to throw
Mikan off just because we live in a world governed by “SportsCenter,” in which
categories are offered such that something is a “record since 1980,” as though
the previous 50 years should just be banished? Mikan/Russell/Wilt/Kareem/Shaq. I
can’t eliminate anybody from that list. Somebody with greater insight into pivot
play will have to take on that task. Shaq won four titles, Kareem six, Wilt
averaged 50 and hit 100 once, Russell is the god of professional basketball, and
Mikan started it all with five. Each was dominating.



[+] EnlargeShaquille O'Neal

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesOne
of his countless successes: the MVP trophy at the 2004 All-Star


All I know is Shaq belongs in that group.

Just the fact that Shaq survived all the comparisons with the iconic pivotmen
before him speaks to his greatness. Please, spare me the talk about what he did
in his sunset seasons with the Cavaliers and Celtics. It doesn’t count in a
discussion of his place in basketball history any more than Jordan playing those
two seasons with the Wizards counts in any discussion about his place. Shaq’s
body of work runs from the time he stepped into the league until that second
season in Phoenix (2009) when he was better then than every center in the
league is now except Dwight Howard.

With Shaq, the bonus was charisma. Basketball, unlike professional football,
is a sport in which star appeal does matter, in which individual personality
affects the product both on and off the court, in which the greatest characters
define and sell the sport. There are no helmets or pads; these men are virtually
playing in their underwear, and everything about them is on display as it is
with prize fighters. And even if you want to dwell on Shaq’s flaws (that he
gained too much weight as he got older, that his defense fell off after he left
the Lakers, that he never got better at shooting free throws), give him credit
also for taking a greater beating than any player of his day and doing so
without ever retaliating. (Well, other than that one time he took a swing at Brad Miller.)

Shaq won’t disappear. He can’t, and not because he’s so massive, but because
of his personality. Like Charles Barkley, Shaq isn’t going to recede into
nothingness. Some TV set is waiting for him, whether we’re talking reality or
basketball. (Reality seems more his venue.) Bad enough for those of us of a
certain age that basketball seems to have lost the old-fashioned pivot man, what
with Yao Ming‘s status so uncertain. There are only a
handful of men now who continue the lineage.



[+] Enlarge Shaquille O'Neal

John Mabanglo/AFP/Getty ImagesShaq was an
irresistible force, as the Kings’ Scot Pollard found out.

And with all due respect to the Magic’s Howard, a likeable fellow with a big
game, the league has nobody like Shaq. Kobe gave us some of what we missed when
Jordan left, and LeBron gives us some of Magic’s flair. But there’s no facsimile
of Shaq, no big, young, prodigiously talented youngster who rattles rims and
flattens 7-footers with his rump backing into the basket. Nineteen years is a
long, long time to do anything that requires that much physicality, and Shaq’s
time as a player of consequence has been done for a minute or two.


But shame on you if you didn’t appreciate his dominance, or realize that
somebody that big simply shouldn’t have that kind of coordination, athleticism
or sense of play. I wasn’t always certain as to what impressed me more, Shaq
taking a lob pass from Kobe Bryant out of the sky and slamming it home in the
fourth quarter of a Game 7 against the Blazers en route to his first
championship, or Shaq break-dancing, 300 pounds on the floor spinning like a


The great thing about Shaquille O’Neal was if you just paid attention long
enough, you wouldn’t have to pick one over the other. He gave basketball and the
sporting culture a combination of skills and sensibilities nobody has ever
packaged as successfully.

from:  http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/story?page=wilbon/110601


There will no doubt be many fans disappointed by the news that NBA legend Shaq O’ Neal will be retiring from the sport.  The 39- year old player who leaves the Boston Celtics has made a name for himself on and off the court with nineteen seasons, as well as being the celebrity behind million dollar contracts for companies such as Pepsi, Reebok and Burger King.

The announcement of his retirement has come from different sources including Twitter and according to ibtimes.com, the involvement of social media network Tout.com, and its this that caught our eye.

O’Neal it seems is no stranger to Tout where in the past he has updated fans with status updates, via the real-time video app, which coincidentally can be purchased free from Apple’s App Store, and can be used on iPhone and iPad devices.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Tout, it allows users to click onto the app to view 15-second messages via a video link, which are then accessible through big communication platforms such as Twitter, SMS, email and Facebook.

As well as letting his fans know via Tout that he was retiring, an official announcement will be made tomorrow (June 3).  The NBA star will then keep his fans updated as to what he will be doing away from the game.

CEO and founder of Tout Michael Downing said, “In addition to being one of the greatest basketball players of our time, Shaquille O’ Neal is one of the savviest social media influencers out there.  We were thrilled that he instantly understood the potential of Tout.  Shaq now effectively has his own real-time media network through Tout, instantly updating his nearly four million Twitter followers and two million Facebook fans, determining the programming solely with his iPhone.”

from:  http://www.onlinesocialmedia.net/20110602/nbas-shaq-o-neal-retires-using-social-media-network-tout/


Shaquille O’Neal was born on March 6th, 1972 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaq

March 6th, 1982

March 6th

3 + 6 +2+0+1+1 = 13 = his personal year (from March 6th, 2011 to March 5th, 2012) = Major changes.

13 year + 5 (May) = 18 = his personal month (from May 6th, 2011 to June 5th, 2011) = Surreal.

18 month + 1 (1st of the month on Wednesday June 1st, 2011) = 19 = his personal day = Proud of his hard earned success.




Read Full Post »

File:Mohamed Ghannouchi.jpg

27 February 2011 Last updated at 13:52 ET

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has announced on state TV that he is resigning – a key demand of demonstrators.

He was speaking at a news conference in Tunis, after making a lengthy speech defending his record in government.

Mr Ghannouchi is seen as being too close to former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled in an uprising last month.

Mr Ghannouchi, 69, had served under Mr Ben Ali since 1989.

“After having taken more than one week of thinking, I became convinced, and my family shared my conviction, and decided to resign. It is not fleeing my responsibilities; I have been shouldering my responsibilities since 14 January [when Mr Ben Ali fled],” he said.

“I am not ready to be the person who takes decisions that would end up causing casualties,” he added.

“This resignation will serve Tunisia, and the revolution and the future of Tunisia,” he added.

It is exactly what the protesters had been demanding. Mohammed Ghannouchi, had served under the country’s old dictatorship, and as far as they were concerned, until he went, their revolution was unfinished.

The question now is whether this resignation will be enough to quell the violence. As the news has spread, people have been taking to the streets, chanting and singing of victory.

Within hours a replacement was named for Mr Ghannouchi – Beji Caid-Essebsi, 84, who served as foreign minister in the government of the late President Habib Bourguiba.

Earlier in the day, police in Tunis fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the latest demonstration calling for a new government and a new constitution on a third day of violence.

Huge protests

On Friday and Saturday, anti-government protesters held huge rallies calling for Mr Ghannouchi’s resignation.

At least three people were killed in clashes between hundreds of demonstrators and security forces in Tunis on Saturday.

Tunisia’s government had insisted it was introducing reforms as fast as it could, and that it was planning to hold elections by July.

“Police are giving protesters merciless beatings”

But those promises did not seem to satisfy the protesters, correspondents say.

The fall of Mr Ben Ali after 23 years in power sparked similar uprisings in the Arab world, including one that led to the downfall of long-time Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February and another under way in Libya.

The trigger for the protests in Tunisia was a desperate act by a young unemployed man on 17 December 2010.

Mohammed Bouazizi set fire to himself when officials in his town prevented him from selling vegetables on the streets of Sidi Bouzid without permission.

from:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12591445


Mohammed Ghannouchi was born on August 18th, 1941 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Ghannouchi

August 18th, 1941

August 18th

8 + 18 +2+0+1+0 = 29 = his personal year (from August 18th, 2010 to August 17th, 2011) = Consult experts.

29 year + 2 (February) = 31 = his personal month = Controversy.  Riots.

31 month + 27 (27th of the month on Sunday February 27th, 2011) = 58 = his personal day = Retirement.

Read Full Post »