Winter 2015 News

December 20, 2015 | Posted in Air Force, Author, Blog, Classified, Classified Information, Congress, Cyber attack, Department of Defense, E.O. 12333, FISA, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, Leaks, NSA, PPD-28, President Obama, Privacy, Snowden, U.S. Code Title 10, U.S. Code Title 50, Writing | By

Hello Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a great summer and fall, and are enjoying the holiday season. I’d like to extend my thanks for being fans of my work, and wish you happy holidays and a bright new year.

I’ve been busy crafting my next novel, a project I’ve named ROGUE SENTINEL, and I will finish the manuscript shortly after the New Year. ROGUE SENTINEL will see Shane Mathews take on a solo mission to Jordan to find and capture an Islamic State mission planner known only as ‘Al-Amriki’ – The American.
Up next, I’ll be resuming work on SWIFT JUSTICE, the third and concluding novel of the ‘Aziz Trilogy’ that started with THE INHERITOR and AUTUMN FIRE, with main characters Shane Mathews and Emily Thompson.

During the year I’ve written a few Op-Eds on current issues that have been published in the Baltimore Sun and in The Hill’s Congress Blog. Here’s a list so you can look at them if you’re interested.

‘The NSA data collection program isn’t criminal; ending it is’ – http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-nsa-data-20151203-story.html

‘Open Letter from a cyber terrorist’ – http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/255370-open-letter-from-a-cyber-terrorist

‘Stand with our watchers’ – http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/261237-stand-with-our-watchers

‘Access to encrypted communication, a balancing act’ – http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-encryption-data-20151001-story.html

‘Clinton E-mails: Who else was involved?’ – http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-clinton-emails-20150908-story.html

‘The country is vulnerable without CISPA’ – http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-cispa-redux-20150209-story.html

Thanks again for being fans of my stories, and feel free make them presents for the fiction reader on your holiday list – they can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes & Nobel as e-books or hardcopies in trade paperback. You can even contact me via tom@tomwither.com for a signed copy if you like.
Take care and Happy Holidays!

Tom Wither

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Whom to Thank for a Morning Airshow Near Phoenix

August 2, 2008 | Posted in Air Force | By

Air Force MemorialI was forwarded what follows by a Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force, currently on active duty, and I think it makes a point we all would do well to remember. The following is provided verbatim from his e-mail.

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Background: Luke Air Force Base

Luke AFB is west of Phoenix and is rapidly being surrounded by civilization that complains about the noise from the base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were. A certain lieutenant colonel at Luke AFB deserves a big pat on the back. Apparently, an individual who lives somewhere near Luke AFB wrote the local paper complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his/her day at the mall. When that individual read the response from a Luke AFB officer, it must have stung quite a bit.

The complaint:

‘Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show?
Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 a.m., a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns early bird special? Any response would be appreciated.

The response:

Regarding ‘A wake-up call from Luke’s jets’ (Letters, Thursday):

On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship flyby of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques. Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.

At 9 a.m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend. Based on the letter writer’s recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I’m sure you didn’t hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son’s flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.

The letter writer asks, ‘Whom do we thank for the morning air show?”The 56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.

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Sleeping with the Expired Nuclear Codes

July 24, 2008 | Posted in Air Force | By

Agence France-Presse posted an article today about three Air Force technicians at a Minuteman III missile unit at Minot AFB falling asleep while in possession of expired nuclear launch code components in violation of approved procedure on July 12.

The Airmen involved are certainly facing Article 15 punishment from their commander. This kind of incident is not what the Air Force can tolerate. Certainly not after the improper shipment of nuclear weapon components out of the country and the loading of nuclear weapons onto a B-52 without any awareness on the part of the Air Force or the Pentagon. The pattern of inattention to basic procedure and detail with respect to the handling and operations of nuclear weapons simply cannot be tolerated.

For the Three Airmen at Minot: We were all taught two things at basic training: Attention to Detail & Mission First. Pull your heads out my friends. Our nation expects better and you swore an oath you need to uphold. Your 328,598 active duty brothers and sisters in Air Force blue expect better from you, and you have failed them, yourselves, and your nation. Stand tall in front of your commander, take your punishment, and resolve to do better. Eventually, you will regain the respect and trust you’ve lost with your poor judgment.

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