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New commander at Fort Riley

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Here are recent headlines about the military in Kansas:Fort Riley ยข 1st Infantry Division[(AP)Seasoned commander joins Fort Riley:][1] Soldiers and officers training to be advisers in Afghanistan and Iraq got a new resource Tuesday when Maj. Gen. Robert Durbin took command of the 1st Infantry Division. Durbin is fresh from 19 months in Afghanistan, where he was head of the Combined Security Transition Command, helping the Afghanis develop their forces. Progress is evident, he said, giving praise to the Afghan army for its development and fighting ability. He said he hoped to make the training at Fort Riley more realistic by letting soldiers know what is happening in Afghanistan now. "Maybe I can give some personal insights into what they are stepping into," he said in an interview after taking command. Durbin assumed command of the division from Maj. Gen. Carter Ham, who has been nominated for a third star and rank of lieutenant general. He will be director of operations for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Ham took command of the division on Aug. 1, 2006. Since then, he has overseen the division's return to Kansas, including the massive construction necessary to house additional soldiers, their families and new training facilities. When the move is done in 2011, the post will be home to nearly 19,000 soldiers.[(Miami Herald) Outlook hazy for forecaster/soldier:][2] Today's outlook for hurricane forecaster Stacy Stewart: mostly sunny, high of 114 degrees, constant threat of death. Stewart, a resident of Weston, a senior forecaster at the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade County and a reserve officer who serves as a Navy commander, is on a prolonged tour of duty at An Numaniyah Airbase, about 70 miles southeast of Baghdad. He commands a unit that trains newly minted Iraqi soldiers, runs convoys between military bases, occasionally gets hit by roadside bombs and mortar shells, and works to improve the lives of Iraqis caught in the crossfire. Tough and dangerous duty, Stewart said Tuesday, but satisfying and oddly pleasurable. "The work is challenging, personally rewarding and I am helping people in ways I could never have dreamed of.''After training at Fort Riley, Kansas, for duty in Afghanistan, his travel orders came through -- for Iraq. And off he went. Now, he's in charge of a diverse group of U.S. military personnel, whose only contact with the weather is to sweat in it. They're assigned mostly to training 3,500 rookie Iraqi soldiers ultimately bound for Baghdad to relieve U.S. and coalition forces.[(1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office) Mortar platoon protects Falcon:][3] BAGHDAD, Iraq They wait for the sound of the guns. Some put together models. Others read novels to pass time as they wait. While one listens closely to the sound of the radio. But they all listen for the ominous sounds of incoming the wail of the sirens or the audible thumps of rounds impacting inside Forward Operating Base Falcon. Then they jump into action. They are ones tasked to protect Soldiers working on the base by providing quick and accurate responses. They are the mortar platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. While at Falcon the Tomahawks are attached to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., based out of Fort Riley, Kan. Even though they are not in the same division, the mortar team is glad to provide support whether they wear an Indianhead, big, red one or any other patch on their shoulders. July 7, a unit from 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division was in a major firefight south of Falcon.Kansas National Guard[(Topeka Capital-Journal) Guardsmen to repay part of tornado salary:][4] More than 50 Kansas National Guard members stationed in Topeka and Wichita have been asked to return $9,100 in extra money mistakenly paid to them after they were deployed to tornado-ravaged Greensburg in May. The glitch affected 49 soldiers from the 190th Air Refueling Wing based at Forbes Field and another three troops from the 184th Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, said Guard spokeswoman Sharon Watson. Watson said Tuesday the "unfortunate error" occurred because McConnell had to set up a special operation to process 700 to 800 orders in May. Under normal circumstances, when there are no Guard members active in the state, McConnell wouldn't be processing any orders. "We appreciate the hard work the men and women did in Greensburg, and we certainly didn't want this to happen," Watson said. Watson called the mistake "simple human error." She said some soldiers were scheduled to stay in the area for a certain amount of time. When plans changed and some troops were replaced early, their pay orders weren't adjusted accordingly. [1]: www.kansas.com/news/state/story/136893.html [2]: www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/story/188775.html [3]: http://blog-ah.typepad.com/blogah/2007/07/mortar-platoon-.html [4]: www.cjonline.com/stories/080107/kan_188264947.shtml

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