Posted by: Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt

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Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt presented the US Distinguished Flying Cross for Colonel Mykhaylo Ivanovich Smil’skiy to Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Petro Mekhed (on Smil’skiy’s behalf)

Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt presented the US Distinguished Flying Cross for Colonel Mykhaylo Ivanovich Smil’skiy to Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Petro Mekhed (on Smil’skiy’s behalf)

Earlier this week, I had the honor of visiting Ukraine’s National Military History Museum to take part in a very special, and somewhat unusual, ceremony. I presented the US Distinguished Flying Cross for Colonel Mykhaylo Ivanovich Smil’skiy to Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Petro Mekhed (on Smil’skiy’s behalf). I was also thrilled that our departing Defense Attaché, Colonel Joe Hickox, who is retiring from his own distinguished career as an air force pilot, was able to take part in the ceremony. The Distinguished Flying Cross is in honor of Smil’skiy’s extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in Eastern Europe—in 1944.

Though Colonel Smil’skiy was presented with a certificate during his lifetime, he never received the Distinguished Flying Cross itself. To correct this historic injustice, representatives of the United States and Ukraine came together on Tuesday to honor a man who had served on the frontlines of our shared fight for freedom and for liberty, who served proudly and heroically as the United States and the Soviet Union fought together to defeat Nazi Germany.

Distinguished Flying Cross

Distinguished Flying Cross

The Distinguished Flying Cross was created after World War I to recognize the courage, endurance, and gallantry of pilots. It is awarded to any officer or enlisted person of the Armed Forces of the United States who has distinguished him or herself in actual combat by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. During wartime, it may also be awarded to the members of the Armed Forces of friendly foreign nations serving with the United States. The medal itself deeply symbolic: the cross represents sacrifice, the propellers stand for flight, and the ribbon reflects the national colors of the United States.

Myhailo Ivanovych Smylskii was an extraordinary individual. Born in 1920 in Kyiv, by the end of World War II, he had flown approximately 200 combat flights. Smylskii was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, the Order of Lenin (twice), Order of the Red Banner (3 times), and the Order of Suvorov of 3rd degree.

flying-cross-3Smil’skiy’s accomplishments and courage are echoed by the service and sacrifice of those on the front lines in Ukraine today—by the heroism and valor of the brave Ukrainians fighting to secure Ukraine’s freedom for future generations. Just as we did in the 1940s, the United States stands with Ukraine, as a partner, as a friend, and as a country deeply vested in Ukraine’s future, just as we were when Mikhaylo Smil’skiy took bravely to the skies in his country’s defense some 70 years ago.

Posted by: EUCOM

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By Master Sgt. Charles D. Larkin, USAF
United States European Command
Stuttgart, Germany, May 5, 2015

Three years ago, United States European Command (EUCOM) consolidated several military installations located throughout Europe. As installations closed and buildings were emptied, office furniture, computers, beds, and other furniture and equipment piled up in warehouses, like the one operated by the US-Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in Italy.

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U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine speaks at an inauguration ceremony for the Vinnytsia Community Education Center

Thanks to the efforts of EUCOM and DSCA, some of those items were recently given a new home in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. Personnel from the U.S. Embassy to Ukraine, EUCOM officials, and members of local Ukrainian government and non-government organizations gathered at the brand-new Vinnytsia Community Education Center for an inauguration ceremony on April 27.

The project began in 2012 as a request from a local non-government organization. They wanted a resource center in their area to focus on public health and youth education for socially-vulnerable individuals. Additionally, the community center also addresses the problems of internal displaced persons (IDP) and human trafficking. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation — often referred to as a modern-day form of slavery — is a multi-billion dollar criminal activity in Ukraine. Trafficking of women and children for this type of exploitation is a serious problem affecting hundreds of thousands of victims and their families. (more…)

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Following a national design competition, architect Friedrich St. Florian’s design concept was selected for the National World War II Memorial. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, it sits on the National Mall, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Fifty-six granite pillars celebrate the unprecedented unity of the nation during WWII. Each state and territory from that period and the District of Columbia is represented by a pillar adorned with oak and wheat bronze wreaths and inscribed with its name; the pillars are arranged in the order of entry into the Union. The pillars are connected by a bronze sculpted rope that symbolizes the bonding of the nation.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Two 43-foot pavilions serve as markers and entries on the north and south ends of the plaza. Inlayed on the floor of the pavilions are the WWII victory medal surrounded by the years “1941-1945″ and the words “Victory on Land,” “Victory at Sea,” and “Victory in the Air.” These sculptural elements celebrate the victory won in the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Memorial plaza and Rainbow Pool are the principal design features of the Memorial, unifying all other elements. Two flagpoles flying the American flag frame the ceremonial entrance at 17th Street. A series of 24 bronze bas-relief panels along the ceremonial entrance balustrades depict America’s war years, at home and overseas. Located at the 17th Street ceremonial entrance, the Announcement Stone of the Memorial says the following:

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

HERE IN THE PRESENCE OF WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN, ONE THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY FATHER AND THE OTHER THE NINETEENTH CENTURY PRESERVER OF OUR NATION, WE HONOR THOSE TWENTIETH CENTURY AMERICANS WHO TOOK UP THE STRUGGLE DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND MADE THE SACRIFICES TO PERPETUATE THE GIFT OUR FOREFATHERS ENTRUSTED TO US: A NATION CONCEIVED IN LIBERTY AND JUSTICE.

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Each of the 4,048 gold stars represents 100 Americans who died during the war

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Each of the 4,048 gold stars represents 100 Americans who died during the war

The Memorial was funded primarily by private contributions. It received more than $197 million in cash and pledges. This total includes $16 million provided by the federal government. The memorial is a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people to the common defense of the nation and to the broader causes of peace and freedom from tyranny throughout the world.

Source: http://www.wwiimemorialfriends.org

Pasted by: IIP State

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This is the fifth of a five-part series on the costs Russia’s actions have imposed on Crimea.

Under Russia’s broad extremism law, the Russian government has sought to declare that minority religious groups in Crimea are “extremists”. Crimean Tatars, Catholics, and Ukrainian Orthodox faithful face harassment and the confiscation of property simply because of their faith.

The costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine are real.
Stand United for Ukraine.
Stop Russian Aggression.

Learn more about the costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine by following #UnitedforUkraine

Posted by ShareAmerica

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This is the fourth of a five-part series on the costs Russia’s actions have imposed on Crimea.

It’s been one year since Russia began its aggressive occupation of Crimea. After the illegal referendum, it was nearly impossible for those Crimeans who wished to retain their Ukrainian citizenship to do so. They were forced instead to become Russian citizens.

The costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine are real.
Stop Russian aggression.
Stand United for Ukraine.

Learn more about the costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine by following #UnitedforUkraine

Posted by ShareAmerica

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This is the third of a five-part series on the costs Russia’s actions have imposed on Crimea.

It’s been one year since Russia began its aggressive occupation of Crimea. Since then, the number of visitors to the once tourist hotspot has dropped by 45% – a tough statistic to live with when the income of one in three Crimean families depends on tourism.

The costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine are real.

Stop Russian aggression.

Stand United for Ukraine.

Learn more about the costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine by following #UnitedforUkraine

Posted by ShareAmerica

Читати українською

This is the second of a five-part series on the costs Russia’s actions have imposed on Crimea.

Since the start of Russia’s illegal occupation, Human Rights Watch has documented at least 15 cases in which Crimean Tatars or pro- Ukraine activists were, abducted or went missing in Crimea. They believe the true number is much higher.
The costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine are real.
Stop Russian Aggression. Stand United for Ukraine.

Learn more about the costs of Russia’s actions in Ukraine by following #UnitedforUkraine