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May 22, 2005 Sunday

LENGTH: 760 words
BYLINE: By Thomas Caywood

Fourteen hours into a grueling day that began before sunrise, a group of exhausted young Massachusetts National Guard recruits stand shoulder to shoulder absorbing a blistering butt chewing.

``You're in the military!'' bellows Sgt. Major Mark ``Hurricane'' Foster, a square-jawed, barrel-chested former drill sergeant. ``This is the United States Armed Forces! You do what you are told when you are told to do it! Is that clear!''

``Yes, sergeant major!'' the weary recruits shout back hoarsely.

One weekend a month, Foster and his hand-picked cadre of noncommissioned officers assemble at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod to push four busloads of Guard recruits through a crash course in soldiering.

The baby-faced trainees enlisted in the Guard over the last month but haven't yet shipped out to boot camp. Foster's job is to get them ready, not to coddle them.

The 46-year-old Guardsman from Middleboro welcomes this month's class of 31 recruits late Friday night with patriotic videos set to country music and a brusque speech: ``I look at you, and I see a bunch of stinking, selfish, self-centered civilians.''

Foster's staff of grizzled sergeants introduce the aspiring Guardsmen to marching, basic map reading, shooting, stripping down an M-16A2 rifle and other fundamental solider skills. No matter what the subject, the lesson always is teamwork.

The trainees barely sleep all weekend and do push-ups until their faces flush purple and their bodies shake uncontrollably.

``I feel like I've been up for days, and this is just -basic,'' says Pvt. Jacqui Graden, 20, of Norwell. ``I feel like I've run a marathon.''

After Foster's welcome Friday night, the trainees are taught to make a military bunk and issued two sheets and a scratchy, wool Army blanket. The platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class John Valis, 46, of Webster circles the building peering unseen through the windows as the recruits make their bunks. Most work on their own.

``Individuality,'' Valis says, spitting out the word like a mouthful of spoiled milk.

He sends the recruits to bed at 12:40 a.m. Four hours later, the cadre is back stomping up and down the hall bellowing and flicking on florescent lights.

``You're burning my time now, darlings,'' calls out Sgt. 1st Class James Duncan.

The cadre, who went to bed hours after the recruits and got up before them, stay in high gear all weekend. Privately, the 40-something NCOs admit they're dead on their feet. Sometimes they pull over and sleep in their cars on the way home Sunday afternoon.

A little after 7 p.m. Saturday, the exhausted recruits arrive back at the barracks thinking the long day almost over. Instead, they find the hallway strewn with toilet paper, garbage and their linens. The steel bunk beds lay toppled and roughly disassembled, as if a ``Hurricane'' had blown through.

The stunned recruits line up at attention in the narrow hallway. Towering over most at 6-foot-2, Foster stalks back and forth heaping an ear-splitting tirade on them.

``We got people serving over in Iraq and Afghanistan doing their duty in an honorable fashion putting their life on the line for your worthless butts, and you can't even make a bed right. You got to be (kidding) me!'' he barks, the veins in neck stretched taught.

The weekend ordeal ends Sunday morning. Filthy and sweaty from 20 minutes of push-ups and sit-ups in wet dirt, the recruits file by the cadre to shake hands and accept a certificate.

``Welcome to the United States Armed Forces,'' Foster tells the group. ``It's good to have you aboard.''


The long, grueling Saturday for Bay State National Guard recruits at Camp Edwards pre-basic training program, May 14, 2005.

12:40 a.m. - Dismissed to go to sleep

4:45 a.m. - Wake-up to screaming platoon sergeant

5:05 a.m. - Line up for inspection

5:17 a.m. - Arrive at base gym for push-ups and sit-ups

6:21 a.m. - One-mile road sprint

6:44 a.m. - Breakfast: lukewarm French toast, rubbery sausage

7:18 a.m. - Marching practice

8:15 a.m. - Weapons training in simulator

11:00 a.m. - Map-reading class

12:02 p.m. - Lunch: MREs

12:36 p.m. - Health and fitness class

1:56 p.m. - M-16A2 assault rifle class

3:31 p.m. - Life in basic training session

5:20 p.m. - Dinner: chicken and rice

6:16 p.m. - Back to gym for more push-ups, sit-ups and sprints

7:18 p.m. - Return to find barracks ransacked because bunks weren't made to military standards. Recruits bawled out, ordered to clean up the mess.

8:26 p.m. - Stand sweating for re-inspection

9:12 p.m. - Dismissed for the evening to shower and wash uniforms.

Staff photos by Mark Garfinkel
LOAD-DATE: May 22, 2005

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The Boston Herald
May 21, 2005 Saturday

LENGTH: 351 words

Serious rock image doesn't add up for Sum 41

Sum 41 at Avalon, Boston, Thursday night.

It's always a bit awkward when a snotty punk band tries to redefine itself as a serious rock band. Green Day pulled it off, but Sum 41 is still suffering through growing pains, and those pains were on full display Thursday night at Avalon.

Considering Sum 41's heavy presence on pop radio and MTV, it was surprising to see Avalon only three-fourths full. The Canadian foursome hasn't had a monster hit since 2001's ``All Killer No Filler,'' but that didn't stop the teeny-bopper punks cramming the floor from shrieking like banshees the entire set. The crowd was an interesting mix of adolescents with bored chaperones and a squadron of Navy boys on shore leave.

The sneering pop punk of ``Hell Song'' began the set, the band displaying a remarkably clean and tight sound, especially for a punk band. But Sum 41 didn't just stick to the three-chord punk aesthetic, showing off a schizoid mix of hardcore slamming and pop metal excess. The tunes from its new record, ``Chuck,'' took stabs at social protest and the Iraq war, but were difficult to digest between the childish snot-nosed antics. At one point, singer-guitarist Deryck Whibley dressed up like a Fat Elvis and screamed through a metal version of ``That's Alright, Mama,'' but the maneuver was more set filler than amusing.

Throughout, Whibley bounced around stage like a toddler with too much sugar, preening for the screaming girls in the front. It seems the scrawny frontman is something of a heartthrob. He'd be better served carving his own identity, as he gave a nifty impression of Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong that lasted the entire set. In fact, for most of the night, Sum 41 came off as a slicker, more image-conscious version of Green Day.

For an encore, Sum 41 showed its rather confusing state of transition. Howling first through the pleas for societal change in ``No Reason,'' the band followed with the buffoonery of its first single, ``Fat Lip,'' which boasts lines such as ``we laugh when old people fall.'' Sum 41: progressive-minded rockers or fart joke-loving punks? Make up your mind.
LOAD-DATE: May 21, 2005

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The Boston Herald
May 20, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 532 words

Selig needs to just say no to feds

Here's the state of the baseball business in a nutshell: CEO Bud Selig thinks the best way to deal with one of his industry's big problems is to hand the mess off to a more efficient organization - the federal government.

Selig told a congressional committee it was OK by him if the feds wrote and implemented a standard drug testing policy for the four major professional sports. Passing the buck to the world's undisputed champion buck-passers. Now there's a concept.

Setting aside the proposal's dubious to nonexistent consitutionality, its practical effect would be an unparalleled explosion in the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Cheaters would be inducted into the Hall of Fame and dead at a ripe old age before test results from their rookie seasons came back from the lab. The lab wouldn't be built because 435 members of the House of Representatives would still be arguing that their district should be the site of the Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Urine Specimen Depository.

The steroid hearings, a wholly bipartisan display of idiocy, go far to explain why Congress' poll ratings are testing historic lows. An endless war in Iraq, a massive budget deficit, health care in crisis, and the people's most urgent business is Barry Bonds' cap size?

The question is, why are Selig and his 30 club owner bosses allowing the charade to go on, let alone aiding and abetting said farce. The men who possess major league franchises keep senators and representatives as house pets. If baseball wanted the hearings to go away, they would.

As usual in our national pastime, the answer is money. Selig and the owners would like a stricter drug testing policy than the one they negotiated with the Players Association without having to bargain for it.

After the first set of congressional hearings in March, Selig met with union boss Don Fehr to propose just such a policy. Here's how that scenario played out.

Selig: ``Don, here's my idea of how we can clear steroids right out of baseball and get Congress off our backs.''

Fehr: ``Mmm, interesting. What would the players get in return for agreeing?''

Selig: ``Ahhh, let me get back to you on that.''

Cut to a dusty, cobwebbed phone on Fehr's desk.

Fade to black.

The moguls hope Congress can negate the Basic Agreement and the collective bargaining process. The elected dimbulbs in question agree, because after all, they kept Terry Schiavo hooked up to her feeding tube, didn't they? Aside from amusing some lucky Court of Appeals, the entire procedure would have no effect. The evidence suggests the current ``inadequate'' steroids policy is working. Only one major leaguer has tested positive this season and only 60 of the thousands of minor leaguers.

There's even more evidence that drug use in baseball may be a self-correcting problem.

If poster-child Bonds was a longtime steroid user, he can thank that for the three knee surgeries he has endured since Jan. 31. Players use steroids not only for bigger muscles, but to speed the healing process. Artificial recoveries might have let Bonds go on until his body broke down altogether.

When the body breaks, the income stops. There's the threat that'll ``clean up'' baseball.
LOAD-DATE: May 20, 2005

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The Boston Herald
May 20, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 241 words
HEADLINE: Historic carrier's future uncertain

ABOARD THE USS JOHN F. KENNEDY - It is a question no one associated with this great fighting ship wants to answer but there is a very good chance that this will be the USS John F. Kennedy's last visit to Boston.

Nearly 40 years old and one of only two of the Navy's 12 aircraft carriers that is not nuclear-powered, the JFK is under serious consideration for decommissioning by Pentagon officials as a cost-cutting move.

A ruling is expected in February.

``The ship is ready and extremely capable of deploying to any forward theater,'' Rear Adm. Barry McCullough said after the ``Big John'' docked at Black Falcon Pier in South Boston yesterday morning. ``The ship will remain active at least until February.''

With the exception of the USS Constitution, no other Navy ship shares a kinship with Boston like the JFK, which was christened in 1967 by then 9-year-old Caroline Kennedy. ``The namesake says it all,'' said Capt. Dennis FitzPatrick, the JFK's commanding officer. ``It's Boston's aircraft carrier, so to speak.''

Thousands of visitors flocked to the carrier during its last two Hub visits in 1990 and 2000.

The ship, which could serve the nation for at least another 10 years, returned in December to its home port near Jacksonville, Fla., after a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf to support operations in Iraq. During the bloody fighting last fall in Fallujah, JFK pilots flew missions in support of U.S. Marines for 16 consecutive days.
GRAPHIC: THE FEW, THE PROUD: A crew member climbs aboard an F/A-18 on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy yesterday. At left, the USS JFK arrives in Boston Harbor with crewmen standing at attention. STAFF PHOTOS BY DAVID GOLDMAN
LOAD-DATE: May 20, 2005

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The Boston Herald
May 20, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 311 words

USS John F. Kennedy arrives at second home

ABOARD THE USS JOHN F. KENNEDY - Loud bangs or whistling sounds still make them nervously look for cover, even though it has been more than two months since anyone has fired a mortar shell at them.

Standing on the flight deck of the USS John F. Kennedy yesterday, a group of Boston-area Marines were thrilled to be coming home but horrifying moments in Iraq remained fresh in their memories. ``It definitely beats the hell out of Iraq,'' laughed Cpl. Sean Powers, 21, of Quincy. ``We had to deal with car bombs, mortars, rockets and IEDs (improvised explosive devices).''

Members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Marines spent a harrowing deployment in the so-called ``Triangle of Death'' near Baghdad. ``I had a car bomb blow up 30 feet from me,'' said Lance Cpl. Andy Hunnefeld of Plymouth. ``Six of our people got hurt but I didn't get hit.''

The Marines, all in their early 20s, now shun crowds and remain constantly on alert. They will likely return to Iraq next spring.

``We had some tough fights,'' said their commander, Col. Ron Johnson of Duxbury. ``I lost 15 of my men and that was very difficult as a commander.''

Despite the bitter fighting, the Marines were still involved with a different kind of holy war. ``We'd be fighting, but I'd still get my updates on the Red Sox and Yankees,'' chuckled Johnson. ``I'd get back to the command post, check to see if all my men were OK and then ask, `Who won the Sox game last night?' ''

The JFK's visit to Boston also meant an emotional homecoming for many sailors with local ties. Raymond Gibree of Worcester wiped tears from his eyes after he found his parents and twin sisters waiting for him.

``I missed them a lot,'' said Gibree, 24, who has spent nearly four years in the Navy and deployed with the JFK to the Persian Gulf last year. ``My mom is a worrier. It doesn't matter what I say, she still worries.''
GRAPHIC: WELCOME BACK: Raymond Gibree, 24, of Worcester hugs his sister Heather, 22, upon seeing her for the first time since Christmas after disembarking from the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy at the Black Falcon Terminal in South Boston yesterday. STAFF PHOTO BY DAVID GOLDMAN
LOAD-DATE: May 20, 2005

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The Boston Herald
May 20, 2005 Friday

LENGTH: 128 words
HEADLINE: Editorial;

Welcome troops home

Local veterans leader Tom Lyons is giving Bostonians a rare opportunity tomorrow to say a simple thank you to a group of American heroes.

Lyons has organized a parade in South Boston on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in honor of some 450 Marines returning home on the USS John F. Kennedy from two tours of combat duty in

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