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Special Forces Part IV: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Posted by on July 15, 2015 with 0 Comments

Special Forces (SF) was designed in 1953 by Major Herbert Brucker, a veteran of the OSS. First Lieutenant Roger Pezelle adopted it as the unofficial headgear for his A-team, Operational Detachment FA32. They wore it whenever they went to the field for prolonged exercises. Soon it spread throughout all of SF, although the Army refused to authorize its official use.

Special Forces Part IV: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Special Forces soldiers in Vietnam

Special Forces Part IV: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Finally, in 1961, President John F. Kennedy planned to visit Fort Bragg. He sent word to the Special Warfare Center commander, Brigadier General William P. Yarborough, for all SF Soldiers to wear their berets for the event. President Kennedy felt that since they had a special mission, SF should have something to set them apart from the rest. Even before the presidential request, however, the Department of the Army had acquiesced and tele-typed a message to the center authorizing the beret as a part of the SF uniform.

When President Kennedy came to Fort Bragg Oct. 12, 1961, General Yarborough wore his Green Beret to greet the commander-in-chief. The president remarked, “Those are nice. How do you like the Green Beret?” General Yarborough replied, “They’re fine, Sir. We’ve wanted them a long time.”

A message from President Kennedy to General Yarborough later that day stated, “My congratulations to you personally for your part in the presentation today … The challenge of this old but new form of operations is a real one, and I know that you and the members of your command will carry on for us, and the free world in a manner which is both worthy and inspiring. I am sure that the Green Beret will be a mark of distinction in the trying times ahead.”

In an April 1962 White House memorandum for the U.S. Army, President Kennedy showed his continued support for SF, calling the Green Beret “a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.”

You’re currently reading – Special Forces Part IV: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Next: Special Forces Part V: The Vietnam Era

Special Forces Part I: From Birth to Present Day

Special Forces Part II: The Early Years

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Appraisal | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on July 8, 2015 with 0 Comments
The Do's and Don'ts of Home Appraisal

The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Appraisal

The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Appraisal | Scottsdale Real Estate

Selling a home was difficult even before the market started to slide. Now every penny counts more than ever — which means that every leaky window, every dangling gutter and every ugly cabinet can make a big difference in the price of your home. While we all have a natural tendency to nest in the places we live, the reality is that many of the changes you make (or don’t make) can make or break your home’s appraised value.

What to do — and what not to do — before and after a home appraisal?

When remodeling: DO tackle all the major features in each room.

Kitchen — DO have:

  • An open layout
  • Newer matching appliances, stainless steel
  • Extra perks like small beverage refrigerators, dual dishwashers, instant hot water and a central vacuum clean-out
  • Granite countertops
  • Custom cabinetry

DON’T try to fix outdated cabinetry or countertops. These need to be replaced if you want to add value — new hardware won’t be enough to fix them.

Bathroom — DO have:
• New fixtures and mirrors
• A freshly painted tub if necessary
• Natural light
• Good ventilation
• New or refaced cabinetry

DON’T let your bathroom feel dark or have any outdated colors or materials.

Exterior — DO:

  • Pick plants that are evergreen and perennial so your yard always has pops of color.
  • Put in new exterior light fixtures.
  • Add on extra touches like shutters or planter boxes to give your exterior charm.
  • Put a fresh coat of paint or stain on the front door.
  • Keep landscaping healthy and not overgrown.
  • Replace worn-out fencing.

DO pay attention to low-cost finishing touches that can make a big difference. Peeling or chipped paint, mildew, exposed insulation or pipe insulation and visible dry rot are small details that your appraiser is sure to notice. If you have a basement, make sure there are no signs of water leaks, moisture or mildew. Visible evidence will get mentioned in the appraiser’s report.

DON’T try to change your home’s style.

 Interior layout — DO:

  • Incorporate a smooth and open layout. Anything that feels too cramped or doesn’t make sense might need help from a good contractor before going on the market.
  • Think about potential. Does a basement have the capability of turning into a media room, or are the ceilings too low?
  • Fix negative features when possible. Small bathrooms, rooms that are accessed through other rooms, slanted second-floor ceilings and small kitchens can be a downside.

DON’T worry about changing features that are common for the home’s age and area. Appraisers do take into account the way the home functions in the area and for its age.

Before your appraisal: 

DO make a list of recent improvements to your home. Think big and small here — this can range from renovating the kitchen to painting your deck. Make sure your appraiser has a list when comparing your home to others in the area.

DO talk to your appraiser before the inspection. Discuss your house and its history. Find out the appraiser’s history, number of years in business, and knowledge of the area.

DO ask your agent to do a walk-through with the appraiser.

DON’T stage it for the appraiser. There’s no need to do staging until you begin showing your home to buyers. Straightening up and doing light cleaning for the appraiser is fine, but not necessary.

DON’T stage it for the appraiser. There’s no need to do staging until you begin showing your home to buyers. Straightening up and doing light cleaning for the appraiser is fine, but not necessary.

After your appraisal:

DO consider getting a second opinion. Many lenders won’t allow multiple appraisals for a loan, but if you’re not getting an appraisal for lending purposes, it could be worthwhile to get more than one opinion of value if you feel like your home has been seriously undervalued.

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes Team at 480-595-6412

Filed Under: blog

Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams

Posted by on July 8, 2015 with 0 Comments

Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams – By 1958, the basic operational unit of SF had evolved into a 12-man team known as the Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha (SF ODA). Each member of the team – two officers, two operations and intelligence sergeants, two weapons sergeants, two communications sergeants, two medics and two engineers – were trained in unconventional warfare, were cross-trained in each specialty, and spoke at least one foreign language. This composition allowed

Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams

MACV-SOG Team in Vietnam with a Field Hazard – Python

each detachment to operate if necessary in two six-man teams, or split-A teams.

Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams

By the time John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as president in January 1961, the three SF groups – the 10th, the 7th (redesignated from the 77th on June 6, 1960) and the 1st – were actively engaged in missions around the world. Under the patronage of President Kennedy, SF flourished. In 1961, President Kennedy visited Fort Bragg. He inspected the 82nd Airborne Division and other conventional troops of the XVIII Airborne Corps. As a student of military affairs, President Kennedy had developed an interest in counterinsurgency – the art and method of defeating guerrilla movements.

As he gazed at the ranks of SF troops, he realized he had the ideal vehicle for carrying out such missions. With President Kennedy firmly behind them, new SF groups sprang up rapidly. On September 21, 1961, the 5th Group was activated, followed in 1963 by the 8th Group on April 1, the 6th on May 1, and the 3rd on Dec. 5. In April 1966, the 46th SF Company activated at Fort Bragg. Formerly Company D, 1st SF Group, 46th Company deployed to Thailand to train the Royal Thai Army until November 1967.

President Kennedy’s interest in SF resulted in the adoption of the Green Beret as the official headgear of all SF troops. Until then, the beret had faced an uphill fight in its struggle to achieve official Army recognition. After his visit to Fort Bragg, the president told the Pentagon that he considered the Green Beret to be “symbolic of one of the highest levels of courage and achievement of the United States military.” Soon, the Green Beret became synonymous with Special Forces.

Basic Element: SF Operational Detachment-A (SFODA)

Special Forces (United States Army) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Special Forces company normally consists of six ODAs (Operational Detachments-Alpha) or “A-Teams”. Each ODA specializes in an infiltration skill or a particular mission-set (e.g. Military Freefall (HALO), combat diving, mountain warfare, maritime operations, etc.). An ODA is identified by its group, battalion, company, and the team itself. For example, ODA 1234 would be the fourth team in the third company of the second battalion of 1st Special Forces Group.

An ODA consists of 12 men, each of whom has a specific function (MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty) on the team, however all members of an ODA conduct cross-training. The ODA is led by an 18A (Detachment Commander), a Captain, and a 180A (Assistant Detachment Commander) who is his second in command, usually a Warrant Officer One or Chief Warrant Officer Two. The team also includes the following enlisted men: one 18Z (Operations Sergeant) (known as the “Team Sergeant”), usually a Master Sergeant, one 18F (Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant), usually a Sergeant First Class, and two each, 18Bs (Weapons Sergeant), 18Cs (Engineer Sergeant), 18Ds (Medical Sergeant), and 18Es (Communications Sergeant), usually Sergeants First Class, Staff Sergeants or Sergeants. This organization facilitates 6-man “split team” operations, redundancy, and mentoring between a senior NCO and his junior assistant.

Next: The Story Behind the Green Beret

Find out how and why the MACV-SOG group was formed in Vietnam.

Special Forces Article Series

SF Part I: Birth to Present Day = http://www.scottsdalerealestatearizona.com/special-forces-from-birth-to-present-day-part-i/
SF Part II: The Early Years = http://www.scottsdalerealestatearizona.com/special-forces-the-early-years-part-ii/
Special Forces Part III: Twelve Man Teams = http://www.scottsdalerealestatearizona.com/special-forces-part-iii-twelve-man-teams/

Surge Projected in 2015 | Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona

Posted by on July 7, 2015 with 0 Comments

Surge Projected in 2015 | Scottsdale real estate Arizona zip code 85255 in the northeast valley is the most popular in a recent study.

Surge Projected in 2015 Scottsdale real estate Arizona

North Scottsdale Home in Winfield 85266

Michael Orr advised, “Though stable seems boring, it’s not a bad thing for a housing market to stabilize for a bit”

Looking at 2014, last year’s slowdown is over. Now, a rising number of young first-time buyers along with the people who lost houses during the crash, called “boomerang buyers,” empty nesters and investors are seriously looking or purchasing houses in the Valley. The area’s home sales are surging in the first months of 2015.

The median sales price of new homes built in Paradise Valley climbed to $2.62 million last year, up 18 percent from 2013.

Surge Projected 2015 | Scottsdale Real Estate Arizona

Most Popular Area

The Scottsdale, Arizona 85255 ZIP code, north of Loop 101 and east to the McDowell Mountains, is the most popular area in the northeast Valley for sales — almost 1,100 closed during 2014. That’s more than double the pace of sales in Paradise Valley and some neighboring Scottsdale areas.

The median sales price in 85255 climbed more than 6 percent last year.

ZIP code 85255 also is home to an area rivaling Paradise Valley to become the region’s most expensive neighborhood — Silverleaf in DC Ranch. Currently, a 30,000-square-foot mansion is on the market for $32 million in Silverleaf. That’s the priciest house for sale in the Valley.

Need Affordable – Go West

The winner for the biggest price jump in the West Valley was Surprise’s ZIP code 85378. The area, next to Sun City West, saw a 13.3 percent increase in its median home price during 2014.

More-affordable home prices still continue to draw buyers to the West Valley. People are buying newer houses that are mirror images of those in Scottsdale, north Phoenix or Chandler — but typically cost 25 to 50 percent less.

The median price in her neighborhood, near Pinnacle Peak Road and 91st Avenue, is $325,000, the highest in the West Valley. The area had 875 new home sales last year, more than any other Valley ZIP code. ZIP code 85383 also led the Valley for overall sales at 1,801 during 2014. Next was ZIP code 85338 in Goodyear, with 1,475 sales.

20 to 30 percent: Sales increase projected in next few months compared with the same period in 2014.

Source: Cromford® Report. Mike Orr, Director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

Who Has The Fairest Kitchen Of Them All? | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on July 3, 2015 with 0 Comments

Who has the fairest kitchen of them all? It’s not a fairy tale, but the truth: Great-looking kitchens are magnets that lure potential buyers into a home. When your home is on the market, the kitchen must look its best—online and especially in person. Since so much time is spent in this room, it’s critical today to

Who Has The Fairest Kitchen Of Them All

Kitchen Ideas

focus on the kitchen—and make it look terrific.

First: Prepare to make a mental switch—the home is no longer the center of your family’s life, but rather, a property for sale. Second: Make your property truly show its value. More than a magic wand, you may need to do some serious housework.

By their nature, kitchens are prime targets for clutter, wear and grime. (What other room do we fill with so many gadgets?)

Who Has The Fairest Kitchen Of Them All

Here are some great tips on how to stage your kitchen to sell your home:

Stash Counter Stuff

Clutter—even if the counters and floors are sparkling clean—makes a kitchen look smaller. Clear all small appliances from the kitchen countertops—even the coffee maker, toaster, blender, etc. While your home is on the market, find a place to stow your counter stuff…then treat yourself to java or breakfast out.
Utensils, spices, canisters, tissues, chargers, TV, even countertop microwave should be stored, leaving the counters open and clean. Make sure mail, homework, and newspapers don’t collect in the kitchen. Designate a special shelf, drawer or box as a drop zone for this always-growing pile.

Focus On The Fridge

Who Has The Fairest Kitchen Of Them All

Kitchen Ideas

Remove everything from your bulletin board-cum-fridge door. Pack up the magnets, calendars, to-do lists, photos, kids’ art, homework and postcards. Put them in a special box marked ‘Fridge Art,’ so you can find them again after you move. Don’t forget to store away all the stuff from the top of the fridge, as well. Then mop the top down with a wet cloth and mild soap.

While you’re at it, this would be a good time to clean out the refrigerator. You’re going to throw out all the excess condiments and mystery freezer bags when you move anyway. Why not sooner than later? Don’t lose the overall effect of a sparkling kitchen when a potential buyer opens the refrigerator door to find old food and stains.

Universal Shine

Once you’ve defeated the clutter, it’s time to clean up. Cabinets collect grease and grime, but we sometimes don’t see it. Give your cabinets and appliances a deep cleaning outside and in. Buyers love a sparkling oven and microwave ready to receive their own dishes. Replace any outdated or worn cabinet hardware and tighten loose hinges and knobs.

While your home is on the market, switch to pumps for liquid hand soap and dish liquid. There’s nothing more off-putting than a bar of soupy soap. When you’re working the tile and walls, remove pictures, frames and patch hanger holes. Toss the old sink mat. Store (or toss) that drying rack—for now put wet dishes in the dishwasher rack to dry. For every showing, display unused dish towels.

Check your lighting and fans in the kitchen and make sure that all bulbs and switches work because buyers will.

The Nose Knows

Unpleasant smells are a turn off to buyers. Take out the garbage and recycling—daily. Potpourri and air fresheners are a plus. To clear cooking aromas burn a candle or put out fresh coffee grounds in a dish. Run a lemon through the disposal to freshen the air before a showing. Same goes for the sink full of dishes; do them every day or load them in the dishwasher or, while your home is on the market, use disposable dinnerware.

Get A Professional Opinion

Luxury Valley Homes

Have a safe and happy 4th of July

Kitchens can be a heavy traffic zone. Even if you declutter and clean up, some kitchens can still look ‘used.’ Visit a new home model to see how appealing an immaculate kitchen can be. Or flip through any home design magazine. Imagine you’re getting your kitchen ready for a photo shoot—which you are. Count on us at Scottsdale Real Estate in Arizona to advise you if a makeover makes top-dollar marketing sense.

When you’re ready to list your home for sale, contact us. We’ll work with you to show you how to showcase your entire home in ways that will make buyers write that perfect purchase contract…which is the point.

If you’re looking for a home check out  the currently listing that are available and updated every 15 minutes at Popular Sub-Divisions that are on the Scottsdale real estate market.

The Luxury Valley Homes team brings you the entire Maricopa County real estate market right here.

Do you want some more ideas for Luxury kitchen designs, have a look at Kitchen Design Ideashttp://www.kitchen-design-ideas.org/luxury-kitchen-design.html 

SPECIAL FORCES: The Early Years | Part II

Posted by on July 2, 2015 with 0 Comments

Special Forces: The Early Years – Special Forces (SF) grew out of the establishment of the Special Operations Division of the Psychological Warfare Center, activated at Fort Bragg, N.C., in May 1952. The Army allocated 2,300 personnel slots to make up the first Special Forces (SF) unit when the Ranger companies fighting in the Korean War were disbanded.

SPECIAL FORCES: The Early Years

Special Forces Training

The 10th SF Group was established with Colonel Aaron Bank as the first commander. Concurrent with this was the establishment of the Psychological Warfare School, which ultimately became today’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

Col. Bank assembled a cadre of officers and NCOs to serve as the foundation of the new unit, and act as a training staff for the fledgling organization. Bank did not want raw recruits. He wanted the best troops in the Army, and he got them as former OSS officers, airborne troops, ex-Rangers and combat veterans of World War II and Korea. After months of preparation, the 10th SF Group was activated on June 11, 1952, at Fort Bragg. On the day of its activation, the total strength of the group was 10 Soldiers – Col. Bank, 1 warrant officer and eight enlisted men. Within months, the first volunteers reported to the 10th SF Group by the hundreds as they completed the initial phase of their SF training.

SPECIAL FORCES: The Early Years

As soon as the 10th Group became large enough, Col. Bank began training his troops in the most advanced techniques of unconventional warfare. As defined by the Army, the main mission of the 10th SF Group was “to infiltrate by land, sea or air, deep into enemy-occupied territory and organize the resistance/guerrilla potential to conduct Special Forces operations, with emphasis on guerrilla warfare.” As Bank put it, “Our training included many more complex subjects, and was geared to entirely different, more difficult, comprehensive missions, and complex operations.”

After less than a year and a half as a full SF group, Bank’s men proved to the Army’s satisfaction that they had mastered the skills of their new trade.

On Nov. 11 1953, half of the 10th SF Group deployed to Bad Tolz, West Germany. The other half remained at Fort Bragg, where it was designated as the 77th SF Group. The split of the 10th and the 77th was the first sign that SF had established itself as an integral part of the Army’s basic structure.

SPECIAL FORCES: The Early Years

Our Salute to the 4th Of July

For the rest of the 1950s, SF would grow slowly but consistently. By the end of 1952, the first SF troops to operate behind enemy lines in Korea on missions that remained classified for nearly 30 years.

Anti-communist guerrillas with homes in North Korea and historical ties to Seoul had joined the United Nations Partisan Forces-Korea. Known as “Donkeys” and “Wolfpacks,” the guerrilla units and their American cadre operated from tiny islands off the North Korean coast. The partisans conducted raids on the mainland, and rescued downed airman. Under the guidance of a select group from the 10th SF Group and other U.S. cadre, they eventually numbered 22,000 and claimed 69,000 enemy casualties.

On April 1, 1956, the 14th Special Forces Operational Detachment with select members from 77th SF Group, 12th, 13th and 16th operational detachments, under the cover unit of the 8251st Army Service Unit, transferred to Fort Shaffer, Hawaii from Fort Bragg, N.C., in June 1956. Shortly afterward, the 12th, 13th and 16th Special Forces Operational Detachment (SFOD) regiment were moved to Camp Drake, Japan under the cover unit identification of 8231st Army Unit. 1st Special Forces Group was officially activated on June 24, 1957 at Camp Drake, however, the activation ceremony was held on July 14, 1957 at Camp Buckner, Okinawa. On Oct. 30, 1960, all SF groups reorganized under the combat arms regimental system. 1st SF Group was regimented, 1st SF Group in recognition of its lineage with the First Special Service Force of World War II.

Why were the original teams consist of twelve (12) men? Next: The twelve-man teams.

Next Week: SPECIAL FORCES: Twelve Man Teams | Part III

THE PHOTO:

The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (USAJFKSWCS) at Fort Bragg, N.C., is one of the Army’s premier education institutions, managing and resourcing professional growth for Soldiers in the Army’s three distinct special operations branches: Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations. The Soldiers educated through USAJFKSWCS programs are using cultural expertise and unconventional techniques to serve their country in far-flung areas across the globe. More than anything, these Soldiers bring integrity, adaptability and regional expertise to their assignments.

On any given day, approximately 3,100 students are enrolled in USAJFKSWCS training programs. Courses range from entry-level training to advanced warfighter skills for seasoned officers and NCOs. The 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) qualifies Soldiers to enter the special operations community, and teaches them advanced tactical skills as they progress through their careers.

The Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center, operating under the auspices of the Special Warfare Medical Group, is the central training facility for Department of Defense special operations combat medics. Furthermore, USAJFKSWCS leads efforts to professionalize the Army’s entire special operations force through the Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute and the David K. Thuma Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

While most courses are conducted at Fort Bragg, USAJFKSWCS enhances its training by maintaining facilities, and relationships with outside institutions, across the country. In all, USAJFKSWCS offers 41 unique courses that give Soldiers the skills they need to survive and succeed on the battlefield.

Why did SF form the twelve (12) man teams?

SPECIAL FORCES: From Birth to Present Day | Part I

SPECIAL FORCES: The Early Years | Part II

Next Week: SPECIAL FORCES: Twelve Man Teams

Photo provided by SOC.MIL/SWCS – US Army

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage edges up to 4.02%

Posted by on June 27, 2015 with 0 Comments

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage edges up to 4.02%. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage edged up to 4.02 percent this week from 4 percent a week earlier. The rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 3.21 percent from 3.23 percent.

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage edges up to 4.02%

Low Mortgage Rates Are History

Mortgage rates have increased in recent weeks, in the midst of the spring home buying season, as the economy has shown signs of improvement.

Government data issued Tuesday showed that purchases of new U.S. homes surged in the Northeast and West last month, as steady job growth over the past year has lifted the housing market. Sales of new homes have soared 24 percent year-to-date and are on pace for their best year since 2007. They’ve been bolstered by the additional incomes from employers hiring 3.1 million workers in the past 12 months and mortgage rates that remain low by historical standards despite their recent increase.

A year ago, the average 30-year rate was 4.14 percent; the 15-year was slightly above its current level, at 3.22 percent.

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage edges up to 4.02%

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country at the beginning of each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage edges up to 4.02%

Home For Sale in Scottsdale, AZ

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 0.7 point. The fee for a 15-year loan rose to 0.6 point from 0.5 point.

The average rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 2.98 percent from 3 percent; the fee remained at 0.4 point. The average rate on one-year ARMs declined to 2.50 percent from 2.53 percent; the fee rose to 0.3 point from 0.2 point.

Arizona, and particularly the Maricopa County area is following suit. We believe the end of the very low mortgage rates is going into the history books.

7 Must-Dos on the Day You Show Your House | Scottsdale Real Estate

Posted by on June 25, 2015 with 0 Comments
7 Must-Dos on the Day You Show Your House | Scottsdale Real Estate

7 Must-Dos on the Day You Show Your House | Scottsdale Real Estate

7 Must-Dos on the Day You Show Your House | Scottsdale Real Estate

Don’t risk losing buyers because of little things you overlook. Check these off your list before you open the front door.

The “For Sale” sign is up. You’ve completed the big projects and the little tweaks, so you’re hopeful your efforts will pay off with a quick and profitable offer. But now comes the most critical part of the home-selling cycle: the day of a showing or an open house. A negative first impression can directly translate into dollars off a full asking price. Before opening the door to potential buyers the day of a showing, follow these tips from top Realtors and stagers all over the world.

1.  Detach from the stuff. Home experts agree the first and most important step to a successful listing is to emotionally separate from the house and the objects within it. Take down family photographs and religious items.

Letting go of the emotional connections to the items inside the home will make you more objective about any necessary changes and more open to Realtor and buyer feedback. To ease the selling process, embrace the idea that your house is a commodity that needs to be sold, and transfer any emotional connections to your new destination.

Don’t forget: Foyer tables, fireplace mantels and refrigerator doors are popular display spots for loads of personal items like holiday cards, children’s artwork, pictures and trophies. Pare down or clear off these spots for showings.

2.  Make sure it looks clean. Cleaning seems so obvious, and is inexpensive, but the lack of it is one of the biggest complaints agents hear. Hopefully, you’ve done the big scrub leading up to open-house day: carpets steamed, floors mopped, windows wiped, appliances scoured. But on the day of a showing, don’t overlook little details like crumbs on the table from breakfast, toothpaste remnants in sinks, half-full trash cans on display and dust bunnies in rooms you don’t frequent. Do a quick walk-through with a duster, reaching into recessed lights and corners, straighten the bedspreads in all the rooms, put away loose shoes in hallways and tuck away pet beds and bowls. For added visual appeal and a more spa-like vibe, switch to new, clean towels.

Don’t forget: Wipe down surfaces that people would naturally touch, such as stair banisters, hand rails and items that have inviting textures. People love touching things. Textures change everything, as they propel people into various good spots in their memories. Candles. Shells. A leafy houseplant that says, ‘Touch me’.

3.  Make sure it smells clean too. Besides a home’s visual appeal, nothing triggers more comments than scents. Diffuse cooking, pet and musty odors by airing out the home with open windows or air purifiers.

4.  Remove sight-line impairments. Artists, architects and designers are well versed in the simple trick of drawing the eye to something appealing, whether it’s a unique color, the next room or a special view. Eliminate items such as knickknacks, toys, small appliances and bath products that stop the eye, or worse, make spaces look smaller. Though many rugs add warmth and color, consider rolling them up if they break up a room disjointedly or if they obscure attractive selling points like stunning hardwood floors or beautiful tilework. Bathrooms, especially small ones, will look bigger without the rugs. If it’s a huge master spa bath with a coordinated rug, then it can stay if it warms up a big, cold space.

Comforting smells, like baking bread or brewing coffee, can be appealing to most potential buyers.

But beware of strong spray scents, candles or other products. Don’t leave plug-in air fresheners around your home. Some people are allergic to scents, and it only highlights that you have an odor problem.

Don’t forget: Pet foods, toys, litter boxes and blankets may have distinct smells. Stow these items or take them out of the house during showings. Have bins or baskets on hand to clear off counter tops, floors, tables and desks.  It’s a lot easier to put away one or two small bins than it is to have to find a spot for 15 different toiletry items.

Don’t forget: Store tablecloths and dish towels to accentuate a kitchen’s work space and appliances.  Kitchens look bigger if your eye does not stop at the dishtowel on the oven, dishwasher and sink.

5.  Improve traffic flow. Over time, homeowners become desensitized to what their possessions look like and where they are placed. The coatrack by the kitchen door, for example, might be practical for your family, but it can look like poor storage to a potential buyer.

Walk through each room and determine if the furniture arrangement contributes to a comfortable flow and use of space, or if it simply is that way because that’s how it has always been.

Don’t forget: Too little furniture can be just as bad as too much. A tiny couch in a large family room might prompt buyers to worry they’ll never be able to furnish the whole space. If needed, re purpose pieces from spare rooms to comfortably fill out an area.

6.  Create the “Goldilocks Effect.” No matter what time of day or year, the home’s temperature, lighting and noise levels should be just right during an open house. Room temperatures should be not too hot and not too cold. Blinds, shades and drapes should be open, and lights should be on.

 Don’t forget: Let in pleasant ambient sounds, from birds chirping outside to a soothing water feature. Calming music in the background, high enough to hear but low enough to not overwhelm, can do wonders.

7.  Be strategic about handouts and valuables. Documents about the home, especially with attractive photos, should be readily accessible. Property brochures and information should be placed in the foyer area, located on a console or table with some fresh flowers. Buyers can pick up that information upon entering or leaving.

Whether it’s an invitation-only showing or a large opening for the masses, it’s important to safeguard valuables, personal information and sensitive items. Stow small items like electronics, jewelry and prescription medications, and protect financial statements and documents.

Don’t forget:  Shut off and password-protect computers too.

Brought to you by the Luxury Valley Homes team at 480-595-6412

 

Filed Under: blog

Special Forces – From Birth to Present Day | Part I

Posted by on June 25, 2015 with 1 Comments

Special Forces – From Birth to Present Day | Part I – The first Special Forces groups originated from an elite combined Canadian-American unit that fought in the Aleutians, Italy, and southern France.

It was nick named the Devils Brigade, and formed on July 9, 1942, at Fort William Henry in Montana.

Merrill’s Marauders is known for their 5 major battles and 17 skirmishes in the China-Burma-India Theater.

Special Forces - From Birth to Present Day | Part I

Merrill’s Marauders

The Marauders’ greatest feat was their march through miles of thick Burmese jungle in route to the capture of the vital airfield at Myitkyina. Decimated by disease and battle casualties, the Marauders were disbanded after the battle, and replaced by the Mars Task Force, a similar infantry unit that fought in Burma and China until the end of the war. While with the Mars Task Force, First Sergeant Jack Knight earned the only Medal of Honor awarded to a special-operations Soldier during World War II.

Special Forces - From Birth to Present Day | Part I

Clyde Miller – Merrill’s Marauders

In the Southwest Pacific Theater, Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, the innovative commander of the Sixth Army, established an elite reconnaissance unit called the Alamo Scouts. The Scouts ran more than 80 reconnaissance missions in New Guinea, and the Philippines, providing accurate, timely intelligence for the Sixth Army.

In perhaps their greatest feat, the Scouts led a company of the 6th Ranger Battalion, and Filipino guerrillas in an attack on the Japanese prison camp at Cabanatuan, 30 miles behind the Japanese lines, freeing all 513 Allied prisoners. Never numbering more than 70 volunteers, the Alamo Scouts earned 44 Silver Star Medals, 33 Bronze Star Medals and 4 Soldier’s Medals by the end of the war.

In more than 80 hazardous missions, they never lost a man in action. Command Sergeant major Galen Kittleson, a Son Tay raider, began his career with the Alamo Scouts.

Lieutenant General Krueger also formed the 6th Ranger Battalion to provide his Army with the capability of conducting raids behind enemy lines. Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci, the battalion commander, led the raid on Cabanatuan. Captain Arthur “Bull” Simons, a key figure in the early days of Special Forces, served as a company commander with the 6th Ranger Battalion.

Special Forces – From Birth to Present Day | Part I

Besides these organized special-operations efforts, a number of U.S. Army officers chose not to surrender at Bataan and conducted guerrilla operations behind Japanese lines in the Philippines. Major Russell Volckmann, who later played an important role in the birth of Special Forces, escaped from the enemy and with First Lieutenant Donald D. Blackburn, formed a Filipino guerrilla band in northern Luzon, which by 1945 consisted of five regiments. Colonel Wendell Fertig raised his own guerrilla force on Mindanao that ultimately totaled some 20,000 fighters. These men organized the insurgency against the Japanese and waged a classic guerrilla campaign until the end of the war.

In more than 80 hazardous missions, they never lost a man in action. Command Sergeant major Galen Kittleson, a Son Tay raider, began his career with the Alamo Scouts.

Lieutenant General Krueger also formed the 6th Ranger Battalion to provide his Army with the capability of conducting raids behind enemy lines. Lieutenant Colonel Henry Mucci, the battalion commander, led the raid on Cabanatuan. Captain Arthur “Bull” Simons, a key figure in the early days of Special Forces, served as a company commander with the 6th Ranger Battalion.

Besides these organized special-operations efforts, a number of U.S. Army officers chose not to surrender at Bataan and conducted guerrilla operations behind Japanese lines in the Philippines. Major Russell Volckmann, who later played an important role in the birth of Special Forces, escaped from the enemy and with First Lieutenant Donald D. Blackburn, formed a Filipino guerrilla band in northern Luzon, which by 1945 consisted of five regiments. Colonel Wendell Fertig raised his own guerrilla force on Mindanao that ultimately totaled some 20,000 fighters. These men organized the insurgency against the Japanese and waged a classic guerrilla campaign until the end of the war. More on Merrill’s Marauders

Note:
1.   The lady that is pictured in the photo is holding a shadow box that helps memorialize Clyde Miller of Merrill’s Marauders.

2,   Merrill’s Marauders photo was originally published in Nimitz News, a publication of The National Museum of the Pacific War

How did this group help mission efforts?

Article:  Special Forces – From Birth to Present Day | Part I

Next: Part II – Special Forces: The Early Years

Rangers, SEALs, Raiders: Marines Resurrect Historic Name

Posted by on June 19, 2015 with 0 Comments

Rangers, SEALs, Raiders: Marines resurrect historic name. The Army has the Green Berets, while the eNavy is known for the SEALs. Now, an elite branch of the U.S. Marine Corps will officially be known as Raiders.

The Marines will rename several special operations units as Marine Raiders at a ceremony Friday, resurrecting a moniker made famous by World War II units that carried out risky amphibious and guerrilla operations. The exploits of the original Marine Raiders — who pioneered tactics used by present-day special forces — were captured in books and movies including “Gung Ho!” in 1943 and “Marine Raiders” in 1944.

The name will give a unique identity to the Marines’ branch of U.S. Special Operations Command, which includes special forces from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The Marines’ Special Operations Command, known as MARSOC, was formed more than a decade ago as part of the global fight against terrorism.

“Whereas most people in the American public probably wouldn’t have been able to tell you what MARSOC stood for, ‘Raider’ will jump off the page,” said Ben Connable, a military and intelligence analyst at the nonprofit research agency RAND Corporation.

Rangers, SEALs, Raiders: Marines resurrect historic name

Marine Raiders

After Friday, the formal names of eight units comprising some 2,700 Marines will include “Marine Raider.” Representatives from the units will gather in formation with their commanders to unveil their new battle colors while renaming citations are read.

In a news release, the Marine Corps said the renaming will give commanders a shorthand way to refer to special operations Marines, similar to the labels “Green Beret” or “SEAL,” in what it called “an official identity.”

Connable, the military analyst, said special operations Marines carry out raids on insurgents or terrorists, conduct deep reconnaissance and train foreign military — similar to their special operations counterparts in other branches.

Marines in MARSOC must pass a selection process that includes grueling swims and hikes, as well as specialized combat training.

Some Marines have worn the Raider emblems unofficially since 2003 when the branch’s first present-day special operations unit was activated for a deployment to Iraq.

Rangers, SEALs, Raiders: Marines Resurrect Historic Name

Connable said the resurrection of the Raider name was a positive move because it will tie a group set apart from the rest of the branch into the history of some of the most famous Marines. He said MARSOC wasn’t initially popular with some Marines because of the branch’s famous “esprit de corps” that includes pride in the group and the concept that all members are elite to begin with.

“The whole idea of ‘special Marines’ is unpalatable to Marines in general,” said Connable, a retired Marine officer.

Rangers, SEALs, Raiders: Marines resurrect historic name

Marine Raiders WWII Guadalcanal

During World War II, the Raiders were organized in response to President Franklin Roosevelt’s desire to have a commando-style force that could conduct amphibious raids and operate behind enemy lines. Raider commanders studied unconventional warfare tactics, including Chinese guerrillas, and were given their pick of men and equipment, according to Marine historians.

Raider units were credited with beating larger Japanese forces on difficult terrain in the Pacific and they participated in key battles including Guadalcanal and Bougainville. They were disbanded toward the end of the war and the Raider name hasn’t been used in an official capacity since, said Capt. Barry Morris, a U.S. Marines spokesman.

“What the name ‘Raider’ does, it harkens back to the legacy that the Marine Corps has latched onto and has drawn a lot from, both in an esoteric and practical sense,” Connable said. “It is a remarkable legacy.”

Article:  Rangers, SEALs, Raiders: Marines resurrect historic name

By: Associated Press | Jun 19, 2015 |

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