Military News

Monday, August 04, 2008

Videos for Children of Deployed Military Members Gain Popularity

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 4, 2008 - Two videos produced by
Army Medical Command and the American Academy of Pediatrics to help children and adolescents cope during a parent's deployment are gaining in popularity. "Military Youth Coping with Separation: When Family Members Deploy" addresses a variety of deployment-related concerns for teens, and "Mr. Poe and Friends Discuss Reunion After Deployment" was made for elementary-school-age children.

"We hope these videos will support the healthy emotional development of
Military children and adolescents during potentially difficult times in their lives," Army Maj. (Dr.) Keith Lemmon of the pediatrics department at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis, Wash., said during a "Dot-Mil-Docs" radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com July 31. "We also hope these videos will decrease feelings of stigma and isolation in our Military children while sensitizing the larger American community to military child and adolescent culture and support needs.",

Lemmon is a co-founder of the Military Child and Adolescent Center of Excellence and vice president of the Uniformed Services West Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The videos, developed by
Military pediatricians and youth professionals to help military children understand and deal with the emotions related to a family member's deployment, have been so well-received that another 100,000 copies of each video will be distributed by Military One Source in the near future. More than 100,000 copies initially produced in the project already have been distributed.

"Our goal is to reduce the anxiety and fear surrounding a military deployment, and let children know they are not alone in the struggles their families are facing," Lemmon said.

Lemmon, an
Army pediatrician and adolescent medicine subspecialist, first became aware of the need for more support for the children of deployed families when he served in Afghanistan in 2002. He and his wife, a teacher, did their best to prepare their son for the deployment, but it soon became clear they hadn't done enough.

"Within just a couple of weeks of my departure, my normally well-behaved 4-year old son started having some acting-out behavior, and a little bit of regression, kind of moving backward in his development," Lemmon said. "[He] was expressing that he wasn't comfortable with my absence."

The doctor said it struck him when he returned from his six-month deployment that if he and his wife were having this degree of difficulty as child health and educational professionals, how might this be affecting the average soldier, airman, sailor or
Marine, who is likely to have has less understanding of child behavior? When Lemmon returned to his duties as a pediatrician at Fort Bragg, N.C., he began noticing how the frequent and extended deployments were affecting the children in his practice.

"When I got back from my deployment, a lot of other soldiers were deploying, and I began to notice a lot of children who were presenting with complaints of headaches and stomachaches that I couldn't explain," Lemmon said.

He added that if children are not emotionally content, perhaps associated with the lack of a connection with an important adult in their life, they may start to display physical symptoms.

"As pediatricians, we are not trained to look that closely at how emotional concerns and stress affect the physical health of our young patients," Lemmon acknowledged. "However, we are hoping to address that lack of training through the videos we've developed and many other opportunities developing through the
Military Child and Adolescent Center of Excellence that is being established at Madigan Army Medical Center."

Lemmon said his family's experience with his own deployment inspired him to address the effects of deployment among adolescents. If servicemembers have the perception that their children's emotional and physical health are being well-cared-for when they are deployed, he explained, they are more likely to be able to focus on their critically important military missions.

"As we start to frame the discussion more in terms of
Military family readiness and support, it is becoming more popular," he said. "As we provide more support for our military families to prepare them for the potential stresses of deployment and separation, then our warriors are going to be more able to focus on their mission."

Lemmon added that while servicemembers voluntarily join the
Military, their children's service and sacrifice are more of a compulsory condition of being a military child, so it's important to acknowledge that and to honor the children's personal service and sacrifice.

"Being a military child or adolescent is actually a very unique experience," Lemmon said. "We think belonging to a
Military family really is a special thing. Military children serve and sacrifice for their nation in a way that is very important and is different from the way we as Military servicemembers serve and sacrifice."

In addition to the videos, the national community continues to show its support for military children and adolescents. Lemmon added that the American Academy of Pediatrics is providing a voice for what it means to be a military child through its funding and supporting much of the advocacy work that has been done in this area, including the development of the AAP
Military Youth Deployment Support Web site.

Lemmon added that other programs also offer assistance, such as the Military Child Education Coalition.

"They advocate for educational issues for children, making sure that
Military children are treated fairly when they transfer into new school districts and that their credits transfer and they don't have to retake the basic history course every time they move to a new place because they are military kids," Lemmon explained.

The doctor said the videos for teens and younger children are different because their deployment-related needs are different. "We know children experience stress differently based on their developmental age," he said. "Younger children may have significant attachment concerns when their parents deploy. They need to attach to their parents, feel comfortable and connected in order to grow up emotionally healthy."

Both videos are available for online viewing on the American Academy of Pediatrics Deployment Support Web site at www.aap.org/sections/unifserv/deployment/ and are available for ordering in DVD format through
Military One Source at 1-800-342-9647 or www.militaryonesource.com/skins/MOS/home.aspx.

(
Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media directorate at the Defense Media Activity.)

2008 Maintenance Award Winners Announced

The Department of Defense today announced the 2008 winners of the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards at the depot and field levels. These awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding achievements in military equipment and weapon systems maintenance.

The Robert T. Mason Depot Maintenance Excellence Award recipient is the H-1 Aircraft Production Program at the
Navy's Fleet Readiness Center East, Cherry Point, N.C. The program provided exceptional and responsive aviation maintenance and logistics support to the operational forces and its many and varied warfighters/customers around the world

The depot-level award is named in recognition of Robert T. Mason, a former assistant deputy under secretary of defense for maintenance policy, programs, and resources. Mason served as the champion of organic depot maintenance for three decades, while helping to transform DoD organic depot-level operations.

There are six field-level awards presented in the categories of large, medium, and small units (two each). The recipients of this year's Secretary of Defense Field-level Maintenance Awards are as follows: for the large category, the
Army's 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery, Fort Bliss, Texas, and the Air Force's 1st Special Operations Maintenance Group, Hurlburt Field, Fla. Winners in the medium category include the Navy's Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, Whidbey Island, Wash. and the Air Force's 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Aviano, Italy. Small category winners include the Army''s Bravo Company, 610th Brigade Support Battalion, Fort Riley, Kan. and the Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312, Beaufort, S.C.

The awards will be presented to the winners at the Secretary of Defense Maintenance Awards banquet on Oct. 29, 2008, during the 2008 DoD Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Denver, Colo. Additional information regarding the 2008 DoD Maintenance Symposium and Exhibition can be found at http://www.sae.org/dod.

Sailor Missing from The Vietnam War is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, has been identified.

He is Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Manuel R. Denton, U.S.
Navy, of Kerrville, Texas. He will be buried as part of a group on Thursday in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On Oct. 8, 1963, Denton was one of six men who crewed a UH-34D Choctaw helicopter that was on a search-and-rescue mission. While over Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, the helicopter came under intense enemy ground fire and crashed. There were no survivors. Over the next several days, the remains of four of the crewmen were recovered, however the remains of Denton and one other crewman, U.S.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Luther E. Ritchey Jr., were not recovered.

Between 1991 and 2000, several joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), traveled to Quang Nam Province to investigate the incident and interview witnesses. Teams also surveyed the crash site and found wreckage consistent with a UH-34D.

In 2000 and 2001, human remains associated with this incident were turned over to U.S. officials. In 2002, a joint team excavated the crash site and recovered human remains.

As a result of the remains turned over in 2000 and 2001, and of those recovered from the crash site in 2002, Ritchey's remains were identified in 2003. Some of these remains could not be individually identified, and they are included in a group representing the entire crew. Denton's remains are in this group, which will be buried together in Arlington.

JPAC used
forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence in Denton's identification.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.

National Guard Stands Ready for Tropical Storm Edouard

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 4, 2008 - Up to 1,200 National Guard citizen-soldiers and -airmen stand ready today as Tropical Storm Edouard approaches
Texas. With about 1,000 Guard members serving overseas, the Texas National Guard had more than 20,000 troops to draw from in the state, Army Maj. Gen. Charles Rodriguez, the adjutant general, told Fox News. "We have plenty of folks to help," Rodriguez said. "It's just a matter of responding appropriately."

Residents should have food, water, prescribed medications and ice stocked in advance of the approaching storm, Rodriguez said.

The
Texas National Guard was requesting medical evacuation teams from other states in case any coastal medical facilities had to be evacuated by air, National Guard Bureau officials reported.

"We are being assisted by our Air National Guard in Delaware,
Mississippi and West Virginia," Army Col. Bill Meehan, public affairs officer for the Texas National Guard, said.

Tropical Storm Edouard comes in the wake of July's Hurricane Dolly. More than 890 members of the Texas National Guard, numerous land vehicles, seven helicopters and an RC-26 surveillance aircraft helped with transportation, distribution of supplies, and search and rescue after Hurricane Dolly, in an operation that ended yesterday.

Meehan said Guard troops are more than ready for another storm.

"Morale is always high in
Texas," Meehan said. "We look forward to serving the citizens of Texas, and always have and always will. When they need us, we will be there."

Meehan said the
Texas Guard would have several likely missions if the need arises. "We would anticipate operating points of distribution; shelter; communications; logistics; transportation of food, water and ice; and medical care," he said. "We will assist with damage assessment."

The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning. Late this morning, Edouard was about 160 miles south-southwest of Lafayette, La., and was moving west at about 8 mph, the weather service reported.

The center of the storm was expected to be off the coast of southwest Louisiana or near the upper Texas coast by tomorrow morning, the weather service stated.

A storm surge and heavy rain -- up to 10 inches in
Texas -- were both predicted. The storm could be a near-hurricane by the time it makes landfall and might spawn tornadoes, the National Hurricane Center reported.

(
Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill serves with the National Guard Bureau.)

Face of Defense: Soldier Seeks, Finds Excitement in Army

By Army Sgt. Brad Willeford
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 4, 2008 - When Pfc. Tommy Smith enlisted in the
Army in 2006, he joined the infantry looking for excitement and adventure. The Rome, Ga., native is deployed to Multinational Division Baghdad with the 25th Infantry Division's Company A, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, and is having the adventure he always looked for.

Smith worked in construction before joining the
Army, and in his spare time he practiced the martial arts he learned from his father. In high school, Smith played football and spent his weekends working on his truck and hanging out with friends. But when the sense of adventure he wanted was not there, he decided to see what the Army had to offer.

His first sense of adventure came quickly after signing his enlistment contract. His first plane ride -- to basic combat training at Fort Benning, Ga. -- was one of the many firsts for Smith in his
military career.

His next stop was Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

There, Smith took advantage of all that Hawaii has to offer. He spent his days hiking, snorkeling and driving around the island. When he received word of his imminent deployment to Iraq, he took the news in stride.

"I knew full well that I would be going to Iraq," he said. He said the news was not a shock and that he looked forward to the challenge.

On the flight to Kuwait en route to Iraq, Smith said, he felt a little anxious and full of anticipation, but that he was able to take strength in knowing he knew his job, and knew it well.

"He is always ready for any mission. [He] just says 'Roger' and moves out. He is also very handy with tools. He chips in wherever he can," said Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Zwicker, a native of Modesto, Calif., and Smith's platoon sergeant.

In his first seven months in Iraq, Smith has been on more than 75 missions, working as a member of the personal
security detail for the company commander. As a part the PSD, it is Smith's job is to protect and provide security for the commander when he goes on missions and into the community.

Smith said he likes his job and the opportunity it gives him to have more interaction with the Iraqi population.

"Most of the people are not here to do anything bad to us," he said. "I like knowing that I am helping them."

He also said he enjoys being able to talk with the Iraqi children. "They remind me of my cousins back home," he said after giving several children pieces of candy that he keeps in his pocket for them.

Since the company's arrival, the soldiers have been involved in numerous outreach programs in the Taji community, northwest of Baghdad.

"Things seem to be going great right now, but there is always room for improvement," Smith said.

(
Army Sgt. Brad Willeford serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 25th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team.)

America Supports You: Scholarship Keeps Military Families 'In the Fold'

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 4, 2008 - A
military child's education is one of many things a servicemember's injury or death in the line of duty could jeopardize. To make sure that never happens, retired Air National Guard F-16 pilot and Iraq War veteran Maj. Dan Rooney created Oklahoma-based "Folds of Honor."

"Folds of Honor is dedicated to providing deserving families with tailored, effective, lasting change through education," said Jason Ohrenberger, the organization's senior vice president for future development. "[It] provides current- and future-use educational scholarships for spouses and children of
military servicemembers killed or disabled in action in Iraq or Afghanistan."

For spouses, who in many cases become the primary breadwinner, these scholarships can help pave the road to a better job. It also can offer them peace of mind about paying for their children's college educations even if they're not ready to head off for college just yet.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and must include copies of the servicemember's discharge paperwork, certificate of death or disability or proof of prisoner-of-war or missing-in-action status, proof of dependency and a family photo, all in digital format. Newspaper clippings or official paperwork on the incident involving the servicemember also may be submitted.

To date, Folds of Honor has presented more than 200 scholarships totaling nearly $1.1 million. Partnerships with the Professional Golfers' Association of America, the U.S. Golf Association, TaylorMade Adidas Golf, and the Air National Guard have helped make that possible.

Folds of Honor is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad. The organization's affiliation with the Defense Department program will help further its goals, Ohrenberger said.

"Deserving families need to know about Folds of Honor, its mission and the educational scholarships available to them and how they can apply," Ohrenberger said. "America Supports You's reputation and significant contact with prospective applicants will significantly advance the mission."