Sunday, January 24, 2010

USS Carl Vinson Sailors Support Haiti Mission

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 24, 2010 - Sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson are playing a pivotal role in providing medical services and humanitarian support during Operation Unified Response in Haiti, the ship's commander said yesterday. "The people that come on here have broken bones and wounds. You just can't imagine it unless you are here looking at it the number of people injured," U.S. Navy Capt. Bruce H. Lindsey, the ship's commanding officer, told bloggers during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable. "As long as there are injured people needing our care, we will stay here as long as it takes."

Before the USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived, the medical team of the USS Carl Vinson conducted initial triage of patients prior to providing life-saving medical and surgical services. USS Carl Vinson also serves an alternative landing site when the Comfort's landing spots are full. Patients with critical needs are brought to the Vinson to provide immediate assistance.

"We want to mitigate the suffering from the Haitian people from this earthquake, so we are spread out trying to help as many people as possible," Lindsey said.

The Carl Vinson also boasts a variety of helicopters that include 19 CH-53s and SH-60s, that can be used for a variety of purposes from transporting cargo and supplies to picking up patients in small remote areas.

Lindsey described how a group in Michigan emailed the Carl Vinson and said they had been contacted by personnel on an island outside of Port-au-Prince that needed help. The Carl Vinson sent an aircraft to the island and found an area for the SH-60 to land. The helicopter transported three casualties from the island because they had the capability to land in such a small area.

"We are probably doing 180 to 240 landings a day off of this ship," he said. "The sailors on the flight deck and in maintenance are doing the hard work, making sure they are getting into the country."

One of the main things the ship transports is medical supplies. Another is water -- the ship has transported more than 30,000 gallons of water. A group of sailors on his ship also created a water tree, where they took piping and created spigots, and use the supply of water from the ship to fill containers with water for those in need in Haiti.

Lindsey said sailors volunteered their time to do build the water tree and fill 5 gallon jugs with water by hand. Because of their volunteer efforts each helicopter that leaves the ship has 32 of these jugs on flight.

Lindsey credits the success of the ship to the crew, including Creole speakers who he says have been "enormously helpful" when airlifting patients.

"Having someone speaking their own language has been critical to our success and has comforted patients," he said.

"My sailors on board, every one of them wants to go ashore to help them. I have to tell them I would love for them to all go there, but I do need a few of them to stay back on the ship to continue the operations here," he said. "It's great to see such an outpouring of volunteerism from today's sailor. America should be very proud of the sailors that they have. They're great human beings."

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Logistics Task Force Keeps Relief Flowing into Haiti

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 24, 2010 - A newly established joint logistics hub at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba is helping save lives by making sure that food, water, supplies, equipment and personnel are delivered to bring relief to survivors of the disastrous Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. "The Navy isn't doing anything it doesn't already know how to do," U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Patricia E. Wolfe, Supply Corps, commander, Task Force 48 told bloggers during a Jan. 23 "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable.

"We are working around the clock, using aircraft and seaborne assets from multiple services and many, many countries to get medical supplies, food, water, relief personnel and critical equipment to where it needs to be to save lives," Wolfe said. "It's a fantastic mission and a very, very critical mission."

The joint task force has over 100 members, consisting of servicemembers from the Navy and Army, providing support to any ships that come through the hub.

The hub also sees anywhere from 15 to 30 flights a day coming in from many different areas. They include commercial, military and foreign military aircraft.

Wolfe said they have a small airport, and are flying some small planes in on a regular basis, but they are using the pier facilities that are available and working cargo over the shoreline as much as possible.

Items that come in ship out right away. "Nothing stays here very long," she said.

One of the biggest challenges they face is the volume of food, water, tents and supplies that need to go support the people of Haiti.

"The sheer volume going through this hub is phenomenal."

They have delivered more than 32,000 gallons of bulk water and more than 440,000 bottles of water to 50 different places in Haiti.

The task force has a number of large and small ships surrounding Haiti that include cargo barges and high-speed ferries. They also use small amphibious ships to transport supplies like water, tents and cots.

"Our ships are really pulling their weight in this effort," Wolfe said.

"Task Force 48 and any of the joint log hubs that the Navy puts forward can support operations anywhere in the world," she said. "The Navy sea base is here to support military, joint and international operations of the future."

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

USS Normandy Serves Dual Role in Haiti Efforts

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 24, 2010 - The Norfolk-based guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy is supporting relief efforts in the air, at sea and ashore for victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. U.S. Navy Capt. Jeffrey T. Griffin, Normandy's commanding officer, and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Hansen, officer-in-charge of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light 46, Detachment 3, spoke to bloggers and blogger journalists during a Jan. 22 "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable.

Normandy arrived off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 17 to support Operation Unified Response, the operation to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the people of Haiti.

The ship received a call the night of the earthquake and was on their way to Mayport, Fla., to pick up the helicopter detachment within 15 hours of the initial call.

Immediately upon arrival to Haiti, the helicopter pilots began using the two embarked SH-60B helicopters for transport of water, food, and patients to medical facilities.

"The mission of the Normandy is twofold," Griffin said. "We are heavily using our embarked helicopters to move patients, transport food and water and to transport people." The ship, which is normally used for air defense, is acting as the only air surveillance radar at sea.

Griffin added that the Normandy is tracking and then reporting to the rest of the ships all of the aircraft operating in the area.

"They're doing what they're trained to do, and they're keeping a very good air picture of all of the aircraft to prevent any type of a midair collision, to sequence the aircraft properly into Port-au-Prince," Griffin said.

In addition to providing air surveillance, the Normandy serves as a refueling platform for any other helicopters operating in the area.

"If they needed to be refueled, if they needed any type of emergency landing pad, we provide that as well," Griffin said. "We're always here, standing by with our crew, with our ship's boats to be able to conduct a search and rescue at sea if called upon."

The SH-60's have flown more than 50 hours since arrival and have delivered more than 600 cases of water, 800 cases of food and have accomplished 17 medical evacuations.

"We have moved over 100 passengers," Hansen said, "those include security forces, military personnel, media and various relief agency workers."

Hansen said their goal is to get every person to the places their skills can be used. He noted that typically an antisubmarine helicopter detachment doesn't operate over land, so they are learning lessons as they go along that will help them in the future for other humanitarian efforts. These lessons include how to maximize the number of people they transport and using methods to ensure the safety of everyone on the helicopter.

There have also been moments that have helped the crew realize how important their mission is, Hansen said. The crew flew to a remote area to rescue an infant with pneumonia and was able to transport the infant and his mother to Port-au-Prince to get care.

"The littlest victims of this earthquake probably break your heart the most," Hansen said. "But it's nice that we were able to provide assistance."

Hansen added that the crew of the Normandy will be "here until the mission is done. And, we're happy to be able to contribute to helping the people of Haiti."

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Social Media and Law Enforcement

Editor's Note:  While specifically geared toward law enforcement organizations, military organizations will find much of the information valuable and applicable.

On February 18, 2010, Conversations with American Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion with Lauri Stevens on Social Media and Law Enforcement.

Program Date: February 18, 2010
Program Time: 1700 hours, Pacific
Topic: Social Media and Law Enforcement
Listen Live:

About the Guest
Lauri Stevens “is an interactive media professional with over 25 years of media experience. She is the Department Chair of Web Design & Interactive Media at The New England Institute of Art (NEiA) in Boston, a position she's held for over ten years. During her tenure at NEiA she has written several bachelors’ programs, served on NEASC accreditation review committees and visiting teams, and chaired several groups to further the college's mission.

Lauri is passionate about the Internet, the web, social media and helping law enforcement leverage these tools to help them do their jobs, connect with their communities, and promote their departments. Having used the net since the mid-80s, before the web existed, makes her one of the first fraction of a 1% of people in the world on the net.

She holds an MBA in eBusiness from Bentley University, an MS in Mass Communication/Communication Technology from Boston University, and a BA in Political Science from Clemson University.”

About LAwS Communications
LAwS Communications has been providing web design and interactive media advice to law enforcement since 2005. They “offer media expertise at all levels, traditional and interactive. LAwS Communications specialize in offering consultative services in the world of web 2.0 (and beyond) to law enforcement agencies. Web 2.0 and Open Source communication technologies available today allow organizations to efficiently gather and distribute information like never before. Many law enforcement agencies are catching on to and using the new social media technologies. LAwS Communications can help make sense of the tools available, help your agency craft a plan and social media policy as well as provide the training needed to get your organization running. LAwS Communications can help law enforcement organizations not only understand why your organization should take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies, but also how to leverage these vast resources.

The agencies that are effectively using these tools are shrinking their communities, improving communication with citizens and enhancing their reputations through the transparency provided. Other agencies are developing sophisticated methods for investigation, crime solving and prevention. Police departments, in particular, have an opportunity to better educate their communities about who they are and what they do and to therefore increase and improve communication with the public they serve.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in Law Enforcement, public policy, Public Safety Technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in Law Enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:
Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA