Military News

Friday, June 04, 2010

SECNAV Engages 6th Fleet Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) William Pittman, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus visited civilian and military personnel at Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (CNE-CNA/C6F) Headquarters at Naval Support Activity, Naples, June 1.

Mabus was greeted upon arrival by Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. 6th Fleet, and Command Master Chief Jay Wood, command master chief of U.S. 6th Fleet headquarters.

"This was a big day for everyone here," said Wood. "Sailors and Marines had the opportunity to talk to SECNAV, and SECNAV got to see 6th Fleet's contribution to global security, friendship building and the fight against terrorism."

Mabus sat with 11 Sailors and a Marine for lunch where he expressed his gratitude for their service. He engaged the Sailors in conversation about their jobs, military experience and family life.

"SECNAV was very attentive and open when we talked to him during lunch," said Yeoman 2nd Class Rebecca Holman. "Besides talking about our Navy experiences, we also discussed issues that are important to us as junior Sailors. He gave us straight answers, and it was more than obvious that he genuinely cared about what we had to say."

After a brief tour of the base, Mabus took part in a public promotion ceremony, where he promoted seven officers to their next rank.

"I still can't believe SECNAV promoted me," said Lt. Cmdr. Tim Parr, assistant force judge advocate for CNE-CNA/C6F. "This was an absolutely once in a lifetime experience."

Mabus conducted an all hands call with the CNE-CNA/C6F personnel where he discussed many important issues and conducted a question-and-answer session upon its conclusion. Afterward, he took a few minutes to pose for pictures with Sailors.

This is Mabus' first visit to CNE-CNA/C6F since he assumed his duties as SECNAV on May 19, 2009.

Deployed Parents Can View Defense Schools' Graduations

American Forces Press Service

June 4, 2010 - Deployed servicemembers with children graduating from Department of Defense Education Activity-managed schools in Europe this month will be able to view a live broadcast of the ceremonies.

An estimated 125 servicemembers deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations have children taking part in 14 graduation ceremonies, DoDEA officials in Wiesbaden, Germany, said.

For the seventh consecutive year, DoDEA will provide a webcast of the graduation ceremonies to include congratulations videos from the U.S. European Command commander and each service component commander, as well as student messages and graduation announcements.

The webcast will feature the graduation ceremonies of the following DoDEA high schools in Italy, Germany, England and Spain on these dates:

June 10 – Naples, Patch, Bamberg, Ansbach, and Heidelberg High Schools

June 11 – Kaiserslautern, Ramstein, Vilseck, Rota and Lakenheath High Schools

June 12 – Aviano, and Mannheim High Schools

June 13 – Wiesbaden and Vicenza High Schools

To view a graduation ceremony, go to www.doddsegrads.net, then type in the username "2010grads," and the password "lucky2010."

Gates, Counterparts Discuss Growing Relationships

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

June 4, 2010 - The importance of furthering military-to-military relationships was a common theme in five meetings Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates had here today with U.S. partners as part of the annual Asia security summit known as the "Shangri-La Dialogue."

In addition, Gates told reporters after the meeting, he sought help from all five countries in the training effort for Afghanistan's security forces.

The secretary's first bilateral meeting of the day was with Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.

"I commended their defense reforms in recent years," Gates said, "and the way those reforms have enabled broadening of defense cooperation and engagement."

In addition, Gates cited the symbolic importance that would result from the world's largest Islamic democracy pitching in with the Afghanistan training effort. The two defense leaders also discussed the modernization of the Indonesian military, Gates added.

After his meeting with New Zealand Defense Minister Wayne Mapp, Gates said the two men discussed completion of the New Zealand Policy Review, which "now opens the way for broadening cooperation for the first time in roughly a quarter of a century between New Zealand and the United States." Nuclear-powered ships and nuclear weapons have been barred by law from using New Zealand's waters, ports, land and airspace since 1987.

The secretary pointed out that his meeting today with Shiv Shankar Menon, India's national security advisor, took place at almost exactly the same time that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was meeting with India's external affairs minister.

"In a way," Gates said, "it's symbolic of the global connection, if you will, between the United States and India, and the tremendous improvement in relations and opportunities for cooperation."

Gates added that he and Menon also discussed defense trade and foundational agreements that are important to further progress. India is contemplating bids for its next medium, multi-role fighter aircraft, Gates added, so he took the opportunity to praise the U.S.-made F-16 and F/A-18 as "high-quality competitors." The need for export controls on both sides of the U.S.-India relationship was another topic in their meeting, the secretary said.

Gates also said he received an invitation from Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh to attend an Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers meeting in Hanoi in October. They also discussed the U.S.-Vietnamese defense policy dialogue coming up in August, the secretary said, and he thanked Thanh for Vietnam's proposals to accelerate the pace of work on identifying U.S. servicemembers still listed as missing in action there by opening 13 new areas for U.S. searchers.

Gates and Thanh also talked about opportunities for increasing bilateral U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation, the secretary added.

In his final bilateral meeting of the day, with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Tae Young, Gates said he expressed his condolences to the families of the 46 sailors lost when North Korea sank the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan on March 26, as well as admiration for the way South Korean government has responded to "this serious provocation."

In addition, Gates said, he reaffirmed full U.S. support going forward. "I did say that I thought that we should ensure that our coordinated response should accomplish two objectives," he said. "The first was to reassure the public in the Republic of Korea that our alliance will effectively ensure their security; and second, that our coordinated response enables our initiatives to enhance our capabilities to deter and, if necessary, respond to any further provocation."

Gates will deliver the keynote address in the Shangri-La Dialogue's first plenary session tomorrow morning.

Surgeon General Highlights the Role of Navy Medicine, Force Health during Pacific Tour

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Devon Dow, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan

June 4, 2010 - YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy Surgeon General visited Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) on June 4 during his tour of Navy medical facilities in the Western Pacific.

Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson held an All Hands call with the staff U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, had lunch with enlisted Sailors in the hospital's galley, held media availability with Japanese reporters and met with members of the 7th Fleet staff.

"Yokosuka is a place that is near and dear to my heart," Robinson said. "The hospital and its staff here is a shining light in our Navy. When I am asked about what has kept me motivated in my 33 year career, it has been the people I've served with. The Navy medicine community has kept me excited, fresh with ideas and always want to do more."

Robinson led the doctors, nurses, corpsmen and civilian employees at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka from September 2001 to January 2004, serving as commanding officer. As the Navy Surgeon General, he said he enjoys having the opportunity to speak with Sailors about Navy Medicine and offer feedback. He also stressed what he believes makes Navy Medicine the success it is today.

"The greatness of Navy Medicine is not the ships, the airplanes or the submarines. It's not the upper leadership in the Navy, the greatness of the Navy. Navy Medicine is the people in uniform who are taking care of people in need everyday," he said. "They're sacrifice and commitment to duty is what helps make our Navy a more determined and strong force."

Throughout his tour of the Pacific, Robinson is focusing on the valued principles of Navy Medicine and the role of Navy medical professionals as they care for the fleet.

"Aspects important to Navy Medicine are to care for the men and women of Navy Medicine, to do the force health protection mission, which is to have a fit and ready force to care for the war fighters, and also take care of eligible family members and those who are our retirees - which is an honor to care for," Robinson said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Japan Alliance. Robinson said he was honored to be back in Yokosuka during this historical year for the two nations and sees no end in sight to their bond.

"The U.S. Japan Alliance is stronger than I have ever seen it," he said. "It is a critical alliance which has provided not only the basic foundation for our lives in Japan, but has based our security and our commitment to the whole Asian basin and the peoples in this part of the world."

HSC-25 Welcomes Detachment 6 Back to Guam

By Oyaol Ngirairikl, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas Public Affairs

June 4, 2010 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (NNS) -- Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 welcomed back Detachment 6 from a six-month deployment during a homecoming ceremony on Guam June 3.

Detachment 6 was embarked aboard USS Essex (LHD 2) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49). The 33 returning Sailors assisted the Republic of Korea's salvage of the ROKS Cheonan, which sank March 26 in the Yellow Sea. The detachment flew more than 600 hours to complete more than 350 sorties, while providing search and rescue capabilities for the Navy ships' amphibious operations.

This was also the detachment's first mission flying the MH-60S — an HSC-25 helicopter modified to include a weapons system.

"These maintenance professionals always kept a good attitude, kept the helicopters flying and the detachment mission was an overall success," said Chief Warrant Officer David Harris, maintenance officer for Detachment 6.

Lt. Cmdr. Dewon Chaney, HSC-25 acting executive officer, said the type of support they performed in South Korea enhances relations between the U.S. and allied forces and improves coordination for future missions.

"Our detachments not only portray positive images in the U.S. Navy, but we're also doing a lot of really great things—not only in the local community here, but in the international community," Chaney said. "This detachment in itself was a bunch of superstars. The detachment performed as expected. They were expected to perform really well and they did."

Lt. Christopher Hines, a Detachment 6 pilot, said he is proud to have been a part of a great team.

"Just to be called upon and be able to do your mission and to do it well, that's probably the most rewarding part of being in HSC-25, and, of course, being forward-deployed here on Guam," he said. "Overall, 100 percent success. I couldn't see it going any smoother."

HSC-25 is the Navy's only forward-deployed MH-60S expeditionary squadron. As part of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific, it provides an armed helicopter capability for 7th and 5th Fleets, as well as detachments to various commands covering a diverse mission set. It is also the Navy's only squadron that maintains a 24-hour search and rescue and medical evacuation alert posture directly supporting U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Guam and Joint Region Marianas.

USNS Comfort Recognized by Maryland Hospital Association for Haiti Earthquake Response

By Laura Seal, Military Sealift Command Public Affairs

BALTIMORE (NNS) -- Baltimore-based Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) was welcomed as an honorary member in the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA) at the organization's annual meeting in Baltimore June 4.

The honorary membership recognizes Comfort's role in international relief efforts following the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. Comfort spent seven weeks anchored off the coast of Port-au-Prince, where shipboard medical personnel treated nearly 900 earthquake victims.

"It's an honor for the men and women who served on Comfort during the Haiti mission to be recognized as part of the Maryland Hospital Association," said Capt. James Ware, the commanding officer of Comfort's Medical Treatment Facility. "We are very proud of all of our enduring relationships with the broader medical community, including partners ranging from other U.S. military services and government agencies to non-governmental organizations and even foreign militaries and health ministries."

Ware and David Lieberman, the civilian officer in charge of the ship, accepted the honor on behalf of the more than 1,000 Navy medical personnel and 79 civil service mariners who coordinated with 170 Navy planners and support personnel and an additional 244 civilian medical volunteers from eight non-governmental organizations.

"Maryland's hospitals and the USNS Comfort share more than a home. We also share a mission of providing care and compassion to all who need it," said Carmela Coyle, MHA president and CEO. "For Maryland's hospitals, that means being there to provide care. For the USNS Comfort, it means getting there to provide care."

Lieberman and the rest of Comfort's civil service crew are also happy with the honor.

"Part of what makes Comfort's hospital so exceptional is the fact that we can take it where it's needed," said Lieberman. "Although the mariners don't treat patients, we are so proud of the role that we play in getting this ship to people in need and ensuring that the hospital has electricity and water."

Ware and Lieberman accepted a plaque that will be displayed aboard the ship.

"The people who are Maryland's hospitals are proud to now be associated with the people who man the USNS Comfort in all capacities, and we welcome them now as colleagues," said Coyle.

Comfort was delivered to the Navy Dec. 1, 1987, and arrived in Baltimore July 13, 1988. When not deployed, Comfort is kept pierside where a small crew of civil service mariners and Navy medical personnel maintain the ship and Medical Treatment Facility in a high state of readiness. When activated, Comfort can deploy on a mission in five days.

Comfort is operated, navigated and maintained by a crew of civil service mariners working for the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command while the Medical Treatment Facility is crewed and maintained by Navy medical personnel.

The Maryland Hospital Association is the advocate for Maryland's hospitals, health systems, communities and patients before legislative and regulatory bodies. MHA's 61 member hospitals include teaching hospitals, health systems, specialty hospitals, veterans hospitals and long-term care facilities.

MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces, conduct specialized missions, and replenish U.S. Navy ships at sea.

Veterans Welcomed Home by California Governor During Midway Ceremony

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

June 4, 2010 - SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- California veterans were honored in a ceremony aboard the USS Midway (CV 41) Museum June 3 as part of California Veterans (CalVet) Corps' Operation Welcome Home.

Operation Welcome Home, established by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is the first program in the country to combine the efforts of state, federal and local governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector to provide veterans the services they need to transition home.

"We have to do everything we can to receive these veterans with open arms and to thank them for the great services they provided," Schwarzenegger said. "We want our veterans to feel welcomed in California; whatever their needs are, whatever their dreams are, whatever their goals are, we want to help them."

The goal of the CalVet Corps is to help veterans gain access to benefits and services such as employment assistance, job training, education opportunities, housing assistance, health care needs, and more.

"Our goal is to connect with each and every one of our veterans," Schwarzenegger said. "We want them to move smoothly from the battlefront to the home front. California is a place veterans can call home."

According to CalVet Corps, every year an estimated 30,000 veterans return home to California to reconnect with family and friends and restart their civilian lives.

Whidbey Island Sailors Train for Force Protection

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardel Gervacio, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest

OAK HARBOR, Wash (NNS) -- Seventeen Sailors from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island graduated from the Auxiliary Security Force (ASF) training course June 4. The Sailors will serve as force protection assets and offer support to the base's security department. The ASF Academy trains Sailors from various ratings, who would be called upon to augment the base's security department during contingencies, exercises and special events that require heightened levels of security on the base.

"This was three weeks of rigorous physical training and intensive security classroom instruction which ranges from basic curriculum, Power Point presentations, watch standing; then it goes into rifle and handgun qualifications and tactical movements," said Chief Master-at-Arms (SW) Eric Wynn, security training officer, from Reno, Nev.

During the training, Sailors learned force protection procedures, small arms, armed and unarmed self-defense, rules of engagement and crowd control.

The first week is made up of mechanical advantage control holds restraining techniques, the use of deadly force, proper use of the baton and the operation of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray.

At the end of the week, students go through a practical test where they have to use the techniques learned to subdue an opponent while suffering the effects of OC spray to become qualified to carry and use the substance.

"This was a great course, it was hard at times, especially being sprayed with the pepper (OC) spray and then having to go through the obstacle course," said Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Steven Williams of Columbia, S.C., assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129. "The instructors brought lots of knowledge to the course. They made sure that we made it through the courses, and we understood what they were teaching us."

The second week consisted of weapons training. ASF personnel are trained to know the 9mm Berretta pistol, M500 shotgun and M16 rifle.

"For me, the most fun part of the course was the active shooter drills, where we go in a building as a team and assess a situation and decide what tactics to use," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Wayne Groves of Marysville, Wash., assigned to VAQ 129 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. "Overall, this course gave me self-confidence to handle different situations."

The third week consisted of several different topics, including tactical communication, team movement and close-quarters combat.

Wynn said over the course of three weeks, the Sailors worked hard and performed every task to the best of their abilities.

"Every Sailor assigned to this course did great; they were listening, focused and motivated, which helped us do or job well," added Wynn.

Instructor, Jonathon Fuchs of Scottsdale, Ariz., a federal police instructor said he is confident that the ASF students that have just graduated will perform their duties well.

"The Sailors were outstanding. They were highly motivated. We talked about being 100 percent professional; they displayed it. They've taken everything to heart and made it serious. In the scenario trainings, a lot of times it's hard to make it real; they do, they made themselves part of the drill. They were part of the opposition force, where they would play the good and bad guys, which a lot of times are the most fun because you learn more because you get to see it from a different perspective," said Fuchs.

The focus of the ASF course is to be a force in readiness.

"Once the Sailors graduate from this course, they're capable of performing every task they were instructed with, and I feel confident in their abilities," added Fuchs. "It's an individual, personal mindset, and it's up to them to continue training, run the scenarios in their heads and be prepared if a confrontation arises and how to deal with it and implement the tools they were given."

Air Force fitness program revision rewards excellent Airmen

by Beth Gosselin
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

6/4/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Based upon service-wide feedback, Airmen who earn an "excellent" on the new fitness test will now only have to test once a year according to a new revision to the Air Force Fitness Program.

"We believe this will recognize fitness excellence and serve as an incentive for more Airmen to improve their fitness," said Col. Joan Garbutt, the chief of military force policy division.

The revision, which takes effect the same day the new program kicks-off on July 1, allows those Airmen who test in all four components of the test and receive an overall score of 90 or better to test only once a year. The four components of the new fitness test include a 1.5-mile timed run, abdominal circumference, push-ups and sit-ups. Prior to this revision, all Airmen were required to test twice a year.

Approximately one of every five fitness scores documented in 2009 was "excellent" for those Airmen who tested in all four categories, said Capt. Sean Brazel, the chief of officer promotions, evaluations and fitness policy.

"Factoring in these numbers, we forecast a reduction in the fitness testing workload when this new policy takes effect," the captain added.

Airmen must test under the new standards to qualify for this change. Therefore, only Airmen who test after June 30 will be able to earn the opportunity to do their fitness test once a year. Airmen who score an "excellent" but were medically exempt from testing in one or more of the four components will still need to test twice a year. In other words, Airmen must successfully complete all four components of the fitness test to qualify for the once a year testing.

"We believe this is another step in the right direction towards cultivating a fitter Air Force," Colonel Garbutt said.

Mullen: Servicemembers constitute the 'best military'

by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

6/4/2010 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) -- Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saluted the exemplary actions of Airmen and other military members serving worldwide during a visit with troops and families here June 3. From training Afghan army and police officials, protecting coalition forces and Afghan civilians, and engaging enemy fighters, the mission in Afghanistan couldn't be accomplished without the exceptional service of Airmen, Admiral Mullen said during an award ceremony and town hall meeting, where he presented three Airmen with bronze star medals.

"We are exceptional as a military because of what you do -- you and so many others," the admiral said. "The three of you represent thousands and thousands and thousands of our military who are serving forward now, members of the best military we've ever had."

Maj. William Skinner, Master Sgt. Sean P. Houlihan and Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ferrell received the service awards.

Admiral Mullen also emphasized his appreciation for the support of military families.

The past nine years of frequent combat deployments have taken a toll on the families, he said, but their resilience and understanding has allowed troops to focus on their missions.

"These are tough times, tough missions, lots of deployments," the admiral said. "They're dangerous, people worry, and (military leaders) understand that. What (families) do and sacrifice is every bit as special as those of us who go forward and carry out these missions. It's because of (the families) that we're able to succeed in so many places."

Admiral Mullen noted how the Air Force has adapted to longer deployments. In the late 1990s and soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a typical Air Force deployment was 60 days. Now, Airmen are deploying for six- and nine-month rotations.

Even as major operations and the number of servicemembers in Iraq decreases, however, Admiral Mullen acknowledged that there are no clear signs that the military's operational tempo will be slowing down anytime soon.

"One of the biggest challenges we've had is our tempo," he said. "We have pushed you, pushed the Air Force, pushed our Airmen hard, and you have really met the task, time and time again. You've set the example in so many ways."

Meanwhile, Airmen, just as members in the other services, should continue to evolve, Admiral Mullen said. He stressed the importance of gaining better understanding of the countries in which servicemembers operate, by honing their language skills and cultural awareness.

"In countries all over the world, try to understand the challenges from their perspective, not from an American perspective (and) not how we would solve the problem," Admiral Mullen said. "We're not going to stay anywhere forever. It really is important, as it is in Afghanistan, that (Afghan leaders) figure out (their) way ahead and we support them."

Just as the military services have become more expeditionary and versatile over the past 15 years, Admiral Mullen said such growth needs to continue in order to stay ahead of the global challenges and missions that may surface in the future.

"We need to change in order to meet the needs," he said. "Of all the things we do, the mission is at the top of the list. The mission is why we're in the military. The mission is why we deploy."

VA secretary announces new hotline for homeless veterans

6/4/2010 - CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (AFNS) -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced June 3 the establishment of a new telephone hotline to provide emergency support and resources to homeless veterans. He made the announcement as he toured the facility at the VA medical center in Canandaigua.

"It is unacceptable for a single veteran to spend the night on the streets of America," Secretary Shinseki said. "The hotline of the new National Call Center for Homeless Veterans will provide homeless veterans with caring, timely assistance and coordinated access to VA and community services."

Family members, workers at community agencies and non-VA providers also may call the hotline at 1-877-4AID VET to find out about the many programs and services available to assist homeless veterans.

Well-trained expert responders will staff the hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will join other responders who staff VA's Suicide Prevention Hotline at Canandaigua.

Responders are trained to handle calls at either call center. While a responder will know which type of call is incoming, all veteran callers will be receive a brief suicide screening.

VA officials recognize that homeless veterans are in need of food and shelter, clothing, financial assistance and treatment for medical conditions. Additionally, many require access to permanent housing, veterans benefits and vocational resources.

VA assistance is available for homeless veterans who may have mental health issues, substance abuse, depression, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The responders operating the new hotline will ensure veterans receive the help they need and deserve.

The National Call Center for Homeless Veterans is the latest in a series of initiatives to help homeless veterans. Last year, Secretary Shinseki launched a campaign to eliminate homelessness among veterans within five years. Since then, the number of veterans homeless on a typical night has dropped 18 percent.

"This reduction was achieved through VA's commitment to end homelessness among veterans through enhanced collaboration with other federal, state, faith-based, veteran service organizations and community partners," Secretary Shinseki said.

VA has approximately 4,000 agreements with community partners to help homeless veterans. Last year, more than 92,000 homeless veterans were served by VA's specialized homeless programs. This is an increase of 15 percent from the previous year.

Southern Partnership Station 2010 completes Panama visit

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kim Williams, High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) Public Affairs

June 4, 2010 - RODMAN-BALBOA, Panama (NNS) -- The crew of High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) concluded its visit to Rodman-Balboa, Panama June 4.

The crew held a closing ceremony June 3 for all who participated in the subject matter expert exchanges.

Swift spent nearly two weeks in port participating in subject matter expert exchanges with the Panamanian Defense Force. Members of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps held exchanges about various maritime topics including port and physical security, and junior and senior military leadership roles.

"We received a warm welcome in Panama," said Capt. Kurt Hedberg, Southern Partnership Station 2010 mission commander. "The exchanges that have taken place during these to weeks will go a long way toward improving our techniques and procedures, increasing interoperability and mutual cooperation in the maritime environment."

"We learned martial arts from the U.S. Marines and then in turn taught them a few of the techniques we use while patrolling our borders," said Panama Marine 2nd Cpl. Rolando Bravo.

Bravo said that while this was his first time working with members from Swift, he has worked with the U.S. Marine Corps on six different occasions.

"This training will really help my unit out a lot because we learned techniques on how to handle people, something that we may need to use often. I know I can speak on behalf of my unit when I say that we will be waiting for the next exchange we are able to participate in."

In addition to the Panamanian military personal who participated in SPS 2010, members of the National Police Force also joined the subject matter expert exchanges.

"It was important for us to participate in these exchanges because it shows that the Marines and military are not the only ones tough enough to complete the training, the police can do it too," said Sgt. Jorge Iturrard. This training was a good mix of things that we can use everyday on the police force and I was happy to receive training by outsiders."

One official from the Panamanian Aero Naval expressed his appreciation of Southern Partnership Station.

"The United States Navy's catamaran High Speed Vessel Swift has presented us with its arrival, an important opportunity to operate and to assimilate all the knowledge that its crew and work party has distributed to units of this institution [Panama Defense Forces] during this day of training and qualification that today culminates," said Col. Luis E. Ruiz E., Panama Aeronaval."

The Swift is currently deployed in SPS 2010, an annual deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility (AOR) in the Caribbean and Latin America. The mission's primary goal is information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region.

Enterprise Focuses on Professional Military Knowledge

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristin M. Baker, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

June 4, 2010 - USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors who were selected for advancement aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) are attending petty officer indoctrination classes June 3-8 in preparation for the upcoming frocking ceremony.

What set these Sailors apart from their peers was their professional military knowledge (PMK).

It happens twice a year. Some Sailors are ecstatic, and others are depressed as the ship buzzes with the news that 'advancement results are out.' Those who did not advance may be asking themselves "What am I missing?" The answer to that question is often summed up by three letters: PMK.

The Navy is constantly evolving, and every year ratings become more complex. Mastering the knowledge of your rating can seem overwhelming, but Sailors who focus only on their in-rate skills are missing a critical element: professional military knowledge. Knowledge of things such as: uniform regulations, rank structure, damage control, instructions and administrative messages, to name a few, is the critical aspects of PMK.

"Studying PMK in preparation for taking the advancement exam is very important because those questions make up a large percentage of your exam," said Navy Career Counselor 1st Class (SW/AW) Sara M. Reynolds.

Between 25 and 50 percent of test questions on the Navywide advancement exams are made up of PMK questions.

"A working knowledge of PMK is critical to success in the Navy," said Chief Navy Career Counselor (SW/AW) Ramous K. Flemming. "It's one thing to be a technical expert, but it takes a lot more effort to master the skills of being a Sailor."

With 50 of 200 questions on the E-4 advancement exams and half of the questions on the annual chief's test focused on these skills, it is important for all hands to know.

There are numerous places both aboard and online that you can access PMK information. From Navy Knowledge Online, to the game 'who wants to be a master chief,' multiple resources are available to a Sailor seeking them.

Enterprise is underway conducting work-ups in preparation for the next deployment.

Navy Surgeon General Discusses the Strength of U.S. – Japanese Relations During Visit to Naval Hospital Yokosuka

June 4, 2010 - YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The senior-most medical corps officer in the United States Navy visited Naval Hospital Yokosuka June 4 during his tour of Navy medical facilities in the western Pacific.

Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr. met with hospital leadership, toured the facilities and spoke with the Navy medical team about the strength of the U.S. bilateral relationship with Japan during an all hands call held in the Adm. Arleigh A. Burke Commissioned Officers Mess.

"Our relationship with Japan is based on shared values and interests that rest on the mutual confidence embodied in the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security which was signed fifty years ago," said Robinson.

During a media availability with Japanese reporters at the hospital, Robinson said that the challenges facing the U.S. and Japan are not isolated to matters of security but also include matters of health and medicine.

"I believe that medicine is a common language that bridges barriers," said Robinson. "Our two nations have come together to learn from one another and find new ways to better care for our citizens. Patient's health transcends national borders as each of us provides care for the others' citizens. Our doctors train together, learn together and practice medicine together."

Robinson highlighted that the hospital was enjoying greater cooperation in sharing of information and technology with their Japanese counterparts, as well as, conducting equipment exchanges and operational coordination.

"These valuable exchanges have bolstered the joint and bilateral interoperability between the U.S. and Japanese medical communities," said Robinson.

According to Naval Hospital Yokosuka commanding officer, Capt. Kevin Moore, the presence of U.S. military installations and requisite hospitals has benefitted Japanese citizens through employment opportunities and exchanges such as one-year rotating internship program for Japanese physicians that have been conducted since 1952.

Moore stated that the hospital recently hosted a representative of the Japan National Institute of Public Health here in this hospital recently where he taught a new program called TeamSTEPPS which was designed to improve teamwork and communication between U.S. Navy and Japanese physicians to better serve their patients.

"This program is on the cutting edge of Japanese and American medicine and has helped to bring our doctors closer together," said Moore.

Robinson's tour of Navy medical facilities in the Western Pacific included stops in Okinawa and a visit to USNS Mercy in Quy Nohn, Vietnam where the Navy hospital ship was participating in Pacific Partnership 2010. During the Mercy's visit to Binh Dinh province May 31-June 12, the Pacific Partnership team will conduct numerous medical, dental engineering, and veterinary civic action programs.

"Pacific Partnership's visit to Vietnam is a testament to the strong bilateral relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, demonstrating our continued commitment to work together to address mutual issues and concerns," said Robinson. "We look forward to exploring further opportunities to collaborate in the future in areas of public health research, medical education and other areas."

Pacific Partnership 2010 participants include volunteers from the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) East Meets West Foundation, Latter-day Saint Charities, Peace Winds America, Project Hope, Vets Without Borders, World Vets, and University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society. In addition, Japanese NGO composition consists of Operation Civic Force, HUMA, and UNIES. Medical and engineering professionals from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the U.S. military are participating. Medical personnel from Vietnam will work with the ship to provide medical care in partnership with their American and international counterparts.

Soldier Missing From Korean War Identified

June 4, 2010 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Korean War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Master Sgt. Roy E. Head of Clinchport, Va., will be buried Saturday in Duffield, Va. Head was assigned to Headquarters Company, 49th Field Artillery Battalion. After the 1953 armistice, it was learned from surviving POWs that he had been captured in February 1951, marched north to a POW camp in Suan County, North Korea, and died of malnutrition a few months later. Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents turned over with one of the boxes indicated the remains were exhumed near Suan County. This location correlates with Head's last known location.

Analysts from DPMO developed case leads with information spanning more than 58 years. Through interviews with surviving POW eyewitnesses, experts validated circumstances surrounding the soldier's captivity and death, confirming wartime documentation of his loss.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA – which matched that of two of his brothers -- in the identification of the remains.

More than 2,000 servicemen died as prisoners of war during the Korean War. With this accounting, 8,025 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

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- 699-1169.

Leaders Work to Improve Peacekeeping, Disaster Response Efforts

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 4, 2010 - Military leaders from 11 Western Hemisphere nations wrapped up a five-day session today focused on improving their capabilities to work together in peacekeeping and disaster relief operations.

The participants, members of the Conference of American Armies, concentrated on identifying technological gaps that stand in the way of seamless interoperability, explained Army Brig. Gen. Harold Greene, deputy commander of the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., which hosted the conference.

"Peacekeeping, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance are a common challenge for all our countries, and all of our countries have been involved in all three of them," Greene said.

But as many recognized during their response to the deadly earthquake in Haiti, too often their different processes and systems prevent them from working together as efficiently as they might.

"The challenges take on many forms. It's everything from procedures and training and doctrine," Greene said.

Scientific and technological differences exacerbate the problem. Greene cited the use of different radio systems and computers, different application of geospatial information services and different counter-mine and counter-improved-explosive-device technologies -- all issues addressed during the CAA conference.

"Interoperability is challenging enough when we stay within our own armed forces and we all speak the same language and work for the same person," he said, referring to joint operations. "But we have a whole other level of challenge when you take it to the international realm."

"Add the complexity of language differences, national boundaries, joint and coalition operations, and it is truly a challenge," Greene said. "So anyplace that science and technology can help us to define common standards, common ways of sharing information, common systems that enable interoperability, is a good thing."

The CAA participants set up a roadmap for accomplishing that goal this week, he said, and they're planning a follow-up session in March to build on progress made.

"One of the primary reasons for having the Conference of Americans Armies is to improve our ability to operate – be it an earthquake in Haiti, mudslides in any number of South American countries, an earthquake in Chile, Hurricane Katrina in the United States or oil well leaks in our country," Greene said.

"We have similar problems and we frequently tackle them in a multinational way – which really drives home the need for interoperability," he added. "So we need to work together on these problems."

But the conference also provided a valuable forum for sharing information and reinforcing relationships that extend to broader defense areas, Greene said.

Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, the Army's primary scientific and technology house, is always on the lookout for better ways to support warfighters, he said. With offices around the world, the command strives to build cooperative relationships and collaborative technical programs, all aimed at identifying or developing technologies that can benefit both U.S. and allied forces.

"We can't just focus on the short-term, technical [requirements]," Greene said. "It is equally important that we are building relationships that hopefully support both countries and provide a benefit to both countries in the future.

"So this is a great benefit for us, to host this conference, because we are building relationships in these countries that will help us in that mission," he said.

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 4, 2010

NAVY

Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., is being awarded a $99,557,548 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-2217) for long lead time material (LLTM) for ships four and five of the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program. This contract provides LLTM for main propulsion engines, aluminum, waterjets, reduction gears, generators and other components to support construction of JHSV ships four and five, commencing in fall 2010. Work will be performed in Detroit, Mich. (38 percent); Chesapeake, Va. (18 percent); Henderson, Australia (13 percent); Gulfport, Miss. (10 percent); Ravenswood, W.Va. (9 percent); Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (4 percent); Mobile, Ala. (3 percent); Auburn, Ind. (2.6 percent); Winter Haven, Fla. (1 percent); Gardena, Calif. (1 percent); and Davenport, Iowa (0.4 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $46,102,093 firm-fixed-priced modification under contract (M67854-07-D-5031) delivery order #0018 for the purchase of 2,451 automatic fire extinguisher system kits to be installed on the Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Work will be performed Sterling Heights, Mich., and is expected to be completed February 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $46,102,093 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

Northrop Grumman Corp., Integrated Systems Sector, San Jose, Calif., was awarded a $23,706,450 contract which will manage the day-to-day engineering, manufacturing and design contract operations for the Global Hawk. At this time, $6,851,097 has been obligated. 303 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (F33657-01-C-4600).

L3 Communications Corp., Arlington, Texas, was awarded a $21,031,116.50 contract which acquires a fully immersive Block 40/50 F-16 mission training center and spares that will be delivered to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 677 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8621-09-C-6292).

Sabreliner Corp., St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $7,460,790.28 contract which will provide engineering and analysis tasks supporting an assessment of the C/KC-135 fleet. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 10th Contracting Squadron, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., is the contracting activity (FA7000-10-D-0014).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

CFI International, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, is being awarded a maximum $7,557,400 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for aircraft turbine cases. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is January 2012. The Defense Logistics Agency (DSCR-ZBAB), Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8104-08-G-0002-UNY7).

McRae Industries, Inc.*, Mt Gilead, N.C., is being awarded a maximum $6,543,446 fixed-price with economic price adjustment, total set-aside, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for men's and women's combat boots. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Air Force. The original proposal was Web-solicited with six responses. The date of performance completion is June 3, 2011. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-D-1080).

Enterprise Sets the Standard with an Incident-free Holiday Weekend

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class(SW) Tracey L. Whitley, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

June 4, 2010 - NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Sailors of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) had a chance to relax over the Memorial Day weekend ending June 1 after the ship's longest underway period in more than two years.

Crew members spent Memorial Day weekend catching up with family and friends, enjoying holiday celebrations and outdoor recreational activities – all without a single liberty incident.

According to the Naval Safety Center's Website, more injuries and fatalities occur each year involving summertime activities than in combat. The majority of these are related specifically to individuals' decisions regarding alcohol, driving and water sports.

Enterprise taught a ship-wide safety training curriculum via the ship's closed circuit television system and one-on-one mentoring from its leadership just prior to the long weekend, and the focus paid off.

"This confirms the commitment of the crew to take care of one another and use good judgement when out on the roadways," said Cmdr. Daniel A. Haight Jr., Enterprise's safety officer.

Haight credited Big E's success of being incident-free to command leadership at all levels, especially for a crew the size of a small city

"This kind of behavior has everything to do with positive and intrusive leadership," said Haight. "Additionally, it is a reflection of each individual that shows personal responsibility."

Driving under the influence (DUI) and alcohol-related incidents (ARI) are declining among Enterprise Sailors compared to just one year ago. In 2009, the ship had 25 DUIs and 49 ARIs. So far this year, there have only been 14 DUI incidents and 8 ARIs.

"We had at least two known DUIs during Memorial Day weekend 2009," said Lt. Cmdr. Mark A. Lindsey, the command judge advocate. "Holiday weekends without a single incident are a rare occasion for a crew this size."

Maintaining a good track record requires effort from all hands.

"Incident-free weekends are the result of everyone from E-1 to O-6 making the right decisions," said Lindsey. "A successful and incident-free July 4th weekend depends on everyone continuing to make the right choices."

Enterprise will continue its focus on safety as her crew prepares to deploy in support of the nation and its allies.

Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing 1 are currently underway conducting work-ups for the ship's 21st deployment.

Department to Call on Services, Components to Identify Savings

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 4, 2010 - The military services and defense components will receive official guidance in the coming days directing them to find ways to cut costs and improve efficiencies so the savings can be used to improve warfighting capabilities, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said here today.

Lynn is leading Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' crackdown on overhead, bloat and unnecessary spending, announced during a major speech last month at the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kan.

The initiative is a three-part process, Lynn explained. It involves cutting non-essential programs, shifting the dollars saved to force structure and modernization accounts, and making those accounts more efficient.

But it also aims to make the department itself a flatter, more efficient organization, with fewer headquarters and smaller staffs.

Ultimately, the department aims to shave more than $100 billion from existing programs over the next five years and to redirect those funds to maintaining and building the force's warfighting capabilities, Lynn said.

The Army, Navy and Air Force will be asked to find $2 billion in cost savings in fiscal 2012. They'll all get to keep the savings they generate to improve their own capabilities – a carrot Lynn said he hopes will provide the incentive needed for them to take a long, hard look at their programs.

"This is not an effort to reduce the defense budget," or "top line," he emphasized. "This is about operating within a constrained top line and trying to get enough resources into that warfighting end, in addition to developing that operating capability." History shows that the Defense Department needs 2 to 3 percent in real growth each year to service the force structure – refreshing its technology, recapitalizing and modernizing it and giving troops "what they need to do their very best," Lynn said.

That's more than defense planners expect to receive for the foreseeable budget cycles. The Defense Department received a 1.8 percent increase from fiscal 2010 to 2011, but beginning in 2012, it expects just 1 percent growth for the next five years.

"What we are trying to do here is to get that 2 to 3 percent in the accounts where it is needed – force structure and modernization – without asking for an increase in the top line," Lynn said.

Calling the targeted reductions "ambitious," Lynn said the cost-cutting will begin at the Office of the Secretary of Defense level and continue throughout the department.

"We're going to the defense components looking for savings and initiatives," he said. "We're going to the combatant commands looking for efficiencies. And we have a cross-cutting set of groups that are looking at broad department-wide issues," including personnel policies, medical costs, Tricare, organizational restructuring, acquisition practices and logistical efficiencies.

Acknowledging that the Defense Department has a long track record of talking about cutting costs and increasing efficiency, Lynn said Gates' big focus and personal involvement in the effort is exactly what's needed to make it succeed.

He cited progress already made on the acquisition front, including decisions last year to halt F-22 Raptor fighter jet production and cancellation of the VH-71 presidential helicopter program. This year, Gates' focus is on keeping Congress from funding an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft or asking for more C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, neither of which the department wants or needs.

"The secretary has shown the ability to make the tough choices," Lynn said. "What distinguishes this effort is leadership."

Pacific Command Chief Shares Views on Regional Issues

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

June 4, 2010 - The U.S. military's top officer in the Pacific region shared his views on North Korean provocation, Japan's new government and the stalled military relationship between the United States and China in a session today with reporters who traveled here with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for the "Shangri-La Dialogue" Asia security summit.

Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard said he has seen no indication that North Korea is planning another provocation in the wake of its March 26 sinking of the naval vessel Cheonan that killed 46 South Korean sailors.

"But I think everyone in the region is watching North Korea very closely," Willard added, "given their unpredictability and the concern that what had been perpetrated on South Korea was so egregious."

The admiral declined to speculate on any possible additional military exercises involving U.S. and South Korean forces in response to the Cheonan's sinking.

"First of all, the Republic of Korea is in the lead in terms of the responses to this act that was perpetrated on them," he said. "We're certainly planning with them, discussing with them, their desires in terms of their own readiness, training and exercise needs, and what we might do as an alliance together to meet those needs. ... There are many capabilities that both sides bring ... in terms of our ability to exercise together, and that range of capabilities is certainly up for discussion at any time when we're planning to exercise with one another." Willard said recent belligerent North Korean rhetoric is nothing new, but that Pacom is ready for anything that comes along.

"We're prepared for any contingency in this region," he said. "It's my responsibility that we are. And we're committed elsewhere, as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, with about 35,000 of the 330,000 I command in Pacom. I mitigate the loss of those troops by at times demanding more of the troops left behind. In this case, the Navy and the Air Force make up for the commitment of [Army] brigade combat teams into Iraq and Afghanistan that we've experienced for the length of time that we have. Pacific Command is very ready."

When the discussion turned to Japan, Willard noted that despite political turmoil that led to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's resignation this week, the military-to-military relationship between U.S. and Japanese forces never wavered.

"This alliance is a cornerstone of security in Northeast Asia, and remains so," the admiral said. The strong relationship between Pacom and the Japanese self-defense forces will remain strong with newly appointed Prime Minister Naoto Kan's administration, he added. One factor that contributed to Hatoyama's resignation was the decision to relocate U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the Japanese island of Okinawa as previously agreed, rather than move it off the island. Though discussions still are ongoing, Willard said, he doesn't expect that process to be disrupted by a new Japanese administration coming into office.

"The plan to relocate Futenma ... was an agreement reached by both governments, mainly a choice by the Japanese regarding the most-optimum location to place that airfield in support of our Marines that remain on Okinawa," he said. "It still remains the best location, as I think [was] reaffirmed by the ongoing discussions over the last several months that arrived at the same conclusion.

"This was a conclusion arrived at by the government of Okinawa, as well as the government in Tokyo, and with the concurrence of the United States," he continued, "so this is an agreement between the two countries that has been long in discussion, long [in] coming, and we believe -- and I think the Japanese believe as well -- that the Futenma [relocation] as agreed to is the best option for both parties." In discussing the stalled military-to-military relationship between the United States and China, Willard said he attended the strategic and economic dialogue conference in Beijing last week at the invitation of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I was struck by the sophistication and maturity of engagement between the U.S. and [China] in all other areas," he said, noting "considerable contrast between the maturity of dialogue that's going on between the U.S. and China across all of our areas of government and economy, and the military-to-military relationship that is lagging considerably behind."

Whatever differences exist between the two countries, Willard said, he hopes the People's Liberation Army adopts an approach that builds on U.S.-Chinese common interests.

"When you think about proliferation concerns, ... when you consider humanitarian assistance, disaster response, counter-piracy, maritime security, many areas of common concern between the U.S. and China – we believe that the foundation of a [military-to-military] dialogue that is continuous and effective should be those areas of common concern," he said.

"In other areas that challenge the relationship," Willard continued, "we ought to look for opportunities for frank dialogue in those areas and see if we can't find common ground there. That is our viewpoint. Clearly, the viewpoint of the PLA is different on that, and they've chosen those areas of challenge to terminate at different times the [military-to-military] dialogue that would benefit both countries and the region as a whole."

This is Willard's first opportunity to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue as Pacom's commander, and he said he's enjoying the opportunities it presents.

"It's been terrific to be here," he said. "I've had the opportunity to engage with some of my counterparts who are generally the chiefs of defense from the nations in the region, as well as to sit in on some of the discussions with Secretary Gates at the ministerial level. So it's a great education for me, and certainly a good opportunity to engage with chiefs of defense from across the region."

CNO Honors the 68th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Kyle P. Malloy, Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

June 4, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead delivered remarks at the 68th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway commemoration ceremony at the nation's Navy Memorial June 4.

CNO thanked the Sailors who currently serve for attending the ceremony to help celebrate the service of past Sailors and the Battle of Midway, the decisive naval battle that was the turning point in the Pacific Theatre of World War II.

"To the Sailors who are here today, who gather to commemorate those who have come before us," said Roughead. "I thank you for being part of this ceremony, this commemoration, this demonstration of respect for these great men, their generation and what they did for us."

Roughead spoke about the valor and legacy of the Sailors who fought in the Battle of Midway, reminding the audience that many of these Sailors had experienced a variety of attacks on our nation prior to Midway.

"It is [their] same spirit of hope and determination that brought victory to the United States at Midway," said Roughead. "And it's that same spirit that lives on today in the Sailors who serve in the United States Navy around the world."

CNO recognized the Navy ships and crews from USS Benham (DD-397), USS Balch (DD-363) and USS Enterprise (CV-6) for their contributions during the Battle of Midway who then went on to help win World War II.

"These crews earned great notoriety at Midway for an incredible victory, but that was just one page in their long histories of service," said Roughead.

Roughead encouraged present day Sailors to look to the example of the Sailors who fought in the Battle of Midway as a standard to maintain in being a 'Global Force For Good.'

"It is our task, now, to write the new glorious pages in our Navy's history and we do so with the extraordinary example of the great men and women who came before us," said Roughead.

Guard Agency Takes Over Sinai Air Observer Missions

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy
National Guard Bureau

June 4, 2010 - The Army National Guard's Operational Support Airlift Agency recently accepted a new mission to deploy aircrews and aircraft to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The mission, part of the Multinational Force and observers' mission of enforcing the 1979 Camp David Peace Accords, primarily entails flying civilian observers, who verify the continued observance of the 30-year-old peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. "It is a direct result of the 1979 peace accords," said Staff Sgt. Joe Garland, noncommissioned officer in charge of current operations at OSAA, which is based at Fort Belvoir, Va. "They have over 20-some odd countries stationed in two places in Egypt that do weekly verifications of the peace treaty to make sure one side is not encroaching on the other."

OSAA will take over the mission this month from the French military, which is withdrawing from the MFO mission after taking part since the late 1980s, said Garland.

Currently, OSAA is set to take part in the mission through 2011, but OSAA officials believe that commitment will be extended.

"Right now, we've only been directed to support it for one year," said Capt.

Chris Logsdon, future operations officer at OSAA. "But, everyone's gut feeling is that it will continue past that, so we are planning for continued operations."

The current group set to deploy to Egypt is made up entirely of volunteers, said Logsdon, adding that if tasked with staying longer than a year it will turn into a rotational mission, much like other deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan or other overseas deployments.

He added that OSAA has the ideal equipment and personnel skill set that is needed to support the mission.

"When the French let MFO know they were no longer going to support the mission, there was an evaluation done on several different types of aircraft," Logsdon said. "The C-23 Sherpa, which the Army National Guard is the only (U.S.) military agency that has that airframe, ranked highly in their evaluation criteria."

What makes the Sherpa aircraft, referred to by many as a boxcar with wings, ideal for the mission is its versatility and the line of sight it offers to those onboard, Logsdon said.

"The aircraft can go from passenger transport to cargo transport and it can even be used to transport patients in a casualty evacuation situation," he said. "And the visibility range to see outside the aircraft is ideal. That is a huge part of what MFO does."

Currently, OSAA is sending a squad-sized element to support the flying mission, Logsdon said, but the agency also has been tasked to support other aspects of the overall MFO mission as well.

"We've also been asked to support the MFO plans and operations cell," Logsdon said. "This was a second tasking that was identified that they needed and they asked us if we could step up and assist and we're doing everything we can to find volunteers to cover down on that request."

Planning for the MFO mission, Garland said, has been in the works for the past few months.

The mission to the Sinai "kind of trickled down to us here at OSAA," he said.

"We weren't actually given the mission until about three or four weeks ago," Garland continued, "but we leaned way far forward preparing for everything just in case we were."

And that, he said, speaks to the level of readiness of his unit.

"We're able to do planning, coordinating and really put things in play and just get it all together until somebody says go," he said. "Then, we've got all the pieces on the chessboard and in play and we can go very quickly."

U.S. Troops Hold Duck-Calling Contest in Kosovo

By Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jill Fischer
116th Public Affairs Detachment

June 4, 2010 - U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Eric Anton, an avid duck hunter and member of the North Dakota Army National Guard, asked his comrades to show off their duck-calling skills during the Memorial Day weekend here. Anton, a resident of Bismarck, N.D., deployed on a NATO peacekeeping mission to Kosovo with his hometown's 957th Multi-Role Bridge Company in August 2009. He now works with Multinational Battle Group East's Liaison Monitoring Team as a supply sergeant and mailroom clerk.

Last year in Bismarck, Anton was asked by a local nature-conservation group if he would be interested in hosting a duck-calling contest while deployed.

"They had supported an event like this in Iraq," Anton said. "They told me how much the soldiers there had enjoyed it. I figured this would be something fun for our soldiers, and there was an interest in this as well, since we all missed last fall's hunting season and so many of us love to hunt."

The group provided duck calls and prizes for the soldiers who participated in the contest. Duck calls were handed out to anybody interested in taking part in the May 30 competition.

Approximately forty people practiced their duck calls while waiting for the contest to start. Many had never heard a duck call before, let alone tried calling.

"Duck calling is pretty simple with a little practice," Anton said. "However, I am not all that good and usually rely upon friends while hunting.

"There are two types of calls -- single and double reed," he continued. "Single reed calls are a little harder to use, but sound more duck-like. There is also a choice between wood and acrylic calls. Wood calls sound pretty realistic if used right, but you can usually get a little more volume out of an acrylic call."

Anton, along with two other duck hunters, judged the contest. Participants had 15 seconds to give it their all. Many had authentic duck calls, while others just had fun.

Spc. Nicolas Salvaggio, Devils Lake, N.D., took first place and won a 2008-2009 Federal Duck Stamp print by Joe Hautman.

Second place went to Sgt. Dale Clemens of Noonan, N.D. His calling got him a set of green-winged teal duck decoys.

Spc. Dustin Devillers, Fargo N.D., received third place for his creativity and duck-calling abilities. He won a five-piece decorative knife set.

The soldiers will receive their prizes when they depart Kosovo, or they'll be mailed to them, so they don't have to worry about shipping the items home.

"I was very pleased with how many people showed interest in this event," Anton said, "and I was very happy with the amount of enthusiasm from everyone, including non-duck-hunters.

Multinational Battle Group East is a U.S-led task force comprised of nearly 1,200 soldiers, including servicemembers from Greece, Poland, Ukraine, and Turkey. The group's mission is to maintain a safe and secure environment and providing freedom of movement for the people of Kosovo.

Mullen Cites Need to Improve Military-to-Military Ties with China

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

June 4, 2010 - The nation's top military officer today echoed recent remarks made by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that China's military is inhibiting progress in U.S.-China relations.

"From what I see, in the request to visit [with Chinese military leaders in China] that has been ongoing with Secretary of Defense Gates, I certainly agree with his assessment that it is [China's] military that's holding us back," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters in a visit with Army soldiers here.

Gates is in Asia this week to address some of his counterparts in the region. With the exception of China, all of the region's military powers are in Singapore for the annual Shangri-la dialogue and conference.

The secretary told reporters traveling with him today that, "Nearly all of the aspects of the relationship between the United States and China are moving forward in a positive direction with the sole exception of the military-to-military relationship."

Gates express his desire to engage Beijing and meet with military leaders there, but he was disinvited to the visit, which was tentatively planned for next week.

Both Gates and Mullen suggest that the rejected request was motivated because of the United States' arms deal with Taiwan. Mullen said he was not surprised by China's resistance, but stressed that relations with Taiwan will continue.

"The Taiwan arms sale is one we're committed to and will continue to be committed too," the admiral said. "It is in support of our national policy which is in support of the Taiwan Relations Act and it's going to continue."

However, Mullen acknowledged that he and Gates must continue to pursue better military-to-military relations with China in order to understand that nation's military ambitions, he said.

"The criticality of the military-to-military relationship with the Chinese can't be overstated," the chairman said, noting his personal attempts to meet with Chinese military leaders. "We need to have that. It has gone through fits and starts.

"The whole idea of that engagement and relations is to understand us better and understand where we're headed," Mullen continued. "You have to ask the hard questions -- we don't have to agree on everything, but [the relationship needs] to improve so that we can have a better understanding of what our priorities are in creating a sustained, secure environment in that part of the world."

Pacific Partnership 2010 Conducts First Surgeries On Board Hospital Ship

By US Army Sgt. Craig Anderson, Pacific Partnership 2010

QUY NHON, Vietnam (NNS) -- Pacific Partnership 2010 opened its operating rooms onboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) June 1 so its surgical teams could perform the first of many surgeries scheduled while the ship is anchored off the central coastal city of Quy Nhon, Vietnam.

Doctors on board Mercy are expecting to perform at least 100 surgeries during the 13-day visit to the city of Quy Nhon located in the Binh Dinh province.

Army Lt. Col. Francis Cannizzo, a surgeon with the 405th Combat Support Hospital, in Worcester, Mass., performed gall bladder surgery on a woman from Vietnam. This type of surgery reduces the amount of time patients feel sick and also increases the kind of food they can eat comfortably.

"There are a number of life-threatening complications that could result from gall bladder disease," said Cannizzo. "Like this one, however, in the majority of cases it is a quality of life issue."

It is the little improvements that have life-altering results.

Mercy's first patient, Nguyen Loan, a 65-year-old retired shopkeeper and grandmother of seven from Quy Nhon, Vietnam, first read about the medical help and the opportunity to visit Mercy on a notice board.

"I have had pain in my stomach for almost a month," said Loan. "I registered to go and waited to hear them announce my name on the radio to see if I was accepted."

She was very excited to hear her name on the radio and took her first boat ride to the Mercy.

"This is my first time on a boat, and it is very nice," Loan said. "All of the doctors and nurses have been very nice, and I am glad I came."

Loan is looking forward to going home and playing with her grandchildren, an activity she found difficult to do before, she said.

Pacific Partnership 2010 surgeons carefully screen patients to ensure that that they will fully recover and be able to resume their daily lives upon departing the floating hospital.

"We have a complete range of surgical specialists with the exception of heart surgery and neurosurgery," said Director for Surgical Services Cmdr. Trent Douglas. "We are on station for only a short time, so we perform procedures that allow rapid recovery."

While it is only the beginning for Mercy's surgeons as they help alleviate patients' physical distress, they seek to leave a more permanent impression along the way.

"We are not out here solely doing surgery; we are building relationships," Douglas said. "We are working alongside our NGO colleagues, our host and partner nation colleagues to be able to respond in times of crisis quickly and efficiently."

Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in a series of annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavors aimed at strengthening regional partnerships among U.S. government organizations, host nations, partner nations, and international humanitarian and relief organizations.

Force Expansion Equals Seabees in Action

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Russell Stewart

MAZAR-E-SHARIF, AFGHANISTAN (NNS) -- In the vicinity of Mazar-e-Sharif the Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 have a challenging work, establishing Forward Operating Base Deh Dadi.

U.S. and international forces continue to increase their footprint in northern Afghanistan, and the Bee's of NMCB 4 have their work cut out for them, work that is both difficult and rewarding.

"The future vision for work we're doing here is that it will become an enduring Afghan National Army (ANA)military base. We are not just building a temporary camp for the force expansion but a long term military installation for the ANA," said Cmdr. Dean VanderLey, commanding officer, NMCB 4.

The purpose of the construction projects hinge largely on the requirement for more space, made especially urgent with the arrival of several Army units. The current area is not nearly enough, however, the projects underway will provide an area large enough to accommodate the footprint of incoming units where significant portions of the incoming forces can live in, and fight from.

With all the work comes opportunity and obstacles to overcome.

"It's great that we get to do a little bit of everything and get to see it go from the ground up!" says Utilitiesman 2nd Class (SCW/SW) Daniel Rodriguez. "We have to stay flexible, everything is always changing," said Rodriguez.

"Between the ever changing weather, getting to and from the job site, and the local children stealing our survey markers, we have had our share of challenges," said Engineering Aid 1st Class (SCW) Carolina Godoy, recalling some of the initial difficulties. "The best part though, was that I got to design a lot of the project," said Godoy.

We faced a number of other significant challenges while working here; the sheer size of the project is hard to grasp until you get on site and look at how massive it is. The weather and associated soil conditions created their own problems; the soil is fine clay that becomes very soft and sticky when wet. We had to work through a lot of wet conditions early on. Since the project site is not contiguous with any existing Forward Operating Base, security was a challenge. We essentially had to create what we called our own small "Fort Apache" and then expand out from that. NMCB 4's Seabees have done a great job putting their training into practice and operating an impressive and effective security force, said VanderLey.

"We trained for this in our FTX," said Equipment Operator 2nd Class (SCW) Michael Ivey. The Field Training Exercise is part of the Fleet Readiness Training Plan that assesses the capability of the battalion to deploy. "It's really neat to see it all unfold," said Ivey.

The design of the project was generally dictated by the requirements of the incoming units. The battalion coordinated closely with an Air Force Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force to create a master plan that accommodated the needs of the incoming units and that was also constructible with local resources. With so many considerations that influenced the layout and makeup of the project, the variety of jobs is astounding.

"There are so many opportunities to build," said Builder Constructionman Apprentice Tyler Turner. "It's more than just construction," said Turner.

Mullen Thanks Fort Bragg Troops, Families for Service

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

June 3, 2010 - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen visited with soldiers and families here yesterday, praising their efforts and continued support over the past decade despite frequent deployments and strenuous combat missions.

"Thanks to you [and] thanks to your families," Mullen said during the day's first town hall with Special Forces soldiers. "We've asked you to do extraordinary things during extraordinary times in our history. Thanks for the sustained level of excellence, which, quite frankly, has just gotten better and better over time."

Mullen and his wife Deborah met with Special Forces soldiers and spouses of fallen troops during a town hall and lunch held at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School here. He also held a town hall with 18th Airborne Corps soldiers at the Soldier Support Center building and visited troops recovering at Womack Army Medical Center.

"If you would've told me back in 2001 here's what I'm going to do for the next 10 years at this rate, pace, this amount of time deployed, this amount of time not at home, and that we'd be in the good shape we're in right now -- that's a hill I would've had a real challenge climbing," Mullen said. "But it speaks to you, it speaks to quality, it speaks to dedication, [and] it speaks to a generation that's making a huge difference."

Special Forces soldiers serve in more than 60 countries around the globe, not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, the admiral acknowledged. Psychological operations, civil affairs and Special Forces troops, he said, are making a difference in preventing future conflicts by partnering with other nations and advancing their governments through military training and assistance.

"More than anything else, I just want to express my appreciation for your service [and] the difference that you've made protecting and supporting our national interests," the admiral added.

Mullen assured troops that the heavy operations tempo soldiers and Marines have experienced over the past nine years will soon slow down. Roughly since 2003, soldiers have been deploying at a 1-to-1 ratio of one year deployed and one year at home, while Marines have operated under a seven-month cycle.

Those same forces can look forward to a 1-to-2 rotational cycle, giving troops twice as much time at home with their families, while they train to keep their skills sharp between deployments, he said. "Over the next couple of years, the pace will slow down a bit," Mullen said. "We're moving toward being home twice as long as we've been deployed. With the growth of the Army ... we should be able to make this [operations tempo] work within the next couple of years."

However, Mullen emphasized that troops should still expect to deploy. He explained that conventional forces would be able to reset and train for their traditional military missions, while also preparing for counterinsurgency missions.

As Mullen and other senior leaders look to the future of the military, their hope is that conventional forces will have the time to focus on nation building efforts and renewing military partnerships with other militaries, much the way the Special Forces community does, he told the 18th Airborne Corps soldiers.

"One of the things I do have to spend some time on is looking into the future," he said. "What does our military look like? What will our missions be? What will our skill sets be? What are our education requirements?

Mullen urged the troops to improve their cultural awareness and language skills and to explore other areas of military importance, such as cyber space.

The admiral noted recent incidents and initiatives around the world, such as North Korea's alleged sinking of a South Korean ship, relief efforts in Haiti and nation building in Africa. Troops need to continuously be prepared for irregular warfare, he said.

"We're going to continue to be about change," the admiral said. "It can be as difficult an undertaking as any. We will continue to focus on irregular warfare and move away from conventional warfare.

"I'm confident we can do that," he continued. "And even after these wars, there will be tremendous challenges out there. We are evolving. There are very few military solutions alone."

Mullen follows his Fort Bragg visit with stops in Charleston, S.C., today and Fort Benning, Ga., June 4 where he will meet with more troops and military families.