Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gates Recommends Amos for Top Marine Post

From a Defense Department News Release

June 22, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has recommended to President Barack Obama that he nominate Gen. James F. Amos, a career aviator, to serve as the next commandant of the Marine Corps, Pentagon officials announced yesterday.

If he's nominated and confirmed, Amos -- now the service's assistant commandant -- would be the first aviator to lead the Marine Corps. He would succeed Gen. James T. Conway, who is retiring in the fall after four decades of continuous service.

Amos commanded a Marine aircraft wing and a Marine expeditionary force during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He went on to lead the Marines' Combat Development Command and served as deputy commandant for combat development and integration before assuming his current post in July 2008.

Gates also has recommended that Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. be promoted to replace Amos as assistant commandant. Dunford commands the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command, with responsibility for all Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I came to these leadership decisions after a thorough process that considered several outstanding candidates," Gates said in a statement. "I am convinced that General Amos and Lieutenant General Dunford are the right team to lead the U.S. Marine Corps at this time, especially as it balances the capabilities needed to support current operations, its unique maritime heritage and its future role defending America."

Oregon Air Guard Senior Master Sergeant Appears on Federal Indictment Charging Theft of Government Property

PORTLAND, OR—Adam Michael Monticelli, 33, of Vancouver, Washington, appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Paul Papak for arraignment on an indictment charging three counts of theft of government property. A federal grand jury returned the sealed indictment on June 16, 2010, which was unsealed at today’s hearing.

The indictment alleges Monticelli stole three Suzuki motorcycles that were property of the Department of Air Force, 125th Special Tactics Squadron, Oregon Air National Guard where he was assigned on active duty at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant. After stealing the motorcycles, Monticelli advertized and sold them on Craigslist for personal gain. The crime of theft of government property carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The defendant was released from custody with conditions and ordered to appear on August 24, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. for trial. The case was investigated by the United States Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Air Force, Office of Special Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Pamala Holsinger.

An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

VCNO Testifies Before SASC; Emphasizes Fostering Resilience in Sailors, Families

From U.S. Navy Chief of Information

June 22, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) June 22 in Washington, D.C., vice chief of naval operations (VCNO) discussed the Navy's ongoing efforts in preventing suicides and treating the invisible wounds of war - post traumatic stress (PTS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

"Each suicide is a tragic loss that can destroy families, devastate a community and impact unit cohesiveness and morale," said VCNO Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, in his opening statement. "While the contributing factors of suicide are unique to each person, a common thread is a personal, perceived inability to cope with stress. Our focus of effort is to better understand the stressors that Sailors and their families face and equip them with positive methods to cope with stress."

The acronym for this suicide prevention effort is "ACT," said Greenert.

"To ask about a shipmate, to care for the shipmate and to help that shipmate get treatment," continued Greenert, explaining the many steps taken by the Navy to foster resilience in Sailors and their families, increase unit and family level vigilance and encourage early intervention and care.

The first step is training and creating awareness for providers, Sailors and their families, said Greenert.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, the Navy has conducted training workshops for leaders, first responders and suicide prevention coordinators in 20 locations in five countries, with five more being planned for the end of the fiscal year. A new training video called "Suicide Prevention: A Message from Survivors" was distributed in April 2010. Interactive training programs like front-line supervisor training and peer-to-peer training have been distributed and are strengthening "a culture of support," said Greenert. About 120,000 people have been trained in operational stress control so far.

"The key in all of this is taking control of stressors," said Greenert. "Stress is a fact of life. We want to reframe the issue in terms of operational stress control, a comprehensive approach to address the psychological health of Sailors and their families amidst a period of high operational tempo, a dynamic work environment and increased deployments."

Greenert also addressed PTS and TBI.

"Our Sailors deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan face a dynamic environment with unique experiences and a preponderance of events that manifest post traumatic stress. Accordingly, we are focused on preventing PTS, building resilience, eliminating barriers or stigma associated with the treatment after deployment," said Greenert.

Greenert explained that PTS prevention efforts include incorporating operational stress control continuum and stressing first aid principles for all Sailors – from basic training to flag officer development.

"While there are several injury patterns in theater, an important area for all of us remains traumatic brain injury. The diagnoses and treatment of TBI is a top priority," said Greenert.

Greenert explained that the Navy is "committed to a full assessment of blast injuries, immediate attention to injuries and ensuring that every Sailor affected subsequently receives the best medical treatment available."

The Navy works with other services, Defense Centers of Excellence, defense and veteran's brain injury centers, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and academia to assess TBI.

"By teaching Sailors to navigate stress, our Navy will make our force more resilient. By assisting and treating those with TBI and PTS, we could eliminate a potential cause of depression and suicidal behavior," said Greenert. "Our Navy is committed to a culture that fosters individual, family and command resilience and well-being. We honor the service and sacrifice of our members and their families, and we will do everything possible to support our Sailors, so that they recognize that their lives are truly valued and truly worth living."

Spectacular military displays mark Armed Forces Day in Woolwich

June 22, 2010 - The famous Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the awe-inspiring Royal Artillery Black Knights parachute display team are all set to thrill the crowds at Armed Forces Day on Saturday 26 June at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, South East London from 2 to 4pm.

Greenwich Council is inviting local people to come along to this free event to honour the men and women in the armed forces and local veterans.

The spectacular displays will kick off at 2.20 with the Royal Artillery Band followed by the hoisting of the Armed Forces Day flag. This will be shortly followed by a display from The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery, a performance by the 97 Cadet band and an awe inspiring display by the Black Knights Parachute Team (weather permitting). The Army Rock Band will close the event at approx 4.00pm.

The Woolwich Barracks was home to the Royal Artillery until 2007. Taking their place are the 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, an infantry unit of about 600 military personnel. Next year they will be joined by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery - along with about 120 horses.

Built between 1776 and 1802, the Woolwich Barracks has been designated one of the MoD's "core sites” and will host the Olympic Shooting events and Paralympic Shooting and Archery events during the London 2012 Games.

The Royal Artillery Barracks is on Repository Road, Woolwich, London SE18 5DP

For media information please contact Dee Delany on 020 8921 5040 or email dee.delany@greenwich.gov.uk

Update Exceptional Family Members Before Negotiating Orders

From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

June 22, 2010 - MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- There are currently 16,000 Navy families enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), but some Sailors are not updating their packages before entering their detailing window.

"Enrollment in the EFM program is mandatory for all family members with long-term medical, mental health or educational needs and is required immediately upon identification of a special need," said Cmdr. Cynthia Granby, EFMP branch head at Navy Personnel Command.

"Before a detailer can release orders, an updated EFM status is needed. The sponsor is responsible for knowing his or her EFM update timeframe and for updating the file prior to negotiating for orders. Local coordinators at the nearest Military Treatment Facility can be contacted to confirm update status and timeframe."

Family member status updates are required nine months prior to a Sailor's Projected Rotation Date, every three years, or whenever the enrolled member's need changes. Temporary enrollments (Category VI) must be updated within a year of assignment.

The EFMP is required for authorized family members who possess a physical, emotional, developmental or educational disability, or a condition that requires special medical, mental health or education services and reside with or are in the custody of a Sailor. Enrollment ensures family members' needs are identified so that Sailors are stationed where those needs can best be met.

"The program is a benefit for Sailors and commands," said Kathleen Wells, Navy EFMP manager. "It's available to help alleviate hardships on family members by ensuring their special needs are considered in the detailing process."

"EFMP remains flexible," Granby said. "Once the sponsor enrolls and family needs are identified, he/she will have a good chance at obtaining a career enhancing assignment."

EFMP families are classed into one of six categories. For those families who have been designated categories IV and V, the Navy has a separate program, Navy EFMP Respite Care, which provides up to 40 hours of free in-home care for exceptional family members and their siblings.

"Many family members enrolled in the program have complex needs that cannot be met using typical in-home care," said Sharon Fatheree, Navy Child and Youth Programs, Outreach program manager for Fleet and Family Readiness. "The Navy EFMP Respite Care Program is provided through the Child and Youth Programs and was designed to offer parents in-home care with specialized providers trained to meet the individual needs of the family member so parents can feel safe leaving children in in-home care to run errands, go to medical appointments or just get a change to reconnect with their spouse."

Currently Respite Care is offered at five locations: Jacksonville, Fla.; Bremerton, Wash.; San Diego; Norfolk, Va.; Naval District of Washington D.C.; and 50 independent locations in the continental U.S. Sailors interested in Respite Care can visit the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies website at www.naccrra.org/MilitaryPrograms/navy.php for more information or to be put on the waiting list for care.

Operation Smile Creates Smiles with USNS Mercy in Cambodia

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eddie Harrison, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

June 22, 2010 - SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- Doctors and volunteers from Operation Smile embarked aboard the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) June 17, for six days, to perform surgeries ranging from cleft lip and cleft palate repair to addressing facial and burn scars in support of Pacific Partnership 2010.

Pacific Partnership is a joint effort between host nations, partner nations, NGOs, and other U.S. government agencies that come together each year to foster the relationships in which they provide medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering civic action programs as well as subject matter expert exchanges with local medical professionals.

Before the Cambodian leg of the Pacific Partnership 2010 mission began, participants from Operation Smile, a non-governmental organization, pre-screened more than 130 children and adults with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities, to select patients for reconstructive surgeries.

"We have brought a full medical team of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses," said Scott Snyder, Operation Smile program coordinator for the mission. "We will be performing around 20 to 25 surgeries a day and we are hoping to see about 80 patients during the next four days."

The Operation Smile team aboard Mercy brings together people of many countries and backgrounds. For this effort, the team is made up of 47 members from Cambodia, Ireland, Italy, United Kingdom, and United States, working as a whole to complete these surgeries and help the Cambodian patients in need.

"It's great for us to be working aboard (Mercy)," said Snyder. "We usually work in government hospitals in developing countries and sometimes the facilities aren't that great. We come aboard with the Navy, and it's like working in one of the best hospitals in the U.S."

Operation Smile has conducted missions with the Navy since 2006 and joined Pacific Partnership by participating in the 2008 mission.

While most of its efforts concentrate on the delivery of surgical care, Operation Smile engages in subject matter expert exchanges – even within its own organization.

"I really wanted to go on this trip," said Brenda O'Brien, an Operation Smile volunteer from Ireland, when she discovered Operation Smile would be participating in Pacific Partnership 2010. "I am looking forward to seeing the techniques from the different surgeons from all the different countries."

According to O' Brien, the part that means the most to her is getting the patients aboard, giving them a clean recovery room, and them knowing that they are getting the best treatment they can possibly get.

Operation Smile has provided free surgeries to children around the world since 1982. With a presence in over 50 countries, Operation Smile has helped children whose parents cannot afford to give them the surgeries they need. Today more than 145,000 children have been helped by the medical volunteers at Operation Smile.

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

Arlington Cemetery Fields Phone Calls From Worried Families

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

June 22, 2010 - Officials at Arlington National Cemetery have established a special call center to address concerns worried family members may have about the potential mishandling of their loved ones' remains.

Family members with concerns can call 703-607-8199 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT.

The call center opened June 11, a day after Army Secretary John M. McHugh announced the findings of a months-long investigation into the cemetery's records management. The report noted at least 200 cases of improper internment of remains, including lost accountability for remains, names and graves listed as empty.

More than 800 phone calls from concerned families have been fielded in less than a week of the Army's announcement, spokeswoman Kaitlin Horst said today an interview with American Forces Press Service.

"We were very cognitive of the fact, after the secretary of the Army's announcement, that there were going to be a lot of families that were very upset by the news," Horst said. "The call center was established to give them an outlet to voice their concerns and put them on the phone with somebody to write down those concerns."

Six people work in the call center, and are responsible for taking down information as well as researching requests. Their research includes checking records and verifying the physical location of the gravesite with the cemetery's burial map, Horst explained.

The call center doesn't have voicemail, Horst said, and that's intentional. "We feel that it's very important for family members to speak with someone on the phone," she said, adding that she encourages callers to keep trying if they can't get through right away.

Horst also noted that call center workers can release private information only to immediate family members.

The call center began returning calls yesterday, Horst said, and will continue do so until all of the concerns brought to the center's attention are addressed. She couldn't confirm the number of calls returned so far, but acknowledged that discrepancies such as incorrect military rank on headstones have been confirmed to some families.

Cemetery officials ask for patience from the families as they work through their concerns.

"It's very important for the [cemetery staff] that a thorough and deliberate records search is conducted to ensure that when we get back to people and our response is accurate and complete," Horst said.

Officials understand this is a stressful time for the families, and are committed to correcting the cemetery's discrepancies, Horst said.

"Our sincerest apologies go out to the families where there are discrepancies," she said. "First and foremost, we apologize for the distress this has caused them. We want the families to know that the new management team is committed to ensuring the records are accurate."

Accountability system proves vital during natural disasters, crises

by Erin Tindell
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

6/22/2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- With hurricane season under way, the Air Force Personnel Accountability and Assessment System continues to help leaders take care of Airmen and their families affected by any natural disaster or crisis.

Implemented in April 2009, AFPAAS aligns Air Force reporting with Department of Defense requirements for total force personnel accountability, including active-duty Airmen and their families, reservists, guardsmen, civilians and contractors overseas.

To use the system, members log into https://afpaas.af.mil or call 800-435-9941 to report individual and family member status if affected by a disaster or crisis.

Since its implementation, the Web-based system has delivered rapid, real-time accountability data directly to commanders and readiness managers.

"AFPAAS helps leaders focus on where the biggest impact is after a natural disaster or other crises so they can strategically allocate resources to effectively help affected personnel and make decisions that facilitate a return to stability as quickly as possible," said Brian Angell, the Air Force Personnel Center Personnel Readiness Cell Operations chief.

Before the system was created, information was gathered manually through phone calls and spreadsheet data that was then forwarded by personnel readiness managers from the lowest levels up the chain of command. The process was slow and extended the time it took to assess entitlements for affected personnel.

Now, the system leverages technology to deliver real-time data to leaders every 15 minutes, ultimately speeding the process of allowing commanders and Airman and Family Readiness Center case managers to account, assess, manage and monitor the recovery and reconstitution process for personnel and their families affected or separated by a wide-spread catastrophic event, Mr. Angell said.

"The system has two parts that work together; personnel readiness managers track the data for accountability while Airman and Family Readiness Center case managers track and assess members and their families requesting assistance through the system," said Yvonne Duker, the AFPC Airman and Family Operations Team chief.

AFPAAS proved instrumental after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti and Air Force officials needed to account for any personnel affected by the disaster.

"AFPAAS allowed leaders to account for a total of 1.39 million members and 1.1 million of them were accounted for in only 15 hours after the event," Mr. Angell said.

A key difference between AFPAAS and the previous method of accountability is family members can also log into the system to report any immediate needs they have. This is beneficial should a military member and their family become separated during a natural disaster or crisis.

There are 19 areas of assistance members can request using AFPAAS including medical, financial, temporary housing and childcare. Members also assign a level of assistance ranging from "no needs/not affected" to "immediate needs."

The information reported in the system is protected to ensure privacy, Ms. Duker said.

"Leadership uses the system to see the big picture of impact after a catastrophic event," she said. "However, privacy information is still safeguarded, so they can't view personal information and details of specific cases."

Personnel readiness officials are working with Airman and Family Readiness Centers officials to ensure families are educated on how AFPAAS can benefit them and how to update their information in the system.

Web-based training sessions are available for leaders, commanding officer representatives and readiness personnel, as required, and can be scheduled through major command personnel directorates.

Pararescuemen: Honoring fallen warriors

by Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

6/22/2010 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- More than 20 pararescuemen, active duty, retired and prior service, donned their service dress uniforms, with boots and maroon berets, and fell into formation. Local freedom riders holding American flags lined the street of the funeral procession. As their fallen comrade's remains arrived and were retrieved by honor guard members, the formation saluted him.

On a bright sunny afternoon in San Antonio, the mood is far from light on this day as pararescuemen from across the U.S. paid their final respects to their fallen comrade, Tech. Sgt. Michael Flores, in a funeral ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery June 19 here.

There are only about 350 to 375 pararescuemen currently in the Air Force, said Chief Master Sgt. Lee Shaffer, the pararescue careerfield manager.

"Once you're a pararescueman, always a pararescueman," Chief Shaffer said of the retired and prior pararescuemen who came out to honor Sergeant Flores. "It's not uncommon for prior (pararescuemen) to show up at these events. We want them to wear the berets. We are a brotherhood. "

The ceremony went on much like many other services do, but once the official ceremony was over is when the pararescue ritual began.

The pararescuemen fell out of formation and formed a line up to the casket. One by one, they marched smartly to the casket and saluted Sergeant Flores. Then, they took off their berets and removed the flash, and placed it on Sergeant Flores' casket. They put back on their beret and saluted Sergeant Flores for the last time.

The flash is a device worn on the beret and is worn only by pararescuemen who have completed the two years of training it takes to become fully qualified. The flash comprises a guardian angel wrapping its arms around the world, which symbolizes the mission of pararescuemen. Underneath the flash it reads "So others may live", the pararescue credo.

The tradition of slamming the flashes into the casket, so they stick and stay with the member forever, began shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, when Senior Airman Jason Cunningham, a pararescuemen, was killed in the battle at Roberts Ridge in Afghanistan, Chief Shaffer said.

"We've found, through the years, that some of the families like that tribute that we pay," Chief Shaffer said. "When one of our warriors falls we want to give as much back as we possibly can to the servicemember who lost his life and the family members. This beret, and the flash that's pinned on it, is probably the single most important thing to a pararescuemen. To us it represents all of our hard work, our dedication and basically our heart and soul. We want our fallen warrior to be forever buried with what's most precious to us and what was most precious to him."

A-10C pilot, family headed to Argentina through Olmsted Scholar program

by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/22/2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- An A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot assigned to the 358th Fighter Squadron here was one of 17 military officers selected by the George and Carol Olmsted Foundation to be a student in Olmsted Scholar Class of 2011.

Maj. Sean Baerman, his wife Mandy and their 3-year-old-son, Teague will move to Buenos Aires in June and will spend the next eight months learning Spanish and immersing themselves in the culture and customs of Argentina and its neighboring countries.

The Olmsted Scholar Program provides an opportunity for officers to study in a foreign language at an international university abroad to gain an in-depth understanding of foreign languages and cultures. The skills they gain will help them be knowledgeable and sensitive to the viewpoints and concerns of people around the world as they progress with their Air Force careers. The program involves cultural immersion, as well as studying at the university in the native language.

Major Baerman is also following in his father's, footsteps. Retired Col. Paul Baerman was an Army Olmsted Scholar in Geneva, Switzerland, before the major was born. With this, they are making history. This is the first time since the program was created in 1957 that a parent and then a child have participated.

"In addition to my father serving as a role model, Gen. Olmsted himself was an amazing individual, both in the military and as a civilian," the major said. "The principles he and his foundation espouse are extremely admirable. It is an honor to be part of this program."

As part of his application process, Major Baerman took the Defense Language Aptitude Battery exam. Although no actual fluency of a specific language is required, the major studied French in high school and in college. He also did some self-study last year in order to get a Defense Language Proficiency Test score on file to have a stronger application package. Applicants must also submit their undergraduate transcripts, Graduate Record Examination scores, officer performance reports, obtain letters of recommendation and write an essay to the foundation explaining their interest in the program. Of the 137 Air Force applicants this year, the Air Force board forwarded 12 officers, and seven were ultimately selected by the Olmsted Foundation.

"I've been flying A-10s my entire career, it will be interesting to see what it's like to not fly for almost three years," Major Baerman said. "The Olmsted program provides one of the best opportunities for career broadening and every aspect of the program is appealing to me and my family."

The major said he's most looking forward to the challenge of learning a new language, the opportunity to live and travel in South America, and the chance to do something vastly different than what his peers normally do.

"The day I found out I had been chosen to be part of the program, and that we were going to Buenos Aires, (Argentina) I bought several books and started studying Spanish with the Rosetta Stone language software," Major Baerman said. "I've been studying for about an hour and a half each day. I also listen to a podcast called 'Coffee Break Español' to and from work."

Next April, after gaining fluency in the language, the major will begin his two-year academic endeavor to earn a Masters of International Relations at the University of Belgrano.

For more information, visit the George and Carol Olmsted Foundation website at http://www.olmstedfoundation.org/.

Peleliu ARG, 15th MEU Visit Orphanage in Timor-Leste

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Edwardo Proaño, USS Peleliu Public Affairs

June 22, 2010 - DILI, Timor Leste (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group (PEL ARG) participated in a community service project at the Santa Bakhita Orphanage outside Dili June 21.

Cmdr. Gary Clore, USS Peleliu (LHA 5) chaplain, led the mission, which provided school supplies, candy, music and games to the children.

The ship's mascot, the Peleliu Gator, came along with the team and pantomimed a local fairy tale for the kids, as the chaplain read the story. The tale was about a crocodile that became the mountains and hills of Timor-Leste.

Throughout the day, Sailors and Marines interacted with the children, playing, singing, dancing and giving out candy.

"It's important to contribute to … the orphanage because we can make a positive impact in the lives of these kids," said Clore.

Clore said community service projects such as this contribute to strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Timor-Leste on a grass-roots level.

"The goal of this project is to … let them know that we represent the U.S. Navy and we think they are special," said Clore.

The experience was great for the kids, but also rewarding for the participants.

"It feels good to reach out to these kids," said Ensign Timothy Tacl, Peleliu's first division officer. "I played soccer with them, and it means a lot to see how happy they were. It was awesome."

PEL ARG and embarked Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are participating in Exercise Crocodilo, a multilateral exercise that promotes partnership through civil programs and training with the Timor Leste and Australian militaries.

Other elements of the PEL ARG include Commander, Amphibious Squadron 3, the command element; Fleet Surgical Team 1; Tactical Air Control Squadron 11; Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23, Detachment 5; Assault Craft Unit 1, Detachment F; Assault Craft Unit 5, Detachment B and Beachmaster Unit 1, Detachment D.

The PEL ARG is transiting the 7th Fleet Area of Operation and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.

George H.W. Bush Sailors to Donate Blood

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sandi Grimnes, USs George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

June 22, 2010 - USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) will conduct a blood drive June 28 and 29 from 8 a.m. to noon on Pier 14 at Naval Station Norfolk.

The Naval Medical Center Portsmouth's mobile blood bank will be on the pier to accept donations from George H.W. Bush Sailors to replenish blood supplies for the Armed Forces Blood Bank.

Registration for the blood drive will begin at 8 a.m. both days on the forward mess decks, followed by blood drawing in the mobile blood bank.

Blood donated to the Red Cross stays in the local area and only provides for civilian emergencies. Blood donated by the crew will go to the Armed Forces Blood Program, which only provides blood to military service members and family members in need, said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Carl R. Parker, the ship's senior laboratory technician and blood bank manager. Unless there is a national crisis, the military and the Red Cross do not share blood.

There is always a shortage of rare blood types such as O-negative, O-positive, AB-negative, and AB-positive, said Parker. Blood banks always want O-negative blood, because it is a universal blood type that is compatible with all blood types.

However, only O-negative blood can be given to someone who has O-negative blood type.

-Whole blood only lasts for 35 days, so it is important to keep replenishing the supply, said Parker. The military does its best not to throw away donated blood. Before donated blood expires, the military hospital storing it will call other military hospitals to find a user. If one is found, then it will immediately be shipped over to the hospital that needs it.

"I think the little bit of discomfort one goes through while giving blood is nothing compared to a life that might be lost by not having that blood," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Austan Stein, a Sailor from Reactor Department's Reactor Mechanical division. "It's a really easy way to make a direct impact on somebody."

George H.W. Bush is asking Sailors who donate through the blood drive to register to also be part of the ship's walking blood bank, Parker said. George H.W. Bush does not carry any blood products aboard, so when blood is needed in an emergency situation Medical would call on the Sailors in the walking blood bank to donate directly to the recipient in need.

The walking blood bank is for emergencies while George H.W. Bush is out to sea, Parker said. George H.W. Bush will screen volunteers and have a donor list ahead of time to make the process quicker when blood is needed.

"If you donate blood and sign up for the walking blood bank, you will be given 'vampire liberty,'" said Parker. "It's an extra bonus to help entice Sailors, but more importantly you have to remember you are saving a shipmate's life or maybe one of their family members' lives."

Vampire liberty is a half-day special liberty on a non-duty day. The date is subject to the Sailor's department head for approval.

Before giving blood one should eat a healthy breakfast, drink a lot of fluids, but not consume alcohol or aspirin products, said Parker. If the prospective donor is sick, has taken cold medicine recently, has had a tattoo in the last year, or returned from Iraq or Afghanistan in the last year, he or she will be disqualified.

Services Work to Learn More About Brain Ailments, Suicides

By Lisa Daniel, American Forces Press Service

June 22, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and suicides among service members are interrelated problems requiring holistic prevention methods and more scientific study, military leaders told a Senate panel June 22.

"The reality is, the study of the brain is an emerging science, and there still is much to be learned," Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, Army vice chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing about how the services are dealing with brain injuries and mental health problems.

The vice chiefs of the Navy and Air Force, the Marine Corps' assistant commandant and a Veterans Affairs Department health official also spoke before the committee. All agreed with Chiarelli that the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are coordinating better than ever to diagnose and treat brain injuries and mental disorders, and that much more is known about such conditions today than when combat operations began after Sept. 11, 2001.

Still, they acknowledged, much more needs to be done. They noted that suicides are highest among ground forces. The Army reported 162 confirmed suicides last year, up from 140 in 2008 and 115 in 2007. The Marine Corps reported 52 suicides last year – more per capita than the Army, and up from 42 in 2008 and 33 in 2007. Last year's numbers are expected to rise as more investigations are completed, they said.

While the military officers cited increased deployments and less time at home as one area of stress, many more risk indicators such as personal problems with relationships, legal matters and careers also are factors, they said.

In the Army, Chiarelli said, 79 percent of suicides were by servicemembers who had one or no deployments, and 60 percent were on their first deployment.

Also, Chiarelli said, suicides among active-duty soldiers have dropped while simultaneously increasing among Reserve-component soldiers, especially National Guard members. The Guard Soldiers require a different approach toward intervention, he said, since no standardization exists for services and treatment once they return to their home states. One improvement, he said, would be for Guardsmen to remain on Tricare Plus health care coverage for a continuum of treatment.

The senior officers outlined risk factors for suicide among service members, but only the Marine Corps has seen wide commonality in those who took their own lives. Among Marine suicides last year, 92 percent were between the ages of 17 and 23, and mostly were white men, Gen. James F. Amos said. He added that 67 percent of the Corps is 25 or younger.

"We are woefully more immature in years," the general said. "That, in and of itself, is a problem."Of the 52 suicides among Marines last year, nine had never been in combat, Amos noted.

"While there is no single answer," he said, "we are committed to exploring every potential solution and every resource we have available. We will not rest until we turn this around."

In the Air Force, only 20 percent of suicide victims had been deployed in the year before they died, Gen. Carrol H. Chandler told the committee. But 70 percent of those who committed suicide were found to have problems in their personal relationships, he said, and many had legal problems.

Suicides in the Navy have come from sailors with enough different demographics and risk factors that "our Navy message is that no one is immune," Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert said.

The officers outlined the increasingly number of programs the services have adopted to try to curb suicides. They include training that begins in boot camp, focuses heavily on noncommissioned officers, and extends to senior flag officers; increasing pre- and post-deployment evaluations; embedding mental health workers in deployed units; reaching out to families with training and telephone hotlines; and trying to improve the diagnosis and treatment of TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And the services increasingly are extending programs to build resilience in military members and their families to cope with whatever stresses might arise, the military officers told the committee.

Chiarelli said it is important to recognize the connection between TBI and PTSD and the high rate of "co-morbidity," or co-existing conditions in an individual. That, coupled with a lack of medical understanding about the disorders, and the differing drugs to treat them and problems like anxiety and depression, complicates diagnosis and treatment, he said.

"There is no doubt that you can go to any of our posts and find Soldiers struggling because [doctors] can't nail down and diagnose their conditions," he said. "But I promise you it is not from lack of trying. We are doing everything we can.

"Our science on the brain is just not as great as it is on other parts of the body," Chiarelli continued, noting vast medical opinions about diagnosing and treating the disorders. "It's not this well-developed science like you find with heart surgery."

Of the Army's most severely wounded soldiers – those at least 30 percent disabled – at least 60 percent are diagnosed with PTSD or TBI, Chiarelli said.

There still is no conclusive test to diagnose TBI, Dr. Robert L. Jesse, a physician and acting principal deputy undersecretary of health for VA's Veterans Health Administration, told the committee. "It may just be the complexity of this disease that it takes time to manifest in ways we can diagnose," he said.

Military Parents Voice Education Concerns to Leaders

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

June 22, 2010 - Top U.S. and military leaders took part in a roundtable discussion with parents at the elementary school here today to gain greater insight into the education challenges military families face. Among the participants were Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III; Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden; Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and his wife, Sheila; military parents; and other military and school officials.

The challenges the military education system encounters mirror those encountered by the nation, Lynn said in opening remarks, whether in recruiting and training good teachers, raising standards, or obtaining money for construction and renovation.

But in addition, he noted, the military faces two distinct challenges: frequent moves and multiple deployments.

With every move, families must work to solve problems ranging from ensuring their children adjust to a new environment to making sure records move swiftly and correctly from one school to another, Lynn said.

Additionally, military families often face multiple deployments, with one or both parents gone for six months to a year.

"That sets up a particular challenge for our schools, for military families," Lynn said. "How do we support those kids when one or both parents are deployed?"

The deputy secretary said is pleased to see Biden, Duncan and other leaders taking note of military education issues and working to tackle them through avenues like the roundtable meeting.

Biden, an educator for nearly 30 years and mother of an Army National Guard officer, said she and First Lady Michelle Obama are on a mission to better understand the challenges military families face. "We're here to listen to you," she told the participants.

The military parents took full advantage of the venue, speaking up to voice concerns on a variety of education-related issues, ranging from school transfer difficulties to the need for improved teacher training within Defense Department and public schools.

Kathryn Griffin, whose husband is in the Virginia National Guard, expressed concern for Guard children, whom she worries get lost in public schools where teachers may not receive the special training they need to detect when children are experiencing problems due to a deployment or other military challenge.

Madeline Lanza, an Army spouse, echoed Griffin's concerns, pointing out that many teachers lack the experience and training to recognize military-related problems in students. Her husband deployed last May, she explained, and her child went through some "rough spots." While the teacher was helpful, she didn't have the experience to deal with the problems. She encouraged teachers to avail themselves of training.

Lynn addressed training in an interview after the roundtable. "The general issue is to get both training to the teachers who are dealing with the kids in the classrooms ... and the kind of counselor support so the teacher doesn't spend all their time with just a couple of students who are having challenges," he said. "Partly that's training, and partly that's resources."

Renae Robinson, a Navy spouse, urged leaders to consider making it mandatory for servicemembers to notify the school of an impending deployment. That way, school officials will be able to look for signs of trouble and offer much-needed resources to students. Also, deployment classes and counseling should be made part of the curriculum in school, rather than offered as an option, she added.

Robinson also pointed out the difficulties of transferring between schools in different states. The Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children has eased some of these difficulties, she acknowledged, but not enough people know about the compact or how it can help them. The compact is a cooperative effort among states to address some of the administrative challenges military children run into when moving to a new school.

Biden said she's aware of the concerns. "That's something we're looking into," she said.

Duncan noted that officials are working to establish common standards across all states.

Overall, the roundtable emphasized the importance of addressing education issues within the military, Lynn noted.

"We need to meet those challenges, and then with the conflicts we're in, we need to get the resources to the kids who are dealing with a very tough challenge with having one or both parents deployed for six months or a year at a time, and this is happening not just once, but with multiple deployments," Lynn said.

"We need to work with those kids and address what is a very challenging situation for them," he added. "It can obviously impact how they do in school."

USNS Mendonca Participates in Joint Logistics Over the Shore Exercise

By Bill Cook, Military Sealift Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command (MSC) large, medium-speed, roll/on, roll/off ship USNS Mendonca (T-AKR 303)was the primary cargo platform for a joint logistics over the shore exercise June 16-20, off the coast of Virginia Beach, Va. During the exercise, 550 military personnel demonstrated and practiced the U.S. military's ability to transport equipment and supplies to shore from a cargo ship at sea, even when no useable port facilities exist.

The exercise took place on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

Joint logistics over the shore, or JLOTS, is a method of transporting rolling stock such as tanks and trucks as well as containerized military or humanitarian relief cargo from a ship at sea to shore using Army and Navy motorized and non-motorized barges, called lighterage, to stage and transport the cargo. In addition to motorized lighterage, Army watercraft including landing craft utilities and logistics support vessels are also used to transport cargo between ship and shore.

The U.S. Army's 7th Sustainment Brigade located at Fort Eustis, Va., was the exercise's host command. Other units involved included the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's 597th Transportation Battalion, and the U.S. Navy's Cargo Handling Battalion 1 from Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Va., Cheatham Annex.

During the five-day exercise, the participants safely and efficiently uploaded and discharged 179 pieces of rolling stock and containers to and from Mendonca via lighterage. Ashore, the cargo was either offloaded directly onto the beach, or onto a temporary pier constructed specifically for the exercise.

According to civilian Capt. Michael Murphy, Mendonca's master, the Army and Navy cargo handling experts all did a superb job of safely and efficiently getting cargo to and from the ship.

"At the height of cargo operations, high winds and rain provided a challenging environment, but the 31 Army and 23 Navy professionals assigned aboard the ship did an excellent job moving cargo quickly and safely down the ramp to the waiting discharge facility," said Murphy.

"Mendonca's crew also played an important role - they assisted on the bridge and on the deckplates to ensure a successful outcome." The 950-foot long Mendonca is operated by a crew of 30 civilian mariners working for a private company under charter to MSC.

The value of joint logistics over the shore operations was recently demonstrated during the international humanitarian response to the earthquake in Haiti Jan. 12 that not only leveled the capital of Port-au-Prince, but also the port infrastructure.

After that devastating event, the need for medical and humanitarian supplies, food, water, and heavy construction equipment was overwhelming, and the most efficient way to move the vast amounts of cargo and equipment to the shore was via JLOTS. Ten MSC-operated vessels supported JLOTS operations in Haiti, including two maritime prepositioning ships, both owned by MSC; two ships that were activated from the Maritime Administration's (MARAD) ready reserve force and under MSC's operational control; one MARAD high-speed ferry; and five chartered vessels.

In less than one month, more than 1,000 20-foot containers of cargo and more than 170 military vehicles plus food, water, and fuel were delivered to Haiti to sustain the emergency responders and civilians on shore - all delivered by JLOTS.

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.



The Boeing Co., Defense, Space and Security, Global Mobility Systems, Long Beach, Calif., was awarded a $1,528,454,053 contract modification that will procure eight C-17 aircraft. At this time, $734,400,000 has been obligated. 516 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8614-06-D-2006).

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $94,285,469 contract modification which will provide for the MQ-1 Predator aircraft and MD-1 ground control station retrofit kits. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 703 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028).


The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is pleased to announce the award of advisory and assistance services contracts to Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va. (HQ0147-10-D-0011); Lockheed Martin Services, Inc., Gaithersburg, Md. (HQ0147-10-D-0012); and QinetiQ North America, Fairfax, Va. (HQ0147-10-D-0013). Each firm is being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide advisory and assistance services to the Security and Intelligence Operations (DXS) directorate. The contractors will assist the DXS directorate in providing information assurance, security, intelligence and counterintelligence services to protect the MDA and Ballistic Missile Defense Systems technologies. This procurement is managed by the MDA engineering and support services program office. This program office is responsible for centrally managing the acquisition of advisory and assistance services for the agency. These contracts are being competitively awarded under the full and open, unrestricted, request for proposal HQ0147-09-R-0002. Each contract has a not-to-exceed ordering ceiling of $365,728,000. The companies will have the opportunity to bid on each individual task order. Work under these contracts will be performed in Huntsville, Ala., and other MDA locations. The performance period is through June 2015. Obligations will be made by task orders using research, development, test and evaluation funds. The Missile Defense Agency is the contracting activity.


Bluewater Defense, Inc., San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, is being awarded a maximum $59,123,180 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for Army combat uniform coats and trousers. Other locations of performance are Puerto Rico and North Carolina. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is March 30, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-D-1070).

American Apparel, Inc., Selma, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $55,715,352 firm-fixed-price, sole-source contract for Army combat uniform coats. Other locations of performance are Alabama, Mississippi, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is March 30, 2012. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SPM1C1-10-D-1065).


Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $15,431,971 firm-fixed-price modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) delivery order #0015 for the purchase of 43 field service representatives to install spall-liner blanket kits and modernization safety kits, and conduct general maintenance to the Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle fleet supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Work will be performed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $15,431,971 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, is being awarded an $8,300,858 contract modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) to support the outfitting of DDG 1000 Peripheral Vertical Launch System (PVLS) units. The PVLS is a system of armored compartments located around the periphery of the DDG 1000 class guided missile destroyer. Each PVLS compartment contains and protects one MK57 Vertical Launching System. This design makes launchers and missiles resistant to battle damage while safely isolating them from crew and equipment spaces. Work will be performed in Bath, Maine (92 percent); Glendale, Calif. (6 percent); and Montville, N.J. (2 percent); and is expected to be completed by December 2010. 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.

Noah Enterprises, Inc.*, Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded an $8,233,000 firm-fixed price contract for design and construction of the First Naval Construction Division Operations Control Facility at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Fort Story. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a two-story headquarters facility with administrative areas; sensitive compartmented intelligence facility; data processing areas; support facilities; and mechanical, electrical, and communications spaces. The contract also contains two unexercised options which, if exercised, would increase the cumulative contract value to $8,534,665. Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, Va., and is expected to be completed by July 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online Web site, with 11 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-10-C-3010).

Namesake Submarine Trades History with Museum

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Myers, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

June 22, 2010 - GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Representatives from the Battleship North Carolina Museum in Wilmington, N.C. visited their namesake submarine June 17 to present a piece of history to the crew.

Museum representative Kim Sincox and retired Capt. David Stryker, a former submarine commanding officer and a member of the museum board of directors, presented Virginia-class submarine USS North Carolina (SSN 777) with a large, antique silver service carried aboard two previous vessels named for the people of the Tar Heel state.

The service contains a punch bowl with platform, a ladle with 24 punch cups; coffee and tea service; 24 finger bowls and trays; 24 ice cream trays; a water pitcher and tray; four match and cigar holders with two lighters; one special cigar case; and three wine decanters with coasters.

"The name North Carolina means a lot to me," stated Stryker to the submarines crew. "You have a great legacy to live up to, and I know you will do it with tremendous professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm." Stryker's father served aboard the USS North Carolina (BB 55) as navigator and later as the executive officer.

"It is a tremendous honor to carry with us such an amazing piece of history," said Cmdr. Wes Schlauder, North Carolina's commanding officer and New London native.

The silver was made for the armored cruiser North Carolina (ACR 12) and was presented to that vessel off the coast of Beaufort, N.C. in July 1908. The set is engraved with a nautical rope border with cotton and tobacco plants and eagles, sea shells, sea weed, and other nautical devices. One side of the principal piece has an etching of the cruiser, while the other side has the State Capitol.

The inscription reads: "From citizens of the state of North Carolina to the battleship North Carolina by the legislature of 1907. Joint committee: Governor R. B. Glenn, Lieutenant Governor Francis D. Winston, chairman; Speaker E. J. Justice, Senator John C. Drewery, Representative C. U. Harris, and Representative C. F. Hankins."

Schlauder also presented Sincox with artifacts from the submarine, including a ship's coin, a wardroom table setting, several North Carolina wardroom water glasses, personalized officer coffee mugs and napkin rings. The boat will also send a Brow Banner and a qualified junior officer's coveralls to the museum.

Submarine North Carolina is the fourth ship to bear the name and is the fourth submarine of the Virginia class. North Carolina is a powerful and versatile platform capable of several diverse missions, including conventional submarine warfare, strike warfare, mining operations, and delivery of special operations personnel and equipment.

HSV Swift Brings Subject Matter Expert Exchanges to El Salvador

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

June 22, 2010 - LA UNION, El Salvador (NNS) -- High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2 arrived in La Union, El Salvador to conduct subject matter expert exchanges as part of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010 with the El Salvadorian defense force June 18.

This is the fourth stop for SPS 2010.

Sailors, Marines and DoD civilians aboard Swift will work with personnel from the country trading ideas and best practices about various topics in the Maritime community including port and physical security, leadership and various marine corps subjects. 

"As with our previous stops, we are looking to keep an open, candid line of communication with the El Salvadorian defense forces in hopes that all involved will benefit from the wealth of information exchanged," said Capt. Kurt Hedberg, SPS 2010 mission commander. "We know that the El Salvadorian's have many things to share with us and we with them. We are eager to continue to strengthen our partnership with this country and to bolster regional, maritime safety and security throughout Central and South America." 

SPS 2010 is a deployment of various specialty platforms to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Area of Responsibility in the Caribbean and Central America. Its primary goal is information exchanging with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout these regions.

By adding a formal structure to these exchanges, as well as focusing resources and efforts specifically to the needs of the countries visited, SPS aims to achieve common security goals through its partnerships and collaborations. 

"The success of SPS 2010 will validate the SPS concept and will set the stage for subsequent deployments," said Hedberg. "It is important to both the U.S. and every country we visit, that the participants keep an open mind and line of communication when interacting with one another so that we get the most accurate and relative insight into how to improve our military's maritime practices."

Swift is operated and navigated by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.

Flag Officer Assignments

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the following assignments:

Rear Adm. (lower half) Michael H. Anderson will be assigned as medical inspector general, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Washington, D.C. Anderson is currently serving as fleet surgeon, U.S. Pacific Fleet / command surgeon, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Thomas L. Brown II will be assigned as commander, Special Operations Command, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Fla. Brown is currently serving as deputy commander, Special Operations Command Europe, Stuttgart, Germany. Rear Adm. (lower half) James F. Caldwell Jr., who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Caldwell is currently serving as commander, Submarine Group Nine, Silverdale, Wash.

Rear Adm. (lower half) James G. Foggo III will be assigned as director, plans and operations, U.S. Naval Forces Europe - Sixth Fleet/deputy commander, Sixth Fleet/commander, submarines, Allied Naval Forces South/commander, Submarine Group Eight, Naples, Italy. Foggo is currently serving as executive officer, Supreme Allied Command, Europe, Stuttgart, Germany.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Anthony E. Gaiani will be assigned as commander, Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia / commander, Maritime Air Forces, Europe, Naples, Italy. Gaiani is currently serving as commander, Navy Region Midwest, Great Lakes, Ill.

Capt. Michael M. Gilday, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half), will be assigned as director of operations, Joint Forces Command Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal. Gilday is currently assigned as the executive assistant to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Robert Hennegan will be assigned as commander, Submarine Group Nine, Silverdale, Wash. Hennegan is currently serving as deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Michelle J. Howard, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as chief of staff, J5, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C. Howard is currently serving as commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two, Norfolk, Va.

Rear Adm. Douglas J. McAneny will be assigned as commandant, National War College, National Defense University, Washington, D.C. McAneny is currently serving as commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Rear Adm. John G. Messerschmidt, will be assigned as director of assessments and analysis, ECJ7 / EUCOM advisor on reserve component affairs, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. Messerschmidt is currently serving as commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command, Norfolk, Va.

Capt. Frederick J. Roegge, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral (lower half), will be assigned as deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Roegge is currently serving as assistant deputy director for regional operations, J3, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Kevin D. Scott will be assigned as commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two, Norfolk, Va. Scott is currently serving as deputy director, Expeditionary Warfare, N85B, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

Rear Admiral (lower half) Clifford S. Sharpe will be assigned as commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight, Norfolk, Va. Sharpe is currently serving as commander, Naval Service Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

Rear Adm. David J. Smith will be assigned as chief medical advisor, International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan. Smith is currently serving as Joint Staff surgeon, Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.

Senior Executive Service Appointments and Reassignments

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointment;

J.D. Sicilia has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as director, Department of Defense Strategic Management and Performance, Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer (ODCMO), Washington, D.C. Sicilia previously served as director, DoD Lean Six Sigma Program Office, ODCMO, Washington, D.C.

What a New Sergeant Needs to Know

When you began your law enforcement career, your organization sent you to a training academy and then, likely, provided you with a field training officer or senior officer with whom to work. However, when you promote to sergeant, there is little training and nothing like the mentoring of a field training officer system. Moreover, the transition from police officer to sergeant is often one of the most difficult transitions of your career.

Read On

Ribbon Cutting: New Beginning for Navy Warfare Development Command

From Navy Warfare Development Command Public Affairs

June 22, 2010 - NORFOLK (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC), will conduct a ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the new command headquarters building at 10 a.m. June 24, at Naval Station Norfolk.

Vice Adm. Peter H. Daly, deputy commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command will join Rear Adm. Wendi Carpenter, commander, NWDC, to cut the ribbon.

Established in 1998 to coordinate the development of concepts, doctrine, experimentation, lessons learned, analysis, modeling and simulation, and experimentation, NWDC was originally assigned to report to the Naval War College.

Carpenter helped to break ground at this location in June, 2008.

"The move to Norfolk taps into a synergy with other key commands in the Hampton Roads area including Fleet Forces Command and Joint Forces Command," said Carpenter.

The ceremony will officially welcome NWDC personnel and affiliate organizations to the new headquarters. The full scale grand opening will be conducted this fall.

As a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) legislation of 2005, NWDC is moving from its current location in Sims Hall, Naval Station Newport, R.I., to the new location in Norfolk.

Norfolk-based personnel have been distributed throughout the Norfolk area for several years waiting until the new building was ready for occupancy.

"The ability of our personnel to work together in the same physical location will provide a stable and rich environment for innovation, and will enhance our ability to meet our mission and respond to ever-growing demands from the fleet," said Carpenter.

The new building meets current Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System standards, a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Achieving LEED certification demonstrates the success of a green building program.

The Navy Center for Advanced Modeling and Simulation (NCAMS) is a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art modeling and simulation center, supporting the Navy Continuous Training Environment, Navy Experimentation, and Concepts of Operations development. The Grand Opening will be the first opportunity for visitors and guests to see this remarkable center. "This facility will enhance our ability to collaborate with the warfighter and more rapidly respond to changing demands from the fleet," said Carpenter. "It will also allow for gaining efficiencies, as well as greater effectiveness."

The three-story, 84,849 square foot structure will create new office space for nearly 300 personnel at the Naval Station. NWDC has approximately 340 full and part time personnel, including foreign liaison officers and staff remotely assigned to partner locations such as San Diego, Pearl Harbor and Yokosuka, Japan, for on-site work with the fleet.

Marine Missing in Action From World War I Identified

June 22, 2010 - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from World War I, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Marine First Sergeant George H. Humphrey of Utica, N.Y., will be buried on Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery. On Sept. 15, 1918, Humphrey participated in the first U.S.-led offensive of the war under the command of Gen. John J. Pershing. The battle with the Germans became known as the St. Mihiel Offensive. There were 7,000 Allied losses during this offensive and it was the first use of the American use of the term "D-Day" and the first use of tanks by American units.

Humphrey, a member of the U.S. 6th Marine Regiment, attached to the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, was killed in action during the battle and his remains were buried by fellow Marines the next day. In October 1919, a Marine who witnessed the death wrote a letter to Humphrey's brother recounting the attack near the village of Rembercourt. He included a map of his recollection of the burial site.

Attempts to locate Humphrey's remains by U.S. Army Graves Registration personnel following the war were unsuccessful. In September 2009, French nationals hunting for war relics found artifacts near Rembercourt-sur-Mad they believed to be those of a World War I American soldier. A month later, a team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command excavated the area, recovering human remains and military-related items including a marksman's badge with Humphrey's name engraved on the back.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC laboratory also used dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

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.

Air Force chief of staff collaborates with counterparts at CONJEFAMER 2010

by Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

6/21/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force's top uniformed officer hosted the 50th annual Conferencia de los Jefes de las Fuerzas Aereas Americanas, or CONJEFAMER, here June 13 through 17.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz served as president of CONJEFAMER 2010, which brought together air chiefs from 17 member countries and two observer air forces.

The annual gathering brings together air forces in the western hemisphere to discuss mutual cooperation and security throughout the Americas and to foster cooperation and friendship.

"Fifty years of these successful meetings is a testament to the commitment and friendship among air and space professionals," General Schwartz said. "As an Airman, I strongly believe that our cooperation, as a community of Airmen, makes each of our nations stronger."

CONJEFAMER is the annual meeting of American Air Force chiefs who are members of the "Sistema of Cooperación Entre las Fuerzas Aereas Americanas" or "System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces."

SICOFAA involves special committees and workshops composed of experts from its member air forces who investigate problems and their ramifications and provide the chiefs ways to improve operations and administration.

This year's CONJEFAMER included two plenary sessions, an executive session, and several bilateral meetings between the commanders, said Col. Kristian Skinner, the SICOFAA Secretary General.

Fellow air chiefs also joined General Schwartz for a formal dinner, a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and a tour of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Participants were honored at a ceremonial "Twilight Tattoo" at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., and visited the White House.

"CONJEFAMER provides a common ground on which nations can build, maintain and enhance international partnerships," Colonel Skinner said. "This meeting allowed member nations to learn from each other, develop a fuller understanding of current issues, and look toward the future in an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding."

In addition to CONJEFAMER, SICOFAA holds several committee meetings several times a year. Their largest current initiative is planning the organization's first combined exercise, "Cooperation I," slated to occur in Chile in October, Colonel Skinner said.

Members will develop combined procedures following a simulated response to a natural disaster. Nations of the Western Hemisphere have had to face that real-world scenario with earthquakes hitting Haiti and Chile earlier this year.

General Schwartz thanked participants for helping make a difference.

"I thank you for your contributions to progress within the Americas, between us as professionals, and between our air forces and our nations," said General Schwartz.

This year's conference member attendees were from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Observer air force countries Belize and Guyana were also represented.

CONJEFAMER 2011 is scheduled to take place in Brazil and will be sponsored by the Brazilian Air Force.

Airman scales Mount Everest

by 1st Lt. Jonathan Simmons
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs

6/21/2010 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) -- Colorado Springs' Pikes Peak towers 14,115 feet above sea level, but one member of Air Force Space Command had his sights set higher, about 15,000 feet higher.

Lt. Col. Peter Solie, the 43-year-old chief of the AFSPC Space Safety Division, reached the summit of Mount Everest May 17 at 7 a.m. on his ancestral Norwegian Independence Day, after nearly two months of climbing with a team of 15 other clients.

"I was anxious and excited," said Colonel Solie as he began his climb after a seven-day trek to Everest Base Camp. "The first time I saw the mountain was jaw dropping."

Colonel Solie arrived at EBC April 7. Base camp for this climb stands at about 17,600 feet above sea level in Nepal. He had climbed 53 of Colorado's 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet and above the "14ers," and South America's tallest mountain, Aconcagua, in preparation. Even with this experience, Colonel Solie described the trek up to the world's highest peak as an epic challenge.

"At roughly five and a half miles high, it was like climbing four 14ers consecutively stacked on top of each other with a bag over your head as you climbed the last one," Colonel Solie said.

He said the more dangerous part of the climb was near the beginning between EBC and Camp I traversing through the Khumbu Icefall.

The icefall is a massive flowing glacier with shifting blocks of ice called seracs, that crack, fall and crush unpredictably. This made situational awareness critical.

"Saving energy to descend safely was also of vital concern," he said. "Approximately 80 percent of the over 200 fatalities on (Mount) Everest occurred during descent."

For Colonel Solie, climbing Mount Everest has been a dream he's had from childhood.

"I grew up hiking and climbing in Montana," he said. "It's been a goal of mine since high school. I've wanted to go to space and climb (Mount) Everest and have been saving for the trip since college."

Both the expense and the physical rigor of the trek called for extensive preparations, but for Colonel Solie the physical preparations were just a bit of a surge from his regular physical training routine. The surge included running the Air Force Marathon along with a mid-winter trip across the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Colonel Solie also tried to gain some body fat to be spent during the expedition, pounds well used during the climb.

"I was only able to put on about five pounds as I continued to exercise," said Colonel Solie who lost a total of 10 pounds during the expedition.

Colonel Solie feels accomplished, but humble about his expedition to the highest point on Earth.

"People shouldn't say 'Wow'," he said. "What I did is within most people's potential. It's a matter of not resigning yourself to weaknesses and not self-imposing limits."

As a member of the AFSPC safety staff, Colonel Solie's mindset was trained to evaluate, mitigate and take calculated risk.

"My expedition mates and I made our climb safe by being physically and mentally prepared, using the proper gear, and studying the weather forecasts," he said. "Knowing what the jet stream was doing was critical when deciding when to push for the summit."

For some, conquering Mount Everest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but Colonel Solie plans to climb it again when he's 77 years old to beat the record of oldest person to climb the mountain, currently held by Mr. Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal, who was 76 when he climbed. "I gained tremendous confidence and zeal for life from this experience."

The two-month Mount Everest trek was Colonel Solie's last act on active duty, as he entered terminal leave just prior to his grand adventure. He has nothing but gratitude for his 25 years with the Air Force and his advice to Airmen, "Be fit, help save the planet and be happy."
by Senior Airman Steve Bauer
30th Space Wing Public Affairs

6/21/2010 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- The Air Force triathlon team recently excelled in all athletic categories at the 2010 Armed Forces Triathlon Championship June 5 at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, Calif.

The Air Force team took first place in every category, including the fastest male (Capt. James Bales at 1 hour, 46 minutes, 32 seconds), fastest female (1st Lt. Kathy Rakel at 2:00:04) and overall fastest team for both male and female categories.

The competition was an Olympic-distance triathlon consisting of a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run. The triathlon was open to service-selected teams representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.

The Air Force female's team has come in at first place at this venue for the past three years. This was the first time the Air Force men's team has won this competition since 2004.

"This was a more experienced team with a higher caliber of athletes than prior years," said Maj. Jonathan Mason, a 30th Weather Squadron assistant director of operations.

Two Vandenberg Air Force Base Airmen, Major Mason and 1st Lt. Scott Tonder, a 392nd Training Squadron space operations instructor, contributed to the success of the Air Force Triathlon Team. The two officers trained together in preparation for the triathlon.

"It really helped training with Lieutenant Tonder, who ended up placing second for the team and 11th overall," Major Mason said. "His training and racing has really improved over the last 12 months, and it is contagious when you train with somebody that is better than you."

For Vandenberg AFB's elite triathletes, being selected to participate on the Air Force team in the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship has become an annual occurrence. Lieutenant Tonder competed in the triathlon in 2007 through 2009, and Major Mason competed alongside him in 2008 and 2009.

"One of the highlights of my life and Air Force career was last Saturday at (the) Armed Forces Triathlon Championship," Major Mason said. "It was the first time the men's and women's team swept the competition along with both individual champions coming from one service. I was honored to be part of it and for it to happen to the nicest and most professional group of people I know."

From a spectator's perspective, the Air Force team's pregame strategy of sticking together during the bicycling event is what contributed to the success of the team, said Maj. John Roberts, a 30th Space Wing director of operations.

"From what I saw, the reason why the Air Force men's team did so well was because they worked better as a team on the bicycle than the other services did," Major Roberts said. "The place you come in is the amount of points your team accrues. It's like golf, the lower the points the better you place. The Air Force had the tightest, most consistent groups for both the male and female teams therefore the best scores."

The Air Force Triathlon Team (team members by rank, base, location and race time):

--Maj. Spencer C. Cocanour, Headquarters Pacific Command, Hawaii (Coach)
--Maj. Brian A. Denaro, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii (01:54:48)
--Maj. Jonathan D. Mason, Vandenberg AFB (01:56:37)
--Maj. William S. Poteet, Air Force Academy, Colo. (01:54:41)
--Maj. Melissa M. Tallent, Langley AFB, Va. (02:14:52)
--Capt. James R. T. Bales, Lackland AFB, Texas (01:46:32)
--Capt. Kenneth K. Corrigliano, Cannon AFB, N.M. (01:52:51)
--Capt. Brian E. Hans, Chantilly, Va. (01:56:09)
--Capt. Colleen M. O'Conner, Andrews AFB, Md. (02:14:17)
--1st Lt. Stephanie N. Hirst, Cape Canaveral, Fla. (02:14:47)
--1st Lt. Mitchell R. Kieffer, Eglin AFB, Fla. (01:59:44)
--1st Lt. Erin K. O'Conner, MacDill AFB, Fla. (02:22:42)
--1st Lt. Kathy M. Rakel, Luke AFB, Ariz. (02:00:04)
--1st Lt. Scott A. Tonder, Vandenberg AFB (01:52:39)
--2nd Lt. Brock F. Logan, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (01:54:46)
--Senior Master Sgt. Michael T. McCoy, Scott AFB, Ill. (01:54:19)
--Tech. Sgt. Michael W. Berquist, Fairchild AFB, Wash. (01:56:15)
--Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Appelwick, Sembach Air Base, Germany (Injured)
--Senior Airman Jolene Wilkinson, Hill AFB, Utah (02:09:38)

RED HORSE port team equips New Horizons Panama mission for success

by Tech. Sgt. Eric Petosky
New Horizons Panama 2010 Public Affairs

6/21/2010 - PANAMA CITY, Panama (AFNS) -- A 12-person logistics support team moved more than 200 pieces of cargo 250 kilometers (more than 155 miles) from the port in Panama City to Meteti for New Horizons Panama 2010.

The team, a division of the RED HORSE contingent deploying to Panama for New Horizons, arrived May 11, and worked furiously to get the cargo off the ship, through customs and onto trucks ready to depart.

The cargo included almost everything the New Horizons team will need to complete the 12-week, $8.5 million humanitarian assistance mission. Heavy machinery and construction equipment, as well as a multitude of 20-foot containers carrying everything from food to concertina wire, were loaded and transported to the temporary encampment that will house more than 250 Airmen, Soldiers and Marines during New Horizons.

This is the second New Horizons mission for Senior Master Sgt. Rosanne Keys, the readiness superintendent for the 820th RED HORSE Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Sergeant Keys also supported New Horizons Peru in 2008.

"This is the type of deployment our squadron is built for," she said. "We got everything out of the port smoothly and staged the cargo at the old Howard Air Force Base. From there, we loaded up the trucks, and contractors delivered them to Meteti."

New Horizons Panama 2010 includes six major construction projects at four schools and two clinics in the vicinity of Meteti, located in the Darien region of Panama. The exercise also includes five medical readiness training exercises in the area of David, Chitre and Veraguas.

"This is a great mission," said 1st Lt. Brigette Pirrung, an operations officer with the 315th Logistics Readiness Flight at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. "I'm excited to be a part of New Horizons. It definitely provides a well-rounded experience and on-the-job training, but more importantly, we get to see a positive end result. What we do to help the Panamanian people is a lasting legacy, one that I hope will be an example for others."

Now that the cargo is delivered, the port team will focus on camp sustainment within the tent city, including fuels, vehicle maintenance and supply. After the mission ends in September, the team will redeploy all the cargo back to home station.