Thursday, July 15, 2010

Olympic Silver Medalist, NASA Astronaut Visit GTMO

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Bill Mesta, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- An Olympic medalist and a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut were members of a group that visited Naval Station (NAVSTA) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, July 13.

Heavy Medal Tour II, sponsored by Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) in concert with NAVSTA Guantanamo Bay's Moral, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program, included silver medalist and five-time Olympian skier, Todd Lodwick; two-time shuttle astronaut and four-time space walker, Steve Swanson; and U.S. Olympic committee VIPs John Ruger and Robi Powers.

"We brought America's heroes to the world's heroes," said Robi Powers, Olympic ski coach and founder of The Warrior Tours Foundation.

The Heavy Medal Tour II group was brought to Guantanamo Bay as a result of the efforts of the base's MWR program.

"We were approached by AFE about the tour and what is it they do when they visit bases." said Corey Grier, Guantanamo Bay's MWR community activities director. "After hearing more about their hands-on approach and looking into the response from other bases they visited, we jumped at the chance to bring in the group."

The group started its tour with NAVSTA Guantanamo Bay's Security Department. The group interacted with Sailors attached to the Security Department and were given a demonstration by the K-9 unit.

"The security force was an incredible group of naval law enforcement personnel," said Powers.

The group continued its tour of the base at Guantanamo Bay's Radio Station as guests called the weekly "Open Line" show with remarks.

During the broadcast, the group presented Command Master Chief J.D. McKinney, NAVSTA Guantanamo's command master chief, with an autographed t-shirt.

"These t-shirt went from Bagdad to Bahrain and now finds itself in one of the greatest military installations in the world, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," said Powers. "We are dropping them off at the various units we are visiting and asking your chiefs to use them as part of their rewards prize vault or enlisted recognition program for service members who excel and go above and beyond."

McKinney thanked the group for their visit to NAVSTA Guantanamo Bay.

"The Heavy Medal Tour (II) is a thank you tour for the service members," said McKinney. "But it is more than that. You guys are here spreading inspiration."

During the evening, the group hosted a meet and greet for the entire base community at Denich Gym. The event provided service members, civilians and families an opportunity for autograph signing, photograph opportunities and provided them a chance to hold Lodwick's Olympic silver medal.

The event also gave community members the opportunity to ask questions and interact directly with the guests.

"It is our pleasure to come and meet everybody and share our experiences with them," said Swanson.

USS George H.W. Bush Hosts Namesake

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman J. Scott St. Clair, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs

USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), the Navy's 10th and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, received a visit from its namesake, former President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, while underway July 14. Bush and Barbara were escorted on board by Adm. J.C. Harvey, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.

During his two-day visit to the aircraft carrier, Bush toured the ship, observing day-to-day operations and spending time with the crew, as well as taking part in a reenlistment ceremony for nearly 60 Sailors, which he said was an honor.

"I am proud of every man and woman on this ship," said Bush. "I was honored to be able to reenlist those who are ready to serve again. I am very emotional about service to country, particularly the Navy. I am very proud of the Navy and extremely proud of this ship. That this ship is named after me knows no bound in terms of my emotion and my pleasure and the honor that I feel."

Commanding Officer Capt. Chip Miller expressed what a huge privilege and inspiration it was to host two individuals who devoted their lives to selfless service.

"What an honor it is to have our special guests on board to see freedom at work first hand," said Miller. "We are so grateful to have them join us at sea to see what we do and how we do our part to defend freedom."

Barbara pointed out how much the aircraft carrier and its crew meant to her and her husband.

"This ship is probably the greatest honor that George Bush ever had given to him," said Barbara. "He and I pray for this crew every single night of our lives. This crew is the greatest, and we are thankful to you for what you're doing and what your families do for all of us."

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Apprentice Sutton C. Hout, of the ship's Air department, was thankful for the opportunity to interact with the namesake of the aircraft carrier.

"It was really exciting to spend time with a former president," said Hout. "It was an honor to meet him. It was great experience interacting with the namesake of this great ship and someone who played such a significant role in U.S. history. It's not every day that you get to meet the 41st president of the United States."

Miller also noted that one of the command's primary goals is to emulate the qualities of its respected namesake.

"We run this ship, and we harp on our guiding principles," said Miller. "President Bush is an example to every single one of us and Barbara is an example that inspires us every day. Our number one guiding principle on board this ship is that, like our namesake, we are professionals who serve our country with integrity. It drives us. It fuels us. George H.W. Bush is a professional who continues to serve his country with integrity."

The former president expressed his confidence and high hopes for the command concerning the aircraft carrier's upcoming maiden deployment and reinforced his gratitude to the military and its service members.

"This ship will do a wonderful job supporting freedom around the world," said Bush. "When this ship deploys, I know that you will carry the flag with great honor, the flag of the United States, a flag of freedom. We are so blessed that freedom works in this country. What a great country this is and what a wonderful thing it is to be an American. We are so lucky to have people serving, all volunteers, volunteering for this country and to be a part of this magnificent ship."

Bush, a former Navy pilot, was stationed on the USS San Jacinto (CVL 30) during World War II and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his combat service in the Pacific in 1944.

USS George H.W. Bush is the only U.S. Navy aircraft carrier with a living namesake. This visit marked the second time at sea for the former president, but was Barbara's first time underway aboard the ship named after her husband.

The Bush's daughter and ship's sponsor, Doro Bush Koch, went underway aboard the ship for a Friends and Family Day Cruise in May 2010.

The entire Bush family has been actively involved in the command and events involving its crew since the ship's commissioning in January 2009.

General Officer Announcements

The Secretary of Defense announced today that the President made the following nominations:

Marine Corps Reserve Col. William T. Collins has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Collins is currently serving as the assistant chief of staff, G-5, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing in Fort Worth, Texas.

Marine Corps Reserve Col. James S. Hartsell has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Hartsell is currently serving as chief of staff, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Individual Mobilization Augmentee Detachment in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Marine Corps Reserve Col. Roger R. Machut has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Machut is currently serving as deputy commander, 4th Marine Logistics Group in New Orleans, La.

Marine Corps Reserve Col. Marcella J. Monahan has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general. Monahan is currently serving as assistant chief of staff, G-7, II Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Bonhomme Richard Conducts MISSILEX for RIMPAC 2010

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marcus L. Stanley, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Public Affairs

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) conducted a live-fire missile exercise July 9 while underway for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010, a biennial multinational exercise designed to strengthen operational readiness and improve multinational interoperability.

"To be the one to actually fire the missile was great," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Caleb Scott. "It's very rare that we get to do this, and we've put in a lot of man hours preparing for this."

During the firing exercise, Bonhomme Richard launched a NATO Sea Sparrow RIM-7P missile, giving the ship credit for a live missile shoot.

Two teams stood by ready to fire, and as the launch took place Bonhomme Richard Sailors and Marines, along with an array of multinational militaries on board the ship, had the opportunity to witness the firing.

"It was an amazing event to see," said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Raphael Hobson. "That was my first time ever experiencing something like that."

In preparation for the firing, Combat Systems Fire Control 4 workcenter completed more than 50 maintenance checks, more than 300 hours of pre-fire requirement checks and more than 100 hours of troubleshooting faults to ensure that the missile systems were up to standards to conduct a safe missile firing.

"Our guys put in a lot of time getting ready for the firing," said Fire Controlman (SW/AW) Chief Jose Zertuche. "Everyone was a major contributor, from the maintenance guys to those who were a part of the administration portion in getting ready for this."

Zertuche added that anytime you are conducting missile shoots safety is paramount, and every safety precaution was taken into consideration during the exercise.

"What a great day of training aboard such a magnificent warship," said Capt. John W. Funk, Bonhomme Richard's commanding officer. "Superb efforts went in from everyone that participated in the missile exercise, and a Bravo Zulu goes out to everyone for successful completion of such a challenging event."

Bonhomme Richard Sailors Lend a Helping Hand

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Ebalo, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) participated in various community service projects June 28 to July 2 during a port visit to Pearl Harbor, in conjunction with the biennial multinational Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercise.

During their stay, more than 50 Sailors volunteered their time to help out the local community with four different community service events on and off Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Sailors rolled up their sleeves and assisted in the preservation of the Battleship Missouri Memorial and performed landscaping and restoration at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, Waimea Valley Historical Nature Park and He'eia Stream.

"In addition to sightseeing and enjoying the local nightlife, I wanted to do something constructive with my free time, so I volunteered to help out at more than one event," said Aviation Boatswains Mate (Fuels) 2nd Class (AW/SW) Albert Vencer. "Being from Warren, Michigan, I never imagined I would ever be in Hawaii helping clear out a hiking path through the mountains, waterfalls and jungle. The sun was really hot out there and the mosquitoes were biting, but it was worth it. I enjoyed myself, and I found a new way to experience the island."

For some of the junior volunteers, it was their first time participating in the community relations projects, but not their last.

"I honestly had a lot more fun volunteering than I thought I was going to have," said Religious Programs Specialist Seaman Jakarta Henderson, a native of Augusta, Ga. "It was hard physical work, but it felt really good to help out and it was encouraging to see many of the senior Sailors leading by example in their off time. I was proud to represent our ship alongside them, and I'm looking forward to doing more in the future."

The community service effort of Bonhomme Richard's Sailors made an immediate impact on the locals.

"The work the Sailors put in will benefit the natural environment of Hawaii as well as the locals and tourists alike for decades," said Laurent Pool, Waimea Valley Historical Nature Park Conservation land specialist. "By clearing out the hiking paths we are able to identify and protect our endangered plants and trees and, most importantly, educate our kids and community on our beautiful surroundings. We are extremely grateful for their help and thank them for their service to our country and to Hawaii."

RIMPAC is the world's largest multinational maritime exercise, with 14 nations, 32 ships and more than 20,000 personnel participating in RIMPAC 2010. A biennial exercise, RIMPAC stresses the necessity of operational readiness in the Pacific and the sentiment that building relationships with our global partners ensures maritime freedom for all. This year marks the 22nd in a series of RIMPAC exercises conducted since 1971.

National Guard (in Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of July 13, 2010

This week the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Navy announced no change. The net collective result is 1,818 fewer reservists activated than last week.

At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 90,144; Navy Reserve, 6,354; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 16,457; Marine Corps Reserve, 4,917; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 787. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been activated to 118,659, including both units and individual augmentees.

A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel who are currently activated may be found online at

U.S., Korean Leaders to Meet in Seoul

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

July 14, 2010 - The defense and foreign ministers of the United States and South Korea will meet next week to discuss joint exercises between the two nations and a recently announced delay in the transfer of operational wartime control of forces on the Korean peninsula to the South Korean military, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will join with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Defense Minister Kim Tae-young in the first "2-plus-2" meetings in the South Korean capital of Seoul on July 21, Morrell said.

The talks will address the full range of security and alliance issues, including development of the new operational control transfer implementation plan and other enhancements to military readiness and deterrence, Morrell added during a Pentagon news conference.

South Korea already is a strong and close treaty ally, Morrell said, but since the unprovoked attack and sinking of the South Korean frigate Cheonan in March, President Barack Obama directed the Defense Department to further strengthen cooperation.

"Ever since," Morrell added, "we have been engaged in high-level, close consultations in an effort to devise additional ways to bolster alliance capabilities and improve regional stability."

Part of the 2-plus-2 talks will be to approve a proposed series of U.S.-South Korean combined military exercises, including new naval and air exercises in both the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea.

"We are not yet ready to announce the precise details of those exercises," Morrell said, "but they will involve a wide range of assets and are expected to be initiated in the near future. They will augment already planned bilateral exercises."

The exercises will be defensive in nature, but will send an unmistakable signal to North Korean leaders and "will send a clear message of deterrence to North Korea and demonstrate our steadfast commitment to the defense of South Korea," he said.

The South Korean military had been scheduled to take wartime operational control of forces on the peninsula in April 2012. Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak agreed in Toronto last month to delay the transfer to December 2015.

"We think, from a warfighting control perspective, that the [South Korean] military would be capable of taking over operational control at the original date," Morrell said, but he added that delaying the process makes sense.

"By doing so, we would be able to sort of broaden the scope of what is transferred, and we would be able to better synchronize some of those transformation efforts," he explained.

Officials in both countries will work to perfect the South Korean military's force management, defense reform and ground operations command efforts, Morrell said.

USS Curts Returns to San Diego

From USS Curts (FFG 38) Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided-missile frigate USS Curts (FFG 38) will return to San Diego July 16 completing an independent, six-month deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR).

The deployment was defined by extensive participation with coalition forces across the entire spectrum of maritime operations.

Curts' efforts fostered strong diplomatic and military relations with regional partners in support of mutual interests on the high seas.

"We are immensely proud to have been afforded the opportunity to serve our Navy and our nation abroad," said Cmdr. H. Thomas Workman, Curts' commanding officer. "This crew trained with passion, intensity and success to ensure preparedness for all operational challenges that we encountered. Those preparations coupled with selfless dedication allowed Curts to succeed in every assigned mission."

While conducting 5th Fleet missions, Curts operated as part of multiple coalition task forces, ensuring the safety of merchant shipping traffic within the internationally recognized trade corridor across the Gulf of Aden, Bab el-Mandeb Straits and Red Sea.

Along with coalition partners, Curts provided force protection and emergency medical support to distressed merchant vessels. These efforts are designed to improve maritime stability within the region and protect free use of the sea lanes by thwarting the activities of violent extremists and criminal organizations.

Additionally, Curts conducted four Suez Canal transits, two exercises with the Egyptian Navy and participated in Exercise Malabar 2010, a week-long bilateral military exercise which aims to promote the interoperability of the U.S. Navy and Indian Navy.

In support of 7th Fleet, Curts conducted various freedom of navigation exercises; economic exclusion zone patrols and port visits to Guam; Sepangar, Malaysia; Phuket, Thailand; and Male, Maldives.

In Malaysia, the crew joined the Rotary Club in extensive maintenance and repair of the Kota Kinabalu Orphanage. In Thailand, 35 Curts Sailors joined the Navy League and local Rotary Club in extensive landscaping refurbishment at a local school and orphanage which were devastated during the 2004 tsunami.

Curts helps provide deterrence, promote peace and security, preserve freedom of the sea and humanitarian/disaster response within 3rd Fleet's 50-million square mile AOR in the Eastern Pacific, as well as supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy when forward deployed.

Lack of Supplemental Funding Poses Problems for Pentagon

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

July 14, 2010 - Because Congress has yet to pass a supplemental funding bill, the Defense Department must start taking measures to ensure uninterrupted war operations, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

If Congress doesn't act on the fiscal 2010 request for supplemental war funding, Defense Department employees may not get paid, Morrell said during a news conference.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is disappointed that Congress did not pass the supplemental spending bill before its Fourth of July break, Morrell told reporters.

"He's very concerned about the predicament that puts us in," he said. "And in order to assure that war operations are not interrupted, the services will now have to begin cash-flowing operating costs for war activities using their base budgets." This means that the services will begin borrowing money from fourth-quarter accounts to pay for current obligations, but even that won't be enough, he added.

"We project that certain Army and Marine Corps accounts will run dry in August," Morrell said. "So we urgently need Congress to pass the supplemental before members leave town for the next break in August."

In the meantime, he added, the department is obligated to begin planning what to do if Congress does not pass the spending measure. "Needless to say, all of this is extraordinarily disruptive to the department," he said.

This is not the first time this has happened, Morrell said. "While we have faced this circumstance in years past, the situation we find ourselves in this year is much more difficult, because it comes so late in the fiscal year," he explained. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

"The department has a supreme obligation to protect this nation and support the hundreds of thousands of personnel that are deployed in harm's way," Morrell said. "We will take every step possible to fulfill these obligations in the months ahead until this matter is settled in Washington.

"It may involve asking a lot of hard-working people in this department to report to duty without an ability to pay them, or other extreme measures we would rather avoid," he continued. "But we will get the job done, including in Iraq and Afghanistan and wherever else we operate around the world."



Linc Government Services, LLC, Hopkinsville, Ky., and Lockheed Martin Services, Inc., Gaithersburg, Md., were awarded on July 9 a $300,000,000 firm-fixed-price, time-and-material task order contract. This acquisition is for acquiring operations and maintenance services under North American Industry Classification System Code 561210, facilities support services, to preserve and maintain government medical and non-medical real property facilities on such a condition that they may be effectively used for their designated functional purpose. This acquisition applies to medical and non-medical facilities inside and outside the contiguous U.S. This acquisition will provide operations and maintenance engineering enhancement services at highly complex facilities including in-patient medical facilities, medical research facilities, and medical facilities having unusual or complex systems that are not normally found in the typical medical facility or medical centers over 300,000 square feet in size. Work is to be performed in Huntsville, Ala., with an estimated completion date of June 21, 2011. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with eight bids received. U.S. Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (W912DY-10-D-0049).

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Burlington, Vt., was awarded on July 8 a $48,215,074 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for 12,180 Bradley reactive armor skirt tiles and 435 installation kits for the Bradley fighting vehicle system. Work is to be performed in Haifa, Israel (47.4); Burlington, Vt. (23.2 percent); Niceville, Fla. (6.4 percent); Garland, Texas (6.3 percent); Lyndonville, Vt. (6 percent); Stone County, Miss. (3.6 percent); Saugerties, N.Y. (3.1 percent); College Park, Ga. (1.6 percent); Stoughton, Mass. (1 percent); Aberdeen, Md. (0.3 percent); St. Paul, Minn. (0.3 percent); Warrendale, Pa. (0.2 percent); Williamston, S.C. (0.2 percent); Austin, Texas (0.1 percent); Middletown, Iowa (0.1 percent); Montreal, Canada (0.1 percent); and Rochester, N.Y. (0.1 percent), with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2011. One bid solicited with one received. U.S Army Contracting Command, CJM-MA, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-10-C-0006).

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Burlington, Vt., was awarded on July 7 a $35,212,375 firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is to purchase 6,180 M2E2 quick change barrel kits, providing warfighters with a faster, more accurate way to change barrels on the M2 machine gun and decreasing exposure to enemy fire. It is critical that the warfighter have the capability to quickly change the barrel and resume firing without resetting the headspace and timing, and to maneuver with the weapons in a ready-to-fire fashion. Work is to be performed in Saco, Maine, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 23, 2012. Three bids were solicited with three bids received. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-09-C-0060).


Raytheon Technical Services Co., Reston, Va., is being awarded a $20,372,898 modification (P00070) under previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00140-05-C-0015) for services in support of the Navy Forces Surveillance Support Center relocateable over-the-horizon radar system. Work will be performed in Reston, Va. (40 percent); Texas (30 percent); and Puerto Rico (30 percent). Work is expected to be completed by July 2011. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively awarded. The Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Norfolk, Contracting Department, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz., is being awarded a $9,972,000 modification (P00214) under previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (M67854-02-C-2052) to purchase 120 generator environmental control unit and tent trailers. Work will be performed in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by March 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors, Manassas, Va., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $9,653,513 undefinitized modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-09-C-6247). This modification is for the procurement of 10 AN/BVY-1 Integrated Submarine Imaging Systems (ISIS). This is the first delivery order for the Technical Insertion 10 (TI-10) variant of the ISIS system to be delivered to the Navy. The ISIS provides mission critical, all-weather, visual and electronic search, digital image management, and indication, warning and platform architecture interface capabilities for attack submarine (nuclear propulsion) (SSN) SSN 688 (Los Angeles class); SSN 21 (Seawolf class); submersible, ship, guided, nuclear (SSGN Ohio class); and SSN 774 (Virginia class) submarines with potential for ship, submersible, ballistic, nuclear (SSBN) (Trident class) and potentially other submarines. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va. (32 percent); Wake Forest, N.C. (20 percent); Chantilly, Va. (19 percent); Johnstown, Pa. (12 percent); Northampton, Mass. (11 percent); Paoli, Pa. (3 percent); Eagan, Minn. (2 percent); and Middletown, R.I. (1 percent). Work is expected to be completed by July 2012. 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.


Boeing Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Seattle, Wash., was awarded a $5,915,735 contract modification which will exercise the options for the Phase II-A production requirements of the Radar System Improvement Program capability for the Royal Saudi Air Force Airborne Warning and Control System fleet of five aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. AASSD/HBSK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (F19628-01-D-0016; Delivery order 0070; Modification 001).

USNS John Ericsson Rescues Fishermen After Typhoon Passes Philippines

By Lt. Mike Morley, Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SUBIC BAY, Philippines (NNS) -- Fleet replenishment oiler USNS John Ericsson's (T-AO 194) crew of civil service mariners rescued five Filipino fishermen from the South China Sea 10 miles off the coast of Luzon, Philippines, July 14.

John Ericsson's crew rescued the fishermen nine hours after their boat capsized in rough seas as Typhoon Conson passed over the island of Luzon.

Ericsson had sortied from Subic Bay to sea July 13 to avoid the storm and was returning to Subic Bay when Able Bodied Seaman Charles Wright spotted the fishermen at 1:10 p.m., clinging to their overturned banka boat and waving a yellow flag.

At 1:33 p.m., Ericsson lowered its rigid hull inflatable boat into the sea, and 10 minutes later all five fishermen were safe on Ericsson's deck, where a physician examined them.

"They were a bit shaken up because the seas were rough, but otherwise were in good health and happy to be on our ship," said Tiffany Brockman, Ericsson's chief mate. "We gave them fresh clothing, new socks and boots and a nice meal."

A few hours after their rescue, the fishermen were ashore and handed over to the care of the Philippine Coast Guard.

"The crew was pretty excited to have played a role in helping these fishermen," said Brockman, noting that the Ericsson had several Tagalog-speaking members in its crew, making communication easy. "At first, nobody was happy that we had to sortie due to the typhoon, but being able to help these mariners in need made it all worth it."

Ericsson is a Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet replenishment oiler, crewed by 92 civil service mariners working for MSC, who operate and navigate the ship, and three sailors who provide communications support and supply coordination. The ship provides underway replenishment of fuel to Navy combat ships and jet fuel for aircraft aboard aircraft carriers at sea.

Hickam's total force integration, F-22s strengthen warfighting might in Pacific

by Staff Sgt. Mike Meares
15th Wing Public Affairs

7/14/2010 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Total force integration set the stage for the Hawaii National Guard, alongside Airmen from the Pacific Air Forces, as they marked the arrival of the first pair of F-22 Raptors during a ceremony here July 9.

The Raptors' arrival to the 199th Fighter Squadron and the 15th Wing marks the first Air National Guard lead F-22 association in the nation. This partnership is a "reverse association," where the active-duty counterpart will soon re-activate the 19th Fighter Squadron.

"This construct marks an important partnership between the National Guard and the active-duty forces," said Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the National Guard Bureau chief. "I couldn't be more proud ... about taking pride in total force integration. I think it's a crown jewel, in all of our services, to have this type of team spirit here in evidence today."

The ceremony marked the beginning of the newest partnership between the Hawaii Air National Guard and the active-duty Air Force flying the "fifth generation" fighter at Hickam Air Force Base. The F-22s will be flown by pilots from the 199th Fighter Squadron, 154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard, and active-duty pilots from the 19th Fighter Squadron. The aircraft will also be maintained by a combination of Hawaii Air National Guardsmen and active-duty Airmen.

"Total force integration is a force multiplier," said Lt. Col. Harvey Newton, the 15th Operations Group and incoming 19th Fighter Squadron commander. "We bring the best of both together and capitalize on each other's strengths. The Air National Guard has highly experienced pilots, operations personnel and maintenance professionals who are the best at what they do."

From experiences in the field and at home, Colonel Newton said he believes each group is great at what they do because they have spent years honing their trades to become the best. The active component brings a breadth of experience from around the combat air forces and a full-time work force that can be tasked at anytime.

"We have recognized the synergy that is gained from (total force integration), and it has become the Combat Air Forces model," Colonel Newton said. "The HIANG (Hawaii Air National Guard) is a highly respected ... unit and their merits stand on their own. (Total force integration) will only help the HIANG and 15th wing to reach new heights."

Those new heights will come in the way of increased operations tempo as the Hawaii F-22 squadron is only one of seven operational squadrons, Colonel Newton said.

Until now, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, has been the exclusive home to the F-22 in the Pacific Air Forces area of operations. The introduction of the most advanced fighter jet in the world further strengthens the Pacific.

"We owe it to our nation, and her protected citizens, to equip our Airmen, our nation's sons and daughters, with the very best that we can," said Gen. Gary L. North, the Pacific Air Forces commander. "The F-22's advanced technologies are an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities for the U.S. forces. Alongside our superb Airmen who operate, maintain, support this aircraft, it represents an overmatching capability to any known or projected adversary fighter aircraft."

The arrival of the F-22 reverse association at Hickam AFB is not a new concept for these Airmen working side-by-side. The active-duty and guard members already share the C-17 Globemaster III in a traditional association where the active-duty Airmen take the lead.

"Our Airmen in uniform, alongside their civilian counterparts, form the total force integration of active association initiatives where the Hawaii Air National Guard has the lead and our active-duty Airmen will operate alongside," General North said. "This partnership ... forms the bond in testament of our total force and it is the envy of the world."

The F-22s will replace the F-15 Eagles that the 199th Fighter Squadron has flown since 1987. The F-22 is designed to counter lethal threats posed by advanced surface-to-air missile systems and next-generation fighters equipped with a launch-and-leave missile capability.

For Colonel Newton, an F-22 pilot, there isn't an amusement park or thrill ride on the face of the planet that measures up to flying the most advanced fighter jet known to man.

"Imagine the best amusement park and the best ride and then quadruple the experience -- and that is what it feels like to fly the F-22," he said. "It is awesome."

Air Force officials launch new uniform website

by Staff Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

7/14/2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force officials launched a new public website this month to help educate and inform Airmen about the service's dress and appearance standards and policies.

Air Force Directorate of Service's Uniforms and Recognition Branch officials, in conjunction with officials from the Air Force Personnel Center and several other agencies, created the website that features interactive slideshows, uniform regulations, detailed photos and uniform policy updates from the Air Force Uniform Board.

The new website was developed to be a comprehensive online resource that is available 24/7 for Airmen stationed around the world, said Ruth Ewalt, the Air Force Uniforms and Recognition Branch director.

"We wanted to create a place where all Airmen can view any uniform combination in detail," Mrs. Ewalt said. "This eliminates confusing rumors about the latest versions of Air Force uniforms."

Airmen also wanted an uncomplicated website that was user friendly and did not require excessive navigation to find information about different combinations of the Air Force uniform, Mrs. Ewalt said.

"We needed a website that would not take more than two or three clicks of the mouse to get an answer to a uniform inquiry," she said.

Having this information on a public website ensures uniform changes and updates are readily available to the field, rather than waiting for updates to Air Force Instruction 36-2903, which is being revised.

"The information will be updated quicker and more effectively," she said.

Putting the website in the public domain allows users to access it without their common access card, which is helpful for Airmen researching uniform information from computers or smart phones off the military network.

While the new site will be a valuable resource, Airmen should continue to work through their chain of command for clarification and guidance on Air Force dress and appearance standards and policies.

For more information, visit the Air Force Dress and Appearance public website at

56th Medical Group Airmen provide medical support in Haiti

by Army Spc. Jessica M. Lopez
Task Force Public Affairs

7/14/2010 - MANDRIN, Haiti (AFNS) -- Airmen with the 56th Medical Group at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., provided general medical health care at the U.S. Army South New Horizons-Haiti 2010 Task Force Kout Men Ennery medical assistance site here June 13.

New Horizons officials, in partnership with officials from the government of Haiti, are conducting various medical, dental and engineering missions for people in Gonaives, Haiti.

"We have a medical team with nine providers," said Col. Tom Steinbrunner, the deputy commander of the 56th Medical Group.

The medical team is providing general medicine, optometry and dental support.

Task Force Kout Men was asked by Haitian officials to provide health care to this area where they normally do not have access to adequate primary care, Colonel Steinbrunner said. "This area has a very small clinic that does not have the ability to meet the needs of the patients here.

"This is a part if the country that is not reached much by (non-governmental organizations)," Colonel Steinbrunner said.

In addition to providing medical care to the people of Haiti, New Horizons also provides training in a real-world environment for servicemembers.

For the majority of the team, it's their first deployment; very few have been on a humanitarian mission, Colonel Steinbrunner said. "This is a great opportunity for them to learn the deployed environment and also be able to provide care outside of the country."

"I am getting lots of hands-on experience," said Airman Michael Palmer, a medical services apprentice with the 56th Medical Operations Squadron. "Some of the things we learned in the clinic were a little bit improvised here in the field.

"I did an ear irrigation, and I had to modify some of the equipment," Airman Palmer said. "We don't have the same equipment out here as we do back in the clinic. We kind of make do with what we have and make things work.

"Everyone is working well together," Airman Palmer said. "The providers take their time and are excellent to work with."

The 56th Medical Group is scheduled to operate here through July 21.

Vinson Celebrates 200,000 Traps

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Zachary Bell, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Public Affairs

USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) reached a historic milestone with the success of its 200,000th trap on its flight deck July 13.

Vinson celebrated with two ceremonies, where cakes were presented in Wardroom III to the aviators who landed the EA-18G Growler, and in Arresting Gear Room 4, to the Sailors manning the V-2 engine room who manned the arresting gear for the landmark trap.

Lt. Ben Hartman and Lt. Ian Hudson, attached to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129, said they were honored and surprised to learn they got the 200,000th trap.

"It feels good to be part of Carl Vinson's history. It's a new community we're apart of, so everything is new and exciting," said Hudson. "It takes 25 years plus to accumulate 200,000 traps on an aircraft carrier. It's really surprising we got the 200,000th."

The aviators expressed how proud they were to be manning the aircraft, but also recognized the Sailors who made this monumental achievement possible.

"It definitely feels good, but it's more of a testament to the guys working on the flight deck and the arresting gear. They're the ones working hard all day every day," said Hartman.

The team that was working hard to catch Hudson and Hartman's plane was Air Department's V-2 Division. The aircraft was caught by the arresting gear on the fourth wire, which was being manned by Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Airman Shawn Greer.

"I'm honored to be apart of Carl Vinson's history and V-2's history with arresting gear," said Greer. "Working in the V-2 engine room can be high pressured because it's not just the pilot's lives on our hands, but everyone working on the flight deck as well. That's why me and my boys in the V-2 Division always execute the highest level of safety."

V-2 Division is responsible for the safe recovery of all aircraft on the ship's flight deck. V-2 performs maintenance on industrial cables which catch the planes, as well as the hydraulic machinery that assists in stopping them.

"This is a testament to the kind of Sailors we've had working this flight deck for the past 28 years," said Cmdr. Richard Wiley, Carl Vinson's air department head. "Two-hundred thousand traps means we've done it right, and we've done it safely for a long, long time. Carl Vinson, also known as the 'Gold Eagle,' has built a legacy of excellence, and it's been built by the Sailors we had out there today and the men and women who served before them."

George Washington Sailor Aids in Rescue of Fuji Hiker

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Devon Dow, USS George Washington Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- A Sailor assigned to USS George Washington (CVN 73) assisted in the rescue of an American tourist July 8 while climbing Japan's world famous Mount Fuji. Lt. Jay Furman, a George Washington assistant strike operator officer and a native of Austin, Texas, assisted Mr. Erwin Kuhns, an 84-year-old American tourist also climbing Fuji. "I did anything that anyone else would have done in my situation on that mountain," said Furman. "There was someone who needed assistance, and I had the abilities to take care of the situation. I was blown away at how appreciative everyone was and have been since that day."

Furman, an avid outdoors man, began his 12,388-foot journey up Fuji around noon, although he had initially planned to begin his journey up the mountain before daybreak.

"With the ship being in for a few days, I didn't want to miss the chance of climbing Fuji before we had to return to sea," said Furman.

Furman reached the summit of Fuji, a feat typically taking five to six hours, in four hours.

"It was a gloomy day to climb," said Furman. "The weather conditions were not in the hiker's favor to see any views from the top. It was windy, cold and there was a drizzly haze that would not go away that day."

While descending the mountain, Furman came across Kuhns, a hiker who had become separated from his son during their trek down the mountain, and noticed the man was having difficulties.

"He looked physically worn out," said Furman.

Furman began to assist Kuhns back down the mountain, learning that Kuhns was a U.S. Navy coxswain's mate in World War II on a landing ship, ferrying troops to the beaches of Normandy during D-Day. Furman also learned that Kuhns had climbed Fuji more than 60 years ago and recently returned to climb it again with his son.

After carrying Kuhns some distance down the mountain, Furman noticed the sun was setting and the weather was worsening. He realized that he and Kuhns were the only ones left on the trail and that Kuhn's condition was continuing to deteriorate.

"I pulled us to the side of the hiking trail and tried to find shelter due to the blowing and freezing rain at the time," said Furman. "Once I did that, I climbed a little crevice nearby to try to get a cell phone signal."

After not being able to get in contact with the Fuji park rangers, Furman was able to contact the Navy liaison at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan, for assistance. Informing them of his situation, they immediately called the Japanese police and alerted authorities about the men on Fuji. The Japanese police and park rangers arrived to the base of the mountain and began to search for the men.

Hours passed as Furman assisted in guiding the rescue team to his location by using a hiking trail map, his cell phone, a flashlight and whistle that he brought along for the hike. His constant communication with the Japanese rescue team led to the end of his and Kuhns ordeal around 10 p.m. July 8.

Kuhns, now reunited with his son, was sent to the hospital and treated for dehydration and exposure. Furman, who was graciously thanked for his efforts by the entire rescue team and Japanese police on site, was escorted to the police station to fill out some paperwork.

"When I went to the police station to fill out the report, the police chief asked for my work number," said Furman.

The police chief called Furman's commanding officer, Cmdr. Thomas Bush, to thank him personally for Furman's assistance on Fuji.

"Lt. Furman is a model officer in all respects," Bush said. "Therefore, I was not surprised to hear he took charge of the situation on the mountain and saw things through to a safe and successful outcome."

Furman's service to the Navy and forward deployed naval forces will continue beyond his tenure aboard George Washington. According to Bush, Furman was recently selected to become the next flag aide to Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd, commander, Carrier Strike Group 5/Task Force 70.

"I have no doubt Furman will excel in that role," said Bush.

While overseas, U.S. service members serve as ambassadors who are held to an exceptional standard when stationed in host countries and visiting ports of call. Furman said his efforts to help Kuhns would not have been possible without the work between himself and the Japanese law enforcement.

Furman's climb to the top of Fuji and rescue of a fellow shipmate and World War II veteran was an adventure Furman said he will long remember.

"Mr. Kuhns is an amazing man I'll never forget," he said. "I'd be darned if he didn't do what he said he would and climb the mountain again at 84-years-old. Now that is impressive."