Military News

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Alaska Guard trains with Kyrgyzstan search, rescue team

By Maj. Guy Hayes
Alaska National Guard

(7/21/10) -- The Alaska National Guard teamed up with a Kyrgyzstan Search and Rescue Team to train on procedures and techniques in mountain rescue on Mt. McKinley in May.

The opportunity to train with Alaska National Guardsmen was initiated by Maj. Galen Mcallister, the Montana State Partnership Program director.

Mcallister arranged the Kyrgyzstan rescue team to visit Montana, Wyoming and Alaska to learn how search and rescue teams in the United States conduct rescue in mountainous terrain.

"Kyrgyzstan and Montana have a state partnership, so we're always looking to help each other out and build relationships," he said. "They expressed interest in how we remove injured climbers from rough terrain and wanted a better understanding on how to evacuate wounded during a high mountain rescue, so we jumped at the chance to help them out."

The Kyrgyzstan rescue team traveled to the U.S. for two weeks and began their training in Montana with county search and rescue teams in Libby, Montana and in Teton National Park with the Jenny Lake Rangers and Teton county search and rescue teams in Wyoming.

"They focused on short haul rescues at lower elevations at those two locations before heading up to Alaska to work with the 212th Rescue Squadron and National Park Service," said Mcallister.

In Alaska, the Kyrgyzstan rescue teams worked with Denali National Park Service Rangers and Alaska National Guardsmen in basic glacier travel techniques, rope work, risk assessment and crevasse rescue training.

"They spent three days in Denali National Park and one day in Chugach State Park performing crevasse rescue training and glacier travel," said Lt. Col. Stephen Wilson, State Partnership Program director for the Alaska National Guard. "They even practiced lowering people into a crevasse and would then set-up a pulley system to pull them out safely. It was great training."

The training was broken up by each day, and Mcallister said it was very beneficial to the Kyrgyzstan rescue teams.

"The Kyrgyzstan search and rescue teams said this training was the most valuable event they've been involved in to-date," said Mcallister. "Next, we'd like to take members of the 212th Rescue Squadron and National Park Service to Kyrgyzstan to perform training over there, but that's been put on hold because of the current stability in the region."

Deputy Secretary of Defense Visits Sailors on Guam

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Peter Lewis, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- The deputy secretary of Defense, visited Commander, Submarine Squadron 15 and USS Buffalo (SSN 715) submariners at their command on U.S. Naval Base Guam July 27, and bestowed the praise of a grateful nation for the Sailors' continued support of the military mission.

"We are at a point in our nation's history where we're asking an extraordinary amount from the military, and you're stepping up every time," said William J. Lynn III. "I know whatever the nation asks you to do, you do it well, and you do it without complaint."

Lynn went on to tell service members that their families should be proud of the sacrifices they make for the greater good of their fellow Americans and the nation as a whole.

"You should by justly proud of everything you are doing," he said. "Thank you for your service, and thank you for everything you're doing for your country."

The submarine crew said they felt a sense of pride knowing that a busy government official thought it worthwhile to meet with them.

"It really meant a lot to my guys that the secretary took the time out of his busy schedule to come out here and talk to us about his perspective," said Cmdr. Rick Seif, Buffalo commanding officer. "And I can tell you that the guys knew it was a great opportunity to host him down here on board."

Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SS) Brook Cross said that, though he is content simply being able to do his part in carrying out the Navy's mission, he was excited and honored to meet the secretary.

"We don't do this job for the glamour or for kudos. We do it because it is necessary and we love our country and our way of life," he said. "But it is a great distinction to know that our leaders in [Washington,] D.C. recognize the work that we are doing."

After shaking the hand of each crew member, the secretary journeyed to the University of Guam, in Mangilao, to discuss the future of Guam.

AF Academy instructor vacancies available

by Erin Tindell
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Opportunities are available for active duty officers to apply for U.S. Air Force Academy instructor vacancies for the 2011-2012 academic year, Air Force officials recently announced.

Officers may apply by Sept. 30 for positions in the USAFA dean of faculty, preparatory school and athletic department. Limited positions at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., are also available.

Eligible applicants include all officers with the rank of first lieutenant through lieutenant colonel. Officers should meet or exceed four years time on station from June 2011 to December 2011. Those stationed overseas must be eligible to return from overseas from May 2011 to December 2011.

This special duty assignment is a controlled, three-year maximum tour and officers must be released by their Air Force Personnel Center core officer assignment team in order to compete.

AFPC will notify officers selected for assignment by Jan. 10, 2011.

A complete list of eligibility requirements and application instructions are available on the 81T officer assignments Web page on the AFPC personnel services website at http://gum.afpc.randolph.af.mil. For more information call the Total Force Service Center at DSN 665-5000 or commercial (800) 525-0102.

MILITARY CONTRACTS

ARMY

Harris Corp., Rochester, N.Y., was awarded on July 22 a $78,500,000 firm-fixed-price contract for Foreign Military Sales radio base stations, vehicle mounts, and man packs for the government of the Philippines. Work is to be performed in Rochester, N.Y., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 1, 2010. One bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (DAAB07-01-D-M001).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Mansfield Oil Co.*, Gainesville, Ga., is being awarded a maximum $22,604,053 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for gasoline, gasohol, low-sulfur diesel, biodiesel and ethanol. Other locations of performance are Delaware, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web-solicited with 52 responses. The date of performance completion is July 31, 2013. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-4018).

Mid-Atlantic, dba Aero Energy*, New Oxford, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $7,241,636 fixed-price with economic-price adjustment contract for fuel oil and diesel fuel. Other location of performance is Maryland. Using service is Army. The original proposal was Web-solicited with 52 responses. The date of performance completion is July 31, 2013. The Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., is the contracting activity (SP0600-10-D-4003)

NAVY

Coronet Machinery Corp.,* Bethel, Conn. (N00164-10-D-WR19); Ranger Enterprises,* Springville, Ind., (N00164-10-D-WR19); J&R Tool, Inc.,* Loogootee, Ind. (N00164-10-D-WR19); MSP Aviation,* Bloomington, Ind. (N00164-10-D-WR19); and LT Enterprises, Inc.,* Fairfield, Ohio (N00164-10-D-WR19), are each being awarded a maximum five-year firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract for machining requirements/build-to-print fabrication in support of the ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing set. The work provides for build to print machined/fabricated parts as required for fleet support. The ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser system is an electronic warfare system affording combat aircrews with enhanced survivability in all threat environmental via on board, self protection capabilities with a system for dispensing of expendable countermeasures. ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing system is used on multiple Navy and Marine Corps aircraft platforms to decoy flares, with the decoy flares being used to seduce heat-seeking missiles away from subject aircraft. The maximum dollar value, including the base period and five additional option years for all five contracts combined, if exercised, would bring the total value of the contract to $10,000,000. No task orders are being issued at this time. Work will be performed in Bethel, Conn.; Springville, Ind.; Loogootee, Ind.; Bloomington, Ind.; and Fairfield, Ohio, and work is expected to be completed by July 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with 14 offers received. These five contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity.

Senate Considers Mattis to Head Central Command

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

July 27, 2010 - Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis called for harmony and consistency in the U.S. Central Command area of operation today, citing the need for continued military, civilian and regional cooperation to successfully drive out extremism.

Mattis, who serves as both the NATO supreme allied commander for transformation and commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is being considered for re-appointment to the rank of general and to head Centcom.

"The wars we are fighting require highly integrated military efforts from the highest to the lowest levels," Mattis said in his opening remarks. "If confirmed, I will make every effort to work closely with civilian and military leaders charged with leading our operations, and to ensure they are fully resourced in a coherent and comprehensive manner."

Al-Qaida and other extremist groups pose a threat that spans the entire Centcom region and beyond, the general said. Combating that threat requires constant pressure by coalition partners, he added.

"Consistency in our approach and harmony in our relationships are fundamental to achieve unity of efforts in a region vital to our national interest and those of the international community," he continued.

President Barack Obama nominated Mattis to succeed Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, whom the committee confirmed June 30 to command U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Centcom oversees all U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Managing efforts in Afghanistan will be among Mattis' top priorities if confirmed, he said.

"The stakes there are high," the general said. "The military component in our strategy in Afghanistan is sound, and requires firm execution. I support it fully.

"I believe that by steadfastly executing our strategy, we will win in Afghanistan," he continued. "Nothing about the mission will be easy. We recognize that achieving our goals in Afghanistan requires also the enduring commitment of the international community."

Combating extremists in Afghanistan can't be done without a strong partnership with Pakistan, the general said. Pakistan, he suggested, has little option but to partner with the United States' efforts because of the sacrifices innocent Pakistanis have suffered at the hands of terrorists.

"Inextricably linked to our campaign in Afghanistan is our strategic partnership with Pakistan," he explained. "Proximity to an area with affiliated terrorists groups has dealt the people of Pakistan a tough hand geographically. Pakistan continues to endure great sacrifices in their effort to counter extremism, and I am heartened by their efforts."

Another of Mattis' top priorities would be continuing the responsible drawdown of forces in Iraq, he said. More than 128,000 U.S. troops were deployed there last year. The U.S. footprint has decreased to 77,000 today and is on track to reduce to 50,000 by Sept. 1. All U.S. forces must be out of Iraq by December 2011.

Iran, however, poses the greatest long-term challenge in the region, Mattis said, noting the Islamic state's nuclear ambitions.

"[Iran] continues to threaten regional and global stability by pursuing a nuclear weapons program and by funding and arming militant proxies throughout the region," he said. "The task of Central Command will be to counter the Iranian regime's destabilizing activities, to deter the regime from aggression, and to work in concert with our partners in the region to advance our shared security interests."

Despite the daunting task of addressing these challenges, Mattis said, Centcom offers an opportunity to enhance regional partnerships. If confirmed, he said, he looks forward to working with responsible and moderate groups, as well as taking the fight to their enemies.

"Our enemies' barbaric, medieval actions offer opportunities to counter their extremist ideology," he said. "Those who deliberately kill innocents know their politically bankrupt methods cannot win.

"We and our coalition and regional partners, by contrast, are involved in the noble cause of helping to realize a brighter future in the region and internationally," he added.

Mattis commanded Marines in combat during the first Gulf War. He also led Marines in the early days of the Afghanistan campaign, as well as during Iraq deployments. If confirmed, he plans to leverage his 38 years of service and 30 years of experience in the region "to ethically carry out Central Command's mission," he said.

"Having been nominated for this position, I am extremely mindful of the extraordinary privilege it's been to serve for over 38 years, alongside America's finest young men and women," he said. "I will hold our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines foremost in my thoughts.

"I will also provide my best professional military assessment to this committee and to our national security leadership," he said.

Coast Guard honors 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
by: Christopher Lagan

Boy Scouts enter the Coast Guard Portal at the 2010 Boy Scout National Jamboree (U.S. Coast Guard photo by M. McCormack, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary)

This year, Boy Scouts of America is celebrating its 100th anniversary. A major part of that year-long celebration is the annual Boy Scout National Jamboree which began earlier this week. More than 130 volunteers from the Coast Guard family will join more than 41,000 Boy Scouts and Adult Leaders as part of the 2010 event.

Boy Scouts working in the damage control "wet tank" in the Coast Guard Portal. The wet tank, which teaches Scouts how to patch a hole in the hull of a boat, is just one of the many stations available as part of the Coast Guard Portal at the 2010 Boy Scout National Jamboree. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by M. McCormack, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary)

First held on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall in 1937, the Boy Scout Jamboree brings thousands of Scouts (and we’re told many alumni) together to celebrate the history of the Boy Scouts over ten days of camping, camraderie, team building and activities. Over the next week, Boy Scouts will walk through the Coast Guard Portal to hear more about the service, learn lifesaving maritime skills, and to earn as many as nine merit badges.

Designed to highlight many of the Coast Guard’s current missions, the Portal is will feature stations devoted to weapons training, environmental response, law enforcement, damage control, and, of course, boating safety. The Coast Guard Portal is part of the Armed Forces Adventure Area which provides Boy Scouts with a unique opportunity to explore potential military career paths in the years ahead.

Lynn Vows to Protect Guam's Resources During Troop Realignment

American Forces Press Service

July 27, 2010 - The Defense Department is committed to protecting Guam's infrastructure and resources, and will adjust the pace of incoming U.S. troops to match the island's ability to accommodate them, the deputy defense secretary said here today.

"I will not hesitate to make adjustments as the enterprise unfolds to protect the island's infrastructure, services and resources," William J. Lynn III told an audience of local officials and community leaders while taking part in the University of Guam's Presidential Lecture Series.

Lynn made his first visit to Guam today to get a firsthand look at the island's facilities and to speak with government leaders and residents about the upcoming troop realignment, as well as to underscore Guam's importance to the stability and security of the Asia-Pacific region.

About 8,500 Marines and some 9,000 family members are slated to move to this U.S. territory from Okinawa in accordance with a 2006 agreement between the United States and Japan. The same agreement also calls for a realignment of Marines to a new location on Okinawa.

"Our realignment of forces here is the key to maintaining an effective presence [in the region]," Lynn explained. "We need the right mix of forces to address the increasing set of security missions across the region."

The realignment of troops here will more than double the U.S. military's presence on Guam, which now stands at about 7,500 U.S. servicemembers and more than 8,400 family members. This projected increase has raised concerns among the people of Guam in regard to the environmental and cultural impacts of an increased military presence.

However, with the release of the final environmental impact statement last week, the United States has reached a "milestone" in its efforts to assess the possible environmental consequences of the build-up, Lynn said. This statement lays out the effects of an increased military presence and outlines measures that will help the military and people of Guam create a sustainable future, he added.

U.S. Navy officials compiled the statement in cooperation with many agencies across the government and Guam, Lynn said, and also is based on the input of those most affected -- the leaders and residents of Guam. During the process, officials received and evaluated more than 10,000 public comments, he said.

Officials took a "hard look" at air quality, water, waste water, power, roads, the port and underlying socio-economic issues, Lynn said, and also conducted additional studies on sustainability, natural resources and wetlands.

The statement identifies about $1 billion of funding needed for improvements to Guam's utilities, port and roads, the deputy secretary said.

"We are already making good on our pledge to improve Guam's infrastructure," Lynn noted. The Japanese government will finance $740 million of infrastructure projects, he explained, and President Barack Obama has requested congressional authority for the Defense Department to fund an upgrade to Guam's only commercial port.

"Together with matching funds from the Department of Agriculture, we will be making a $100 million investment in the port," he said.

Other funds will be funneled into Guam's roads, and in cooperation with the island, the nation is laying the groundwork for improvements to utilities, schools, health care, public safety and other needs. To do so, the nation will "draw on Guam's expertise to the fullest" with new opportunities for Guam's businesses and work force.

"Guam's work force will be tapped into first before foreign workers are brought to Guam," Lynn vowed, noting that the need for their expertise will extend far into the future with base jobs and the provision of goods and services.

"A whole new economy will emerge from the transformation of forces we are undertaking on Guam – an economy that will spur job growth and demands for highly skilled labor for decades to come," he said.

The aim also is to incorporate "green technology" to meet the increased resource demands, Lynn said.

"Our collective investment in wind, solar, hydroelectric and wave-generated power will make Guam an environmental leader among Pacific islands," he predicted.

Throughout this process, Lynn said, the Defense Department remains committed to protecting Guam's culture and the spirit of its community.

"Protecting Guam's culture for future generations is something we can only do in partnership with you," he told the audience.

Lynn also pledged to ensure Guam's infrastructure is prepared for the military growth.

"Guam is home to 17,000 of our fellow U.S. citizens; we have an obligation to ensure that the realignment improves, rather than detracts from their lives," he said. "If we follow this principal, the build-up can serve as a tremendous catalyst for Guam's future development."

Still, there are challenges to overcome, and much work remains to be done, Lynn acknowledged. One of the sources of concern for some of Guam's residents has centered on the location of a Marine firing range in Pagat, a culturally significant site for Guam.

A small-arms training range is vital to the realignment of Marines here, and the environmental impact statement has identified Pagat as the preferred location, Lynn said.

Still, "There are important cultural equities here, and we need to protect, in this case in particular, an important site to the Chamorro culture in a way that's acceptable to the people," he said in a media roundtable today. "I think it's still possible to find a way to do that."

While challenges will arise, Lynn said he feels this realignment also offers a tremendous opportunity, particularly for Guam's residents. But "to realize the realignment's potential, U.S. officials and the people of Guam must work side by side, every step of the way," he said. "We must keep the lines of communication open and we must make decisions together, in full partnership with the communities who will be most affected.

"This will not happen overnight, but the men and women of the military who will make Guam their home share with their fellow citizens of Guam, the desire to get this right."

Current, former Airmen eligible for stop loss special pay

Daniel P. Elkins
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs Office

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Thousands of current and former Air Force members remain eligible to receive $500 in retroactive special pay for each month they were affected by stop loss. Airmen have until Oct. 21 to apply through the Air Force Personnel Center here.

Air Force people eligible include active, retired and former members as well as Reserve component members who served on active duty while their enlistment or period of obligated service was involuntarily extended, or whose eligibility for separation or retirement was suspended as a result of stop loss. Those who accepted a selective re-enlistment bonus subsequent to being affected by stop loss are not eligible for the special pay.

Air Force officials used stop loss for Operation Enduring Freedom from Oct. 2, 2001, through Jan. 31, 2003, and Operation Iraqi Freedom from May 2 through Dec. 31, 2003. Individuals who were deployed during either operation may be eligible beyond the inclusive dates depending on their Air Force specialty and deployment return date. The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriation Act set aside $534.4 million for the retroactive stop loss special pay compensation authority.

Personnel officials are encouraging those who were involuntarily held on active duty during either of the stop loss periods to contact AFPC to determine if they might be eligible for the special pay compensation.

“We want to exhaust all efforts in our attempts to reach as many eligible members as possible while the authority is in place to compensate them for their extended duty,” said Col. Bill Foote, the AFPC director of personnel services. “Of course, many of those eligible to receive this special pay are no longer in our ranks, so we’re opening channels to reach out to veterans to help spread the word about this valuable benefit throughout their communities.”

More than 3,000 claims by Airmen have been approved for retroactive stop loss special pay since officials here began accepting claims in September 2009. Officials estimate an additional 13,000 current and former Air Force members may be eligible for the compensation.

Whether or not Air Force veterans are sure they are eligible, Colonel Foote encourages those impacted by stop loss to apply. Claims are evaluated based upon historical records already available to personnel officials as well as any supporting documentation the applicant may submit.

To file a claim, eligible members or legally designated beneficiaries may download a stop loss claim application at www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/stoploss. Applicants who were serving in the Reserve or Guard at the time of stop loss may apply by visiting the Air Reserve Personnel Center website at https://arpc.afrc.af.mil/vPC-GR.

For more information on program eligibility and claims instructions, call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

Sailors Participate in Cheyenne Frontier Days

By Lt. Cmdr. John M. Lewis, Commander, Navy Region Northwest Public Affairs

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Cheyenne (SSN-773) and USS Wyoming (SSBN-742), personnel from Navy Operational Support Center Cheyenne and area recruiters are taking part in a variety of activities during the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days July 26-Aug. 1.

Crew members from Cheyenne and Wyoming have particpated in to attend Cheyenne Frontier Days for many years. During the weeklong event Sailors are able to meet the governor of Wyoming and mayor of Cheyenne, and participate in community outreach events at a Boys and Girls Club and Department of Veterans Affairs hospital.

Sailors also have the opportunity to walk in the Grand Parades in downtown Cheyenne.

"It was great to see everyone come their feet when we walked by," said Wyoming Commanding Officer Cmdr. Bill McKinney. "This welcoming by this community has been great and it reminds us of why we serve."

Highlights for some Sailors includes a lunch and behind-the-scenes tour of a rodeo, a history of Cheyenne Frontier Days. They will also have the opportunity to watch a rodeo from four different locations.

Later this week Sailors will attend and participate in the Challenge Rodeo. The event pairs special-needs children with the PRCA rodeo contestants in a modified rodeo performance.

Crew members from Cheyenne and Wyoming are selected for this trip based on their performance. Sailors are required to pay their own way to get to Cheyenne. Many families in the Cheyenne area open up their homes to the Sailors and give them a place to stay while here.

Cheyenne Frontier Days takes place the last full week in July. In addition to the rodeo, there are many other activities including a carnival and concerts.

USS George Washington Sailors Visit Korean Senior Center

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher S. Harte, USS George Washington Public Affairs

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 Sailors assisted elderly residents at the Parangsae Noin Geongang Senior Center in Busan, Republic of Korea (ROK) during a port visit July 22.

Before arriving at the center, Cmdr. Brian Haley, command chaplain, offered a few words of encouragement to the volunteers. "Just your being there, smiling and loving is enough to make these people's day."

At the Senior Center, Sailors viewed a slide presentation about the history of the facility, originally established in 1953 to assist poor children. In 2001, the transition was made to caring for sick, elderly citizens. Currently, there are 122 people living in the center.

"It's always a good thing to come and help out," said Airman Janelle Brumbaugh, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115. "I believe in giving back to the communities we visit."

"This is one way I show I care about the community and to say thank you for allowing us to visit your great country," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class Budie Sabaot from George Washington.

Sailors also took some of the wheelchair bound residents to visit a small zoo.

"We feel, in a way, we respect our elders, and this would be the best way to show our respect and appreciation for our Korean allies by doing this for their elders," said Electronics Technician Seaman Michael Grier.

Other Sailors cleaned wheelchairs, wiped windows, scrubbed ceilings, wiped bed rails and cleaned walls in the living areas of the center.

"I enjoy helping others," said Ship's Serviceman 1st Class Todd Clifton. "It's addicting for me, and I make sure to do this at every port I visit."

The Navy maintains a robust forward presence in the Asia-Pacific region and George Washington's visit is an example of the strong alliance the U.S. maintains with the ROK. This marks the first port visit for George Washington during its 2010 Western Pacific summer patrol and the second visit to Busan by the ship since October 2008.

CSCS Provides Coxswain Training For Essex Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Ryan Smith, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- USS Essex (LHD 2) Sailors are participating in a coxswain training course provided by The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka July 19-30.

Essex Sailors learned rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) maneuvering and navigation techniques as well as necessary safety procedures during the two-week class.

"We want all Sailors attending the course to under standing the basic fundamentals for operating a RHIB on the water," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) William Geurin, a CSCS instructor. "The class is about combining navigation with learning how to safely operate a RHIB around other water craft and knowing what maneuvers to execute at the proper time."

The coxswain instructors stay busy as they are responsible for giving coxswain training to all Navy and Marine Corps forces in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility from Japan to Guam and Diego Garcia.

"The training is put to use a lot in the fleet, from dropping a RHIB in the water, to transporting personnel from ship to shore and participating in man overboard recoveries," said Geurin. "We also work with visit, board, search and seizure teams boarding other vessels."

After a week of classroom training, students put their knowledge to use in an actual RHIB.

"This was my first time driving a boat and it's not as easy as it looks, it takes time and practice to get everything down," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Apprentice Stasha Carsongreen, a coxswain class student. "Back on the ship, we employ our training for well deck operations and man overboard recoveries, and now I can park a boat better than I can park a car."

During small boat operations, the coxswain acts as pilot of the boat and is responsible for operations on the boat.

"For a junior Sailor it's a unique experience to be the pilot of a boat and be responsible for other people," said Carsongreen. "It's a break from the usual day's work and I had fun while learning how to be a coxswain."

Essex is permanently forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, and is in Yokosuka for a regularly scheduled training availability.

Senior Executive Service Appointments and Reassignments

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointments and reassignments:

Appointments

Donjette L. Gilmore has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as director for accounting and finance policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. Gilmore previously served as assistant chief information officer business transformation applications, Department of Defense, National Geospatial Agency, Bethesda, Md.

Michael E. Reheuser has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as director for DoD privacy and civil liberties, Office of the Director of Administration and Management, Washington, D.C. Reheuser previously served as attorney advisor (general), Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel, Washington, D.C.

George P. Taylor has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as deputy assistant secretary of defense (force health protection & readiness), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), Washington, D.C. Taylor previously served as U.S. Air Force surgeon general, U.S. Air Force.

Reassignments

Martin Gross has been assigned as program executive officer for command and control capabilities, Defense Information Systems Agency, Falls Church, Va. Gross previously served as deputy program executive officer for command and control capabilities, Defense Information Systems Agency, Falls Church, Va.

BUPERS Uses New System for Message Delivery

By Wm. Cullen James, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS) and Navy Personnel Command (NPC) announced they will transition to a new message system beginning in August.

According to NAVADMIN 249/10, all unclassified message traffic from BUPERS and NPC, including permanent change of station orders, will be sent via command e-mail through the Official Information Exchange (OIX). This change is a result of Navy ending support for the Defense Messaging System (DMS).

"This process should be transparent for the Sailors in the Fleet," said Capt. Brian Wenger, NPC assistant commander for Business Operations and Comptroller. "The important thing is for commands to set up their command e-mail in the OIX system," as outlined in the NAVADMIN.

To create as transparent a change as possible, BUPERS is fielding a new system called Government Official Information Exchange System (GOES). The internal system will act as a router for all BUPERS official information into OIX. All commands that have set up command e-mail with OIX will receive message traffic from GOES.

"Our intent was to develop a solution that would have the least impact on the business rules for both those generating messages and the commands receiving them," said Wenger.

GOES also supports Sailors stationed in non-Navy billets such as those in Individual Augmentee assignments.

As the Navy transitions to OIX, assistance is available to commands to minimize impact to their receipt of message traffic.

"If for any reason a command cannot access OIX, we can set them up on GOES and they can retrieve their orders and messages that way," said William Davis Jr., BUPERS/NPC Messaging program manager.

GOES will continue to deliver information to BUPERS On-Line so users will still be able to access messages posted there.

E-Leave to Begin at Shore Commands

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (AW) LaTunya Howard, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Navy announced the implementation of its new Electronic Leave (E-Leave) system in a message July 27.

According to NAVADMIN 252/10 all shore commands will use E-Leave to request, track and manage leave once their Command Leave Administrator (CLA) completes initial setup within the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS) application.

The Navy requires all PSDs, CSDs and shore commands to be fully using E-Leave by Oct. 31. Sailors, reviewers and approvers can access E-Leave through NSIPS at https://nsips.nmci.navy.mil.

"All shore commands will be able to begin at once on Aug. 1, and everything should be running smoothly by the Oct. 31 deadline," said Art Tate, NSIPS/ESR Implementation manager and fleet liaison.

"We beta tested the E-Leave system from March 1 – April 13 and 99.3 percent of all transactions were accepted and processed," said Milene Wagner, NSIPS E-Leave project manager. "Because the beta went so well we also extended the use of E-Leave to some sites in Gulfport, Miss., Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss., Stennis Space Center, Miss., and in New Orleans. To date, all transactions were accepted and processed with a 99.7 percent pass rate for these sites."

The Navy originally announced plans to phase-out the traditional paper chit leave in NAVADMIN 103/10, replacing it with the new E-Leave system. E-Leave allows Sailors to electronically route leave chits through the chain of command for approval.

"It allows commands to manage their own electronic leave control log. Commands will have full visibility in the system to identify the status of any Sailor's request and easily track and account for all Sailors on leave at any given time by using the electronic reports capability that each CLA will have access to produce," said John Courtney, Navy Electronic Leave program manager. "Once E-Leave is implemented, command's leave processing will be automated, ensuring pay and entitlements are properly accounted for with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service."

Afloat implementation for ships with NSIPS servers onboard is planned to start in October and run approximately 24 months as ships' NSIPS servers receive appropriate software updates. A separate message will provide further instruction for afloat commands.

"We will implement the system on ships as quickly as we can," said Tate.

CLAs will have the capability to manage E-Leave transactions to include correction and cancellation. E-Leave will automatically check-out Sailors on leave 24 hours after initial start date and will automatically check-in Sailors 72 hours after the return date. CLA or ESR self-service users will also have the ability to request an extension.

CLAs at each command will be accountable for all leave transactions processed via E-Leave. For CLA access contact the local NSIPS access manager.

Sailors who have not yet established their web ESR Self-Service access can do so at https://nsips.nmci.navy.mil.

Afloat Sailors with NSIPS Server onboard will also need to establish an Afloat ESR account each time they report to a new afloat command.

It is now mandatory for all active-duty and Reserve personnel to establish and maintain an ESR Self-Service account as the Navy phases out paper service records.

An E-Leave User Guide, training presentations and additional resources can be accessed via the Navy Knowledge Online website. Refer to NAVADMIN 188/10 which gives specific direction on how to get to these materials.

Misawa Sailors Volunteer at Orphanage

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew M. Bradley, Naval Air Facility Misawa Public Affairs

SHICHINOHE, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors from Naval Air Facility Misawa (NAFM) built a fence for the Bikou-en Children's Home July 26 in Shichinohe.

The project was sponsored and paid for by the NAFM First Class Petty Officers Association (FCPOA).

"This will help to greatly improve the safety here. Children chasing balls and playing games won't have to worry about accidently ending up in the street," said Tatsuya Goto, director of the Bikou-en Children's Home. "We are very grateful for the good intentions of these Sailors."

NAFM FCPOA has had a long relationship with Bikou-en. They sponsor several events through out the year as well as various projects to help improve the facility.

"We asked them if there was anything they needed done to the building and they said they would like to have a fence built along the street," Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class (AW/SW) Jerry Gramling said.

"It was a lot of hard work but it was worth it." said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class (AW) Nathan Hart, FCPOA president. "The fence is really sturdy and should be around for a long time,"

"The build took most of the day, but all nine of us came together and we were able to finish it in one day," Hart said.

The fence cost around $500 for materials and around 60 man hours to complete, Gramling said.

The FCPOA was able to raise the money for this and other charitable projects through year-round fund raisers, however they've found their time with the home particularly rewarding.

"It's a long lasting relationship, which we intend to continue," Gramling said. We're planning to go back soon for a barbeque, and our next projected plan is to paint the facility's exterior."

Lynn Thanks Troops for Their Service, Sacrifice

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

July 27, 2010 - Nearly a decade into war, America's military members continue "stepping up every time," no matter how difficult or extensive the task, the deputy defense secretary said here today.

"We're at a point in our nation's history where we're really asking an extraordinary amount of the nation's military," William J. Lynn III said.

Lynn is here to discuss with military, government and civilian leaders the realignment of about 8,500 Marines from Okinawa to Guam. He also allocated some time to talk with sailors of Submarine Squadron 15.

The nation is engaged in its longest, continuous conflict, Lynn told the servicemembers, with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq now lasting longer than the nation's participation in World Wars I and II combined.

Deployments are lengthy, Lynn acknowledged, and servicemembers often are home for nine to 15 months before they're called on to deploy again.

"We know that's stressful on your families," he said. "That's stressful on your loved ones; of course, stressful on you. It's a difficult thing the nation is asking you to do."

This service and sacrifice is evident to the nation's leaders, Lynn said.

"The performance in that difficulty is recognized," he said. "It's recognized in the department, recognized by [Defense] Secretary [Robert M.] Gates, recognized by Congress and recognized by President [Barack] Obama.

"You should be justly proud of what you're doing," Lynn added. "I know your families are very proud of what you're doing as they well should be."