Military News

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Obama Urges Nation to Salute Service in Iraq

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2010 – President Barack Obama called on the American people today to provide new care, opportunity and commitment to the million military men and women who've served in Iraq.

After more than seven years, the United States "will end its combat mission in Iraq and take an important step forward in responsibly ending the Iraq war," he said during his weekly radio address.

That responsibility, he stressed, includes caring for the men and women in uniform who volunteered to fight.

"What this new generation of veterans must know is this: our nation’s commitment to all who wear its uniform is a sacred trust that is as old as our republic itself," he said. "It is one that, as president, I consider a moral obligation to uphold."

He called upon the the nation to pay tribute to all who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, noting the two wars are America’s longest continuous combat engagement.

"For the better part of a decade," he said, "our troops and their families have served tour after tour with honor and heroism, risking and often giving their lives for the defense of our freedom and security."

Some U.S. troops will remain to support and train Iraqi forces, partner with Iraqis in counterterrorism missions, and protect civilian and military efforts, he said. But he pledged all U.S. troops will be home from Iraq by the end of next year.

More than a million U.S. troops have served in Iraq and more than a million who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined the ranks of America’s veterans. Obama said his administration has worked to make the nation's veterans policy more responsive.

"We’re building a 21st century VA, modernizing and expanding VA hospitals and health care, and adapting care to better meet the unique needs of female veterans," he said. "We’re creating a single electronic health record that our troops and veterans can keep for life. We’re breaking the claims backlog and reforming the process with new paperless systems."

Obama added that wounded warrior facilities are being built throughout the Defense Department, and more is being done to help those suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

"For many of our troops and their families, the war doesn’t end when they come home," he said. "Too many suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – the signature injuries of today’s wars – and too few receive proper screening or care. We’re changing that.

"We’re directing significant resources to treatment, hiring more mental health professionals, and making major investments in awareness, outreach and suicide prevention," he said. "And we’re making it easier for a vet with PTSD to get the benefits he or she needs."

First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, have forged a national commitment to support military families, he noted. This includes new support for caregivers who put their lives on hold for a loved one’s long recovery, and funding and implementing the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which is already helping some 300,000 veterans and their family members pursue a college education.

New resources are also being devoted to job training and placement to help veterans trying to find work in "a very tough economy," the president said. "I’ve directed the federal government to hire more veterans, including disabled veterans, and I encourage every business in America to follow suit.

"This new generation of veterans has proven itself to be a new generation of leaders," he stressed. "They have unmatched training and skills; they’re ready to work; and our country is stronger when we tap their extraordinary talents."

The president closed his address by encouraging people to visit whitehouse.gov to send the troops text and video messages of thanks and support.

"Let them know that they have the respect and support of a grateful nation," he said. "That when their tour ends; when they see our flag; when they touch our soil; they’ll always be home in an America that is forever here for them – just as they’ve been there for us."

Air Force officials urge operational security vigilance

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

8/27/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Fraudsters continue to hijack accounts on social networking sites and spread malicious software, FBI officials said. One technique entices users to download an application or view a video that appears to be sent from users' "friends", giving the perception of being legitimate. Once the user responds to the phishing site, downloads the application, or clicks on the video link, their computer becomes infected.

With the influx of social media, Web 2.0 platforms and subsequent ease in sharing of sensitive and personally identifying information, Airmen should consider the risks and vulnerabilities in both personal and official activities, Air Force officials said.

Airmen using non-classified systems must ensure they are not posting classified, restricted distribution, proprietary or For Official Use Only information on public websites to include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blog sites, etc.

"We're starting to see a loss of sensitive information occurring at an alarming rate," said Ryan McCausland, from the information protection directorate. "This information not only affects the user, but can impact millions of Americans through medical, payroll and military service records."

Mr. McCausland explained that release of personally identifiable information is also a concern. This includes any information about an individual maintained by an agency, including, but not limited to, education, financial transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history. It also includes information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual's identity, such as their name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother's maiden name, biometric records, etc., and any other personal information which can be linked or linkable to an individual.

The release of personally identifiable information also applies to information about active-duty military, Department of Defense civilians, military family members, contractors, National Guard and the Reserve members. Among the restricted items are biographies, rosters, telephone directories, detailed organizational lists or charts that reflect personnel and multiple names of individuals from different organizations or locations on the same document or web page.

Unclassified but sensitive information such as detailed mission statements, operations schedules, unit recall rosters, standing operating procedures and policy memorandums require special handling and should also not be posted on public websites, Mr. McCausland said.

"The care and discretion of every Airman is critical to ensuring operational security in today's information age," Mr. McCausland said. "We must all continually safeguard our personal information as well as the information we handle in the workplace."

Eagles soar for last time at Hickam

by Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young
Defense Media Activity-Hawaii

8/27/2010 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR - HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- Pilots from the 199th Fighter Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard, completed their last training mission with the F-15 Eagle from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii Aug 25.

The HIANG is upgrading to the F-22 Raptor, a fifth generation fighter, and received their first two Raptors in July.

The ANG is the lead in a total force concept that already exists at JB Hickam with the C-17 Globemaster III. The 199th FS will fly and help maintain the 20 F-22 Raptors that bring another capability to the HIANG.

Many of the current F-15 pilots of the HIANG are eager to start training and flying the Raptor, but will still sorely miss the Eagle aircraft, which the unit has flown since 1987, said Lt. Col. James Sage, a pilot with the 199th FS.

"It's like saying goodbye to a good friend," said Colonel Sage said. "It was exciting flying it for the last time, and especially against a F-22, but at the same time the F-15 has always brought me home safely and been an outstanding aircraft."

The three remaining F-15s will depart JB Hickam Sept. 1, and with that, two of the fighters will move onto the 56th Aggressors Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., while the other will move onto the 120th Fighter Wing of the Montana Air National Guard. The Montana unit has assumed the HIANG's air-defense mission for the next year as the HIANG transitions to the F-22 said 199th pilot Lt. Col. Mark Ladtkow.

"It's somewhat a bittersweet feeling flying the last training mission of the F-15 with our unit," Colonel Ladtkow said. "I'm blessed to have the upcoming opportunity to fly the F-22, but the F-15, which I've flown for 17 years, is a friend of mine and will be missed."

Colonel Ladtkow is a 20-year veteran of the military, with the last six being part of the ANG. He is slated to deliver his jet to the Montana ANG in September.

"The 199th (FS) proves that National Guard forces are capable of maintaining a strategic presence with its active-duty association and providing a great value to our nation and the state of Hawaii," said Gen. Craig R. McKinley the chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The F-22, a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft, which utilizes stealth technology, was originally designed as an air-superiority fighter.

"These F-22 Raptors are the state-of-the-art, air-superiority fighters, and couldn't be located at a better place," said General McKinley.

New York civic leader earns highest Air Force public service award

by Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

8/27/2010 - NEW YORK (AFNS) -- The secretary of the Air Force awarded a public relations pioneer with the highest public service award given to a civilian here Aug. 24.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley presented Chester Burger the Distinguished Public Service Award for his 15 years of volunteer service as an Air Force advocate under the Public Affairs Advisory Group in New York City.

"You have strengthened local and national support for vital Air Force programs, strategies and missions," Secretary Donley said to Mr. Burger while presenting him the award. "Bringing together New York City's brightest public relations' minds provided unparalleled advice and counsel to former Air Force secretaries. Thank you for your dedication and all that you have done for the Air Force."

Mr. Burger is a World War II veteran, the nation's first TV news reporter, the president of the nation's first communications management consulting firm, and he worked for more than 50 years as a public relations professional, educator and consultant. For the past 15 years, his goal has been to get public relations professionals from New York City to help tell the Air Force story and help Air Force leaders shape their communication strategies.

"The prevailing attitude 15 years ago was that New York was just marginal to the Pentagon and the Beltway. What we tried to do most of all was to convince Air Force leaders that New York City was the media capital of the country," Mr. Burger said. "It was terribly important not just to have Air Force ceremonies and parades, but also to cultivate relationships with the key people in New York so they would understand the responsibilities the Air Force and what it was doing for the national defense.

"I think it's hard for people in the service to realize how isolated the military is from the civilian community," he said. "For instance, there is no military base in New York City, the result is if you are a civilian in New York, you don't know anyone from the military. There's no base nearby, and there's no sense of who (military members) are, what they are doing, what their burdens are, or the sacrifices they are making."

This week, during first Air Force Week New York City, Airmen are engaging members of the local community through volunteer events, concerts and exhibits to educate them on Air Force life and showcase the Air Force's capabilities.

During this week, New York citizens will learn about the "training and the responsibility" that Mr. Burger said he admires so much.

"I had an incident a couple of years ago, when a general said to me, 'You see that plane over there, that's mine,' It cost I don't know how many millions of dollars," Mr. Burger said. "Then (the general) said, '...you see that kid over there, 25-years old, he takes care of it for me. I don't worry about it. I know it's going to be done right, 100 percent right. I never worry.' You wouldn't find that in civilian life. You wouldn't find first of all a 25-year-old with that kind of life and death responsibility, and you wouldn't find somebody knowing that it's going to be done right 100 percent of the time. That's the wonderful thing about the Air Force."

"There is nobody that I met in my long life, and I'm about to be 90, that has the sense of responsibility, public service, and real integrity and meaning than the folks I've worked with in the Air Force and what a rich experience that has been," he added.

Air Force officials announce changes to space functions

8/26/2010 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced the realignment of some Headquarters Air Force space functions Aug. 26, following the recent completion of a review of Headquarters Air Force space management and responsibilities, which was directed by Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley in December 2009.

In a memorandum signed Aug. 26 Secretary Donley reinforced some existing alignments and directed several changes to Air Force headquarters space organizations, including the identification of the undersecretary of the Air Force as the focal point for space within Headquarters Air Force, with responsibility for coordination of functions and activities across the Air Force space enterprise. Also, the responsibility of space acquisition has been realigned from the undersecretary of the Air Force's office to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition.

"These decisions will allow us to perform our space work in a more streamlined and effective way, with our ultimate goal of providing the best space support to the warfighter," Secretary Donley said in the memorandum. "We recognize the importance and criticality of space not only for the Air Force, but for all our joint military and inter-agency partners, and with these changes I believe the Air Force and our headquarters will be better organized to carry out this vital work."

The review was focused on Headquarters Air Force, so it did not address any changes within field organizations such as Air Force Space Command or the Space and Missile Systems Center. Richard W. McKinney, who was recently named deputy undersecretary for Space Programs, led the review that involved more than 70 interviews with key individuals and organizations from the Air Force, Department of Defense, Congress and other space related government, commercial and international organizations.

Airmen, aircraft showcased in Times Square

by Staff Sgt. Vanessa Young
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio

8/26/2010 - NEW YORK (AFNS) -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Afterburner Monster Truck were two exhibits parked in the middle of Times Square here Aug. 26 as part of Air Force Week New York.

Various Air Force exhibits were spread over two blocks of Times Square to help educate citizens of New York about Airmen and the Air Force mission. Thousands of passersby visited the Thunderbird F-16 and Monster Truck display, listened to the sounds of the Air Force Band of Liberty's Afterburner, and took part in interactive Air Force displays.

Many New York City Air Force recruiters were on hand for the event, including Staff Sgt. Bryan Rivera, a New York native who is working as a recruiter in the same office where he joined almost eight years ago.

"Air Force Week is creating awareness in different communities and different boroughs," he said. "People who've never had any knowledge about the Air Force are getting the opportunity to see what we are about and ask questions. This helps us get out the message about what the Air Force does for the country. It's definitely allowing us to get more and more people to come into the office and find out about how they can be a part of the world's greatest Air Force."

The Air Force exhibits surround the Times Square Armed Forces recruiting station, a small building with American flags in red, white and blue bulbs on each side.

"We are out here saying hello and spreading awareness about the Air Force," said Staff Sgt. Kathleen Pena, the Times Square Air Force recruiter. "It's a great thing. I'm in awe about the things I've seen. Who would've thought we'd have an F-16 in the middle of Times Square? It's amazing."

Passersby in Times Square also witnessed a group of Air Force recruits taking the oath of enlistment.

"There's a lot of support out here," said Rosa Cruz, a Bronx native and one of the Air Force recruits who will be heading to Basic Military Training in September. "There were lots of people standing by, watching and taking pictures. It's a good feeling."

13th AF concludes Asia-Pacific civil engineering summit

by Tech. Sgt. Kerry Jackson
13th Air Force Public Affairs

8/26/2010 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- A 13th Air Force-hosted civil engineering subject-matter expert exchange that included officers from 14 Asia-Pacific countries concluded here Aug. 22.

The exchange allowed mid-level officers from regional Asia-Pacific partner nations to exchange views related to civil engineering operations, to tour U.S. military and civilian facilities and programs, and to establish international and interpersonal relationships.

The SMEE is a joint and combined military information-sharing forum designed to enhance regional partnerships and promote interoperability between U.S. forces and partner nations.

"This forum allowed our counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region a rare behind-the-scenes look at our civil engineering operations," said Col. Mark Bednar, the 13th Air Force Director of Installations Mission. "It clearly fostered relationship building and allowed all involved an opportunity to improve how we conduct business in a combined environment."

The exchange, which was conducted in three iterations this past summer, included officers from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam. It focused on emergency management preparation, disaster response, fire prevention, confined spaces, search and rescue, and general contingency engineering tactics.

"We are in the Pacific ring of fire where tsunami and volcanic activity could happen at any time, and we don't have any response options," said Lt. Col. Douglas Papa, the Papua New Guinea Defense Force director of engineers. "To be able to expose ourselves to this kind of training gives us an insight, and more so, it gives us confidence that there are people out there who are concerned about what's happening around the world. That in itself is kindness to humanity, assisting one another and exposing the technologies and ideas that are available, so at least other countries can be able to benefit."

The participants visited several locations throughout the U.S. including Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas; the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

During the delegates' visit to the Academy, they toured the school's department of civil and environmental engineering, where they observed Academy students in the field engineering readiness lab conducting mock deployments designed to allow the students to perform hands-on training in surveying, construction methods and using various construction materials.

"I think this seminar exposed us to a wealth of information that is very, very beneficial and we will go back armed with information to try to make a small change to what is happening in our respective countries," Colonel Papa said. "Many thanks to the facilitators, the participants (from the other countries) and everyone who has contributed to our knowledge gap in one way or another. Thank you."

The civil engineering community has conducted SMEEs for more than 40 years as their responsibilities have grown in number and complexity with more subject matter experts participating in exchanges to share the depth of knowledge required in specific areas.

Destructive F-16 test makes strides toward new drone's development

by Samuel King Jr.
96th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

8/26/2010 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- An F-16 Fighting Falcon was intentionally blown apart on the range here as part of a test on an aerial-target flight termination system Aug. 19.

The purpose of the test conducted by the 780th Test Squadron, and overseen by the QF-16 special programs office, was to demonstrate that the FTS design will be sufficient to immediately terminate the flight of a QF-16, a supersonic reusable full-scale aerial target drone modified from an F-16. Each drone contains an FTS, which is needed to satisfy range safety requirements for use in unmanned missions.

The QF-16 will provide a fourth generation full-scale aerial target for air-to-air and surface-to-air weapons systems evaluation, which will be conducted by the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

"We're taking these non-operational aircraft and reusing them, recycling if you will," said Kevin Diggs, the QF-16 test and evaluation lead. "We find a better purpose for them in making them flight worthy, which gives our weapons designers the opportunity to test our advanced weapons against a modern aircraft. Additionally, our warfighters get an opportunity to train against a quality fourth generation fighter."

Another purpose of the test was to determine a range safety debris footprint, Mr. Diggs said.

"This test was one step toward satisfying range safety requirements," he said.

The non-operational F-16 from the 40th Flight Test Squadron, tail-numbered 78-0097, was destroyed for the test.

At approximately 11:15 a.m., with an audience looking on, the range officials exploded the aircraft. A small ball of flames burst from the middle of the aircraft, followed by thick black smoke, but no sound. The sound followed soon after with a deep reverberating boom.

The extent of the damage went undetected at first, due to the amount of smoke billowing from the wreck. Once it cleared, it revealed the F-16 had been split in half between the cockpit and the wings.

"It's sad to see an F-16 destroyed like this," said Maj. Wayne Chitmon, of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, the squadron that will eventually own and operate the QF-16s. "At the same time, however, it's exciting to know the fourth generation ability of the F-16 will enhance the warfighters' capabilities."

After the range was cleared, the test team began inspecting the wreckage and collecting data. In the coming weeks, test reports will explain the outcome of the test.

The next step for the program office is to evaluate those reports from the 780th TS and Boeing, the QF-16's prime contractor. The project will then move forward to certifying the QF-16 with Air Armament Center range safety for unmanned flights in the future.

The first QF-16 is scheduled to be delivered in 2014. The QF-16 will replace the QF-4, the third generation full-scale aerial target drone.

Baltimore Kicks Off Inaugural Navy Week Celebration

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Gallagher, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

BALTIMORE (NNS) -- Residents of a city steeped in naval history began a week long series of events Aug. 28 designed to showcase the Navy to residents of the cultural center of the state of Maryland.

Baltimore Navy Week 2010, one of 20 Navy Weeks held across America this year, began with crewmembers of the Boston-based USS Constitution long gun demonstration team simulated the firing of one of the ship's 6,000 pound guns.

The crew, in their 1813-period uniforms, provided crowds the opportunity to see U.S. Navy weaponry used in battles waged in Baltimore Harbor and the surrounding areas nearly 200 years ago.

Nearby, the Little Creek, Va.-based USS Monsoon (PC-4) sailed into Baltimore's Inner Harbor to provide four days of free tours to local residents.

"This is a great opportunity for the US Navy to be here," said Lt. Kevin Ducharme, Monsoon commanding officer. "People can come aboard and get a hands-on view of the ship and experience what it is like to be in the Navy."

Coinciding with Baltimore Navy Week is the Maryland State Fair, an event attracting more than 400,000 visitors each summer. During Baltimore Navy Week, fair goers can learn about the Navy's latest capabilities by riding in the Navy Simulator, which combines video and live motion to offer citizens a sensory experience of the Navy's multiple global missions and operations.

"We're always looking for new things for our folks to see and do at the fair," said Howard Mosner, president and general manager of the Maryland State Fair. "Fair goers are looking for education, and the Navy being here gives the people of Baltimore a unique opportunity to see what the Navy does."

Also featured at the Maryland State Fair are Seabees from Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202 from Naval Station Anacostia, Va. These Seabees are in Baltimore to explain the Navy's construction forces to the public, and exhibit their equipment to onlookers.

"Most people think that Sailors are only on ships and have never heard of the Seabees," said Builder Constructionman Apprentice Robert Stubblefield. "We're here so people can learn and understand what we do, and so far the response has been excellent."

Adm. John C. Harvey, Jr., Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and Rear Adm. Scott A. Weikert, Deputy Commander, 1st Naval Construction Division, Norfolk, Va., are scheduled to meet with Baltimore city and corporate leaders during Baltimore Navy Week, engaging in conversations designed to inform Baltimore area resident of how the Navy operates around the world.

Sailors are also scheduled for community outreach programs, including serving meals at a soup kitchen, giving ship ball caps to children at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital as part of the Navy's Caps for Kids program and revitalizing a city street during a two-day project for Baltimore CivicWorks with Sailors from Navy Medical Logistics Command in Fort Detrick, Md., and CBMU 202 Seabees.

Mount Whitney Hosts U.S. Ambassador to Netherlands

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Sylvia Nealy, USS Mount Whitney Public Affairs

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (NNS) -- The U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands hosted more than 70 distinguished guests Aug. 25 during a reception aboard the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) during the vessel's three-day port visit to Amsterdam.

Fay Hartog-Levin, U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands made opening remarks during the reception, and said she was honored to host the event.

"When I started thinking about tonight's event, I was reminded yet again of a critical role ships have played in the relationships between our two countries," she said.

Hartog-Levin also commented on the history the U.S. and the Netherlands share, speaking about the first recorded gun salute given to the American flag.

"In 1776, an American ship under the flag our new nation entered the harbor on the Dutch Island of Saint Eustatius in the West Indies," she said. "The Island governor acknowledged her with an eleven shot salute from the fort."

Hartog-Levin said the importance of the two navies partnership has historical value, and the continued alliance between the U.S and the Netherlands.

"Still today our presence on the high seas makes a positive difference in the world with our two nations and working together in important areas reconfirm the value of our partnership," she said.

Guests enjoyed a catered buffet by Mount Whitney's Military Sealift Command civil service mariners, and live music from the Naples, Italy-based Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, Naval Forces Europe/Naval Forces Africa (CNE-CNA/C6F) band.

"Looking at the reaction of the audience makes me feel good knowing that I can touch people though my music which is something I love," said CNE-CNA/C6F Musician 2nd Class (SW) Kori Gillis, the band's singer.

Mount Whitney is on a regularly scheduled deployment, serving as the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship homeported in Gaeta, Italy and operates with a hybrid crew of U.S. Sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners.

USS Enterprise Braces for Hurricane Danielle

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Croft and Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Jared M. King, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The crew of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is preparing for high winds and heavy seas Aug. 26 as Hurricane Danielle makes her way up the Atlantic coast while the ship conducts work-ups.

Information gathered from the Naval Maritime Forecast Center's website predicts Danielle's path will stay well off the Eastern Seaboard. However, with Enterprise conducting flight operations off the Atlantic coast, Danielle could create complications for the thousands of Sailors aboard.

According to Enterprise's Meteorology and Oceanography Center (METOC), the aircraft carrier should not get directly hit by the storm, but the crew will likely feel the effects due to the ship's proximity.

As the ship moves away from the hurricane, the crew is implementing safeguards to protect personnel and vital equipment from damage. While aircraft carriers do not rock as much as smaller ships, heavy sea states can cause damage.

"We should start seeing the effects from Danielle this weekend," said Lt. Cmdr. Patrick J. Havel, Enterprise's METOC officer. "We can expect 20-knot winds from the north and 10-foot swells."

Sailors aboard Enterprise are tying down all loose objects on board to ensure they don't damage personnel or equipment in the event of heavy rolls. The Navy trains to make stowing for sea, as this process is called, second nature to Sailors.

Stowing for sea is important to protect equipment, but the safety of each Sailor and Marine is the top priority.

"Depending upon how rough the seas are, the damage costs could run into thousands of dollars, and we run the risk of serious injury," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class David B. Hall.

Anything not secured to an immobile object, bulkhead, overhead or deck must be tied down before the ship can be considered stowed for sea.

In an announcement over the ship's loudspeaker system, the ship's commanding officer, Capt. O. P. Honors Jr., informed the crew of the situation and ordered all hands to take the necessary actions to ensure the ship is prepared for the storm.

Hurricane Danielle is the fourth named storm this hurricane season.

Enterprise is conducting work-ups and flight deck operations in preparation for its upcoming deployment.

Mullen Encouraged By Midwest ‘Conversation’

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

CLEVELAND, Aug. 27, 2010 – As Navy Adm. Mike Mullen concluded another installment of his “Conversation with the Country” tour here today, he said he’s energized by how eager community and business leaders are to “re-connect” with veterans.

“I have really been encouraged by the positive response over the past three days,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a news conference. “It validates the sea of good will which is out there.”

Mullen visited in Cleveland today, Detroit yesterday and Chicago on Aug. 25. Earlier this summer, he traveled to Columbia University in New York, as well as to Pittsburgh and Morgantown, W.Va.

This week, the nation’s top military officer met with business executives, and academic and community leaders, and college students. At each venue, he carried the same message: Reach out the nation’s veterans and help them integrate into their local communities. Veterans are a “remarkable” investment, he said.

“Veterans have an enormous amount of potential and an enormous amount to offer,” Mullen said at the Union Club of Cleveland today. “I believe [veterans] are a group of people who have great promise.”

Veterans offer a mixture of skills, loyalty, professionalism, education and life experience unmatched by most Americans, he said. Most veterans transitioning out of the military still are very young, mostly in their mid-20s, he added, noting that they have a lot of years left to make a difference for their communities.

“I look to business leaders to see how to take advantage of this great pool of talent,” he said. “These young men and women are extraordinary people who offer a great deal of potential.”

Mullen encouraged leaders to brainstorm on ways to mentor veterans who are bringing their skills and experience to their communities. Those ways, he suggested, might include a sort of veteran intern program. Even if employers don’t have the means to hire, Mullen said, they certainly can take veterans under their wings and help them in their transition back to civilian life. And because an approach that would work in one community may not work in another, Mullen added, only the people in any given community can know what will work based on the local situation.

The military also stands to benefit in its recruiting efforts as veterans return to their communities, Mullen noted, as positive experiences transitioning veterans have could be encouraging for someone thinking about joining.

“If we get this right, the veterans become my recruiting command,” he said. “The families become my recruiting command, because they tell great stories and young people hear them and make the decision to come into the military.

“That’s one of the reasons this is so important,” he added. “If we don’t do this well, the opposite is true.”

Mullen said he is confident communities will come through for their veterans, and he called for community leaders to address their returning veterans’ needs and challenges.

“There certainly is a strong desire, passion and appetite locally in communities I’ve visited to do everything to get this right,” he said. “I hope in future months we can turn this from ideas to execution.”

It’s the nation’s responsibility to take care for those who serve and sacrifice, he said.

“This is a significant priority for me,” the admiral said. “In the end, there’s a powerful message here about how we take care of our people. There’s a powerful message that gets told in a very positive way if we get this right in communities throughout the country, which, in the long run, has a pretty significant impact on our recruiting effort.”

Toolkit Helps Separating Servicemembers Land Jobs

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2010 – Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines separating from the military can get extra help in finding a job from a new Defense Department resource.

The Pentagon’s Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy Office, part of the Office of Personnel and Readiness, recently developed the Career Decision Toolkit to help the 400,000-plus servicemembers who separate from the military each year have a smoother transition into civilian work, John R. Campbell, deputy undersecretary for wounded warrior care and transition policy, said in an interview with American Forces Press Service today.

Campbell, a Vietnam War-era Marine who joined the department earlier this summer after working for decades in private industry, said too many civilian managers and hiring officials today don’t have enough familiarity with the military to know the skills developed from a few years of service.

“Most employers today have never served, and that wasn’t true when I got out” in 1970 and entered the banking industry, he said.

That, coupled with the bad economy – unemployment for people younger than 30 hovers around 15 percent nationally – makes getting hired an uphill battle, especially for former servicemembers who may never have competed in the private sector market, Campbell said.

Servicemembers applying for civilian jobs need to be able to explain how their military experience translates into the skills needed for jobs they are applying for. Many struggle with that, he said.

“One of the things I know, because I work with younger servicemembers, is that they don’t realize how valuable they are,” Campbell said.

Servicemembers, even as young enlisted members, serve in strategically important places and have opportunities and experiences beyond most of their civilian peers, Campbell said. “They’re warfighters, but they also work on civilian projects,” he noted. “They’re community activists; they meet with imams.”

The toolkit helps separating servicemembers “write the narrative” of their experiences, Campbell said. It includes a CD and supportive documents, its portability allows it to be used anywhere the servicemember is located, he said.

Designed by Defense Department officials in collaboration with officials from the Labor and the Veterans Affairs departments, the toolkit is available in the military transition course for separation, at Transition Assistance Program centers, and at soldier-and-family and fleet-and-family support offices.

The toolkit includes information on job interviews, resumes and cover letters, and negotiating pay and benefits, among other things, Campbell said. It also has special sections for wounded warriors.

“We have used what we think are the best tools for civilians, as well as military -- the best practices out there,” he said. “And it’s still evolving.”

More resources are expected to become available in the fall, Campbell said.

DOD Announces Military and Overseas Voting Waivers

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 775-10

August 27, 2010

The Department of Defense announced today that Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia were denied waivers which would have temporarily exempted them from complying with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.

Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Washington were approved for waivers, relieving those states from the 45-day ballot transmission requirement.

“The states granted waivers presented thorough and comprehensive plans to protect the voting opportunities for military and overseas voters,” said Bob Carey, director, Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP). “In each case, we determined that the combination of measures presented provide military and overseas voters sufficient time to receive, mark and return their ballots so they can be counted, and thus met the requirement for receiving a waiver under the MOVE Act.”

In 2008, a delegation of state secretaries of state reported after visiting military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Germany that, everyone the secretaries visited stated a preference for greater e-mail and Internet access to voting. Those same troops stated that email access extended even to remote areas of the theater. Many of the states’ waiver application comprehensive plans provide such expanded email and internet access.

The MOVE Act requires states to send absentee ballots to military and overseas voters covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act not later than 45-days before an election for federal office, beginning with the Nov. 2, 2010 election. In accordance with the MOVE Act, states are allowed to apply for a waiver from the 45-day ballot requirement. Twelve states submitted waivers, and one state (Maryland) subsequently withdrew its waiver application. In addition to the programs presented by the states in their waiver applications, DoD has been working with states to improve timeliness and opportunities for military and overseas voters to receive their ballot and submit their votes in adequate time to be counted in the election.

This year, FVAP launched new online products that make completing voting forms easier by developing electronic alternatives for voters to request, receive or return their ballots.

“DoD is working hard to make the absentee voting process seamless, easy, intuitive, and quick for military and overseas voters,” said Carey.

Military members can now fill out their registration to vote and absentee ballot applications using FVAP’s online tool, and if they do not receive their ballot in time, they may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), for which a full online tool is available.

These tools, along with the latest voting information by state, may be found at http://www.FVAP.gov. In addition, FVAP has launched a 24/7 call center for military and overseas voters, voting assistance officers, and election officials to get help with voting. Individuals can e-mail in their questions or use the online chat capability.

More U.S. Helicopters to Deploy for Pakistan Relief

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2010 – Defense Department officials announced today the deployment of 18 additional helicopters to Pakistan as part of the expanding U.S. contribution to flood-relief efforts there.

The aircraft include 10 CH-47 Chinook and eight UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The unit will operate alongside the Pakistani military throughout flood-affected areas.

These helicopters are expected to begin flood-relief efforts in Pakistan in mid-September, officials said.

This is the latest in a series of deployments in response to Pakistan’s urgent request for flood-relief assistance. About 15 U.S. military helicopters and three C-130 Hercules aircraft already supporting flood-relief efforts in Pakistan have transported more than 2 million pounds of humanitarian assistance supplies and rescued more than 7,000 people.

Today, helicopters transported more than 750 people and delivered more than 160,000 pounds of food and supplies. C-130s delivered 6,000 pounds of food and supplies.

Since the floods began July 29, the United States has provided $150 million to support immediate relief efforts and has allocated an additional $50 million to assist with re-establishment of communities impacted by the floods, according to Defense Department reports.

Engineers Seek New Edge for Warfighters

By Christen N. McCluney
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2010 – Engineers at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Communications-Electronics Center at Fort Monmouth, N.J., are designing handheld solutions that will give troops in the battlefield a strategic edge.

“Today's warfighters are facing an ever-changing, ever-adapting, ever-evolving enemy, and we need to be able to adapt … as fast or faster than the enemy,” said Michael P. Anthony, chief of the CERDEC command and control directorate’s advanced applications branch, during a “DoD Live” bloggers roundtable yesterday.

The Defense Department’s 5000.2 Defense Acquisition Management System, an acquisition and life-cycle management process, “[does] not necessarily enable this, at least for software,” Anthony said.

To remedy this deficit, CERDEC officials are developing “edge-enabled” systems that will allow warfighters to collect and transmit information without interruption, and without accessing a computer terminal.

The system will be customizable, Anthony said, so that each user may have a unique experience suited to individual needs. It also will be able to be enriched with third-party applications. Overall, he said, the Command Post of the Future software system will give commanders better live oversight of conditions on the battlefield.

“This is a big shift in the way the Army adds new capabilities into fielded systems, one which I believe will provide an increased operational effectiveness for our warfighters,” Anthony said.

He added that CERDEC’s space and terrestrial communications directorate is addressing security issues related to sharing information over wireless channels. Research initiatives include tethering a military radio to a smart device to give a warfighter a secure connection and finding ways to give soldiers secure access to military networks using commercial lines.

CERDEC also is partnering with organizations including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Apps for the Army initiative. Anthony said he perceives an acceleration of progress through the complex fielding process for this advanced software system.

“When you get the power of the community behind an initiative, at some point you reach a tipping point,” he said, “and I believe we're not too far away from this.”

Citadel Rumble Exercise Will Test Navy's Disaster Response

From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) is scheduled to conduct an all-hazards disaster response exercise beginning Aug. 30.

Exercise Citadel Rumble 10, designed to increase Navy prepardeness in response to earthquake, wildfire and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) threats to U.S. regions, is scheduled to conclude Sept. 2, and should not affect access to military installations and facilities.

"Citadel Rumble is an annual fully integrated disaster preparedness, response and recovery exercise to evaluate Shore Emergency Management program readiness," said Bill Clark, CNIC N72, shore exercise program manager. "This exercise will provide the shore enterprise the opportunity to exercise emergency management teams, processes, procedures and partnerships with local mutual aid agencies to be better prepared in the response to real-world disasters."

Citadel Rumble 10 will also serve to maintain the ability to deploy forces even under the most adverse conditions.

Participating regions include Commander, Navy Region Northwest, Commander, Navy Region Midwest and Commander, Navy Region Southwest.

All Navy commands with personnel in these regions will participate. This participation will include reviewing and exercising earthquake instructions and procedures, as well as fully accounting for Sailors and Navy families in the affected regions through the Navy.

Modernization: Supporting our underway fleet

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Written by: LTJG Stephanie Young

What does it mean to be Semper Paratus? You may think it means ready for the SAR alarm to sound or keeping a keen eye on port security, but in this case it means remaining vigilant in every sense of the word.

Recently, a deployed 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter (WMEC) was performing routine small boat operations. While deploying the small boat, the cutter’s boat crew noticed a potential failure to their davit, the mechanical system used to lower the cutter’s small boat into the water. The davit is essential for mission execution and must be ready to go at a moment’s notice to deploy the small boat to intercept a “go-fast” or rescue a mariner in distress.

Remaining ever vigilant, engineering personnel aboard the cutter noticed damage to a small, but necessary component to the davit. Unfortunately, the potential failure the crew noticed could easily go undetected and could have had catastrophic potential.

Adding to the concerns, when a Coast Guard Cutter is underway, connecting with its logistics and engineering support on land can be challenging.

While the engineering team aboard the cutter worked to find the root of the problem, their engineering team on land, the Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC), was immediately available and worked tirelessly to provide support.

SFLC, the single conduit for mission support for all Coast Guard surface assets, coordinated with the cutter and released a fleet-wide message outlining the inspection process and repair procedures for the potential failure. The message was released and acknowledged by all cutters in the fleet – in less than 24 hours.

As a result, several other cutters reported that they had similar problems prompting a complete replacement of the key parts across the fleet, sparing the Coast Guard from a potential fleet-wide failure.

As the Coast Guard continues to modernize its processes and procedures, responding to situations like this one have become expedited and streamlined. The prompt and detailed reporting by the cutter, coupled with the swift action of the SFLC, ensured that the cutter and her crew remained Semper Paratus.

Duck Hunt Photos – Getting to Greenland

Sunday, August 29, 2010
Written by: Dan Bender

As part of the Coast Guard’s effort to locate a missing World War II air crew, a team has been dispatched to the frozen Greenland ice cap. Getting there was half the battle.

The journey to Greenland began Friday morning at Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., when Cmdr. Jim Blow and Master Chief Petty Officer John Long, from CG-711 Aviation Forces, departed with a C-130J crew and headed north. Their first stop was Trenton, N.J. where the contractors from North South Polar, Inc., were waiting with weeks worth of supplies and equipment for the desolate and unforgiving ice. Also waiting were a camera crew from HDNet World Report and a correspondent from the New York Times.

The next stop was St. John’s, Newfoundland, where the team stayed overnight and prepared for the last leg of the trip aboard the C-130 to Kulusuk, Greenland, Saturday. Today the 15-person team will take helicopters chartered from Air Greenland over a hundred miles west into the frozen wild of East Greenland.

Two helicopters have already left with the first wave of scientists to get the search started as soon as possible. The rest of us will be out there in the next few hours. Stay tuned for more updates.

Flournoy Reaffirms Commitment to Bringing MIAs Home

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2010 – The Defense Department is as committed as ever to bringing home thousands of U.S. servicemembers who remain missing from the Korean War and Cold War conflicts, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for policy said today.

“This issue has the full and unequivocal support of this secretary and this nation,” Michele Flournoy said at the Korean War/Cold War Annual Government Briefing on the accounting of missing and imprisoned servicemembers held in Arlington, Va. Ensuring resources are available “to have the fullest possible accounting” is a top priority of the department, she said.

As many as 5,400 Americans may still be in North Korea, and another 900 may be in the demilitarized zone that has divided North and South Korea since an armistice in 1953 halted three years of fighting there, Flournoy said. Because there has never been a peace treaty to officially end the war, those areas remain inaccessible to the department’s search and recovery teams, she said.

American search teams were allowed into North Korea under tight control between 1996 and 2005, and recovered the remains of 225 U.S. servicemembers, 81 of whom have been identified, Flournoy said. Rising international tensions with North Korea over its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons and the sinking of a South Korean navy ship this year have ended those operations, the undersecretary said.

Further complicating efforts, Flournoy said, are ongoing reports that “tiny” numbers of veterans may have defected to the north, raising concerns that they are being held as prisoners of war. Department officials have spent years trying to determine if the reports are true, she said.

“We have no evidence that U.S. servicemembers are being held against their will in North Korea,” she said. “But we cannot tell you in many cases the fate of our missing servicemembers.”

Despite the challenges, she said, “We will get through this difficult period and do everything in our power to resume recovery operations and bring our servicemembers home.”

Flournoy called the issue of missing or imprisoned servicemembers “surely the most painful legacy of war,” and said the department is committed to keeping its search and recovery staff fully resourced. Congress, also, has shown its willingness to provide for the recovery of POWs/MIAs by including in the current budget a directive that the department develop the capacity to increase the identification of remains to 200 per year by 2015. The department usually recovers the remains of between 80 and 85 missing servicemembers each year, she said.

Meanwhile, the United States has had increasing collaboration with Russia and China to recover missing servicemembers, and currently is evaluating remains found from a plane crash in the China Sea reported by Chinese officials, the undersecretary said.

Flournoy told the audience that their work gives hope to the 200,000 military members currently deployed in war zones. POW/MIA work “is not an artifact of the distant past,” she said. “These issues remain urgent, and our commitment to leaving no one behind is as vital and real as it has ever been.”

Search and recovery techniques have vastly improved in recent years, and the department’s teams are the best in the world, Flournoy said. “No one is more dedicated to the mission,” she added.

“Your loved ones gave their lives for this country,” she said. “We honor their sacrifices, and we are committed to their recovery.”

Mullen Calls Iranian Nuclear Pursuit ‘Unacceptable’

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

DETROIT, Aug. 26, 2010 – Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear capabilities is unacceptable in the eye of the U.S. government, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said today.

“Iran is a particularly difficult issue,” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told local business leaders here. “Their achieving a nuclear weapon capability is unacceptable and incredibly destabilizing.”

Mullen responded to this issue amid town halls with local business leaders and Wayne State University students here as part of his “Conversations with the Country.” Local residents voiced concerns over the nature of the United States’ efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“This is an enormous challenge,” he said. “We’re working hard to make sure either one of those outcomes doesn’t occur, because I think either will be very bad for all of us.”

The United States is still pursuing a diplomatic approach, he said. Financial sanctions were placed on Iran in June. Military intervention, the admiral added, is not an option the U.S. military currently wants to engage.

Mullen said there’s much the U.S. government doesn’t know about Iran. The countries haven’t had an open dialogue with each other since 1979, he noted.

“We don’t know each other very well,” the admiral said. “You may think you know enough to understand the consequences, but I worry about miscalculation here. I worry about a small incident rolling itself into something that could get out of hand.”

Iran's attainment of nuclear weapons would likely lead to a strike against Israel, Mullen said. The Israeli government has a “complete belief” that Iran has that in mind, he added.

“[Iran] is a regime that is a state sponsor of terrorism,” he said, noting the Islamic state’s links to al-Qaida and extremist fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It is an existential threat. [Nuclear] capability in hand is an existential threat to Israel.”

Mullen said he is hopeful that the issue can be resolved on diplomatic terms. However, ending Iran’s nuclear pursuit is a “very difficult and complex problem.”

“I think Iran is on path to achieve that capability, and we need to be mindful of that,” Mullen said. “It’s a very critical part of the world. It’s a world that is reasonably unstable. And Iran continuing to expand on that does not bode well for any body in the world.”

Mullen was in Detroit today as part of a three-day “Conversation with the Nation” tour across the Midwest. The trip is geared toward helping local community leaders, businessman and academics hone the skills and life experience among military veterans. He met with businessman and community leaders in Chicago yesterday and will be in Cleveland tomorrow.

USNS Mercy Marks End of Pacific Partnership 2010 Involvement

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Brian Gaines, Pacific Partnership 2010 Public Affairs

DILI, Timor-Leste (NNS) -- The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) concluded operations in Timor-Leste Aug. 24, marking the end of the ship's participation in Pacific Partnership 2010.

Mercy left San Diego May 1 and will return its homeport of San Diego in late September 2010.

"It is hard to believe that just 11 days ago we opened Pacific Partnership 2010 in Timor-Leste," said Capt. Lisa M. Franchetti, Pacific Partnership 2010's mission commander. "We should all take great pride in what we have accomplished in such a short time."

Franchetti also thanked Timorese officials and volunteers for their efforts to ensure the mission was a success.

"Watching Pacific Partnership 2010 develop from a simple vision of what 'could be' to the reality of seeing our collective teams in action has been a rewarding experience for me and everyone involved," said Franchetti.

Col. Falur Rate Laek, Timor-Leste Military chief of staff, was extremely pleased with the mission, the fourth visit of its kind to his country.

"This cooperation is a continuation of previous cooperations, but this year builds greatly upon the others," said Laek. "All of the activities were performed successfully, and the work has been fruitful."

During the four-and-a-half month deployment the Pacific Partnership team conducted humanitarian and civic action activities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste.

Capt. David Bradshaw, master of Mercy, was thrilled with the mission.

"Mercy is operated by the Military Sealift Command and has a crew of 67 civilian mariners, 13 of whom have been on board Mercy for all of her Pacific Partnership missions, as well as the response to the Indonesian Tsunami in 2004-2005," said Bradshaw.

In addition to the civilian mariners, Mercy was manned with more than 1,000 personnel from all four U.S. military services and 10 partner nations, including Australia, Canada, Cambodia, France, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Embarked non-governmental organizations (NGOs) included East-Meets West, International Relief Teams, Latter-day Saint Charities, Operation Smile, Project Hope, Hope Worldwide, University of California San Diego Pre-Dental Society, Vets Without Borders and World Vets.

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ship Kunisaki (LST 4003) and Royal Australian Navy HMAS Labuan (L 128), HMAS Tarakan (L 129) and HMAS Tobruk (L 50) also participated in various phases of Pacific Partnership 2010.

By conducting surgery on board and setting up multiple health care clinics ashore each day, the Pacific Partnership medical team was able to treat more than 101,000 patients in the four countries, including more than 20,000 in Timor-Leste. On board Mercy, the surgical team performed 775 life-changing surgeries during the deployment, ranging from cataract removal and cleft palate/lip repair to orthopedic surgery and other surgical procedures not readily available to the people served.

"Pacific Partnership 2010 embodied a spirit of collaboration among all participants, from patients, to partner nation colleagues, to U.S. military and non-military staff. We worked as a team, learning from one another and establishing a solid foundation for future efforts involving humanitarian assistance or disaster relief," said Capt. Jeffery Paulson, the Medical Treatment Facility's commanding officer.

As part of the medical outreach effort, more than 58,000 pairs of eyeglasses and sunglasses were also distributed at medical civic action projects. The dental services provided on board Mercy and at the clinical outreach sites provided care for 1,505 patients. A notable example of integrated medical care occurred as the audiology department identified children with treatable ear problems on shore and brought them on board Mercy for care by the ear, nose and throat surgeon. Mercy's Biomedical Equipment Repair Team repaired 124 pieces of equipment, an estimated repair value of $5.8 million.

In addition, the Pacific Partnership team conducted a series of extremely well received subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) in each country, on topics requested by the host nation during the planning process. These events, held on board Mercy and ashore in the Dili area, covered a wide variety of topics including first aid, nursing, cardiology, orthopedics, nutrition, disaster response, water and food safety and public health promotion. More than 11,000 hours of exchange classes were attended by 2,350 service providers across the four countries.

Sixty community service projects, the majority of them at schools and orphanages, and 6 major performances by the U.S. Pacific Fleet Band throughout the four countries provided additional opportunities to strengthen the bonds between the United States and our host nations.

Donations from Project Handclasp, the Navy's program which coordinates transportation and delivery of donated humanitarian, educational and goodwill material to needy recipients in foreign countries, and Latter-day Saint Charities also provided essential medical, comfort and school supplies to each of the countries visited.

Using three advance fly-in teams, Pacific Partnership was able to take on extensive construction and renovation projects involving the host nation at every step of the way. Eighteen engineering civic action projects renovated a variety of structures, including a school for disabled children in Vietnam, seven clinics and the renovation of the Nu Laran School, as well as a six-building school and community center complex in Dili. In a project that required more than a year of planning and three months to complete, U.S. Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 drilled three wells in Cambodia, providing thousands of people with readily available fresh drinking water.

"The numbers of people we were able to see and projects completed really only tell part of the story," said Franchetti. "What is most important for the long term are the strong relationships we were able to build with our host nations as well as our partner nations and NGO volunteers throughout this challenging mission. The skills we have all developed have made us significantly more ready to respond to a natural disaster or other humanitarian crisis in the future."

Although Mercy is on her way home, Pacific Partnership continues. A 64-person team from Mercy has transferred to the HMAS Tobruk (LSH 50) and are proceeding to Papua New Guinea – the last mission country. Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, a 25-person Australian contingent, USS Crommelin (FFG 37), Labuan and Tarakan will also participate in the 10-day mission to Papua New Guinea.

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

Face of Defense: Football Team Boasts Military Ties

By Army Sgt. Nathan Hastings
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

SHERMAN, Ill., Aug. 27, 2010 – The Springfield Foxes are more than just a central-Illinois semiprofessional football team, thanks to strong military ties.

Jae Russell, a defensive end and team captain for the Foxes, is a sergeant with the Illinois Army National Guard's Joint Force Headquarters in his hometown of Springfield. He said he draws on his experience as noncommissioned officer in charge of training to help him lead his football teammates.

"The military plays a strong role in leadership, especially being a leader of this team," he said. "Being a [team] captain is overwhelming at times. Everyone is looking at you for answers. I draw on my military experience to help me with these situations."

Though the Foxes are in their inaugural season with the Alliance Football League their 5-4 record heading into an Aug. 14 game put them in a position to make the playoffs, a rare achievement for a first-year team.

Playing for the Foxes sometimes creates conflicts for Russell, but he said he knows which obligation comes first.

"If military obligations and games come into conflict,” he said, “military always wins."

Another member of the Foxes also serves in the National Guard. Army Sgt. 1st Class Chris Williams of Sherman is an administrative NCO with the Recruit Sustainment Program Battalion in Springfield. Williams, the special teams coach for the Foxes, said he also believes his training as an NCO is helping him with his role on the football team.

"At this stage of my career, being a NCO, leadership roles in the military help with leadership roles outside of the military," he said. "I was a convoy commander, so I was in charge of 10 to 20 soldiers. This helps with having to coach 11 to 12 guys on special teams."

Williams said he thinks his and Russell's leadership has helped the Foxes to become playoff contenders.

"The team was not a team at the beginning,” Williams said. “Now, it has gelled into a team. Our recent four-game winning streak … comes from learning strengths and weaknesses, knowing each other. This is much like a platoon or squad in the National Guard."

The Foxes staff, coaches and members have many connections to the Army National Guard. Army Sgts. 1st Class Richard Hollinshead and Angela Robinson are the brother and sister of head coach Jake Hollinshead.

"Not a lot of players are Guard members, but we have a lot of connections," Williams said.

The Foxes beat the Chicago Blaze 28-20 in their tenth and final game of the season Aug. 14, extending their winning streak to five games. Williams said he believes Russell gave the Foxes the inspirational speech they needed to hear at a critical point in the game.

"We were down 14 to 0, and Sergeant Russell gave such a great speech, I believe it helped continue our winning streak," he said.

Pacific Region Militaries Join Humanitarian Community Workshop for Pacific Endeavor

By Lt. Theresa Donnelly, Pacific Command Public Affairs

CHANGI NAVAL BASE, Singapore (NNS) -- Military representatives from Singapore and U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) hosted a humanitarian communication workshop for 16 Asia-Pacific nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as part of Pacific Endeavor at Changi Command and Control Center at Changi Naval Base, Singapore Aug. 16-27.

Established in 2003, Pacific Endeavor tests the processes participating nations, non-governmental organizations and other entities would likely deploy in support of a major natural disaster.

For the first time since the program's establishment, members of the humanitarian community played a key role in the workshop. The United Nations, Salvation Army and the Singapore Red Cross representatives participated to further the interoperability between non-governmental organizations and the military.

"I think it is really important to have the humanitarian community here this year," said New Zealand Army Lt. Dan Swale. "The military is just one component of the whole-of-government approach. There are so many partners that we work with when a disaster occurs."

More than 250 communication experts from the military, humanitarian community and private industry took part in the scenario, which simulated an earthquake in the Philippines. Teams from the various countries also tested routers and radio frequencies as well as received training on how to protect personal information stored on computer databases.

"This year, we were able to bring a scenario in and perform the functions of a C6 combined forces information team," said U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer 4 Vincent Street, Pacific Endeavor future operations planner. "This can fully support the communication needs of a multinational force during a major disaster."

Pacific Endeavor also lays the groundwork for enhanced relations among the humanitarian community, military forces and private industry. By putting the humanitarian community together in a workshop venue, they can quickly team up when a crisis hits and call upon their newly established contacts for assistance and advice.

"If we can't communicate, we can't operate," said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Brett Williams, director for Command, Control, Communications, Computer Systems Directorate (J6). "We are so fortunate to have the non-governmental organizations with us this year. This provides a terrific laboratory to refine our skills that is most needed in times of disaster."

The workshop also explored emerging uses of social networking tools and highlighted the role of social networking sites, such as PACOM's All Partner Access Network used during Haiti relief efforts earlier this year. Operators received training on these resources so they will understand how to deploy these technologies in a disaster.

"It is so important for all the nations to be able to work together, help each other and find ways to improve our processes," said Bangladesh Navy Cmdr. Afzal Hossain. "This is a win-win situation for us. We have a lot to gain and share with others."

Mullen Shares Concern for Aid Workers in Pakistan

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

CLEVELAND, Aug. 27, 2010 – The U.S. military is taking “significant” precautions to ensure safety for its forces and U.S. aid workers providing flood relief in northwestern Pakistan, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

The United States “certainly would hope that all of those who are providing aid in this very difficult set of circumstances would not be impeded,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told reporters.

Mullen was here as part of a three-day “Conversation with the Country” tour across the Midwest. The trip is geared toward helping community and business leaders and the academic community step up to help military veterans hone their skills and life experience as they make the transition into civilian life. He met with business and community leaders in Chicago on Aug. 25 and in Detroit yesterday.

The chairman’s comments come a day after the U.S. State Department voiced concern for American volunteers in Pakistan. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said U.S. relief workers there are fearful of a Taliban or extremist reprisal on foreigners.

Mullen agreed, saying such an attack by militants wouldn’t be a surprise.

“I share the concern that was stated yesterday by the State Department,” he said. “I haven’t seen any indication that that’s happened yet. But the insurgents have no moral bounds, and that they might do something like that isn’t outside the realm of possibilities.”

Mullen lauded the U.S. effort there. More than 6,500 displaced Pakistanis have been moved to safety since efforts began Aug. 5. Also, nearly 2 million pounds of relief supplies have been delivered.

The U.S. military has devoted 19 helicopters and three cargo planes to flood relief efforts, and more helicopters were promised today. About 400 U.S. troops are providing relief.

An estimated 20 million people could be affected by the flooding, which has isolated much of Pakistan’s Swat Valley and Peshewar regions.

“The floods are obviously huge and tragic,” Mullen said. “The United States is making significant contributions.”

US 6th Fleet Hosts Medal of Honor Recipient

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

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- A Medal of Honor recipient visited to Sailors at Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet (CNE-CNA/C6F) headquarters on Naval Support Activity, Naples, Aug. 27.

While on holiday in Italy, retired Capt. Thomas G. Kelley and his wife, Joan, took time out of their vacation to speak with Sailors about their experiences and careers in the Navy.

Kelley and the nine Sailors selected to represent CNE-CNA/C6F covered a wide range of topics including post traumatic stress, their most memorable moments in their careers and one question that captured the nine Sailors undivided attention.

"What was going through your mind back in Kien Hoa Province?" said Operations Specialist 1st Class Seamus McGinley. "What kept you going?"

While serving as commander, River Assault Division 152 during combat operations against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam, June 15, 1969, then-Lt. Kelley was in charge of a column of eight river assault craft.

His division was extracting one company of U.S. Army infantry troops on the east bank of the Ong Muong Canal in Kien Hoa Province when one craft with loading ramp malfunctions came under enemy fire.

"My first thought was 'Not me, this isn't happening to me'," said Kelley. "But, then I gathered myself, trying to ignore my injuries, and did what I had to make sure that all of our craft got out of the canal."

Kelley sustained major head injuries during his effort to protect that broken craft until it was repaired, and ultimately lost his right eye.

"I guess it looked so bad, that I would occasionally hear them say, 'He's dead'," said Kelley. "But, I would yell right back, 'No, I'm not!'"

Kelley also spoke about the comraderie service members share in the military.

"Kelley feels the same way modern Sailors and other service members feel when it comes to our time in the service," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Jason Funk. "That one of the greatest parts of being in the military is the comradery we share; that sometimes this is a family closer than our own."

"I feel that since this an all-volunteer service it means that today's service member is very motivated and that they're here because they want be here," said Kelley. "It's clear to me that any one of these men or women would have done the same thing I did if the opportunity ever presented itself; it's nice to let them know that people from a different era appreciate what they're doing now."

Kelley received the Medal of Honor on May 14, 1970, for his actions in Kien Hoa. He retired from the U.S. Navy as a captain in 1990 and worked as a civilian in the Department of Defense for several years. He currently serves as secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services.

Seabees Train to Build Expeditionary Pier


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ron Kuzlik, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) 1 and 2 Seabees completed construction of a 500-foot elevated causeway system modular (ELCAS-M) at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va. Aug. 19.

Nearly 200 Reserve and active duty Seabees worked jointly to build the expeditionary pier system used to bridge the surf zone, providing an interface between cargo vessels and the beach.

The ELCAS facilitates the maritime offload of supplies, equipment and ordnance onto vehicles driven on the causeway and loaded by cranes also positioned on the causeway.

Seabees periodically conduct this exercise to maintain proficiency, something emphasized by Adm. J.C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, who stressed the value of ELCAS-M capability in supporting the Navy's Sea Basing strategy.

Sea Basing offers enhanced operational flexibility and maximum combat power ashore with minimum force protection requirements, and increased command and control capability from the sea.

The Sea Basing concept is intended to replace the traditional means of employing naval forces, which include acquisition of advanced bases as close as possible to the scene of action, the landing of forces on a hostile shore, blockades, and the struggle for dominance and control of the local sea.

Constructing the ELCAS took Seabees 13 days to complete and involved more than 60,000 man-hours of labor by Navy steelworkers, engineering aides, builders and other Seabee personnel working alternating 12-hour shifts day and night.

"This was an extremely effective and efficient build," ACB-1 Reserve Officer-in-Charge Lt. Phong Pham said. "We had nearly 200 Seabees with a variety of skills and experience levels working to make this project such a success. ELCAS gives us capabilities and access that we have never had before."

Military Steps Up Role in Chesapeake Bay Preservation

By Donna Miles

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2010 - Military leaders pledged this week to step up efforts to help to control pollution and preserve the sprawling Chesapeake Bay, the United States' largest estuary and home to 68 military installations.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and installation commanders from throughout the watershed area met with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and other officials at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Aug. 25.

Mabus, the most senior defense department official at the session, called the bay restoration "pre-eminently a team effort," and said every military facility along the watershed has an obligation to "do the things that make a difference, long-term, in the Chesapeake."

The Defense Department is a major landowner along the 64,000-square-mile bay watershed, which includes Naval Station Norfolk, Va.; Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.; the U.S. Naval Academy; and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

Mabus noted that every military service has a presence on the bay, and an obligation to preserve it.

"We all recognize that what happens to the Chesapeake Bay is not just a concern of the people of the Chesapeake Bay," he told the conference attendees. "It affects our entire country."

He outlined extensive military environmental projects each of the 68 facilities already has under way. These include stricter, environmentally friendly building standards, upgrades to sewage treatment plants, and increased use of electric and hybrid vehicles to cut nitrogen emissions and porous pavements to control stormwater runoff.

Mabus pledged that the military will continue to work with local, state and federal officials to build on these efforts.

"It's part of our responsibility to make sure that we pass on this environment to our children, to our grandchildren and to this country in a better way than we found it," he said.

Speaking for the EPA, Jackson said military members recognize this obligation.

"I think the men and women of our armed forces understand that their duty to protect our country goes beyond weapons," she told the group. "It goes to the resources that are our country['s responsibility] to safeguard and protect."

Alaskan exercise prepares Madison-based Airmen for future deployments

Date: August 26, 2010
By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
Wisconsin National Guard

More than 130 Wisconsin Air National Guard members - pilots, maintainers and support personnel from the Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing, along with 10 of the unit's F-16 Fighting Falcons - took part in a two-week Red Flag exercise at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska for a unique training opportunity they wouldn't normally get in Wisconsin.

Pilots from the 115th flew against two active duty F-16 flying squadrons, from Misawa Air Base, Japan, and Osan Air Base, Korea. This was the first time in nearly eight years the fighter wing has participated in an Alaskan Red Flag exercise.

Maj. Bart Van Roo, an F-16 pilot with the 176th Fighter Squadron said he really enjoyed the Red Flag exercise and feels training in an unfamiliar environment against other pilots is invaluable.

Maj. Willa Panzer, officer in charge of the 176th Aircraft Maintenance Flight, said the Airmen who deployed to Red Flag really performed admirably, despite working at an unfamiliar location with outside units and new leadership.

"I think this was an excellent deployment," Panzer said. "These folks have a can-do attitude and all share the common goal of getting the job done."

Master Sgt. Robert Pelletier, 115th Maintenance Squadron avionics integrated shop technician, said the exercise allows the younger Airmen to realize the importance of their roles in a deployed environment because "pilots can't do their job, if [Airmen] don't do theirs."

"It is very similar to an [Air Expeditionary Force] deployment - they get to see how important it is to work together to get the job done and how their job impacts each sortie," Pelletier said. "Everyone worked well together and did a great job."

The purpose of exercises like Red Flag is to streamline processes, garner more "deployment like" experience and work out any kinks in the entire process.

Senior Airman Brandon Barger, an ammunitions troop with the 115th Fighter Wing, said despite some changes in the mission when he arrived to Red Flag, the exercise was very productive.

It's always nice going to another base and learning how to deal with many different types of people and how they do things," Barger said. "I can say some of our newer people learned a lot and have taken some things away from this trip."

MCPON Sends 2010 Labor Day Message to the Fleet

Special from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West released the following Labor Day message to the fleet Aug. 27.

"Shipmates and Navy Families,

As we enjoy the last few weeks of summer, I would like to take this opportunity to remind our Sailors and their families to keep safety in mind especially during what is considered to be the unofficial last weekend of summer, Labor Day weekend.

We all need to think about off-duty risk management while planning our Labor Day weekend activities, and not try to cram in too many activities into one weekend which could lead to injury or fatality.

While we have seen success in summer risk management, the loss of even one trained and ready Sailor is unacceptable, and last Labor Day weekend we lost two. As of Aug. 6, 2010, eight Sailors have died this summer during off-duty hours: four in four-wheel motor vehicle mishaps, two on motorcycles and two during recreation mishaps. Based on an average of the last five years, nearly twice as many Sailors are killed on motorcycles during Labor Day weekend than any other weekend. Remember, proper personal protective equipment is a requirement year round, on or off base. Keep in mind that if you are going to play, play it safe … summer sports cause numerous minor injuries every year and 12 Sailors were injured participating in sporting activities last year.

I issued a challenge to the Fleet during Fourth of July weekend and that was to keep up the success rate of zero fatalities from Memorial Day, and I'm giving you the same challenge for this Labor Day weekend.

Use caution when driving, participating in water activities, and if drinking, have a plan. Stay safe and enjoy your much-deserved time off with your family and friends, and as always, keep in mind our Sailors who are deployed and can't be with their loved ones.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and HOOYAH!"