Wednesday, September 01, 2010

SUBFOR Conducts All Hands Call in Kings Bay

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Erica R. Gardner, Commander, Submarine Group 10 Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Forces/Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic recently visited Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, Ga., and took advantage of the visit to hold an All Hands Call with area submariners.

During the All Hands Call with junior enlisted, chiefs, and officers, Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly praised the efforts of Kings Bay Sailors and briefly spoke about the significant cultural changes that have taken place in the submarine force since he took command three-and-a-half years ago.

"Kings Bay is the model homeport of all the submarine bases," said Donnelly, who took command of the submarine force in February 2007. "The performances at Submarine Squadron 20 and Submarine Squadron 16 has truly been superb. This is the performance I look for, so keep up the great work."

He touched on the integration of women in submarines and smoking cessation.

"We are going to have women in subs and the first submarine to house the women will be from Kings Bay. I know we can make this a successful event," said Donnelly. "The importance of the smoking cessation program is to protect the health of the submariners. Through the collaborative efforts of the entire crew, smokers and non-smokers have the opportunity to mentor and support each other.

"We are the best submarine force in the world; there is no doubt about that," he emphasized. "And I just want to say to all of you, thank you, it has been an honor to serve with you."

HSV Swift Makes History with Visit to Guyana

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

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (NNS) -- The crew of High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2 made history Aug. 29, as the first U.S. military vessel to dock pier-side in Georgetown, Guyana.

Swift, the first U.S. military vessel to enter the country, is in Guyana for Southern Partnership (SPS) 2010, which kicked off Aug. 31.

"We are excited to be part of history for both the U.S. Navy and U.S. military being the first U.S. ship to operate in Guyana," said Capt. Kurt Hedberg, SPS 2010 mission commander. "The start of the exchanges today allows us the chance to operate in a multinational environment and improve interoperability, while demonstrating the flexibility of both the U.S military and Guyana Defense Force (GDF)."

SPS 2010 is strategic initiative, which will establish a self-sustaining sea-base from which to conduct regional operations. Its primary goal is information exchanging with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America.

"We believe it is important to have Guyana included in SPS because the knowledge and expertise that both countries bring to the table helps us to improve regional stability and improve capabilities in key mission areas, resulting in enhanced maritime security," said Hedberg.

Subject matter experts embarked on board Swift will engage with members of the GDF discussing topics ranging from port and physical security to land navigation.

"Throughout SPS 2010, the junior enlisted leadership exchange will emphasize that as a leader, you can always learn something," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Marcus Lloyd, from Jackson, Miss. "That includes everyone, from the youngest person to the most senior person, because they may have a new way of doing business that you never thought of. We are different countries yes, but we are faced with the same obstacles so I hope that all of the SPS 2010 participants will use this opportunity to learn from each other," Lloyd added.

SPS 2010 aims to bolster regional maritime safety and security by increasing partner nation maritime capabilities and capacities through the exchange of information and interaction. Swift is operated and navigated by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.

Fleet and Family Readiness Center Plays Vital Role in Exercise Citadel Rumble 2010

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardel Gervacio and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Dagendesh, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Detachment Northwest

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Commands throughout Navy Region Northwest (NRNW) participated in Citadel Rumble 2010, a simulated earthquake emergency response exercise Aug. 30 through Sept. 3.

Citadel Rumble, an annual integrated disaster preparedness response and recovery exercise, allowed installations to evaluate how well their Shore Emergency Management Program's readiness disaster response plans work and what needs improvement.

This exercise provided shore commands with the opportunity to exercise emergency management teams, procedures and partnerships with the local mutual aid agencies to better prepare themselves for responding to real-world disasters.

Part of the exercise focused on Navy family accountability and the ability to provide emergency support for military family members through Fleet and Family Support Center's (FFSC) family assistance center.

Approximately 60 volunteers simulated the need for some kind of care associated with a disaster; such as transportation, shelter, medication or food.

"Today we're simulating the second day past the earthquake," said Peter Harris, Fleet and Family Installation Training team member. "We're here to assist family members who have lost their belongings, need to find housing or if family members get separated."

Family readiness is an integral part of Navy Region Northwest's strategy in regards to disaster response.

"When a client comes in need, we are their first point of contact to assess what they need immediately and then direct them to the different venues, such as housing, Navy and Marine Corps Relief and Personnel Support Detachment," said Kelly Gilman, individual deployment support specialist (IDSS).

Simulated displaced victim, Dana Ledford of Oak Harbor said she felt assured of FFRC's ability to handle a disaster.

"Overall the Fleet and Family Support Center did very well; I played a displaced victim [during the exercise] with all my belongings destroyed," said Ledford. "All my questions were answered. I was referred to the right people, and my needs were met. I believe with all the chaos happening, FFSC would be able to handle such a disaster if it were to happen."

NAS Jax Sailors Star in Navy Commercials

By Kaylee LaRocque, Naval Air Station Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Several Sailors from Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) are scheduled to be featured in a series of Navy television spots promoting physical readiness and operational stress control (OSC).

The commercials were filmed at various locations at NAS Jax from Aug. 23-27 by Venture Media, a company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., contracted by Defense Media Activity and Navy Personnel Command.

"We are trying to create command messaging and information that is pertinent to the fleet. We work with different media elements throughout the world to get these messages out on Direct to Sailor [DTS] TV, American Forces Network and TroopTube," said Princess Hester, Defense Media Activity project officer/executive producer.

"NAS Jacksonville has been incredibly supportive as we produce these commercials in support of Navy Personnel Command and Chief of Naval Personnel Programs. We are filming a communications campaign on OSC and spots on physical fitness programs. We are trying to equate the Navy's physical fitness program and testing to show how being physically fit helps Sailors accomplish their jobs and the overall mission," said Katie Suich, public affairs specialist at Navy Personnel Command's communications office.

Commercials filmed here focused on Navy OSC's five core leadership functions which are: strengthen, mitigate, identify, treat and reintegrate.

Strengthen pertains to activities that enhance and build resilience in individuals, units and families through training, social cohesion and leadership.

Stress mitigation is balancing factors such as sleep, rest, recreation and spiritual renewal to allow recovery from stress.

Leaders must be able to identify stress reactions and recognize their Sailors may need help, as well as encourage Sailors to seek treatment. Reintegration is the restoration of Sailors' confidence by ensuring their welcome back to their work environments.

During the video shoot, NAS Jax Sailors demonstrated physical readiness activities, including calisthenics, running, and weightlifting. A segment was also filmed at the Naval Hospital Jax's new physical therapy facility.

"This is a great opportunity to showcase what NAS Jacksonville's physical readiness program is all about," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class (SW) Nathan Ouellette of the NAS Jax Security Department. "It's also kind of exciting because most Sailors don't usually get to participate in PR events and get to be in commercials. I think this is really cool."

Navy Couple Reenlists on Anniversary

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Lucy M. Quinn, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Two Sailors celebrated their wedding anniversary by reenlisting together aboard ex-USS Wisconsin Sept. 1.

Chief Personnel Specialist (SW/AW) Cedric Allen is from Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group, Cheatham Annex; and his wife, Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Valeisa Allen is assigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Expeditionary Training Unit, Little Creek.

"I wanted to do something different for our anniversary," said Petty Officer Allen. "And we were both up for reenlistment."

Petty Officer Allen's children, Brandi and Brian Wiley attended the ceremony along with several shipmates.

"She made it happen," said Chief Allen. "I picked the day and she put it together."

Chief Allen has served in the Navy for 17 years and Petty Officer Allen for eight years. They consider themselves a true "Navy family."

For more on dual military families and careers while parenting, view the August issue of All Hands Magazine

Family Matters Blog: Army Secretary Vows Support for Programs

By Heather Forsgren Weaver
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2010 – Heather Forsgren Weaver of American Forces Press Service is a regular contributor to Family Matters. Heather's been heavily involved in this blog from the start. She edits, helps write and posts content on a daily basis.

In this blog, Heather writes about a visit Army Secretary John McHugh made to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., where he vowed to maintain funding for family programs.

Secretary McHugh Remains Committed to Family Services

Army Secretary John McHugh is "strongly committed" to making soldiers and family services a top priority, he told the Northwest Guardian newspaper, the local newspaper for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

"When it comes to any budget cuts, should that time arrive, that's the very last place we'll look, not the first and that's different than years past because I think there was a real tendency to go to the kinds of dollars that we're supporting in those programs," Secretary McHugh said.

Don Kramer, a reporter for the Guardian, wrote about Secretary McHugh's two-day visit to Washington in "Secretary of the Army Pledges Support for Soldier, Family Programs."

The Army is doing a better job in how it welcomes soldiers home after deployment and reintegrates them, Secretary McHugh told Kramer.

"For a long time, we, if not overlooked, certainly misunderstood the complexity of bringing a soldier back home, reintroducing them into a totally different environment than he or she had been experiencing during that deployment, helping the families to come together as well," Secretary McHugh said. "They're human beings and it's not just a switch you can turn on or off. We need to ensure they have the support and facilities necessary to do that."

Secretary McHugh has been downrange many times, he told Kramer.

"I've had a chance to go to Iraq 15 times now and Afghanistan five and it always takes my breath away to get out there and see these young soldiers doing incredibly important, often incredibly dangerous things with such competence and such bravery. You can't understand the depth of it until you really see it…. They really create a debt that we can never truly repay," Secretary McHugh said.

Counterterrorism Expert Calls for New National Cyber Defense Policy

By Barbara Honegger, Naval Postgraduate School Public Affairs

MONTEREY, Calif. (NNS) -- A lecture about the national cyber defense policy to reduce the likelihood of a catastrophic cyber event was held at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, Calif., Aug. 17.

Richard Clarke, the former national coordinator and special assistant for counterterrorism, security, global affairs and cyber warfare, gave two lectures on the subject of his latest book, "Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It."

"When historians look back at this period, what are they going to say were the really important changes that were going on?" said Clarke. "I think they're going to say that this was a time when a new form of warfare – cyber warfare – came into its own."

"Though the U.S. leads in cyber warfare - we invented it in terms of offense," said Clarke. "We're also the nation with the highest dependence on cyberspace in the world and only ten percent of our chips are from trusted fabricators. Because our critical infrastructure so heavily depends on computer networks and because of the open nature of our society, we're highly vulnerable to cyber attack while also being relatively weak in cyber defense."

Clarke asked the attendees if they would go into a football game with just an offense and no defense.

"Of course not, but today in this country, that's the situation we find ourselves in," said Clarke. "The mission of the new U.S. Cyber Command is to defend the .mil environment, and [the] Homeland Security [Department] defends the .gov domain but there is currently no organization to oversee the civilian-corporate private sector .com's that run the nation's critical infrastructure."

Clarke described how much there is to defend against in stark terms and took pains to distinguish cyber warfare from cyber crime and cyber espionage.

"Cyber espionage is essentially new – it didn't happen 15 years ago," said Clarke. "Today, cyber spies and cyber thieves don't just read or steal a few pages or documents a week like Aldrich Ames or Robert Hansen. They take out terabytes – measured in entire 'Libraries of Congress' of information – all remotely at a distance, like cyber predators. Every major government department including the military and every major private enterprise in this country and the world has been hacked, and can hack each other, and they're sophisticated attacks."

Clarke warned his audience about "the arm that can come out of the computer" and wreak damage, disruption and destruction by breaching the firewalls designed to separate the cyber and real worlds. This describes scenarios where computer programs are used to automate the command and control functions of our critical infrastructure systems like gas pipelines, railroads, the stock market and mass communications. When an adversary moves from cyber espionage to cyber warfare, it can be done on line with a few key strokes.

"Once you're there [inside an enemy system], you can issue electronic commands to open or close valves causing pipeline explosions and refinery fires; change the RPMs on huge generators causing them to fly apart; cause more power to go down high tension lines than they can safely carry; order trains to derail; and trigger chaos in the stock market, 70 to 80 percent of whose trades are now done by computerized buy-sell programs," said Clarke.

The Navy recently reconstituted 10th Fleet, the former World War II anti-submarine warfare fleet in the Atlantic, which is now the Navy's cyber command. Likewise, the Air Force reconstituted the 24th Air Wing as its cyber command. Both components report to the U.S. Cyber Command, which stood up Oct. 1, 2009, at Fort Meade, Md.

Clarke said the decision makers and the public need to admit that there are vulnerabilities and discuss publicly what the nation's cyber defense policy should be. Clarke believes the nation's cyberspace defense should be run by the private sector in partnership with Homeland Security and with expertise and advice from the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cyber Command.

Clarke stated that there was little or no evidence of cyber terrorism and that the concept is unlikely as terrorist organizations are dependent on information technology to carry out operations.

According to Clarke, between 20 and 30 countries now have cyber warfare commands. He noted that the most recent example of cyber war was a Russian-initiated cyber attack on the Georgian critical infrastructure, remotely coordinated from a server in Brooklyn, N.Y., prior to the physical attack.

"Most countries would agree to sign a treaty not to attack each other's international financial and banking system networks," said Clarke. "They don't want to cross that Rubicon, or the entire international banking system could go down. We have an international regime for cyber crime, and we need one for cyber war – to rule out some things globally."

"This is such an important topic, and students here are such a key group – the future of the career military – to engage in this critical national policy debate on cyber defense," said Marine Corps Capt. Anna Noyne, national security affairs student and foreign area officer, following Clarke's presentation.

"So it's fantastic that Mr. Clarke is doing this here at NPS," said Noyne. "He can pick and choose where he goes, and it shows how important it is that the military be aware of this. He was right before [in warning of the danger of a terrorist attack before 9/11] when he said it could happen here, and we didn't pay attention. We have to pay attention now. This time, we have to take his warning seriously, and we have to act on it."

Clarke's talks were sponsored by the NPS Foundation, whose executive director, retired Rear Adm. Merrill Ruck, served with Clarke in 1990-91. Clarke currently teaches at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, is an on-air consultant for ABC News and is a partner in Good Harbor Consulting, LLC located in the Washington, D.C., area. Good Harbor advises clients on a wide range of issues including counterterrorism, corporate security risk management, information security technology and dealing with the federal agencies on security and information technology issues.

U.S. Soldier MIA from Korean War Identified

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

United States Army Sgt. Charles P. Whitler will be buried Sept. 2 in his hometown of Cloverport, Ky.

In early November 1950, Whitler was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, occupying a defensive position near the town of Unsan by the Kuryong River known as the “Camel’s Head.” Two enemy elements attacked the U.S. forces, collapsing their perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. Whitler’s unit was involved in fighting which devolved into hand-to-hand combat around the 3rd Battalion’s command post. Almost 400 men were reported missing or killed in action following the battle.

In late November 1950, a U.S. soldier captured during the battle of Unsan reported during his debriefing that he and nine American soldiers were moved to a house near the battlefield. The POWs were taken to an adjacent field and shot. Three of the 10 Americans survived, though one later died. The surviving solider provided detailed information on the incident location.

Analysts from DPMO developed case leads with information spanning more than 58 years. Through interviews with eyewitnesses, experts evaluated circumstances surrounding Whitler’s captivity and death and researched wartime documentation of his loss.

In May 2004, a joint U.S.-North Korean team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, excavated a mass grave near the “Camel’s Head.” An elderly North Korean man reported he had witnessed the death of seven or eight U.S. soldiers near that location and provided the team with a general description of the burial site.

The excavation team recovered human remains and other personal artifacts, ultimately leading to the identification of seven soldiers from that site, one of whom was Whitler.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used dental comparisons and mitochondrial DNA - which matched that of Whitler’s sister and niece - in the identification.

More than 2,000 servicemen died as prisoners of war during the Korean War. With this accounting, 8,022 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at or call 703-699-1420.

USS Essex Departs for Fall Patrol

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Matthew Ebarb, USS Essex (LHD 2) Public Affairs

USS ESSEX, At Sea (NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) departed Sasebo, Japan, Sept. 1 for a regularly scheduled deployment in the Western Pacific.

The annual patrol will feature a series of bilateral maritime training exercises designed to build relationships and enhance operational readiness between U.S. and Asian-Pacific partner nations.

"We had a very busy, but highly successful in-port period this summer," said Capt. Troy L. Hart, Essex's commanding officer. "We accomplished a great deal, completing several major inspections including the supply management certification, INSURV (Board of Inspection and Survey) material inspection and the aviation maintenance inspection, as well as completing hundreds of essential schools and classes during our three-week training availability in Yokosuka. Now it's time to get back underway and for Essex and her well-trained crew, to lead the Essex ARG (Amphibious Ready Group) during what I am sure will be an interesting and highly productive fall patrol."

During the deployment, the Essex ARG and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will participate in numerous bilateral military exercises, including Valiant Shield 2010, Amphibious Landing Exercise 2010, Korean Inter-operability Training Program 2010 and Keen Sword 2010.

"Training and exercising with our allies and partner nations hones our skills and allows us to build upon the cooperative relationships between our governments and military forces so that we are always ready to respond to any tasking," said Hart.

In addition to the exercises, several port visits will provide Sailors and Marines the chance for rest and relaxation, as well as time to lend a helping hand to local communities through acts of goodwill in the region.

"It's a good opportunity for us to interact with the community and enhance, or maintain, those relationships," said Lt. Jason Dart, Essex's staff chaplain. "It allows us to demonstrate that we are good ambassadors for the United States and the Navy. Getting involved in something greater than yourself strengthens the spiritual side and broadens your horizons and world view, helping to round out the Sailor."

As the first deployment following a busy in-port period, the patrol will provide the first true taste of underway life for many of the ship's newest Sailors.

"I'm anxious to see things like an actual flight operations and what it's like to be out on the flight deck with aircraft on deck," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) Airman Samantha Starcher, from Elwood, Ind. "You get here and you hear about it, so I can't wait to see what the hype is all about. I'm also looking forward to our port visits."

Essex ARG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 11, Essex, amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49).

The Essex ARG also consists of more than 1,400 Marines from the 31st MEU, as well as Sailors assigned to Fleet Surgical Team 7. This group reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.

Odierno Earns Praise for Getting Results in Iraq

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq, Sept. 1, 2010 – Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno put it very simply today, as he finished his address at the change of command ceremony for U.S. Forces Iraq.

“Lion 6 – Out,” Odierno said, meaning that the commander had finished using his call sign and was heading for his new assignment at U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va. The ceremony was held here at the al Faw Palace – an ornate edifice built near the Baghdad airport by Saddam Hussein to commemorate the victory over Iran in 1988.

Odierno handed the reins of the command to Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III. Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey and Iraqi security leaders attended the ceremony. U.S. Marine Corps. Gen. James Mattis, U.S. Central Command Chief, presided as Odierno passed the command flag to Austin.

The change in command coincided with a change in mission for USFI. “The United States has ended its combat mission in Iraq,” Biden said before the ceremony. “Iraqi troops are taking lead responsibility for their country’s security.”

The United States kept its promise to draw down troops and end Operation Iraqi Freedom and put in place Operation New Dawn, the vice president said. It means that the 50,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq are involved solely in training and mentoring Iraqi units. There is a residual counterinsurgency mission, but even that is Iraqi-led.

The mission here, though, remains important to the United States and to the region, Gates said.

Gates took the opportunity to focus on the troops still in Iraq that will serve in an advise and assist role for Iraqi security forces. “Even as the weight of our military efforts and public attention has shifted to Afghanistan, you should know your work here going forward is critical to the future of this part of the world, and to the national security of our country,” the secretary said. “You have my gratitude and respect for your service and sacrifice, and for the service and sacrifice of your families.”

Gates praised Odierno for his leadership in Iraq. During Odierno’s tenure, the command shifted from Multinational Forces Iraq to U.S. Forces Iraq. Odierno shifted American forces out of the cities and sculpted the advise and assist mission that all six U.S. brigades in country now have. And he did all this while redeploying 74,000 servicemembers back to the United States.

Odierno received his new job after only a seven-month break after serving as the corps commander in Baghdad. “He leaves as one of the few U.S. Army generals in history to command a division, corps and entire theater in the same conflict,” Gates said. “After commanding the 4th Infantry Division in the area around Saddam Hussein’s hometown during the first year of the campaign, General Odierno would later take charge of the Multinational Corps during the darkest days of the war.”

The general crafted the tactics American forces and their allies used to fight a counterinsurgency campaign. “As any student of military history knows, any strategy is only as effective as its execution, and without Ray’s ability to turn plans into results on the ground, we would be facing a far grimmer situation outside these walls today,” Gates said.

Odierno returned to command all forces in Iraq. His mission was to build on the hard-fought gains of the surge, keep the proverbial boot on the neck of al-Qaida in Iraq and expand the capacity and capabilities of Iraq’s army and police.

“The dedication of General Odierno, the sacrifices of the troops under his command, and the efforts of our interagency and Iraqi partners made it possible to be where we are today – with a dramatically reduced troop presence and a new mission,” the secretary said.

Gates said the command is fortunate to get Austin as the new commander. The general most recently served as the director of the Joint Staff. Before that he was the corps commander in Iraq and served with the 3rd Infantry Division in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“Lloyd Austin – like Ray Odierno – has always led by example, asking nothing of his troops that he would not do himself,” Gates said. “He has the unique distinction of being awarded the Silver Star for valour as a general officer, leading from the front during the 3rd Infantry Division’s march to Baghdad more than seven years ago.

“I know he will use his extraordinary talents and experience to build on the success that has been achieved in Iraq, success bought with the blood and sweat of all who have served here,” the secretary continued.

Odierno reflected on Iraqi and American accomplishments in the country. “This period in Iraq’s history will probably be remembered for sacrifice, resiliency and change,” he said. “But I will remember it as a time when the Iraqi people stood up against tyranny, terrorism, extremism and decided to determine their own destiny as a people and as a democratic state.”

The Iraqis, Odierno said, had the help of an incredibly dedicated group of American military personnel and civilians.

“I never lost faith in the adaptability, courage and mental toughness of our servicemembers and civilians to get the job done,” he said. “If there is one lesson I’ve taken from our involvement here it is the sheer magnitude of what we are capable of when we trusted ourselves and focused on our commitment and worked side-by-side, arm-in-arm with our Iraqi partners.”

Odierno urged Iraqi politicians to move quickly to form a representative government based on the results of the March 7 elections.

“A peaceful transition of power following the peaceful and credible elections,” he said, “is the strongest possible response to al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations.”

The Iraqi people have sent a message to their leaders, Odierno said. “I urge all the political blocs to respond by forming a government that is representative of (the peoples’) will,” the general said. “It is time for Iraq to move forward.”

Austin pledged to continue cooperation with the Iraqi security forces, even as the functions of his command transfer to civilian control. Operation New Dawn is an enduring commitment to a new relationship with the Iraqi people, he said.

“It will require a comprehensive and coherent approach by all U.S. government entities, international organizations and the Iraqi government,” Austin said. “The result of that teamwork will be a stable, secure and self-reliant Iraq that benefits the entire region.”

The region will benefit from a stable Iraq, Austin said, noting that Iraq can be a democratic cornerstone of progress in a troubled area. He thanked servicemembers, their civilian compatriots and the Iraqi government for forging new, peaceful relationships with its neighbors.

“Although challenges remain, we will face these challenges together,” Austin said. “Iraq still faces a hostile enemy that is determined to end her progress, and Iraq’s enemies will continue to try to pursue their objectives.

“But make no mistake: our military forces here and those of the Iraqi nation remain committed to insuring that our friends in Iraq will succeed,” he continued. “And we will demonstrate our commitment through a continued partnership, and we will help the Iraqis develop their capability to provide for their own national defense by advising and assisting, training and equipping the security forces.”

Enterprise Sailors Volunteer to Save Lives

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael L. Croft

USS ENTERPRISE, At sea (NNS) -- A lifesaving medical program is in full effect aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), which is at sea conducting work-ups and flight operations, Aug. 31.

The walking blood bank program provides Sailors an opportunity to save a shipmate's life in the event of a mass casualty or during medical emergencies when a blood transfusion becomes necessary.

Throughout the year, Sailors are encouraged to volunteer for the program. Before volunteers are accepted to take part, they are screened for a number of disqualifying factors, including blood-borne illnesses. Once they have passed the screening, they're on-call and ready to assist if necessary.

"This program is extremely important," said Lt. Cmdr. Sondra M. Santana, the ship's nurse and walking blood bank coordinator. "If a patient is in dire need for blood and we don't have enough on the ship, we can pick a donor right out of our database."

When Enterprise deploys, its Medical department will keep 10 units of blood on hand for emergencies. When those units are exhausted the blood of the Sailors in the walking blood bank will be the only blood available.

During a mass causality event one patient or accident victim can use up to 50 units of blood during lifesaving treatment. Without the walking blood bank, that patient may die.

Medical doesn't keep a mass quantity of blood on standby because of the relatively short shelf life of blood kept in refrigeration.

"Keeping a lot of blood just isn't practical," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AW) Sarah J. Coleman, Medical department's leading lab technician. "Blood can only be kept for 60 days. After that it is swapped out for new blood. If we didn't use it, it is wasted.

With the shortage of blood we wouldn't want to waste any more than we have to."

More than 400 Sailors of all different blood types make up Enterprise's walking blood bank.

"The Sailors who raise their hand and say 'I am willing to donate when blood is needed are wonderful people," said Santana. "I don't think people realize how important giving blood really is. They are saving their shipmates' lives."

USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is conducting work-ups and flight deck operations in preparation for its upcoming deployment.

Enterprise Sailors Watch President's Speech, Mindful of Navy IA Obligations

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeffry A. Willadsen, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) watched intently Aug. 31 as President Barack Obama announced the end of America's combat role in Iraq in a televised speech from the Oval Office.

The crew regularly contributes Sailors to fill Individual Aumentee (IA) assignments, including in Iraq.

Historically, Enterprise has more than 40 Sailors deployed on IA duty, around the world, at any given time. IAs are Sailors assigned for up to one year in theater in support of combat operations around the world.

While many IAs are in direct combat, others perform supporting roles that still play a large part in Iraq's future. Obama announced that fewer than 50,000 service members will remain in Iraq until the end of 2011 advising and assisting Iraqi forces.

"The ship itself doesn't have direct control over the number of IAs it sends overseas," said Lt. John L. Alums, the ship's IA program coordinator. "Our goal is to ensure that our Sailors are trained and ready for any mission they are called on to perform, whether in a combat or supporting role."

In a nationwide announcement on Iraqi TV Aug. 31, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was optimistic about the changing environment in his country.

"If these security achievements were not real, we would not have been able to move to executing the bigger and more important step, which is the withdrawal of American forces that is happening today," said Maliki.

"This withdrawal would not have happened without the sacrifices of all the Iraqi people and the heroics of the army, police and security forces and the tribesmen who supported them."

"It's reasonable to assume that our deployment of IA Sailors will shift away from Iraq as the demand decreases," said Alums. "In addition to our ship's deployment, our IA Sailors must be ready to deploy anytime and anywhere in response to national tasking."

Obama's speech comes at the end of a day focused on the military. He spent the morning before his speech in Texas, where he met with service members at Fort Bliss, thanking them for their service.

"Today marks a change in our mission. It marks a milestone that we have achieved in removing our combat troops," Obama said during his primetime address. "Our combat mission in Iraq has ended, but our commitment to Iraq's future has not."

The combat mission in Iraq formally ended at 5 p.m. EDT, just three hours before the president's speech. As of Aug. 25, there were more than ten thousand Navy IAs, roughly half of whom are mobilized Reserves, deployed on the ground around the world in support of overseas contingency operations.

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