Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Courage and Sacrifice – A Historical Novel

On October 14, 2010, Conversations with Heroes at the Watering Hole will feature a discussion with former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and novelist Gerald Gillis.
Program Date: October 14, 2010
Program Time: 1700 hours, Pacific
Topic: Courage and Sacrifice – A Historical Novel
Listen Live:
About the Guest
Gerald Gillis, USMC, is “a native of Atlanta, GA, married and the father of three grown children. He is a graduate of the Univ. of Tampa (MBA) and the Univ. of Georgia (BBA). After college, he served for three years as an artillery officer in the Marine Corps, with duty stations in the U.S. and Okinawa/mainland Japan. He then worked as an executive in the medical-devices industry where he later traveled extensively, both foreign and domestic. He became a full-time novelist in 2009. Shall Never See So Much is my second novel. His first novel was published twenty-five years ago, and did reasonably well, but he decided that his business career would better accommodate educating my kids and paying the mortgage than a career as a neophyte novelist. Hence, his writing career has resumed after a bit of a hiatus. Gerald Gillis is a member of the American Legion and several Marine Corps-related associations. Gerald Gillis is the author of Shall Never See So Much.

According to the description of Shall Never See So Much (released in March, 2010), it “is an historical novel about a brother and sister in the year 1968. The brother is a Marine officer serving in Vietnam at the time of the Tet offensive, and the sister works on the campaign of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy as RFK makes his ill-fated bid for the presidency. It is a story about courage and sacrifice, and the affects of those times on what could be considered a typical American family. It is not so much a war novel as it is about a time in history when the nation was at war, sometimes even with itself. It was recently awarded a Readers Favorite award for its historical fiction category.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:

Listen in Archive
Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

Gates, Serdyukov Renew U.S.-Russia Military Ties

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2010 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Russian Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov opened the door to military-to-military relations between their countries that have been mostly closed for the past two years, Pentagon officials said today.

Gates hosted five hours of meetings with Serdyukov today, followed by a private riverboat dinner marking Serdyukov’s first visit to the United States and the first time a Russian defense minister has visited the Pentagon since 2005, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said.

Gates last visited Russia in March 2008, but U.S.-Russian relations cooled later that year after Russia invaded neighboring Georgia. Today’s meetings went a long way to re-establish military ties, according to a senior Pentagon official who took part in today’s meetings and spoke on background.

Today’s biggest advance was “the renewal of dialogue,” the official said.

“It sounds procedural, but this is something that has been missing in the last few years,” he said. “These are important confidence-building steps to overcoming a legacy of suspicion and mistrust that has not been eliminated between our defense establishments& ldquo;

Gates hopes today’s visit will establish “a rhythm of consultations,” the official said.

The leaders signed a memo outlining the U.S.-Russia military relationship that places defense cooperation as a cornerstone of broader relations, and notes shared threats and similar challenges.

They also signed an agreement creating a defense relations working group that is to resolve issues in armed forces reform and transformation, defense policy priorities and national security, transparency and confidence-building, and regional and global security.

Gates said at the signing that he and Serdyukov will meet at least once a year and that the two nations will have more frequent exchanges among military officials.

“It’s been a pleasure to meet with Mr. Serdyukov, in part because he and I face similar defense challenges,” Gates said after the signing. “We’re both working hard to provide sweeping, sometimes painful, but very necessary reforms in our military.

“Today we begin what I believe will develop into more frequent communication between each other and our staffs, and I look forward to our continued work together,” the secretary continued. “I wish him all success, and I’m hopeful we can learn from each other.”

Serdyukov said the two “had very profound and detailed discussions,” with each offering various proposals.

“I hope we will continue our efforts,” he said. “I hope my visit to the United States will provide a powerful impetus for relations between Russia and the United States. I conclude that our dialogue was very fruitful and constructive.”

The two discussed a range of issues including defense reforms, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, regional and global security, operations in Afghanistan, as well as the northern supply route through Russia and other countries the United States and NATO use as a main supply route into the combat theater, officials said.

Among other things, the leaders agreed to resume bilateral military exercises and a troop exchange that will start with three Russian soldiers attending a U.S. Army noncommissioned officer school in Germany, they said.

The meetings were important not only to build on relations between the senior defense leaders, but also among their civilian staffs and military members, Morrell said. “That’s why you dedicate the amount of time they did today, because it sends a signal down the chain of their organizations,” he said.

Gates, a scholar of Russian history and the Cold War, invited Serdyukov to the Pentagon last year because he felt a “kindred spirit” with his counterpart, who was struggling with similar, albeit greater, challenges to restructure his country’s defense department under shrinking budgets, the Pentagon official said.

Russia has a one-to-one ratio of military officers to enlisted members, and plans to cut some 200,000 officer positions, Morrell said. Serdyukov plans to tour Fort Belvoir, Va., tomorrow to learn more about the U.S. realignment and closure process for excess military bases, and will tour Belvoir’s privately owned billets, as well as the commissary and other “quality of life” areas, he said. Serdyukov also will tour the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

In a discussion of Serdyukov’s actions so far, Morrell said, Gates told his counterpart that the scale of his efforts is very impressive, as is the progress he has made.

Fleet Activities Chinhae Scores With New Sports Complex

By Ron Inman, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East Public Affairs

CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- Sailors and their families at Commander Fleet Activities Chinhae (CFAC), Korea can now serve aces, spike heat and score ringers to their hearts' content with the opening of a state-of-the-art sports complex Sept. 9.

The facility also includes lighted tennis and sand volleyball courts and a horseshoe pit.

The complex took a year to build, and was the result of a collective effort by Naval Mobile Construction Battalions (NMCB) 40, 1, and 11, from June 2009 to July 2010.

Each battalion worked on different aspects of the project, including the installation of a chain link fence, a cushioned tennis court surface application, and painting.

"It's always a rewarding experience for both the crew and leadership when a project is finished," said Lt. j.g. Derek Boogaart, NMCB 11 detail Chinhae officer in charge. "It's not very often that a Seabee gets to see what the project they built is used for, much less use it themselves. It gives every Seabee the feeling that they made a difference and makes all the hard work they contributed, worth it."

Lt. Brent Uyehara, CFAC Public Works Department public works officer, said in addition to the obvious benefits to the CFAC community, the project has been a good opportunity for the Seabees of Detail Chinhae to hone their skills.

"In general, Seabees deploy on detachments like this to develop their critical construction skills that they can use during contingency operations," Uyehara said. "In this case, they did a lot of earth work involving Seabee heavy equipment operations requiring excavators, bulldozers and rollers - all good training for Equipment Operators, Construction Mechanics and Engineering Aides for surveying and laying elevations and site layouts. They also did some cast-in-place, reinforced concrete work as well as run plumbing and electrical utilities, which is good experience for Builders, Steel Workers, Utilities Workers and Construction Electricians.

These skills related to Seabees' specific job specialties are known as "in-rate" skills. Uyehara explained that the project consisted of displacing several hundred cubic meters of earth from a fairly steep sloped hillside to form a terrace.

Seabees then built retaining walls using special formwork lined with rock-wall pattern inlays to leave a decorative textured finish. Once the walls were placed, Seabees formed and placed the concrete sidewalk which runs around the perimeter of the adjacent tennis and sand volleyball courts.

The finished project included an energy-efficient lighting system that provides ample light for patrons using the courts at night.

Navy to Conduct Emergent Repairs to Cyclone-class Coastal Patrol Ships

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Inspections of Cyclone-class patrol coastal (PC) vessels homeported in Bahrain and Norfolk have revealed significant structural damage.

As a result of the damage found during these inspections, the Navy has decided to cease operations of the vessels in the Persian Gulf until they can be permanently repaired and restored to designed capability throughout the next couple of months.

All five ships in the 5th Fleet Area of Operations (PCs 5, 6, 9, 10, 11) have been inspected. All vessels have experienced frame buckling and damage to the hull. Corrosion is also evident.

Detailed inspections of the PCs based in Norfolk (PCs 2, 3, 4, 7, 12) are currently ongoing and are expected to be completed soon. A plan to expeditiously complete any necessary repairs on those vessels will be developed based on the results of the completed inspections. Those vessels remaining in operation during the inspections will be used to maintain crew proficiency and will be subject to sea state and speed restrictions until repairs are completed.

The Navy is also coordinating with the U.S. Coast Guard to begin inspections this week on the three vessels (PCs 8, 13, 14) currently on loan from the Navy. The Navy is also working with the government of the Republic of the Philippines to share technical data and enable inspection of the vessel transferred to that country in 2004.

The PCs have lightweight structure designed for high performance and a service life of 15 years. With the exception of PC 14, they are all at or beyond their service life. The condition of the hull structure is the cumulative result of a full service life of operation including the effects of corrosion and severe operating conditions. It is not generally possible to identify one event or single root cause of the damage.

The primary mission of these ships is coastal patrol, interdiction and surveillance, an important aspect of littoral operations outlined in the Navy's strategy.

The Cyclone-class PCs are particularly suited for maritime security missions and have been employed jointly with the U.S. Coast Guard to help protect our nation's coastline, ports and waterways from terrorist attack. The ships are also forward deployed to the Gulf region in support of 5th Fleet operations.

Pentagon’s POW/MIA Corridor Dedicated

Michele Flournoy, under secretary of defense for policy, dedicated a new Pentagon display today honoring POWs and MIAs from all conflicts.

The corridor, located on the 3rd floor, has been added to the Pentagon’s public tour route where thousands of visitors and more than 23,000 Pentagon employees may view it.

In her dedication remarks, Flournoy noted that the displays in the corridor send many messages, and urged visitors and employees to pause and learn more about POW/MIA history, and of those Americans who are still missing from all conflicts.

 America is among a handful of nations committed to finding and bringing home those lost on former battlefields or isolated burial sites,” she said.  “There is no question that the lessons of past conflicts have helped us improve our ability to recover personnel who become isolated or missing in today’s conflicts - and I hope this provides some small comfort to those of you who lost family members in past wars.”

The ceremony was attended by invited guests including veterans, families of the missing, and former POWs.  In addition to panels depicting many aspects of the American POW/MIA experience, display cases include artifacts obtained during excavations for wartime remains, as well as POW memorabilia, and examples of grass roots efforts by MIA families to draw national attention to the issue.

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.

Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, September 16, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates hosts an honor cordon to welcome French Minister of Defense Herve Morin to the Pentagon at noon EDT.  The cordon will be held on the steps of the Pentagon River Entrance.  Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Please call 703-697-5131 for escort to the cordon.

Secretary Gates and French Minister of Defense Morin will conduct a press briefing at 1:15 p.m. EDT in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973). Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn is traveling.

Assistant Secretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Wallace C. Gregson and Commander, U.N. Command; Commander, Republic of Korea  U.S. Combined Forces Command; and Commander, U.S. Forces Korea Army Gen. Walter L. Sharp testify at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the current security situation on the Korean Peninsula at 9:30 a.m. EDT in room SD-106, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Director, Defense Contract Audit Agency Patrick Fitzgerald; Director, Defense Contract Management Agency Charlie Williams Jr.; Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition Logistics and Technology) Lt. Gen. William N. Phillips; Military Deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford and Army Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp testify at a hearing of the Commission on Wartime Contracting on the contingency acquisition workforce at 9:30 a.m. EDT in room G-50, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

A National Capital Region Flyover of the Pentagon with a Joint Service Aerial Review occurs at 11:30 a.m. EDT with two Air Force F-15E’s, one Navy F/A-18, one Marine F/A-18 and four Army UH-60’s.

A National Capital Region Flyover of Arlington National Cemetery occurs at 1:05 p.m. EDT with four FA 18’s.

SECNAV Announces His Safety Excellence Recipients for 2010

From Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Safety

WASHINGTON DC (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus has announced his Safety Excellence Awards recipients for 2010. The 21 winners are:

Ashore, Industrial, Category A: Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach
Ashore, Industrial, Category B: Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow (Tie)
Ashore, Industrial, Category B: Southwest Regional Maintenance Center (Tie)
Ashore, Industrial, Category C: Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic
Ashore, Non-Industrial, Category A: Naval Base Coronado
Ashore, Non-Industrial, Category B: Naval Base San Diego
Ashore, Non-Industrial, Category C: Naval Station Norfolk
Fleet Operational/Fleet Support: 2D Marine Aircraft Wing
Afloat, Large Deck Combatant: USS Nassau (LHA 4)
Afloat, Surface Combatant: USS Preble (DDG 88)
Afloat, Amphibious: USS Dubuque (LPD 8)
Afloat, Littoral Warfare: MCM Crew Constant
Afloat, Submarine: USS Nevada (SSBN 733)
Afloat, Auxiliary: USS Frank Cable (AS 40)
Aviation, Navy Active Duty: Strike Fighter Squadron 14 (VFA-14)
Aviation, Marine Corps Active Duty: Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362 (HMH-362)
Aviation, Navy Reserve: Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light SIX ZERO (HSL-60)
Aviation, Marine Corps Reserve: Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 772 (HMH-772)
Aviation, Training: Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7)
Emerging Center of Excellence: Weapon System Explosives Safety Review Board, Naval Sea Systems Command
Safety Integration in Acquisition: Ship To Shore Connector, Amphibious Warfare Program (PMS377)/Naval Sea Systems Command

Mabus congratulated the recipients in his ALNAV released DTG 081427Z SEP 10.

"What you have accomplished in the last year is proof-positive of your 'mission first, safety always' command culture and your commitment to each other, safety excellence, the nation, and the advent of the Department of the Navy as a world class safety organization," Mabus said.

The recipients will receive a plaque, citation and the SECNAV's Safety Excellence flag at a ceremony that will be held Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center, Washington, D.C.

The chief of naval operations and commandant, Marine Corps have been invited to personally thank the winners for their part in making safety integral to the Department of the Navy's culture. Navy and Marine Corps members and their families are invited to attend.

Recipients have the right to fly the SECNAV Safety Excellence flag for one year.

The Safety Excellence Awards were established in 2002 by Gordon R. England, who twice served as SECNAV. It is the Department of the Navy's premier tribute to commands and programs that promote the safety of our Sailors, Marines and civilians, and protect our aircraft, ships and facilities from mishap.

SECDEF Announces Flag Officer Nominations

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced Sept. 14 that the president has made the following nomination:

Rear Adm. Cecil E. Haney was nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and assignment as deputy commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Haney is currently serving as director, Submarine Warfare Division, N87, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

NAVFAC Renovates Schools For Ukrainian Children

From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- More than 1,300 children began their new school year Sept. 1 in Sevastopol, Ukraine, at two schools renovated by personnel from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Europe Africa Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA).

NAVFAC EURAFSWA provided construction oversight for these projects, which are part of the U.S. European Command's (EUCOM) Humanitarian Assistance Program in support of theater security cooperation and building partnership capacity within Ukraine.

Capt. Jeff Borowy, NAVFAC EURAFSWA's commanding officer, is proud to have his team involved in humanitarian projects.

"There's much more to NAVFAC than just building or improving facilities," said Borowy. "When we help improve a school, we're helping to create an improved learning environment for the children. There is a lot of satisfaction in having a hand in EUCOM's humanitarian outreach."

Renovation at Sevastopol's largest school, number 49, began in February 2010, and renovations included new wiring, plumbing, painting, new doors and windows and improvements to classrooms, bathrooms, gym and locker rooms and a large school auditorium.

Renovation at Sevastopol's school number 57 began in May 2010. More than 200 new windows were installed, as well as a new entrance and doors to the gym, and the water piping was replaced.

Work was performed at school number 49 by local contractor Alliance Company and by UkrBusinessTrade at school number 57.

NAVFAC EURAFSWA executes more than $650 million a year in construction, professional engineering and facilities services for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and NATO commands in those countries throughout Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia where the Navy is the DoD lead agent for Military Construction.

NAVFAC manages the planning, design, construction, contingency engineering, real estate, environmental, and public works support for U.S. Navy shore facilities around the world. They provide the Navy's forces with the operating, expeditionary, support and training bases they need. NAVFAC is a global organization with an annual volume of business in excess of $18 billion. As a major Navy Systems Command and an integral member of the Navy and Marine Corps team, NAVFAC delivers timely and effective facilities engineering solutions worldwide.

NOSC Quincy Hosts Pre-Deployment Family Readiness Conference

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matt Snodgrass, Commander, Navy Region Northeast Public Affairs

QUINCY, Mass. (NNS) -- Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Quincy hosted its annual Pre-Deployment Family Readiness Conference (PDFRC) for Sailors and families of the Region Mid-Atlantic Reserve Component Command Sept. 12.

During the conference Sailors and their families were informed about support services offered to assist them before, during, and after a deployment.

"Navy Reservists have information provided to them on services and support available while in a drilling or activated status, and those resources are not only available through Navy sources but through Air Force, Army, Marine and even Coast Guard service providers, " said Cmdr. Scott Graham, NOSC Quincy commanding officer. "They also have access to local resources funded by state, municipal, non-profit or private resource and service providers to meet their needs on a day-to-day basis while activated."

The deployment process can be challenging for service members and families, alike. The PDFRC focused on legal and financial counseling, as well as emotional health and welfare.

"This is the one time of year the NOSC provides information for our deploying Sailors all in one place at one time," said Capt. Mary Jo Majors, Nurse Corps, Navy Reserve.

"We have the JAG and other legal counselors here to provide wills and other necessities," said Majors. "Military One Source is providing financial counselors while Navy medical, Fleet and Family Support Center and other organizations are providing mental well-being information."

Many military families attending the conference left their youngsters with the family activities coordinators at the NOSC gym. Local Sea Cadets and NROTC midshipmen were on hand to help provide entertainment for the children of the service members in attendance.

The children participated in activities such as painting, reading, coloring and making personalized buttons.

"We provided a place for the kids to have a good time while their parents got their affairs in order for deployment," said Majors.

The Navy Reserve and the Joint Family Support Center provided funding for the event.

"The Department of Navy provides yellow ribbon event funding for each NOSC to conduct Pre-Deployment Family Readiness Conferences annually to ensure Navy Reservists are aware of resources available to them for assistance while mobilized," said Graham.

These events provide assistance to more than 400 Reservists in 13 Reserve units affiliated with NOSC Quincy. NOSC Quincy's fiscal year 2011 Pre-Deployment Family Readiness Conference will be held during the April 2011 drill weekend.

Marine Corps Leaders, Education Officials Present Scholarships

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jacob D. Osborne
Defense Media Activity – Marine Corps

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2010 – Marine Corps and education leaders presented scholarships to 25 sons and daughters of Marines killed or wounded in combat during the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s 2010 announcement reception here yesterday.

Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Gen. James F. Amos and Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent took part in presenting the scholarships at the Library of Congress’ Great Hall.

“This scholarship has made it possible for me to only take one small student loan, which is amazing,” said Dalton M. Berrie, recipient of the 5th Marine Division Scholarship and a student at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Berrie, who will be studying to obtain a doctorate and to conduct tissue engineering research, said he went to the foundation in memory of his grandfather, Maj. Kendal B. Prettyman, who served on Iwo Jima.

This year, the foundation provided 1,423 scholarships worth $4.25 million, said Margaret B. Davis, president and CEO of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Since 1962, the foundation has provided more than 25,000 scholarships worth more than $60 million.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. Robert Magnus, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors, said the reception recognized the scholarship recipients “as they embark on their own journey, discovering and learning.”

“There is no finer thing that we can do for them but to take care of their children,” he added.

Alyssa Blazer, an Oklahoma City Community College student and Heroes Tribute Scholarship recipient, lost her father, Staff Sgt. Melvin L. Blazer, while he was serving in Fallujah, Iraq, on Dec. 12, 2004. “Although the circumstances aren’t the best,” she said, “it lets me know I’m taken care of.” She said she is aiming to work for NASA as a microbiologist.

“Access to higher education is the main priority of this foundation,” said Scott D. Pearson of the Education Department’s office of innovation and improvement. “The foundation wants to ensure every military child gets an education.”

Joint Forces Must Maintain Balance, Admiral Says

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., Sept. 15, 2010 – The success of joint forces depends on their ability to balance competing interests – from preparing for strategic risks to air, land, sea and cyber power, to the work-life balance of servicemembers, the director of the Joint Staff said here today.

“In joint doctrine, balance permeates everything,” Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney said in a keynote speech to the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference 2010 here.

“We need to have the right mix of training, personnel, and equipment,” Gortney said.

Flexibility is key, the admiral added, because history has shown it’s impossible to pinpoint military needs of the future. That’s especially true today, he said, due to evolving threats in cyber warfare and from quickly emerging militaries in places such as China.

“If history has taught us anything, it’s that the next war will bear little resemblance to the past,” Gortney said. “There is no doubt that 15 years from now, we’ll talk about how we got it wrong in 2010.”

The focus on land forces in today’s wars could turn to air and sea power for the next conflicts, Gortney said. Concepts for joint air-sea battles are a natural transition for the future, he said.

The Air Force has a proud history of innovation and hardware expertise that it must continue so it can “be ready to respond to needs not even imagined,” he said.

Coordination also is critical to joint forces, as is relationship-building, said Gortney, who commanded U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, the U.S. 5th Fleet and the 26-nation Combined Maritime Forces in the Arabian Gulf. But, he added, “relationships are not built overnight, and they’re not built through e-mails and tweets.”

Gortney said tough decisions will have to be made while defense budgets flatline for the foreseeable future.

“The downward pressure on the defense budget is real,” he said. “We’re in a position of having more missions than stuff, so low priority missions are going to suffer. We have to figure out the right balance and figure out where to take risks.”

The most important area to strike a balance is not in equipment or training, Gortney said, but in the lifestyles of servicemembers. And in a compliment to the audience, he said the Air Force leads the services in allowing work-life balance.

“The Air Force, hands down, does a better job of it than any service,” he said. “It’s why I live at Bolling Air Force Base.”

General Officer Announcement

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has nominated Army Gen. Carter F. Ham for re-appointment to the grade of general and assignment as commander, U.S. Africa Command.  Ham is currently serving as the commanding general, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany.

Obama Reaches Out to Veterans: 'You Earned It'

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2010 – President Barack Obama wants to make sure veterans and current servicemembers who were involuntarily retained in the military under the so-called “Stop Loss” program get the retroactive pay they deserve.

“You served with honor. You did your duty. And when your country called on you again, you did your duty again. Now, it's time to collect the special pay that you deserve,” President Barack Obama said in a public service announcement released by the White House today.

Military members whose service was involuntarily extended or whose retirement was suspended between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, are entitled to a retroactive payment of $500 for each month of extension. While by law, service members who received a bonus for voluntarily reenlisting or extending their service are not eligible, it is strongly recommended that all who may be eligible submit an application before the deadline, according to Defense Department officials. The application deadline is Oct. 21. Information on the special pay and links to the application are available at

About 58,000 of 145,000 eligible claims have been paid, and $219 million has been disbursed of the $534 million appropriated, Defense Department officials said.

While tens of thousands of veterans already have received retroactive pay averaging nearly $4,000 each, the president said many others may be reluctant to apply.

“I know there's been some confusion and skepticism out there,” he said. “Some veterans think this is some sort of gimmick or scam, or that it's a way for the government to call you back to service. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“As your commander in chief,” Obama continued, “I'm here to tell you that this is no gimmick or trick. You worked hard. You earned this money. It doesn't matter whether you were active or reserve, whether you're a veteran who experienced ‘Stop Loss’ or the survivor of a servicemember who did - if your service was extended, you're eligible.”

The military services are promoting the retroactive pay through direct mail, veteran and service organizations, websites, phone lines, print and broadcast media. The president’s message underscores the effort to spread the word.

“Share this video among your fellow veterans,” the president urged. “Help us get our ‘Stop Loss’ veterans the pay to which they're entitled. Help us make sure that America is serving our veterans and your families as well as you've served us.”

Re-enactment Honors Inchon Landing’s 60th Anniversary

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 15, 2010 – Inchon, South Korea, took on a movie-set quality today as U.S. Marines and their South Korean and U.N. counterparts re-enacted the massive amphibious landing 60 years ago that ultimately turned the tide in the Korean War.

About 2,500 Korean War veterans, dignitaries and local residents looked on as explosions erupted from the water, “fired” by the USS Dennis, four South Korean and one Australian ship in the waters off Wolmi Island.

Amphibious landing craft buzzed the shoreline, helicopters and fighter jets roared overhead, paratroopers dropped from the sky and 167 U.S. Marines from Twentynine Palms, Calif., scaled the seawall and stormed the beach.

Just as the action appeared to come to a close, Marine Corps Capt. Michael Borneo thrilled the crowd as he marched across the beach amid a flurry of confetti, costumed as Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, with fellow Marines depicting his key officers in tow.

They demonstrated what Army Gen. Walter L. “Skip” Sharp, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, called “one of the boldest operations conducted in U.S. military history”

“This history-making operation not only helped to turn the tide of the war, but it highlighted the kind of cooperation between our services and between the nations that continue to help keep the Republic of Korea free today,” Sharp told Korean War veterans attending the 60th anniversary commemoration.

Navy Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, praised the “undaunting courage” exhibited during the operation -- one that “had been dismissed as not doable” by many due to extreme tide shifts.

“It’s humbling,” Walsh said. “We are standing in the shadow of giants.”

MacArthur, who had pressed for the surprise attack to take place while the main North Korean fighting force had focused its effort on the southeast, finally overcame those challenging his plan, and “Operation Chromite” was launched Sept. 15, 1950.

U.S. and South Korean Marines, along with their counterparts from Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, launched the landing in three separate locations.

Lead elements of 10th Corps hit “Green Beach” on the north side of Wolmi Island. Its landing force consisted of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, and nine M26 Pershing tanks from the 1st Tank Battalion.

Meanwhile, Combat Team 5, which included 3rd Battalion South Korean Marines, scaled the seawalls along “Red Beach.” After overpowering the North Korean defenses, they opened the causeway that enabled tanks from Green Beach to enter the fight.

To the south, the 1st Marine Regiment arrived at “Blue Beach,” where they encountered little resistance because North Korean forces already had surrendered.

The successes in Inchon ultimately broke the North Korean army’s supply lines and paved the way to the liberation of Seoul in late September 1950.

South Korean Lt. j.g. Junsung Lee called the surprise nature of the attack a key in catching the North Koreans off-guard.

“The Inchon landing operation was crucial for us to take back the initiative,” he said. “It was a key event.”

William Cheek, a Marine corporal assigned to an anti-tank assault unit during the operation, recalled during today’s ceremonies the challenges he and his fellow Marines encountered. After overcoming 30-foot tides in Inchon Harbor, their amphibious landing vessel Amtrak got stalled in the sand, forcing Cheek to dash about 100 yards across the beach, dodging North Korean tank and infantry fire.

Ultimately, they fought their way to Seoul, supported every step of the way by South Korean civilian volunteers.

Standing beneath a giant Ferris wheel on the landing beach that’s blossomed as a popular tourist attraction, Cheek said he felt proud to see South Korea become “a modern economic miracle.”

“I’m glad some of us were able to help make that possible,” he said, “helping drive out the elements trying to enslave a great nation.”

Navy Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk, who assumed command of the U.S. 7th Fleet in Japan last week, said the Inchon landing provides a classic example of the Navy-Marine “blue-green team” concept. It also underscores the importance of amphibious landing capabilities that remain critical today, he added.

Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Alex Leibfried, led 167 members of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, who stormed the beach during today’s reenactment, and he said it felt good to get the opportunity to demonstrate those capabilities.

“It’s probably the No. 1 way we come ashore,” the 18-year veteran said. “It’s good seeing that the Marine Corps is finally getting back to its amphibious roots.”

Sharp to North Korea: Halt Provocations, Nuclear Program

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 15, 2010 – The top U.S. and U.N. commander here marked the 60th anniversary of a major Korean War amphibious operation by calling on North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and halt provocations against South Korea.

Army Gen. Walter L. “Skip” Sharp paid tribute to South Korean, U.S. and U.N. forces for their role 60 years ago today in the famed Inchon Landing, and pledged to ensure their sacrifices endure.

“We honor the past sacrifices of our fallen heroes and veterans by remembering and remaining prepared to deter future provocations and aggressions,” Sharp told about 2,500 Korean War veterans, government officials and local residents gathered along the Inchon shoreline.

Sharp noted North Korea’s sinking of the South Korean navy frigate Cheonan in March that left 46 sailors dead.

“As the recent North Korean attack on the Cheonan reminds us, we must always remain strong and vigilant to ensure that what you brave men and women and those who made the ultimate sacrifice fought for will be protected for the future generations,” he told the audience.

Earlier today, Sharp joined South Korean and U.N. military and political leaders in casting floral wreaths honoring those sacrifices from the bow of the South Korean amphibious landing ship Dokdo.

Sharp pledged that United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and the South Korean-U.S. alliance will “redouble our efforts to be prepared to deter and to defeat any type of provocation from North Korea.”

Sharp paid tribute to the Korean War veterans who repelled the North Korean attack 60 years ago, paving the way for South Korea to become a democracy and “one of the great economic successes of our time.”

“Fighting shoulder to shoulder, Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen from the Republic of Korea and the United Nations sending states stopped the North Korean attack and turned them back,” he said at a dinner the South Korean government hosted last night to honor veterans attending 60th anniversary commemorations.

“Tonight we commemorate one of the boldest operations conducted in U.S. military history: the Inchon Landing,” he said. “This history-making operation not only helped to turn the tide of the war, but it highlighted the kind of cooperation between our services and between the nations that continue to help keep the Republic of Korea free today.

“We are all honored to be in your presence here tonight,” he continued. “The real guests of honor tonight are those of you from the many nations who have returned to this land that you fought for 60 years ago. The sacrifices that you and your fallen comrades made are the real reason the people of the Republic of Korea enjoy the freedom that we all share today.”

Sharp also praised the “strong, dedicated, professional” South Korean military, and said he’s confident the South Korean-U.S. alliance “is prepared to defeat any future provocation.”

New commander takes charge of evolving brigade

By Sgt. 1st Class Jim Wagner
157th Brigade Public Affairs

A lifelong engineer is going back to his roots after assuming command of the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in a change of command ceremony Sunday in Milwaukee.

Col. Jeff Liethen of Dane, Wis., most recently the Wisconsin National Guard's director of installations management, replaces Col. Mark Michie of Harshaw, Wis., who has commanded the fledgling brigade since shortly after its inception in 2007, when the brigade transitioned from the 57th Field Artillery Brigade and 264th Engineer Group.

The brigade has come a long way in the ensuing three years, jumping from a concept on paper to a full-functioning brigade that has won the respect of Army trainers. Earlier this year, the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade conducted warfighter training for the first time at Fort Leonard Wood's Maneuver Support Center in Kansas.

"I wanted us to be the best M-E-B," Michie said during remarks at the ceremony, held on a sunny day with the flags of numerous guidons from engineer and field artillery units under the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. "We went to the warfighter and I was told we were the best M-E-B through so far."

The Maneuver Enhancement Brigade is a relatively new concept. Part of the Army's plan to transform units to best accommodate missions necessary in the 21st century, the multi-function brigade is designed to command and control an area of operations, wherever that might occur, providing a flexible combat force to support brigade combat teams and other combat units.

The 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade is made up of more than 2,100 Soldiers specializing in chemical detection and decontamination, forward support, military police, network support, field artillery and engineering.

The effort required to develop a multi-function brigade with a brand-new mission objective from elements of a field artillery brigade and engineering units is massive. It requires Soldiers - from the lower enlisted ranks to officers - to retrain in different career fields to meet new requirements.

"What a daunting mission," said Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, commander of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. "It's absolutely astounding, the amount accomplished in such a short time."

Anderson said he is confident the new commander will take the brigade to new heights in the coming months, as training shifts from individual to section-level training, which will culminate in a corps-level warfighter exercise next year.
Liethen has spent most of his career with engineer units: as commander of the 229th Engineer Company; 724th Engineer Battalion commander; 264th Engineer Group deputy commander; and operations officer and executive officer with the 173rd Engineer Battalion (Mechanized).

While deployed, he served as director for the engineering directorate's Joint Reconstruction Operations Center, U.S. Forces-Iraq, and deputy director of Multi-National Corps-Iraq Facilities, Basing and Environmental engineering directorate.

Most recently, Liethen was responsible for the planning, programming and execution of the state's construction, operations, maintenance, repair and environmental protection programs. As director, he was the principal advisor to the adjutant general on all real estate matters and capital investment projects.

Members of Differing Faiths Peacefully Coexist on Navy Aircraft Carrier

From USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group deployed Sept. 11, from San Diego with 7,000 Sailors, six ships, nine aircraft squadrons, nearly 75 aircraft, and more than 50 different religious affiliations.

With 40 different services held at sea each week, strike group Sailors have the opportunity to attend a service that best represents their preferred faith group. Although each worship service is designed around specific faith traditions and expressions, the chaplains on board provide pastoral care to all 7,000 Sailors in the Lincoln Strike Group, for all religious affiliations.

"We recognize our Constitutional obligation to accommodate the free exercise of religion for all members of the military and their families," said Cmdr. Thomas Webber, a Navy chaplain, and the strike group's command chaplain.

"As strike group commander in charge of thousands of Sailors, I've been going to all the different religious services to see how our folks are being tended to spiritually," said Rear Adm. Mark Guadagnini, the strike group's commander. "There are many different religious paths, beliefs and practices in this world and they exist, side-by-side, in peace, on board this floating city called the USS Abraham Lincoln."

The Navy chaplain corps lives by a code of ethics designed to ensure all faiths are represented and cared for spiritually. Lincoln's chaplains understand that as a chaplain for 7,000 Sailors they function in a pluralistic environment, including working with chaplains of other religions, to provide ministry to all military personnel and their families.

"We all have certain values in common," said Webber. "Wholesome family relationships, a desire to serve others, personal education and growth, mental clarity and peace of mind are things we have in common."

Navy chaplains can be ministers, pastors, priests, rabbis, imams or monks, but must be ordained and endorsed by their faith group to serve in the military's chaplain corps. Once this clergy member is approved by his or her faith, he or she then attends the Navy chaplain school for specialized training before reporting to their first duty station.

In addition to performing divine services, chaplains are the ethical, moral and religious advisers for the entire strike group, and in many respects counselors, teachers and mentors to all Sailors.

CGA takes aim at competitive shooting course

Written by: LTJG Stephanie Young
Post written by Petty Officer 1st Class NyxoLyno Cangemi

The sound of gunfire could be heard for miles, while each shot echoed through the rolling hills of Harrisville, R.I. On this brisk Saturday morning, teams of law enforcement officers, professionals and amateur shooters alike gathered to compete in the Walls of Steel shooting competition – a firearms course where shooters took aim at a series of steel plates of various shapes and sizes.

Among the teams to assemble this year was the Combat Arms Team from the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

Chief Warrant Officer Chad Barber is one of the firearms instructors at the academy and coaches the Combat Arms Team. He said, this type of competition provides future officers opportunities to further their skills.

“The Combat Arms Team is kind of unique in the fact that they’re a year-round sport,” Barber said. “It’s amazing because [the cadets’] training, knowledge and experience grows so rapidly that I use them as additional instructors in the spring for the corps of cadets who are getting ready to graduate and get their commission.”

While the Walls of Steel competition was open to anyone, Barber seized the opportunity to turn this public shooting competition into a competitive match between his own cadets. The prize? An open seat at a two-day competitive training course.

Coast Guard Academy cadets Daniel Kubasch and Barton Nanney volunteered to spend their Labor Day weekend at the Sig Sauer Academy’s Introduction to Competitive Three-Gun shooting course in Epping, N.H. With only one seat available to attend the course, the Walls of Steel competition provided an avenue to decide which of the two cadets would go.

“We asked for volunteers, and I thought this would be a good way to choose between the two cadets,” Barber said. “We’re rewarding competition with training.”

In all, the team shot six different courses, comprised of 20 to 30 steel targets in each course. Shooters were judged on several criteria, earning points for speed and accuracy and losing points for making mistakes such as loading too much ammo. In the end, deciding victory in the competition within the corps of cadets came down to the final shooting course.

When the final scores were tallied, Kubasch walked away with the privilege of representing the Coast Guard at the Sig Arms Academy.

“It was a tough shoot,” Kubasch said of the competition with Nanney. “He gave me a run for my money, but I pulled it out in the end.”

As the training officer for the weapons team, Kubasch plans to bring the skills, tactics and knowledge he gains during the training course back to the Coast Guard Academy.

“[The training] will definitely be beneficial for me and the team, and I’ll see where I can take it from there,” Kubasch said.