Monday, October 11, 2010

Senior Leadership Summit Held Aboard USS Makin Island

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Terry L. Feeney, USS Makin Island Public Affairs

SAN FRANCISCO (NNS) -- A Senior Leadership Summit (SLS) was held aboard USS Makin Island (LHD 8) Oct. 7.

The summit focused on federal response capabilities to local and state requirements in the event of a major natural disaster in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"We are honored to be a part of San Francisco Fleet Week and to host the first Senior Leadership Summit," said Capt. Cedric Pringle, USS Makin Island executive officer. "This summit builds on lessons learned from past natural disasters and encourages joint operations in support of response and recovery."

This was a first for any San Francisco Fleet Week and offered an opportunity for senior Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard leaders to interact with local, state and regional leaders, to focus on disaster preparedness and response.

In attendance for SLS was former Secretary of State George Schulz; Nancy Ward, FEMA regional administrator; and various officials from the San Francisco Fire and Police departments, along with medical and relief organizations. In addition to the sea services, the U.S. Army and Air Force were also represented.

"SLS is a great step to solidify participation between local responders, and the multiple capabilities that the military brings to the table," said Joanne Hayes-White, Chief of Department for the San Francisco Fire Department. "This is an opportunity to establish relationships well before a natural disaster occurs."

Being ready to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster response in the event of potential natural or man-made disasters is a core capability of the Sea Services Maritime Strategy. Doing so takes advantage of the fact that the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are a rapidly deployable, technologically advanced team that is poised for action in a variety of roles as part of our nation's joint force.

"Makin Island and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit team are perfectly suited to provide relief if required," said Pringle.

The SLS is just one new facet of San Francisco Fleet Week which recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of the sea services, past and present. Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are woven into the fabric of the community - as neighbors, volunteers and citizens actively working together to enhance the quality of life in the Bay Area.

USS Makin Island, the host ship for SLS, is the first United States Navy ship to be equipped with gas turbines and an electric drive system, replacing the older technology of steam boilers. With the ship's electric drive running, which is similar in functionality to that of a hybrid car, it is possible to transit longer distances using less fuel.

Additionally, Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to have an advanced electrical plant that powers all of the ship's auxiliaries, including the capability to produce 200,000 gallons of fresh water every day.

Operated by a crew of more than 1,000 Sailors, Makin Island is a multi-mission platform that is equipped to meet the needs of our country, whether that is supporting national objectives or by providing disaster relief.

Makin Island's revolutionary technology is estimated to save the Navy $250 million throughout its 40-year lifecycle and is a model for future ship designs.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Bataan Shines Through ULTRA-E

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Erin Boyce, USS Bataan Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) earned their engineering operational certification Oct. 6 during a Unit Level Training Assessment, Engineering (ULTRA-E).

Afloat Training Group (ATG) Mid-Atlantic conducted the biannual assessment, evaluating the ship's capability to self-assess and train the crew in a variety of engineering programs and casualty control proficiencies.

"The whole ship participates in ULTRA-E, with the [electrical] tag-out program, hearing conservation, and heat stress programs," said Chief Machinist's Mate (SW/AW) Angel Delacruz, leading chief petty officer for Bataan's aft main machinery room. "For engineering specific, they examine programs like lube oil quality management and fuel quality management."

ATG spent a total of four days ensuring each engineering program, space and capability was up to par and that each watchstander was knowledgeable and ready to perform, regardless of conditions.

"This gave us the tools and experience we need to be able to respond to real life scenarios," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Antonio Lewis, Bataan's assistant oil king. "Whether it's fire or flooding, we can make sure the ship is battle ready."

ULTRA-E success meant extensive preparations and hard work from the crew. Bataan has been preparing for the assessment since leaving BAE Systems' Norfolk Ship Repair in August.
"We have been burning strong for a good month of steaming, running drills every day," said Delacruz.

For many of Bataan's junior Sailors, it was their first opportunity to witness an ULTRA-E and the amount of work and dedication it takes from everyone involved.

"The junior engineers really learn what it means to be an engineer because of all the preparations it takes to be successful in a certification," said Delacruz. "This is a great opportunity for them to learn that. The senior engineers are given the chance to sharpen up skills at being leaders. We all get to see how much effort and sacrifice it takes for us to get there."

Prior to ULTRA-E, Bataan completed air and amphibious warfare certifications as part of a basic training phase. The ship will continue through its certification and training cycle until fully qualifying for deployment.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Global Maritime Partnerships Game Focuses on International Information Sharing

By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- The Naval War College's (NWC) War Gaming Department hosted a Global Maritime Partnerships (GMP) Game here Oct. 3-8.

The "Global 2010" event involved face-to-face interaction and game strategy among representatives from 46 countries brought together to enable maritime partnerships and enhance international information sharing.

The overall goal of this GMP game was to identify the catalysts to instability and the impediments to forming effective regional and global partnerships in the maritime domain from both the U.S. and international perspectives. Specifically, these catalysts for examination included piracy, human smuggling, illicit drug trafficking, gun running, terrorism, natural disasters, and oil spills.

"For the purposes of this game, catalyst to instability was defined as anything that initiates, accelerates or causes an event or series of events to adversely impact the safety, security, economy, or maritime environment of a nation, region or super-region," said Professor Warren Wiggins of NWC's War Gaming Department.

"Understanding these impediments is important to the Navy because these catalysts to instability, including, but not limited to resource scarcity, epidemics, pandemics, and regional and transnational criminality—foster broad challenges to U.S. national security policy," said Wiggins.

The GMP game was conducted as an unclassified Title 10 game and featured 86 international participants plus 38 people representing a cross-section of the U.S. Government and its military services. More than 50 personnel from NWC's War Gaming Department directly participated in and supported the week-long event.

"This is the first time, on this scale of international cooperation, we've made this a true global game," NWC Game Director David Ward said. "We wanted to reach out to our partners around the globe and learn their concerns and priorities in order to establish a secure maritime environment in every region of the world."

Title 10 games are executed by NWC on a cyclic basis to identify key "organize, train and equip" issues for the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).

"The linchpin to this endeavor was 'A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (CS21),' initiated by CNO Adm. Gary Roughead," Wiggins said. "Its emphasis was the need for the Navy to dedicate as much time, effort and resources to preventing wars as it does to winning wars."

Game cells consisted of regional partners, and the game play strategy revolved around regional maritime issues specifically relevant to each area. Led by a moderator, the scene settings were crafted to generate discussions during daily plenary sessions that involved maritime information sharing practices, impediments and successes. These discussions also helped identify solutions to resolve challenges and map the way ahead.

In addition to recognizing the key catalysts to instability, the game identified broad-based partnership requirements (e.g., policy, legal, technological, etc.) to counter those catalysts. It also produced effective methods for strengthening global communication as participants were asked to identify their country's top maritime domain awareness (MDA) functions and to prioritize requirements to increase MDA across the globe.

"They were very open in sharing why they thought countries should work together to conduct maritime domain awareness operations," Ward said. "Providing an environment for participants to explore and appreciate the complexities of establishing and maintaining effective maritime partnerships through domestic and international perspectives was essential and greatly contributed to the success of this game."

Many of the players from the countries participating in the game are NWC graduates. This indicated the influence the college has on the world's navies.

"Because of our reputation for wargaming excellence, we have the unique ability to convene games like this that bring together naval officers from around the world to engage in professional dialogue, share ideas and build stronger relationships," said Professor Robert Rubel, dean of NWC's Center for Naval Warfare Studies. "CS21 says that trust and confidence cannot be surged, it must be fostered. There is no other place at which this can be done better."

Rubel also explained that this GMP game represents the merging of two threads of NWC history—wargaming and maritime strategy. He added that the approaches to wargaming have changed since NWC began the practice in 1887.

"Whereas in the first 10 years of the twentieth century, we conducted fleet versus fleet wargames that indicated the need to concentrate a fleet of battleships off our coasts to protect against possible European aggression in the Western Hemisphere," Rubel said. "Today we conduct diplomatic games that show us how to achieve the utmost in dispersal of naval power to secure all the seas of the world."

The GMP game also featured an MDA Technology Initiatives Symposium at the conclusion of the week that allowed international participants to have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with a sampling of current technological research and innovations in MDA. This included presentations on current and future MDA technologies and demonstrations that displayed MDA tools and systems such as SUCBAS, the Swedish system for MDA; and C-SIGMA, the integration of space systems into a common operational picture.

The Navy's Title 10 War Game Series, "Global," is conducted by NWC as the Executive Agent for the CNO. Within the OPNAV staff, OPNAV N2/N6 is the sponsor of this global game as the lead for MDA, a key focus area of maritime partnerships and information sharing internationally.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

NAVFAC Honors Enviornmental Engineer as Atlantic's Best

By Becki Lee, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Joanne Truong, Senior Environmental Engineer, was recently named as Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic's 2011 Engineer of the Year. Truong was selected over a number of other highly qualified engineers who were nominated for this honor.

"We determined Mrs. Truong to be the most deserving based upon her professional qualifications, technical affiliations, civic activities, and recent engineering achievements," said Angel Ho, the head of the selection board. "Her role as the Environmental Program Manager for the Navy's Overseas Water Quality Oversight Program has had significant impacts in ensuring the health and safety of the Navy's overseas workforce."

"It was truly an honor to be selected as NAVFAC Atlantic's Engineer of the Year. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career as an engineer for the Navy," said Truong. "Knowing I had a role in improving the water quality at our facilities here in the U.S. and abroad to improve the quality of life for our military and their families is very gratifying. I want to thank my fellow team members, managers, and my family for all the help and support they have given me throughout the years. Without their support, this would not have been possible."

A member of the American Water Works Association, Truong works in the Clean Air and Water section of the Environmental Compliance Branch at NAVFAC Atlantic where she chairs the Navy Water Quality Oversight Program. The program, consisting of several business lines and echelons of NAVFAC, Navy Installations and the Navy Bureau of Medicine, has the objectives of establishing Navy strategy and policy and implementing operational standards to ensure the health and safety of the Navy overseas workforce.

Her efforts to regulate water quality overseas also include the establishment of a two-part program. The first, the Certificate to Operate program includes a management system to ensure the water systems are designed, constructed, operated, monitored and maintained in accordance with the regulatory requirements of an equivalent stateside Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified program. Second, the Operator Certification program trains operators to protect public health and to conserve and protect the water resources of the Navy Overseas Drinking Water Systems by providing a standard of excellence and a certification of competency to supervise and operate the treatment and distribution facilities.

Truong also leads a nation-wide working group to implement the requirements of the Uniform Federal Policy for Quality Assurance Plans (UFP-QAPP) and the EPA Quality Assurance Project Plans. She developed the procedures and responsibilities regarding sampling and analysis performance standards for approximately $5 million of environmental studies performed annually by the Navy that involve environmental sampling and testing to ensure effective use of limited resources. QAPP will be implemented Navy-wide for all compliance media (air, water, waste, etc.), ensuring that contractors performing environmental laboratory tests perform the appropriate level of UFP-QAPP requirements.

When she's not busy keeping the Navy's water clean, Truong is very active in the community. She volunteers on a weekly basis at the Tidewater Chinese School, where she teaches Chinese culture and language. She is a regular participant in Relay for Life, raising funds for cancer awareness, and Clean the Bay Day, a project to restore areas of the Chesapeake Bay. Truong also works with families in the Hampton Roads area that have adopted Chinese children to help them maintain their cultural heritage.

This win places her in the running to be NAVFAC HQ's nominee for the Federal Engineer of the Year Award. Sponsored by the Professional Engineers in Government, this honor is awarded to an engineer employed by a federal agency that employs at least 50 engineers worldwide. The Federal Engineer of the Year is selected by a panel of judges who consider engineering achievements, education, continuing education, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Military Sealift Command Reconfigures Tanker Fleet

By Laura Seal, Military Sealift Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The fleet of tankers operated by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC), is being reconfigured to meet fuel requirements in support of U.S. forces worldwide.

This seagoing force of government-owned and U.S.-flagged chartered ships, is acquiring a new chartered ship, MT Empire State, as two government-owned ships complete their service to the command.

The newly built, U.S.-flagged Empire State came under charter to MSC for up to five years Oct. 7 and will operate worldwide carrying refined petroleum products for DoD, primarily between commercial refineries and DoD storage and distribution facilities.

Empire State is owned and operated by a private shipping company under contract to MSC. Built at General Dynamics, NASSCO in San Diego, the double-hulled Empire State is 600 feet long and has a cargo-carrying capacity of approximately 331,000 barrels. The ship's construction was completed in July 2010, at which time Empire State went to work for MSC under a short-term charter.

Two of MSC's four government-owned tankers transferred out of service Oct. 1. USNS Paul Buck and USNS Samuel L. Cobb began their service to MSC in the mid 1980s, along with three other new construction T-5 tankers that came under long-term charter to the command in 1985 and 1986. In 2003, MSC purchased four of those ships - Buck, Cobb, USNS Lawrence H. Gianella and USNS Richard G. Matthiesen. Since then, these ships have served as the core of MSC's tanker fleet along with an MSC chartered shallow-draft tanker.

"Our T-5 tankers have served us well for the past 25 years, and as they approach the end of their service lives, the State-class ships will allow us to continue to fulfill our requirements to transport fuel for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) - Energy," said John Joerger, MSC's tanker project officer. DLA Energy procures and manages fuel for all of DoD.

Upon deactivation from MSC service, Cobb and Buck transferred to the U.S. Maritime Administration's National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), which comprises about 30 dry cargo ships and tankers kept in reserve for possible activation and use in support of national defense and national emergencies.

Gianella transferred to MSC's Maritime Prepositioning Force in 2009 and Matthiesen will remain in service to MSC until early 2011, when the ship will join Cobb and Buck in the NDRF.

In fiscal year 2010, MSC carried 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum products worldwide in support of DoD operations ranging from delivering fuel to combat forces operating in Iraq to replenishing McMurdo Station, Antarctica and Thule Air Force Base in Pituffik, Greenland.

Military Sealift Command operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military equipment and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

USS George H.W. Bush Conducts Tailored Ship's Training Availability

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Michael Smevog, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

USS GEORGE H. W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (GHWB)(CVN 77) departed Naval Station Norfolk, Va., Oct. 4 to begin its Tailored Ship's Training Availability/Final Evaluation Period (TSTA/FEP) in preparation for the ship's upcoming combat deployment in 2011.

Twenty-five inspectors from Afloat Training Group (ATG) Atlantic are embarked aboard Bush, assessing the ship's damage control, medical responses, seamanship and navigation, weapons, integrated training teams, and the integration of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 with the ship's Air Department.

Capt. Chip Miller, USS George H.W. Bush commanding officer, said this is a critical evolution for the crew as they continue to prepare for the ship's combat deployment.

"This training exercise will test the ability of the ship and air wing team to fight the ship," Miller said. "Our training teams have put in an incredible amount of time and effort to ensure we hit this out of the park."

TSTA is an assessment of how training is conducted, and aims to develop and enhance the crew's ability to self-train. FEP is an evaluation of the crew's ability to conduct combat missions, support air wing operations while maintaining casualty control, and survive complex casualty control situations, said Lt. Cmdr. Richard D. Johnston, USS George H.W. Bush training officer.

Damage control divisions throughout the ship respond any time, day or night, in port or out to sea, to drills for fires, flooding, and any scenario, staged or real, which could turn into a catastrophic situation.

Chief Damage Controlman (SW/AW) Jason A. Lockenwitz, Damage Control Division leading chief petty officer, said the team of Sailors assigned to respond to the drills and actual casualties while the ship is underway are known as the At Sea Fire Party (ASFP). ASFP must certify in various drills, from fuel-based fire and general fire, to toxic gas and flooding. ASFP must successfully complete seven drills before ATG deems the team is proficient.

During general quarters drills, the entire crew must be certified for their capabilities. The crew will continue to complete the "scheduled GQ drills until ATG deems the ship and its crew proficient in this area," Lockenwitz said.

"The amount of time and effort that the crew and training teams have put into the cycle of this ship is nothing short of exemplary," Lockenwitz said. "The dedication that our Sailors have is clearly evident when outside entities visit and comment about how successful our teams are."

Throughout various drills, inspectors evaluate both the effectiveness of the training teams, and the performance and knowledge of the Sailors actually involved in the training scenarios. They will then forward the results of the assessment to the ship's Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC), the Strike Group Commander, who will then notify Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic, to certify the ship.

"This should show ISIC that the ship is ready to be certified as Independent Unit Ready, and proceed to the next training phase," Johnston said.

In May of this year, various departments aboard the ship performed routine drills while ATG inspectors critiqued the performance of the Sailors and their instructors during Command Assessment Readiness Training (CART) II. The ship then conducted TSTA in port; one week of drills primarily focused on damage control and medical response, to address any training discrepancies and to better prepare the crew. TSTA/FEP serves as a time to use the results from CART II to concentrate on the areas that need more attention, Johnston added.

Johnston said that even though the primary reason for being out to sea is TSTA/FEP, an event based mostly around integrating the air wing with the ship, the ship is accompanied by most of the strike group as well.

"Since this is the first time the strike group is on board, they want to see how we interact with the other ships," Johnston said. "They will perform Group Sail, which is basically getting the strike group together for the first time and sailing them in different formations to see how they interact during turns."

Once GHWB is certified to self train, the command will enter a sustainment period consisting of a set number of drills leading up to deployment.

Johnston explained that the next big step in the deployment cycle will occur early next year, when the strike group conducts its Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).

"That is training not so much for the ship's crew, but for the strike group as a whole," said Johnston. "They give us a battle problem, and we have to solve it as a strike group."

To complete the work-up cycle for GHWBs combat deployment, the Sailors and vessels will utilize other domestic military assets, along with foreign militaries, to ensure successful operability with those entities during Joint Task Force Exercise.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Sailors Cited as Navy's 'Lifeblood' During 235th Birthday Celebration

By Joy Samsel, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- More than 750 military and local civic leaders filled the Blue Angel atrium at the National Museum of Naval Aviation aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. Oct. 8, to celebrate the U.S. Navy's 235th birthday.

"Though more than 200 years have passed, the vital work of our Navy remains the same as when this republic was founded; to protect the shores of our nation and preserve the open seas," said Rear Adm. Joseph Kilkenny, commander, Naval Education and Training Command. "Our Sailors are the lifeblood of the most powerful Navy in the world. They are the sons and daughters of liberty and are the heirs of a proud legacy."

The event was coordinated by staff at the Naval Aviation Schools Command, and included a historical presentation of six Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH) recipients from World War II, Vietnam and the conflict in Iraq, represented by area Sailors and Marines in period uniforms from the museum's archives.

The historical presentation concluded by introducing two CMH recipients attending the ball. The medal is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force, and is generally presented by the president of the United States of America in the name of Congress.

According to his award citation, retired Army Sgt. Robert Patterson received the commendation for "his dauntless courage and heroism" during an assault against a heavily fortified enemy position May 6, 1968.

While his squad was pinned down by heavy enemy weapons fire, Patterson single-handedly destroyed five enemy bunkers, killed eight enemy soldiers and captured seven weapons. He inspired his platoon to resume the attack and to penetrate the enemy defensive position.

Also attending the ball was Michael Thornton, a retired Navy SEAL petty officer.

During an Oct. 31, 1972 intelligence gathering operation, Thornton was with a U.S. Navy lieutenant and a SEAL patrol that came under heavy fire from a larger enemy force. The lieutenant was seriously wounded, but Thornton fought his way to his position and carried him to a beach. Thornton inflated the lieutenant's life vest and towed him out to sea, keeping them both afloat for two hours before being rescued.

"At a time when our nation is at war, and when morals and ethics are needed most, our youth, and indeed our entire nation, could use some heroes," Kilkenny said. "Well, we have them. All we have to do is look."

During his comments, Kilkenny also remarked on the only female CMH recipient.

"The courage to step forward when others are in need is not a trait held only by men in uniform," Kilkenny said. "One of the earliest Medal of Honor recipients was Dr. Mary Walker, a civil service employee."

Walker graduated from Syracuse Medical School in 1855, and when the Civil War broke out, she tried to join the Union Army. She was denied a commission as a medical officer, but she volunteered anyway, serving as an acting assistant surgeon.

She worked as a field surgeon near the Union front lines for almost two years. She treated patients in Fredericksburg, Va. and Chattanooga, Tenn., after the Battle of Chickamauga. In April 1864, she was captured by Confederate troops and spent four months in various prisons until she was exchanged for a Confederate surgeon in August 1864.

In 1866 President Andrew Johnson presented Walker with the Medal of Honor.

"The men and women who serve our military today carry on the traditions that were strengthened by those who earned our nation's highest honor," Kilkenny said. "By honoring our true heroes, and highlighting their character, spirit, and courage we can give our country strong and positive role models in which to believe."

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Abraham Lincoln Sailors Make a Difference for Malaysian Children's Home

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stephen D. Doyle II, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Sailors volunteered to help a local children's home during a port visit in Malaysia Oct. 9.

More than 30 Sailors spent time off the ship to work at the Praise Emmanuel Children's Home where they painted the facility and cleaned the grounds.

Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Trevor Downing helped out by cleaning up around the outside of the home. He said the experience of helping someone else out makes the deployment that much more meaningful.

"I feel a lot more accomplished, like I did something for someone else during my port visit and my deployment," said Downing. "Doing something for someone else is a lot more rewarding than doing something for yourself."

After giving the home a fresh coat of paint and cleaning up the yard, Sailors played a game of soccer with several of the children living at the home.

"I think it's really important that the Navy does things like this to reach out to the community," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) Scott Dwyer.

Lincoln Sailors are planning to participate in several other community service projects while in Kuala Lumpur.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is currently in the U.S. 7th Fleet's area of responsibility as part of a routine deployment to promote peace, cooperation and stability in the region.

Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group consists of flagship USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, San Diego-based guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), and the embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. Ships assigned to DESRON 9 include the Everett-based destroyers Momsen (DDG 92) and Shoup (DDG 86), as well as USS Halsey (DDG 97) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Gates Receives, Accepts Invitation to Visit China

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

HANOI, Vietnam, Oct. 11, 2010 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today that he has accepted an invitation from his Chinese counterpart to visit Beijing.

Gates told reporters traveling with him that Gen. Liang Guanglie issued the formal invitation during a bilateral meeting today, though the timing of the visit remains to be worked out.

The Chinese military suspended its military-to-military relationship with the United States earlier this year over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Gates called today’s meeting a “good forward step” conducted in a friendly spirit, and added that he emphasized to Liang in today’s meeting his long-held belief that the dialogue between the two militaries should be sustainable regardless of any ups and downs.

“I outlined to him why I believe it’s important that, indeed, when there are disagreements, it’s all the more important to talk with each other more, not less,” Gates said, “and [noted] the need for strategic dialogue on everything from nuclear weapons and strategy to missile defense and outer space security, as well as areas in which we can cooperate.”

The secretary added that he pointed out in the meeting that matters such as arms sales to Taiwan shouldn’t disrupt the relationship between the U.S. and Chinese militaries, because they are political decisions that don’t rest with the secretary of defense.

“If there is a discussion to be had,” he said, “it is at the political level.” And at that level, he noted, President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao have publicly advocated a sustained and reliable military relationship between their countries.

“Having greater clarity and understanding of each other is essential to preventing mistrust, miscalculations and mistakes,” the secretary said. “I believed it in the dialogue with the Soviet Union over 30 years, [and] I believe it’s important with China as well.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said he couldn’t put a timetable on when Gates would visit Beijing, but “our desire is to do this as soon as possible.”

Gates and Liang are in the Vietnamese capital to attend the inaugural meeting of defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and eight other countries with a stake in the region.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

General Officer Announcements

The chief of staff, Air Force announced today the following assignments:

Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Biscone, Secretary of Defense Comprehensive Review Working Group, Washington Service Organization, Washington Headquarters Service, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., to director, global operations, J-3, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Brig. Gen. Daniel B. Fincher, commander, Air Force Legal Operations Agency, Joint Base Bolling, Washington, D.C., to rule of law deputy, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command, Kabul, Afghanistan.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

MIA Issue Aided U.S.-Vietnam Relationship, Gates Says

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

HANOI, Vietnam, Oct. 11, 2010 – Efforts to recover those missing from the Vietnam War have helped to transform the U.S.-Vietnamese relationship in the years since the conflict ended, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

“A decade of conflict and bloodshed between our nations has given way to prosperous bilateral relations now marking their fifteenth year,” Gates said in a speech at Vietnam National University.

Cooperation in accounting for those missing in action from the war has been a key element in the relationship’s evolution, the secretary said.

“It was our commitment to work together to find the missing from the war and to address the traumas still felt by those in and near the conflict that provided the first opportunity for our countries to engage,” he said. “And it was this initial cooperation that led us to where we are today, with a vibrant relationship that spans a range of issues.”

Both countries have a “long, deep and abiding” commitment to locate those missing in action, Gates said. Since 1998, he noted, almost 100 joint field activities have led to the recovery, repatriation and identification of the remains of more than 100 Americans.

“Our experts bring the equipment and techniques and go out into the field, working in close cooperation with the government of Vietnam and local Vietnamese to undertake the painstaking task of finding and recovering American remains,” he said. “We also provide the resources and technical expertise to Vietnam as it undertakes the same sacred task.”

Gates said he thanked Vietnamese Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Phung Quang Thanh during a Pentagon visit late last year for providing access to 13 new sites for search operations in previously restricted military areas.

“I similarly appreciate his decision last month to provide access to four additional sites,” he added, “and hope we can expand cooperation on this front even further.”

The secretary acknowledged that the work entails shared risks and losses, noting that a helicopter carrying a joint U.S.-Vietnamese team to investigate a site in Vietnam’s Quang Binh province crashed in 2001, killing all on board.

“We honor the sacrifice of those 16 patriots lost in the line of duty,” he said, “and plans are being developed by our two nations to commemorate the 10th anniversary of that tragedy next April.”

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Bilateral Meetings Mark ‘Full Day’ for Gates in Hanoi

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

HANOI, Vietnam, Oct. 11, 2010 – In what he described as “a very full day,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met here today with Vietnamese leaders and some of his counterparts who have come to the Vietnamese capital for tomorrow’s inaugural meeting of defense ministers from the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and eight other countries with a stake in the region.

Gates spoke with reporters who traveled here with him to summarize the day’s activities.

A highlight, he said, was an invitation from Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie during their bilateral meeting for Gates to visit Beijing, signaling an apparent end to the Chinese suspension of its military-to-military relationship with the United States. Gates told reporters he accepted the invitation, though details of the timing remain to be worked out.

Separate meetings with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Lt. Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, the country’s defense minister, Gates said, covered a full range of issues pertaining to the two countries’ bilateral military ties, including ways to expand the relationship.

Defense security dialogue, maritime security, peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and search and rescue capabilities were among the areas discussed for possible expansion of the U.S.-Vietnamese military relationship, the secretary said.

“And then we talked about some additional areas, such as a formal relationship between the [U.S.] National Defense University and its Vietnamese counterpart, more exchanges in professional military education and so on,” he added.

In his meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa, Gates said, the two leaders discussed areas of mutual interest in the plan for more than 8,000 U.S. Marines to move to Guam from the Japanese island of Okinawa by 2014, and for Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa to move to another location on the Japanese island.

“I talked about the intricate connection between Futenma and Guam and how they need to remain linked and need to move forward,” Gates said. The Japanese government already has provided almost $800 million for construction on Guam, he noted.

In the final bilateral meeting of the day, Gates and Philippine Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin discussed ways to expand military cooperation between the United States and the Philippines, as well as regional security issues.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Makin Island Sailors, Marines Train with San Francisco Fire Department

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kellie Abedzadeh and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Christopher Piotrowski, USS Makin Island Public Affairs

SAN FRANCISCO (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard USS Makin Island (LHD 8) conducted search and rescue (SAR) training with the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) Oct. 8, as part of San Francisco Fleet Week's (SFFW) focus on disaster preparedness.

The training, held at the fire department's rescue systems facility on Treasure Island, focused on urban SAR techniques used in the aftermath of a major earthquake.

Mark Kearney, SFFD assistant deputy chief, Division of Homeland Security, said the training was intended to give Sailors and Marines an idea of how military and civilian first responders can assist each other during disaster operations.

"We are in a very big earthquake zone, and we know the military can assist us in our time of need," Kearney said.

Sailors and Marines received hands-on training in vertical shoring systems, cribbing techniques used to elevate debris, and technology and equipment used for rescue operations.

They also had the opportunity to crawl and climb through the facility's 1.5 million-pound "rubble pile," which simulates a collapsed structure filled with debris, concrete and crushed vehicles.

Damage Controlman 3rd Class Vernon Snodgrass said he found the training useful because some of the knowledge and equipment used for urban SAR operations are also utilized on board Navy ships.

"The reason I became a damage controlman is because I want to become a firefighter, and all the equipment they (SFFD) use, I use every day," he said.

Aviation Ordnanceman Alex Gallegos also said the training was relevant for the Sailors and Marines.

"Everything that we've seen here today; a lot of it is pretty similar to what we have on board the ship for damage control," Gallegos said.

SFFD Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, spoke with the Sailors and Marines, thanking them for their service to the country. As she discussed the significance of the training events, Hayes-White emphasized the importance of developing a strong relationship between the fire department and military beyond fleet week.

"We'd like to continue the partnership and strengthen the partnership we have with the military," she said. "Certainly, there is plenty of opportunity for us to learn from you."

San Francisco Fleet Week (SFFW) is an annual event that gives members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard an opportunity to share their operational capabilities with the local community. SFFW 2010 showcases more than 3,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen along with their equipment, advanced technology and capabilities. The five-day event is also intended to highlight the contributions and history the military's sea services have within the San Francisco Bay Area.

Operated by a crew of more than 1,000 Sailors, Makin Island is a multi-mission platform that is equipped to meet the needs of the country, from supporting national objectives to providing much needed relief to a disaster area. Makin Island's revolutionary technology is estimated to save the Navy $250 million throughout its 40-year lifecycle and is a model for future ship designs.

For further information about San Francisco Fleet Week, visit the official website

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

USS Constitution Honors Fallen Service Members

By Seaman Shannon S. Heavin, USS Constitution Public Affairs

LEXINGTON, Mass. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Constitution honored fallen Massachusetts service members of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom during the first Battle Road Memorial March in Lexington, Mass. Oct. 2.

Sailors performed a color guard during the opening ceremony, and four others participated in the march.

The Battle Road Memorial March correlates the historic beginning of the American Revolution to modern-day military operations.

"This was a unique experience as service members to honor patriots who sacrificed their lives for our freedom," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Mark Alexander. "It's an honor to take part in this first battle road march; I hope it becomes tradition."

Constitution Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Savage, Master-at-Arms Seaman Gary Matthias and Airman John Fisher also participated in the march sponsored by the Third Legal Support Organization, a group comprised of Massachusetts Army Reservists.

The opening ceremony of the march began at with more than 100 Army Reservists in attendance. The names of the 125 Massachusetts service members who died were read, following brief speeches, including one by Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.

"As an officer of 40 years, I believe we don't do a good enough job of honoring those fallen Soldiers, and these bricks represent the great honor of our brothers and sisters," said Col. Patrick Cummings, Third Legal Support Organization. "It was a tremendous honor as well to have the USS Constitution here to represent the blue."

The march followed with each participant carrying in their rucksack or seabag a brick with a fallen service member's name painted on it.

The march lasted about five hours, ending at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass., the site of the first American victory in the Revolutionary War. The participants returned to Lexington by bus, and thereafter, a celebration ensued at St. Nicholas Church.

"As the group of Sailors and Soldiers marched that same path taken by the British Soldiers in 1775, I was able to empathize and better understand the significance of the events of April 19th and 20th of 1775," said Savage. "For the duration of the march, we united the armed forces and reflected the past and fight for freedom to come. Today was a day to remember."

Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. She is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

General Officer Announcements

The chief of staff, Army announced today the following assignments:

Brig. Gen. Jesse R. Cross, commanding general, U.S. Army Quartermaster Center and School, Fort Lee, Va., to deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, with duty as commanding general, Army Materiel Command-Southwest Asia/G-4, U.S. Army Central, Kuwait.

Brig. Gen. John R. O'Connor, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, with duty as commanding general, Army Materiel Command-Southwest Asia/G-4, U.S. Army Central, Kuwait, to director for strategic integration, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

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U.S.-South Korea Alliance Remains Strong, Leaders Say

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2010 – The United States and South Korea are ready to counter any instability caused by a leadership succession in North Korea, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and his South Korean counterpart said here today.

Gates and National Defense Minister Kim Tae-young participated in the 42nd Security Consultative Meeting, after which they told reporters that the U.S.-South Korea military alliance has never been stronger.

The news that ailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has anointed his son, Kim Jong-un, as his successor has the alliance preparing to defend against all possible North Korean threats.

“When Kim Jong-il’s health may deteriorate or if there is a movement of public opinion in North Korea, we cannot eliminate the possibility that there will be an instability situation in North Korea,” Kim said through an interpreter.

The men also discussed the threats facing the alliance, the condition of the forces today, and the continued transformation of the alliance, Gates said.

The two leaders confirmed that the U.S.-South Korea strategic partnership “remains vital to the interests of both our nations,” Gates said.

Both ministers noted that this year marks the 60th year since the start of the Korean War and how that conflict has cemented the alliance. “Those bonds form the foundation of an enduring, resolute, and capable defense of South Korea,” Gates said.

North Korea remains the greatest threat to peace in Northeast Asia and is the focal point of the defense posture on the peninsula. North Korea is believed to have at least 1.5 million military members, and has nuclear capabilities. In March, North Korea torpedoed and sank the South Korean navy ship Cheonan, killing 46 sailors.

“We are committed to providing extended deterrence using the full range of American military might: from our nuclear umbrella to conventional strike and ballistic missile defense,” Gates said. “In the wake of the Cheonan incident, the close cooperation across the whole of our two governments sends a clear message to North Korea that its provocation and aggression will not be tolerated.”

Both men called on North Korea to end provocative actions like the Cheonan attack. “We once again called for North Korea to take responsible actions in regards to the attack against the Republic of Korea ship Cheonan,” Kim said. “We also reconfirmed the resolute desire of [South Korea] and the U.S. to jointly respond to North Korean military provocations.”

In recent weeks North Korea has tried to open talks with South Korea, Kim said.

North Korea has taken more of a stance towards appeasement and there have been … North Korean attempts at dialogue,” he said. “However, it is the basic position of the Republic of Korea government that we need a recognition of North Korea’s role in the Cheonan incident, and we need an apology from North Korea and a punishment of those responsible. And North Korea must also take clear measures that will prevent any further provocations of this sort.”

If the North fulfills these conditions, the South will reopen dialogue, the South Korean defense minister said.

Kim also addressed the agreement on Strategic Alliance 2015, a comprehensive implementation plan for transfers of operational control of forces on the peninsula to South Korea by 2015. “We have also achieved significantly meaningful accomplishments,” he said, “such as the development of the defense cooperation guidelines that will realize the future vision of the alliance and the agreement to systemize the extended deterrence policy committee, a cooperative mechanism in the area of extended deterrence.”

South Korea has been a strong ally to the United States, having provided thousands of troops during the Vietnam War, and having sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. South Korea also is a valuable presence in humanitarian relief operations in places such as in Haiti.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.