Monday, October 18, 2010

This Day in Naval History - Oct. 18

From the Navy News Service

1812 - U.S. sloop of war Wasp captures HM brig Frolic.
1859 - U.S. Marines reach Harper's Ferry, Va., and assault the arsenal seized by John Brown and his followers.
1867 - USS Ossippee and USS Resaca participate in the formal transfer of Alaska to U.S. authority at Sitka and remain to enforce law and order in new territory.
1944 - 3rd Fleet carrier aircraft attack Japanese ships in harbor and land forces around Manila.
1968 - In Operation Sea Lords, the Navy's three major operating forces in Vietnam (Task Forces 115, 116 and 117) are brought together for the first time to stop Vietcong infiltration deep into South Vietnam's Mekong Delta.

Today in the Department of Defense, Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn have no public or media events on their schedules.

A National Capital Region flyover of Arlington National Cemetery occurs at with four FA-18's.

U.S-Turkish Alliance in Good Shape, Gates Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2010 – The U.S.-Turkey alliance is built on fundamental common interests, and the defense partnership between the two nations is as close as it has ever been, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today.

Gates was the keynote speaker at the American Turkish Council Convention at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The United States and Turkey are allies that have fought together in Korea, Kosovo and Kabul, and remain allies even when they disagree, he said.

“Even as our views and approaches on some issues may differ, we are allies, we share fundamental interests in the region, and our goals remain the same: A respect for sovereignty and rule of law; economic growth and development; and enduring stability and security,” Gates said.

Turkey is a stalwart NATO ally and has 1,700 troops in Afghanistan. Gates thanked Turkey for leading the International Security Assistance Force in the past and for extending its command of the Kabul Regional Command for another year. Gates also complimented Turkey for its engagement with Iraq. He said Turkish leaders regularly work with Iraqis “to reinforce that nation’s emerging democracy, encouraging national reconciliation initiatives and working to rebuild defense and security ties with the Iraqi Security Forces.”

The secretary reaffirmed the U.S. pledge to confront the PKK -– a Kurdish terrorist group that has targeted Turkey, as well as its officials and military.

“In response to the rise in PKK terrorist attacks against Turkish military forces and civilians over the past year, the U.S. has increased its efforts to crack down on PKK criminal enterprises, enhanced its intelligence support, and reached out to our European allies to encourage them to freeze PKK assets in Europe,” he said.

Gates also touched upon the need for NATO reform, and urged all NATO nations to support the new strategic concept that heads of state will discuss and vote on at next month’s Lisbon Summit in Portugal.

The threats have changed over the years, Gates said, and NATO must change too. “Reflecting this strategic reality, NATO is now pursuing new missions far from its original geographic boundaries –- whether in the hills of the Hindu Kush or off the coast of Somalia,” the secretary said.

NATO is changing operationally, Gates said. However, like the Defense Department, he added, the alliance requires structural reform.

“The alliance has long had too many committees, too many headquarters and too much bureaucracy overseeing too few deployable and properly resourced military capabilities,” he said. “To some degree, the institutional reforms being pursued at NATO reflect many of the changes underway in our own Department of Defense -– all for the purpose of reducing overhead and shifting more resources to our fighting forces.”

Gates also wants the NATO allies to agree to take up the phased adaptive approach to missile defense. Rogue states, such as Iran, can launch missiles against NATO allies, he said.

“Two-and-a-half years ago in Bucharest, NATO’s heads of state and government recognized the need for an alliance-wide response to the threat of ballistic missiles in the hands of those who might seek to intimidate or harm NATO,” he said. “We resolved then to develop options that could extend coverage to all European allied territory and populations, a resolution echoed at subsequent high-level meetings.”

The phased adaptive approach, Gates said, offers a territorial missile defense system based on proven technologies that can be adapted to meet future dangers and protect a steadily increasing swath of NATO territory.

“As the threat from ballistic missiles grows, so will the scope and effectiveness of NATO’s defenses against them,” he said. “Our object is the fullest-possible coverage of NATO allies and, over time, to provide coverage for all of NATO.”

The first phase becomes operational next year, Gates said, with sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles deployed to areas where the threat is greatest. The second phase, due in 2015, involves placing upgraded, ground-based SM-3s in Romania as well as at sea.

“Phases three and four will deploy even more advanced interceptors, including a second land-based interceptor site in Poland,” he said. “Overall, this approach provides the alliance with a great deal of flexibility to protect against the range of threats posed by ballistic missiles, and to adapt as new threats develop and old ones recede.”

Gates said he wants to keep the U.S.-Turkish relationship on track.

“The United States and Turkey have wisely remembered our friendship during times of agreement and disagreement, and it is incumbent for us to continue to do so,” he said. “There is too much at stake for us not to do so –- for our prosperity, for our security, and for the credibility of our alliance.”

General Officer Announcements

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

Brig. Gen. Richard T. Devereaux, who has been selected for promotion to major general, commander, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, Air Mobility Command, Fort Dix, N.J., to director, operational planning, policy and strategy, deputy chief of staff, operations, plans and requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Brig. Gen. William J. Bender, director, warfighter systems integration, Office of Information Dominance and Chief Information Officer, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., to commander, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, Air Mobility Command, Fort Dix, N.J.

Missing Vietnam War Soldiers Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Army Staff Sgt. Robert S. Griffith, of Hapeville, Ga., will be buried on Oct. 23 in Fairburn, Ga.  The group remains of the other two soldiers which could not be individually identified -- Army Staff Sgt. Melvin C. Dye, of Carleton, Mich., and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas J. Glover, of Cortland, N.Y., will be buried at a later date.  The men were aboard a UH-1H Iroquois helicopter on Feb. 19, 1968, when it was shot down by enemy fire in Laos.  They were involved in an attempt to extract a long-range reconnaissance patrol in the mountains of Attapu Province.  Three other American service members survived the crash and were rescued, but three Vietnamese Montagnards did not survive.

Several hours after the crash, a team was dispatched to survey the location and reported seeing remains of at least five people.  Enemy activity prevented remains recovery at that time.  The following month a second team was sent to the crash site but found no remains.

In 1995, a joint U.S.-Lao People’s Democratic Republic team traveled to the recorded grid coordinates for the crash site but found no evidence of a helicopter crash.  The team then surveyed a second location in the area where they found helicopter wreckage and human remains.  In 2006, a follow-on team was not able to resurvey the same site due to severe overgrowth and time constraints.  Another team excavated the location in late 2007 recovering human remains, wreckage and military-related equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental x-rays in the identification of Griffith’s remains.

Since late 1973, the remains of 938 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been accounted for and returned to their families with 1,708 service members still missing.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO Web site at