Military News

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Memorial Remembers Cuttermen Who Made Ultimate Sacrifice

Written by: CDR Glynn Smith

The new Cutterman’s Memorial, dedicated to those lost in the line of duty while serving aboard our cutters, was dedicated at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. today. Etched into the Memorial’s six granite panels are the names of the fallen and the ships they served in, along with the poem “Hurrah for the Sea” and a cutterman’s insignia. Set into the background are some of the cutters and battle streamers.

 “These shipmates were simply doing their duty, performing the mission,” said Adm. Bob Papp, commandant, U.S. Coast Guard. “They gave everything to our Service and Nation. This Memorial is a small token of our appreciation. We can never forget them.”

Coast Guard cuttermen are a proud group with a long history of service to our Nation that dates back to the first cutter, believed to be Vigilant, which was launched in March 1791. ADM Papp’s words highlight a stark reality known and shared by all cuttermen who operate in a dynamic and demanding environment at sea. While we honor and remember all shipmates lost in the line of duty, the Memorial was established to remember those who gave their lives aboard cutters in service of their country.

The Coast Guard has operated more than a thousand different cutters across its 220 year history. They span the age of wind driven sail, steam powered paddle wheels, and diesel-electric driven propellers. They saw intense action in war and peace, operating in all corners of the globe. They also include legendary names like Eagle, Bear, Hudson, and Tampa. But behind all of the technology, operations and exploits; are the people: the cuttermen.

“When I entered the Coast Guard Academy, all I wanted to do was be a cutterman,” said Papp. “I spent much of my career at sea fulfilling the responsibilities of our Service. I could not have imagined doing anything else.”

And while cuttermen have performed great feats in service to our Nation, they have also known great sacrifice. We have lost 124 vessels, 83 of which were during wartime operations. Since 1917, 1242 cuttermen, our shipmates, have made the ultimate sacrifice. Among them, 11 crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Cuyahoga, which was lost 32 years ago today at 8:45 p.m. near the mouth of the Potomac River in a collision with the 521-foot Argentinean bulk freighter Santa Cruz II.

“Our work is difficult and sometimes dangerous,” said Papp, adding, “The sea is unforgiving—it always has been.”

Official Details DOD Cybersecurity Environment

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2010 – Cyberspace is a new world and a new domain for combat. The Defense Department is working to understand the threats and opportunities that this new domain poses.

Robert J. Butler, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, is one of the officials charged with developing defense capabilities in this crucial domain. And there has been progress.

“For the past 14 months, we have been trying to continue to grow [U.S.] Cyber Command and its capabilities, at the same time looking at strategy and policy,” Butler told reporters at the Defense Writers’ Group here today. “We need to find ways to operate more effectively in cyberspace.”

DOD needs new operating concepts for the new domain. The department has done a lot of work in systems, education and training, “and beyond that, things like active defense and new ways of looking at resiliency and new ways to operate in different environments,” he said.

It comes back to the warfighter, he said. The DOD cyber world needs to focus on ensuring warriors can deploy, get the information they need when they deploy, track supplies and personnel and ensure logistics, he explained. They also must remain in contact with neighboring units and the home front, along with a variety of other tasks, he added.

Defense Department officials have reached out to Great Britain, Australia, Canada and NATO to defend against cyber threats that include nations, rogue states, terrorist groups, criminal gangs and just plain hackers, Butler said.

“The focus within the strategy is to go ahead and build partnerships with like-minded nations in the areas of shared awareness, shared warning and collective response,” he said. “As we move forward, we are trying to build capacity at one level, and at another level – interdependence – you are actually laying a foundation for deterring bad behavior in cyberspace.”

Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq – and the trust those operations have built among the coalition – have helped to speed this international cooperation, Butler said.

The threat constantly changes, and the department has to keep on top of this aspect of cybersecurity, Butler told the group. “Every day, people think of new ways to use the Internet,” he said. “As I look at the advent of social networking sites and what that has done, people have learned to use the Internet to not only communicate in traditional ways, but to build new networks that create both opportunities as well as threats.”

The cyber domain is new, and policy has not caught up to reality. Government and private officials are grappling with basics such as what constitutes a cyber attack and who has responsibility to defend against threats. The White House is leading the effort, Butler said, but it is clear that the Department of Homeland Security has the lead inside the United States. The Defense Department has responsibility to defend military networks, and can assist Homeland Security and other civilian agencies when required and ordered.

Who does what and when they do it is under discussion with other government agencies.

“We have our viewpoints laid out, and we’re trying to determine the best way to move forward,” Butler said. “One of the key things is to agree on the taxonomy. We hear a lot of discussion about cyber war and cyber attacks, and there’s legal terminology with hostile intent, hostile acts. Making sure everyone understands the taxonomy is really important.”

Butler credited the Homeland Security exercise Cyber Storm 3 with helping officials think through responses. The national cyber incident response framework exercise, conducted at the end of August, looked at the way the U.S. government and private industry faced a cyber threat.

“We were able to work out what the threat was, what the appropriate response was, who takes action, how do you determine conditions and postures,” he said.

The exercise included federal and state entities, the private sector and international partners. “It was a huge learning experience for the department,” he said.

But no one can stand still, Butler said.

“We recognize as we face this evolving threat that more will be required,” he said. “The question is what kind of hybrid models, what kind of rules, what kind of things do we need to counter a threat that continues to advance? We’ve got congressional support. We got a blueprint, and we’re working on it.

President to Award Soldier Medal of Honor Nov. 16

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2010 – President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta in a Nov. 16 White House ceremony, officials announced yesterday.

The 25-year-old noncommissioned officer -- who will be the first living soldier since the Vietnam War to receive the nation’s top military honor -- learned of his selection in a Sept. 9 phone call from Obama.

Giunta was a 22-year-old rifle team leader serving in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team’s Company B, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, when insurgents attacked his squad the night of Oct. 25, 2007. When approaching insurgents formed an L-shaped ambush, splitting Giunta’s squad into two groups, Giunta braved enemy fire to pull a squad member back to cover.

He later saved another soldier while trying to connect with the other half of his squad. He saw two insurgents carrying off the second squad member and recovered him while shooting and killing one enemy fighter and wounding and driving off others.

Giunta administered medical aid to the wounded soldier while the remainder of his squad caught up with them and secured the area. Despite Giunta’s efforts, the soldier died the next day during surgery.

Giunta enlisted in the Army in November 2003 and has completed two combat tours of Afghanistan, totaling 27 months. His wife, Jennifer, and his parents, Steven and Rosemary Giunta, will join him at the ceremony.

Philippines Requests Aid in Killer Typhoon’s Aftermath

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2010 – The Philippine government has asked for assistance after Typhoon Megi struck the island nation yesterday with sustained winds of 140 mph, Defense Department officials said here today.

Philippine officials announced that the storm killed at least 13 people, with thousands driven from their homes and more than 3 million left without power.

“The Philippines has submitted a formal request for assistance,” said Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan. “They’ve indicated a need for fixed-wing aircraft as well as heavy-lift helicopters.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development has sent a team to the Philippines to assess the damage and coordinate what U.S. assets might be needed. “We do have capabilities in the region that can be called upon if necessary,” Lapan said.

Officials said the effort will not draw resources or aircraft from the on-going humanitarian mission to aid flood victims in Pakistan.

The typhoon passed over the island and is on course for southern China and Vietnam and is regaining whatever strength it lost over the Philippines. Officials in China have ordered the evacuation of at least 140,000 people from a coastal area in the storm’s path.

The most recent report from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center said the storm has sustained winds of 115 mph with gusts up to about 145 mph, and waves at 34 feet. Officials said they expect sustained wind speeds to rise to more than 130 mph today, with gusts of more than 160 mph.

Senior Executive Service Announcements

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced the following Department of Defense Senior Executive Service appointments and reassignments.

John B. Allen has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as deputy director, naval warfare, director, Operational Test & Evaluation, Washington, D.C.  Allen previously served as senior associate, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, N.M.

Sajeel Ahmed has been assigned as director, Facilities Services Directorate, Washington Headquarters Services, Washington, D.C.  Ahmed previously served as program manager, Pentagon Renovation/Construction Program Office, Washington Headquarters Services, Washington, D.C.

James Bexfield has been assigned as director, Joint Analytic Support Division, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.  Bexfield previously served as director, Study and Analytical Support Division, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.

Richard Burke has been assigned as deputy director, cost assessment, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.  Burke previously served as deputy director (resources analysis), Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.

Scott Comes has been assigned as deputy director, program evaluation, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.  Comes previously served as deputy director (strategic, C4 and ISR programs), Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.

Eric Coulter has been assigned as deputy director, force structure and risk analysis, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.  Coulter previously served as deputy director, strategic assessment and irregular warfare, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.

Malcolm Ewell has been assigned as director, force structure assessments, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.  Ewell previously served as director, Analytic Integration Division, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.

Krystyna Kolesar has been assigned as director, Force and Infrastructure Analysis Division, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.  Kolesar previously served as director, Force and Infrastructure Cost Analysis Division, Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, Washington, D.C.

Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, October 21, 2010

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

Canadian Army Maj. Gen. Stuart Beare, deputy commanding general for police, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, will brief the media live from Afghanistan at 10 a.m. EDT, Oct 21, in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) to provide an update on current operations.  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.

Navy Selects First Submarines for Female Officer Assignments

From Commander, Submarine Group 10 Public Affairs

KINGS BAY, Ga. (NNS) -- USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) and USS Georgia (SSGN 729) homeported in Kings Bay, Ga., and USS Maine (SSBN 741) and USS Ohio (SSGN 726) homeported in Bangor, Wash., are the initial four submarines that have been selected to integrate female officers into their crews.

The blue and gold crews of the four submarines will each be assigned three female officers.

Two of the women will be submarine officers, and the third female officer will be a warfare qualified supply officer.

They will be assigned to their first submarine duty station after completing training, which consists of nuclear power school, prototype training and the Submarine Officer Basic Course. They are expected to report to their assigned submarines beginning December 2011.

Professional Golf Lessons Offered in Guantanamo Bay

By Chief Mass Communications Specialist (SW) Bill Mesta, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY (NNS) -- Golfers residing at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (GTMO), Cuba had the opportunity to improve their golf game when a professional golfer visited the base to provide lessons Oct. 14-18.

To help the base residents improve their golf game, Guantanamo Bay's Moral Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office brought Jon Fine, Professional Golf Association (PGA) golf professional, to visit the base for four days beginning Oct. 14.

Fine said he came to GTMO to give free golf lessons to service members and their families stationed on the island. This was his first visit to the naval station.

"It is always exciting to try and teach someone who has never hit a golf ball before and get them to elevate the ball," said Fine.

Fine has been playing golf for 34 years and is currently the manager at the Naval Station Mayport, Fla. golf course.

Fine gave golf lessons, lead a chipping contest and played in a 'beat the pro' tournament with base residents.

"The winners of the chipping contest played nine holes with me," said Fine. "I enjoyed the golf here immensely and as far as giving the lessons, I love to teach. I love to try and help people out."

Fine complimented the naval station on how the golfing facilities were set up more like a service than a business ultimately benefiting the GTMO community.

"If people can pick up the game of golf and recreate out here at the course as opposed to less than positive activities that is a good thing," said Fine.

"To me golf is very much like life," said Fine. "You have good days and you have bad days. Sometimes you feel like breaking every club in your bag. While other days you want to rejoice and think that the game is the most incredible thing that you have ever done in your life."