Sunday, October 31, 2010

Naval Base San Diego Conducts Multiagency Security Training Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stephen Votaw, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Security officials from Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) took the lead in conducting a multiagency training exercise at the Pacific Beacon bachelor housing complex in San Diego Oct. 28.

The exercise was used to help prepare the base officials for a hostage scenario and to help integrate the base master-at-arms (MAs) with other professional

Units from the Commander, Navy Region Southwest (CNRSW) Police Department, San Diego Police Department, as well as hostage negotiators and a Special Weapons and Tactics unit from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), participated in the training exercise.

"It is important that we perform these types of exercises so that everyone knows how to respond," said Lt. David Deree, assistant security officer and force protection training team leader. "It is important to practice safety precautions for our Sailors and to help build communications with other agencies and departments."

Deree said that training advisers were on hand to answer any questions and give direction for those participating in the exercise.

According to Deree, NBSD conducts large-scale training exercises quarterly to help keep the highest level of readiness possible.

"We do these kinds of exercises for safety," said Deree. "Safety of both our security teams and our Sailors nearby the incident is always our highest priority, and we do everything possible to ensure the highest level of safety possible."

Base MAs and CNRSW police were the first to arrive and secure the scene until the San Diego Police Department and FBI officials arrived to take charge.

As part of the exercise, residents were cleared from the building prior to the scenario taking place to ensure the safest and most controllable training environment possible.

FBI agents played the role of the suspect and hostages barricaded inside of a room on the seventh floor of the Pacific Beacon bachelor housing complex.

Guantanamo Bay Media Invitation Announced

The Department of Defense and the Office of Military Commissions will provide seats for news media aboard military aircraft for travel to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on November 8, 2010, for a military commissions hearing in the case of United States vs. Noor Uthman.  Return travel is planned for November 11, 2010.

Media reservation requests should be e-mailed to  All requests must be received by , November 2, 2010.  Due to a limited number of seats aboard the flight and limited accommodations at Guantanamo Bay, media travel is not guaranteed.

NORAD Dispatches Fighters to Escort Suspicious Aircraft

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2010 – The North American Aerospace Defense Command ordered four fighter jets today to escort a civilian aircraft with suspicious cargo.

NORAD diverted two Canadian CF-18s to track the aircraft as it flew into and over Canadian airspace, NORAD officials said in a statement. The civilian aircraft was passed to two U.S. F-15s as it transited into U.S. airspace and its ultimate destination at John F. Kennedy International Airport, they added.

NORAD dispatched the fighters “out of an abundance of caution,” the statement said.

Family Matters: Halloween Opens Doors to Community

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2010 – I went for a long walk the other night and found my new neighborhood had been transformed into an otherworldly lair. Ghosts hovered from branches and skeletons from rooftops. Toothless pumpkins, faces frozen in eerie smirks, leered at me from nearly every porch as I passed by. But rather than feel the onset of fear, I felt a sense of satisfaction. I've got a sneaking suspicion I moved into my new neighborhood just in the nick of time.

I moved to Maryland about a month ago, a journey I've been blogging about over the past several months, detailing my challenges with everything from house hunting to picking the right school for my kids. But now it's time for the final stage of my move: meeting the neighbors.

In my last community, I must admit I didn't spend much time on social endeavors. I had a newborn, two elementary-age children and a husband to balance with work, which kept me busy. But people didn't seem to gather for street-side chats each evening there, something I sorely miss from my military days.

I remember gathering in my cul-de-sac in Turkey with other military families just about every evening, watching the kids from folding chairs on the sidewalk until it grew too dark to see each other.

I'm always amazed at how military families create such strong bonds and a sense of community in such a short time, and while juggling very difficult demands. They are always willing to pitch in to help another military family in need, whether it’s with child care, a last-minute ride home or just a shoulder to cry on. I know I was the recipient of much of that support when I was a single mom on active duty.

Military families have an amazing gift of empathy and adaptability. And I hope I can put some of those social skills to work here, since I plan to establish roots and settle in for the long haul.

Hence the walk. I not only wanted to get the lay of the land, but also to see if I could meet and greet some neighbors. I ended up seeing more creepy crawlers and spider webs than humans, but Halloween is just a few days away.

As I escort my bear cub, woodland fairy and Darth Vader down the street this weekend, I hope to make some connections that will last over the long term. The holiday, after all, is the perfect excuse to knock every neighbor's door. I'm looking at the holiday this year as a chance to gather new acquaintances, as much as an opportunity to score some candy from my kids.

I may meet a few ghosts and goblins along the way -- and, I'm sure, a few Lady Gagas and Justin Biebers this year– but I also hope to meet a few great people.

Happy Halloween!