Military News

Friday, November 12, 2010

SECDEF Announces Flag Officer Nomination

From the Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced Nov. 10 that the president made the following nomination:

Capt. James W. Crawford III, Judge Advocate General Corps, for appointment as legal counsel to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and appointment to the rank of rear admiral (lower half).

Crawford is currently serving as legal counsel to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C.

Adm. Papp, Secretary Napolitano honor Coast Guard veterans

Written by: LTJG Stephanie Young

In a Coast Guard Veterans Day Memorial Ceremony held today, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was joined by Admiral Bob Papp, Commandant of the Coast Guard, and Master Chief Michael P. Leavitt, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard in honoring veterans and their service at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Today is a time to recognize that we are stronger as a country not only because of what they have given, but also because of what they continue to give,” said Napolitano. “Nowhere is this more true than the Department of Homeland Security.”

The ceremony honored the sacrifices made by Coast Guard service members, veterans and their families during a wreath laying ceremony and brief remarks at the Coast Guard World War I Memorial, which includes the names of Coast Guardsmen who lost their lives during World War I.

“On this veterans day when we honor all of those who have worn the uniform of our country, we honor our profession by recognizing all of us who have served past and present,” said Papp. “We are privileged to be members of a very unique service and for this reason whenever I have been asked about what we are, or what we do, I always reply with pride ‘We are Coast Guardsmen. We are the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.’ So to all veterans I salute you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service past and present.”

Missouri Army National Guard, Japanese military unite to overtake enemy forces

U.S. Army Japan Courtesy Story

KAMI FURANO, Japan – “Move, move, move! Enemy fire at ; engage and fire! Cover me while I move! I’ve been hit; I need a medic!”

These are just a few of the commands barked by leaders of the Missouri Army National Guard amidst helicopters touching down in the landing zone, small-arms fire, mortars and grenade explosions as 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment based out of Kansas City, Mo., teamed with the 26th Infantry Regiment, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force. The training exercise in northern Japan in early November was part of Orient Shield 11.

“This type of training experience only comes once in a blue moon,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Fujimoto of St. Louis, Mo., commander of the 138th. “The Japanese Ground Self- Defense Force is one of the most professional, modern and disciplined military organizations I have ever seen. Just to train with such a professional army is an experience in itself.”

Fujimoto said Orient Shield is a great opportunity for a reserve component to work with one of the United States’ biggest allies.

“Together we can accomplish more than either one of us could apart,” Fujimoto said.
The focus of the exercise was developing tactical, bilateral operations and war fighting skills between the U.S. and Japanese militaries.

“Our main goal is to enhance the interoperability between the U.S. and Japan,” said Col. Takeshi Hirano of Hiroshima, the regimental commander for 26th. “During this training we are learning the differences and similarities between the U.S. and Japan.”

This training came less than two months after tensions flared between Japan and other eastern nations over islands in the region. The dispute is of interest to the U.S. because of a half-century old agreement between America and Japan. In 1960, the two countries signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, a binding agreement for both countries to support each other from enemy attack.

“Exercises like this encourage enduring professional mutual engagements and good will between the U.S. and Japan as we strengthen our relationship,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Harrison, commander, United States Army Japan. “All participating U.S. Army units benefit in maintaining a bi-lateral partnership. Operations like Orient Shield serve as an opportunity to integrate and train all branches of the U.S. military, while building rapport between the U.S. and our allies.”

Approximately 400 soldiers from National Guard units in New Hampshire, Illinois, Washington, Nevada, California and Missouri participated in a two-week training exercise called Orient Shield 11. Over half of these soldiers were from the Missouri Army National Guard, who worked closely with their Japanese counterparts. The rest served as logistical support for the operation.

“This is a very important exercise,” said 1st Lt. Taihei Hongo of Tacoma, Wash., a U.S. linguist from the Washington Army National Guard’s 341st Military Intelligence team. Hongo was born in the United States, but has family in the U.S. and Japan. He has spent most of his life split between each country.

Japan is one of our closest allies and someone we wouldn’t want to lose,” he said. “This has been a great experience. They are learning a lot from us and we are learning from them.”

One week of training allowed the two countries an opportunity to collaborate and exchange military strategies, before the operation culminated in a field training exercise combining all of the shared techniques into a battle scenario. It quickly became clear that the two sides use similar military tactics.

“Interacting with our Japanese counterparts showed that their tactics and procedures are almost identical to ours,” said 1st Sgt. Shannon Wilde of St. Elizabeth, Mo., first sergeant for Headquarters Company, 138th Infantry Battalion. “There are slight differences between us. There are some things they haven’t thought of and others that we haven’t thought of. It’s good to exchange ideas.”

Soldiers speaking two different languages are one of the most obvious difficulties, but translators helped fuse the gap to overcome the language barrier.

“Our counterparts perform the same jobs as we do, which makes it easier to communicate,” said Sgt. Akiko Oota of Chitose, Japan, a member of Japan’s 11th Infantry Regiment and a translator for the exercise.

Just as schools in the United States teach Spanish, Oota said Japanese students learn English in junior high and high school. This made training easier for the two allied nations.

“It has not been real hard,” said Spc. Chie Yang of Cassville, Mo., with the 138th, who spent one week before the mission educating himself on the Japanese language. “Many of them speak decent English, and when we do not understand each other we use hand signals.”

With wars ongoing in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers have had a lot of exposure to different cultures. Most soldiers working with the Japanese note distinct differences.

“The Japanese understand our language and culture better than the Iraqis and Afghans,” said Sgt. Tyrel Naugle of Boonville, Mo., a member of the 138th who deployed to Iraq twice and spent one overseas tour in Afghanistan. “We are similar in many ways, including how we operate on the battlefield.”

Sgt. 1st Class Bradford Connolly of Dunbarton, N.H., a member of the New Hampshire Army National Guard’s medical detachment, admits his best experience during the two-week exercise was working with his Japanese counterparts.

“I was so na├»ve to our relationship with Japan,” Connolly said. “Before this, all I really knew was what my wife’s grandfather said about Japan when he served during World War II.”

Training in rain, sleet and snow didn’t seem hurt morale. Many soldiers said the training surpassed their expectations and they learned a lot that could not be taught through training stateside.

“It is great to train in a realistic environment, and working with the Japanese in their own land is a unique experience,” said Pfc. Jake Fendrick of Rolla, Mo., a member of the 138th. “It’s nice to see their attitude in combat is similar to ours.”

Wilde smiled when remembering a comment one of his soldiers made during the training.
“They’re just like us,” this soldier told the first sergeant, after spending time talking to a few of the Japanese soldiers.

Wilde said his time interacting with the Japanese made one thing obvious to him.

“We all have something special that brought us into the military. Just like us, there was something inside of them that made them who they are, and encouraged them to be a soldier.”

This was the thirteenth year of Orient Shield, and U.S. and Japanese soldiers continue to strengthen a growing relationship.

“I would go to war teamed up with the Japanese any day,” said Pvt. Jonathan Rouse of Kansas City, Mo., a member of the 138th.

Veterans’ Reflections: Serving to Make a Difference

By Christen McCluney
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2010 – When Betty Ann Patterson joined the Army in 1952, she knew she wanted to do one thing: make a difference.

"Women were only a minuscule part of the military in those days," she said. "I wanted to break new ground, to go where few women had gone before and to be a leader in an unexplored area."

Serving 22 years in the military, Patterson did just that.

Originally from Tacoma, Wash., she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Women's Army Corps shortly after her graduation from the State College of Washington, now Washington State University. After completing her basic military officers course at Fort Lee, Va., in February 1953, she accepted a regular Army commission as a second lieutenant, and in 1960 she transferred to the Air Force as a captain.

Patterson served during both the Korean and Vietnam wars and spent one year in Vietnam from August 1967 to 1968, a period she called the most memorable time of her service. She said one of the biggest lessons she learned during her time in the service was not to expect special privileges because she was a woman.

"In my day, women had to work harder than men to achieve success in the military service," she said. "We had to prove ourselves worthy of our responsibilities."

As an officer, she said, she learned to seize every opportunity to lead as a woman during that time. "Never tell your superiors you can't do something,” she added. "If they think you're qualified, you are."

Patterson retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in 1974, and returned to Tacoma after many years of living in La Jolla, Calif., and Arlington, Va.

After retiring, Patterson said, she sees Veterans Day as a day of rest for her and her husband, who is retired from the Navy. She added that in her younger days she would attend military parades and sometimes would march, but that now she spends her day reflecting.

"Veterans Day means celebrating the military strength of our country so that we can remain free," she said. "It recognizes the veterans who have contributed to our freedom, many by making the ultimate sacrifice."

(“Veterans’ Reflections” is a collection of stories of men and women who served their country in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and the present-day conflicts. They will be posted throughout November in honor of Veterans Day.)

Commentary: Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2010Visiting Arlington National Cemetery on an ordinary day makes the day itself extraordinary. It is a place that imposes its own mood: reflective, sweetly melancholic, unabashedly patriotic.

Rank upon rank of small white crosses stand among gently rolling, green hills. Old Guard soldiers, solemn and remote, endlessly pace a slow and ceremonial vigil before the nation’s entombed and revered dead.

The Tomb of the Unknowns is here, as is the tombstone of heavyweight champion and Army veteran Joe Louis. Ira Hayes’ grave is there, and Lee Marvin’s. The last Buffalo Soldier and a young woman killed in the Virginia Tech shootings -- the daughter of veterans -- also rest here.

On Veterans Day, Arlington National Cemetery is the military’s sacred grove, its place of deepest mystery. On this day above all others, people seem drawn to its sanctity.

Thousands of visitors speaking every language under the sun pass through Arlington’s gates on Nov. 11. This year, as a former soldier and the wife and daughter of soldiers, I gathered my small courage to come here to honor the fallen.

Each Veterans Day, an American leader places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns to honor America’s veterans and servicemembers who have died in combat. Today, hundreds of people gathered at the tomb, the heart of Arlington National Cemetery, in the hour before the ceremony.

Dotted through the diverse crowd were white-haired veterans in their service caps and men and women in uniforms –- and in wheelchairs. Patiently and quietly, adults, teenagers and small children watched and waited. The Old Guard soldiers paced.

Black wool overcoats rubbed shoulders with leather biker jackets, and red pumps stood next to running shoes. Apart from an occasional murmur from the scores of solemn spectators lining the steps, the only sounds were the whisper of falling leaves and the crisp crack of brass heel plates as the honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns paced off the measured movements of the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry’s vigil.

At , Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by Maj. Gen. Karl R. Horst, commander of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, walked into the space where normally only the guards may enter.

It is a silent ceremony. Honor guards from each service slow-march into position before the wreath is placed. They are resplendent in dress uniforms -- disciplined, solemn, young, all races, both sexes, all services, completely magnificent.

Except for the commands of their leaders and the announcement of the official party’s arrival, there is no speech. Speeches will follow, away from the tomb, but within that space so reverently, so ceremonially guarded, there is no room for talk.

Biden moved forward and set the ceremonial wreath in place. He stepped back and placed his hand over his heart as the piercing bugle notes of “Taps” floated through the chilly, sunlit air.

Throughout the year, Americans old and new come to Arlington, perhaps, because Arlington holds something of all Americans.

The graves belong to veterans and their families. But those veterans were part of, not apart from, their country. Like today’s veterans, like today’s servicemembers –- like so many in today’s American population -- they were humans called to sometimes superhuman effort.

Earlier this week, a sergeant-turned-entrepreneur told me he believes Americans simplify our veterans as either victims or heroes. Veterans are people, Zack Bazzi said, and they are as complex and multifaceted as any other people.

I believe Zack is right. He was speaking to me at a volunteer event with other veterans. They were building a house, and there was sweat, dirt, laughter and talk of beer.

It’s possible that Arlington’s secret is that it shows both sides of those who rest here.

These men and women simply were ordinary people who chose to serve in the armed forces of our country. Many of those resplendent young men and women at Arlington yesterday -- and the generals too, most likely -- went home last night and watched television, read a bedtime story or walked the dog.

Arlington National Cemetery is a military place. The U.S. military is an American institution. Part of us is in it -– a son or daughter, niece or nephew, father or mother -- and it is part of us. It is part of our history, part of our legacy as Americans, a symbol of our national grief and our national strength.

A military funeral here is imbued with a weight of dignity, of profound sorrow for a brother or sister in arms. Visiting the cemetery to say goodbye to a friend or loved one brings an added dimension to the profound and dreaded act of grieving a death.

It offers a glimpse, even to those who have never served, of the simple but mysterious bonds –- truly the bonds of a family -- rooted deep in the heart of those who wear or have worn the nation’s uniform.

Next year, I hope to be among the visitors at Arlington on Veterans Day once again. I’ll bring my daughters, and I hope they’ll share the awe that I felt here on Veterans Day 2010.

This Day in Naval History - Nov. 12

From the Navy News Service

1912 - Lt. Theodore Ellyson makes first successful launching of an airplane (A-3) by catapult at the Washington Navy Yard.
1940 - Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Harold R. Stark submits memorandum to Secretary of the Navy on four plans if U.S. enters war. He favors the fourth one, Plan Dog, calling for strong offensive in the Atlantic and defense in the Pacific.
1942 - First day of the three days of fighting in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
1943 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt embarks on USS Iowa (BB 61) to go to the Allied conferences at Teheran, Iran, and Cairo, Egypt.

Coast Guard Heroes: Heriberto Hernandez

Written by: LTJG Stephanie Young
This is the last post in the Compass series that chronicled the first 14 heroes the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters have been named for. These men and women, who stood the watch before us, lived extraordinary lives as they lit the way for sailors in times past, braved gunfire in times of war and rescued those in peril at sea. As Coast Guard heroes, their stories are a constant reminder of our service’s legacy. As the namesake of the Coast Guard’s newest patrol boats, they will inspire the next generation of Coast Guard heroes.

The Vietnam War saw Coast Guardsmen performing brave actions during wartime operations as they risked everything they had, day after day, to serve the United States of America. Nowhere is this sacrifice more evident than the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. There, on panel 37W – line 46, you will find the name of Heriberto Hernandez, a Fireman aboard Coast Guard Cutter Point Cypress who made the ultimate sacrifice as he braved enemy gunfire in South Vietnam.

In the spring of 1968, just three years after enlisting in the Coast Guard, Hernandez, a native of San Antonio, Texas, deployed for duty in Vietnam. Known by his shipmates as “Eddie,” he served on board the 82-foot Coast Guard Cutter Point Cypress, which along with 16 other patrol boats made up the Coast Guard component of Operation Market Time. As part of Operation Market Time, Hernandez, with 285 Coast Guardsmen, patrolled 1,500 miles of the Vietnamese coastline.

It was December 5, 1968, when Hernandez departed the Point Cypress to participate in routine small boat operations along the unsafe Ca Mau Peninsula, located on the southern-most tip of South Vietnam.

Hernandez was with two shipmates from the Point Cypress as they patrolled up the Rach Nang River. The small boat crew was looking for vessels to board, such as fishing boats anchored without working nets and other “junks” engaging in suspicious activity or in restricted areas.

As they motored along the canal, Hernandez and his two shipmates came across a shoreside bunker manned by the Viet Cong. The Coast Guardsmen were in an open boat, and had no protection. Despite this, they opened fire on the bunker and soon the small-boat crew was under heavy fire.

The Viet Cong continued to fire on Hernandez and his crew with automatic weapons, piercing the boat’s structure. Eventually, the small boat was able to evade the ambush, but not before Hernandez and the other two crewmembers were severely wounded.

Hernandez was taken back to the Point Cypress, but his wounds were too extensive and he died surrounded by his shipmates. For his bravery as he faced the enemy, Hernandez was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Bronze Star Medal with the Combat “V” device.

A special place in the Coast Guard’s history

The coastline of Vietnam proved a challenge for Naval Forces Vietnam due its unique inland and coastal waters. Soon after the start of the war, Coast Guard units were recognized as the ideal platform with the necessary expertise of small boat operations, and the Secretary of the Navy requested use of the Coast Guard’s 82-foot patrol boats. Together, with other Naval vessels, the patrol boats formed Coast Guard Squadron One and began their work in Vietnam July 30, 1965.

Alan Dillenbeck served with Hernandez aboard the Point Cypress from 1967 to 1968. Dillenbeck’s tour in Vietnam ended a few weeks before Hernandez was killed, however, he remembers Hernandez for the kind of man he always was:

“Eddie’s and my deployment overlapped by just a few months, however, working with him made a huge impact on my life,” said Dillenbeck. “He had a formidable presence. There was no one who I would have felt more comfortable with watching my back. Eddie was perhaps the toughest and most fearless person I’ve ever met.”
With contributions from LTJG Ryan White

Veterans’ Reflections: The Value of Military Service

By Ian Graham
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2010 – David Fike got the urge to serve early, but his father insisted that he think about the decision thoroughly and perhaps consider an officer candidate program, rather than running to enlist in the Army Air Corps in 1944.

He joined the V-12 Navy College Training Program, an ROTC cousin designed to supplement the Navy and Marine Corps with commissioned officers during World War II.

Fike served in that program as an apprentice seaman from 1944 to 1946 – he never attended basic training because the war had ended – then returned home to attend pre-med courses at Dartmouth University.

“After I graduated with [a bachelor of arts] degree as a civilian, I worked as a chemist at the University of Wisconsin,” he said.

He was there when the Korean War started in 1950. Fike was in reserve deferred status until his senior year of law school; it was then that he received his draft notice.

“I went up to the Navy who had given me the benefit of three years in college, gratis, and I attempted to return to the Navy,” he said. “Of course, there are rules and restrictions with those who have received their draft notice. As they’re telling me this, sitting there is a Marine Corps recruiter, who beckoned me over.”

Three weeks later, Fike was in charge of a group of Marine recruits on a train from Chicago to San Diego. He attended basic training there and was sent to Quantico, Va., for further training. There, he was selected to attend the Basic School and become a second lieutenant. He also attended fire school and artillery training.

“I finally arrived in Korea when it was petering down to an artilleryman’s war, and I was assigned to the 4th Battalion of the 11th Marines,” he said.

When he left Korea, he took command of a firing battery – he had opted for a year’s extension after the war ended. After conducting a variety of operations with his firing battery, Fike left the Corps as a first lieutenant. The day he left the service, he got a letter informing him that he had made the list for promotion to captain, but he never was officially promoted.

Like many of his fellow former servicemembers, Fike reflected humbly about his time in uniform. He said he shouldn’t take too much credit for any medals or commendations he earned, as he wasn’t doing anything except what was asked of him.

“I’m quite sure on introspection … [that] I wasn’t doing anything other than required,” he said.

Fike said today’s Marine Corps still teaches the same values he learned when he was in uniform, even if the skills they learn are very different. His two sons each served four-year enlistments in the Corps, he noted, so he knows to some degree how much it’s changed, and how much has remained the same.

He said he never expected to see Marines doing entirely land-based operations, nor did he expect to see the way war has evolved, from the clear uniformed-military-versus-uniformed-military wars of the past to the more ambiguous operations going on now.

“The Marine Corps is a good place for young men to go if they want to grow up fast, and hopefully won’t get killed in the process,” he said. “It’s a tough row to hoe, and I do not envy anyone in terms of the type of war they’re fighting.”

(“Veterans’ Reflections” is a collection of stories of men and women who served their country in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and the present-day conflicts. They will be posted throughout November in honor of Veterans Day.)

Face of Defense: Vietnam Vet Inspires Daughter’s Service

By Army Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 12, 2010 – During her recent promotion ceremony, a National Guard member said her Vietnam veteran father was the inspiration for her service.

“I come from a family of military men, so I chose to follow in my father’s footsteps,” said Army Maj. Trenia Coleman, who is from Louisiana.

Coleman’s father, Jessie Hill, received a Purple Heart during the ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial here.

With friends and family in attendance, Coleman, who is the appeals and analysis section chief for the National Guard Bureau’s human resources office, was promoted to her present rank. She said that it meant the world to her to have her father attend the ceremony.

“I am very proud of my father,” she said.

Hill’s family said he served from 1964 to 1966 with the 25th Infantry Division’s 502nd Aviation Battalion and was wounded in Vietnam on Feb. 27, 1966.

Hill, a private first class, served as a door gunner. After being wounded, he was sent back home to Hawaii, where he awaited a medical discharge from the Army. After his discharge, the Purple Heart was mailed to Hill, but it never was properly presented, and it did not show up on his discharge papers.

“We worked on getting the award added to his [discharge papers] and presented to him, and we thought that combining the two occasions would be really special,” Coleman said.

Hill said he was drafted into the Army in 1964.

“When my daughter decided that she was going to enlist, I was a little nervous, because I didn’t want her to go through the same things that I did,” he said. “After a while though, I felt all right about it.”

As he watched his daughter become a major, the emotion was evident on Hill’s face.

“I am very proud of my daughter today, and I’m glad that she has made it as far as she has,” he said. “I never dreamed that she would have come this far.”

Missing WWII Airman Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Air Forces Capt. George W. Grismore, 30, of Salt Lake City, will be buried at sea Nov. 17 off the coast of Newport Beach, Calif.  A memorial service in Salt Lake City will precede the burial on Nov. 13.  On March 12, 1945, Grismore and five crew members aboard a C-47A Skytrain departed Tanauan Airfield on Leyte, Philippines, on a resupply mission to guerilla troops.  Once cleared for takeoff, there was no further communication between the aircrew and airfield operators.  When the aircraft failed to return, a thorough search of an area ten miles on either side of the intended route was initiated.  No evidence of the aircraft was found and the six men were presumed killed in action.  Their remains were determined to be non-recoverable in 1949.

In 1989, a Philippine National Police officer contacted U.S. officials regarding a possible World War II-era aircraft crash near Leyte.  Human remains, aircraft parts and artifacts were turned over to the local police, then to U.S. officials at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.

From 1989 to 2009, JPAC sought permission to send teams to the crash site but unrest in the Burauen region precluded on-scene investigations or recovery operations.  Meanwhile, JPAC scientists continued the forensic process, analyzing the remains and physical evidence already in hand.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA—which matched that of Grismore’s nephew—in the identification of his remains.

At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans.  Today, more than 72,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1420 or visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

Today in the Department of Defense, Friday, November 12, 2010

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

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen addresses the Hoover Institution Conference on Deterrence at 12:30 PST in the Stauffer Auditorium and Annenberg Conference Room, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, 434 Galvez Mall, Stanford, Calif.  Media interested in attending should contact Pagie Mathes at 650.724.7226 Desk, spmathes@stanford.edu or JCS Public Affairs, 703-697-4272.