Saturday, December 25, 2010

New Bridge Provides Path To Realistic Training in Okinawa

By Ensign Michael Yoshihara, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Marines at the Jungle Warfare Training Center (JWTC) can now conduct safer and more realistic training with the opening of a new $1.1 million bridge Dec. 20 at Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan.

Before the bridge was built, transporting Marines by vehicle to the village, which is located in a ravine accessible by a narrow road, was difficult.

"We were having a problem getting to the Marines that trained down there (in the village) because of safety reasons, so we stopped letting units come down here," said Marine Corps Maj. Kisha Flagg, Camp Gonsalves commander.

After having been shut down for more than a year and only open to foot traffic, the JWTC will now re-open the village to full units and vehicles and expand the scope of training for Marines.

The cast-in-place concrete bridge spans 34 meters and can hold up to 20 tons. It was completed by Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East's Resident Officer-in-Charge of Construction, Camp Butler and contractor, WITCO Industries.

The JWTC is the last facility of its kind in the Department of Defense used by Marines. Training there includes obstacle courses, team building, combat operations and survival skills. The area in which the bridge is located simulates a village; troops training there live in basic housing shelters surrounded by small creeks, wild animals and dense brush. The goal is to closely simulate something like the jungles of Vietnam.

MCAT Partners with Peru Navy

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Jeffery Tilghman Williams, High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift Public Affairs

CALLAO, Peru (NNS) -- Maritime Civil Affairs Team (MCAT) 207 completed a two-week subject matter expert exchange with Peruvian naval officers on the topic of civil military operations in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief environments in Callao and Lima, Peru, Dec. 17.

The five-man team, assigned to Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command (MCAST), exchanged information and reference material with 15 Peruvian civil affairs officers on doctrine and the organizational value of civil affairs using five main pillars: populace and resources control, foreign humanitarian assistance, civil information management, nation assistance and support to civil administration.

The officer in charge of the subject matter expert exchange said that his Peruvian counterparts are just beginning to conduct civil affairs, and that they were eager to learn and exchange information for their program.

"It was a mutually beneficial exchange on a tactical level between two nations committed to building enduring relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my team's experiences in Haiti as well as understanding the Peruvian navy's role in future disaster response situations," said Lt. Jason Schechter, MCAT 207 officer in charge.

During the joint service information sharing venture, the Peruvian sailors shared their new disaster relief task-force organization, which incorporates the aviation, physical security, operations and public works force of Naval Base Callao into an immediate response group able to deploy and respond to earthquakes, floods or tsunamis in the Callao region.

The MCAT team also discussed tactics and procedures used by the U.S. government in response to recent efforts throughout the world including Haiti.

"Getting to know our counterparts in foreign navies allows my team to gain a broader understanding of how other countries view civil military operations," said Schechter. "It promotes interoperability and partnerships at a time when our countries share common security concerns."

MCAST staffs, trains, equips and deploys Sailors to facilitate and enable a Navy component or joint task force commander to establish and enhance relations between military forces, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, and the civilian populace.

Accomplished in a collaborative manner across the spectrum of operations in the maritime environment, MCAST executes civilian to military operations and military to military training, as directed, in support of security cooperation and security assistance requirements.

SPS 2011 is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America involving information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region.

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility.

COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. maritime strategy, including theater security cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

For more information, contact COMUSNAVSO/C4F Public Affairs by e-mail at, visit, on Facebook at or on Twitter at

Chairman’s Corner: Happy Holidays

By Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2010 – As our Nation celebrates this holiday season, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen serve around the world in Afghanistan, Iraq, and a multitude of other locations, protecting all of us. Thanks to your commitment – and sacrifice – our friends and families can enjoy the good tidings long associated with this most meaningful time of the year.

While we celebrate this season’s goodwill, we also remain mindful that many of our men and women in uniform remain in harm’s way as our Nation enters its tenth year at war. We deeply honor your service and that of your families who serve along with you. Our thoughts and prayers are particularly with our wounded warriors, their families, and the families of the fallen and missing. These Americans have borne the most solemn burden in our fight to secure a better future – for our children and our grandchildren – in a very dangerous world, and we must never forget them.

On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our families, I thank you for all you do for our country. We wish you and your families a joyful holiday season, and wherever you serve, we extend our deepest hopes and prayers for a safe and happy 2011.

Coast Guardsmen get holiday call from President Obama

Written by: LT Connie Braesch

Part of President Obama’s Christmas morning included a personal phone call to members of the military, thanking them for their service.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Dustin Monroe, a yeoman assigned as a hazardous materials inspector to the Coast Guard’s Redeployment Inspection-Assistance Detachment (RAID), spent about two minutes chatting with the President.

“It was definitely an honor and a cool experience,” said Monroe, a Missoula, Montana native who is halfway through a yearlong deployment with the 17-member RAID team. “He asked me how things were going so far and wished us a happy holiday season. It was fun and I’m glad I was able to share the experience with my Coast Guard and Army teammates.”

“Today, we’re also thinking of those who can’t be home for the holidays – especially all our courageous countrymen serving overseas,” Obama said in his Weekly Address with the First Lady. “America’s brave servicemen and women represent a small fraction of our population. But they and the families who await their safe return carry far more than their fair share of the burden.”

Monroe has spent the past six months at forward locations throughout Iraq in order to help Army units return equipment and personnel to the States. The RAID team is one of a handful of units assigned to Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, a 300-member strong unit based in Bahrain, which supports missions throughout the Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn theaters.

Monroe was one of just two Coast Guardsmen to receive phone calls from the Commander in Chief this holiday morning. The other is aboard a Coast Guard patrol boat in the Arabian Gulf.

Today in the Department of Defense, Monday, December 27, 2010

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

Today in the Department of Defense, Saturday, December 25, 2010

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

Today in the Department of Defense, Sunday, December 26, 2010

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

Today in the Department of Defense, Saturday, December 25, 2010

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