Military News

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This Day in Naval History - Dec. 28

By Navy News Service

1867 - U.S. claims Midway Island, first territory annexed outside Continental limits.
1905 - Drydock Dewey left Solomon's Island, MD, enroute through the Suez Canal to the Philippines to serve as repair base. This, the longest towing job ever accomplished, was completed by Brutus, Caesar, and Glacier on 10 July 1906.
1941 - Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks requests that construction battalions be recruited.
1982 - Recommissioning of USS New Jersey (BB-62), the first of four Iowa-class battleships that were returned to service in 1980s.
1990 - LCDR Darlene M. Iskra becomes commander of USS Opportune, a salvage vessel.
1998 - USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS America (CV-66) Carrier Battle Groups deploy from Norfolk, VA, for Middle East to join Operation Desert Shield.

USS Constitution Gives Back to Veterans during Holiday Season

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kathryn E. Macdonald, USS Constitution Public Affairs

BOSTON (NNS) -- USS Constitution Sailors helped spread holiday cheer to veterans of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV) in Boston, Dec. 25.

Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Savage, USS Constitution executive officer; Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/SS) Timothy Shaeffer; Gunner's Mate Seaman Kali Morris, Master-at-Arms Seaman Gary Matthias; and Airman Sang Nguyen served Christmas dinner and talked to veterans as part of Constitution's partnership with the NECHV.

"I enjoyed volunteering at the veteran's center," said Matthias. "Since it was my first Christmas in Boston, it felt good to spend time with them. It really opened my eyes to a world I have never seen before."

Since establishing their partnership with the NECHV in April of this year, Constitution's Sailors have lent 1,113 man hours helping veterans. They also served Thanksgiving dinner.

"It's an honor for us to have this special partnership with the Sailors aboard the USS Constitution," said Steve Cunniff, NECHV director of community affairs. "The legacy of 'Old Ironsides' as our nation's oldest commissioned ship - having remained undefeated since its launching in 1797 - provides also a symbolic inspiration to veterans experiencing any kind of hardship; helping them to remember that a strong and united nation stands behind them to lend its support."

USS Constitution Sailors participate in more than 50 volunteer projects annually. They were also winners of the Commander Navy Region Middle Atlantic Good Neighbor Flagship award for small shore commands, lending more than 3,000 hours of community service in 2010.

"The NECHV is there to help veterans who are suffering from any number of setbacks, including trauma, mental illness or unemployment," said Savage. "Constitution's partnership with the center allows our Sailors the opportunity to help these veterans, and the veterans at the center really appreciate seeing volunteers in uniform. I believe being with Sailors bolsters the pride in their service."

Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard of Boston Harbor. It is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year.

For more information on Constitution, visit http://www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution or www.facebook.com/ussconstitutionofficial.

Today in the Department of Defense, Wednesday, December 29, 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 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium occurs at with four F-16s.

Senior Executive Service Announcements

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

Paul D. Mann has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and is assigned as assistant deputy director, ground systems, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics), Washington, D.C.  Mann previously served as supervisory program manager, U.S. Marine Corps, Quantico, Va.

Gerald Doyle has been assigned as director, enterprise engineering, Defense Information Systems Agency, Falls Church, Va.  Doyle previously served as systems engineering transformation executive, Defense Information Systems Agency, Falls Church, Va.

Face of Defense: Marine Shooter Earns Spot on Team USA

By Andrew Revelos
Marine Corps Base Quantico

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., Dec. 28, 2010 – A Marine who barely qualified on the rifle range in boot camp will compete in an international shooting competition next year.

Sgt. Emily Windmassinger of the Marine Corps Rifle Team earned a spot with the USA Young Eagle Rifle Team. In October she’ll travel to Brisbane, Australia, to compete in the 2011 Palma World Long Range Championship matches.

As a member of Team USA in the under 25 category, known as the Young Eagles, Windmassinger will shoot in the team and individual competitions.

“I think it’s such an awesome opportunity not only for me but for the Marine Corps,” she said. “For a long time we’ve had the tradition of being the best marksmen on and off the battlefield. Now I get to carry on that tradition at an international level … and show the world what a well-disciplined Marine looks like.”

Windmassinger said she wasn’t a very good rifle shot during boot camp and that her new-found shooting ability has come as a surprise to her. She first attended a shooting match when assigned to Marine Corps Support Activity in Kansas City. The Loves Park, Ill., native went to the match with her husband Mark, a Marine and competitive shooter. Another participant gave her a chance to shoot and she earned a high score. Four years later, the Windmassingers are both members of the Marine Corps Shooting Team.

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “It all happened really fast. I started doing Palma matches this year. Things just started to make sense for me in August. I met up with the Young Eagles at the [2010 Spirit of America Fullbore Rifle Prone Championship].”

Kelly Bachand, a coach for the Young Eagles who gained national attention as a contestant in the History Channel program “Top Shot,” asked Windmassinger to join the team for the international Palma match.

The Palma rifle matches date back to the 1876 centennial celebration when members of the National Rifle Association invited rifle teams from Australia, Canada, Ireland and Scotland to a long range rifle competition. Since then Palma matches have become one of the world’s best known long-range rifle competitions.

During the team match, shooters fire a total of 45 recorded rounds -- 15 each at the 800, 900 and 1,000-yard lines. All shooters compete with 7.62 x 51 mm NATO rifles fitted with aperture sights.

“A lot of people think of those distances as very far, but the shooting fundamentals are the same whether you’re at the 200 yard line or back at the 1,000,” Windmassinger said. “If you apply the fundamentals correctly and you read the wind you’re going to be fine.”

Shooting Team officer-in-charge Marine Corps Capt. Donald Traves is creating a Palma team from members of the rifle team who will compete at national-level matches. His goal is to add a measure of battlefield-like realism to his shooters’ skill set.

“If you’re in Afghanistan up on a hill, you don’t know if [the enemy] is 500, 700 or 800 meters away; you’re making your best guess and trying to shoot at him,” Traves said. “You have to be able to read the wind and read where the round is going.

“I’m hopeful with what Sergeant Windmassinger is doing with Palma, and by creating a Palma team, it will bring us into what the operating forces are doing,” he continued. “It’s a huge accomplishment for us.”

MCPON Stresses Do Your Part for 'Zero Tolerance' on Sexual Assault

By Special from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West released the following message on Sexual Assault to the Fleet Dec. 28.

"Shipmates,

As this year comes to an end and we start to focus on priorities for 2011, I'd like to address a subject that is impacting our great Navy, and that is sexual assault.

It is incomprehensible that a shipmate would commit such a horrible crime to another shipmate. Sexual assault in our Navy undermines teamwork, morale, unit cohesion, and operational readiness. Also, the long-term effects of sexual assault dramatically impact the victim for years to come.

For these reasons, sexual assault does not belong in our Navy. We have a 'zero tolerance' policy for this criminal offense and it is each and every Sailor's responsibility to adhere to this policy and do your part to alleviate this crime within our ranks

At the close of this year, reports of sexual assault have increased from last year, which could be attributed to victims' increased willingness to report the crime, but data also shows that sexual assaults are still occurring in our Navy. The highest risk group for victims over the past several fiscal years remains E-1 to E-4, ages 20 to 24, with most incidents occurring during the weekends. In most sexual assault incidents alcohol was a major factor impairing the judgment of predators, victims and bystanders.

Additionally, the most common sexual assault scenarios include off base parties, hotel rooms, barracks, night clubs and bars during liberty. Simply put, sexual assault knows no boundaries and the majority of victims know their offender.

Sexual assault is a personal crime and we should all take it personally and think 'what if it was my sister/brother, my son/daughter or my wife/husband?' Wouldn't you do everything in your power to protect them? That's how we should think about our shipmates — we are a Navy family, we rely on each other every day. Shipmates should be looking out for Shipmates and getting involved when you see someone starting to steer into danger.

In order to remove sexual assault from our Navy we need to ensure commands have a strong partnership with Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) and a robust Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program which fosters an environment where 'shipmates help shipmates' by not allowing destructive behavior to occur.

One of the ways to encourage the idea of 'shipmates helping shipmates' is through the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) peer mentoring program. The Navy launched the CSADD program June 24 with the focus on helping junior Sailors make better decisions.

CSADD's mission is: to provide Sailors with the best prevention and intervention tools possible to deal with the issues of drinking, reckless driving, and other destructive decisions while maintaining good order and discipline; to assist Sailors in making life decisions that will maintain positive lifestyles in keeping with the Navy's core values; to guide Sailors away from making poor and destructive decisions by providing them with positive and dynamic training; and to show Sailors how to make quick positive decisions and put their training to use in moments of high stress and peer pressure.

Every command is encouraged to start a CSADD chapter with Sailors in the age group of 18-25 and enable them to take on a leadership role within their CSADD chapter. For more information on starting a CSADD chapter, see OPNAVINST 1500.80 Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions Peer Mentoring Program, or the CSADD Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Coalition-of-Sailors-Against-Destructive-Decisions-CSADD/299642495316

We must continue to promote a positive command climate based on our Navy core values and Ethos in order to defend against sexual assault and continue to promote responsible, personal behavior. Eliminating sexual assault from our Navy is an All Hands effort, and I am confident that each of you will step up and take on this charge for the betterment of our Navy. Everyday you're making a difference and working hard in all corners of the world. YOU can put a stop to this crime!

HOOYAH!"