Military News

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Boston Bruins Goalie Makes Holiday Call to Abraham Lincoln Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Seth Clarke, Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- A goalie for the Boston Bruins spoke to hockey fans aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) during a phone call to the aircraft carrier Dec. 29.

Fourteen hockey fans aboard Abraham Lincoln gathered to ask Tim Thomas a number of questions throughout the call.

They asked about the Bruins' offensive approach, Thomas' early days in hockey and his early professional career playing in Finland and in the minor leagues.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Kaleb F. Brown asked what Thomas considered his most memorable moment as a hockey player.

Thomas said that although he has had quite a few memorable moments, his proudest moment came when he was named to the 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team on the same day the Bruins won a shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 National Hockey League Winter Classic in front of 40,000 fans at Boston's Fenway Park.

"Being named to the Olympic Team had been my dream since I was five years old, and finally I was able to realize that dream," said Thomas. "It was a great day."

Brown also asked Thomas what kept him motivated to reach his goals.

"If you really want something, just work as hard as you can to try to accomplish it. If you do everything that you possibly can to reach a goal that you want to reach, you'll respect yourself at the end of the day. It's nice to be rewarded, and I think you will be if you want something bad enough and you work at it hard enough," said Thomas.

Thomas reminded the gathered fans that he still has a larger goal looming in his career.

"I want to win a Stanley Cup," said Thomas. "I'm still working on that one."

The hockey star's phone call is the latest in a series of recent calls from prominent Boston sports figures to Abraham Lincoln's sports fans. Ray Allen, Celtics shooting guard; Bill Belichick, New England Patriots Coach; and Wes Welker, New England Patriots wide receiver; called Sailors on Christmas Eve. Red Sox Manager Terry Francona called the ship Dec. 21.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts to establish conditions for regional stability.

This article was sponsored by Military Books.

Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, December 30, 2010

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

This Day in Naval History - Dec. 29

By Navy News Service

1798 - First annual report by Secretary of the Navy, sent by Benjamin Stoddert.
1812 - USS Constitution (Captain William Bainbridge) captures HMS Java off Brazil after a three hour battle.
1943 - USS Silversides (SS-236) sinks three Japanese ships and damages a fourth off Palau.

2011 Wings Wheels Rotors and Expo

WHAT: WINGS WHEELS ROTORS & EXPO 2011 (www.WWRExpo.net)

WHEN: SUNDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2011, 9 AM TO 4 PM (0900 -1600hrs)

WHERE: LOS ALAMITOS ARMY AIRFIELD, JOINT FORCES TRAINING BASE
California National Guard          
11200 Lexington Drive
Los Alamitos, California 90720-5000 (OC Thomas Guide, pp 797)
(Katella at Lexington Dr)

WHO: 562-598-6659 / www.WWRExpo.net / info@losalchamber.com / 562-598-7035 fax

WWRE 2011 is an open house and family event sponsored by the Los Alamitos Area
Chamber of Commerce and the California National Guards Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB)

All the activities will take place on the flight line on Los Alamitos Army Airfield (KSLI)

Los Alamitos Army Airfield is the last remaining military airfield in the greater LA/Orange County areas with the longest runways in the OC. The JFTB is also the disaster support area for S. California.

On display will be military aircraft, helicopters, many cars, warbirds along with public safety, first responder and military equipment .Aircraft flyovers are planned including aircraft static displays.

Wings Wheels & Rotors will have various civilian and public safety helicopters with fire, police and military rotorcraft including some of the media aircraft seen daily on the air around SoCal. Along with the airplanes and warbirds are helicopter flights in civilian "choppers" for a small fee.
There will be free flights in general aviation airplanes by the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles for youth between the ages of 8 and 17 years who are interested in flying and aviation.

The largest event will be a huge car show including custom cars, new autos, motorcycles, roadsters, antique vehicles and hot rods. Awards to be presented for best cars. There will be many events for the family at WWRE 2011 along with a Kids Korner. Additionally, there will be food, including breakfast, music, vendors, displays, demonstrations, flybys and other activities on Sunday,23 October.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the JFTB Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) funds to support the armed forces personnel on the base. Sponsor opportunities and vendor space available.  Check with the Los Al Chamber of Commerce at 562-598-6659. Free admission, free parking. Donations accepted. No Smoking, dogs, bikes or alcohol permitted.
Open to the public. Picture I.D. required to enter the base

MEDIA WELCOME   562-598-6659  /  www.WWRExpo.net

Army Officials Work to Treat Invisible Wounds of War

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 26, 2010Military leaders and troops alike need more time at home between deployments to help diagnose and receive treatment for the "invisible" wounds of war such as posttraumatic stress, a senior Army officer said today.

"It affects everything. It affects the divorce rate. It affects substance abuse. It affects everything. And we've kind of taken our focus and shifted it to ensure that we're getting at that," Army Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the vice chief of staff of the Army, said on ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour.

"You want to get at these issues. We need more time at home before deployment," Chiarelli said.

Complicating matters, the symptoms of posttraumatic stress take sometimes months or years to show. More research is needed to understand the brain and the effects of stress, Chiarelli said.

"I think we're doing everything we possibly can to learn as much as we can about the brain. And that's really the issue. It's trying to understand the brain as well as we do the other organs in the body," he said.

"We just don't know that much about the brain. We automatically assume so many times that a person that's in a blast has a concussion. Many times, they don't have a concussion. Instead, they have posttraumatic stress," Chiarelli said.

The Army has implemented new programs both in theater and here at home to identify and treat those who show signs of suffering from posttraumatic stress, but there is still much to learn about the brain and how it responds stress and treatment.

In Afghanistan, soldiers are now sent to resiliency centers after suffering a bomb blast.

If a soldier is in a vehicle that is damaged, within 15 meters of a blast, in a building with a blast or if they lose consciousness, they are given an initial medical evaluation and pulled from the fight for 24 hours.

"Sometimes the symptoms of concussion don't display themselves for 24 hours. We give them a second evaluation, and if they pass that, they in fact go back to duty. If they fail either one of those in that 24-hour period, they go to a resilience center where we rest them until the brain has had an opportunity to heal from that concussion," Chiarelli said.

Before, the soldiers would have likely simply continued on duty.

"We had soldiers who knew that they'd had a concussion, knew that they had had their, quote, 'bell rung,' and they did nothing about it," the general said.

Chiarelli said that treating the stress on the battlefield is more effective than waiting until the soldier returns from deployment for medical help.

"We know in treating PTS the closer you treat PTS to the event that occurs, the more likely you are to help that individual," he said. "So much so that ... if the event occurs in the morning, it's very important that you bring the individual's anxiety level down before they go to sleep that night, because in [rapid eye movement] sleep, something happens in the brain that causes an individual to remember that and make the PTS harder to treat."

Once the soldier returns from combat, military leaders at Army installations work to identify those troops who engage in high-risk behaviors.

"What we see is a soldier who's down range for 12 months in a very high adrenaline environment, where every single day, he or she finds themselves facing an enemy. And they come home, and many times, want to replicate that," he said.

"We're looking at programs that, first of all, ensure that we are identifying early on those who are going to have a rough time reintegrating. And then taking soldiers and putting them in high-stress kind of events that are safe for them, such as water rafting and out doing those kind of sports to burn off that adrenaline, rather than getting on a motorcycle and traveling down the road at 100 miles an hour without a helmet on," he said.

Chiarelli said he briefs the leadership of every brigade combat team before deployment on the effects of traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress and needed treatment.

Also, Chiarelli added, the Army works closely with Veterans Affairs to ensure soldiers leaving the service understand their ongoing treatment options.

"You know, the problem with posttraumatic stress is that in the United States, the National Institute of Mental Health will tell you, for regular civilians, it is 12 years between the initiating event and when someone first seeks help. Now the issue there isn't that they finally seek help. It's all the things that happen in between," he said.

“When Families Grieve” receives CINE Golden Eagle Award

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) is happy to announce that Sesame Workshop’s latest phase of the Talk, Listen, Connect initiative, “When Families Grieve,” which DCoE helped develop, has received the CINE Golden Eagle Award for high quality production in Children’s Programs.

DCoE would like to offer our congratulations to Sesame Workshop and say thank you for their hard work and dedication to the emotional health of our nation’s military children.

National Guard Highlights Top 10 Missions of 2010

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 28, 2010 – This year has been a busy one for members of the National Guard. Here’s a look at some of the National Guard’s most memorable missions and events in 2010:

No. 10: Agribusiness Development Teams

Agribusiness Development Teams comprising Army National Guard soldiers with agribusiness expertise are performing training and advising missions at Afghan universities, provincial ministries and farms.

ADTs have ensured improvements are sustainable with local assets and within the context of the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock’s abilities. The ADT concept includes providing immediate agricultural expertise and security forces to enable daily community engagement.

No. 9: Homeland Response Forces

The National Guard added a Homeland Response Force package to its Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive response capabilities, providing a more robust response to any homeland incident.

When activated, HRFs perform search and extraction from collapsed buildings, victim decontamination, medical triage and transport to stabilization facilities, where doctors treat victims before they are moved to a hospital or other designated medical facility.

HRFs offer a bigger force, providing command and control of multiple CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Packages, weapons of mass-destruction, civil support teams and other Guard assets.

Ten HRFs -- one for each Federal Emergency Management Agency region -- are scheduled to stand up by Oct. 1, 2012.

No. 8: 2010 Winter Olympics

National Guard members from multiple states competed in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Army Sgts. Mike Kohn and Shauna Rohbock -- both of the Utah Army National Guard and the National Guard Outstanding Athlete Program -- along with Army Sgt. John Napier, of the Vermont Army National Guard and a soldier-athlete in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, competed in multiple U.S. Olympic bobsled team events throughout the Winter Games.

Army Sgt. William Tavares -- a 26-year veteran of the Army National Guard and bobsled coach in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program stationed at Lake Placid, N.Y. -- was an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Bobsled team.

Army Sgt. Jeremy Teela, of the Utah Army National Guard and the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, competed in the biathlon.

No. 7: State Partnership Program

The almost 20-year-old, 62-nation National Guard State Partnership Program continued to flourish in 2010, recognized by combatant commanders in their annual posture statements and congressional testimony for its contributions to expanding partnership capacity.

Guard members participated in military-to-military exchanges in their home states or partner countries, senior leaders -- including country leaders -- visited at home and overseas and National Guard bilateral affairs officers served in U.S. embassies worldwide.

Citizen-soldiers served side by side with colleagues from their partner nations in Operational Mentor and Liaison Teams on deployments in Afghanistan.

Back home, a multiagency roundtable recommended enhancing the SPP as a tool for citizen diplomacy.

Originating in Europe after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the SPP has expanded to numerous other regions of the world, most recently Africa.

No. 6: First F-22 assigned to the Air National Guard

On July 9, members of the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam community gathered for a dedication service for the National Guard’s first F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft.

The 199th Fighter Squadron of the 154th Fighter Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard, welcomed their first F-22, a fifth-generation fighter, replacing the F-15 Eagle fighter the squadron had flown since 1987.

No. 5: Operation New Dawn

Sept. 1 marked the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the end of combat operations by United States forces in Iraq and the beginning of Operation New Dawn.

During the drawdown of forces, National Guard members conduct stability operations, focusing on advising, assisting and training Iraqi security forces.

Operation New Dawn represents a shift from a predominantly military U.S. presence to one that is predominantly civilian, as the Defense and State departments work together with governmental and nongovernmental agencies to help build Iraq’s civil capacity.

The president plans to withdraw American forces from Iraq by the end of 2011.

No. 4: Pakistan flood relief

National Guard members collaborated with joint forces to provide relief to those affected by the unusually heavy monsoon rains that triggered floods through the Swat River Valley.

More than 40,000 Pakistanis were rescued during five months of operations, and C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft delivered bulk goods to distribution sites around the country, including almost 8,000 Halal meals.

U.S. aircraft delivered more than 25 million pounds of relief supplies during the operation.

No. 3: Haiti earthquake relief

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a magnitude 7.0 tremor, with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne, about 16 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.

Army and Air National Guard members supported relief efforts for the almost 3 million people affected by this natural disaster.

No. 2: Supporting the Department of Homeland Security on the Southwest border

National Guard members are assisting Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on the nation’s Southwest border.

Up to 1,200 Guard members are serving as criminal investigative analysts and Entry Identification Team members in the four border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

No. 1: Operation Deepwater Horizon

Citizen-soldiers and -airmen supported Operation Deepwater Horizon, the Coast Guard-led effort to corral the oil spill that followed the April 20 explosion and fire on the oil rig for which the operation was named.

More than 1,600 Guard members were assigned to the Gulf Coast states.

Troops helped clean up and contain the almost 5 million barrels, or 200 million gallons, of crude oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

Face of Defense: Army Artist Captures Life on Canvas

By Paul Bello
Fort Belvoir Public Affairs Office

FORT BELVOIR, Va., Dec. 29, 2010 – More than two decades ago the young artist possessed a portfolio of work that could have opened the doors to any college or art school, yet becoming an Army illustrator appealed to him the most.

Today, after nearly 25 years of service, Army Master Sgt. Martin Cervantez believes his decision to join the military remains the best of his career.

Cervantez, who works here at the Army Museum Support Center as its artist in residence, is a native of Clarkston, Mich. He has been with the organization for a little more than two years and has spent the bulk of his career taking pictures and working as a field artist while a part of numerous psychological and other special operations.

A self-taught artist, Cervantez found during his childhood that he had a passion to draw and paint. As he got older, he said it was his grandmother who encouraged him to explore his talents and consider a future in art. As it turned out, it was advice that stuck.

“I heard the Army was looking for an illustrator and just went for it. I told recruiters if I couldn’t do anything artistic then I wasn’t really interested,” Cervantez said. “To be a part of an organization like this is the icing on the cake for me. Here, I can lend my skills to our nation’s history. That’s an amazing opportunity to have.”

Besides serving in mostly leadership positions for the past 12 years, Cervantez has documented such things as strategy briefings, military exercises and routine air and ground patrols. His work comes from personal experiences and believes it takes a real talent to create something out of nothing.
He spent four months in Afghanistan at the end of 2008 and was in Haiti earlier this year after a massive earthquake crippled the island nation.

With so many images of life in his head, Cervantez finds he can’t wait to get back to the studio and put them on canvas. His time in Afghanistan produced some oil paintings he’s most proud of and he is hopeful to visit the country again before his military career ends.

“Normally, I’ll draw field sketches and take photos while on an assignment. Then, I’ll come back and sift through all the material to see what I want to make a larger presentation out of,” Cervantez said. “My goal during this process is to capture what soldiers experience and how it affects them and the community. It’s a thrill for me to have a soldier see a piece of art and say that’s who I was and that’s what I did.”

Cervantez admits he has become more responsible in what he portrays in his work and said there are mental images he will not even go near as an artist. In Afghanistan, he’d witnessed a suicide bomber blowing his body apart. As horrible as that was to experience firsthand, he said it pales in comparison to the time he saw a Haitian civilian bend down to light a cigarette off the charred and smoldering remains of another individual.

A fan of impressionism and abstract art, Cervantez has applied all kinds of methods to his artwork. This includes using oils and acrylics, to accentuate a particular moment he has captured either by hand or through a photo. He also said it’s his preference to keep his work ambiguous so everyone can relate to it. He has never inserted himself into anything he’s done and has no plans to start now.

When not at his Belvoir studio, Cervantez may be found in front of a classroom mentoring fellow soldiers at Fort Meade, Md. Besides being a senior artist in his field, he is part of a Critical Task Site Selection Board and enjoys sharing his zest of art with young students.

He has been invited to speak at art galleries and currently has two of his oil paintings on display as part of the “Art of the American Soldier” show at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

“I’ve told students how fun and personally rewarding this has been for me. I also stress the importance of not interfering with the safety of the soldiers out in the field,” Cervantez said. “I’m not worried about the dangers that come with the job. I believe that’s inherent with living. I’m an American soldier and it’s my fate to continue doing this.”

And, to his three children, who have all shown flashes of artistic talent, their father has some keen advice.

“I tell Kellie, Jaymz and Frank to sketch whatever they can whenever they can,” Cervantez said. “Every artist needs to discover themselves and I encourage them to draw from their own experiences. It’s worked for me and I thank God for it.”