Monday, January 31, 2011

Mullen: Egypt’s Military Promises to be Stabilizing Influence

By Karen Parrish and Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2011 – The Egyptian military has performed exceptionally well in its country’s recent crisis, the top U.S. military officer said today in a podcast for service members worldwide.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke about the situation in Egypt, where an enormous wave of demonstrations has the government in turmoil. The demonstrators are calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Mullen said he spoke with his Egyptian counterpart, Army Lt. Gen. Sami Enan, by phone and received an update on the situation.

“He assures me that they’re very focused on this, and they will continue to be a stabilizing influence within their country,” Mullen said. “So again, [it’s a] very tough situation. There’s great uncertainty right now, and we certainly are looking for a future which stabilizes, we hope, as fast as possible.”

The situation is very volatile, and no one knows how it will turn out, the chairman said.

“So far, the Egyptian military have handled themselves exceptionally well,” he said. “You can see that just from the pictures that have been displayed, in terms of how they have been accepted by their people.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs reiterated the administration’s position that there must be an orderly transition in Egypt.

“A whole range of issues … have to be addressed. … There has to be meaningful negotiations with a broad cross-section of the Egyptian people, including opposition groups, that go to answering the very core of the freedoms that people desire,” Gibbs told reporters at today’s White House press briefing.

President Barack Obama told Mubarak in a Jan. 28 phone conversation that the demonstrations are “an opportunity that should be seized … to bring about significant democratic change,” Gibbs said.

“We have said all along that there are … legitimate concerns and grievances had by the Egyptian people for a long time – the need for freedom to associate, freedom to communicate over the Internet, freedom to assemble, the freedom of speech – and that those must be addressed in a substantive way by the Egyptian government,” Gibbs said.

Mullen stressed the importance of Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force. The United States military has had a close and continuing relationship with Egyptian officers and noncommissioned officers since the Camp David Accords in 1978, he noted.

“We’ve had a very strong relationship with the Egyptian military for decades,” Mullen said. “And as I look to the future, I certainly look to that to continue.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the Egyptian military,” the admiral continued. “We look to a future that certainly, we hope, is stable, within Egypt as well as, obviously, in the region.”

Gunston Hall Crew Boosts Knowledge of Colombian Culture

By Cpl. Brittany J. Kohler, USS Gunston Hall Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Service members aboard the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock-landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) reviewed and discussed pertinent communication skills during a Spanish class aboard the ship to prepare for Amphibious Southern Partnership Station 2011 (A-SPS11), Jan. 20.

The A-SPS 11 mission is scheduled to kick off in Covenas, Colombia, and the class was conducted to prepare embarked crew members for subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) and community relations projects with the Colombian military. Embarked aboard Gunston Hall in support of A-SPS 11 is a Security Cooperation Task Force (SCTF), made up of Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 271, 2nd Tank Battalion, and 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion.

The SCTF's mission is to strengthen cooperative partnerships among nations and come together to enhance regional maritime security.

"It is important to learn some basic Spanish to enable us to build relationships, develop naval interoperability, and demonstrate our commitment to our partners in this hemisphere," said Staff Sgt. Mario G. Rodriguez, communications maintenance chief for the SCTF.

SCTF Marines and Sailors on board Gunston Hall will exchange professional knowledge and expertise with Colombian military members to include combat marksmanship, land navigation, water survival, visit, board, search and seizure and other vital areas to improve skills and develop relationships with the Colombian forces.

"If you are able to greet the Colombian Marines and know their rank, it will open doors to create interaction, socialization and friendships," said Rodriguez. "It is very uncommon for enlisted personnel in the Colombian forces to know any English."

Considering the language barrier between the U.S. and the Colombian forces, learning their language and culture is important for the SMEEs to be effectively accomplished.

The class focused on basic Spanish grammar and how to identify the Colombian military ranks. It provided key words and common sentences to communicate with the Colombian community. Service members also learned basic customs and courtesies in the Columbian culture.

"I learned a lot about customs and courtesies through the training, that is what was most important to me," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Joseph T. Waples with the SCTF. "Since we are going to their country, it is important to show them our desire to form those cultural bonds."

In addition to learning about Colombia, SCTF Marines learned about the history, food and traditions of Belize, Guatemala, and Jamaica before embarking on the mission. Gunston Hall is scheduled to visit these countries as well during the deployment to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility.

"We have conducted a few classes on this subject already," said Rodriguez. "But it is important to practice and review the material."

The class was just a small part of the continuous training and preparation for the mission onboard Gunston Hall.

"The class was definitely beneficial and a great refresher of the previous training," said Waples. "The classes will help us in our interactions and will put the U.S. military in a better light in regards to our relations with foreign countries."

Southern Partnership Station 2011 – Amphibious is a United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM)-directed operation implemented by Commander, United States Naval Forces South (COMUSNAVSO), supported by United States Marine Corps Forces, South (MARFORSOUTH) and carried out by Commander, Destroyer Squadron Four Zero (CDS40), USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) and a Marine Corps Security Cooperation Task Force.

For more information, please contact COMUSNAVSO/C4F Public Affairs by email at, visit, on Facebook at, or on Twitter at>  For more news from Commander, U.S. Marine Forces South, visit>.  For more news from Commander, U.S. Southern Command, visit>.  For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit

General Officer Announcements

The chief of staff, Air Force announced today the following assignments:

Maj. Gen. Robert C. Kane, commander, Spaatz Center For Officer Education, and Commandant, Air War College, Air Education and Training Command, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala,to director, Global Reach Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Clark, commander, 27th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Special Operations Command, Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., to director of plans, programs, requirements and assessments, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Brig. Gen. Lee K. Levy II, commander, 402d Maintenance Wing, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., to director, Logistics, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Brig. Gen. Scott W. Jansson, director, Iraq Security Assistance Mission, U. S. Forces-Iraq, U.S. Central Command, Baghdad, Iraq, to commander, Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Defense Logistics Agency, Richmond, Va.

Brig. Gen. Robert D. McMurry Jr., commander, Airborne Laser Systems Program Office, Aeronautical Systems Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., to director, Iraq Security Assistance Mission, U.S. Forces-Iraq, U.S. Central Command, Baghdad, Iraq.

Brig Gen. Howard D. Stendahl, command chaplain, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va., to Air Force deputy chief of chaplains, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C.

SECDEF Announces Flag Nomination

From Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense announced Jan. 31 the following Presidential nomination:

Rear Adm. James P. Wisecup to the rank of vice admiral and assignment as inspector general, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C.

Wisecup is currently serving as president, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.

People’s Choice – Photo Contest, Round 3

Posted by: LT Connie Braesch

We are entering week three of the People’s Choice award for this year’s Coast Guard Photo Contest. Every Monday, we are unveiling another batch of photos as we count down the top 40 of the more than 600 photos submitted.

To vote, you can go to our Flickr photo set ( to see all the pictures nominated so far and leave your comment there. It’s your choice… your People’s Choice.

Know a Hero? “DCoE in Action” Wants Your Nominations

We know that there are many people who work hard to make a difference in the lives of service members and military families each day, and we want to recognize them. The January edition of “DCoE in Action” launched a new feature in the newsletter, “Hero Spotlight”.

It’s simple. Here’s how it works.

Each month, “DCoE in Action” will spotlight a service member, veteran, spouse, caregiver or community member who, by their efforts and support related to psychological health and/or traumatic brain injury concerns, is nominated by YOU as a hero.

To submit your nominee, you’ll need to tell us why you think he or she should be spotlighted and what makes them a hero to you and others. If you know someone who you think would be a great candidate, we want to hear from you. Go to to fill out nomination form.

We can’t wait to learn about the heroes in your lives and thank you for your continued support! Submit your nominee today!

Navy Medicine Drops Anchor During Tampa Bay Navy Week

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Farrukh Daniel, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

TAMPA, Fla. (NNS) -- Medical professionals from around the Navy met with local healthcare providers, civic groups and community leaders to discuss the current state of Navy Medicine as part of Tampa Bay Navy Week 2011, Jan. 22-29.

Rear Adm. Richard Vinci, deputy chief, Logistics and Installations, Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery, was the senior officer representing the Navy during Tampa Bay Navy Week 2011.

"We are here to thank the citizens of Tampa for everything they do for our armed forces, especially the Navy and all of our native Floridian Sailors," said Vinci. "We also want everyone to know that we are good stewards of American tax dollars, by showing them some of the things that Sailors are doing around the fleet. As a key component of good stewardship, the Navy is focused on energy efficiency.

"The Navy is leading the way in developing Biofuels and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)," Vinci said. "Each of the new facilities that the Bureau of Naval Medicine is building is certified LEED Silver or better. We are committed to the environment."

In a meeting with Dianne Morrison-Beedy, Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of South Florida, Vinci shared how Navy medicine is critical to the chief of naval operation's maritime strategy. Along with traditional roles like deployments and projecting power abroad, Vinci discussed how international partnerships and teaming with non-government organizations supports the Navy's mission.

"The Navy truly is the healthcare tip of the spear," said Vinci. "When the tsunami struck in Indonesia, Navy doctors were the first international assistance to arrive at the scene. Health projection pays benefits in the long term. Now, nations like Indonesia and Haiti are more likely to welcome American service members in the future."

Cmdr. Sherri Santos, Navy Nurse Corps; and Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Ayers, Navy Medical Corps from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, met with trauma surgeons from Tampa General Hospital to discuss new experiences, life saving techniques and procedures currently used in the war in Afghanistan.

Ayers spoke about the people they treated during his recent deployment.

"We treated tons of Afghani children who had been injured by IED's (improvise explosive devices)," said Ayers. "Often times, they were the children of Taliban bomb makers who accidentally set off the explosive prematurely. By treating those wounded children, hopefully we sent the message, at least to some of them, that we aren't the bad guys."

According to Vinci, providing care to civilians in need, in places such as Afghanistan, is an example of smart power.

"There are two sides to Navy medicine's mission," said Vinci. "We provide direct medical support to our warfighters anywhere we operate, whether it be on the deckplate or on the battlefield. Marines don't go into the field, and ships don't go to sea without doctors, nurses or corpsmen.

"Smart power is providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief alongside our international partners to help bring stability and hope to those in need to the benefit of the global community. Navy medicine is often a cornerstone of these important missions."

Morrison-Beedy said she was excited to meet with the staff from Navy Medicine.

"We treat a lot of veterans here, and we are making great strides in areas like rehabilitation and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)," Morrison-Beedy said. "The information we learn has tremendous value in treating future, returning veterans as well as civilians who suffer similar traumas."

Vinci spoke about the recent advances in research and treatment the Navy is developing today.

"During World War II, we learned the value of plasma and now it's a common practice," Vinci said. "Today, our surgeons are developing revolutionary vascular and transplant techniques through lessons learned on the battlefield."

Along with Navy Medicine, more than 100 Sailors involved with Tampa Bay Navy Week 2011 participated in outreach events around Tampa Bay, and finished with the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, Jan. 29.

Tampa Bay Navy Week is the first of 21 Navy weeks across the country this year. Navy Weeks are designed to show Americans the investment they make in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.

For more information about Tampa Bay Navy Week, visit

For more news from Navy Office of Community Outreach, visit