Military News

Thursday, February 03, 2011

This Day in Naval History - Feb. 03

From the Navy News Service

1801 - The U.S. Senate approves a peace treaty with France, ending an undeclared naval war which began in 1798.
1917 - The United States severs diplomatic relations with Germany.
1991 - Battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) fires eight 2,000-pound shells from her 16-inch guns, destroying prefabricated enemy concrete command and control bunkers Iraq is moving into Kuwait.

Navy Nurse Discusses Breast Cancer Battle

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2011 – Lt. Cmdr. Ronda Hartzel is a Navy nurse who worked diligently to maintain her healthy lifestyle. She routinely worked out, ate lots of salads and no red meat, and never smoked. When she found a lump in one of her breasts, she didn’t think too much of it.

“I had a few friends with a bad mammography read, and another whose mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer,” Hartzel said. “That motivated me to be seen.”

That was Dec. 31, 2009.

Stationed as an operating room nurse on a fleet surgical team at San Diego Naval Medical Center, Hartzel was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer at age 36. In January 2010, she asked to be reassigned to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where she had been stationed before.

“But when I got here,” she said, “they found it was in my ankle and my hip. So, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, which was pretty devastating.”

When the 14-year Navy officer arrived at Bethesda, she said, her long hair was intact and she still felt like herself. She comforted herself with the fact that she had no family history of the disease.

“Slowly but surely, you start to let go,” Hartzel said. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It takes on anybody and everybody.”

Hartzel’s medical regimen for her breast cancer didn’t include radiation. Instead, she had chemotherapy once a week for six months, followed by six months of chemo every three weeks.
She had a double mastectomy in August, followed by removal of her ovaries the day before Thanksgiving. The next day, she ran in a local turkey trot race.

“The doctors didn’t want me to, but I wanted to in case I wasn’t here next year,” she said.

Hartzel received breast implants Dec. 16.

Losing her hair proved the most difficult part of the entire process, Hartzel said. She shaved her head because the chemotherapy made her hair fall out.

“Looking in the mirror, I didn’t see myself at all,” she said. “I struggled with it, but you get to the point where you have to fight. I learned very quickly if I had a positive attitude and tried to pick myself up, it makes a big difference.”

Hartzel said she felt invisible. When people saw her in the hall, most said nothing.

“They wonder what’s wrong with you. They want to ask, but don’t know what to say to you,” she said. “Other people just avoid you, because they can tell something’s wrong.”

Yet, she said, some positives marked her diagnosis, surgeries and treatments, noting she’s had support from the hospital staff, family and friends while soothing the fears of other women with breast cancer.

“The Navy’s been great to me, and I’ve always felt a lot of love and that’s why I came [to Bethesda],” she said. “It always felt like home to me.”

Still, said Hartzel, who recently was selected for promotion to commander, there are only so many times you can tell your story, especially when you know it’s devastating to your friends and family.

“My mother is still struggling,” she said. “She’s in denial.”

After her diagnosis, Hartzel said, she wondered if she could have done something to prevent the cancer.

“I wondered, ‘Maybe I should have come in sooner; it might have made a difference,’” she said. “I think I did everything I possibly could. I was in the best shape of my life. I was working out every day. Sometimes you have to realize some things are out of your control.”

Cancer can make a person do a lot of bartering, Hartzel said.

“As a Stage 4, I wish I could go back to a Stage 2,” she said. “When I was a 2, I wished I could go back to a Stage 1. I decided I’m going to live every moment just like it’s my last. None of us knows how much time we have left on this Earth.”

Hartzel noted that she just returned from Hawaii. “I don’t put things off any more.” She said. “I make sure I take the opportunities.”

In two or three weeks, Hartzel will have all of her scans repeated to see if the cancer has spread to her bones or anywhere else.

“This could be my last chemo,” she said while lying on a gurney undergoing a treatment. “I am determined to be a success story and beat the odds. I want to be one of those 20 percent who lives.”

Navy Seeks "Spirit of Hope" Nominations

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Submissions for the 2010 Spirit of Hope award must be submitted by March 18, to Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education) through OPNAV N135D.

The award recognizes an individual or organization that epitomizes the values of Bob Hope: duty, honor, courage, loyalty, commitment, integrity, and selfless dedication.

Since 2005, the Navy has nominated one outstanding individual or support organization to receive the distinguished Spirit of Hope Award. Nomination criteria and instructions were announced in NAVADMIN 410/10.

"The individual or organization being nominated should reflect Mr. Hope's service to the spiritual, social, welfare, education, and entertainment needs of our Sailors," said Millie King, Chief of Naval Personnel, Personal Readiness and Community Support Branch program analyst, who is coordinating the Navy's nomination process. "Nominations should describe extraordinary achievements and contributions during 2010."

Originally commissioned by the USO, the Spirit of Hope Award was inspired by Hope's dedication to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces for five decades. Since 1997, this award has been formally presented by the Wiegand Foundation, Inc., during an annual ceremony held in Washington, D.C.

The Spirit of Hope Award is open to active duty, Reserve, veteran and civilian Navy employees or an organization. Members of the civilian community or non-governmental organizations supporting the Navy and embodying the Navy's core values are also eligible.

For detailed information, read NAVADMIN 410/10 or visit www.npc.navy.mil/CommandSupport/CommunitySupportProgramPolicies/the+spirit+of+hope+award.htm. For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp/.

Today in the Department of Defense, Friday, February 04, 2011

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

Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport to Save Millions with Energy Savings Performance Contract Project

From Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs

KEYPORT, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport flipped a ceremonial switch Feb. 1, marking the end of a 12-month Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) construction phase and the beginning of energy savings worth more than $43 million over the life of the contract.

The ESPC's geothermal heat pumps, high efficiency HVAC and building systems, improved energy management controls and other features of the conservation project will reduce energy consumption and significantly reduce NUWC's carbon footprint.

"The long tradition of stewardship and management continues today as we celebrate the end of the 12-month construction project and the beginning of reducing our annual energy consumption by more than 30 percent," said Capt. Stephen Iwanowicz, NUWC Keyport commander. "The 2.5 million kilowatt hours per year the improvements will save translates into over 7,000 tons of CO2 during the life of this contract."

Iwanowicz said by using the Energy Savings Performance Contract, no military construction funding was needed for the project. The Trane Corporation spent $15.9 million during the past year to install energy saving equipment and infrastructure at Keyport.

Using dollars from its energy savings, Keyport will repay Trane for the installation then realize full costs the full cost-savings benefit following payoff. The total value of this energy efficiency initiative during the 18-year life of the contract is $43.6 million.

"From the Navy's standpoint and my standpoint, Keyport has been a real leader in this effort," said Rear Adm. Thomas Wears, commander, NUWC. "When you look back at when the inception of this effort started, it was probably before some of the more recent goals that had been put out by the Navy and by the secretary of the Navy, so Keyport was forward-looking in how to reduce cost, and probably more important for our country now, a security issue for our energy footprint."

Wears said the secretary of the Navy has made his three major goals clear: improvement in acquisitions, unmanned systems, and energy independence, and the importance of reducing the Navy's energy footprint; especially in shore infrastructures.

Wears commended Keyport who explored the ESPC strategy several years ago that allowed flexibility with no up-front costs to the Navy.

"It's a win-win, and is good for the taxpayer," said Wears.

Keyport's land-based facilities and operations on underwater test ranges have been recognized for environmental stewardship and resource management. Both NUWC Keyport and Naval Base Kitsap were honored in 2009 with the Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management as well as receiving the 2009 Secretary of the Navy's Energy and Water Management Award.

NUWC Keyport, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, provides the Navy's full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support center for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, and offensive and defensive weapon systems associated with undersea warfare (USW), and related areas of homeland security and national defense.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.

SEALs Speak to Minnesota Youth, Emphasize Mental Toughness

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William S. Parker, Naval Special Warfare Group 2 Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (NNS) -- The Naval Special Warfare East Coast SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) scout team visited the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State, two local high schools, and the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minn., Jan. 26-31.

The SEAL and SWCC scout team, and three active duty SEALs gave presentations on mental toughness while providing awareness about career opportunities in Naval Special Warfare to 165 collegiate athletes, 453 high school students, and more than 1,000 people at the Mall of America.

"There are so many young athletes who don't know what Navy Special Warfare is all about, and what we do is open their minds to it to give them another option they might not of been thinking of; by giving them the mental toughness presentation," said retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Mark Courrier, NSW East Coast SEAL and SWCC scout team member.

Courrier said the main problem for candidates during training is that it's cold, dark, and wet; which is where mental toughness becomes key.

"Looking back at how I came into the NSW community, it was just by chance where I didn't like what I was doing, I wasn't going anywhere, so my wrestling coach told me to change it and introduced me to Navy Special Warfare," said one of the participating SEALs. "Now having gotten through training, I see where the being strong mentally kept me moving forward to my ultimate goal."

Courrier and other SEALs used a pull-up challenge to mentor athletes and test their physical abilities. Courrier said SEAL challenge events are a great venue for interacting with youth and emphasizing the importance of fitness and conditioning.

"When I retired and even before then, I realized that I was a SEAL for life; but instead of operating in the field, now my job is to find the next generation of special warfare operators," said Courrier.

Athletes, students, and civilians were also treated to a static display by SEAL and SWCC personnel, who demonstrated the equipment that special operators use in the field. Some of the items on display were parachutes, diving equipment, and body armor.

"Seeing and touching the real gear and talking to the SEALs definitely resonated with some young people here today," said another SEAL involved in the event. "You know there aren't a lot of opportunities to go pro in wrestling or water polo, but they could definitely use their skills and mental toughness to be successful in Naval Special Warfare."

For more news from Naval Special Warfare Group Two, visit www.navy.mil/local/nswgtwo/.

SECNAV, CNO Announce Flag Officer Assignments

From the Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) and the chief of naval operations (CNO) announced flag officer assignments Feb. 3.

SECNAV Ray Mabus and CNO Adm. Gary Roughead announced the following assignments:

Rear Adm. (lower half) Joseph P. Aucoin, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as director, Programming Division, N80, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C. Aucoin is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Three, Bremerton, Wash.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Craig S. Faller will be assigned as commander, Carrier Strike Group 3, Bremerton, Wash. Faller is currently serving as commander, Navy Recruiting Command, Millington, Tenn.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Nicholas T. Kalathas will be assigned as commander, Joint Theater Support Contracting Command, U.S. Central Command, Kabul, Afghanistan. Kalathas is currently serving as Department of Defense Contingency program manager for operations contract support, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Harold E. Pittman will be assigned as director of communication/strategic effects, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan/NATO's International Security and Assistance Force - Afghanistan. Pittman is currently serving as director of strategic communications, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Jonathan A. Yuen will be assigned as director, logistics and security assistance, J4, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. Yuen is currently serving as deputy chief of staff for logistics, fleet supply and ordnance, N4, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor.

For more news, visit www.navy.mil.

Indiana National Guard Responds to Weather Emergency

By Sgt. John Crosby
Indiana National Guard

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 3, 2011 – Indiana National Guardsmen are just beginning to draw down their forces after more than 1,000 soldiers and airmen responded to severe weather across the state this week as it and much of the country saw some of the most brutal winter weather in decades.

For the past three days, Guardsmen provided on-call assistance to local police and fire departments to rescue stranded motorists, transport residents to shelters, assist ambulance and medical support in areas that civilian emergency services could not reach, and ran logistical missions transporting fuel, chainsaws and other equipment where fallen debris had blocked roads.

Two storm fronts blanketed central Indiana in several inches of ice and up to 20 inches of snow in northern parts of the state on Feb. 1 and 2 resulting in more than 4,500 airline flight cancellations, 87,500 power outages, hundreds of school and business closures, and traffic accidents across the state. Bitterly cold temperatures and wind gusts of up to 45 mph caused whiteouts, downed trees and power lines.

Soldiers and airmen created on-site operations centers in 44 National Guard armories across the state, working through the night Feb. 1 in preparation to provide assistance as several counties declared states of emergency.

“We were well postured to respond to this emergency in whatever capacity the governor and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security needed us to respond to,” Joint Task Force 81 Commander Col. Mark E. Coers said. “I think we were postured in every location to do that, and in the cases where we were given missions, we have succeeded.”

The task force is responsible for all military forces responding within Indiana. Coers and his staff helped orchestrate military assistance to civil authorities with pre-planned, specialized teams including some in urban search and rescue, vehicle extraction and evacuation, as well as those designed to augment emergency personnel, perform debris removal and provide security.

“It’s the versatility of our vehicles to traverse poor terrain that makes us special here,” Coers said. “In several cases, we responded to areas where police and emergency vehicles could not get to. We had the ability to get there and get them out of harm’s way.”

In one such case, soldiers and airmen under the 122nd Fighter Wing from Ft. Wayne came to the aid of a sheriff whose vehicle became stuck while trying to rescue a stranded motorist.

The Guard units will keep their command and control systems in place until the Indiana Adjutant General determines through the joint task force commanders to take them down, Air Force Col. David Augustine, 122nd Fighter Wing commander, said.

Augustine is in control of one of three major regions that were under distress during and after the storm. His team of more than 350 soldiers and airmen evacuated residents from their homes in Connersville and moved them to warming stations after a major power outage there.

Additionally, Guardsmen continue to provide assistance to the Gary Police Department on an on-call basis. They also assisted emergency services in eastern Delaware County where they saved the life of a patient in respiratory arrest.

As weather and road conditions improve, the Indiana Guard draws down, but still is providing assistance in troubled areas throughout the state.

“Our soldiers and leaders out there have done a great job in preparing for this and supporting the citizens of the state of Indiana the way they expect us to support them,” Coers said.

Naval Sea Systems Command Recognizes Workforce Excellence

From NAVSEA Office of Corporate Communications

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) recognized seven teams and six individuals with 2009 Excellence Awards for personal contributions and outstanding accomplishments during at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, Jan. 31.

"The highest ideals of this command are reflected through our meaningful service and achievements," NAVSEA Commander Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy noted in his letters of commendation to the award recipients for continuing to improve the command's products and processes. "These awards reflect the esteem in which you are held by the community."

Award recipients were evaluated on implementing cost-control measures, accelerating product commonality and focusing on customer satisfaction.

RECIPIENT / AWARD / ACHIEVMENT:

Richard Muscato, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Indian Head, and Joseph Burkart, NSWC Crane, were both recognized as NAVSEA Engineers of the Year 2009. Muscato was recognized for his contributions in the development and implementation of high-nitrogen propellants in multiple configurations, explosives and pyrotechnics for naval manufacturing capability improving effectiveness of the Navy's high-caliber guns and warfighter safety. Burkart was selected for his work to incorporate remote-operated small-arms mount on the V-22 Osprey.

Dr. Andrew Hull, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Newport, was named NAVSEA's 2009 Scientist of the Year for completing two major, fully-elastic acoustic models which provided accurate model predictions for previously unobtainable sonar and vibration analyses; and yielded significant cost avoidance.

Shelley McInnis, NUWC Newport, received an individual achievement award for her technical management of the Submarine Multi-Mission Team Trainer, the Virtual Tactical Control Laboratory, and the Submarine Bridge Trainer mariner skills trainer. McInnis collaborated with multiple warfare centers, industry partners, and construction crews to bring the bridge trainer program prototype to fruition within nine months in fiscal 2009 and led to an improved trainer capability for the submarine fleet.

Richard Kramer, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships, was recognized for efforts resulting in the successful completion of post-repair trials and industry post-delivery availabilities for USS Independence (LCS 2). Kramer led his team in building an entire post-delivery program including budgets, contracting vehicles, processes and facilities required to support the ship.

Brian Seay, NSWC Dahlgren Aegis program director, received recognition for technical direction and leadership to multiple warfare centers and PEO Integrated Warfare Systems. His technical knowledge of the Aegis combat and weapons systems allowed him to identify upgrades for currently deployed systems while helping to define the next generation of Aegis.

The Close-in Weapon System (CWIS) team developed and implemented a plan and set of procedures utilizing existing materials, tools, and fixtures allowing the team to perform specific on-site depot-level repairs on the Mk 15 CWIS onboard five ships with minimum impact to those ships' schedules. Performing onboard depot-level repairs saves the Navy approximately $1.2 million in removal, transportation, depot repair, reinstallation, alignment and test costs. In addition to cost savings, the significant reduction in downtime of the mounts translates increased readiness.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard's Dual Media Discharge team performed two dual media discharge executions conducted during non-chief of naval operations' availabilities within cost estimates. The end result yielded a shipyard savings of over 1,000 mission man-days and improves fleet readiness by reducing the time a submarine is removed from service for scheduled maintenance.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility's USS Nevada (SSBN 733) project team worked with Deputy Commander, Undersea Warfare's workforce to create a benchmark engineered refueling overhaul project from start to finish. By incorporating the normal modernization period that normally follows this type of overhaul; the ship gained 100 days of operational availability.

PEO Submarine's Atmospheric Dive Suit (ADS) Improvement team developed and implemented process improvements and cost-control measures to strengthen the Navy's submarine rescue intervention capabilities. The team also developed a phased approach to ADS suit certification combining local at-sea testing of the suit along with a full-depth pressure test. This phased approach avoided the need for a week-long, at-sea underway period to the remote deep-water training site. Additionally, the ADS program standardized and improved hull-defect criteria and repair methods with the implementation of a phased certification test plan resulting in a savings of more than $420,000 and future cost avoidance of $70,000 per year.

PEO Submarine's Technical Insertion Photonics Mast (TIPM) Improvement team designed, developed and installed the first TIPM system on board USS Hawaii (SSN 776) for a foreign comparison test. This entailed taking a foreign imaging system, making it compatible with, and installing it on a Virginia-class submarine for comparison with existing photonics system. The team's effort led to the early installation of the TIPM system on the submarine in two phases at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base.

NSWC Indian Head's Home-Made Explosive Detection Kit Development Team, in less than four months, developed an inexpensive kit that can detect ingredients used in home-made explosives. Each unit costs $85 and weighs only six ounces – including the pouch designed to safely hold the components.

PEO Ships' and NSWC Dahlgren's USS Freedom's (LCS 1) Early Deployment Team coordinated funding, arranged logistics support, achieved system certifications and technical requirements that allowed the first littoral combat ship to deliver to fleet commanders more than two years ahead of schedule. The team's achievement represents the first time the Navy has deployed a surface combatant lead ship less than five years after contract award.

For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.

Warriors Return, Reflect with Family Members at Returning Warrior Workshop

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Maddelin Angebrand, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Reserve Component Command Public Affairs

CHARLOTTE, N.C (NNS) -- More than 150 active and Reserve component Sailors and their families attended the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Reserve Component Command (NRMA RCC) Returning Warrior Workshop (RWW) at the Hilton Charlotte Center City Hotel in Charlotte N.C, Jan. 28-30.

RWW is part of the Department of Defense Yellow Ribbon reintegration program and is designed to honor individual augmentee (IA) Sailors who have recently returned from mobilization in support of overseas contingency operations.

Patricia Driscoll, chief executive officer of the Armed Forces Foundation and co-author of the book "Hidden Battles on Unseen Fronts," was the featured speaker during the warrior reflection and transition session of the event. During the session she shared her personal experiences with the Sailors and their families.

"I wanted to tell you a little bit about my story. I have a 6-year old boy and I've been deployed myself many times to Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Bosnia, and I continue to go out today," said Driscoll. "I've been that wife who waits for her warrior at home, and he's been the guy at home waiting for his warrior-wife to come home. I've missed a lot of milestones with my son. It was really tough."

After hearing Driscoll's inspiring story, the Sailors were able to sit and talk with counselors and their families to discuss what they had been through on their deployments. This is a major part of the workshop that allows spouses and family members to learn more about what their loved one's are going through while deployed in a time of war.

Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Laurie Arden, a Reserve Sailor who recently returned from an IA deployment to Kuwait with Naval Expeditionary Combat Command Training Group, attended RWW with his wife Jody Arden.

"I think it's a valuable tool for me to see and learn about what my husband went through by sitting down with other couples who are going through the same thing," said Jody Arden. "I would recommend this especially to young spouses, so they can learn about the reintegration process, and be able to have the time away from other people in order to connect with each other."

RWW is made up of group presentations and smaller group break-out sessions which include topics such as family issues, debt management, wanting to re-deploy, along with a couples reconnecting workshop.

Hull Technician 2nd Class Ralph Chambers, who is on active duty and returned from an IA deployment in September 2010, attended RWW with his wife, Elise. They spoke about the importance of the couples reconnecting workshop.

"It's an excellent get-away weekend, and it will really help spouses who are not military to understand what's really going on," said Elise Chambers. "I've been getting a lot of information here. There's a lot of support that we can get from Fleet and Family and all these organizations. This will help [spouses] from breaking down while they're gone."

Rear Adm. Moira Flanders, director of Inter-American Defense College, spoke at the Banquet of Honors and thanked the Sailors and their families for serving in a time of war.

"You are the heroes; you all took the oath and that takes a hero. All of you deployed, some I heard had cell phones or even air conditioning, but some only had tents and even built the very bases they stayed on," said Flanders. "Thank you, all of you, for doing your jobs in incredibly arduous environments. Thank you to the families, this is about you."

During the banquet Sailors and their family members were presented with certificates of appreciation for their dedication to the Navy. They also witnessed one Sailor's rededication to the Navy. Senior Chief Quartermaster Patrice Frede a Reserve Sailor and RWW participant attached to Military Sealift Command Port Unit 107 who returned from an IA to Afghanistan in September of 2010 was reenlisted by Capt. Brian L. Quisenberry, a Reserve Sailor attached to Operational Support Unit, Norfolk Va.

"RWW is about reconnecting and renewing relationships. For me, being able to reenlist at RWW was significant, because it allowed me to renew my commitment to my family, my life that I returned to and my Navy all at the same time," said Frede. "The fact that captain Quisensberry drove from Virginia to reenlist me, was a reminder of how much it means to support and be there for one another."

NRMA RCC's RWW is held four times a year in various locations within the Mid-Atlantic region with a participation goal of 150 Sailors and family members for each event. The next RWW is being held at the Boston Harborside Hyatt in Boston April 8-11. For more information regarding attendance for this workshop contact your supporting Navy Operational Support Center.

For more news from Commander, Navy Reserve Force, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrf/.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command is Green in the Military

By Tom Kreidel, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic personnel took the lead in discussing Navy energy goals and environmental initiatives during the third Green in the Military conference at the Virginia Beach Convention Center Feb. 2.

Mid-Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Libonate was among many NAVFAC personnel who participated in the conference.

Libonate gave the opening address at the event, which is sponsored by the Hampton Roads Green building Council. In his remarks, he spoke about how going green contributes to energy security, mission readiness and the Navy's efforts to be good stewards of the public's tax dollars.

He also spoke of the Navy's requirements for all new buildings to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and how NAVFAC's more than 200 LEED Accredited Professionals are helping to achieve that requirement.

"I believe that as the nation goes, so goes the Navy. Just as the nation is focused on energy and the environment, so is the Navy," said Libonate.

He discussed the energy goals laid out by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus last year to reduce the Navy's energy consumption and increase the renewable energy the Navy uses.

Personnel from NAVFAC Atlantic and Mid-Atlantic were also speakers in several of the breakout sessions, leading discussions on such topics as energy efficient strategies, construction contract requirements, sustainable bases, and military LEED requirements.

For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navfachq/.

Flag Officer Announcements

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today the following assignments:

Rear Adm. (lower half) Joseph P. Aucoin, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral, will be assigned as director, Programming Division, N80, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.  Aucoin is currently serving as commander, Carrier Strike Group Three, Bremerton, Wash.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Craig S. Faller will be assigned as commander, Carrier Strike Group Three, Bremerton, Wash.  Faller is currently serving as commander, Navy Recruiting Command, Millington, Tenn.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Nicholas T. Kalathas will be assigned as commander, Joint Theater Support Contracting Command, U.S. Central Command, Kabul, Afghanistan.  Kalathas is currently serving as Department of Defense Contingency program manager for operations contract support, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Harold E. Pittman will be assigned as director of communication/strategic effects, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan / NATO’s International Security and Assistance Force - Afghanistan.  Pittman is currently serving as director of strategic communications, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Jonathan A. Yuen will be assigned as director, logistics and security assistance, J4, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany.  Yuen is currently serving as deputy chief of staff for logistics, fleet supply and ordnance, N4, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

State Department Notes ‘Constructive’ Egyptian Military Role

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2011 – News reports from Cairo indicate the Egyptian military is not taking sides in the demonstrations and counter demonstrations taking place in the country.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the U.S. government is in daily contact with defense and military leaders.

“I think that broadly speaking, the military has played a very important and constructive role in being a stabilizing force on the ground, particularly, … relative to what the situation looked like, … prior to the weekend,” he said during a news conference today. “Yesterday was a bad day for Egypt.”

Crowley said there are indications the military is adjusting its movements today in response to the rioting and fighting yesterday. Still, “we are very impressed by the posture and the professionalism displayed by the Egyptian military,” Crowley said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has spoken three times with Defense Minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi since the demonstrations started in Egypt.

“To date we have seen them act professionally and with restraint,” said Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. David Lapan. “Again, it’s a very fluid situation, so we are watching every single day.”

The United States is reviewing military aid to Egypt, but has not stopped sending aid, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday. “We will evaluate the actions of the government of Egypt in making and reviewing decisions about aid,” Gibbs said during yesterday’s White House media briefing. “That continues.”

Lapan said military aid is episodic.

“It’s not like something is happening every day,” he said. “It comes and goes over time, whether there is a scheduled delivery that’s happening right now or in the future.”

The State and Defense departments manage the foreign military sales program. Systems have been approved and are scheduled for delivery to Egypt this year, including include coastal patrol craft, air combat maneuvering instrumentation, spare parts for F-16 fighter jets, air defense missiles and fuses for certain munitions.

About 625 U.S. service members are based in Egypt, most of them as part of the United Nations Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai. Their mission has not changed, Lapan said.

The colonel said the department is conducting prudent planning if called upon to execute a noncombatant evacuation order.

“I don’t want to leave the impression that we’re actively planning and on the verge of something,” he said. “As the situation develops, we’re always looking from a military standpoint at what’s happening, and what we might do should we be called upon.”

He stressed there the State Department has not requested any type of evacuation assistance from the Pentagon.

For more than 30 years, Egyptian officers and noncommissioned officers have trained and attended professional military education alongside American officers and NCOs. Foreign military service members training alongside U.S. personnel learn leadership and military skills, “but it’s really about being a professional military force,” Lapan said.

Doctor Emphasizes Prevention in Cancer Fight

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2011 – Smoking cessation, annual physicals and routine screenings are the best ways to decrease the risks of cancer, said a Navy doctor who routinely sees active-duty and retired military personnel and family members for chemotherapy.

“We see a lot of lung cancer patients who have never smoked in their lives,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Erin Larkins, an oncologist and hematologist at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. “But it’s known that smokers, especially heavy smokers, are definitely at increased risk for lung cancer.”

And cancers of the head, neck, mouth, throat and voice box -- and the numbers of those cases thought to be linked to smoking -- have increased, Larkins said.

“When [smoking is] combined with drinking the numbers go even higher,” she added.

The most common cancers in the United States, Larkins said, are breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Colon cancer rates No. 2 for men and women, she added.

“Lung cancer has been No. 3 for a long time,” she said, noting lung cancer has the highest death rate of any cancer.

“We’re expanding treatments, but it’s still an aggressive cancer usually found in advanced cases, which makes it difficult to treat,” Larkins said.

Routine preventive screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, have created high rates of early cancer detection, Larkins said, adding that treatment at early stages increases chances of survival.

When to start getting mammograms is a decision usually made between the doctor and the patient, the doctor said. “There’s some debate now about whether to start mammograms at 40 years old or 50 years old,” she explained. “The opinions are varied throughout the medical field right now.”

Women with a mother or sister who had breast cancer at age 40 should start getting mammograms 10 years earlier, Larkins added.

Colonoscopies are recommended after age 50 and are known to be a very effective screening for colon cancer, Larkins said.

Another procedure for detecting colon cancer is the “virtual colonoscopy.” Similar to a CAT scan, she said, this procedure can detect tiny polyps and other concerns.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer that occurs in men, Larkins said. A test for prostate-specific antigen molecules in the blood -- commonly known as “PSA screening” -- is recommended for men older than 50, Larkins said, and studies indicate that African-American men should start PSA tests at 40.

Cervical cancer in women has become relatively rare, the doctor said, thanks to early detection by Pap smears. No screenings exist for pancreatic and ovarian cancers, she said, but “studies are being done all the time to finds screens” for those cancers and others that are difficult to treat because a patient often has no symptoms until the cancer is advanced.

Vaccine therapies are under study, Larkins said, but are not in common use to prevent certain cancers. “The main thing is be aware of screening and know it’s something you should do, based on your age [or] family history,” she said. “Be aware of your own health.”

Meanwhile, studies and trials to detect and treat different cancers remain an ongoing process, the doctor said.

“One of the biggest changes in the last several years has been looking at tumors individually as much as we can,” she said. “We know not all breast tumors behave the same -- some are much more aggressive than others.”

World Cancer Day is observed Feb. 4. It was established by the International Union Against Cancer to raise awareness and encourage cancer prevention, detection and treatment. The IUAC is a global consortium of 350 cancer-fighting organizations in more than 100 countries.

The World Health Organization estimates that without treatment, 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015.

“If cancer spreads,” Larkins said, “it is mostly still incurable. If we can prevent it, rather [than] treat it, that’s a much better option.”

Directory Links Wounded Warriors, Families to Resources

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2011 – From benefits and compensation to education and training, an online directory is providing wounded warriors, veterans and their families a direct connection to thousands of state, local and national resources.

“There’s so much information on the Web right now, it’s nice to have one place to access all of the content, the services, the information you need,” John R. Campbell, deputy assistant secretary of defense for wounded warrior care and transition policy, told American Forces Press Service. “It really permits the service member and family the ability to get information directly.”

The Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs departments created the National Resource Directory -- located at http://www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov/ -- to link wounded warriors, service members, veterans, their families and caregivers to nationwide resources that support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration, Campbell explained.

Toward that end, the directory contains information on a broad range of topics, including benefits and compensation, education and training, employment, caregiver support, health, housing, and transportation and travel.

With such a vast amount of information, Campbell said, a considerable effort went into creating user-friendly navigation tools to help people pin down resources quickly, whether it’s local grassroots efforts or national-level initiatives. People can search for a resource or program by subject, state or territory. A recent addition is a state widget that people can customize and embed in home pages, blogs and other sites. Once there, the information is updated automatically.

New programs and resources are added to the directory as quickly as agencies and organizations can roll them out. Experts always are working to ensure they’re hitting on the hot topics for troops and their families, Campbell noted, and as a result, the site is constantly evolving.

Campbell cited veteran homelessness as an example. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness is working with the Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development departments to eliminate homelessness entirely by VA’s goal of 2015. The directory has devoted an entire section to homelessness, featuring resources that offer everything from emergency housing to employment assistance.

Spouse employment is another area of growth on the directory, Campbell noted, particularly with new programs and resources in the works. The Labor, Commerce and Defense departments and the Small Business Administration, for example, are working with the business community to expand career options for spouses. Officials will ensure new spouse employment resources are added to the directory as they arise, he said.

While officials always are on the lookout for new information to post to the directory, feedback from troops and their families plays an integral role in keeping the site current, Campbell said. The site includes an easy-to-locate section where people can submit resources for consideration or pass on praise for outstanding service.

“We’ll take that resource and, if we find out it’s a good one, we’ll put it up,” he said. Officials verify each resource before posting, he added. A nonprofit organization, for example, must be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau before it can be considered for the directory.

“That’s the idea: to make it easy, make it efficient, make it valuable,” Campbell said.

To further that effort, he said, a mobile version of the directory will launch in the spring for smart phone users.

“The target audience is younger service members and families,” he added. “We’re really excited about that.”

Campbell said he’s received great feedback on the site, and is encouraged by a vast improvement in visitors, which he attributes to word of mouth. In the last quarter of 2010, the site’s unique visitors jumped by 115 percent, he said.

“We’re continuing to get reinforcement that we’re doing the right thing,” he said.

Safety and preparation key in Dungeness crab fishery

Posted by: LTJG Stephanie Young
Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Littlejohn

The waters of the Pacific Northwest offer some of the most treacherous yet bountiful work opportunities in the world. Dungeness crab fleets hailing from Oregon and Washington state are among the world’s elite. The reward for their toils, however, often comes with a price.

Commercial fishing is the deadliest occupation in the United States, and the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab fishery is no exception. Over the course of the past decade, 27 fishermen died while working the Dungeness fishery. This is 27 too many, and the Coast Guard is committed to educating the fleet and instilling the right attitude for those in the industry, as confronting the risks inherent with crabbing in the Pacific Ocean require preparation, proper education and a survivor’s attitude.

Curt Farrell, Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Coordinator for Marine Safety Unit Portland, Ore., and Mike Rudolph, a Coast Guard fishing vessel safety examiner, are passionate about safety. When it was discovered a serious training void existed along the central and southern Oregon coast for fishermen, it was with this passion that led the pair to seek out specialized training through the Alaska Marine Safety and Education Association to become certified drill instructors.

“The safety training that we have provided over the past four years has made the biggest difference in the safety of the fleet than anything else that we do,” said Rudolph. “I get very excited when a fisherman comes to me on the dock months later and says the training I provided helped avert a casualty or saved a life.”

Rudolph’s training efforts recently had a significant impact when the crew of the 66-foot Dungeness crab vessel Michelle Ann experienced a stack fire Dec. 18, 2010, outside Yaquina Bay, Ore.

“We all were facing potential disaster, but thanks to the methodical and highly structured tactics we learned from the safety class, we were able to take proper actions and avoid harm,” said Michelle Ann crewmember Mike Donovan. “No one panicked, we all knew what we had to do and dealt with the issue. No one was hurt.”

The Michelle Ann was able to make it safely to port without being towed, was repaired quickly and back out fishing a few days later.

Commercial Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Courses, promoted by Oregon Sea Grant, provide practical information on survival equipment found on most commercial vessels and on conducting onboard emergency drills. Most valuable for all those enrolled however, is that these skills are learned in a hands-on format.

“The class is very intense,” said Farrell. “Students will be putting on immersion suits, jumping into the water, entering a life raft, fighting a fire, stopping leaks and shooting off flares. They will do realistic emergency drills aboard a fishing vessel with artificial smoke.”

The fishing fleet is a tightly woven community, and the deaths that occur each year are felt by all. Fortunately, it does not have to be this way, and the Coast Guard, Oregon Sea Grant, and Dungeness crab fleet will continue to partner to improve the safety of commercial fishing employment, arming the fishing fleet with the skills that could one day save their lives.

Suicide Prevention Begins With Recruiters, Supervisors

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2011 – Troubled about rising suicide rates in the military’s reserve components, the top Army Reserve officer said yesterday he’d like recruiters to start identifying not only whether potential recruits qualify for military service, but also whether they’re joining for the right reasons.

Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast that he has deep concerns about the rising incidence of suicide within the ranks. In 2009, the Army Reserve suffered 35 suicides, and in 2010, that number rose to 50.

Suicide rates increased in the Army National Guard as well, although they dropped slightly among active-duty soldiers, from 162 in 2009 to 156 last year, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli reported last month.

“Frankly, we are still trying to understand what is going on with the suicide issues,” Stultz told reporters yesterday.

One challenge, he said, is that most of the suicides within both the Army Reserve and Army National Guard occur when the soldier is in civilian, rather than military status. And contrary to what one might expect, he added, most of the reserve-component soldiers who took their own lives had never deployed and were not about to deploy. In fact, he said, some had not yet even attended basic training or started drilling with their reserve units.

Of those who committed suicide, Stultz said, contributing factors typically mirrored those among civilians who took their lives, including failed relationships, job losses and economic hardship.

“So I think the challenge for us, in our suicide prevention, and what I have been telling my commanders is, ‘If we are really going to have an impact on reducing the rate of suicide in the Army Reserve, we have to get inside the soldier’s head in his civilian life -– not in his military life,” Stultz said.

That, he said, starts the minute a potential Army Reserve candidate walks into a recruiter’s office.

“I think recruiters need to think more about being a counselor than a traditional recruiter,” Stultz said. It’s great for recruiters to tick off disqualifiers that would make a candidate ineligible to join the military -- legal convictions, drug issues, lack of a high school diploma, among them -– the general said.

“But I think our recruiters need to start thinking about saying, ‘Why?’” when a potential recruit expresses interest in joining the military, he added. “Why do you want to join the Army Reserve? What’s going on in your head that you want to join the Army Reserve?”

Older candidates or those who appear to be joining the Army Reserve to escape problems or make money should send up a red flag, he said. The Army Reserve can’t solve their problems, Stultz said, and those soldiers ultimately will end up being problems for the Army Reserve.

In cases where recruiters don’t identify potential problems, Stultz said, it’s up to the Army reservist’s unit to do so, as quickly as possible after a new soldier joins its formation.

“When that soldier shows up for his drill, somebody needs to sit down with him and say, ‘Tell me about yourself,’” he said. In doing so, he told the group, unit leaders can help to identify marriage, relationship or career problems that could escalate over time.

As part of its suicide prevention program, the Army Reserve has joined the active Army in working to take the stigma out of seeking mental health care. In addition, Stultz said, the Army Reserve is putting increased emphasis on “battle buddies” who check on each other and steer troubled soldiers to professional help.

But because Army reservists spend the vast majority of their time away from their units, Stultz called family members key to the Army Reserve’s suicide prevention efforts. “So part of our suicide prevention training has to include the family,” he said.

Concerned as he is about suicide within the Army Reserve, Stultz said, he believes it signals even greater problems for the United States as a whole. Although the military reports current suicide statistics, the latest national statistics on suicide date back to 2007, he noted.

“What concerns me is if we are a mirror of society, what is going on in society?” he asked. “Are we going to look back three years from now and say, ‘Holy cow, what was going on in our nation in 2010 that we really didn’t realize because we were so focused on the military?

“I think we need to focus on this as a nation, not just as a military,” he said.

Face of Defense: Uganda-born Army Officer Pursues Dreams

By Vince Little
The Bayonet

FORT BENNING, Ga., Feb. 3, 2011 – As a boy growing up in Uganda, Joseph D'costa became inspired by America's role in World War II and told his teacher he wanted to go to the U.S. Military Academy someday.

"She laughed at me for my dream of going to West Point, telling me it would be impossible because I wasn't an American and Uganda had no ties to the U.S.," he recalled. "I still remember that to this day."

The 13th of 14 children raised by an Indian father and an African mother, D'costa was exiled to Austria at age 7 following Idi Amin's 1971 rise to power in Uganda. Two years later, he came to the United States and ultimately got into West Point on a third and final attempt, earning his commission in 1989.

Now a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, D’costa just completed a 10-month mobilization here as commander of 1st Battalion, 378th Infantry Regiment, a Lafayette, La.-based unit activated to augment basic combat training for the 192nd Infantry Brigade on Sand Hill.

"When we talk about the diversity of soldiers across our Army, Lieutenant Colonel D'costa's life story is one that tells a great story and serves as a motivational and inspiring example for our soldiers, [Defense Department] civilians and the nation's civilian population," said Army Lt. Col. Roger O'Steen, the brigade's executive officer.

Shortly after Amin seized the Ugandan presidency in a military coup, D'costa's mother fell ill with pneumonia-like symptoms. Because of her religious faith, however, she didn't get proper treatment as Amin decreed that anyone who was not a Muslim would get sent to the back of the line for health care. She died at age 42.

"For me, it was very devastating, to realize the person I depended on so much was no longer there," said D'costa, who was 6 years old at the time. He said Amin then declared that anybody who wasn't 100 percent black had a choice: leave Uganda or face execution.

D'costa's father fled to India. A brother and sister got sent to Italy, and D’costa took exile in Austria with five other siblings. Three stayed behind.

"I was half, so I was considered impure and had to leave," he said. "Here's a black man saying, 'You are not the perfect race.' When you experience racism from your own race, … I was not expecting that.

"Idi Amin was killing so many innocent people when they weren't leaving the country fast enough,” he continued. “Books were burned. Even educated blacks got killed, because they were considered threats to Amin."

The "Butcher of Uganda," as Amin became known, ruled over the nation for eight years. The number of opponents killed, tortured or imprisoned varies from 100,000 to a half million, according to biographical accounts. The dictator was ousted in 1979 by Ugandan nationalists, and he fled into exile.

In Austria, a Catholic priest looked after D'costa, who spoke Swahili in Uganda and never learned English. In time, he learned German.

D'costa said he told the priest about his desire to attend West Point. The priest was a friend of then-U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, who arranged for 9-year-old D'costa and several siblings to go to the United States. He went to live with an older brother in Englewood, N.J.

After graduating high school in 1983, D'costa applied to West Point, but he was turned down.

"They said I'm not American and don't speak English well enough -- the very thing that teacher was telling me would happen," he said.

So he joined the Army ROTC cadet corps at Providence College in Rhode Island. Following his freshman year, the department head offered him a full scholarship, but he'd have to abandon his West Point dream and remain at Providence.

"It would've been the easy way out," he said, "but I needed to know how far I was willing to commit. I had given up on that, but [the ROTC department head] said, 'If West Point is in your heart, you need to apply again.'"

D'costa submitted a second application, but West Point was already at its 1,500-cadet limit, so he had to go to the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School at Fort Monmouth, N.J., for a year and then apply again. If turned down, he would have been too old for another shot, but he finally was accepted and became a 21-year-old "plebe."

D’costa served in the Gulf War as a field artillery officer. He left the Army in 1994, but joined the Army Reserve two years later. Since then, he's deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, and he has supported military relief missions following Hurricane Katrina and the Pakistan earthquake.

At a ceremony in Lafayette on March 12, he’ll turn over the battalion command that he’s held since 2008. He's set to leave Fort Benning on Feb. 11.

"I credit every success I've had to my faith in Jesus Christ, because I shouldn't be alive today,” he said. “My life should've ended in Uganda. All these people I encountered along the way were put into my life to help me reach my goals. … I never looked at my skin color as a reason I did not get to West Point at first. They were looking for certain qualities and tools I needed to learn."

D'costa will return to work in the private sector, but he's expected to graduate from the U.S. Army War College by July. From there, he'll learn if the Army has any further plans for him.

The lieutenant colonel praised the U.S. military for preserving freedom around the globe and said he stays in the Army Reserve to serve his country.

"The United States could've said 'no' to me," he said. "Putting my life on the line for a country that took me in is a small price to pay. … Freedom is so priceless, and all I have to do is serve in the reserves to continue saying 'thank you.' Until the Army tells me to get out, I'll stay.

"This is the greatest country in the world,” he continued. “When I say that, I'm not just saying it because I heard it from somebody else. … The majority of Americans don't know what it's like when you have no freedom."

D'costa said he hopes ultimately to work for NASA. In the late 1990s, he spent two years with the agency in a liaison role for a civilian company.

"West Point seemed like an impossible goal, … but I kept pursuing that goal till I made it happen," he said. "You can achieve anything you want -- you just have to put a little effort into it."