Saturday, February 05, 2011

VADM Currier Tours New Headquarters' Construction Site


VADM J.P. Currier today visited the construction site of the new Coast Guard Headquarters building on the historic St. Elizabeths Campus, in Anacostia, South East Washington, DC. He was joined by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Undersecretary for Management, Mr. Rafael Borras, for an executive level project overview of the future Coast Guard Headquarters building on the St. Elizabeths Campus. Following the meeting, Shapour Ebadi, GSA Deputy Regional Commissioner in the National Capital Region of GSA's Public Building Service led a short tour of the construction site and the historic St. Elizabeths Campus.

The new Coast Guard Headquarters will be a part of the consolidated U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters campus being developed on the historic St. Elizabeths Hospital site; approximately 2 miles from our current Coast Guard Headquarters building. The campus will be developed in phases and, when complete, will support a population of 14,000 employees department wide. The Coast Guard will be the first to occupy the site scheduled for 2013.

Pictured left to right are Under Secretary Borras, VADM Currier, and Mr. Ebadi overlooking the construction site.

Chief of Naval Operations Provides Latest on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Tiffini Jones Vanderwyst Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The chief of naval operations (CNO) released a video statement expressing the Navy's guidance on personal conduct during the repeal process of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) policy Feb 4.

In the video, CNO discussed the Navy's process of implementing the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

"It is important for our Sailors to understand what this change means to them, their families, and our Navy," he said.

CNO said the Navy will continue to maintain its high level of professionalism and reinforce the high standard of conduct in the Navy.

"Leadership, professionalism and respect are the basis for executing this change in the law," said Roughead.

To watch or download CNO's DADT statement, visit

For more news from Chief of Naval Operations, visit

Today in the Department of Defense, Sunday, February 06, 2011

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

USS Carl Vinson Rescues Sailor Who Went Overboard

From USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

ARABIAN SEA (NNS) -- A look-out spotted the Sailor and the ship immediately directed an already airborne HH-60H helicopter from the HS-15 "Red Lions" to begin search and rescue efforts. Carl Vinson also lowered a rigid hull inflatable boat into the water.

The helicopter recovered the Sailor in less than 20 minutes. The Sailor was returned to the Carl Vinson and was uninjured. Due to privacy considerations, the Sailor's identity will not be released.

Carl Vinson is in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations on a routine deployment and is relieving USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) to conduct Maritime Security Operations and provide support to operations ENDURING FREEDOM and NEW DAWN.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet, visit

This article was sponsored by Military Books.

Face of Defense: Enlisted Marine Returns as Officer

By Marine Corps Cpl. Samuel A. Nasso
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C., Feb. 4, 2011Marine Corps Capt. Joshua H. Weiland grew up in a typical American family in Park Falls, Wis. Not much more than a couple of intersections in the middle of a national forest, the town gave Weiland an environment that fit his personality.

“My best friend from childhood and I honed our hunting and fort-building skills in the woods,” he said.

After high school, Weiland contemplated what he’d do for a living. He eventually contacted a Marine Corps recruiter to visit him at his parents’ home.

“What time is he going to be here?” asked his father, Norm, in reference to the recruiter.

Until then, Weiland said, his family didn’t have a clue that he was considering joining the Marines. His father was more than proud of him for joining the military, he added, but he wanted to ensure that he was doing it for the right reasons.

“He told me to find a skill that would follow me for the rest of my life,” Weiland said.

Weiland’s father, Norm, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1965, serving as a KY-8 radio technician and a helicopter door gunner. Stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., multiple locations in Vietnam, and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Weiland’s father traveled and experienced quite a bit in his four years of service.

“He never really told me to join or expected me to join. It’s always what I’ve wanted to do,” Weiland said. “I remember when I was 9 or 10 seeing my dad’s box of medals, and I was like a kid in a candy store. It was definitely a determining factor.”

Like his father, Weiland joined the Marines. In 1996, he was assigned to his first duty station, Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4, as an EA-6B Prowler aircraft technician, at the age of 19. He deployed three times during his first enlistment, twice to Aviano Air Base, Italy, in support of Operation Deliberate Guard and Operation Allied Force and once to Japan.

As a sergeant in the Marine Corps and with time dwindling away on his first term, Weiland had another important decision to make. He decided to depart the Marine Corps and began college.

“I didn’t like what I was studying and realized the Corps was a better fit for me, but I knew if I came back in that I probably wouldn’t be a noncommissioned officer, so I had to do something different,” he said. “So I did some research, talked to my dad quite a bit, and decided on the platoon leaders course in 2003.”

Commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2006 with a degree in physical geography from the University of Wisconsin, Weiland headed to flight school.

“I was sitting there going through the numbers with a few of my buddies at flight school,” Weiland said, “and I realized there was a decent chance for me to go to Marine Aircraft Group 14 again.”

Weiland found himself assigned to Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 again, this time as an officer.

“I thought it was a joke at first, but it wasn’t, and it started to sink in like I never left in the first place,” he said. “I thought sarcastically to myself, ‘Oh I’m back at this place again.’”

His first time with the Seahawks was as a Prowler electrician, and the second time as an electronic countermeasures officer.

“I spent four years of my life maintaining the aircraft, when all I wanted to do was see what it is like to fly in it,” he said. “Then I realized I had to go through flight school just for that.”

Thirteen years after he first stepped into the squadron’s hangar, he returned to see several familiar, albeit older, faces -– Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Daen J. Glover, for example.

“Captain Weiland was always someone I looked up to and tried to emulate when he was enlisted,” said Glover, who has known Weiland for 12 years.

“I was confused when he got out as a sergeant and went to college, because he was an outstanding Marine,” Glover continued. “But I’m glad he decided to come back, and now both our squadron and the Marine Corps are better off with a Marine of his caliber.”

Weiland said his life is prosperous, as he is happily married to his wife, Neva, and he has three children: Brandon, Aidon and Elizabeth. He also has a unit full of old work buddies as he pursues a profession that allows him to fly and work with young Marines.

“I definitely have a unique perspective of what it is to be an enlisted Marine,” Weiland said. “It has benefitted me as an officer, and really all you need to do is think about it like a lance corporal does, and you’ll get the job done.”

Second Fleet Commander Embarks America's Newest Aircraft Carrier

From USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Second Fleet, Vice Adm. Daniel P. Holloway embarked on the U.S. Navy's newest aircraft carrier, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Feb. 1-4.

The George H.W. Bush Strike Group is currently conducting Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) and Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) in the Atlantic Ocean. Holloway's visit marks his first underway embark on Bush, arriving aboard to assess the progress of the Strike Group during the exercises and visit with the Strike Group leadership team.

COMPTUEX and JTFEX are the final training exercises before a strike group is certified as ready to deploy, challenging the ships and Sailors with various battle problems and at-sea engagements across the full spectrum of combat operations. While embarked, Holloway served as the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander for the strike group and coalition units, overall in charge of assets in the maritime domain in a wartime engagement scenario.

"We need agile, relevant naval forces ready to respond to the call of the nation," said Holloway. "It is an honor for me to be embarked to review at sea this rigorous training and certification process," said Holloway.

Holloway previously visited Bush in December, welcoming the crew back to Norfolk after an underway period, and personally thanking everyone for taking part in a medical evacuation of a Sailor from a U.S. Navy submarine at sea which had delayed the carrier's return to port.

"I'm here to tell you this team has already performed the fundamental block and tackling to establish the foundation to be full mission capable," said Holloway. "I am confident she will be certified in all warfare areas in time for her combat deployment."

The GHWB Strike Group includes the staffs of Carrier Strike Group TWO and Destroyer Squadron 22, the aircraft and crew of Carrier Air Wing 8 and ships: USS Gettysburg (CG 64), USS Mitscher (DDG 57), USS Truxtun (DDG 103), USS Anzio (CG 68) and Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon (F 102).

Joining the GHWB Strike Group during COMPTUEX are USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), USS Boone (FFG 28), USS Carr (FFG 52), USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) and USS Monterey (CG 61). In addition to embarking onboard Bush, Holloway visited the other ships in the Strike Group and participating in the exercise, flying via helicopter to each ship over the course of three days. Holloway's first visit was with the strike group's Spanish partners onboard Borbon.

"The building of relationships and forging partnerships before the crisis occurs are key to our coalition engagement," said Holloway.

"The Strike Group Team has come together and has worked very hard so far during COMPTUEX to be in the highest state of readiness possible when we deploy," said Rear Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, GHWB Strike Group. "We're honored that Adm. Holloway had the opportunity to see just how talented and dedicated this part of his Second Fleet team is."

Bush will depart on its first-ever combat deployment in Spring 2011, serving as the flagship for Tyson and the GHWB Strike Group.

For more information about USS George H.W. Bush and the GHWB Strike Group, please visit

For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit

This article was sponsored by Military Books.

Cable Sailors Help Build A Home

By Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gabrielle Blake, USS Frank Cable (AS 40)

KAMPONG VILLAGE, Malaysia (NNS) -- Sailors from the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) helped build a new home as part of a Habitat for Humanity Community Service project in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia Feb. 1 - 2.

"We are honored to have the Sailors here," said Joanna Kitingan, President of Habitat for Humanity Kota Kinabalu Affiliate. "We are very happy to have so many volunteers from the Navy who have thought to help the community."

Cable's Religious Ministries Department worked with Habitat for Humanity to put the project together. More than 30 Sailors came out each day to work with a Malaysian family to help build their new home from the ground up.

Kitingan said the family's current home is about 40 years old and made of depleted bamboo. There are no real bedrooms and no proper plumbing in the house. The bathroom and the kitchen are separate from the house.

"It was really humbling because we don't realize how little other people have," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Sheraldine Aguon-Hilton. "We got to work hand-in-hand with the family and really see how we were helping them out."

"The vision of Habitat for Humanity is every human being should have a home they can call their own," said Kitingan. "Sailors helping to make this a reality for this Malaysian family really touches the heart of the community."

Local volunteer Rachel Lok said it normally takes takes about two months to complete these type of projects; however, with the help of the Sailors who volunteered, it can be completed in less than two weeks.

"It is very rewarding," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Lea Devera. "We have enough days for liberty. Giving one or two days for [community service] is not asking too much. Seeing the faces of the Malaysian family who will be living in the house is truly rewarding."

Cable Sailors were treated to lunch with the family which included traditional Malaysians dishes and Sabah tea.

"The food was great," said Aguon-Hilton. "It really opened up our eyes to other cultures."

Aguon-Hilton said having the opportunity to spend time with the family, working and eating was a great experience and she would recommend all Sailors get out in the community.

Cable's main mission is to conduct maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

For more news from USS Frank Cable (AS 40), visit

Wisconsin National Guard wraps up winter storm response

By 1st Sgt. Vaughn R. Larson
Wisconsin National Guard

The approximately 100 Wisconsin National Guard members called to state active duty Tuesday to help state and local officials with blizzard-related emergencies have all completed their missions and returned home. Brig. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, activated the Soldiers and Airmen Tuesday (Feb. 1) as part of Gov. Scott Walker's declaration of emergency.

"This is at the core of why there is a National Guard," he said. "We provide enduring value by assisting civil authorities when the situation demands and this blizzard was just such an occasion."

The Guard members were stationed armories in Plymouth, Milwaukee, Oak Creek, Kenosha, Sussex, Elkhorn, Watertown, Platteville and Janesville and dispatched winter response force packages - community and highway assistance teams - Tuesday and Wednesday.

"While I am extremely proud of our Soldiers and Airmen," Dunbar said, "our mission was successful because of our partnership with state and local agencies including Wisconsin Emergency Management, State Patrol, Transportation, Natural Resources and especially first responders."

Each team's mission varied, but most focused on working with law enforcement agencies and rescuing stranded motorists. "[The Guard was] able to get to places where our rescue vehicles and even our snow plows couldn't," said Steve Braun, the emergency management director for Grant County, noting that snow was drifting as high as eight feet in some areas. "The Guard was a great asset."

Brad Altman, executive officer for the Wisconsin State Patrol's southwest region, said the National Guard assets at the Janesville armory were able to negotiate treacherous road conditions to reach stranded bus passengers three miles north of Janesville and move them to safety.

"Considering the circumstances, it was a successful mission," said Altman, who requested Guard assistance through the state Emergency Operations Center.

Kurt Picknell, undersheriff with the Walworth County Sheriff's Department, was the operations commander for the night shift Feb. 1 and said Wisconsin National Guard vehicles were utilized all night and into the morning of Feb. 2. He placed a sheriff's deputy in each military vehicle dispatched to assist stranded motorists.

"Combining assets like that worked extremely well," he said.

Shortly after Feb. 2, the Wisconsin National Guard completed its winter storm assistance missions and returned to home station where they were released from state active duty.

"This is an event that we will never forget," wrote one Wisconsin resident in an e-mail to the Wisconsin National Guard. "I truly want to thank the National Guard and the [Walworth County] Sheriff's Department ... You all will be so very blessed for all you did!"

This article was sponsored by Military Books.