Military News

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

This Day in Naval History - Feb. 15

From the Navy News Service

1856 - USS Supply, commanded by Lt. David Dixon Porter, sails from Smyrna, Syria, bound for Indianola, Texas, with a load of 21 camels intended for experimental use in the American desert west of the Rockies.
1898 - The battleship USS Maine "mysteriously" blows up in Havana Harbor in Cuba, killing more than 260 Sailors and Marines while injuring scores more. The tragedy sparks the Spanish-American War.

Hawaii Sailors Promote Positive Choices

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico, Commander Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The Commander Navy Region Hawaii (CNRH) and Commander Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific (CNSG MIDPAC) Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) chapter hosted a free 2-mile fun run for more than 20 Sailors at Aloha Aina Park, Feb. 11.

The run served as a way for CSADD members to promote positive peer-to-peer influence and networking among Sailors in the 18-25 age group.

"We decided to do this because last time we did a safety stand down and we wanted to do something different," said Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Lonnie McDade, CNRH/CNSG MIDPAC CSADD chapter president. "This time we wanted to do a run which would promote staying healthy and keeping physically fit, which is part of being in the United States Navy."

Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Eli Hollis, CNSG MIDPAC, placed first in the fun run with 14 minutes.

"Physical training is important for me because I like to keep my body in shape, and it also helps with my attitude," said Hollis. "You set goals for physical training just like you would in your life. It's reciprocal, and it goes hand in hand."

CSADD's mission is to provide military members of all branches with the best prevention and intervention tools possible to deal with drinking issues, reckless driving and other destructive decisions, while maintaining good order and discipline.

"CSADD is about peer-to-peer mentorship," said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Michael Downey. "We are trying to promote right decisions. Don't text and drive, don't drink and drive - some of the same old stuff we used to hear; but maybe if it's coming from your peers, you might think about it a little more."

CSADD began in 2008 when Rear Adm. Mark Boensel and Fleet Master Chief (AW/SW/SCW) Scott Benning, while assigned to Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, wanted to create an organization similar to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

The concept evolved as it addressed the basic decision-making process in many areas affecting Sailors on and off duty. With support from Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, CSADD became an official Navy peer mentoring program in June 2010.

For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.

Positives Emerge from Egypt’s Turmoil, Obama Says

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2011 – While the existing state of Egypt needs work, the positives from its recent turmoil are reflected in reaffirmed treaties with allies such as Israel and in the opposition’s belief that elections will be fair and free, President Barack Obama said today in a White House news conference.

“Egypt's going to require help in building democratic institutions and also in strengthening an economy that's taken a hit as a consequence of what happened, but so far, at least, we're seeing the right signals coming out of Egypt,” Obama told reporters.

Even while the region is now witnessing protests in Bahrain, Yemen and Iran, Obama said the American people understand each country has its own differences and traditions, and that the United States can't dictate how other nations run their societies.

However, certain universal principles do apply, he said.

“We don't believe in violence … and coercion as a way of maintaining control,” he said. “And we think it's very important that in all the protests that we're seeing throughout the region, that governments respond to peaceful protesters peacefully.”

The United States does believe strongly in the right to express opinions, freedom of speech and assembly, and the people’s right to share grievances with their government, the president said. He noted the contradiction in Iran’s reaction to the situation in Egypt.

“I find it ironic … the Iranian regime [is] pretending to celebrate what happened in Egypt,” he said, “when they have acted in direct contrast to what happened in Egypt by gunning down and beating people who were trying to express themselves peacefully in Iran.”

Real change in these societies, the president said, will not take place because of terrorism.

“[Change is] not going to happen because you go around killing innocents,” he explained. “It's going to happen because people come together and apply moral force to a situation. That's what garners international support. That's what garners internal support. That's how you bring about lasting change.”

Obama said he hopes to continue to see the people of Iran show courage in expressing their needs for greater freedoms and a more representative government, “understanding that America cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside of Iran any more than it could inside of Egypt.”

Sovereign countries, Obama added, must make their own decisions, with U.S. moral support for those that seek a better life.

“Obviously, we're concerned about stability throughout the region,” Obama said. “The message that we sent even before the demonstrations in Egypt has been, to friend and foe alike, that the world is changing -- that you have a young, vibrant generation … within the Middle East that is looking for greater opportunity.”

Obama said the catalyst to achieve stability in the region might lie in the people who believe pathways exist for them to feed their families, get a decent job, get an education and aspire to a better life.

“And the more steps these governments are taking to provide these avenues for mobility and opportunity, the more stable these countries are,” he said.

Coercion, he said, is not the answer to stability.

“At some level in any society, there has to be consent,” the president said. “And that's particularly true in this new era where people can communicate not just through some centralized government or state-run TV, but they can get on a smart phone or a Twitter account and mobilize hundreds of thousands of people.”

Obama said he hopes that as a consequence of what's happening in Tunisia and Egypt, governments in that region are starting to understand “that they can operate in a way that is responsive to this hunger for change, but always do so in a way that doesn't lead to violence.”

U.S. officials were mindful that it was important for the situation in Egypt to remain an Egyptian event and that the United States should not become the issue, Obama said.

“But that we sent out a very clear message that we believed in an orderly … meaningful transition that needed to happen not later, but sooner,” he added. “And we were consistent on that message throughout.”

Blue Ridge Sailors, Philippine Marines Beautify Cemetery

By By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Kenneth R. Hendrix, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs

ANGELES CITY, Republic of the Philippines (NNS) -- Twenty-four USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Sailors and 24 marines from the Philippine Marine Corps cleaned up a small cemetery as part of a community service project, Feb. 14.

"It always feels great to support others in need of help and give back to the community," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW/AW) Calithea A. Sheppard. "It was a great thing to do, and I learned a lot of history that I did not know about."

Clark Cemetery is home to the remains of 8,649 service members from all branches of the United States Armed Forces, as well as the Philippine Scouts, Philippine Constabulary and their dependents, dating back to 1900s.

Larry Heilhecker, Clark Cemetery chairman for Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States of America Post 2485, said the Navy and local service members in the Philippine armed forces are big supporters of the cemetery, and their contributions are always greatly appreciated.

"It never gets old seeing the Navy here volunteering their time," Heilhecker said. "We are glad to have you here anytime."

The cemetery relies on donations to maintain the grounds. VFW does not receive funding from either the U.S. or Philippine government, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs only provides American flags and engraved marble head stones, according to Heilhecker.

In November 1991, the U.S. Air Force departed the Philippines, turning over ownership of the grounds to the Philippine air force. Two years later, the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) agreed to take care of the cemetery.

However, VFW decided to take ownership of the cemetery in November 1994, because the CDC did not keep the grounds up to standard, Heilhecker said.

"We rely on the help of volunteers from the Navy who come throughout the year and the paid local Filipinos," Heilhecker said. "It is great to see the Navy adopt us."

Information Systems Technician 2nd Class (SW) Kevin M. Abney, USS Blue Ridge, said it was gratifying to work alongside the Philippine marines and to meet someone who reminded him of himself.

"Like me, he has a wife and daughter," Abney said. "He joined the service because of how bad the economy got and wanted to make sure he could provide for his family. It's not every day you meet someone from another country who is similar to you."

Fiscal Year Recruiting, Retention Remain on Track

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2011 – Fiscal 2011 recruitment and retention remained high throughout the services through January, with all active and reserve-component services meeting their recruiting goals, Pentagon officials announced today.

The fiscal year began Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30.

All four active-duty services met or exceeded their numerical recruitment goals through January. As of Feb. 1, the Army had 21,485 new recruits for fiscal 2011. The Navy had 9,651, the Air Force had 8,526, and 9,550 people had signed up for the Marine Corps.

The numbers reflect 100 percent of the recruitment goal for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, and 102 percent for the Army, officials said. Each active duty service also met or exceeded its fiscal retention goals through January, they added.

All six reserve components also met or exceeded their numerical recruitment goals through January. Here are the numbers of new recruits in fiscal 2011 for the reserve components:

-- 18,641 for the Army National Guard;

-- 10,149 for the Army Reserve;

-- 2,581 for the Navy Reserve;

-- 3,672 for the Marine Corps Reserve;

-- 2,198 for the Air National Guard; and

-- 3,038 for the Air Force Reserve.

Those numbers reflect 100 percent of the goal for the Navy Reserve, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve; 115 percent for the Marine Corps Reserve; 110 percent for the Army Reserve; and 105 percent for the Army National Guard.

All of the reserve components were considered to be within acceptable limits of attrition through January, officials said.

Marines Conduct Amphibious Assault Demonstrations during A-SPS 11

From Amphibious Southern Partnership Station 2011 Public Affairs

COVENAS, Colombia (NNS) -- Marines with the Ground Combat Element, Security Cooperation Task Force (SCTF), conducted a subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) to welcome Colombian marines aboard Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAV) and the USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), Jan. 31.

The SMEE took place off the coast of Covenas, Colombia, in support of Amphibious Southern Partnership Station 2011 (A-SPS11).

The A-SPS 11 mission is to conduct SMEEs with forces in the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility, including Colombia, Guatemala, Belize and Jamaica, to strengthen cooperative partnerships among nations.

"Most of my Marines have not deployed, so this was a great experience for them," said 2nd Lt. Jon W. Riebe. "It was beneficial for them to learn how to conduct business with partner nations and that they have the ability to make a positive impact that reflects the Marine Corps as a whole."

While in Colombia, SCTF built strong bonds with the Colombian marines and conducted several SMEEs, including combat marksmanship, security tactics, motor transportation, patrolling and other vital areas to improve techniques, share knowledge and develop professional relationships with the Colombian marines.

"It was fun trying to communicate with Colombians," said Lance Cpl. Jesse J. Stafford. "I don't know any Spanish but with body language and such, we made it work and actually made some friends."

The amphibious assault demonstration showed off the Marine Corps' amphibious lineage and the flexibility of the AAV. Although many U.S. Marines have spent the last ten years engaged far from the sea, the Corps' amphibious capability combined with Navy's long reach, still plays a vital role in maintaining global security and building regional partnerships.

The AAV is a fully tracked, armored vehicle that has been the Marine Corps' amphibious troop transport vehicle for ship-to-shore operations for nearly 40 years.

"The exchange demonstrated the amphibious doctrine and tactics," said Riebe. "First, we familiarized them with the equipment, then took them out to sea and showed them what an amphibious landing would look like with infantry assault force embarked."

Presenting the AAVs and their abilities showed the Colombian marines an aspect of the U.S. Marine Corps that many have not seen.

"The Colombians seemed to enjoy the presentation," said Riebe. "They don't have the technology to be able to have access to these assets. But they were very interested in the capabilities of the vehicle and how it would be beneficial to their river tactics."

The Marine Corps is designed on the foundation of an amphibious capability that is an inherently flexible and lethal force that forces potential adversaries to defend larger areas than would be necessary with only a conventional force. From the inception of the Marine Corps, the relationship with the Navy has been integral to the mobility and success of the landing force. Although positioned as a fighting force, the Navy and Marine Corps team is also a powerful force for a variety of missions including humanitarian response.

"I had a blast," said Lance Cpl. Jaran W. Chesser. "After the actual exchange was over, we really got to experience their lifestyle. We tried coconuts right off the trees and learned that one Colombian marine actually learned English from rock music and a dictionary."

"Learning about the Colombian marines, what they do, how they do things, and their requirements in their military careers was pretty cool," said Chesser. "Overall, it was a great experience for all of us."

In the Commandant of the Marine Corps' Planning Guidance, he states that as the Corps will continue to focus on operations in Afghanistan, he would like to see the Corps expanding more into other aspects of the world and getting back out at sea.

The mission is unique, productive and a non-combat deployment, that allows the Corps to expand capabilities and enhance knowledge in areas other than Iraq and Afghanistan. In conjunction with enhancing security cooperation in the region, the SCTF and USS Gunston Hall are trained and ready to execute a multitude of humanitarian assistance missions.

"We are getting back into our amphibious roots and having a force ready 24/7," said Riebe.

A-SPS 11 is a United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM)-directed operation implemented by Commander, United States Naval Forces Southern Command (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 news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, contact COMUSNAVSO/C4F Public Affairs by e-mail at comusnavso-c4f_mypt_pao@navy.mil, or visit www.public.navy.mil/comusnavso-c4f.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Marine Forces South, visit http://www.mfs.usmc.mil/organization.html.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Southern Command, visit http://www.southcom.mil/.

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.

Budget Balances Military Needs with Fiscal Restraint, Hale Says

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2011 – The Defense Department’s $671 billion fiscal 2012 budget is a responsible funding request that balances the needs of the military with efforts to control federal spending, the department’s comptroller said today.

“We in the department need to be part of the deficit reduction plan,” Robert F. Hale said during a Pentagon news briefing to outline the budget. “This is a responsible budget that meets our national security needs and is sustainable.”

Under the proposal to Congress, total defense spending would decrease 6.6 percent, but the base budget -- all funding except overseas contingency operations -- would increase 0.7 percent to $553 billion.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Larry O. Spencer, director of force structure, resources and assessment for the Joint Staff, said the budget would not hurt military readiness. Spencer accompanied Hale to the briefing in place of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is traveling.

“This budget ensures that our American military is ready to respond when the nation calls,” he said.

The budget allows the department to “consider the full spectrum” of global challenges, Hale noted, from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to terrorism to protecting free trade.

The budget freezes civilian cost-of-living raises, but gives service members a 1.6 percent increase to match the Labor Department’s annual Employment Cost Index.

The budget gives $8.3 billion to family support programs, including child care for more than 200,000 school-age children and funding of spousal employment programs. It also will allow for 15 modernization projects at department schools for service members’ children.

Department officials plan to spend $52.5 billion on health care, with increases to treating traumatic brain injuries and psychological health, as well as opening a new hospital on Fort Bliss, Texas.

Nearly $2 billion will be spent on construction, including 41 barracks, six fitness centers, four chapels and four child care centers.

For war funding, the budget provides about $85 billion to maintain readiness and training, partly due to the money saved from the drawdown in Iraq. It increases funding in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to $4.8 billion, which includes procurement of more unmanned aircraft.

To improve weapons modernization, the budget would:

-- Extend procurement of the F/A-18 aircraft through 2014;

-- Stabilize shipbuilding with an 11-ship program;

-- Procure a new long-range strike bomber with unmanned capability for the Air Force;

-- Fund $.09 billion for the KC-X Tanker;

-- Give $1 billion to the SSBN nuclear submarine development;

-- Provide $10.7 billion to ballistic missile defense;

-- and give $12.2 billion, a 2 percent increase, for science and technology research.

The budget reinvests $100 billion of $178 billion found in Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' “Efficiencies Initiative,” with the remainder taken as reductions from “top line” costs, such as $13 billion by freezing civilian billets, $12 billion with a two-year civilian pay freeze, $2.3 billion by closing Joint Forces Command and $8 billion in health care reforms.

As part of those initiatives, the Army will save $29.5 billion by reducing recruiting and retention incentives, terminating the Future Combat Systems and surface-launched advanced medium-range air-to-air missile, as well as reducing construction and manning and support processes.

The Navy and Marine Corps found $35 billion in savings by terminating the Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, using multiyear procurement contracts for new ships and aircraft, and reducing energy consumption.

The Air Force will reinvest $33.3 billion through reorganizations and consolidation; reducing, terminating and streamlining processes; as well as cutting information technology costs.

The budget decreases overseas contingency operations spending from $159 billion in the current year to $118 billion next year. Of that, $66.6 billion would go to operations, including $12.8 billion to train and equip the Afghan army and police. Nearly $12 billion would be for equipment reset costs.

Much of the decrease in the overseas budget is due to the drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq, which is to be completed by the end of December. Expenditures in Iraq dropped from $46 billion in the current budget, which ends Sept. 30, to $11 billion to complete the transition to State Department operations in Iraq.

The department’s four-year budget plan calls for a 1 percent increase in the base budget in fiscal 2013, followed by 0.5 percent in 2014, and a flat budget in fiscal 2015 and 2016.

MCPON Message to the Fleet: No Second Chances for Drug Abuse

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

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West, released the following message on drug abuse, which focuses on "Spice," herbal products and other designer drugs, to the fleet, Feb. 11:

"Shipmates,

There has been an alarming rise in the number of Sailors who are choosing to use 'Spice,' herbal products and other so-called designer drugs; and this must come to an immediate stop.

More than 150 Sailors are currently being processed for 'Spice' use, possession or distribution, and this is UNSAT.

Overall, the Navy has separated 1,374 Sailors in FY09; 1,308 Sailors in FY10; and 302 Sailors during the first quarter of FY11, for drug abuse. These unexpected losses negatively affect our commands' manning levels, which in turn affects the commands' operational and warfighter readiness. The Navy's policy on drug abuse is simple and clear – zero tolerance, and there are no second chances.

NAVADMIN 108/10 states the following on drug abuse:

'Drug abuse includes the wrongful use, possession, manufacture, or distribution of a controlled substance. Drug abuse also includes the unlawful use of controlled substance analogues (designer drugs), natural substances (e.g., fungi, excretions), chemicals (e.g., chemicals wrongfully used as inhalants), propellants and/or prescribed or over-the-counter drugs or pharmaceutical compounds with the intent to induce intoxication, excitement, or stupefaction of the central nervous system, and will subject the violator to punitive action under the UCMJ and/or adverse administrative action.'

Some examples of substances mentioned above where the wrongful use constitutes drug abuse includes, but is not limited to the following:

- Products that contain synthetic cannabinoid compounds, such as "Spice," genie, blaze, dream, ex-ses, spark, fusion, dark knight, yukatan fire, and K2.

- Natural substances such as salvia divinorum and mushrooms.

- Common items abused by inhaling or huffing, such as Dust Off, glue, paint thinner and gasoline.

- Over-the-counter products such as Robitussin and Coricidin HBP.

- Prescription medications such as Oxycodone, Vicodin, Adderall, and Valium.

If you didn't know, 'Spice' is a mixture of natural herbs and synthetic cannabinoids, that when smoked, produce a marijuana-like 'high' that decreases motor skills, impairs coordination and concentration, and effects short-term memory and senses. The effects of these substance is unpredictable when combined with alcohol, and since the chemical blends are continuously manipulated and the strength of the synthetic chemical used is unknown, there is no way to know what you are getting in the drugs nor what the long-term health risks are if used.

Some of the side effects from these drugs included uncontrolled vomiting, excessive sweating, flushed skin, increased heart rate and high blood pressure, and loss of consciousness. If this sounds like a good time to you, then go ahead and hand over your rank and paycheck, and possibly your life.

Bottom line: The use and even just the possession of 'Spice,' herbal products, designer drugs, chemicals used for huffing, salvia divinorum, or products containing synthetic cannabinoid compounds are prohibited. Leadership, along with Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is aggressively working to catch personnel who are possessing, using, or distributing drugs; and when you get caught, your career will be over.

Drug abuse goes against our Navy's core values and ethos, and it is a threat to lives, unit and mission readiness and morale. It is every Sailor's responsibility to deter drug abuse. If you do the crime, you will do the time … remember zero tolerance and no second chances.

HOOYAH!"

‘Our Life Together Includes PTSD, but is Not Run by It’

Posted by Ariel Place, Military Spouse on February 15, 2011

Recently, Ariel Place was among other military spouses who attended the Deployment Health Clinical Center’s Significant Others Support Group. The week-long program offers support to the significant others of service members who’ve recently graduated from the center’s Specialized Care Program. Ariel shared with the DCoE Blog how the program helped her to better understand her fiancĂ©’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and restore their relationship.

When people are drowning, often there is no sound, no call to attention as they silently and desperately gasp for air. This is how my fiancĂ©, Army Sgt. Andrew Young, struggled with his PTSD, survivors’ guilt and grief.

An outstanding soldier, friend, son and partner, he tried to protect those around him from feeling any transference of his pain by trying to deal with it alone. Sometimes, he would isolate so much that my own self-doubt and insecurities would add to the struggle. Over time, the demons of self-isolation fought the need for connectedness; pride fought humility; fear fought help-seeking; and frustration fought love. We were losing each other.

There was never a lack of effort on either of our parts, but when each other’s reactions weren't as we anticipated, we would take them as failures. It began to feel like our relationship was failing despite our tremendous efforts.

His time came to attend the Specialized Care Program, a three week session at Deployment Health Clinical Center (DHCC). During those weeks, he explored a range of emotions, including those he had hidden from since his deployments. He began to see himself for the amazing man I knew him to be, and he realized how his own struggles with PTSD affected me and our relationship.

In the third week of the program, he told me he couldn't keep doing this to me, to us, and he wanted to end our relationship. I was speechless. I had seen so much progress, so how could this be? Then I realized - this is when I needed to stay. I told him that I wasn't going anywhere, I loved him and we were partners in everything. I told him I had chosen him and our life together. He never tried to walk away from me again.

My own week came to go through DHCC’s Significant Others Support Group. Despite my college degree and work experience in psychology, I still needed guidance. I was able to step out of my own world and really see things as they were. I discovered that I had been defining Drew by his PTSD symptoms and remembered that there was so much more to him: he’s a musician, goes to the movies, cooks, plays lacrosse with me at the park, reads, and is quite the romantic.

The support group helped me find my balance again. I see Drew and I as a team composed of two partners working together. For a while our efforts had us accidentally working against each other. This program helped us improve and utilize the tools and methods we already had in place, as well as add new proactive ones we had not tried yet.

This experience has united us even further. Our life together includes PTSD, but is not run by it. We are happy.

Ariel and Drew are getting married this May in Stephens City, Va.

For more information about DHCC’s programs, visit www.pdhealth.mil and be sure to check out “Military ‘Significant Others’ Find Comfort and Friendship” article in the February edition of DCoE in Action.

Wisconsin National Guard always ready, always there

Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office

 "The Wisconsin National Guard has not been mobilized for state active duty," said Brig. Gen. Don Dunbar, the adjutant general of Wisconsin and commander of the Wisconsin National Guard. "We remain in our normal state of readiness."

The Wisconsin National Guard's 10,000 Soldiers and Airmen, 800 of which are on active duty, are always ready to support civil authorities when the president of the United States or the governor of Wisconsin declares an emergency.

Over the past decade alone, Wisconsin National Guard troops have deployed in support of the global war on terror and for state and federal emergencies such as floods, blizzards and tornadoes. Wisconsin National Guard members have also supported Southwest border operations, Hurricane Katrina response, North Dakota flooding, Kentucky ice storms, Haiti earthquake relief efforts, and Deep Water Horizon air space management.

"We are always ready to provide citizen-Soldiers and citizen-Airmen anywhere, at any time, to support community, state and federal missions," Dunbar said. "This is the mission of the National Guard."

This article was sponsored by Military Books.

Missile Agency Seeks Funds for Defensive Systems

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2011 – A ground-based system for homeland defense and interceptors for regional defense highlight the Missile Defense Agency’s portion of the Defense Department’s fiscal 2012 budget request.

The agency requested more than $8.6 billion for fiscal 2012, compared to last year’s requested $8.4 billion, Navy Rear Adm. Randall M. Hendrickson, the agency’s deputy director, told Pentagon reporters yesterday via video teleconference from Colorado Springs, Colo.

“The 2012 budget is predicated on and assumes the eventual approval of [fiscal] 2011's requested levels of $8.41 billion," he said.

If approved, the $8.6 billion budget would be used to pay for completing the initial fielding of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System for homeland defense, in addition to enhancing regional defenses with at least two interceptor systems against short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, Hendrickson said.

Homeland security projects include completing the purchase of six ground-based interceptors and the purchase of five more, as well as finishing 14 missile-launching silos at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and starting work on a new East Coast communications terminal, the admiral said.

Regional defense plans include purchasing 68 Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense interceptors, six launchers and a tactical station group. The plan calls for purchasing 46 standard sea-based interceptors, among other projects.

The third phase, Robust Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Defense, is expected to be completed in 2018. System improvements would include expanded shooter coordination and improved radar, Hendrickson said.

The fourth phase, Early Intercept and Regional Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Defense, is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

The projects to complete the third and fourth phases include completing the preliminary design for the Precision Tracking Space System satellite, and finishing the final designs and engineering models for its spacecraft bus, optical payload and communication payload components.

Essex Team Conducts Successful NEO Exercise

By Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Casey H. Kyhl

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Conducted as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2011, the NEO was designed to demonstrate the ARG's ability to quickly evacuate civilians during a time of crisis.

"This NEO exercise was an enormous undertaking, but it went very smoothly," said 1st Lt. Patrick Grainey, 31st MEU NEO team leader. "Hundreds of U.S. Marines and Sailors processed and transported more than 100 Japanese, Thai and American mock evacuees to where they needed to be. We utilized helicopters and amphibious craft from various countries and hit our timelines right on the dot."

On shore, evacuees were organized, informed of the evacuation process and thoroughly searched before being medically screened for illness, injury or special needs. Evacuees then filled out tracking and safety documents before boarding helicopters and landing craft, air cushions for evacuation to the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2).

"Essex personnel really had to work hand-in-hand for this evolution to go as planned and I think we did that very well," said Chief Master-at-Arms (SW) Stacy Holmes, with Essex security. "Our security team, ship's self defense force and 31st MEU counterparts responded well and got everyone where they needed to be."

This article was sponsored by Military Books.

Face of Defense: Amputee Runs on Inspiration

By Alexandra Hemmerly-Brown
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2011 – Johnathan Holsey is a runner.

The Army warrant officer often logs two to three miles per day at Fort Gilliem, Ga., to keep fit for military duty -- not bad for a soldier with a prosthetic leg.

Assigned to the 3rd Military Police Group as a human resources technician, the 14-year Army veteran hasn't let his injury hold him back. Rather, he said, being injured has spurred him to do things he never attempted before, such as running a half-marathon.

"When I first got injured, I thought if I could ever run again, I'd give it my all," he said.

Holsey's Army career began in 1992 when he joined as an armor crewman. He has been stationed in Georgia, South Korea, Florida and Washington, D.C. He changed his military occupation after a few years and deployed in 2004 as an administrative specialist.

While serving in Iraq as a staff sergeant providing personnel support to the 2nd Infantry Division, Holsey was swiftly initiated into the infantry lifestyle with near-daily convoys. His unit was relocating to another forward operating base, he explained, and troops and supplies were shuffled constantly.

Holsey said he wasn't very worried about riding in convoys, because "you never really think you might get hit."

But on Nov. 10, 2004, when Holsey was headed out on another routine trip, the unexpected happened.

"That whole day is a blur," he said of being hit. "I never remember anything I did that day."

Pieced together from the memories of other soldiers who were there, Holsey only knows what happened second-hand. He doesn't remember his vehicle lurching in the blast from a roadside bomb, and he doesn't remember how he managed to get out. Holsey said he lost consciousness until he arrived at a clinic on a Marine base.

"The one thing I do remember is that I almost rode in a different vehicle that day,” he said. “I was supposed to switch, but I went back. I always think about that.”

Holsey was flown to Germany for initial treatment and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

When he arrived at Walter Reed, Holsey's left leg was reinforced with metal pins, and he endured "washout" surgeries every two days to prevent infection. Finally, Holsey's doctor told him that amputation might be his best option, and the next day he went into surgery.

Told later by his ex-wife and stepsons that he reacted more emotionally than he remembers at the news he'd lose his leg, Holsey said he's at peace with his decision now.

"I think I've learned to accept it," Holsey said of his injury. "I think some of the things I've accomplished I wouldn't have if I wasn't injured."

Throughout his year of recovery, he said, he felt at times as though he wasn't making progress. But within two months, he was fitted for a prosthetic and was walking again.

In 2008, Holsey ran his first Army 10-Miler with Walter Reed's "Missing Parts in Action" wounded warrior group. That’s when he met Sue Bozgoz, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and running coach. Bozgoz, who's helped hundreds of other runners throughout her Army career and now coaches full-time, said Holsey was the first wounded soldier she trained.

"I realized that there's a lot of need to inspire wounded warriors," Bozgoz explained, noting she coaches because she loves seeing people finish what they started.

Bozgoz and Holsey kept in touch via e-mail and phone, with Bozgoz providing a training schedule and new distances and times to aspire to. One of Bozgoz's colleagues, retired Army Capt. Millie Daniels, met Holsey at a track two to three times per week to help him train.

Bozgoz, who's completed 52 marathons, also is an agent for world-class runners who run in support of wounded warriors during races around the country.

"The goal is to inspire more people to run," she said.

Since 2008, Holsey has run in each consecutive Army 10-Miler, a few half-marathons and the last 10 miles of the Marine Corps Marathon.

Holsey said he wasn't really a runner prior to his injury, but he pushes himself harder now, just to see what he can do.

In 2009 Holsey applied for Warrant Officer School, and became the first amputee in the Army to graduate. He said the instructors at the school showed him no favoritism because of his injury, and that the school was all-around challenging.

"I think I was physically prepared for it, but I'm not sure I was mentally prepared for it," he admitted.

Even at his current duty station, Holsey said, most of his peers didn't know he was injured until them saw him in shorts. But now when they see him running or working out, he added, many of them are inspired to work harder.

Although Holsey inspires others -- he receives e-mails constantly from people he doesn't even know to offer him support -- "it's the people around me who make me stay positive," he said.

Before he was wounded, Holsey noted, he'd never met an amputee. But now, he said, he believes he relates best to other wounded warriors.

"Sometimes, I think we have to see each other out there," he said. "To me, it makes me realize I can still do it."

Holsey's advice to other wounded soldiers is to talk with people facing the same challenges to let feelings and frustrations out.

"I think you just don't give up," he added. "Don't allow your limitations to be my limitations."

Holsey said he plans on staying in the Army until he retires, and that he has his injury, in part, to thank for his decision.

"Because of the opportunities they've given us as wounded warriors, it's important for me to stay and help pave the way for others," he said.

This Day in Naval History - Feb. 14

From the Navy News Service

1778 - John Paul Jones, while commanding the American vessel Ranger, receives the first official salute to the U.S. Stars and Stripes flag by a European country, at Quiberon, France.
1804 - Lt. Stephen Decatur, with volunteers from frigate Constitution and schooner Enterprise, enters Tripoli Harbor by night in the ketch Intrepid to destroy the captured frigate Philadelphia. Decatur succeeds without American losses.
1813 - USS Essex becomes first U.S. warship to round Cape Horn and enter the Pacific Ocean.
1814 - USS Constitution captures the British ships Lovely Ann and Pictou.
1840 - Officers from USS Vincennes make the first landing in Antarctica on floating ice.

Charleston Sailors Team Up To Prepare For Physical Fitness Assessments

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer R. Hudson, Naval Support Activity Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station Public Affairs

CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- Sailors at Naval Support Activity are pushing for excellence as they train vigorously for the upcoming Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) by improving their cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength and stamina at Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station, Feb. 11.

Maintaining physical health is ultimately the responsibility of each individual Sailor. However, here at NSA, the duty of ensuring the command maintains physical standards as a whole rests solely in the hands of one individual, the command fitness leader (CFL), Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jacob Moore.

"Good PFA scores are critical now for Sailors more than ever," said Moore. "The Navy is looking at PFA scores for advancement, perform-to-serve and in evaluations."

"There are new rules on body fat standards and Sailors who have three failures in four consecutive years will not only be administratively discharged but will no longer be offered severance pay," said Moore. "With these stricter rules in place, the test is not something to be taken lightly."

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising on a regular basis can help a Sailor pass the bi-annual event with flying colors.

"The physical readiness test is designed as an assessment tool for the Navy," said Moore. "The assessment keeps Sailors at a high-state level of readiness to be able to complete the Navy's mission. The Navy requires all Sailors to be physically fit and here at NSA, we strive for the very best out of all of our Sailors."

For one Sailor, motivation to get in shape on his own was a struggle. However, with group physical training three times a week, Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Charles Thompson quickly found that his cardio and upper and lower body strength had significantly improved. These improvements led him to passing the fall 2010 PFA and have him geared up and ready for the upcoming spring challenge.

"I knew I had an issue about my weight but I lacked the motivation to PT on my own and get into shape. I really needed someone to push me and inspire me to go that extra step," said Thompson.

"Group PT really helped me because the group continually pushed me to the limit. I never stopped though even when it was really hard," said Thompson. "Although I was very tired after every session, I felt very proud and accomplished. I couldn't have passed the PFA on my own if it wasn't for the CFL and the assistant CFL constantly motivating me."

According to Moore, the idea behind having group PT with a physical trainer is to establish a different level of fitness that improves the overall physical health of Sailors at NSA. These efforts go hand-in-hand with the Navy-wide effort in promoting physical conditioning and a commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

"Physical training is one of the most difficult events that we do as a group, but it is motivating for many of the Sailors and it pushes them to better themselves," said Moore. "I have a lot of respect for the Sailors that don't give up and push even harder when it gets tough."

"I think that group PT builds teamwork and camaraderie," said Moore. "For us here at NSA, it is critical that we do events as a group because of how far apart we all work from each other."

"We train three times a week and in cycles to help build upper and lower body strength over a period of time. We also train to improve Sailors' cardio," said Moore. "We train for PFAs in a progressive state, meaning that over a period of six months the PT sessions become more and more strenuous to ensure that Sailor can pass the test when the time comes."

"The PFA program is aimed at producing a healthier and more fit Sailor," said NSA Command Master Chief Billy Cady. "A healthy Sailor is sick less often, doesn't require numerous trips to medical and tends to work longer hours safely. In the long run, this program saves money and in these times of reduced budgets, every little bit helps."

"It is leadership's responsibility to promote a healthier lifestyle within a Sailor's life, both on and off duty and that is exactly what I try to do for the Sailors at NSA," said Moore.

Talk with the Wisconsin Adjutant General

Live Internet Town Hall Meeting Tuesday, 15 February, (1800)

Join Brig. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Tuesday for an online town hall – topics of discussions will include:

·         724th Engineer Battalion Homecoming

·         Family Program Conference

·         Youth Camp, 29 - 31 July 2011

·         Tax Preparation Services

·         Strong Bond events

Log in, ask questions and share your thoughts with the man at the top.  Go to http://dma.wi.gov/TAGLines now to sign up for an e-mail reminder of this important event.

On event day:

·         Using your browser, navigate to: http://dma.wi.gov/TAGLines

·         Select a screen name that will appear when you ask a question or make a comment… example:  “Sherry_B/2/127th “

·         Then sit back read, watch and chat with the TAG, members of his staff and other participants about issues that affect you.

·         Don’t be worried if your comments or questions don’t appear right away. We anticipate there will be lots of messages going back and forth, and there are delays between the time you click “Send” and the time it appears in the message window for all to see that are a normal part of the system we are using.

·         Our “auto scroll” feature ensures you're always shown the newest content without having to refresh or scroll your screen. You can turn this on or off by using the controls at the bottom of the viewer window.

·         Subtle sound effects alert you to new content as it’s published. This can also be turned on or off as needed.

Reminder: In order to facilitate an open discussion with General Dunbar, please limit sharing this invitation to Wisconsin National Guard members & their families.