Military News

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today in the Department of Defense, Saturday, February 19, 2011

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

Navy Region EURAFSWA Installations to Participate in Exercise Citadel Shield 2011

From Commander Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Installations in Navy Region Europe Africa Southwest Asia (EURAFSWA) will join Navy installations worldwide participating in Exercise Citadel Shield 2011 (CS-11) Feb. 22-24, an annual security training exercise coordinated by Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC).

The exercise will focus on areas of the Navy's anti-terrorism program, to enhance the training and readiness of naval security force personnel to respond to real-world threats. The Navy aims to make the exercise as realistic as possible by executing field training events aboard its installations.

"The drill's purpose is to test the capabilities of our security forces and is not in response to any particular threat," said Lt. Ken Frauenthal, EURAFSWA director of training and readiness.

Participating installations throughout EURAFSWA intend to minimize traffic congestion and any other inconveniences to local communities, that may result from the exercise's field training events.

"Throughout our region, this evolution will provide a realistic training environment for personnel, allowing us to work on command and control as well as communication with our force protection tactical commanders," said Stan Scott, EURAFSWA lead exercise controller.

During the exercise, a regional assessment team will collect information and look for inconsistencies in reporting processes and tactical procedures.

"Then we will relay the lessons learned back to CNIC headquarters in an effort to improve how Navy Region EURAFSWA and our six installations may respond in the future," said Frauenthal.

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Navy Medical Research Unit Commissioned

By Larry Coffey, Naval Medical Support Command Public Affairs

LIMA, Peru (NNS) -- Navy Medicine's Medical Research Det. in Lima, Peru, conducted a commissioning ceremony, Feb. 10, transitioning the Naval Medical Research Center Detachment (NMRCD) Lima to a command – the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6 (NAMRU-6).

"This is a pivotal day for Navy Medicine Research in Peru and for our partnership with the Peruvian people," said Rear Adm. Eleanor Valentin, commander, Navy Medicine Support Command (NMSC). "We are here to honor the historic, life-saving accomplishments of the American and Peruvian team that was Naval Medical Research Institute Det. Lima, celebrate the beginning of Naval Medical Research Unit 6, and mark what I believe will be an unprecedented future of equally significant accomplishments."

Naval Medical Research Institute Detachment (NAMRID) was established in Lima, Jan. 20, 1983, to study infectious diseases. Since then, the research operations have expanded from a limited number of research projects in Peru to more than 130 research, surveillance and response, and public health capacity building programs in 11 countries in South and Central America.

"Over the last 28 years, the research partnership between our two countries has been a tremendous success," said Valentin. "Our team has had a direct impact on research and patient care for diseases like malaria and Yellow Fever."

The results of Navy medical research in Peru directly impacts the health and well-being of Navy, Marine Corps and civilian personnel who work in this part of the world. The research also benefits the civilian population of U.S. partners in the region.

Valentin compared the life of NAMRID and now NAMRU-6 Lima, to the life of a Navy ship.

"There are four key ceremonies for a Navy ship," she said. "The first is the keel laying ceremony. On that day, the people building the ship celebrate its strong structure and dedicate themselves to build a capable vessel, worthy to join the fleet. The keel laying ceremony for us was Jan. 20, 1983, at the founding of NAMRID."

The second ceremony, Valentin said, is the christening ceremony. That is the ceremony in which the ship is given its name. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus christened NAMRU-6, Jan 13, 2011, giving the command its official Navy name, Valentin said.

"The third ceremony is the most important," Valentin said. "The commissioning ceremony is the day that a ship joins the fleet. Today, I congratulate our crew – the staff, family and friends of NAMRU-6 – as today you officially join our fleet of Navy Medicine Research Units. This ceremony indicates that we, the leaders of the U.S. and Peruvian navies, consider that your vessel and your crew are sea worthy."

Enterprise Chorus Reaches out with International Language of Music

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Chase, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The USS Enterprise (CVN 65) chorus is learning new songs as the crew completes its second day of operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), Feb. 17.

Enterprise's 50–Sailor chorus conducted its first public performance, Feb. 8, and opened with their rendition of the Turkish national anthem before hundreds of Sailors, Turkish dignitaries and locals, as part of a hangar bay reception to kick off a port visit in Marmaris, Turkey.

"The chorus performed flawlessly," said Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Keith Oxley. "We could not be more proud of all of them."

The chorus director, Lt. Jonathan Pohnel, said the chorus exists to inspire the Sailors of Enterprise and act as a catalyst for international friendship between the United States and its allies. He said it is not part of the job to bring Turkish nationals to tears in gratitude for quality of the performance, but it is a benefit.

"It's not only to inspire our Sailors, but to inspire unity with other nations," Pohnel said. "You can use music to do that. Music is an international language, and we want other nations to know we care enough to learn their music," he said. "We may not be able to learn Turkish conversationally before a port visit, but we can learn their songs, and I think that goes straight to the heart."

Pohnel said he was a member of the United States Marine Corps Band before becoming a naval officer. While performing for foreign guests is a goal, Pohnel said he put together the chorus to perform at ceremonies and events for the ship itself.

The music will be a mixture of 'sea shanties', classical, sacred, and patriotic songs. Pohnel said he wants Enterprise Sailors to feel as strongly when they hear the chorus sing the national anthem as the Turkish guests did when they heard theirs. He said he wants the music to bring "goose bumps" to the back of listeners' necks.

The ship's chorus is less than a month old. Auditions were performed Jan. 22, and judged by Pohnel, who holds a degree in music. The chorus practices once a week in harmony and pronunciation, often breaking words down phonetically, especially foreign words. Choral members are also expected to take recordings of the songs with them for personal practice.

"It's cool to have that out-of-rate experience, to do what I used to do and sing," said Information Systems Technician Seaman Shauna Matheny, who has been singing since she was 11 and has a background in musicals and opera performance.

Matheny is also a member of a special, 12-member ensemble within the choir, put together to provide chamber music for smaller events such as formal dinners.

While the chorus is a voluntary act, it could lead to larger possibilities for those in the choir. Within the Navy's music community, there are numerous opportunities for skilled vocalists including "Music for Recruiting," which gives Navy vocalists the chance to recruit new Navy musicians.

For anyone interested in joining the chorus, Lt. Pohnel is still accepting auditions. While the process is rigorous and much is expected of its members, existing members say it's rewarding.

"I think the chorus lets people know there are opportunities on the ship outside of your job," said Information Systems Technician Seaman Skyler Mullis. "We are still Sailors, but we get to enjoy our time while we get to show what we do to different people around the world."

"This is not just something for people to put on their evaluation," said Pohnel. "This helps people remember that they are serving on Enterprise, that they are serving the United States of America, and the music reminds us of our of mission."

Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing 1 are in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility on a routine deployment to conduct maritime security operations and to provide support to operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.

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Gates, Mullen Take Budget to Senate Committee

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2011 – The Defense Department’s request for a $553 billion base budget and an additional $117.8 billion to fund overseas operations for fiscal 2012 is the right amount for preserving America’s fighting strength during tight budget times, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told a Senate committee today.

Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took their case for the budget to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the day after presenting it to the House Armed Services Committee.

“These budget decisions took place in the context of a nearly two-year effort by this department to reduce overhead, cull troubled and excess programs, and rein in personnel and contractor costs – all for the purpose of preserving the fighting strength of America’s military at a time of fiscal stress for our country,” Gates said.

Full funding of the budget would continue the department’s efforts to reform its business practices, fund modernization efforts for future conflicts, reaffirm the nation’s commitment to the all-volunteer force, and ensure that troops and commanders on the front lines have the resources they need, he said.

Mullen, too, said full support is necessary “to reset the joint force needed to protect the American people.”

The chairman called the mounting U.S. deficits and national debt the country’s “greatest threat to national security.”

Because of that, he said, “We must carefully and deliberately balance the imperatives of a constrained budget environment with the requirements we place on our military in sustaining and enhancing our security.”

Resetting the military after ten years of war will be costly, Mullen said. Defense leaders will have to continue with efficiency savings Gates started last year to support the costs, he said.

“For too much of the past decade we have not been forced to be disciplined with our choices,” Mullen said.

Gates addressed four areas of concern he said he has heard since releasing the budget Jan. 6:

- First, he said, Congress’ failure to pass the fiscal 2011 Defense budget, resulting in the department operating under a continuing resolution is affecting readiness by delaying and disrupting programs, causing cuts to maintenance and operations, and in other areas.

- Second, the four-year plan to reduce the budget until it flattens in 2014 and 2015 still protects personnel, modernization and readiness, Gates said.

- Third, the budget’s projections for cutting end strength will not harm readiness or dwell time and will, in fact, leave the Army with 40,000 more soldiers than it had when Gates took office in 2007, he said.

- Finally, plans to save money in the TRICARE healthcare system are necessary to sustain the program, Gates said. Otherwise, he said, the military “risks the fate of other corporate and government bureaucracies ultimately crippled by personnel costs and health care.”

USS Theodore Roosevelt Sailors Mentor Elementary School Students

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sandra Pimental, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Sailors partnered with Campostella Elementary School staff during an assembly, Feb. 17, in Norfolk, Va., to address bullying in schools.

In attendance were students and Sailors who participated in an interactive video and judging panel.

"The children are our future," said Cmdr. Richard D. Jones, USS Theodore Roosevelt Air Department assistant air officer. "Interacting and sharing the information with them while they are young is everyone's responsibility."

The goal of the assembly was to educate children in the different ways to handle a bully situation, and the effects it can have on a child.

"TR and Campostella have had a long standing relationship," said Jones. "Our participation helps bring the Navy and the Norfolk County School system together."

The videos showed four different scenarios in which Sailors played both the bullies and the victims. During the video, Jones addressed the students and Sailors as to whether the scenarios presented were in fact bullying or horseplay. This allowed for students to ask questions and give feedback on personal situations where bullying was present.

"It was good to learn how bullying could affect you," said Angellee Hayes, a fifth grader at Campostella. "I liked the video and was happy the Sailors came; they made it fun."

One Sailor, who was depicted as both the victim and the bully, felt proud to help in the making of the video.

"I think that having this kind of learning for the children so young is great," said Yeoman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Sheena Taylor. "It helps them become comfortable enough to talk to an adult when something happens."

"If you are being bullied you should tell someone," said Hayes. "Children should never feel helpless. They need to know that they can go to anyone they trust, a parent, teacher or even the janitor."

Norfolk Public School District Superintendent, Dr. Richard Bentley, and Campostella's principal, Dr. Laguna Foster, said they the program will filter to neighboring schools, and throughout the school system itself.

"I appreciate the Navy being present," said Bentley. "My son is in the military, and I know how important service is."

Bullying has become a national issue. This is one way TR is attempting to reach out to the community and help alleviate the problem.

TR is currently undergoing a 39-month Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va.