Military News

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Mullen Welcomes Australia’s Gift for Vietnam Memorial

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2011 – Noting Australia’s contributions alongside U.S. service members in the Vietnam War, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today welcomed an Australian gift that will enhance that war’s memorial here.

During a dedication ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, where Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced her nation would donate $3 million toward an education center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen cited the long relationship between Australia and the United States.

Some 60,000 Australians served in Vietnam, the chairman said, and 521 were killed.

“We remember Australians’ sacrifice as we do our own,” he said. “And this education center will remind future generations of Australians and Americans, and indeed every nation, about the sacrifices of all those who served in Vietnam.”

The United States and Australia share a strong affinity, historical roots, strong democratic institutions and cultures bolstered by immigrants hailing from lands around the globe, Mullen said. The two nations are the closest of allies, he added, fighting alongside each other in every conflict from World War I on.

“Since the Great White Fleet sailed into Sydney Harbor more than 100 years ago,” said Mullen, who served in Vietnam early in his career, “our militaries have likewise enjoyed a strong bond based on professionalism, courtesy and respect.”

Australia is the first government institution to contribute to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund toward the construction of the underground education center. Congress authorized the center in 2003. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 1982, located just yards from the Lincoln Memorial.

The memorial lists the names of all Americans killed or missing during the Vietnam War. A native-born Australian’s name is etched on the memorial. John Louis Molyneaux Jr., whose name appears on Panel 45W, Row 15, served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marines Corps and died on Aug. 31, 1968, in Quang Nam province, South Vietnam.

“It symbolizes so much about the Vietnam era for both of our countries,” Gillard said. “To enter into, and [to] reflect within and emerge from the memorial, is an emotional journey for anyone.”

In a news release announcing the event, Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said Australia is the first government institution to donate to the education center, and the donation marks the center’s first foreign gift.

“The Australians were our steadfast allies during the Vietnam War,” Scruggs said. “We are gratified that the Australian people feel so deeply about helping us build the Education Center at The Wall to honor all who served and sacrificed during that war. We welcome their partnership once again in this important endeavor.”

Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey -- who served in Vietnam and chairs the education center’s advisory board -- also spoke at the ceremony.

“We’re going to build this exhibit and bring to life the memories of the 58,000 U.S. troops killed and the 300,000 wounded,” he said.

The Education Center at The Wall was conceived as a way to put faces to the thousands of names on the memorial and to educate current and future generations about the men and women who gave everything for their country, and to tell their stories, officials said.

Other exhibits will showcase some of the 150,000 items left at the memorial in tribute and will provide a timeline of events for the Vietnam War and the memorial’s construction, they added.

(Terri Moon Cronk of American Forces Press Service contributed to this report.)

Naval Air Station Jacksonville Participates in Multi-Agency Drill

By Clark Pierce, Jax Air News Editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- The City of Jacksonville's Emergency Operations Center, Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax), CSX Transportation, Amtrak and other agencies participated in Operation Railcar, a multi-agency emergency response exercise, March 3.

The exercise scenario simulated a chemical tanker truck being struck by an Amtrak passenger train at a railroad crossing. The resulting derailment caused a chemical leak and mass injuries.

"This full-scale operation is an excellent opportunity for local, state and federal responders to interact and implement our emergency response plans," said Marty Senterfitt, Duval County emergency management chief. "In today's exercise, communication is the key because each agency comes in with its own command structure. What I like to see is how well the different uniforms mix together and engage in face-to-face communications. When all the incident commanders meet on site, you end up with a unified command structure, and that increases the opportunity for things to go right."

NAS Jax Commanding Officer Capt. Jeffrey Maclay observed the exercise.

"This is a great opportunity for different agencies to unify their tactics, techniques and procedures in order to work together for the most effective outcome," said Maclay. "Even though the incident takes place on private property near NAS Jax, we have a firefighting assistance agreement with the City of Jacksonville to dispatch the NAS Jax fire and emergency services assets whenever they are the closest responders to an incident in proximity to the base. From what I observed, our local, state and federal responders are well ahead of the curve when it comes to providing a unified emergency response."

The exercise took place at a lumber store across from NAS Jacksonville's southernmost boundary. The exercise was designed not to impact normal business operations and the store remained open during the exercise.

NAS Jax Fire Chief Don Martin kept a close look at how his incident command team communicated with other responders as they arrived on the scene.

"Because of our close proximity to the accident site, Jacksonville 9-1-1 routed the call to our regional dispatch center, which in turn dispatched our hazardous materials team and other assets," said Martin. "Operation Railcar enables NAS Jax fire and emergency services personnel to train with outside agencies. Since we were the first set of eyes on the scene, our job was to assess the situation and identify the chemical leaking from the tank truck and pass that information along to our brothers and sisters in the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue department."

"Operation Railcar is a great opportunity to build our communications bridges with other agencies beyond our fence line," Martin said. "Interoperability is always the key to establishing effective communications and operating as one."

Also taking part in the exercise were Soldiers and Airmen of Georgia National Guard Joint Task Force (JTF) 781, one of the state's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) units.

"Our units are able to respond to incidents outside Georgia under the terms of an emergency mutual aid compact with Florida CERFP," said Maj. Michael Collins, JTF-81 commanding officer. "Upon arriving on site, our command and control team coordinates with the on-scene commander to determine how to most effectively employ our unit. Today's drill allows us to reinforce our ongoing training to strengthen ties with other organizations, both military and civilian."

CERFP personnel help remove victims from a contaminated environment, perform mass casualty decontamination, and provide treatment as necessary to stabilize patients for evacuation.

The Naval Hospital Jacksonville (NH Jax) Decontamination Response Team received six mock victims from the train derailment. Injuries ranged from respiratory complications and mental impairment, to lacerations and other injuries typical of this type of disaster. Based on the condition of each patient, they were transported to appropriate diagnostic, medical and surgical care units.

"Naval Hospital Jacksonville successfully collaborated with federal, state and local agencies on our local response and support in a mass casualty situation," said NH Jax Commanding Officer Capt. Lynn Welling. "It's all about being prepared, knowing your role and how to collaborate seamlessly in disaster situations. Ultimately, it's about saving lives."

"As the Navy's command authority and primary stakeholder for shore installation training requirements, CNIC developed the Shore Response Training Plan, requiring defense support of civil authority training at the operational and tactical levels," said Randy Morgan, Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC) director of training and readiness.

Morgan said Duval County's Operation Railcar exercise helps NAS Jax to meet the annual requirement (DoD Instruction 6055.17) to exercise and validate their installation emergency management program.

"Participation in Operation Railcar by leaders representing each of the emergency response functions on the installation and appropriate state, local, private-sector organization partners, improves interagency coordination and communication, highlights capability gaps and identifies areas for improvement," said Morgan. "The end-state will be increased readiness that enables seamless response and recovery to real-world events."

Historic Preservation Underway at Pearl Harbor

By Thomas Obungen, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii completed demolition of two old warehouses along Pearl Harbor's Mike piers Feb. 25, as part of an extensive, multi-year historic preservation initiative that included the restoration and reuse of a third historically significant building.

Many areas of Pearl Harbor are designated part of the U.S. National Historic Landmark program, and the removal of any facility 50 years or older that may have played a role in the December 7th attack at Pearl Harbor is considered significant and requires serious discussions with national and local historic preservation experts.

"The broad scope of this project involved many steps before becoming the final product you see today," said Cmdr. Lore Aguayo, NAVFAC Hawaii assistant regional engineer. "Identifying unnecessary buildings six years ago, to remodeling building 148 in 2010, and the subsequent demolition of buildings 146 and 147 last month, benefits the Navy by consolidating facility requirements and eliminating excess infrastructure so we can best leverage our limited maintenance funds."

In 2005 the Navy identified warehouse buildings 146, 147 and 148 as suitable for demolition under the DoD Programmatic Memorandum of Agreement, which under strict parameters, authorizes the demolition of World War II (1939-1946) temporary structures eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Before the demolition could take place; however, NAVFAC Hawaii's environmental team consulted with members of the Hawaii State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) about the project and reached an agreement to demolish buildings 146 and 147, only after building 148 was restored to its original character, in accordance with the secretary of the interior's standards for rehabilitation.

In September 2008, NAVFAC Hawaii awarded a design-build contract to Niking Corporation to restore building 148 using new and salvaged materials from buildings 146 and 147, such as wood windows, lighting fixtures, structural support members, and industrial sliding doors. Renovations and upgrades brought the total cost of the contract work to $3.3 million.

"The design process initially began with an on-site, pre-design meeting between the contractor and Navy architects," said Jeff Dodge, NAVFAC Hawaii architect. "Discussions covered the scope of the project and different historical cues, such as divided light windows and corrugated sidings that were important to retain."

After identifying unsalvageable portions of building 148, the contractor installed new corrugated metal roofing and siding, and painted the panels in a style that mimics the original look of the building, circa 1941.

The interior also received an overhaul, starting with its electrical and lighting system that was brought up to code, and ultimately earned the building a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification when renovations were complete in April 2010. Building 148 then began serving as secured storage and office space for the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility.

The completion of the building allowed NAVFAC Hawaii to begin remediation, abatement and finally demolition of the remaining buildings in accordance with the SHPD agreement, thereby reducing the Navy's inventory at Pearl Harbor of underutilized buildings and their associated costs.

Oceana Training Unit Recognized for Outstanding Safety Program

By Steve Vanderwerff, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR STATION OCEANA, Va. (NNS) -- Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) Oceana received Naval Education and Training Command's (NETC) 2010 Award for Achievement in Safety during NETC's professional development conference in San Diego March 6.

The award recognizes CNATTU Oceana's contribution to the quality of safety and high-risk training safety programs throughout NETC's domain.

To maintain safe and healthy working conditions and instill a safety-first mentality in staff and students, CNATTU Oceana implemented training and awareness programs, as well as Navy Occupational Safety & Health (NAVOSH) and operational risk management (ORM) programs.

According to Cmdr. Alan Dean, commanding officer, CNATTU Oceana, the strength and success of its overall safety program is evident by its 78 percent reduction in on duty mishaps, 67 percent decrease in off-duty mishaps, 100 percent reduction in private motor vehicle mishaps, zero military lost workday/lost time rate and a nine year record of zero civilian lost workday/lost time rate.

"We've made safety our top priority and an integral part of our entire training culture," said Dean. "This award recognizes the remarkable efforts of our staff. Day in and day out, they execute our training mission while taking care of themselves and the more than 2,500 students who attend classes at CNATTU Oceana throughout the year."

CNATTU Oceana pursued an aggressive approach toward mishap reduction by continuously developing and implementing effective processes using available knowledge and technology.

A key element to the success of its safety program was its enlisted safety committee. Together, they discussed safety concerns, applied ORM concepts, provided information to the commanding officer and safety council; and used skits to define, discuss and illustrate safety concerns in its monthly training, which resulted in a 74 percent reduction in on and off duty mishaps.

Weekly ORM briefs were given to staff and students about liberty policies, underage drinking, driving under the influence, safe operation of a motor vehicle and general risk management. More than 376 hours of traffic safety training was conducted for staff and students.

Additionally, CNATTU Oceana ensured that motorcycle riders and potential riders attended mandatory motorcycle operational safety training and complete a basic motorcycle rider safety course, experienced rider course or sport bike rider course depending on skill level.

During 2010, the unit had zero ergonomic discrepancies, zero motor vehicle mishaps, and zero motorcycle mishaps.

CNATTU Oceana provides specialized technical training to Sailors and Marines for initial rate 'A' schools, F/A-18 Hornets, Super Hornets and automated test equipment to sustain all facets of aviation maintenance and support, by meeting validated fleet requirements through a range of professional and personal growth. Courses include blended learning including standard classrooms, hands-on labs, simulations and computer-based training.

Flag Officer Announcements

From Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced the following assignments March 5:

Capt. Peter J. Fanta, who has been selected for the rank of Rear Adm. (lower half), will be assigned as commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Five/commander, Task Force 51/518, Bahrain. Fanta is currently serving as deputy director, surface warfare for combat systems, N86F, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, D.C.

Rear Adm. (lower half) Charles A. Rainey will be assigned as vice commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif. Rainey is currently assigned as commanding officer, NR Strategic Mission Analysis, Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md.

This Day in Naval History - March 07

By the Navy News Service

1778 - Continental Navy frigate Randolph (32 guns) engages HMS Yarmouth (64). Randolph explodes and sinks with the loss of all but four men.
1958 - Commissioning of USS Grayback (SS 574), first submarine built from keel up with guided-missile capability, to fire Regulus II missile.
1960 - USS Kearsarge (CVS 33) rescues four Russian soldiers from their landing craft 1,000 miles from Midway Island.The Soldiers were drifting several weeks after their engine failed off Kamchatka Peninsula.
1966 - The Department of the Navy is reorganized into its present structure under the Chief of Naval Operations.
1967 - River Patrol Boats assist Operation Overload II in Rung Sat Zone, Vietnam.
1968 - Operation Coronado XII begins in Mekong Delta, Vietnam.
1994 - The Navy issues its first orders to women assigned aboard a combat ship - USS Eisenhower (CVN 69).

General Officer Announcements

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

Maj. Gen. Noel T. Jones, director, strategic plans and assessment, U.S. Forces-Iraq, U.S. Central Command, Baghdad, Iraq, to director, operational capability requirements, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Masiello, deputy assistant secretary for plans, programs and operations, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., to director of special programs, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Col. Linda R. Medler, who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, deputy chief, information officer, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., to assistant deputy director for net centric capabilities, J-8, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Col. David R. Stilwell, who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, special assistant to the deputy under secretary of the Air Force for international affairs, Washington, D.C., to defense attaché, Beijing, China, U.S. Pacific Command, Defense Intelligence Agency, Beijing, China.

Suicide Prevention Training Raises Awareness

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

CHARLESTON, S.C. (NNS) -- Command suicide prevention coordinators attended Navy Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training at the Fleet and Family Readiness Center aboard Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station, Feb. 23-24.

The training, sponsored by Navy Personnel Command (NPC) and Commander, Navy Region Southeast; was geared toward increasing suicide awareness and encouraging shipmates to take care of each other.

"Not one person is immune to suicide," said Cmdr. Linda Beede, NPC suicide prevention outreach coordinator. "Our goal is to heighten awareness and teach command coordinators how to identify early signs of suicide, so they can intervene early and hopefully save a person from taking their own life."

Day one of the two-day seminar offered peer-to-peer sessions for more than 180 instructors at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command. Discussions were focused on the perspective that anyone, no matter their position in a command, can be on the first line of defense in preventing suicide.

Facilitators also worked with ombudsmen, the Navy's volunteer intermediaries between families and commands, to help them teach military spouses how to identify signs of suicide in their active duty loved ones.

Day two of the training focused on the weapons station's suicide prevention coordinators, enabling them to design their own suicide prevention programs for their respective commands.

"Anyone, regardless of gender, religion, age or rank can be a suicide risk," said Beede. "Each Sailor is that first line of defense, so it is important for Sailors to be able to recognize the warning signs - withdrawal, depression, anger, anxiety, mood changes or talk of suicide. Get involved. Do not let rank interfere when taking care of each other."

The Navy's ACT program promotes three factors in dealing with individuals who may be contemplating suicide; Ask, Care, Treat.

"Ask simply means to ask a person how they are doing," said Beede. "If you see something is bothering a person or they seem to be under more stress than usual, try opening up lines of communication to get them to talk. Asking is always the starting point.
"From there, offer them hope by letting them know there are people who care and are willing to help," she explained. "Finally we want to provide them with the help and care they will need, whether it's a counselor or a chaplain, to get them through whatever they may be dealing with."

Beede said stress can be caused by many different things including financial and economic problems, relationship issues or even job situations. Extreme levels of stress can contribute to a person feeling overwhelmed and ultimately to taking their own life.

"The taking of one's life is one life too many," said Steve Holton, course facilitator. "The key to reducing the numbers of suicides is being proactive and getting help to an individual before the stressors become overwhelming. Early intervention helps keep the circumstances surrounding the at-risk person from spiraling out of control."

According to the training, suicide prevention has the most impact when the initial signs start to manifest themselves; however, most people do not recognize these behaviors as destructive or even dangerous.

"Our most valued resource in the Navy is our Sailors; the ones who defend our country and fight for our freedom," said Naval Health Clinic Charleston Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Cmdr. Keith Goldston. "However, many of these same Sailors go through tremendous amounts of stress, whether it is job related or not, which can affect them not only as a Sailor, but as a person.

"Take care of each other," he continued. "A command is only as strong as their Sailors, and we need all Sailors to be at their full capability to execute the Navy's mission."