Military News

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SECNAV Says Tomodachi Made US, Japan Alliance Stronger

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fidel C. Hart, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) thanked more than a thousand 7th Fleet Sailors and Marines in Yokosuka Apr. 20 who participated in disaster relief operations off the coast of Japan.

The Honorable Ray Mabus expressed his gratitude to Sailors assigned 7th Fleet ships USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Cowpens (CG 63), USS Shiloh (CG 67), USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), Stethem (DDG 63), USS John S. McCain (DDG 56), and USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) who gathered at the Yokosuka waterfront for an all-hands call with SECNAV.

"To be as flexible as you were, to go from one mission to suddenly turn and do humanitarian assistance and disaster relief without costs, without changing any equipment, any people, changing any training and going from your normal day-to-day jobs without any hesitation and doing it so well, no other country can do that and no other service can do that like the people here," Mabus said.

Within hours of the earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Japan March 11, much of the U.S. 7th Fleet was on the move, re positioning ships and aircraft to assist the Japanese Self Defense Force in their relief efforts.

The U.S. Navy brought 22 ships, 132 aircraft and more than 15,000 personnel to conduct missions as part of Operation Tomodachi.

Tomodachi is the Japanese word for 'friendship.'

In the days and weeks that followed, 7th Fleet forces delivered more than 260 tons of relief supplies to groups of isolated people ashore. They systematically mapped and cleared harbors from obstuctions to navigation, provided fuel and supplies to Japanese ships and aircraft, and searched more than 2,000 square miles of ocean in a concerted effort to find the remains of victims.

"There is no other force in the world other than the United States Navy and Marine Corps that could have done what you all did," Mabus said.

Mabus said Operation Tomodachi demonstrated the U.S. commitment to its longtime alliance with Japan.

"The partnership between America and Japan was made stronger because of what you did," Mabus said.

Following the all-hands call, Mabus took questions from the collection of Sailors and Marines and took the time to personally meet with many of them.

Robert G. Bradley Continues APS, Arrives in Dakar, Senegal

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Darryl Wood, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/ Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

DAKAR, Senegal (NNS) -- Guided-missile frigate USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) arrived in Dakar, Senegal, April 20, for its second multinational exercise during Africa Partnership Station (APS) West.

Saharan Express is an APS exercise focused on improving the communications and interoperability of West African countries to counter narcotics trafficking and proliferation.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

"Saharan Express will be a great opportunity for our boarding team and search and rescue (SAR) team to evaluate and train with our African partners" said Lt. j.g. James Carles, Robert G. Bradley boarding officer. "This exercise will further expand the maritime security of all the participating partner nations."

During the exercise, Robert G. Bradley Sailors will conduct SAR operations with the Cape Verde navy. They will also conduct office calls, give tours of the ship, hold a reception onboard and conduct a military-to-military community relations project with Cape Verde navy.

Robert G. Bradley, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, is homeported out of Mayport, Fla., and is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Senior Naval Officers Seek Improvement in Anti-Submarine Warfare Through Summit

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Viramontes, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

NAPLES, Italy (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa hosted the first Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare Summit on Naval Support Activity, Naples, April 19.

During the summit, senior naval officers focused their efforts on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) in the European Command area of operation.

ASW uses naval assets such as ships, aircraft and submarines to understand the underwater battle space.

"Globally proliferating undersea warfare technologies, particularly submarines, are a national security concern," said Vice Adm. John M. Richardson, commander, Submarine Forces. "Our undersea superiority and free access to the global commons is at risk if we don't maintain our edge with the best people, training, and equipment to address this growing threat."

The summit lasted for one day and discussed key issues to help ensure that all theater ASW actions are consistent with the commander's guidance.

Adm. James G. Stavridis, commander, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, also attended the summit where he discussed topics such as current and future operations, partner capabilities and building stronger alliances.

NATO is also a large contributor to ASW utilizing low frequency active systems, maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft and air independent propulsion submarines.

Stavridis spoke about "building stronger alliances" and how that was shown in action by exercises like Noble Manta, Proud Manta and Bold Monarch. Those exercises demonstrate NATO's determination to maintain proficiency and improve interoperability in coordinated ASW and coastal surveillance operations.

Stavridis also spoke about the great contributions the submarine force made during Operation Odyssey Dawn.

"I would like to give a classic 'bravo zulu' to the excellent submarine force during Odyssey Dawn," said Stavridis. "You all did terrific work out there, well done."

Although it was only a one-day summit, the attendees felt the gathering was beneficial.

"There is nothing better then meeting with our leaders face to face and receiving guidance and direction from them personally as we all continue to focus on this very important branch of naval warfare." said Capt. Mark Davis, Commander Task Force 69.

Commanders of USS Harpers Ferry and USS Germantown Exchange Command

By Task Force 76 Public Affairs

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and USS Germantown (LSD 42) swapped commanding officers and crew during an exchange of command ceremony April 21, at Fleet Activities Sasebo.

Cmdr. Mike Crary took command of Harpers Ferry and, after a short period of training and crew acclimation, will return to San Diego and fill rotational force assignments for Commander, U.S. Third Fleet.

Cmdr. Antonio Hull and his crew will remain in Sasebo with the newly-upgraded Germantown, adding new capabilities to a crew experienced with operating around Japan and the Western Pacific region, to support U.S. 7th Fleet, and Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet tasking.

"Having newly-modernized ships forward deployed is essential to improving the capabilities of our amphibious force and reinforces our long-standing commitment to allies and regional partners," said Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones,

Germantown is the third, and most recent, landing dock ship to complete her mid-life upgrade maintenance, upgrading systems such as diesel engines, engineering control systems, compressed air systems, and all electric steam systems. Hull swaps such as these are part of Surface Forces Pacific's plan to update forward deployed Naval forces in Japan, and to keep our most capable assets forward deployed.

Face of Defense: Marine Coaches Youth Wrestlers

By Marine Corps Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso
Marine Forces Pacific

CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii, April 20, 2011 – When people look at Master Sgt. Timothy D. Greenleaf, they see a 6-foot, bulky, tattooed Marine. What isn’t so obvious is he’s enjoyed working with children for more than 18 years.

Greenleaf, war reserve chief for U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific logistics, devotes a large amount of his off-duty time to being the head wrestling coach for Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Marine Corps Community Services youth wrestling team.

Although his coaching ambitions are centered on nurturing the athletic talents of his three children, Greenleaf said, coaching also gives him the opportunity to be there for the children of his fellow service members.

“A lot of these kids have parents who are either deployed or getting ready to deploy,” he said. “If I can, I’d like to fill the gap and provide them with a strong male mentor figure. My children have gone through the same thing, so this is my way of catching up.”

Greenleaf began his coaching career in 1993 while stationed at Blount Island Command in Jacksonville, Fla., when he became head coach for his oldest son’s Little League baseball team.

“The main reason I started coaching was because my [oldest] son was deaf, and I had to be at every practice and game to translate for him,” Greenleaf said. “So I figured if I’m going to be there anyway, why not coach?”

In addition to coaching children, Greenleaf, who says he’s always had a passion for physical fitness, began to coach his unit’s tackle football team.

“I just knew how to organize a practice,” Greenleaf said. “I took a lot of the methodologies we use in the Marine Corps and applied it to my coaching style –- warm-ups, drilling, practicing situation-based strategies -- and I really enjoyed it.”

As a father, Greenleaf said, he could relate to the concerns of his young athletes’ parents, a trait that has allowed him to teach the necessary discipline for sports and also maintain a good relationship with the parents.

“A parent wants a child to be cared for in a certain way, and I always keep that in mind when I’m coaching,” he said. “But when you’re teaching someone discipline, it sometimes takes a little tough love, which is fine as long as I let the parents know what’s going on.”

In 1998, he transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he continued his coaching career as the base’s flag football coach and dabbled as a youth sports referee.

“For me, it’s been another form of mentoring,” Greenleaf said. “The more that I defined myself as a coach, the better I got at refining my coaching style. It’s about getting down to the basics -- working on quickness, agility, strength and conditioning.”

In 1999, Greenleaf returned to Jacksonville, where he focused on his eldest son’s participation in football and wrestling.

“My son attended a deaf school, and his coaches were also deaf,” Greenleaf said. “They had interpreters at their local games, but when the team traveled, my wife and I came along to help out as interpreters. We supported all kinds of programs that way.”

In 2003, Greenleaf was stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, where his daughter began to show interest in athletics.

“She walked up to me one day when I was getting ready to go on a run and asked, ‘Daddy, can I come with you?’” Greenleaf said. “I told her, ‘Be careful what you ask for, daughter.’ From that point on, she was my running partner for three years.”

Although he wasn’t coaching any teams then, Greenleaf began training his daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, to run five- and 10-kilometer races until she asked to join a Little League baseball team.

“My dad’s great,” his daughter said. “He used to go outside with me for two or three hours just helping me work on my pitching or my catching. That’s just how he is. If you want to be a baseball player or a football player or a wrestler, he just wants you to succeed, and if you’re willing to put in the work, he’ll help you.”

With his oldest and youngest children heavily engaged in sports, Greenleaf began working with his second son, who also is deaf, by taking him to the gym. He eventually convinced him to join a youth wrestling program.

In 2007, the Greenleafs were stationed in Washington, D.C., at the Marine Barracks at 8th and I streets, where he said the coaching got out of control.

“I was coaching youth baseball, and then my daughter switched to softball,” Greenleaf said. “I was also coaching the Marine Corps Institute flag football, basketball and softball teams.”

Earlier this year, Greenleaf returned to Hawaii, where he assumed his current duties and began coaching youth wrestling.

Although most of the Greenleaf children are adults now, sports remain a family event. Greenleaf’s daughter and second son practice judo and are involved in the youth wrestling program. His second son took fourth place in the 215-pound weight class at the 2011 Hawaii High School Athletic Association’s wrestling championships while wrestling for Pearl City High School.

“My oldest son is married with a baby now, and he’s a coach on the [youth wrestling] team,” Greenleaf said. “[My second son also is] a coach, my daughter is on my team, and my wife sits on the bleachers and is in general support. When you involve your family and invest your time in your kids, it makes it all worthwhile.”

With a team of more than 30 wrestlers from ages 5 through 17, Greenleaf has his hands full, but continues to do more than he has to by offering additional one-on-one coaching time with his wrestlers and continuing to train his older wrestlers during the off-season.

“I want them to learn mental and physical discipline,” he said. “Wrestling helps to build their self-esteem. Not only are they doing grueling two-hour workouts, but they have to get out there and perform in front of people. I feel that the more you put them in those kinds of positions, other things in life won’t feel so daunting.”

Barracks Dedicated to Fallen Sailors

By L.A. Shively, Navy Medicine Support Command Public Affairs

SAN ANTONIO (NNS) -- Two fallen Navy corpsmen were honored during a ceremony dedicating a new barracks to each at the Navy Medicine Training Center aboard Fort Sam Houston, Texas, April 19.

Both were killed while supporting contingency operations.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Jaime Jaenke was killed June 5, 2006, by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 25 out of Fort McCoy, Wisc., Jaenke served as a unit medic. NMCB 25 personnel were involved in building schools, housing, airstrips and water wells among other projects in an effort to assist in restoring Iraq's infrastructure. Janke completed 25 missions, escorting 375 personnel in convoys across the country.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class John Fralish was killed Feb. 6, 2006, by enemy fire during a fire fight with insurgents while on patrol in Afghanistan. Assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, out of Marine Corps Base, Hawaii, Fralish served as a medic to Marines supporting provincial reconstruction and stabilization efforts in that country.

Calling a corpsman "Doc" is an honor fellow service members bestow on a Hospital Corpsman, communicating their trust that person will care for them. In the field a service member's life is in the "Doc's" hands because immediate access to a physician is not always possible, according to Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Robert Browning, who assisted Seabees from San Antonio-based NMCB-22 construct the cement pad and raise the flagpole for the Jaenke and Fralish barracks.

"It doesn't happen out of school, it happens when you bond with your Seabees, Sailors and Marines," said Browning. "It's a wonderful feeling. Remembering the first time he was called 'Doc.'"It gives me a sense of pride to drive by and see the flagpole."

"I'm glad that we can honor two corpsmen - two 'Docs,'" said Builder 1st Class Gary Ondrej, in charge of the flagpole project.

Several hundred Sailors, Airmen, Soldiers and civilians attended the event, where former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (ret.) Joe Campa served as guest speaker.

"All of us here know of the sacrifice these two individuals made while serving in distant lands," he said. "But the stories of these two S101ailors go well beyond the sacrifice they made on the battlefield. Their stories are of a young man and young woman who had a great love for their families, their country and the meaningful work they found in being hospital corpsman."

Helping people and serving her country was what Jaenke loved, according to her cousin, Tifani Eisentrager. As a civilian Jaenke had volunteered as an emergency medical technician and was planning to become a nurse.

Fralish was inspired to join the Navy because of 9/11. His uncle, John Fralish Jr., said that military service was a family tradition and the younger Fralish had wished to help others by becoming a doctor.

During the ceremony, larger-than-life portraits of each corpsman were unveiled. The Jaenke and Fralish portraits will grace the quarterdeck of each of the named barracks, and bronze plaques chronicling the circumstances under which each corpsman lost their lives were also unveiled.

"I am deeply honored that his name is there," said John Fralish Jr. "For years to come, that plaque will serve as a beacon for many classes of corpsman."

Family members then released gold and navy blue balloons, officially opening both barracks.

"Like ships they are only living things once the crew comes aboard and brings them to life," said Capt. R.G. Craigmiles, NMTC commanding officer, who emphasized that the buildings, like their namesakes, are of heroic proportions. "These halls are termed 'megabuildings'; each one over 330 thousand-square-feet of living space with 600 rooms housing 1,200 Sailors."

Chief of Navy Chaplains Visits Bahrain

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cynthia Z. De León, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd, chief of Navy chaplains, visited Sailors and Marines stationed aboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain and ships operating in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), April 12-20.

Tidd met with the NSA Bahrain chapel community at a dinner and helped celebrate Palm Sunday religious service, April 15.

In his sermon, he reflected on his own time here in 2001 when he served as fleet chaplain at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

"Living here we felt like were participating in history because of the all the operations that came after the [Sept. 11] attacks," Tidd said. "There was a sense of purpose like no where we had ever been."

While in the area, Tidd also visited Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS La Jolla (SSN 701), guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), and aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

"It's a good thing he came, he got to see a lot of Sailors," Religious Program Specialist (RP) 2nd Class Calvin Do said. "Some of these places, like the La Jolla, haven't seen a chaplain in a long time, so a high visibility chaplain coming shows that they do care."

Tidd explained that the Chaplains Corps motto is, "Call To Serve" and being in combat and enduring family separation can lead to moments of crisis and chaplains are available to service members in those times.

"We are serving those who are serving their nation," Tidd said. "It's an honor to be with people who are so willing to serve in such challenging places."

The key message he wishes to convey is that chaplains and RPs are here to provide support to Sailors and Marines looking for spiritual resources to draw their resiliency and strength from as they embark on life's journey.

Navy Child Serves as Circus Ringmaster

By Mass Communication Specialist (EXW) Todd Frantom, Defense Media Activity Public Affairs

FAIRFAX, Va. (NNS) -- The Military District of Washington Armed Forces Color Guard kicked off the Month of the Military Child celebration at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, in Fairfax, Va., April 19.

Anthony Albright, son of wounded warrior Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Stephan Albright, was the guest ringmaster in attendance.

"I am really honored to be recognized and will never forget this experience," said Albright.

There are 1.7 million American children with a parent serving in the military and approximately 900,000 children with single or combined parents deployed.

April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. The Month of the Military Child is an opportunity to recognize military children for their heroism, character, and courage.

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson said it's an honor to have this year's Military Child of the Year standing next to him center stage under the big tent top.

As a long-time supporter of America's military community, Ringling Bros. recognizes the sacrifices made by our U.S. Armed Forces and their families and in turn provide special events and promotions for military families in each city the tour visits.

"Military children go to bed each night praying for the safe return of a deployed parent and wake up in the morning helping to prepare their younger brothers and sisters for school," said Casey Spurr an active blogger and author.

Spurr and her husband, Lt. Cmdr. Nate Spurr, live in Virginia Beach, Va., with their 3-year-old son Carter. In honor of Month of the Military Child, Casey wrote about an experience she shared with her son.

"Military parents often dwell on their own challenges associated with military life without factoring in how these same issues are magnified for their children," she wrote.

"My son and military children are both inspiring and heartbreaking in their ability to continually adjust. I am very proud of Anthony," said Albright. "It's also very moving that the Circus has programs to support our military children."

For more information on Defense Media Activity, Anacostia, visit www.navy.mil/local/DMAA/.

USFF, CNIC to Hold HURREX Citadel Gale 2011 Exercise

From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) and Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC) will conduct the hurricane preparedness exercise, HURREX/Citadel Gale 2011, April 25 through May 3.

The purpose of this annual exercise is to prepare the Navy to respond to weather threats to U.S. coastal regions, and to maintain the ability to deploy forces even under the most adverse weather conditions.

HURREX/Citadel Gale 11 will involve two simulated storm systems developing and intensifying to hurricane strength, threatening the Caribbean Islands, East Coast, and Gulf Coast regions.

All Navy commands with personnel in these regions will participate, to include reviewing and exercising heavy weather instructions and procedures, and accounting for Sailors and Navy families in the affected regions through the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS).