Military News

Saturday, April 23, 2011

VA, DOD create mobile app for PTSD treatment, support

Free iPhone application aims to help users overcome stigma of seeking support

Veterans and service members with post-traumatic stress disorder can now get support from a new iPhone application from the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments.
The VA’s National Center for PTSD and DOD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology created the new PTSD Coach application to provide remote support for veterans and service members with PTSD, whether diagnosed or pre-diagnosed, the VA has announced. PTSD is a condition that develops months or years after a trauma and can last for decades. The most recent studies of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars indicated that about 14 percent received the diagnosis, which includes symptoms such as disturbing memories and flashbacks.

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The PTSD Coach application was developed for iPhone, iPad and iTouch to provide a self-assessment for the condition, support and treatment options, and tools for managing daily stress from the condition, according to an April 19 news release. The tools support relaxation and positive self-help strategies, and can be customized with contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses, photographs and music, the departments said. An Android version is coming soon.
Julia Hoffman, clinical psychologist with the VA’s PTSD center, said the mobile application is intended to help veterans get over the difficulties in seeking treatment, and can be used anonymously.
“PTSD is characterized by extreme avoidance,” Hoffman wrote April 19 in the VA’s Vantage Point blog. “Many Veterans also have logistical problems getting to treatment because of their location, transportation options, work schedules, etc. Others fear stigma (being shamed or discriminated against) of having a PTSD diagnosis and receiving treatment.”
She said the developers are hopeful that the mobile application can overcome the logistical problems and when used anonymously, can help overcome the stigma.
“For veterans not yet in treatment, PTSD Coach provides tools for managing stress and helps them to understand their difficulties better and learn more about PTSD treatment,” Hoffman wrote.
Federal agencies have created or sponsored more than 30 free mobile applications in recent months as described at the USA.gov website. Many of them provide tools to general consumers and citizens, while others are aimed at assistance for specialized populations.


About the Author
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

Third Fleet Holds Change of Comand

From Commander, U.S. Third Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Third Fleet held a change of command ceremony aboard USS Makin Island (LHD 8), April 21.

Vice Adm. Gerald R. Beaman relieved Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt.

"I have had a great tour as commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet; and it is directly due to the selfless support each of you has provided in or out of uniform," said Hunt.

Hunt assumed command of 3rd Fleet in June 2009. During his tour he directed the successful completion of many deployments, exercises and humanitarian missions; such as Operation Tomodachi, RIMPAC 2010, Terminal Fury, and Talisman Saber.

"I feel truly blessed and am humbly honored to have led the best fleet in the United States Navy," said Hunt.

Hunt will assume command of Naval Surface Forces (COMNAVSURFOR) and Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVSURFPAC).

Third Fleet was originally formed March 15, 1943, during World War II, under the command of Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey. He opened his headquarters ashore in Pearl Harbor, territory of Hawaii, June 15, 1944. The fleet operated in and around the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, Formosa, Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands. It also operated in Japanese waters launching attacks on Tokyo, the naval base at Kure and the island of Hokkaido.

On Nov 26, 1986, Commander, Third Fleet shifted his flag from his headquarters ashore to resume status as an afloat commander for the first time since World War II, aboard USS Coronado (AGF 11). In August 1991, 3rd Fleet's commander, his staff and the command ship, USS Coronado, shifted homeports to San Diego. In September 2003, Commander, Third Fleet shifted his flag from the command ship USS Coronado (AGF 11) to headquarters ashore at Point Loma, San Diego.

"I cannot tell you how honored I am to be given this chance to become the twenty sixth commander of the United States Third Fleet," said Beaman. "When I look at the names that have commanded before me, most notably, Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, I fully realize the magnitude of importance and the magnificent opportunity that command of the U.S. Third Fleet presents."

Beaman graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and was commissioned through the NROTC Program in 1974. His previous tours as a flag officer include: Naval Network and Space operations Command in Dahlgren, Va, commander of Strike Force Training Pacific, deputy chief of staff operations, Allied Joint Forces Command-Naples. He is reporting from U.S. Fleet Forces Command as deputy chief of staff Global Force Management, Joint Operations and Fleet/Joint Training.

"There is no better feeling in the world than to awake knowing that you are one of thousands of Sailors who wake up each morning trying to make a difference, to make our Navy a better place, and I intend to do just that as Commander, Third Fleet," said Beaman.

Commander, U.S. Third Fleet provides maritime security throughout the 3rd Fleet area of operations while developing and operating a worldwide deployable combat-ready naval force that is capable of deterring aggression and prepared to fight and win against any adversary while maintaining and improving Maritime Domain Awareness by building relationships, sustaining/ implementing an exchange of communication and information with U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. government agencies, and partner nations.

Marines in Korea Donate to Local Residents

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brianna K. Dandridge, Commander, Naval Forces Korea Public Affairs

SEOUL, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Korea (MARFORK) purchased and donated much needed calrose rice for mentally and physically disabled residents at the Bnell Home, April 22.

The MARFORK Marines donated nearly a ton of rice, which is approximately a four month supply and an important staple in the Korean diet.

MARFORK became involved with Bnell Home through the Korean American Friendship Society and have committed to providing on-going assistance to the home. The command began making small personal donations of food and supplies to Bnell Home almost seven months ago.

"We are ready to join with our Korean friends and lend a hand whenever and wherever needed," said Maj. Bernard O'Loughlin, assistant chief of staff logistics, Marine Corps Forces Korea. "We are ready to make a difference."

Many of the residents have limited learning capabilities and physical disabilities, and were placed in the small two-bedroom home by families unable to care for them.

"The home is funded completely on donations and support from the local community," said Gunnery Sgt. Min-sook Ellis. "Currently the school doesn't qualify for state aid. There is a real need for assistance."

This donation is just a small part of ongoing efforts to support the residence by the Marines.

"Next we are going to look at making some repairs to the house," said O'Loughlin. "We are planning on taking on a few maintenance projects around the house."

Bnell Home houses approximately 30 people ranging in age from 12 to 50. Families who reside at Bnell Home are not able to function in an independent living situation. The residence is currently applying for state aid and relocation to a larger facility.

USS Carl Vinson Crew Going Greener For Earth Day

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Byron C. Linder, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) celebrated Earth Day April 22 by supporting this year's theme, 'Billion Acts of Green.'

In supporting that theme, which is based on the principle of small individual acts adding up to a larger impact, Sailors were challenged to make one alteration to systemically reduce their collective impact on the environment.

Led by the 'Green Machine,' a team of volunteer Sailors who strive to actively minimize the ship's environmental impact and protect the ocean's ecology, Carl Vinson Sailors set out to become more aware of the environment and how they can be good stewards of it. The team set up a forum on the ship's intranet for Sailors to share their Earth Day suggestions.

"We wanted to get ideas from the Sailors, everyone from the E-1 who just reported aboard to the strike group commander," said Green Machine's senior enlisted representative and IM-1 Division Quality Assurance supervisor Senior Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (AW/SW) Michael Armetta of Vinson's aircraft intermediate maintenance department. "We set up the [intranet] page to get ideas on how to reduce our trash footprint."

A single Vinson Sailor contributing an idea to the team and making an effort to help the ship go greener, supports the "Billion Acts of Green" theme for Earth Day, said Armetta.

"I plan on drinking water out of a refillable bottle, and reducing the number of sodas I drink to three or less per week," said 'Green Team' member, Aviation Administrationman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Zachary Lowry.

"I'm going to use electronic means to read and route paperwork to reduce printing in addition to using reusable containers to eat and drink out of for all meals," said Lt. Nicholas Walker, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22.

In addition to the efforts of individual Sailors, Vinson's leadership is taking an active role in creating a series of events designed to continually decrease the ship's environmental footprint, and quantify the impact of every Sailor's efforts.

"I will be working with my team of Sailors in our four waste processing plants to measure how much of a difference our crew made this Earth Day by choosing to reduce the amount of plastic and aluminum they use April 22," said Cmdr. Christopher Valdivia, Vinson's auxiliaries officer. "Personally, I'll be drinking my daily soda from the fountain machine and avoiding the plastic cereal bowls and coffee creamers. Plus, I want to be able to tell my kids that we made a difference out here."

"One simple step of changing how you act now benefits yourself, your family and future operations," said Armetta. "You may be 18 or 19 years-old now and not have a family yet. Imagine six or eight years later, still in the Navy with a family, the decisions you've made and the influence you've had spreads to more people."

Armetta encouraged Sailors to consider the immense effort taken to produce and dispose of a single bottle of water.

"We have distilleries aboard that produce water. People want to buy a plastic bottle of water, and that takes energy to produce. It costs money to produce and dispose of that one small item," Armetta said. "Reducing our disposal of 100 empty bottles of water doesn't sound like much now, but it adds up exponentially."

In addition to reducing the ship's environmental impact, reducing the time spent disposing of shipboard trash is a benefit for Vinson Sailors.

"We're taking an hour to dispose of trash during [vertical replenishments], and that affects the mission and [operational risk management] of Sailors. We're working an extra hour to dispose of more than 30 tri-walls of trash," explained Armetta. "If we reduce that hour once a week, we could save 30 to 40 hours over a deployment and get back on target, supporting the troops on the ground."

Sailors' actions have the best odds of changing the way the Navy conducts business, said Armetta.

"A Sailor's choice to drink what the ship produces from the distillery and not buy a bottle of water can be a cultural change. It doesn't take much to change the way the Navy does business. The culture has to change, because the ocean and our landfills can only hold so much trash," Armetta said. "There wasn't much of a conservation philosophy 20 or 25 years ago, because no one was taking measurements of the trash the Navy was producing. Now there's the 'Green Machine' platform for Carl Vinson to be a greener work environment and reduce our footprint while we conduct our mission."

Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is deployed supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

Today in the Department of Defense, Saturday, April 23, 2011

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

2011 Army Earth Day Message

Our Army is people - more than 2.2 million Soldiers, Civilians and Family members. Together, we have a big impact on our environment-it's our responsibility to ensure it is a positive impact.

As individuals. there is much we can do to demonstrate our commitment to protecting the environment and becoming more sustainable. Simple things like turning off lights and water faucets when not in use; carpooling; collecting and reusing rain water; reducing the use of individual plastic water bottles; recycling paper, cans and plastic bottles; composting organic waste; minimizing the waste generated; and purchasing energy and water efficient appliances. All contribute to our goal of lessening our collective “bootprint" on the Earth.
As an Army, we have already done much to protect the natural environment on which we depend. Our installations are exploring ways to produce more energy while consuming less; to ensure that our water usage does not exceed its availability; and to promote recycling, repurposing and reuse.

We are also considering the waste stream in all of our purchases by choosing items with less packaging, reusing what we can and recycling the rest. These responsible steps support our dedication to sustaining our environment today to ensure we have enough to perform our mission in the future. When we compare what we consume with what we produce, we strive for a net zero end result.

This goal of net zero touches every part of our Army. Our energy programs impact not only the environment at large, but also our Soldiers in the field. For example, promotion of greater fuel efficiency and use of alternative energy technologies can result in fewer fuel convoys and potentially fewer casualties. A military that is not dependent on fossil fuels has the freedom and flexibility to fight in locations where fuel delivery is logistically difficult. Furthermore, money saved by using less fuel can be used for other priorities. Though the Army continues to aggressively expand its efforts in the area of operational energy, it is clear that we need to do more. We must continually consider the impact of everything we do not only on our financial and natural resources, but also on our ability to meet the operational challenges of the future.

As we commemorate Earth Day 2011, we encourage you to take an active role in sustaining the Earth's resources. Look for ways to minimize the Army bootprint, as well as your personal bootprint. Join us in our commitment to preserve a quality environment, ensure availability of needed resources for the future, and maximize the operational flexibility of our Soldiers.
 
Raymond F. Chandler III
Sergeant Major of the Army

Martin E. Dempsey
Chief of Staff of the Army
 
John M. McHugh
Secretary of the Army

This Day in Naval History - April 22

From the Navy News Service

1778 - Capt. John Paul Jones of Ranger leads a landing party raid on Whitehaven, England.
1898 - U.S. warships begin a blockade of Cuba.
1987 - The U.S. Navy is ordered to provide assistance to neutral vessels under Iranian attack outside the exclusion zone and that requested help.