Military News

Friday, May 06, 2011

Air Guard, Reserve Complete Texas Firefighting Mission

U.S. Northern Command

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., May 6, 2011 – Four Defense Department C-130 Hercules aircraft equipped with U.S. Forest Service firefighting systems that were under the command and control of U.S. Northern Command have completed their support to the firefighting efforts in Texas.

The C-130s, two from the Air Force Reserve's 302nd Airlift Wing here, and two from the California Air National Guard’s 146th Air Wing, Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Calif., will redeploy from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, after assisting the National Interagency Fire Center control the fires.

The mission in Texas ended last night. The aircraft flew 81 sorties and delivered 243,000 gallons of fire-retardant.

TSC Great Lakes Stresses Summer Safety

By James F. Antonucci, Training Support Center Great Lakes Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- Students, staff and civilians attached to Training Support Center (TSC) Great Lakes attended the Summer Safety Stand Down at Naval Station Great Lakes' Ross Theatre, May 2-3.

The stand down provides safety information motorcycle safety, distracted driving, aggressive driving, driving and fatigue, seat belts, drinking and driving, recreational off-duty safety, and recognizing hazards and unsafe conditions.

Statistically, most fatalities and serious injuries to Sailors and Marines related to the stand downs' topics are between Memorial Day and Labor Day; so prior to this period, information and training is provided as a reminder. Training such as this shows the importance of each and every Sailor at TSC and the command's commitment to keep every shipmate safe and healthy during the summer months and year round as well.

Event coordinator, Randy R. Carpenter, Naval Education and Training Command North Region leader and TSC Great Lakes safety manager commented, "Every year we attempt to make the Summer Safety Stand Down as interesting as possible by adding new videos, bring in guest speakers from MADD, Lake County Sherriff's Department and even have the Crash Dummies make an appearance. If we can keep the information interesting I think we have a good shot at helping them make good choices."

Lake County Deputy Sherriff Maureen Kinyon spoke to the audience about new laws, seat belt usage and drunk driving. He stressed the impact of individuals driving impaired, whether it be alcohol, texting or inattention, and the senseless loss of lives.

Speakers for the annual event also included Chaplin Lt. Cmdr. Alexander J. Borzych of the TSC Chapel staff and the Command Drug and Alcohol Advisor (DAPA), Susan E. Shank. Borzych spoke about acting on impulse and how important it was to think one's actions through and not fall prey to peer-pressure or destructive activities.

The DAPA reiterated these thoughts and noted the severe impact alcohol overindulgence or illegal drug usage will have on a Sailor's career. Sailors need to think things through. As most vehicle accidents and other injuries the command experiences can be traced back to these two items, they have become the focal point of most of the dialog.

A major point of the program was Time Critical Risk Management (TCRM). As an objective of the program, it was important to get Sailors to recognize that if something is too dangerous, they should make the choice not to conduct the activity. Then, if the hazard can be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level through engineering, training or personal protective equipment, then they can conduct the activity safely.

Comments from Command Master Chief CMDCM (SW) Charles G. Hood, covered the importance of the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Behaviors (CSADD) organization at Great Lakes and the opportunities of activities it offers. CSADD provides optional activities other than drinking to show Sailors that having a good time doesn't have to involve alcohol.

TSC Executive Officer Cmdr. Mary D. Blankenship finished by saying, "Safety is paramount to what we do in the Navy, both on and off duty. My hope is that after this stand down, some nagging reminiscence will prompt the Sailor to click that seat belt each and every time, to have a plan before going out for drinks, to get a good night's sleep before a long trip, to pull over and rest if feeling fatigued on the road, to ride motorcycles safely, boat with life vests, and never text while driving."

"If this stand down saves one life, it was a worthwhile investment of our time and resources."

Training Support Center (TSC) Great Lakes is the only training command located within the same vicinity as Boot Camp and is the home of five learning sites operated independently. The command supports 85% of the Surface Navy School and averages 13,500 Student throughputs per year.

For information on Training Support Center (TSC) Great Lakes and Learning Sites, visit: https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/tscgl/ on the web.

Department Honors Civilians in Pentagon Ceremony

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2011 – Thirty-nine civilian public servants were honored yesterday for their distinguished careers with the Defense Department at the Spirit of Service recognition ceremony held in the Pentagon’s courtyard.

“These are some of the more tenured public servants in their components, who have more than 50, 60 years of combined military and civil service,” said Michael L. Rhodes, director of administration and management in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “Through their dedicated work for the Department of Defense, they’ve had a hand in creating the world we live in today.”

Rhodes, the event’s keynote speaker, put the honorees’ years of service in historical perspective.

“Most started their public service before the U.S. military was involved in Vietnam,” Rhodes said. “They served through the tense years of the Cold War, saw the Soviet Union fade as an adversary, and watched the military draw down in the 1990s. Some were in this building when our nation was attacked nearly 10 years ago, Sept. 11, 2001.”

The honorees’ careers spanned a significant time in U.S. history, Rhodes said. Day-in and day out, he added, their dedication did not waver.

“Time and time again, public servants have answered the nation’s call,” Rhodes said. “While the world has changed, their spirit of service remained a constant. Their dedication to service in every job, at every level, is the bedrock of the Defense Department.”

Public service, he said, is the common thread that’s woven throughout DOD, its offices and agencies, and the military services.

DOD civilians’ spirit of service greatly contributes to “keeping this nation safe and protecting our interests abroad,” Rhodes said.

Public servants assisted President Harry S. Truman in creating a unified Defense Department in 1947, Rhodes said.

“For more than five decades, each of the tremendous public servants we’re celebrating today has ensured our military strength and readiness. They meant business and they got business done,” Rhodes said.

“We’re indebted to all our public servants, and the service they’ve given this nation,” he added. “I salute you all, and thank you for what you’ve done.”

Those honored at the ceremony had notched between 48 to 68 years of civil service and each was presented with the department’s Spirit of Service plaque. Afterward, honorees and guests enjoyed refreshments and a concert by the U.S. Army Band.

Leaders Honor 9/11 Victims at Ground Zero, Pentagon

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2011 – Four days after announcing the killing of al-Qaida leader and 9/11 attack mastermind Osama bin Laden, top administration officials remembered those killed in the attacks with ceremonies today at ground zero in New York City and at the Pentagon here.

“What happened on Sunday -- because of the courage of our military and the outstanding work of our intelligence -- sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say -- that our commitment to making sure that justice is done is something that transcended politics, transcended party,” President Barack Obama said at ground zero.

“It didn’t matter which administration was in, it didn’t matter who was in charge; we were going to make sure that the perpetrators of that horrible act -- that they received justice,” the president said.

Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates led a tribute at the Pentagon Memorial with a wreath laying ceremony. Biden, with Gates and about 100 other guests looking on, placed a large, white floral wreath -- made mostly of white lilies and carnations interspersed with red, white and blue ribbons -- on a metal stand directly in front of a stone on the western wing of the Pentagon, near the site where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the defense department’s headquarters.

The stone is inscribed with the words “September 11, 2001” in honor of the 184 people killed in the Pentagon and on Flight 77.

After Biden placed the wreath, a military bugler played “Taps.” Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, were among the attending dignitaries.

Also, several members of the Arlington County Fire Department who were among the first responders at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, were present.

Neither Biden nor Gates made remarks, but they met with several survivors and relatives of survivors of the Pentagon attack as well as relatives of victims of the 2000 USS Cole attack in Yemen.

Norfolk Submarine Squadrons Consolidate

By Kevin Copeland, Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Two Norfolk-based submarine squadrons consolidated during a ceremony aboard Naval Station Norfolk, April 28.

During the ceremony, Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 8 consolidated under Commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) 6, and Capt. Frank Cattani, commander, COMSUBRON 8, transferred his leadership role to Capt. Eugene P. Sievers, commander, COMSUBRON 6.

COMSUBRON 6 will be the immediate superior in command for the six Los Angeles-class attack submarines home ported in Norfolk: USS Albany (SSN 753), USS Boise (SSN 764), USS Montpelier (SSN 765), USS Newport News (SSN 750), USS Norfolk (SSN 714), and USS Scranton (SSN 756).

The COMSUBRON 6 staff will be responsible for preparing and certifying their submarines and crews for operations and warfighting in support of the Combatant Commanders' objectives.

COMSUBRON 8 was originally commissioned in February 1946 in Groton, Conn. It was decommissioned in December 1969 and re-commissioned in August 1979 in Norfolk, where it has remained until the consolidation.

"It is a great day for the Navy and the submarine force, and I am honored and privileged to be here to speak and recognize these two superb officers," said Vice Adm. John Richardson, commander, Submarine Force Atlantic (COMSUBLANT). "The ceremony today is unique. With command at sea comes absolute responsibility, authority, and accountability. It is a tradition that predates even our Navy, and is unremitting. Whenever we try to dilute or diffuse it, the sea bites back, reminding us that there is no room for ambiguity, unpreparedness, wastefulness, or dishonesty.

"This is the world that Commodore Cattani has lived in, thrived in, and excelled in - not only as a commander himself, but a trainer of command. Captain Cattani assumed command of Squadron Eight in July 2009, and he has been spectacular in everything a commodore should do. Most importantly, he taught his men and his commanding officers to establish and maintain the high standards required to safely and effectively operate a submarine for months with no external support. In doing so, he always kept his main focus on our Sailors, officers, and their families," said Richardson.

Richardson presented Cattani his second Legion of Merit award for superior leadership and tireless dedication in significantly contributing to the combat readiness and unparalleled performance of submarines during North Atlantic and Arctic deployments.

Cattani earned his commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Cornell University in 1986 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. His next duty assignment will be on the COMSUBLANT staff, as the director for training, tactical development and doctrine.

"My tour over the past 22 months has been an extraordinary experience for me," said Cattani. "It is the assignment that I asked for, and it has certainly lived up to expectations. As evidenced by recent world events, the demand signal for our submarines to perform relevant, challenging missions on short notice remains high and will continue to remain high in the foreseeable future. The crews of our Norfolk-based submarines train continuously to hone their operational skills and work constantly to keep their submarines well-maintained so that, when called upon, they will be ready and able to arrive on scene, and demonstrate the stealthy, resilience, mission capability and, if necessary, the firepower that are our force's trademark.

"I have been privileged to work with some very talented commanding officers, and my tour as commodore has led me to reaffirm my opinion that submarine command is the hardest job in the Navy. I'm always impressed with the ability of our submarine commanders to guide their crews through a variety of personnel issues, logistical, complications and scheduling conflicts, and to keep training, material and personnel readiness at the top of the priority list.

"My job was made easy by a dedicated, multi-talented staff, while overseeing the operational readiness of our boats. I've enjoyed the privilege of leading Submarine Squadron 8. It's been a challenging and professionally rewarding assignment."

Sievers graduated from West Virginia University in 1987, and received his commission through the Nuclear Power Commissioning Program. He also earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Florida Institute of Technology. A native of Johnstown, Pa, Sievers assumed command of COMSUBRON 6 in September 2010.

"Consolidating commands is a new experience for me but the traditional transfer of command authority and responsibility is both important and familiar," said Sievers. "The consolidation represents an effort to improve efficiency while maintaining the level of training and readiness support that we provide our assigned units.

"As we move forward under the consolidated command structure, it will require close teamwork and strong communication. We will miss the presence but remember the legacy of Submarine Squadron Eight as we strive to meet the impressive record of submarine warfighting readiness earned by Commodore Cattani's team," said Sievers.

Whidbey Sailors Learn Motorcycle Basics

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardel Gervacio, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Whidbey Island

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island learned about motorcycle safety through a Basic Rider Course (BRC) offered by the Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island Safety Office, May 4-5.

The basic rider course is a two-day class consisting of classroom and outdoor hands-on training. It prepares the rider to operate a motorcycle safely with emphasis on the special skills and mental attitude necessary for dealing with traffic.

The course is aimed at individuals with little or no riding experience.

Shawn Olsen is a Navy and Marine Corps traffic safety program instructor assigned to the Safety Office aboard NAS Whidbey Island.

"This is the basic rider course, which is an introduction to motorcycling," said Olsen. "In class we cover personal protection gear, basic risk awareness, risk acceptance and management."

The classroom lecture also discusses different types of motorcycles, their controls and how they operate, developing riding strategies for riding in traffic, and dealing with critical situations.

"I always wanted to get a bike," said Lt. j.g. Brad Brinkley, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 2. "I've never ridden one before, and I thought that this would be a good taste of it."

While on the riding course, students can develop basic skills for straight line riding, turning, shifting and stopping. Range skill exercises progress to effective cornering, swerving and emergency braking techniques.

"The course is great," said Brinkley. "I'm definitely learning. At first it was a little sketchy. Now I'm getting it pretty good. Anyone who rides or is thinking about riding a motorcycle should take this course."

Not all of the students were new to motorcycling.

"I took this course to get my skills back up to speed and to get back into riding," said Chief Master-at-Arms (PJ) Franklin D. Halterman of Mount Vernon, Wash., and assigned to NAS Whidbey Island base security. "I've been riding for five years, but it's been awhile since I've been on a bike. Many Sailors need this course to get their license for the state. For me this course is to refresh and improve my skills and stay safe."

Service members who wish to bring their motorcycles onto military bases are required to complete a DOD-approved motorcycle safety course and have a valid motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license.

The class is licensed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), which is a non-profit organization that promotes lifelong-learning for motorcyclists all over the country.

"This course is very important for new riders to have; it's the basic fundamentals," said Olsen. "I have riders with 20-30 years riding experience say they've picked up great tips and ways to operate a motorcycle safely."

The Navy continues to support motorcycle safety worldwide to ensure that its members are trained in safe and proper riding techniques, and have resources available for advanced and refresher training.