Military News

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Face of Defense: Air Force Doctor Meets Oprah

By Linda Frost
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, May 24, 2011 – Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Van Adamson said he never imagined that he’d appear on Oprah Winfrey’s television talk show -- but he has.

In her second-to-last episode today, celebrity talk show host Winfrey highlighted her charity efforts over the years. Adamson appeared along with about 300 other Morehouse College scholarship recipients.

In 1998, Oprah made a dream come true for Adamson, who was raised in Spartanburg, S.C. As a recipient of an Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship, he was able to complete his undergraduate degree at Morehouse College, a private, historically black, all-male college in Atlanta, Ga.

Adamson, a cardiology fellow assigned to the 59th Medical Wing here was also one of five individuals selected by the producer to appear in a short interview segment to speak about how the scholarship has impacted his life.

"It was amazing to me that Oprah cared enough about me as an individual, someone she didn't know, to help me get through school and accomplish my dreams, and it was absolutely amazing that I had the chance to meet her in person and tell her thank you," said Adamson, who currently rotates duties between Wilford Hall and Brooke Army medical centers.

Morehouse College is known for its outstanding graduates in the fields of education, politics, business, religion, science, medicine, dentistry, law and more.

"Oprah's scholarship gave me an opportunity to continue my education and attain my goals and head to medical school," Adamson said. "Honestly, if I had not received that scholarship, I would not have been able to go back to school my sophomore year."

Adamson said he was caught by surprise when the Oprah show's producer contacted his father.

"First, I didn't believe my dad, and then I called and they wanted to interview me to discuss my accomplishments since graduation," he said.

Adamson completed his internal medicine residency at Langley Air Force Base, Va., prior to entering the fellowship program at Wilford Hall. He served for six months at the Air Force Theater Hospital in Balad, Iraq, where he stabilized battle-wounded soldiers.

"(Appearing on the Oprah show) was very exciting," he said. "Rehearsal for the taping started at 4:30 a.m. and took six hours. Everything had to be done with precision. I also had the opportunity to meet Tyler Perry, black author and playwright. It definitely will be a star-studded show."

Navy Medicine Tackles TBI with Philadelphia Eagles

By Valerie A. Kremer, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- Navy Medicine and the Philadelphia Eagles met at the Eagles training facility in Philadelphia to discuss shared initiatives both Navy Medicine and the National Football League (NFL) face related to treating traumatic brain injury (TBI), May 23.

Rear Adm. Thomas Beeman, deputy commander for the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Bethesda, Md., met with the top athletic trainer and medical staff of the Eagles during the visit as part of Philadelphia Navy Week.

"I think the Department of Defense is doing a fabulous job in helping identify and treat traumatic brain injury," said Rick Burkholder, head athletic trainer of the Philadelphia Eagles. "We are glad we could learn from Navy Medicine on how the Navy is providing care for TBI and we will hopefully continue to trade information on treating TBI in the future."

During the visit, Beeman and the Eagles medical staff discussed concussion management, resiliency training, advancements in virtual reality treatment, and alternate TBI therapy.

"We thank the NFL for paying close attention to traumatic brain injury," said Beeman. "There are many similarities Navy Medicine and the NFL face in the types of injuries that come from head trauma, rather it be on the battlefield or the playing field."

During his presentation, Beeman also pointed out the advancements in Navy Medicine's research and development as being a key factor in the Navy's maritime strategy and a priority of the Navy Surgeon General, Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson.

"The more data both Navy Medicine and the NFL collect regarding TBI, the better off we will both be in finding ways to advance care and therapies for the injury," said Beeman. "Adding the medical component of the NFL and the academic components of Navy Medicine in collaboration can provide the best care possible to our service members and players."

As a global force for good, Beeman also addressed the importance of not only providing rehabilitative care to the players but also to warriors and their families.

"We also have to equip warriors with the skills to navigate a life altering event," said Beeman. "This is also true in treating TBI and post-traumatic stress of players when they come off of the field."

Philadelphia Navy Week is one of 21 Navy weeks across the country in 2011. Navy Weeks are designed to show Americans the investment they make in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.

Gettysburg Participates in Saxon Warrior

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Betsy Lynn Knapper, USS Gettysburg Public Affairs

USS GETTYSBURG, At Sea (NNS) -- Guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64) participated in Saxon Warrior 2011 off the coast of England, May 20.

Saxon Warrior 11 is an exercise led by the United Kingdom-based Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST). It is designed to develop theater-specific combat skills as well as enhance cooperation between multi-national forces and government agencies. USS Gettysburg is training as part of the George H.W. Bush Strike Group.

"One of the exercises we ran today was an air defense exercise, and the HMS Dauntless (D 33) was activated as the air warfare commander for this event," said Lt. Curt W. Chaffinch, USS Gettysburg air defense officer. "They joined into our communications, command and control."

According to Chaffinch, Dauntless, a British navy destroyer, and her crew did all the tactics, techniques, procedures and reported in using the same communication circuits as Gettysburg would have done had they been executing the exercise as air defense commander for the strike group.

"Saxon Warrior provides us an opportunity, as a deployed force, to integrate coalition partners into our command structure and that is happening for the first time," said Capt. Patrick. O. Shea, USS Gettysburg commanding officer. "We are training in a deployed operation, so it improves our readiness should we become involved in any real world operations."

The exercise, non-scripted and unpredictable, consists of challenges for the multi-national and multi-platform force by creating a diverse war environment based on fictional geo-political and military scenarios.

"It is important for our navies to be able to work together under common mission objectives," said Shea. "The opportunity to integrate the Dauntless into our air defense structure is an important part of furthering that cooperation."

Dauntless has recently been certified to deploy as an anti-warfare platform and one of its last requirements is to join a U.S. strike group for a joint credit and work as an air defense commander.

"Today gave us an opportunity to see how our coalition partners work," said Chaffinch. "And it's even better in this case because we've not only got the United Kingdom here putting on all the events, but we have the Spanish destroyer ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon who has joined us as well."

"The opportunity to work with George H.W. Bush and Gettysburg as part of this exercise is unparalleled, really," said Lt. Cmdr. Steven Wall, an air warfare officer attached to Dauntless. "This has been a brilliant opportunity for us and we are so grateful. I think on both sides we are really learning a great deal about how each other operate, so this is a unique opportunity."

The George H.W. Bush Strike Group is made up of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 22 staff, guided-missile cruisers USS Gettysburg (CG 64) and USS Anzio (CG 68), and guided-missile destroyers USS Truxtun (DDG 103) and USS Mitscher (DDG 57).

Program Offers Free Museum Visits

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 – Service members and their families can visit a wide array of museums free of charge from Memorial Day through Labor Day, courtesy of the second-annual Blue Star Museums program.

Kathy Roth-Douquet, Blue Star Families chairman, and Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, announced this year’s program yesterday in San Diego.

“Blue Star Museums recognizes and thanks our military families for all they are doing for our country,” Landesman said, “and simultaneously begins young people on a path to become lifelong museum-goers.”

Roth-Douquet noted the program’s success in its first year.

“We are thrilled that 300,000 military family members visited our partner museums in the summer of 2010,” she said.” We hope to exceed that number this year as the military community takes advantage of the rich cultural heritage they defend and protect every day.

“We appreciate the NEA and the nation's museums who chose to partner with us,” she continued. “We also are grateful to our friends at the MetLife Foundation, the lead supporter of the Blue Star Museums outreach initiative, whose generous donation helps make our work possible."

This year, more than 1,300 museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa, are taking part in the initiative.  This number includes more than 500 new museums, officials said, with the potential for others to join throughout the summer.

The Blue Star Museums program runs from May 30 through Sept. 5. The free admission program is available to active-duty military and their immediate family members -- military ID holders and up to five immediate family members. Active duty National Guard and Reserve members also are eligible.

New Competition Requirements Will Increase Procurement Lead Times

From Commander, Fleet & Industrial Supply Centers Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, Fleet and Industrial Supply Centers (COMFISC) announced May 18 that new competition requirements have lengthened procurement lead times.

A Director of Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) memo dated April 27 requires that all competitive solicitations over $150,000 to include commercial item procurements, orders against the General Service Administration (GSA) federal supply schedule, and multiple award contracts be advertised for a minimum of 30 days and receive effective competition (two or more offers).

"These new competition requirements are expected to yield better prices but have also increased the minimum lead times for competed delivery and task orders by at least 31 to as much as 45 days," said Robin Green, Field Contracting Operations manager

Customers are being urged to submit RCPs as early as possible to ensure award of FY11-funded actions by Sept. 30 and to allow timely award of FY12 contracts.

For new/follow-on contracts, the required submission dates are as follows: more than $25 million (Jan. 3); $5million to $25 million (March 1); $1 million to $5 million (April 29); and $150,001 to $1 million ( June 1).

The RCP submission date for annual rental or maintenance (ARM) contracts over $150,000 is June 1. RCPs for ARM contracts $150,000 or less must be submitted by Aug. 8.

Procurement requests for delivery/task orders over $150,000 must be submitted by June 13; however, RCP submission no later than June 1 is highly encouraged. The deadline for exercise of option actions in any amount is June 27.

RCPs are due no later than Aug. 8 for purchase/delivery orders $25,001 to $150,000 and Aug. 22 for purchase/delivery orders $25,000 or less.

RCP due dates will be more strictly enforced this fiscal year due to impacts of the late passing of the FY11 budget coupled with the new competition requirements.

Although the final RCP due date for delivery and task orders over $150,000 is June 13, customers are strongly encouraged to submit RCPs to their servicing FISC no later than June 1 to minimize risk and allow sufficient time to meet the new competition requirements.

"Due to expected heavy end of fiscal year workload, longer procurement lead times and fixed contracting workforce, it is critical for customers to develop solid work requirements, plan, and communicate their projected FY11 procurement project list early with their servicing FISC," said Green. "This will allow the FISC contracting departments to better plan to meet customer needs."

COMFISCS provides an array of integrated global logistics support and contracting services to Navy and Joint operational units across all warfare enterprises. The command is responsible for facilitating best business practices and efficiencies across the seven FISCs headquartered in San Diego, Calif.; Norfolk, Va.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Yokosuka, Japan; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Bremerton (Puget Sound), Wash.; and Sigonella, Italy; and for optimizing the performance of base supply functions and standardizing levels of service across 11 regions and 70 Navy installations.

Comprised of more than 5,700 military and civilian logistics professionals, contractors and foreign nationals, COMFISCS operates as a single cohesive team providing global logistics services from 110 locations worldwide.

A component of the Naval Supply Systems Command, headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pa., COMFISCS is part of a worldwide network of more than 22,500 military and civilian personnel providing combat capability through logistics.

USS Avenger Arrives in Sembawang

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian A. Stone, USS Avenger Public Affairs

SEMBAWANG, Singapore (NNS) -- USS Avenger (MCM 1) arrived in Sembawang, Singapore May 23 for a port call.

Avenger Sailors will take part in maintenance training opportunities and have afloat training group (ATG) personnel come aboard to conduct training and inspect ship's records pertaining to equipment maintenance, as well as opportunities to take liberty out in Singapore.

"I'm looking forward to going out and sightseeing," said Quartermaster Seaman Joshua Kissel. "It should be fun."

Lt. Cmdr. Patrick L. German, Avenger's commanding officer, spoke to Sailors about their responsibilities in an all-hands call shortly after arriving in port.

"This is a great opportunity to see things within this area of responsibility. I have high expectations that all of you will be great ambassadors," said German.

USS Avenger is visiting Singapore during a patrol of the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Program Offers Specialized Help to Support Those Transitioning

By Nicolle Bettis, inTransition Program coach

inTransition, a Defense Department (DoD) program, helps service members who are receiving mental health treatment transition—to a new health care system or provider. Program participants are assigned a personal coach who monitors and guides them through their transition.

Nicolle Bettis became an inTransition coach six months ago and although she herself, never served in the military, she feels a strong connection to the military community because of her Navy veteran father and retired government civilian mother. The DCoE Blog staff recently took the opportunity to chat with Nicolle about her work—supporting service members.

Q. What is an inTransition coach?

A. As a coach, I help service members through a transition, like relocating from one base to another; retirement; or temporary leave prior to discharge. I provide resources and information and coordinate mental health treatment. In some cases, I even help the service member initiate treatment for the first time. The treatment can be provided by military treatment facilities, VA hospitals/clinics, TRICARE providers, independent insurance or community service agencies.
 
Q. What makes inTransition different from others programs?

A. I believe inTransition provides a bridge when there’s a gap in services. inTransition helps service members and their families receive continuity of care while moving between health care systems or providers. The majority of service members I work with feel overwhelmed with all the changes they’re experiencing. They’re often juggling many large issues at once like relocating, trying to find employment (or filing for unemployment), struggling financially, enrolling in school—all while coping with mental health concerns, like post-traumatic stress disorder.

The majority, if not all, of the service members I have worked with are unfamiliar with the resources available, including: OEF/OIF program managers at the VA; community resources designed to assist service members; Vet Centers; veteran discounts; support groups; and employment resources specifically designed to help prior-military men and women to name a few.
 
Q. What’s your most memorable experience?

A. Through motivational interviewing techniques, I was able to encourage a guarded service member to open up about their military experiences. After a few sessions, the service member was connected to a mental health professional and thanked me for motivating and assisting them through the process. Helping this service member realize the benefits of continuing treatment was a rewarding feeling because I knew they were on the right track to getting better.


 
Q. What should we know about inTransition?

A. Both providers and service members should know that we offer coaching and support for service members transitioning—we are here to help. Separating from active duty or returning to civilian life can be extremely difficult and just knowing that someone is available to talk to, if and whenever needed, can be comforting. I’ve had several service members say that they appreciate me checking in with them regularly.

Also, as a coach I can provide resources on several topics in addition to mental health, and I think this aspect is often not used because most people simply don’t know about our services.
 
Q. How can people contact inTransition?

Call 800-424-7877 to speak with a licensed clinician 24/7 or visit www.health.mil/inTransition.

Missouri Guard Begins Support Operations in Joplin

From a Missouri National Guard News Release

CARTHAGE, Mo., May 23, 2011 – About 140 Missouri National Guard troops are working under the orders of Gov. Jay Nixon to assist local authorities after a tornado ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo., yesterday.

Guardsmen are assisting in search and rescue missions in support of local authorities, and are expected to conduct a number of missions in the upcoming days, including emergency route clearance, communications support, door-to-door safety visits and security, officials said.

“As soon as we heard the news of the tornados, the Missouri National Guard began mobilization activities,” said Army Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general. “Your Missouri National Guard is bringing experienced citizen-soldiers and leaders to provide the best support we have to our neighbors in Joplin.”

Among those responding are soldiers of the 117th Engineer Team, of Monett, and 294th Engineer Company, of Carthage and Anderson. Additionally, a Joint Task Force Communications Kit out of Jefferson City is en route to assist local authorities.

The troops are part of a task force organized under the 203rd Engineer Battalion and is using the Carthage Armory to stage and deploy troops to Joplin. The Missouri National Guard has a total force of more than 11,500 Guard members who are ready to respond, officials said.

Army Spc. Daniel Brown of the 117th Engineer Team said his unit was the first to respond and worked throughout the night.

“We got the call while doing our annual training in nearby Anderson, and we immediately packed up and went straight to Joplin,” he said. Along the way, he added, he saw overturned trucks at the intersection of highways 71 and 44, and his unit stopped to check a gas station for people who might have needed help.

“We moved on to Joplin, where we spent the night at the Walmart and a local sports store searching the rubble,” Brown said. “This is something nobody wants to see and thankfully we haven’t needed to save anyone yet. But we’ve got a lot of good knowledge and training to help. This is our job and Joplin is our backyard.”

The 117th Engineer Team has special equipment, and the soldiers have extensive training and expertise to conduct search and rescue missions. The soldiers are working 12-hour shifts.

Army Spc. Richard Stotts of the 294th Engineer Company said he was driving with his girlfriend when the storms hit. After taking shelter and making sure his family was safe, Stotts immediately began helping. He pulled three people out of the local AT&T building when he got the call that he was mobilized.

For Stotts, the transition from citizen helping citizens to soldier helping citizens was seamless.

“This is what I signed up for -- to help people,” he said.

The 294th Engineer Company worked throughout the night and is supporting the 117th and local authorities.

Supporting people throughout the area is the main mission, said Army Maj. Michael Brown, executive officer for the 203rd Engineer Battalion.

“We are here to support the citizens of Joplin any way we can,” he said. “Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones in this disaster. The residents here are our fellow citizens, neighbors and friends. We will remain here as long as they need us.”

Missouri’s soldiers and airmen will continue supporting local authorities until released by the governor, officials said.

WORTH Pampers Bataan's Female Sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tamekia Perdue, USS Bataan Public Affairs

USS BATAAN, Mediterranean Sea (NNS) -- The Women's Organization to Reach Teach and Help (WORTH) aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) held a beauty shop day for female Sailors and Marines in the ship's barber shop May 22.

Beauty shop day was organized to provide female service members aboard time to spend with one another in an atmosphere not typically found aboard Navy ships.

"Sometimes you just need an outlet," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW) Connie Blevins, one of the many active members of WORTH. "Sometimes you just want to talk to another female that might understand what you're going through. I can hang with the guys for 12, 16, or even 18 hours a day, but at the end of the day, I want to be a female. I am a female. I want to go somewhere and just be a girl."

WORTH is an organization started by senior enlisted female Sailors aboard Bataan as a way to give junior female Sailors guidance and an outlet to discover themselves.

Beauty shop day is the first of many WORTH-organized activities for female service members aboard Bataan.

"We decided to come up with the beauty day, so we could go over the regulations of how we can wear our hair, what's acceptable, and what isn't, as well as boost morale for the junior personnel aboard," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Trinika Savage.

WORTH members opened the beauty shop doors to all females aboard Bataan, providing hair, nail, and eyebrow care.

"It is a free event, and all of the services were donated by the talents [of female Sailors] aboard Bataan," said Blevins.

A day at the beauty shop gave Bataan's females an opportunity to relax and feel pampered.

"I got my nails and eyebrows done, and it made me feel quite elated," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate Fueling 3rd Class Ananasa Dobson. "There is never a day for females to take a break and get something done for themselves without it being after taps in the berthing."

According to Blevins, the members of WORTH are trying to coordinate beauty shop day at least once a month. The goal is to boost the morale aboard the ship and continue to give females the beauty outlet they normally would not obtain on a warship.

There are a number of planned events for Bataan's current deployment. Movie night, bingo, and fitness challenges are just a few of the upcoming events in the works.

Bataan is the command ship of the Bataan Amphibious Ready (ARG) group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Blue Angels Cancel Naval Academy Air Show

From Blue Angels Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue
Angels, has cancelled the practice demonstration and air show scheduled for May 24-25 at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Md.

This cancellation is due to a safety stand-down period imposed by the team's commanding officer after a lower-than-normal maneuver that took place during the team's last performance at Lynchburg Regional Air Show May 22 in Lynchburg, Va.

Following this low maneuver all aircraft landed safely without damage or injury to personnel.

During the training stand-down the team will remain in Pensacola, Fla., for additional training and air show demonstration practice. It has yet to be determined if
the Blue Angels will perform the flyover at the USNA graduation May 27.

The Blue Angels regret any inconvenience and look forward to continuing to represent the Navy and Marine Corps.

For more information, call Lt. Katie Kelly, the Blue Angels; public affairs officer, at (850)452-3955.