Military News

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Day in Naval History - May 26

By Navy News Service

1944 - USS England (DE 635) sinks fifth Japanese submarine in one week.
1952 - Tests from 26-29 May demonstrate feasibility of the angled-deck concept conducted on simulated angled deck on USS Midway.
1990 - USS Beaufort rescues 24 Vietnamese refugees in South China Sea.

A Reluctant Assassin

With the addition of Charles E. Wilcox, Military-Writers.com now lists 1245 US Military Servicemembers and the 3960 books they have authored.

Charles E. Wilcox, USMC “was a combat trained Marine who served with the Second Marine. He graduated from the University of San Francisco and went on to earn an MBA from University of Phoenix. Previously employed in plant operation management and contract negotiations, he currently lives with his wife, Rita, in Dana Point, California.” Charles E. Wilcox is the author of A Reluctant Assassin.

According to the book description of A Reluctant Assassin, “As Sergeant Oscar Wylton, a six-foot-two, 196-pound marine lines up to exit the rear door of a CH-53S Sea Dragon helicopter, he knows that he has less than a 10 percent chance of surviving his assignment. As he parachutes into a pit of darkness over the rough terrain near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Wylton has no idea that what he thinks is his final mission as an assassin will not be his last.

Wylton has served his country well, distinguishing himself in high-risk conflicts in Bosnia and Afghanistan; but after he retires from the Marines and begins a business with his wife, she suddenly divorces him and severs their professional partnership. Left jobless and out of options, Wylton reluctantly becomes a hired hit man targeting society's miscreants who, through legal flukes, have avoided prosecution. But when the stakes are raised and he is assigned to kill a well-protected Mafia boss, Wylton must rely on his training and quick-thinking skills to avoid capture by the FBI-or worse yet, his intended victim.

A Reluctant Assassin is a powerful story about one man's battle with morality, ethical choices, and personal loss as he faces the greatest challenge of his life.”

Academy Graduates Put Air Force in Good Standing, Donley Says

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 – The U.S. military has existed without a draft due to the willingness of young Americans to serve, even during war, and has thrived by the caliber of their talent, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley told graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy today.

Before the draft ended in 1973, “not all wore the uniform by choice,” Donley, who served in the Army with airborne and Special Forces units from 1972 to 1975, told the graduates during commencement ceremonies at the academy’s Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“We’ve had an all-volunteer force because of men and women like you who stepped forward to serve the nation’s call,” he said. “Today’s graduates made a conscious choice to serve. You did this knowing it would lead to a military service commitment during a time of war.”

The risks of military service were underscored at the academy last month when three of its graduates were among those killed while training Afghan air forces in Kabul, Afghanistan, Donley said.

“Despite the risks, we know that each of you actually wants to be here … and contribute to the greater good of the country,” he added.

But it takes more than willingness to serve to make a great service, Donley said, and the caliber of the academy graduates puts the Air Force in good standing.

“This is a great day for the United States Air Force,” he said. “Now that graduation is in sight, know that we expect great things ahead. The nation has invested in your talent and your promise.

“You have chosen not only a career, but a way of life that puts service before self,” he added. “For many, this is a lifetime commitment. You represent our Air Force and our nation, and we are depending on you to keep our nation secure.”

Despite being the most technically advanced air force in the world, Donley said, the quality of the service still is directly related to its people. Noting its fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft, weapons systems, satellites and missiles, he said, “we still depend on the education, training, commitment and quality of airmen who work on these systems.”

The 1,021 graduates are among 3,300 newly commissioned Air Force officers, who add to about 28,000 new enlisted members, Donley said. It’s important for officers and enlisted airmen to work together, he said.

“They will be looking to you for guidance and leadership,” the secretary said. “We’re counting on you to use your education and training to the fullest …. Your relations with your senior [noncommissioned officers] is important. They will help you more rapidly gain the leadership experience we need at all levels of the Air Force.”

Donley noted some distinguishing characteristics about the class:

-- 39 won national scholarships;

-- 20 are entering graduate school; and

-- 14 are going to medical school.

And he noted changes in the class reflective of the broader Air Force:

-- More than 20 percent minored in a foreign language;

-- They were the first to earn wings for remotely piloted aircraft; and

-- More are entering space and missile and cyber fields than ever before.

The Air Force and the other services will work to rebalance forces following years of war and during a time of fiscal constraints, Donley told the graduating class. “We have no doubt that you and your fellow airmen are up to the challenge,” he added.

The secretary advised the graduates to “always keep learning,” and build relationships in their workplace just as they did at the academy.

“The Air Force needs you to be good teammates,” he said. “National and international security are team sports, and our nation’s success will depend on the coalitions you can bring together. These skills are essential in the Air Force and critical as you work with others.”

Donley urged the graduating cadets to put their leadership skills to work. “Never forget that you are a leader,” he said. “Always look for ways to make a contribution and take your organization to the next level. It’s not just about mission accomplishment, but that others have learned from your example and that you leave your unit, your squadron, your wing, a better place.

“We need you to make this count,” he continued. “Take this education, this experience, and do something great for our Air Force and our country. There is no Air Force leader, past or present, who does not envy the future ahead of you.”

Aviation Officer Bonus Rates to be Restructured

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- In response to increased retention of pilots and naval flight officers (NFOs) at the department head and command levels, the Navy announced May 18 in NAVADMINs 168/11 and 169/11 that it has restructured the Aviation Career Continuation Pay (ACCP) program for fiscal year 2011.

Changes were announced in NAVADMIN 168/11 for active duty aviators and in NAVADMIN 169/11 for full-time support (FTS) aviators.

"Providing appropriate incentives to retain skilled personnel for critical naval aviation billets is essential to maintaining combat readiness," said Rear Adm. Tony Kurta, the director of military plans and policy for Chief of Naval Personnel. "Through a balanced bonus program, the Navy is able to retain a sufficient number of eligible pilots and naval flight officers through department head and command milestones."

To ensure an efficient use of funds, the fiscal year 2011 bonus program includes a general reduction in bonus amounts, as well as the alignment of available bonuses for department heads by aircraft type, model and series.

For fiscal year 2011, department head bonus amounts are as follows:

- All helicopter pilots, $10,000 per year;
- EA-18G and EA-6B electronic air attack (VAQ) pilots, $15,000 per year; VAQ NFOs, $20,000 per year;
- E-2C carrier airborne early warning (VAW) and C-2 fleet logistics support (VRC)
pilots, $5,000 per year; VAW NFOs, $5,000 per year;
- FA-18 strike fighter (VFA) pilots, $25,000 per year; VFA NFOs, $10,000 per year;
- P-3C patrol (VP) pilots, $10,000 per year; VP NFOs, $10,000 per year;
- EP-3 air reconnaissance (VQ) pilots, $10,000 per year; VQ NFOs, $10,000 per year;
- E-6A airborne communications (VQ [T]) pilots, $5,000 per year; VQ (T) NFOs, $5,000 per year.

Previous bonuses were $25,000 per year for all pilots and $15,000 per year for all NFOs, regardless of airframe.

The department head bonus will no longer be offered with a lump-sum option. Additionally, the payment schedule has been adjusted and these officers will receive a reduced amount until they are department head screened.

The fiscal year 2011 ACCP program also makes bonuses available for lieutenant commanders and commanders who are serving at sea, but not on a long-term contract.

Two-year contracts for non-command tours at sea have been reduced to $5,000 per year in fiscal year 2011 from $10,000 in fiscal year 2010.

At-sea command bonus levels remain unchanged for fiscal year 2011. Three-year contracts for at-sea operational or operational training command tours will pay $12,000 per year.

As in fiscal year 2010, O-6 aviators will not be eligible for ACCP bonuses.

FTS aviators will be eligible for bonuses of $10,000 per year in department head and officer-in-charge categories, with contracts for command tours offered only for operational or operational training squadrons at $12,000 per year.

An aviation officer has two opportunities to sign an ACCP contract – the first in the year prior to expiration of his or her minimum service requirement and the second in the year the MSR will expire.

Fiscal year 2011 ACCP applications must be received by Sept. 23 for active duty aviators and Sept. 24 for FTS aviators.

Balanced, Versatile Force Key, Mullen Says

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 – A reduced military presence in the Middle East, economic limits, and an increased need for partnerships lie ahead for the U.S. military, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

Speaking here at the inaugural Lee Hamilton Series on Civil Discourse and Democracy at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen discussed continuities, changes and choices coming for the U.S. military over the long term.

“Barring significant and unforeseen changes, the sheer size of our deployment of U.S. forces to the broader Middle East will decrease over time,” the chairman said.

Concluding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will have far-reaching implications “for how we think about ourselves as a military, how we fight wars in the future and how our junior leaders, who have experienced the horrors of war, grow into senior leaders and commanders,” he said.

It also will lay the foundation for how the United States postures itself globally, Mullen said.

At home, the United States and its military will continue wrestling with “a new austerity due to the current economic environment and growing demands for debt servicing and repayment,” the chairman said, noting that the defense budget will be flat “at best” over the next few years.

“I have been very honest about my concerns over the national debt,” he said. “And I really do believe it is the greatest threat to our national security and will drive … tough decisions about what kind of military we build.”

In the coming years, clear thinking, priority setting and disciplined decision making will be a tough challenge for the Pentagon, the White House and Congress, as well as defining “a clear separation between what must be done and what can afford to go undone.”

Mullen said he agrees with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that a smaller, more capable force is preferable to a larger, less capable one. But a smaller force will have its limitations.

“[Gates] was right yesterday when he warned us to be honest with ourselves about recognizing that ‘a smaller military, no matter how superb, will be able to go fewer places and do fewer things,’” the chairman said.

“We are grappling with these very issues in the comprehensive review he has us doing,” he added.

A more balanced and versatile force would mean a balance between capability and capacity, Mullen said, “and I suspect we will need to trade some amount of force structure, service redundancy and conventional overmatch in order to retain the right amount of flexibility.”

“We owe it to the President and to the American people to be able to give them options for the use of force,” he added.

Pragmatism among U.S. leaders regarding the limitations of military force is increasingly apparent and important, Mullen added.

Also in the future, partnering -- which Mullen said has been a hallmark for the U.S. military for decades -- will move to a new level entirely and should include engagement with international and nongovernmental organizations.

“Military power may be the first, best tool of the state, but it should never be the only one,” he said.

Such force should be used alongside all the instruments of national power, in concert, to the degree possible, with international partners and nongovernmental agencies, the chairman said.

Several years ago, Mullen told the audience, he hosted several leaders of several nongovernmental organizations at his quarters.

“One of them said, ‘I’ve had members of my organization in 14,000 villages in Afghanistan since 1973,’” Mullen said. “Now, do you think they know a little bit about what’s going on in Afghanistan? And do you think I could use some of that information?”

The U.S. military doesn’t have a very natural forum to exchange that information “because of who we are,” he said.

“We’ve got to figure out how to bridge that to tackle some of these problems,” Mullen said. “There are public-private opportunities here to make a difference that we’re not even touching in terms of resources that are available, whether it be educational or financial or agricultural.

“In the long run, to me, that’s the solution set,” he said.

Building and keeping the trust of other states will become even more paramount to reducing our own risk,” the chairman said.

The United States is no longer in a position to “go it alone,” Mullen added. “And I don’t think, quite frankly, that any country can do that.”

ONR Recognizes Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month

By Paula A. Paige, Office of Naval Research

Arlington (NNS) -- The Office of Naval Research (ONR) joined forces with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to celebrate Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month May 23, in a ceremony at both agencies' headquarters.

Sponsored by ONR's Office of Equal Employment and AFOSR's Cultural Awareness Committee, the event featured Air Force Col. Deanna Won, senior military assistant to the director of the Defense Technology Security Administration; and Thomas Li, co-founder of Biotech Research Laboratory and former U.S. Army service member. Li is also the grandson of Li Yuanhong, a former president of the Republic of China.

Both Chinese-Americans, but born ages apart, Won and Li took the audience on a historical journey as they wove their families' narratives throughout Japan's invasion of China in 1937, the end of World War II, their migration to the United States and eventual assimilation into American culture.

"We are a land of immigrants," said Won. "We bring a diversity of thought and talent to America."

Her presentation, "Why Did We Come? Why Did We Stay? Where Are We Headed?" chronicled China's history, its geography and the nation's three migration streams to the United States.

Paul Gido, assistant vice chief of naval research at ONR, praised both speakers for their service to the United States.

"When I look at the history of these two families born of immigrants, theirs is the basic tale of the 'land of the free,'" Gido said. "We can benefit greatly from those who came to stay as well as those who return to [their native homelands]."

AFOSR Deputy Director Col. Paul Fisher said all American immigrants can find historical parallels in Won's and Li's stories.

"As we learn more about other cultures, we appreciate what they bring, their uniqueness and see how similar we all are," Fisher said. "My grandparents came from Sweden and Scotland. Hearing other people's stories makes our differences shrink to trivialities."

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was established in 1977 to celebrate the achievements of Asians and Pacific Islanders to the United States. According to the Navy, there are currently 55,000 Asian-Pacific Americans serving in the U.S. Navy, a contribution that dates back to the 1800s.

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states; 70 countries; 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Gates Stresses Reflection in Memorial Day Message

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2011 – In his final Memorial Day message as his June 30 retirement nears, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates called on service members to reflect on their comrades who have died in service to the nation.

Here is the text of the secretary’s video message:

For many Americans, Memorial Day is a respite from work. But it should be foremost an occasion to reflect, to remember and to honor all those who have fought and died in defense of our nation. It is also a day to remember family members, who in recent years have borne the brunt of repeated deployments.

Memorial Day must not be the only day in which we keep our troops -- men and women like you -- in our thoughts. We must always recognize that this generation, like so many before, is keeping watch and serving in faraway lands.

It has been my greatest honor to serve and to lead you as secretary of defense. Virtually every day since taking this post, I have written condolence letters to the families of the fallen. I will always keep all of you in my heart and in my prayers as long as I live -- as should all Americans. Thanks for listening.

U.S. Air Force Prepares for F-35A Training on F-35B, F-35C

From F-35 Integrated Test Force Public Affairs

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- U.S. Air Force maintainers arrived here April 19 to get hands-on experience with the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

Seven airmen from the Air Force's 33rd Fighter Wing are at Naval Air Station Patuxent River for 75 days to gain first-hand experience maintaining the F-35B and F-35C variants, while those aircraft continue flight test and evaluation. They are the second group from the Wing to visit the F-35 test facility at Pax River.

Lockheed Martin is scheduled to deliver the F-35A aircraft AF-8 to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida and the first joint training squadron later this year.

"It is beneficial working around the F-35B and F35-C variants," said Master Sgt. Timothy Weaver, crew chief, and member of the 33rd Fighter Wing. "With this being a joint program, we learn a lot about how each branch handles maintenance. We are learning how the Marines operate, how the Navy operates, and sharing how we operate."

The F-35C is distinct from the F-35A variant with its larger wing surfaces and reinforced landing gear for greater control in the demanding carrier take-off and landing environment. However, the three variants are similar enough that maintainers benefit from performing basic maintenance, such as refueling, launch and recovery and tire changing, all functions the Navy considers day-to-day maintenance, Weaver said.

"The C and A variants have a lot of the same systems, but some of the parts are in different locations," said Weaver. He serves as the lead Air Force maintainer and production supervisor over the day-to-day activities on a flight line. He was also instrumental in the stand-up of the training wing at Eglin.

Eager to know what to expect before AF-8 arrives at Eglin, the maintainers volunteered for this assignment.

Tech. Sgt. Miguel Aguirre, armament specialist, and a quality assurance specialist, is here to gain knowledge of how the Lockheed Martin team performs maintenance. He will be responsible for overseeing the contractor-performed maintenance for AF-8 at Eglin. While there are no weapons being tested yet, Aguirre is the only armament specialist in the Air Force to work directly on the F-35.

"We are the eyes and ears for the group," said Aguirre. And from what he has seen so far, "from a maintenance perspective, the JSF is user-friendly."

"Procedures require that we start small," said Tech. Sgt. Lucas Delk, crew chief, who performs similar duties to the Navy's plane captain. "It is real exciting to see the F-35, and get hands-on experience."

Delk noted minor differences between the Air Force and Navy's carrier variants, but said "the meat and the potatoes are the same."

Weaver's team looks for any opportunity to get their hands dirty, and when they cannot, they are watching and gaining knowledge. "There is always work going on," he said.

"Members of the 33rd Fighter Wing are not just here for training," Weaver added. "We help the test points advance." This Air Force crew will be followed by another group from Eglin this summer.

The AF-8 test asset is currently in Fort Worth, Texas, undergoing airworthiness testing prior to transfer to Eglin. The F-35A conventional take-off and landing model is undergoing testing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The 33rd is the Defense Department's first joint graduate flying and maintenance training wing for the three F-35 variants organized under Air Education and Training Command's 19th Air Force. It is an associate unit at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Its mission is to train Air Force, Marine, Navy and international partner operators and maintainers of the F-35.

Northcom Supports Response to Severe Midwest Weather

From a U.S. Northern Command News Release

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., May 25, 2011 – At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Northern Command officials today activated their defense coordinating officer and defense coordinating element for FEMA Region 7 and extended those functions for FEMA Region 6 in support of response efforts to the severe weather in the Midwest.

U.S. Army North’s defense coordinating officer and defense coordinating element for Region 6 initially were activated to support flood relief in the South and have been extended with the activation of FEMA Region 7 to provide assessment and coordinate Defense Department assets as required in the Midwest, officials said.

Defense coordinating officers and defense coordinating elements work closely with federal, state, tribal and local officials to determine what unique Defense Department capabilities can assist in mitigating the effects of severe weather.

Emergency preparedness liaison officers from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Air Forces Northern and Marine Forces North will deploy to FEMA Region 7 to help the defense coordinating officer assess and plan DOD support of civil authorities.

The Defense Department has capabilities that can save lives, as well as other capabilities such as airlift, medical and communications support and planning.

Northcom is the joint combatant command formed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to provide homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities.

USS Missouri Offers Condolences to the People of Missouri

From Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- In a sign of solidarity, the commanding officer and crew aboard Virginia-class attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780) sent their prayers and condolences to the people of Missouri following a tornado that ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo., May 22.

"The officers and crew of USS Missouri extend their support and condolences to the people of Missouri in response to the tornado devastation in Joplin," said Cmdr. Timothy Rexrode, Missouri's commanding officer, who leads a crew of 134 officers and enlisted personnel. "The people of Missouri are tremendous supporters of the ship and the U.S. military. In this time of crisis we extend our thoughts and prayers."

Missouri is the fifth Navy ship to be named in honor of the people of the "Show Me State."

Community Recognizes Hawaii's Service Members

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sean Furey, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii

HONOLULU (NNS) -- The Hawaii Chamber of Commerce honored service members during The 26th Annual Military Recognition Luncheon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on May 19.

The event was held in conjunction with Military Appreciation Month and awarded service members for their outstanding actions in community service, paid tribute to the surviving members of the Army 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team and recognized the Hawaii appointees accepted to service academies and recipients of four-year ROTC scholarships.

Seven service members, including two Sailors, were awarded during the presentation of Outstanding Service Members in Community Service.

Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Nicholas Angelo Messina, assigned to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Xavier Harvey, assigned to U.S. Pacific Command Headquarters, were awarded among others for their outstanding service in their community.

Messina has been involved in such activities as the Special Olympics, Totally Against Graffiti (TAG) and coordinated and volunteered over 200 hours at the Pearl City Elementary School in support of the command's Adopt-A-School project.

"There are a lot of barriers between us and the community, and people don't know what's going on inside the gate," said Messina. "It was an honor that I will never forget, being able to show the civilians what we have done for the community. None of this would have ever been possible without the community and my command's full support"

Students from local high schools were then recognized for their acceptance to the service academies and four year ROTC Scholarships.

"I was proud to see the caliber of people that are coming out of Hawaii and going into our academies," said Messina. "They were all top notch."

Air Force Capt. Christy Stravalo, the Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs officer, and the Mistress of Ceremonies, along with Jim Tollefson, the president of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the service members and their guests to the event.

"A heartfelt mahalo goes to the WWII veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team who have joined us today," said Tollefson. "They are, as all our servicemen and women, true heroes."

Before the end of the lunch, the sponsors for the event took time to thank the service members of the past, present and future for volunteering to defend their country.

"You have adopted our islands as your home, and our aloha spirit as your own, generously volunteering your time and skills to nurture our communities and make them better places to live," said Stanley M. Kuriyama, the president and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., one of the sponsors of the luncheon.

Combat medics go back to basics to save lives

By Sgt. Tiffany Addair
157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade Public Affairs

Crawling on their bellies under barbed wire, while moving a patient strapped to a litter. Applying a tourniquet to a battlefield amputation in the dirt and grime of the field. Saving a life while getting everyone back to safety in one piece - just part of a recent weekend training event for more than 150 Wisconsin Army National Guard medical professionals.

The Wisconsin Army National Guard's third Army Medical Department (AMEDD) conference, held May 20-22 at Fort McCoy, gave medical professionals - those assigned to medical units as well as those assigned as medics or medical professionals in non-medical units - the opportunity to brush up on medical skills, train with new and familiar equipment and network with other people in the medical community around the state.

"The focus of the training was to get down to basics," said Capt. Shawn Murphy, physician's assistant with the Wisconsin Medical Detachment - the organization tasked with providing medical readiness support to all Wisconsin Army National Guard units. "It is important to always build on the basics. You add more skill sets and equipment at every level, but the fundamentals are always the same."

Through the Wisconsin Military Academy, the Wisconsin National Guard training facility housed at Fort McCoy, the 68 whiskeys (combat medics), medical professionals and other medical military occupational specialties were able to receive valuable training in a field where continuing education is paramount.

The training was designed to be very realistic, helping Soldiers prepare for scenarios they may face in the future.

"It is really easy to be overwhelmed with a casualty," said Sgt. 1st Class Clint Vervoren, senior combat medic and training noncommissioned officer-in-charge with the 426th Regiment, based at WMA. "The lanes were designed to put a little stress on the medics so they can learn to focus and communicate effectively with counterparts to manage a casualty."

Murphy echoed Vervorens' words, stating that creating a little bit of stress during the training helps put the skills and knowledge into a deep-seated memory box.

While the weekend was concentrated on getting back to the basics, new technology aided in creating more realistic medical scenarios for Soldiers to respond to. Life-like simulators were used in place of traditional mannequins that were used in the past.

"The new mannequins are computer and trainer operated with multiple medical scenarios," said Col. Kenneth Lee, Wisconsin Army National Guard state surgeon. "The mannequin responds to the treatment rendered or not rendered. This type of training not only provides the necessary requirement to maintain certifications as EMT-B, but more importantly the expertise needed to provide advanced emergency care."

Following the conference, Soldiers were wet, muddy and - in some cases - blood-stained from the mannequins' simulated wounds. In spite of that, or perhaps because of it, the training proved immensely popular.

Lee was also very impressed with the caliber of training.

"I sleep soundly knowing that I can rely on the Wisconsin Army National Guard AMEDD NCOs to push the limits of our logistics, training and mission," Lee said. "I am proud of the Soldiers that participated, as well as the leadership who were able to foresee the necessity of the realistic training scenarios."