By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Edward Vasquez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element-East
SOUDA BAY, Crete (NNS) -- The U.S., Royal Morocco and Mauritania naval forces sharpened their essential skills in basic combat first aid training presented May 25, during Phoenix Express 2011 (PE-11), a multi-national maritime exercise designed to enhance regional maritime partnerships.
"What we are doing here today is basic first aid training," said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Openshaw, lead medical instructor and Utah National Guard member. "Most of the countries that come here already have their own style of training. All we want to do is broaden their understanding and show them what we do."
The medical training will continue through the entire course of PE-11, a three-week evolution divided into in-port and underway training phases, and will include practical, as well as classroom, training.
"This is great training," said Cmdr. John Quigley, Medical Corps, PE-11 senior medical officer and Reserve component member from 6th Fleet Reserve Det. 802, out of Navy Operational Support Center Atlanta. "We are here giving all of our multinational partners a broader understanding of basic first aid so that when we are working together we will all have the same knowledge."
The training covered basic first aid, specifically the "ABCs" – how to check an airway, breathing and circulation – as well as how to apply tourniquets and how to stop a sucking chest wound.
"This training has been very good," said Royal Moroccan Navy Maj. Afkir Said, a MIO unit team leader. "We are here to learn, and this training will help our troops."
Maritime and land forces from 13 countries are participating in the international military partnering exercise, which commenced at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Center in Souda Bay May 23. The exercise will culminate with a six-day underway portion in the Mediterranean Sea. PE-11 is a unique training opportunity designed to enhance each country's ability to work together and to deter illicit trafficking at sea.
U.S. units participating in PE-11 will include USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49), USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29), and Military Sealift Command maritime prepositioning ship USNS LCPL Roy M. Wheat (T-AK 3016) and fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198). They are joined by Royal Morocco navy frigate Hassan II, along with two MIO boarding teams. Additional U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa staff personnel will also participate alongside other international naval forces in this exercise.
NEW YORK (NNS) -- The Secretary of the Navy and the president of Columbia University signed an agreement May 26, at a ceremony on board USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) formalizing their intention to reinstate Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) programs at Columbia.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger signed the agreement aboard USS Iwo Jima, which is docked in New York for the Navy's annual Fleet Week activities.
The Department of the Navy and Columbia University announced the agreement April 21, after Columbia's University Senate passed a resolution to explore increasing the University's relationship with the Armed Forces, including programs like Reserve Officer Training Corps. This is the first time in 40 years the program will be in place at Columbia.
Under the agreement, the NROTC program will have an office on Columbia's campus and active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers will meet with Columbia NROTC midshipmen during routinely scheduled office hours. Navy and Marine Corps-option midshipmen will participate in NROTC through a unit hosted at SUNY Maritime College in Throgs Neck, N.Y.
The NROTC program develops young men and women morally, mentally, and physically, and instills in them the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment. The program educates and trains young men and women for leadership positions in an increasingly technical Navy and Marine Corps.
PIEDMONT, Okla., May 26, 2011 – Members of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 63rd Civil Support Team were called here early today to assist with a search-and-rescue operation involving a 3-year-old boy.
The boy’s home was destroyed by a tornado that hit the nearby Falcon Lake housing addition yesterday at about 5 p.m.
“These are the types of missions we train for year round,” Army Lt. Col. Hiram Tabler, commander of the 63rd CST, said. “We will be here providing whatever support the local officials need until the mission is complete.”
Canadian County officials, who were first on scene, secured the area in preparation for search-and-rescue efforts. The 63rd CST set up a communications center to keep track of personnel taking part in the operation.
“The National Guard did an excellent job setting up communications equipment for communication between the different teams being sent out,” Jim Keck, manager for the search and rescue, said. “We don’t usually have this type of support.
“We have trained with the Oklahoma National Guard in the past so they were a great asset to us today,” he added.
Also assisting with the search and rescue were the Oklahoma Army National Guard, Pottawatomie County emergency services, Canadian County emergency services, Piedmont County emergency services, the city of Antler and the local police and sheriff’s departments. Search and rescue dogs also were on site.
Assisting with search and rescue efforts from the air members of Detachment 1, Company A, 1st Battalion, 114th Aviation, of the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s counterdrug team. They flew an OH-58 “Kiowa” helicopter, which uses a forward-looking infrared camera system.
Oklahoma Guardsmen had not found the missing boy as of 3 p.m., officials said, but rescue efforts are ongoing.
As our nation prepares to observe Memorial Day and remember those who died in service to our nation, it is important for us to remember as well. The Wisconsin National Guard has a proud legacy of service to our nation in times of conflict. It includes the famed "Iron Brigade" - those damn "Black Hats" - who fought with valor in the Civil War. It includes the rich heritage of the Red Arrow Division with service in WW I, WWII and most recently with the Brigade in Iraq. It includes the 115th Fighter Wing and the 128th Air Refueling Wing, who have deployed continually since Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In fact, every unit in the Wisconsin National Guard has deployed forces in support of the global war on terror - many more than once.
Our legacy as citizens willing to serve as Soldiers and Airmen and answer our nation's call is not risk free. Our formations count many who have died in service to our nation - many who gave the last full measure as President Lincoln so eloquently spoke in July of 1863. Today's service is no different. Nine soldiers of the Wisconsin National Guard have paid the ultimate price in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let us remember our fallen comrades and keep faith with their families.
Thank you for your continued selfless service. On this Memorial Day, let us remember all of our comrades, the men and women who died defending our great nation. It is right that we remember.
WASHINGTON, May 26, 2011 – In his Memorial Day message, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reflected on the true meaning of the holiday: to remember fallen comrades and their families.
Here is the text of the chairman’s video message:
For many people, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, but for millions of American families it holds a much deeper meaning. It is that day we set aside solemnly to remember the brave who did not make it home, to celebrate their courage, mourn their loss, and appreciate what they did to make this country a safer place. Sadly, more than 6,000 names have been added to that roll call in the last 10 years. Please take a moment to remember them and their families. Thank you.
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Walter, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs
PORTSMOUTH, England (NNS) -- The Norfolk, Va.-based USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) anchored off the coast of Portsmouth, England, May 26, marking the first ever overseas port call for the nation's newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier.
Nearly 5,000 Sailors of George H.W. Bush and embarked Carrier Air Wing Eight will spend several days visiting the historic port and the capital city of London, as well as participating in the various tours offered to the crew through the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program.
"Portsmouth is the first of many port visits for this proud ship," said George H.W. Bush Command Master Chief (SW) David Colton. "The crew is excited to get immersed in English culture, try the local food, and go to London."
Colton said the expectations are high for the crew as they show the Navy's newest aircraft carrier to a foreign nation, and he remained confident in their ability to represent their country and their ship.
"I expect that every George H.W. Bush Sailor will be great ambassadors and their conduct ashore will be exceptional," he said.
The scheduled port call follows George H.W. Bush's participation in the eight-day, multi-national military exercise Saxon Warrior 11, which was hosted by the U.K.-based Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).
The guided missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103), assigned to the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, also arrived in Portsmouth for its first foreign port call. Both ships departed Norfolk, Va., May 11 on their first combat deployment.
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class W. B. Swoboda, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs
NEW YORK (NNS) -- Marking a significant milestone in their careers at the most symbolic of places, 12 Sailors and five Coast Guardsmen reenlisted at the site of the World Trade Center on May 26.
The group met inside Gate 7 on the southwest side of Ground Zero, where together they raised their hands and swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Coast Guard Vice Adm. Robert Parker, commander, Atlantic Area led a group of five Coast Guardsmen and Rear Adm. Herman Shelanski, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10 led a group of 12 Sailors in reciting their oaths, calling it an opportunity for enlisted service men and women to remind themselves why they serve their country.
"I have done a couple hundred of these, but it's kind of an emotional event here," Parker said. "I can't think of a better place to have yet another restart to what are the fine careers of these folks that are coming up through our services."
The ground zero reenlistment was especially meaningful for Marine Science Technician 2nd Class Heather Clark, who serves aboard U.S. Coast Guard Sector New York from Fayetteville, N.C.
"It is a real honor to reenlist here at ground zero," Clark said. "I originally enlisted in the Coast Guard after 9/11, wanted to join something that is larger than myself and I really wanted to help people."
Service members in town for Fleet Week had the opportunity to reenlist at some of the city's most popular attractions. By far, the World Trade Center site got the biggest response, explained Michael Hurley of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, who manages the World Trade Center site and said he receives a number of requests to host military promotion and reenlistment ceremonies.
"We had an extremely high level of interest in this location," Hurley said. "So many want to recommit to their service here, at a place significant to all Americans."
After repeating the oath, Engineman 2nd Class Edward Cooper, stationed on board USS John L. Hall (FFG 32), from Anderson, S.C. Had a chance to take in the sights of the construction going on all around and congratulate the other Sailors who had reenlisted alongside him.
"It is an amazing experience, everything that happened here on 9/11 – it's just an amazing feeling it just gives you chills," Cooper said. "Reenlisting here at ground zero is an outstanding feeling, there's nothing like it."
Services are participating in the 24th Fleet Week New York, which takes place May 25 - June 1. Fleet Week has been New York City's celebration of the sea services since 1984. It is an unparalleled opportunity for citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, as well as see first-hand, all the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates delivers a commencement address at 10 a.m. EDT at the U.S. Naval Academy, Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead will also speak.
Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn has no public or media events on his schedule.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey delivers remarks at 1 p.m. EDT at the 2011 TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, Va.Media interested in attending should contact Lt. Col. Alayne Conway at 703-693-4961.