Military News

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today in the Department of Defense, Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates Is traveling.

Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn has no public or media events on his schedule.

International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Deputy Chief of Staff, Australian Army Maj. Gen. Michael Krause will brief the media live from Afghanistan at 10:30 a.m. EDT, in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973) to provide an update on current operations.  Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only.  Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification.  Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

This Day in Naval History - May 31

From the Navy News Service

1900 - Sailors and Marines from USS Newark and USS Oregon arrive at Peking, China, with other Sailors and Marines from Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Japan to protect U.S. and foreign diplomatic legations from the Boxers.
1919 - NC-4's transatlantic flight ends at Plymouth, England.
1944 - USS England (DE 635) sank a record sixth Japanese submarine in 13 days.

Post-conflict Era to Challenge Military Trainers

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2011 – With just two months remaining on his brigade’s deployment to Afghanistan as part of the 30,000-troop surge there, Army Col. Sean Jenkins has seen the operational benefit of the nose-to-the-grindstone training regimen and nearly back-to-back deployments on his soldiers.

“They’re remarkable,” Jenkins told American Forces Press Service of his 101st Airborne Division, 4th Brigade Combat Team soldiers operating along Afghanistan’s long border with Pakistan in remote Paktika province.

The colonel marveled at his soldiers’ ability to make decisions with strategic consequences in the blink of an eye and to accomplish the near-impossible. Borrowing a quote from Army Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, commander of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Jenkins said, “I think if we told them to go to Mars in two weeks, they would figure out a way to get there.”

But as the United States removes all of its forces from Iraq by the year’s end and evaluates the situation in Afghanistan this summer with an eye toward an eventual drawdown there as well, Jenkins finds himself among those questioning how to maintain this force after the deployments end.

How, after the longest military conflict in U.S. history, will the all-volunteer force downshift from the full-steam-ahead momentum it’s maintained for a decade and adapt to post-combat training?

“They have seen so much, they have experienced so much, they have been so busy. How do you maintain that?” Jenkins asked. “I don’t think [the Joint Readiness Training Center] or [National Training Center] is going to keep them all excited.”

Jenkins acknowledged that the Army has developed some bona fide “adrenaline junkies.”

It’s not that they want to go to war and get shot at, he emphasized. It’s not that they want to leave their families for 12 months at a time. “Nobody wants that,” he said.

After the current military operations end, Jenkins said, America’s combat-tested troops will want to participate in challenging training that’ll maintain the capabilities they’ve worked so hard to build over the past decade.

“They thrive on it,” the colonel said.

“A poor analogy would be that I practice football all season long, but never get to play in a game,” Jenkins added. “You are truly there for the love of the game.”

And for today’s troops, “you are truly there for the love of your country,” the colonel said. “That’s why you are in the military, and that’s why you are in the Army. But you don’t want to just sit. You have to practice your trade.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean having to deploy to another country, Jenkins said, but will put some heavy demands on leaders to keep soldiers engaged when they return to a post-conflict garrison environment.

“It means that we as leaders have to provide them incredibly well-thought-out, challenging, rewarding training, to keep that edge,” Jenkins said. “We are a learning organization, and we will have to keep figuring it out.”

(Editors Note: This the first article in a series about how the Defense Department and military services plan to maintain combat effectiveness and readiness as the current operational tempo begins to decline.)

Bold Monarch 2011 Kicks Off in Spain

By MCC(SW/AW) Katt Whittenberger, Expeditionary Combat Camera

CARTAGENA, Spain (NNS) -- Participants and observers from more than 25 countries departed May 30, for the NATO exercise Bold Monarch 2011, the world's largest submarine rescue exercise.

The 12-day exercise supports interoperability between submarines and submarine rescue units, and this is the first time a Russian submarine has participated in a NATO exercise.

"In Bold Monarch 2008, NATO and our partner nations demonstrated dramatic improvements in international cooperation and interoperability in this challenging field," said Capt. David Dittmer, deputy commander, Submarines North. "Our achievements included the first ever rescues between the Russian Federation Navy and NATO submarines, and the first transfer of personnel with the new U.S. and NATO rescue systems. In 2011's exercise, we will move even further in demonstrating our technical capabilities and coordination processes. We will include a Russian submarine in this exercise for the first time and practice complex, international command and control procedures in a realistic scenario. This is the graduate level of submarine rescue operations."

More than 2,000 personnel and 20 ships have gathered off the coast of Spain, bringing with them rescue forces equipped with a range of sophisticated debris clearance, diver assisted gear and submarine rescue systems (SRS). With more than 40 nations operating submarines, the compatibility between assets and standardization of procedures in submarine rescue is exceedingly important.

"In the unlikely event of an emergency, we can work with our allies to respond appropriately, and having a standardized script helps cut through the language barrier," said Cmdr. David Lemly, commander, Deep Submergence Unit. "Exercises like this gives us a way to interact with militaries we may not normally interact with since we're primarily a humanitarian unit."

Filling the U.S. role for the exercise is the Navy's Deep Submergence Unit (DSU), which runs the only U.S. submarine rescue systems. Monday the Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM) submerged and successfully linked up with the Turkish SSK Anafartalar. One of the goals for this dive was to verify the possibility of using a remote operated vehicle (ROV) as a tool to allow recovery of the PRM if there's an emergency while it is submerged. The Swedish ROV launched from the HSwMS Belos, and as a safety precaution, it approached the PRM after the PRM had fully sealed on the Turkish vessel, but before the hatch was opened between the two.

"This exercise is great training for my operators and clearly demonstrates our ability to work with other subs to do our mission." said Lemly.

Bold Monarch 2011 will culminate with a 48-hour scenario involving the rescue of more than 150 personnel from multiple ships. Aircraft from Italy will deliver divers from the Italy, Russia, and the United Kingdom via parachutes, to provide first response. The medical professionals will respond to multiple mass casualty scenarios. Rescue systems from multiple countries will recover trapped Sailors.

Gates to Reaffirm U.S. Commitments to Asia

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 31, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will participate in the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore this week, where officials expect he will outline continued U.S. commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

This is the secretary’s fifth and final trip to the Shangri-La Dialogue, an Asia security summit sponsored by the International Institute of Strategic Studies.

“Obviously, he sees this as a valuable forum to meet with his counterparts, but also to hear from the region and meet with and discuss regional issues,” said a senior defense official, speaking on background.

The secretary is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with a number of defense ministers, including Gen. Liang Guanglie of China and Toshima Kitazawa of Japan. He also will meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Najib bin Abdul Razak and Singapore’s defense minister, Theo Chee Han.

A Gates speech on the conference agenda will be his last as defense secretary in Asia, and he will talk about what he has seen, what has changed, and what he has seen that remains consistent, the official said. The secretary retires June 30 after more than four and a half years in office.

“He’s going to talk in greater detail than he has in the past about what we in [the Defense Department] are doing to make that more tangible,” the official said, “specifically, in [terms of] U.S. presence in the region and our own commitment, and the operations and capabilities we bring to the region.”

The theme will be that the United States is not distracted by on-going issues and immediate-term crises, the official said. “Asia tends to be a place where there are important, but not always the urgent, priorities,” he explained, “and clearly, the secretary wants to point out that we care and are focused on the important issues as well.”

This is the first time the Chinese have sent a defense minister to Shangri-La, and U.S. officials are pleased with the decision.

“I know Secretary Gates very much looks forward to having a conversation with General Liang about how we continue to build on the positive momentum that exists in the military-to-military relationship,” another senior defense official said. Gates will continue to discuss with the Chinese why it is important to have a healthy, stable, reliable and continuous military-to-military relationship, he added.

The secretary also wants to talk about following up on the Strategic Security Dialogue the two initiated during Gates’ visit to Beijing in January. It is a joint civilian and military dialogue to address a number of sensitive security issues, including nuclear and missile defense, space, and cyber.

All this together is an opportunity to show the consistency of U.S. policy and reassure the Asian allies that even though Gates is retiring, “there will be continuity in defense policy with the next secretary,” the official said.

Pacific Partnership Band Performs in Papua New Guinea

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Farrington, Pacific Partnership 2011 Public Affairs

LAE, Papua New Guinea (NNS) -- The Pacific Partnership 2011 Band performed a concert for more than 4,000 people at Kilage Stadium in Lae, Papua New Guinea, May 28.

The band consists of 12 Sailors who are also professional musicians. Their performances cover a range of musical genres consisting of ceremonial military music, jazz, R&B, soul, funk, and rock.

For this performance, the band performed ten celebrity songs including "Yeah" by Usher, "I Feel Good" by James Brown and "Love Rollercoaster" by The Ohio Players.

"Its been a pleasure to interact with the people of Papua New Guinea through a tuba, guitar, microphone, drums and all the other instruments we play," said Musician 3rd Class Anton du Preez.

Du Preez and the other members of the band are passionate about their belief that music can communicate with people across cultural lines and political borders. They also believe that different genres of music can broaden peoples' cultural horizons.

"A lot of the people in Papua New Guinea only hear Reggae and Hip Hop music on the radio, so we brought some Rock, Motown, Jazz, and a whole bunch of different genres for the people," said du Preez.

The band was met with cheers, applause, dance, and laughter since their first Papua New Guinean performance in Lae, May 21. Since then, the band has performed every day in Papua New Guinea at local venues for thousands of people.

The May 28 concert, with more than eight times the anticipated amount of people in attendance, attracted the largest audience.

"This was the biggest turnout that we've had at one of our concerts since Pacific Partnership 2011 began," said Musician 3rd Class Travis Smilen. "It's amazing how word of mouth spread about our performances after just one week in Lae."

The crowd grew as the concert went on, and when the band played "Let's Get it Started" by the Black Eyed Peas, most of the attendees rose to their feet, applauding the performance, dancing and singing along.

"The energy and enthusiasm from the people is what we live for," said Smilen. "I'm glad we had the opportunity to connect with the people of Lae through the universal language of music."

The Pacific Partnership 2011 band provides host nationals with an opportunity to acquire a cultural interaction with the U.S. that may not otherwise be available through medical, dental, engineering and veterinary civic action projects. While these projects are beneficial to partner nations and host nations alike, the band has been to these events to show another side of the Pacific Partnership team

"I feel like the band and I have made a huge impact on the people of Papua New Guinea, and as we leave for the next stop in Pacific Partnership 2011, I'll be able to look back and draw off that energy and support we received," said du Preez.

Pacific Partnership is an annual humanitarian aid initiative sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, aimed at improving interoperability between host and partner nations. Now in its sixth year, Pacific Partnership 2011 will continue to Timor-Leste and the Federated States of Micronesia following their mission in Papua New Guinea.

Face of Defense: Mission Brings Father, Son Together

By Army Sgt. Darron Salzer
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., May 31, 2011 – Long duty days far away from home can be tough. A chance to speak with or see a loved one often can offer relief from the stresses of deployment. Ask almost any soldier, sailor, airman or Marine deployed overseas, and they will tell you that family and friends are always on their mind.

For one Air National Guard father-and-son duo, the Air Guard’s critical care air transport team mission offered them the opportunity to have this relief, if only for a moment.

“Having the opportunity to cross paths with my son was just an added bonus to the mission,” said Air Force Col. Charles Myers, state air surgeon for the Arkansas National Guard. “It was great to be participating in the same mission with someone who had grown up within my own Guard family.”

Myers’ son, Air Force 1st Lt. Brian Myers, a C-17 Globemaster III pilot with the Mississippi Air National Guard’s 183rd Airlift Squadron, flew some of the missions in which his father had the opportunity to participate. The colonel said he was very proud to be working with his son on such an amazing mission, even though the lieutenant spent time in-flight inside of the aircraft cockpit.

“My son was about 5 or 6 years old when I first became involved with the Air National Guard,” said Colonel Myers, “so he kind of grew up with [the Guard].”

Lieutenant Myers said growing up with his dad was the inspiration and the drive that motivated him to join the Guard later in life.

“I took my first flying lessons in high school,” he said, “and I definitely knew that I wanted to be in the military [and] knew about the Guard and the Guard family, so it really influenced me when I was in college to enlist.”

For Brian, the opportunity to be a part of the critical care air transport team mission was a rewarding experience, one that was only made better by working with his father.

“I certainly was honored to be working on the mission with my dad, even though I was up in the front and he was in the back with the patients on board,” the C-17 pilot said. “To be able to bring those wounded back is always a good feeling, but to do this with my dad was a great experience.”

Colonel Myers said the critical care mission is a great opportunity for the Air Guard and its airmen.

“Historically, the [Air National Guard] medical service has focused on the operational mission instead of specialty care, so most physicians in the [Air Guard] don’t get the opportunity to practice anything close to what their civilian specialty is.

The Air Guard has many such specialists, he added, so it’s able to provide certain specialties for the critical care air transport team mission.

The critical care teams augment the regular Air Force medical evacuation mission, which was designed to move stable patients, the colonel explained.

“However, in today’s world, we have those patients that have been stabilized, but are still critical and still need to be moved,” he added. “So basically, it is an intensive care unit in the air.”

Each team has a physician in a critical-care specialty, a critical-care nurse and a respiratory technician who can take care of this type of patient, the colonel said.

“Sometimes the duty hours can be long and the stresses of the environment can be hard to handle,” he said, “but being able to do this for our wounded service members is very rewarding.”

Phoenix Express Provides Practical Small Arms Training for U.S., Greek Navies

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Edward Vasquez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element-East Detachment Europe

SOUDA BAY, Crete (NNS) -- Sailors from the U.S. and Greek navies partnered to sharpen their small arms handling skills during a training course as part of Phoenix Express 2011 (PE-11), May 26.

Small arms handling is an essential skill used in conducting maritime interdiction operations (MIO) against vessels suspected of illicit trafficking.

"The first three days of training were classroom presentation. Now we are getting into the practical application portion of the exercise," said Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Rupert, PE-11 small arms instructor. "There will be a number of different exercises that participants will be going through like fast rope station and room clearing station. What we are doing today is small arms familiarization and tactics."

The small arms training consisted of a practical module course taught at the NATO MIO Training Center in Souda Bay, Crete. The module, taught by Greek armed forces instructors from the school and supported by a U.S. Navy visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team; included small arms familiarization, clearing corner techniques, and climbing techniques.

"The training is going quite smooth," said one of the small arms instructors for PE 11, who is not identified due to the nature of his military profession. "We have two teams here today that are both operating at quite a high level, and that makes things easier for us. Right now, we are going over some small arms training making sure the students are familiar with the weapons systems they are going to be using throughout the in-port phase of training."

MIO boarding team members from the participating countries will pass through the module allowing the instructors and the VBSS support team not only to teach techniques, but also to observe what the participants from each country already know.

"It is fantastic that we are able to connect with the other boarding teams from the Mediterranean and the west coast of Africa," said Lt. j.g. Jim Carles, USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) boarding officer. "This is a real opportunity because these are the guys we will end up working together with in real operations around the Mediterranean."

Maritime and land forces from 13 countries are participating in the international military partnering exercise, which commenced at the NATO MIO Training Center May 23.

The exercise will culminate in 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 in the Mediterranean Sea through joint maritime interception operations and maritime domain awareness.

U.S. units participating in Phoenix Express include Bradley, 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). Additional U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa staff personnel will also participate alongside other international naval forces in this exercise.

Obama Taps Dempsey, Winnefeld as Chairman, Vice Chairman

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2011 – President Barack Obama announced his choices as chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a Rose Garden ceremony today.

Obama intends to nominate Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey as chairman and Navy Adm. James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld Jr., as vice chairman. Dempsey currently is the Army chief of staff and Winnefeld is the commander of U.S. Northern Command.

Dempsey will replace Navy Adm. Mike Mullen when his term ends Sept. 30, and Winnefeld will replace Marine Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright when his term ends in July.

The president intends to nominate Gen. Raymond T. Odierno to succeed Dempsey at the Army post.

The Senate must approve the nominations and the president called on the body to act expeditiously so the military transition will be “seamless.”

“The men and women of our armed forces are the best our nation has to offer,” Obama said during the ceremony. “They deserve nothing but the absolute best in return – that includes leaders who will guide them, support their families with wisdom and strength and compassion.”

The president said the men he has chosen will make an extraordinary team at the Pentagon. “Between them, they bring deep experience in virtually every domain – land, air, space, sea, cyber,” he said. “Both of them have the respect and the trust of our troops on the frontlines, our friends in Congress, and allies and partners abroad. And both of them have my full confidence.”

The president called Dempsey one of America’s most respected and combat-tested officers. “In Iraq, he led our soldiers against a brutal insurgency,” the president said. “Having trained the Iraqi forces, he knows that nations must ultimately take responsibility for their own security. Having served as acting commander of Central Command, he knows that in Iraq and Afghanistan security gains and political progress must go hand in hand.”

Dempsey has a reputation of pushing his forces to change and adapt and the president said he expects that, as chairman, Dempsey will do the same for all forces, “to be ready for the missions of today and tomorrow.”

Winnefeld led the USS Enterprise carrier battle group in some of the first strikes against al-Qaida in 2001. “Having served as a NATO commander, Sandy is well-known to our allies,” Obama said. “Having served on the Joint Staff, he is known and trusted here at the White House. Most recently as the head of Northern Command, Sandy has been responsible for the defense of our homeland and support to states and communities in times of crisis, such as the recent tornadoes and the floods along the Mississippi.”

Obama called Odierno one of the Army’s most accomplished soldiers. Currently serving as the commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, Odierno served three defining tours in Iraq, the president said. They included commanding the troops that captured Saddam Hussein, partnering with Army Gen. David H. Petraeus to help bring down the violence, and then transferring responsibility to Iraqi forces, allowing the United States to redeploy more than 100,000 troops and end the combat mission in the country.

“After years on the frontlines, Ray understands what the Army must do: to prevail in today’s wars, to prepare for the future, and to preserve the readiness of the soldiers and families who are the strength of America’s families,” Obama said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates gave an enthusiastic endorsement of the three nominees. “General Dempsey, Admiral Winnefeld and General Odierno have all excelled in key command and staff roles within their services and in the joint arena,” the secretary said in a prepared statement.

“They possess the right mix of intellectual heft, moral courage and strategic vision required to provide sound and candid advice to the president and his national security team,” Gates continued. “Above all, they are proven leaders of men and women in combat operations over the past decade, and are uniquely qualified to guide and shape our military institutions through the challenging times ahead.”

Obama said he’s been grateful for the advice and leadership of the current chairman and vice chairman. “Like President Bush before me, I’ve deeply valued Mike’s professional steadiness and his personal integrity,” he said. “On his watch, our military forces have excelled across the whole spectrum of missions, from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to relief efforts after the Haiti earthquake.”

Mullen has helped revitalize NATO, helped re-set relations with Russia, and has helped steer important relationships with China and Pakistan, the president said. “I believe that history will also record Mike Mullen as the chairman who said what he believed was right and declared that no one in uniform should ever have to sacrifice their integrity to serve their country,” Obama said, referring to Mullen’s public support for supporting repeal of the law that prevented gays from serving openly in the military.

Obama called Cartwright a rare combination of technical expert and strategic thinker. The general has lead U.S. thinking on cyber, space and nuclear issues. “I’ll always be personally grateful to Hoss for his friendship and partnership,” the president said. “And as he concludes four decades of service in the Marine Corps that he loves, he can do so knowing that our nation is more secure, and our military is stronger, because of his remarkable career.”

Gates echoed Obama’s testimonials of the two men. “I have enjoyed working with Admiral Mullen and General Cartwright and benefited greatly from their wise counsel,” he said. “All Americans owe these two fine officers and their families a debt of gratitude, and I look forward to paying fuller tribute to their accomplishments at the appropriate time.”

Sailors and Marines Invade Eisenhower Park from the Skies

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Donisha Burns, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs

NEW YORK (NNS) -- The sea services kicked off Memorial Day weekend in Nassau County by hosting a joint air and ground demonstration May 28, at Eisenhower Park, East Meadows, N.Y.

This successful event was just part of many of the exciting activities taking place as part of Fleet Week New York 2011, a celebration of the sea services that has been a tradition in the city since 1984. This demonstration allowed Sailors and Marines to display how tactics and technology has evolved. In return, the local community shook hands, took pictures and even received a few autographs from those in uniform.

"I had a great time, me and my friend even got soldiers to sign our shirt," said eight-year old, John Ranize.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 12 of Virginia Beach, Va., conducted a rappel demonstration before landing and allowing tours and photo opportunities of their MH-60S Knight Hawk helicopter.

"This is perfect. I didn't expect we would be able to get on the helicopter or shake hands with the service members," said Ashish Chatur.

Following the Navy's EOD team, Marines from various units flew in a pair of AH-1W Cobras and MV-22B Ospreys. After landing the Marines conducted basic offloading tactics and showed spectators the proper wear of body armor and how to hold and operate some of the weapons systems.

Michael Counadis, a New Jersey native who usually spends his Memorial Day weekend in South Jersey watching the Air Show changed his plans this year. "This is my first time coming out, I'll rate it a 10, besides my nephew, Pvt. Milton is a part of the celebration this time," said Counadis.

After 24 years, Fleet week continues to be an unparalleled opportunity for Sea Service members and the citizens of New York and surrounding tri-state area to meet and share experiences.

Hard Rock Cafe Welcomes Fleet Week to NYC

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Richard M. Wolff, Fleet Week New York Public Affairs

NEW YORK (NNS) -- Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted a Fleet Week New York City 2011 kick-off party at the Hard Rock Cafe May 25 with free food and a concert by the Orange County Choppers Band for Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

The Hard Rock kick-off happens every year and was an exciting experience for many service members, especially those who have never been to New York City. Operations Specialist Third Class (SW) Eren Heim, a Georgia native, was very excited when she heard that members from OCC were part of the kick-off party. "I've been watching their show for years. I think it is amazing, especially to see them here supporting our military."

For Heim, this is her first visit to New York City and one she will never forget. "I didn't expect so many people to support the military like this, everyone wants to take our picture, it's like we're celebrities too."

Orange County Choppers have a hit TV show that focuses on making stunning, unique motorcycles in the "chopper" style. They use their fame to support a number of good causes and are huge advocates for our American fighting men and women. "We support the military all the time, any way we can," said Mike Ammiradi of OCC. "What you guys do for us is the greatest thing in the world."

"I like what OCC does with charities, donating bikes and helping children," said Cryptologic Technician-Technical Second Class Larry Jamison, a Sailor off of the USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7). This was also Jamison's first time to New York City, "It's pretty cool, I like it. So far everybody's been really friendly and it's been a good experience. It's a lot bigger than I anticipated."

For many aboard USS Iwo Jima, this is their second year in a row participating in Fleet Week New York.

Cryptologic Technician-Collection Second Class (SW) Zachariah Adkins plans to see some of the sites he didn't have time to see last year. "I plan to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo, and it's great that these places are free for the Sailors to visit."

Fleet Week has been New York City's celebration of the sea services nearly every year 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, the latest capabilities of today's maritime services.

In addition to public visitation of participating ships, there will be a number of exhibits showing off the technology of the maritime services and the skilled expertise of our service members.

Dempsey Career Reflects Adaptability, Creativity

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2011 – The man President Barack Obama has chosen to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has 37 years of experience and a reputation as a creative thinker.

If confirmed by the Senate, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, 59, will shift from serving as the Army chief of staff to chairman when Navy Adm. Mike Mullen steps down at the end of September. Dempsey has served as Army chief since April.

As a brigadier general, Dempsey commanded the 1st Armored Division when it arrived in Baghdad in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War. What was expected to be a short deployment was extended when in April 2004, forces loyal to Shi’a cleric Muqtada al Sadr launched an insurrection against multinational forces and the nascent Iraqi government. The 1st Armored, which was loading up to return to Germany, was extended for 90 days.

Dempsey’s performance during that hot spell earned kudos from retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who said in an Army Times interview that Dempsey “may be the best combat division commander of the war over the last decade.”

Following his division command, Dempsey became commander of Multinational Security Transition Command—Iraq, helping put in place the Iraqi army and police. He followed that with a stint as the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, stepping up as acting commander when Navy Adm. William Fallon resigned, and later served as commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

Dempsey was not just a caretaker commander. “While serving as acting Centcom commander, General Dempsey reorganized the headquarters, published new theater strategy and campaign plans, all the while managing the rotations and deployments of tens of thousands of troops throughout his command’s [area of responsibility],” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in April during Dempsey’s installation as the Army chief of staff.

Dempsey was commissioned as an Armor officer following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1974. He will be the first chairman who is not a Vietnam War veteran since Army Gen. Lyman Lemnitzer in 1962.

Dempsey spent much of his career in Germany, training in AirLand Battle doctrine to stop a possible Soviet invasion at the Fulda Gap. Yet he also served as the training adviser for the Saudi Arabian National Guard Modernization Program.

Dempsey takes change in stride. In a round table discussion with reporters after becoming Army chief of staff, the general said he needs soldiers to see that change is not something to fear.

“All this is routine and historical,” he said. “But to them it’s new.

“I’m 59 years old, and I’ve heard this four times in my career,” Dempsey continued, adding that he plans to issue a document that articulates some of that and calms the nerves of the force.

“The Army has been around for 235 years, and though it doesn’t always look the same from decade to decade, it always provides the things the nation needs when it needs it,” he continued. “I personally think the Army ought to think of itself as an organization that will adapt about every five to seven years. It’s not just about new equipment, but new organizations and structures.”

The younger generation embraces adaptation and change better than older generations, he said, “and I’m going to test that theory.”

In addition to a bachelor’s degree from West Point, the general also earned a master’s degree from Duke University in North Carolina.

Navy Names Next Aircraft Carrier USS John F. Kennedy

From Secretary of the Navy Public Affairs

BOSTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be named the USS John F. Kennedy.

The selection John F. Kennedy, designated CVN 79, honors the 35th President of the United States and pays tribute to his service in the Navy, in the government, and to the nation.

"President John F. Kennedy exemplified the meaning of service, not just to country, but service to all humanity," said Mabus. "I am honored to have the opportunity to name the next aircraft carrier after this great Sailor and inspirational leader, and to keep the rich tradition and history of USS John F. Kennedy sailing in the U.S. Fleet."

Born in Brookline, Mass., May 29, 1917, Kennedy graduated from Harvard in 1940, and entered the Navy in October 1941.

During World War II, Kennedy took command of PT 109 at Tulagi Island in the Solomons, with a mission to intercept Japanese ships attempting to resupply their barges in New Georgia. In the early morning hours of Aug. 2, 1943, Kennedy's ship was inadvertently struck by an enemy ship and split in half. During the course of the next six days, Kennedy led his crew members to safety and an eventual rescue. Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for the rescue of his crew and a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained when his ship was struck.

After his military service, Kennedy became a congressman representing the Boston area, he was elected to the Senate in 1953, and in 1961 became the youngest person to be elected president.

One previous ship, USS John F. Kennedy, CV 67, was named in his honor and was decommissioned in 2007, after nearly 40 years of distinguished service, including Operation Desert Storm.

The USS John F. Kennedy and other Ford-class carriers will be the premier forward asset for crisis response and humanitarian relief, and early decisive striking power in a major combat operation. The aircraft carrier and the carrier strike group will provide forward presence, rapid response, endurance on station, and multi-mission capability throughout its 50-year service life.

The USS John F. Kennedy will provide improved warfighting capability, quality of life improvements for Sailors and reduced acquisition and life cycle costs. The ship will be constructed at Newport News Shipbuilding, Va., a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Additional information about aircraft carriers is available on line at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=200&ct=4.

Media may direct queries to Lt. Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence at 571-289-7139.

Iwo Jima Stays Fit During Fleet Week

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis J. Kuykendall, USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Public Affairs

NEW YORK (NNS) -- Sailors onboard the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) participated in physical training (PT) sessions on the flight deck during Fleet Week, May 27.

Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (CNRMA) Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR), along with Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Navy Fitness provided Iwo Jima sailors an opportunity to group PT.

"We really wanted to highlight 'Navy Fitness' because fitness is a requirement of your job," said Chad Quinn, Commander Navy Installations Command Navy Fitness Program Manager. "If you can't stay within the standards and be functionally operable you can't keep your job, so it's very important."

CNIC Navy Fitness "Fit Bosses" instructed the Sailors on exercises and movements from the Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series (NOFFS). NOFFS is a Navy performance training resource which combines both performance and preventative injury strategies.

"The number one reason for missed days at work is because of injuries, not illness or disease. It's because people are getting hurt," said Quinn. "We use the NOFFS program because it focuses on a functioning movement and not just a jumping jack or a standard push up. It looks at what you're going to do in your everyday environment."

Approximately 60 Sailors attended one of the two, one-hour long sessions offered in the morning passing up the chance to get an early start going out on liberty. "I'm glad I took advantage of a great opportunity to receive training on practical exercises I had never seen before," said Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class (SW/AW) Jacob Harper. "After being in the Navy for 10 years, you see the same workouts over and over but this was something new and refreshing."

Simultaneously news media was broadcasting live and public tours were being offered, so they were able to witness the PT sessions and see what Navy fitness is all about.

"It was for the Sailors, showing them some of the different movements, but it also brought face to the general public and media the things Sailors have to go through to maintain and make a warship operable," said Quinn. "This is a part of their job, their lives, and it affects everything that they do."

Approximately 3,000 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are participating in the 24th Fleet Week New York, taking place May 25 through June 1. Fleet Week has been New York City's celebration of the sea services since 1984. It is an 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, the capabilities of today's maritime services.

Medical Service Corps Director Visits Naval Hospital Bremerton

By Douglas H Stutz, NHB PAO

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Eleanor Valentin, Commander, Navy Medicine Support Command and Director, Navy Medical Service Corps visited Naval Hospital Bremerton and met with command leadership and staff during a whirlwind meet-and-greet tour on May 27.

"Everyone I have met is very positive. That's a direct reflection of the leadership," said Valentin, a Seattle, Wash. native, who is the first female director of Navy's Medical Service Corps (MSC) and 2010 recipient of the National Women of Color Technologist of the Year Award.

"NHB is very famous to us and is often held up as a model to emulate in Navy Medicine and if the surgeon general was here he would say the same," said Valentin, addressing the command after Morning Colors.

"This comes from my heart; you have all answered the call, and that call is greater than yourself. I am so proud of all of you. You serve with honor, courage, commitment, transparency and integrity. Thank you for your service."

The visit gave Rear Adm. Valentin the opportunity to hold an Admiral's Call to address NHB's approximately 50 Medical Service Corps officers. Topics touched upon included promotions, records, career advancement and service to the Navy, Navy Medicine, and the country.

"MSC officers ask what they need to do to be competitive for promotion," said Valentin. "Do I need to deploy? Do I need to be certified in my specialty field? Do I need joint military education? Those three are not requirements for promotion, but I can tell you that those who do get promoted do have them. Those qualifications indicate concern and care for our profession and show competitiveness in improving."

Valentin also pointed out that the MSC is truly a diverse corps by using an operational officer as an example. An MSC officer needs to be able to handle a number of roles if assigned to an expeditionary medical platform. "They need to know how to set up the operational center," she said. "They need to know how to track our people, how to track our patients, how to arrange supplies and logistics and how to establish communications. Whether it's just-in-time training or timely instruction, our MSC officers will have the qualifications needed for the job."

The Medical Service Corps is comprised of three basic specialties covering 31 sub-specialties. The Clinical Care specialties include Audiology, Clinical Psychology, Dietetics/Food Management, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Podiatry, and Social Work. The Health Care Science specialty field encompasses Aerospace Experimental Psychology, Aerospace Physiology, Biochemistry, Entomology, Environmental Health, Industrial Hygiene, Medical Technology, Microbiology, Physiology, Radiation Health, and Research Psychology. Health Care Administration specialties consists of Education and Training Management, Financial Management, Fleet Marine Force, General Health Care Administration, Health Care Facilities Planning, Information Management, Manpower Systems Analysis, Medical Logistics Management, Operations Research, Patient Administration, and Plans, Operations and Medical Intelligence.

Face of Defense: War Veteran Hangs Up Wings at Age 90

By U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Benjamin Wiseman
23rd Wing Public Affairs

VALDOSTA, Ga. , May 29, 2011 – More than 70 years of flying experience came to a close after one last flight in a Piper Saratoga aircraft in Valdosta, Ga.

While retired Air Force Col. Clarence Parker has been a pilot for the majority of his life, the now 90-year-old has decided to hang up his wings and start a new chapter in his life with one last flight on May 20, 2011.

"I have decided that seven decades of flying was a great run," Parker said. "I wanted to stop on my own terms, and not when the doctors or my health dictated it."

Parker started his aviation career when he was just 20 years old. In 1940, he wanted to join the U.S. Army Air Corps, but his application was put on hold. Then he decided to earn his private pilot's license as a civilian instead.

A year later, Parker was called to action.

"I had just landed from a flight when someone ran up and told me the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor," he recalled. "Within 48 hours of the attack, I was contacted by the U.S. Army Air Corps and instructed to go to San Antonio."

From that day forward, Colonel Parker's career took many twists and turns. He flew more than 35 different aircraft, ranging from the P-40 Warhawk to the B-52 Stratofortress. He has flown in three different wars and several combat missions: World War II, the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Dorothy Lee Parker, the colonel's wife, remembers many of the bases they both visited during their 69 years of marriage.

"We have been all over the world," she said. "When you're married to a pilot, you always seem to come second because the aircraft and the mission are always first. Despite that, I always enjoy traveling with him, and he's going to miss flying like hell."

He served his country from 1942 until 1971, ending his career as the wing commander at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Even after the colonel retired, he continued to fly as a civilian for 30 more years.

"He has been flying the entire time we have been married," Dorothy said with laughter. "After nearly 70 years of marriage, I finally get to be his main focus."

Parker shared a few words of advice before leaving the flying to the pilots of later generations.

"Aviation is not only a challenge but an opportunity for young people," he said. "I encourage all pilots to approach flying with vigor and determination, and enjoy the rewards of your hard work."

Once Parker parts ways with flying, he said he and and his wife plan to continue visiting family as well as traveling around the U.S. and Europe.

USO Sponsors Fleet Week "Reverse Care Package" Event Aboard Iwo Jima

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Travis J. Kuykendall, USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) Public Affairs

NEW YORK (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines onboard the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) participated in a care package event during fleet week on the flight deck May 26.

Service members worked together with United Service Organizations (USO) volunteers to make care packages and distribute them to other ships participating in fleet week. The event is referred to as "Fleet Week Reverse Care Package Party."

The special care package event was sponsored by USO, Pepsi Corporation, Gatorade and the NFL, who work hand-in-hand to provide care packages to service members all over the world.

"It was a chance to give back to fellow shipmates and other service members," said Yeoman Seaman Derrick Miles. "I wanted them to be rewarded because I know what they go through and they deserve it."

"Pepsi Co. has a long standing relationship with USO," said Greg Ordway, Pepsi Co. director of brand development, "and this year in particular we felt the need to support our sea services and show our appreciation."

"This event brought me up close and personal with USO and I saw the degree to which they help us out," said Miles. "We really do need them. Sometimes we're overseas and they can make the difference."

More than 3,000 care packages were filled with drink mix packets, chips, gum, towels, water bottles and other snacks to be handed out to service members. "We got a lot of work done and helped make a lot of packages" said Miles. "It was a great opportunity to network and help our shipmates."

While some service members worked to make the care packages, others enjoyed a barbeque with music & entertainment, interactive games, raffle giveaways, and the chance to make their own care packages.