Military News

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Today in the Department of Defense, Thursday, June 23, 2011

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn have no public or media events on their schedules.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen will testify at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee on Afghanistan and Pakistan at 10 a.m. EDT in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead will speak at 10 a.m. EDT at the Center for New American Security in Washington, D.C.  Media interested in attending should contact Cmdr. Charlie Brown at 703-692-5307.

The Senate Intelligence Committee conducts a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Army Gen. David Petraeus to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency at 2:30 p.m. EDT in room 216, Hart Senate Office Building.

This Day in Naval History - June 22

From the Navy News Service

1807 - HMS Leopard attacks USS Chesapeake.
1865 - Confederate raider Shenandoah fires last shot of Civil War in Bering Strait.
1884 - Navy relief expedition under Cmdr. Winfield S. Schley rescues Lt. A.W. Greely, USA, and six others from Ellesmere Island, where they were marooned for three years on Arctic island.
1898 - Adm. Sampson begins amphibious landing near Santiago, Cuba.

HSC-25 Sailors Return Home From Deployment

By Anna-Victoria Crisostomo, U.S. Naval Forces, Marianas Public Affairs

YIGO, Guam (NNS) -- Family members and friends welcomed Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 Det. 6 Sailors home from a six-month deployment during a homecoming ceremony aboard the Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, June 17.

"They deployed just before Christmas so unfortunately they missed the holidays," said Cmdr. Kyle Strudthoff, HSC-25 executive officer, "They've been gone a long time but they had a very successful deployment."

While deployed, the 36 Sailors were embarked on USS Essex (LHD 2). The detachment provided 24 hour search-and-rescue support and armed-helicopter defense for Essex and the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as vertical replenishment support. The det. also transported a critically-ill Essex Sailor to receive medical attention in Bangkok, Thailand.

HSC-25 Det. 6 Sailors also supported the Essex Amphibious Ready Group during Cobra Gold 2011, a U.S.-Thai sponsored joint, multinational exercise. The militaries of the Kingdom of Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and Malaysia worked with more than 7,200 U.S. service members at multiple locations throughout Thailand to improve interoperability. The exercise demonstrated the ability of the involved militaries to rapidly deploy a joint task force to conduct combined operations at sea and ashore. HSC-25 Det. 6 Sailors provided search-and-rescue coverage during the exercise.

In addition, the det. supported relief efforts in Japan as part of Operation Tomodachi. HSC-25 flew 20 vertical replenishment and personnel movement sorties and transported more than 700,000 pounds of supplies in and out of Japan. In total, the Sailors flew over 500 hours.

"It's wonderful to have them home," Strudthoff said. "I just have to remember that, while I bring one [det.] home, it means that there's another [det.] out there. It's always a great day to bring people home and have everyone come home and see their families."

According to Strudthoff, HSC-25 currently has four dets. deployed. He estimated that the "Island Knights" has approximately over one-third of the entire squadron deployed at all times.

As the Sailors made their way off the plane, they were greeted with cheers, hugs, and kisses from loved ones.

Abby Himes was all smiles as she welcomed her husband home.

"It's great," she said. "I'm so proud of him. I'm just thrilled that they're actually going to be back."

Lt. Christoper Himes, of HSC-25 Det. 6, said he was ready to get back into the swing of life on Guam.

"It actually feels amazing," he said. "This is my second time returning from the actual deployment, and when you're gone for a solid six months and you come back and see all your friends again and especially my wife, seeing her again, it's just like a big relief."

Naval Air Crewman 1st Class (AW) James Davis, of HSC-25 Det. 6, and his wife, Ciara Davis, said it felt good to have their family whole again.

"I'm excited," Ciara Davis said. "I think the kids were looking forward to it a lot as well."

James Davis summed up his excitement in a few short words.

"It feels great," he said.

Strudthoff said now that this det. has returned, the command will turn their sights on bringing the rest of its deployed Sailors back safely.

"At all times, their families are in our hearts," he said. "While we bring these guys home, we have to remember those that are gone and keep them in our thoughts and prayers every day."

HSC-25 is the Navy's only forward-deployed MH-60S expeditionary squadron. As part of Helicopter Sea Combat Wing Pacific (HSCWINGPAC), it provides an armed-helicopter capability for 7th and 5th Fleets as well as dets. to various commands covering a diverse mission set. It is also the Navy's only squadron that maintains a 24-hour search-and-rescue and medical evacuation alert posture, directly supporting U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam and Joint Region Marianas.

'Stand Up for Heroes' Honors Wounded Sailors

From Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- More than 75 wounded warriors and their caregivers – including four Sailors affiliated with Navy Safe Harbor – were celebrated during Bob Woodruff Foundation's "Stand Up for Heroes" event in Washington, D.C., June 16.

Lt. Samuel Caldwell, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Todd Hammond, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Raffetto, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Max Rohn – all of whom were injured during combat – and their families and friends attended the star-studded event hosted by Bob and Lee Woodruff.

The reception drew more than 800 people, including senior military officials, corporate and association executives, members of the media, congressional leaders, and Administration officials. During the seated dinner program, The Daily Show celebrity Jon Stewart and the 2011 Grammy Award-winning band Train provided entertainment.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said to the wounded warriors in attendance, "I am continually amazed by your grit and resilience."

When he assumed his post, his first thought of visiting wounded service members, Gates said, "I wasn't sure I could handle it, or what I would say. Seeing firsthand the incredible sacrifice ... I frankly wasn't sure I could keep it together."

Gates said people kept telling him, "'[The wounded warriors] will lift you up.' And you have," he said. "More than you can possibly imagine."

"I am tremendously humbled to be here and to meet people like Secretary Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff]," said Caldwell about the event. "And it's an honor to see all of these wounded warriors, who remind me how lucky I am to still have all of my limbs. They make me feel as though my sacrifices were worth it."

Caldwell sustained a spinal cord injury in 2008 while he was deployed to Iraq as an Individual Augmetee.

Raffetto echoed Caldwell's sentiments, saying, "Sometimes it seems like the media has forgotten those of us who were injured in combat. But events like this show that many people still care. It's great to be here among other wounded warriors and the people who support us."

Raffetto, a triple amputee, was injured last year by an improvised explosive device blast while deployed to Afghanistan. He was joined at the event by his father, John Raffetto.

Caldwell and Raffetto, as well as Hammond and Rohn, are affiliated with Navy Safe Harbor, the Navy and Coast Guard's wounded warrior support program. Safe Harbor provides a lifetime of individually tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of enrollees' recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration activities. The program works closely with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and other organizations to garner additional support for seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen.

"The Bob Woodruff Foundation and other non-government organizations are key to helping the Service's wounded warrior programs fulfill unmet needs of wounded service members and their families," said Kelly C. Dempsey, Navy Safe Harbor's Family Programs and Charitable resources coordinator. "They're also instrumental in spreading the word about how every citizen across this country can take action to support our military and their families, who've been carrying the burden of war for years. No one organization can do it alone. We welcome and are appreciative of the support."

The Bob Woodruff Foundation was co-founded by award-winning television reporter Bob Woodruff and his family after he sustained serious injuries while covering the Iraq war in 2006. The Foundation is building a movement to empower communities nationwide to take action to successfully reintegrate our nation's injured heroes, especially those who have sustained the hidden injuries of war, back into their communities so they may thrive physically, psychologically, socially, and economically.

Proceeds from the "Stand Up for Heroes" event will support the Bob Woodruff Foundation's efforts to ensure injured service members, veterans, and their families return to a homefront ready to support them.

Puerto Rico National Guard brings special skills to Fuerzas Comando 2011

Army Sgt. Monique Tindal
Puerto Rico National Guard

ILOPANGO, El Salvador (6/21/11) - Puerto Rico National Guard Soldiers are bringing bilingual and bicultural capabilities to the table in support of Fuerzas Comando 2011, June 15 to 23.

Fuerzas Comando is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored special operations skills competition and senior-leader seminar. The exercise, established in 2004, is conducted annually in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

From the coordination of lodging, transportation, dining facility details, fuel point operations, and assistance with the Tactical Operations Center, the Puerto Rico National Guard is performing a crucial role in support of the exercise.

The competition, hosted this year by El Salvador, includes eight-man teams from 19 nations competing in a series of tests and evaluations of their skills in special operations tactics, techniques and procedures used in counter-terrorist operations.

“This support exercise enhances the cooperation and security of partnership that we have throughout the Americas,” said Army Col. William Griffin, the officer in charge of the Distinguished Visitor Program with the Puerto Rico National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters.

Many Guard members believe their support of this exercise will have profound effects long after its completion.

Army Spc. Eric Sierra, an administration specialist with the 191st Readiness Support Group, said he is impressed by the teams and the people of El Salvador, and feels he is positively contributing to the overall effort.

For these Soldiers, this is not their first time working with Central and South American nations, where their bilingual skills make a singular difference in the operation.

“We have more than 20 years of working and supporting South Command with traditional command activities like this one,” said Griffin. “Being fully bilingual and bicultural makes it easy for us to integrate and help support.”

Altogether, the Guard members provide crucial and irreplaceable skills that help the competition to be successful and less confusing.

“We all enjoy being here in support of this exercise and especially helping the teams communicate with each other,” Sierra said.

DOD Announces Media Days for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

To assist coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Department of Defense Press Office will host several media days at the Pentagon Memorial prior to the commemoration event.  In addition to conducting stand-ups, media will have an opportunity to photograph and shoot video at the Pentagon Memorial, the impact site, and the Pentagon Chapel at the following times:

Tuesday, June 28:  9 a.m. to noon

Tuesday, July 26:  9 a.m. to noon

Tuesday, August 23:  9 a.m. to noon

To participate, media must register with the Defense Press Office by calling 703-697-5131.  Registration and coordinating instructions will be confirmed by e-mail.

Opened on Sept. 11, 2008, the Pentagon Memorial is the first dedicated national commemorative to honor those killed during the 2001 terrorist attacks.  The Pentagon Memorial consists of 184 individual memorial units honoring the 59 people aboard American Airlines Flight 77 and the 125 in the Pentagon who lost their lives at 9:37 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.  For more information on the Pentagon Memorial, please visit http://www.whs.mil/memorial.

The DoD will host a remembrance ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, at the Pentagon Memorial to honor those killed in the 2001 terrorist attack.  The ceremony will be a private event for the family members of those lost and will not be open to the general public.  Details on media coverage of this event will be released by the Defense Press Office by separate advisory in the first week of September.

Naval Hospital Bremerton Adopts Middle School

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class(SW) Charlemagne Obana, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton, Wash., continued the command legacy of community involvement by officially adopting a local Bremerton middle school, June 16.

Lt.j.g Janet Loria, NHB assistant admin department head and diversity council chair officer, accepted official certificates of thanks from Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent for adopting Mountain View Middle School (MVMS) at a ceremony held at the school.

"Our goal is to make an impact," said Loria. "If we can impact even one student's life then we've done what we've set out to do."

After receiving the certificates, Loria and more than 20 Sailors from NHB and Naval Branch Health Clinic (NBHC) Bangor helped set up for the school's field day and then assisted faculty and staff with the different stations that included soccer, softball, football, volleyball and Frisbee.

NHB's Sailors answered questions from students about the Navy, their personal backgrounds and the hospital.

"I am thrilled about the official adoption of MVMS by Naval Hospital Bremerton," said Bremerton School District Substitute Teacher, MVMS Parent and PTA Vice-President Ivaly Alexander. "As the only middle school in Bremerton, and a public school, we are always seeking generous community support and partnerships. With the rich tradition of the Navy in our community, it makes such great sense to have a strong partner with successful, energetic and giving Sailors. This is a tremendous opportunity!"

Alexander called NHB Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Brouker the same day after hearing from Mayor Lent at a civic meeting that NHB was looking for a partnering opportunity with a local school.

According to Alexander, Lent also called Brouker to echo the eagerness for the school adoption to become a reality.

"I took over two months ago. When I was doing turnover [to become the diversity council chair], the commanding officer told me about this opportunity and what he wanted to do with the school," said Loria. "He gave me the background and I ran with it."

"My co-chair, HM1 [Jason] Corless, and I went to the school on May 26 and met with the principal and guidance counselors. We talked about what the school needed in terms of volunteer activities, special events, and mentoring. We want to start with specific activities and projects then move into one-on-one mentoring programs starting with a few select volunteers," she continued.

"[The adoption] happened much quicker than I expected," said Joyce Cowdery, Bremerton school district volunteer coordinator. "There was no hesitation on either end. It was a great fit from the start."

"Our goal is to build a strong school community where students learn to become contributing citizens themselves," said MVMS Principal Michaeleen Gelhaus. "The Sailors will be expected to set high expectations for our students, and become mentors to our young adults."

"The biggest challenge is that it's the end of the year and I've got a lot of volunteers who want to begin doing a lot. [The kids'] summer is starting and there aren't a lot of opportunities right now. After graduation we're going into planning mode and starting off with orientation next school year, and we'll also use the summer to kick off our mentorship program," said Loria.

MVMS is located in East Bremerton and has approximately 1000 students between grades six through eight.

"Every adult in our community has a stake in the success of our children. These kids are eventually going to be our future employees and leaders," said Alexander. "This is an age group of children that desperately need great role models and energetic volunteers, and those are things that the Sailors can provide."

"If any other commands are interested in adopting one of the Bremerton district schools, have them contact me," said Cowdery. "Each of the schools in the district has their own unique needs. I would be honored to assist in any way I can."

Midshipmen Serve Aboard Ronald Reagan

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Cassatt, USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs

USS RONALD REAGAN, Arabian Sea (NNS) -- Five midshipmen from colleges across the United States arrived aboard aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as part of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) summer cruise program, June 21.

The midshipmen will be aboard for more than a month and will rotate through several departments during their traditional "summer cruise", learning about shipboard operations and life as U.S. naval officers at sea.

"Having them on the ship is like a practical classroom experience," said Lt. Justin Wilson, Reagan's midshipmen program coordinator. "They learn about the Navy from books, but they don't really know what it's like until they show up to a 'real' ship and start doing the 'real' thing."

Since arriving, they received training in a variety of job specialties throughout the ship including the bridge, Combat Direction Center (CDC), Damage Control Central, Air department, and Security department.

They have also stood bridge watches including junior officer of the watch, helmsman and lookout, as well as assisted the air defense weapons coordinator in the CDC.

"The transition from the classroom to the ship has been a very interesting road," said Midshipman 1st Class Marissa Jimenez, a senior at Prairie View A&M University. "I am somewhat accustomed to ship life due to my previous midshipmen cruises, but neither of them can compare to coming aboard the Reagan. Being on this carrier has been an exhilarating experience."

"This is my first time on an aircraft carrier," said Midshipman 2nd Class Forbes Dever, a junior at Miami University of Ohio. "There is always something going on. The next door or hatch always leads to something different."

To help ease the transition, midshipmen are assigned "running mates", either junior officers or petty officers, to help them get accustomed to the ship and become an active part of the Ronald Reagan crew.

This arrangement helps second class midshipmen learn about the enlisted side of the Navy, which is knowledge they will need to properly manage a division when they become officers. First class midshipmen are mentored by junior officers on how to be effective officers.

"Being a running mate is an awesome experience," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Jason Friel, a Reagan running mate. "We serve as mentors and we try to show them how to get involved with the division for when they become division officers."

"It's interesting to see the things we learn in school," Dever said. "It has been exciting seeing all the navigation charts and systems being used firsthand after studying it in a navigation class last semester."

The midshipmen are assigned a personnel qualification standard (PQS) to complete while aboard to ensure they work in a variety of departments and stand watches throughout the ship. The PQS gives a brief, but comprehensive framework for exposure to aircraft carrier life.

When their time aboard Ronald Reagan is done, midshipmen will take the lessons learned and return to college with a better understanding of life at sea aboard a deployed warship. This will also better prepare them for their future commission.

"The Ronald Reagan gives them the perfect opportunity to learn," Wilson said. "What better place is there to learn firsthand than a ship at sea? You can't get any better than that."

Ronald Reagan CSG is comprised of Ronald Reagan, guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which includes guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88). Embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 includes the "Black Knights" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, the "Argonauts" of VFA-147, the "Blue Diamonds" of VFA-146, the "Death Rattlers" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.

For further questions, please contact U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs Office
011-973-1785-4027 or navcentpao@me.navy.mil.

Psychology Course Prepares Military Providers for Deployment Concerns

By Robyn Mincher, DCoE Strategic Communications

During the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) course, “Topics in Deployment Psychology,” a panel of five military mental health care providers spoke about their recent deployment. The discussion raised an important question on self-care while deployed: how can a provider stay mentally fit while addressing the psychological health of troops?

For Capt. (Dr.) Tracy Mayfield, a clinical psychologist with the U.S. Air Force deployed to northeast Afghanistan, she found company with the base’s working dog.

“I had to take time out from being a psychologist to have ‘me time’ and relax,” said Mayfield, who was the forward operating base psychologist for about a thousand troops. “Every Sunday, I’d take the dog for a walk. I’m a pet lover, and it really helped.”

CDP is part of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and a component center of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). The course, held at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence from June 7 to June 16, 2011, offered an overview of deployment issues facing service members, their families and providers, geared toward uniformed behavioral health providers from all branches of the military.

Along with the panel, the course started its second week June 13, 2011, with presentations highlighting sexual assault prevention and response, provider self-care and ethical issues in deployment settings.

Retired Lt. Col. Nate Galbreath’s presentation on sexual assault focused on topics such as encouraging bystander intervention to stop assaults, using sexual assault response coordinators when faced with a situation, psychological injury caused by trauma and the potential for the under-reporting of cases.

Dr. David Riggs, CDP executive director, posed ethical questions for students to engage in healthy discussion, raising issues such as dual relationships with service members, managing multiple relationships when supporting many troops at once, and being prepared to cope with cases a psychologist might not be trained in, especially when they are the only mental health support on base.

“Deployed psychologists are expected to diagnose and deal with whatever shows up,” said Riggs. “If you encounter a situation you are not trained to handle, you will have to find ways to learn as much as you can or consult with others who know more than you. You are ethically bound to be as knowledgeable as you can in all areas of deployment mental health.”

Other presentations led by CDP experts throughout the week included ”Cognitive Processing Therapy,” by Laura Copland; “Identification and the Prevention and Treatment of Suicidal Behavior,” by Dr. Augusto Ruiz; and “Prolonged Exposure Therapy,” by Drs. Paula Domenici, William Brim and Riggs.

As the course came to a close, Riggs reflected on the significant impact it had on military providers being deployed.

“This course works to prepare uniformed psychologists for the various psychological health issues they may need to deal with throughout the deployment cycle and issues that might arise among service members and their families. First-hand accounts from recently deployed providers during the course’s panels shed personal light into these issues,” said Riggs. “Military providers leave the course with a pool of knowledge they can tap into to address all kinds of situations while deployed.”

The next CDP “Topics in Deployment Psychology” course for military providers is scheduled for Sept. 20- 29, 2011 in Bethesda, Md. Register here.

National Guard ever present for Midwest flood relief

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. (6/21/11) – About 2,000 National Guard members from nine states are continuing operations in support of the 2011 Midwest floods, which have ravaged thousands of acres and potentially caused billions of dollars in damage, National Guard officials said today.

Guard members from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming have been working tirelessly, some for about three months, to protect their states and citizens from the devastation of multiple rising rivers.

The Arkansas Army National Guard is providing Soldiers to the Joint Operations Center and interagency liaison officers for better command and control.

In Iowa, where the Missouri River has caused the shutdown of much of Interstate 29 in the western part of the state, the National Guard has been evacuating citizens and patrolling levees in multiple counties.

Due to a primary levee on the Iowa-Missouri border rupturing on June 13, Iowa Guard members working with the Army Corps of Engineers built a secondary levee to protect the southwest Iowa community of Hamburg from flooding on the Missouri River June 15.

Kansas Guard members are continuing to patrol affected levees, monitoring them for potential weakness from the ever-present pressure of the rising Missouri River waters.

Guard members from Louisiana are performing levee patrols and area security, providing aviation support and resource transportation for critical areas affected by the flooding.

With seven counties heavily affected by the floods, Missouri National Guard members are providing liaison officers and have been moving non-mission essential equipment to Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan in preparation of a potential relocation of Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.

Nebraska Guard members are providing levee monitoring for the city of Omaha and have prepared generators in the event they are needed for critical areas.

North Dakota Guard members are still running 24-hour operations. They are providing quick response forces and ground search and rescue teams to multiple counties throughout the state.

North Dakota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with hoist capabilities are also being utilized to place one-ton sandbags along weakened levees.

In South Dakota, Guard members are providing air assets for sandbagging efforts and the transportation of personnel.

They have deployed a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability team and over 100 hand-held radios to increase communication throughout the state.

The Wyoming National Guard has activated their emergency operations center while performing flood mitigation in several counties.

After a more than normal spring season of weather, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and several other events such as the worst tornado in recorded history, the Guard is now in full swing for the annual hurricane season but will continue its current operations both home and abroad, the chief of the National Guard Bureau said.

"Your National Guard has been fully engaged in the warfight overseas, and we also stand ready to answer the call domestically when a disaster happens,” said Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley.

Airmen Missing In Action from WWII Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of five Army Air Forces servicemen, missing in action from World War II, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Capt. Leonard E. Orcutt, Alameda, Calif., was buried on May 5 in Oakland, Calif; Tech. Sgt. Louis H. Miller, Philadelphia, was buried on June 17 in Arlington National Cemetery; Staff Sgt. George L. Winkler, Huntington, W.Va., was buried May 5 in Arlington National Cemetery;  2nd Lt. Harry L. Bedard, Minneapolis, will be buried on June 25 in Dayton, Minn.; and 2nd Lt. Robert S. Emerson, Norway, Maine, will be buried July 9 in his hometown.

On April 3, 1945, Orcutt and his crew took off in their B-25J Mitchell bomber from Palawan Field, Philippines.  The pilot of another aircraft in the flight reported seeing Orcutt’s plane stall out and crash about one mile northeast of the village of Consolacion in a swampy area. There were no survivors.

In early 1947, personnel from the Army’s Graves Registration Service recovered additional remains from the crash site and buried them as unknowns in Leyte, Philippines.  Later that year, they were exhumed and transferred to Manila for possible identification.  In 1949, a military review board declared these unknown group remains to be those of the aircrew and re-buried them at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis, Mo.

Two years later, the Graves Registration Service returned to the crash site and recovered additional remains.  The case was reanalyzed and a recommendation was made that the group remains at Jefferson Barracks be disinterred for individual identification.  All remains from the crash site were examined with no resulting identification.  They were reburied at the same location.  A sister of one of the airmen contacted the Army in 2001 upon learning of the recovery of additional remains in the 1950s.  The Army then disinterred the group remains at Jefferson Barracks in 2008 which were taken to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) in Hawaii for identification.

Among forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC used dental comparisons and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of relatives of the aircrew -- in the identification of these airmen.

At the end of the war, the U.S. government was unable to recover and identify approximately 79,000 Americans.  Today, more than 73,000 are unaccounted-for from the conflict.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.

Navy Medicine Gets to the Heart of Chattanooga Navy Week

By Valerie A. Kremer, Navy Medicine Public Affairs

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (NNS) -- Navy Medicine leadership met with local healthcare providers, civic groups, community leaders, and corporate executives to discuss shared medical initiatives as part of Chattanooga Navy Week, June 16-17.

Rear Adm. Donald Gintzig, deputy chief, medical operations and future plans, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, was the senior medical officer representing Navy Medicine during Chattanooga Navy Week.

"It is great to be in the city of Chattanooga who has a long standing commitment and legacy of support of the military," said Gintzig. "We are America's Navy and this is a wonderful opportunity to take the Navy to Americans in the heart land."

Of the nearly 330,000 active duty Sailors across the Navy, 9,000 come from Tennessee. An additional 2,000 Reserve Sailors also hail from the state, and more than 11,500 retired Navy veterans live in Tennessee, Gintzig noted.

During a meeting with leadership at Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation, Gintzig shared Navy Medicine's dedication and advancements in providing continued rehabilitative care to wounded warriors. In addition, both parties focused on the critical piece of patient and family centered care in the healing process and the task of integrating rehabilitated patients back into the community.

"Developing this critical process of rehabilitation and sharing these best practices with Siskin helps to create relationships between military and civilian health care systems," said Gintzig. "Developing these multi-organizational relationships will help to expand the continuum of care that wounded warriors and their families receive."

Gintzig was also taken by helicopter to Erlanger Health Care System where he met with leadership, staff, and patients and toured the facility where he heralded Erlanger's work in trauma care.

"As this region's trauma center, Erlanger sets itself apart in terms of a tertiary level referral center with their MEDEVAC capability to reach out to a wide population of those in need," said Gintzig. "Meeting with Erlanger leadership was a great exchange in discussing the similar roles in the care Navy Medicine provides to our patients."

During the week, Gintzig also met with emergency medical and rescue staff at the Hamilton County Special Tactics and Rescue Services (STARS) to discuss trauma care, lifesaving techniques, and procedures currently used by Navy medical personnel on the battlefield in Afghanistan. Gintzig further acknowledged the unprecedented skills and life saving abilities the STARS bring to Chattanooga and the tri-state area of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

"Navy Medicine has made great strides in providing resuscitative skills and medical/surgical interventions on the battlefield and at home, coupled with extensive research and development, which has made a difference in saving lives of our Sailors and Marines," said Gintzig. "Sharing this knowledge and learning about the outstanding work the STARS do has been an added benefit of Chattanooga Navy Week."

Next, Gintzig shared Navy Medicine's role in an overall accountable care program with leadership and staff from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Tennessee.

"Navy Medicine cares for its Sailors, Marines, and their families during the continuum of their lives," said Gintzig. "It is critical to focus on prevention, disease management, and injury treatment across the continuum of care."

Gintzig further highlighted to the BCBS leadership Navy Medicine's role in the maritime strategy.

"Navy Medicine also plays a vital role in supporting the five 'hard power' capabilities of the maritime strategy: forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, and maritime security; because no ship, submarine, aircraft or other Navy asset deploys without the support of Navy Medicine," said Gintzig. "In addition, Navy Medicine projects and executes 'soft power', the maritime strategy's final priority, through its most visible role in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HADR) missions."

Other Navy Medicine engagements during Chattanooga Navy Week meeting key community leaders at the Riverbend Festival and a radio interview with WPLZ, among others.

Navy Medicine is a global healthcare network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

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

Oak Hill Sailors Visit Nursing Home in Maine

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Brian Goodwin, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet Public Affairs

BOOTH BAY HARBOR, Maine (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) took part in a community relations project by visiting the residents of Gregory Wind Nursing Home (GWNH) in Booth Bay Harbor, Maine, June. 20.

Once the Sailors arrived, they were met with a reception from the residents.

"It was so sweet that they came to see us," said GWNH resident Margaret Drisko. "We talked about everything and shared our memories from the older days of the military. This was a treat."

While the Sailors were visiting, they sang the Navy's "Anchors Aweigh" and played piano songs.

"We wanted to make an impact on the residents here, and we thought that singing and playing the piano was a great way to do that," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW) Kim Johnson.

"Giving back to community is something I always have to do wherever I go, regardless if its back at home or a port visit," said Yeoman 2nd Class Mary-Katherine King. "This was a great project for us to do and I can't wait to have many more like this to come."

Cmdr. David Bauer, commanding officer of Oak Hill, stated that interaction between service members and the civilian populace is a Sailors duty in order to promote the Navy's professionalism.

"My Sailors were quick to volunteer themselves to the community, so that is just a small taste of the pride they have when it comes to involving themselves for any opportunity to be involved in any community event," said Bauer.