Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Journey Through a Thousand Days of Deployment

Susan Oliver Nelson was born and raised on the Gulf Coast in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. After graduating high school, she moved to Dallas Texas to attend University of Dallas in Irving. There she received her undergraduate degree in Consumer Lending from the American Institute of Banking. However, years later she returned to school, Saint Leo University, for her B.A. in English.

She began writing as a freelance reporter in 1995. Since then, her “beat” has become military community related issues. Her articles have been seen in Base News: The Washington Times, Wilson County News, The Sun Herald, Killeen Daily News, Abilene Reporter-News, Georgia Online News Service, The Connection, Community News, Tampa, Inside Nova and The Edmund Burke Institute’s Reflection Magazine. She is currently the Arlington Military Community Reporter at Examiner.com and blogs on her personal website www.susanolivernelson.com .

Her book, Trips of Daisy, a journey through a thousand days of deployment, is scheduled to release July 24, 2011. The story captures a family’s ordeals through two deployments to Iraq. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Fisher House Foundation. The goal is to raise a good amount of money for wounded soldiers and their families.

She is the mother of four and is currently employed in the E-publishing field. Her husband continues to serve his country as an Army nurse at Walter Reed AMC. They currently live on Fort Belvoir in Virginia.

Wounded in Action

With the addition of Thomas C. Robison, Military-Writers.com now lists 1256 US Miliary Servicemembers who have authored 3974 books.

Thomas C. Robison “retired from the Army due to medical disability. He went on to complete a career as an attorney, law professor, and court administrator. In 2005, he was inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia. He has three sons and lives with his wife in South Carolina.” Thomas C. Robison is the author of Wounded in Action.

According to the book description of Wounded in Action, “Based on actual events and set against the historical backdrop of America’s longest war, Wounded in Action tells the compelling and gripping story of courage and determination of one of the Army’s most elite combat soldiers as he faces the realities of surviving near fatal wounds and struggles to overcome the life changing devastation inflicted on his mind and body from the explosion of an enemy landmine.”

Today in the Department of Defense, Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn have no public or media events on their schedules.

Lt. Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and deputy commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, will brief the media live from Afghanistan at 9:30 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 - July 05

From the Navy News Service

1814 - Sloop-of-war Peacock captures British Stranger, Venus, Adiona and Fortitude.
1815 - Commodore Stephen Decatur's squadron arrives at Tripoli to collect reparations for seizure of American merchant ships in violation of Treaty of 1805.

FEATURE: Fit for Duty – Building Psychological Resilience

By Jayne Davis, DCoE Strategic Communications

The Military Health System is talking about human performance optimization this month and DCoE is contributing to the conversation by spotlighting the concept of Total Force Fitness, particularly in the domain of psychological health.

Imagine an active-duty service member and what comes to mind? Superior physical fitness may be one thing. Physical fitness is critical to operational success in the military. But military leaders want to see service members both physically and psychologically fit ... a mind-body integration to prepare for continuous optimal performance, enabling both resiliency and recovery.

Traditionally, the military emphasized just the physical – well-trained bodies that meet exacting standards of fitness and preparation for the demands of combat.

Today’s military leaders, aware of the psychological challenges extended and multiple deployments pose, are emphasizing psychological fitness to prepare service members for the rigors of sustained conflict and redeployments.

Psychological fitness is now a focal point for the military to assess a service member’s overall condition pre-, during and post-deployment.

The Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “Total Force Fitness” initiative looks at the unique pressures on service members and what they need to both be ready for the mission and maintain personal well-being. It lays out a conceptual framework for service branches to develop their own integrated programs to enhance performance and build comprehensive resilience in service members.

Psychological fitness is one of eight domains of fitness the initiative identifies as necessary for service members to be at their resilient best. The other domains are social, behavioral, physical, nutritional, medical, spiritual and environmental.

The August 2010 issue of Military Medicine, “Total Force Fitness for the 21st Century, a New Paradigm,” describes psychological fitness as “the integration and optimization of mental, emotional and behavioral abilities and capacities to optimize performance and strengthen the resilience of warfighters.”

“In simpler terms, that means giving service members the tools to adapt well to adverse circumstances and perform their unit functions well under a variety of stressful conditions,” said Dr. Mark Bates, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), director of Resilience and Prevention directorate, referring to the definition.

Army Maj. Todd Yosick, deputy director of the directorate, helped develop the Total Force Fitness psychological component and is now helping to create guidelines service branches can use to implement the initiative. According to Yosick, psychological fitness requires training service members to function optimally in the following five areas of assessment remembered as A, B, C, D and E:

Awareness – The capacity to recognize risks in a wide-range of combat and operational environments. Situational awareness is critical for recognizing potential risks to the mission or personnel. For example, a quiet village that’s normally busy may hold hidden risks. Awareness helps one to think about and process the situation and encourages decision-making.

Beliefs – Traumatic events are sometimes an unavoidable part of dangerous missions. Training that addresses the human capability to understand and accept misfortune can strengthen confidence, resolution and ultimately one’s beliefs in their ability to overcome any challenge faced on the battlefield.

Coping – All military personnel will experience challenges that they must overcome to remain psychologically fit and ready. Dangerous missions, feelings of powerlessness, a sense of isolation, increased workload, or in some cases boredom, are prevalent challenges. Support is imperative from leaders, between peers and within the unit. Leadership, communication, cohesion, engagement, flexibility and adaptability are cornerstones of unit fitness and create an environment to enhance and sustain psychological fitness.

Decision-making – Technological advances, developed to help service members make good decisions at the right times, can also overwhelm military personnel with information and inhibit or paralyze decision-making. Training to identify how to select the right information at the right time for the right reason at the lowest levels of leadership informs tactical, operational and strategic decision-making. Decision-making builds mental confidence, which sets the course for a psychologically-fit service member.

Engagement – Engagement is a healthy behavior. Service members should learn to recognize the signs of disengagement in themselves and in others, which builds the collective psychological strength of the unit. At the first signs of disengagement, service members are encouraged to reach out to peers, chaplains, medics, behavioral health officers and other psychological health care providers.

Optimal performance requires rock-solid resilience, which is what the A,B,C,D and E assessment areas and other programs seek to develop in service members during all phases of deployment, with great emphasis on pre-deployment training for both trainers and trainees.

Navy Capt. Paul S. Hammer, DCoE director, told participants at a May 16, 2011, media roundtable discussion on mental health held in Washington, D.C., that the services are now teaching new recruits about post-traumatic stress disorder as part of basic training.

Hammer linked that effort to other service programs that help trainers address psychological fitness when he said, "The Army (incorporates awareness) in resilience training and comprehensive soldier fitness and by training master resilience trainers ... there's a huge effort among the services to really develop a [new] level of resilience."

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is the U.S. Army program for preventative physical and psychological conditioning. It’s a long-term individual assessment and training program for service members, families and Army civilians built on decades of scientific study on performance and readiness.

Total Force Fitness drew from core elements of CSF, such as its five dimensions of strength: physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual. Through CSF’s on-line global assessment tool, or GAT, service members and families can assess and track their “fitness” in each dimension, other than physical, and access tools to improve resilience. The Air Force adapted GAT for its members and families and the Navy and Marines are expected to follow suit.

A major component of CSF is training the trainers. In conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania, CSF offers a 10-day Master Resilience Trainers course to teach resilience skills and how to develop those skills in others. The course is open to Army military and civilian personnel. The expectations are that trainees will return and teach resilience skills to their units, and serve as subject matter experts for their commanders.

In the Association of the United States Army’s January 2011 edition of AUSA News, Maj. Gen. Raymond Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard Bureau, said, “The Army should take inspiration from its physical fitness programs that take sometimes out-of-shape recruits and make them physically fit. The Army could do the same thing for mental fitness.”

At the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP), a DCoE component center, uniformed behavioral health providers including military psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, physician assistants and clinical nurse practitioners, have the option to take an intensive, eight-day course to learn about a spectrum of deployment psychology issues facing service members, families and providers.

The course, “Topics in Deployment Psychology,” examines what service members and families experience throughout the deployment cycle and what military behavioral health specialists experience in forward operating areas. Psychological trauma and resilience in the context of combat deployment are highlighted and protocols are taught to assess and treat trauma-related responses and build resilience.

Dr. Paula Domenici, head of the division of training programs for CDP, said this about psychological fitness, “In our course, ‘Topics in Deployment Psychology,’ a panel of military behavioral health providers who have been in theater share firsthand how they were able to stay psychologically resilient and take care of themselves so they could help deployed service members with problems down range. We provide military behavioral health clinicians with evidence-based psychotherapies and self-care strategies to build their psychological strength for deployment.”

With this new focus on psychological fitness, the next time you think of a service member, their healthy psyche may be the first thing that comes to mind.

Pacific Partnership Team Arrives in Federated States of Micronesia

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class R. David Valdez, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

POHNPEI, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) (NNS) -- The Pacific Partnership 2011 team arrived in Micronesian waters for the final phase of the mission, July 3.

The majority of the team arrived aboard amphibious transport dock ship and Pacific Partnership 2011 flagship, USS Cleveland (LPD 7), which is housing the command staff, the crew, representatives from non-government organizations (NGOs), Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen from each of the partner nations participating in the mission.

"The entire Pacific Partnership team is excited to get our mission started in the Federated States of Micronesia," said Capt. Jesse A. Wilson, Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 and mission commander of Pacific Partnership 2011. "The fact that we are arriving in FSM with Chief Machinist's Mate Salper Rodriguez, a Pohnpei native and Cleveland crew member, makes this visit even more special. If that weren't enough, we have a member of the 2011 United States Naval Academy graduating class, Eugene Amor, who has returned to his native country and is playing a lead role in our mission here."

The Pacific Partnership team will have two additional challenges in this port.

First, Cleveland will not be able to secure pierside or anchor in any Micronesia harbor, due to navigation restrictions.

"We determined there are no suitable locations for the ship to anchor or moor in Pohnpei, so the ship and crew will remain underway during this mission port," said Lt. Jacqueline Ellis, Cleveland's navigator. "Besides that, Micronesia has quite a few coral reefs, and as stewards of the environment, we have to make sure that we don't harm the wildlife and their habitat."

Secondly, the team will visit Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap during their mission, which might only be 271 square miles of land mass (roughly the size of Austin, Texas), but it occupies over one million square miles in the Pacific Ocean (roughly the size of Alaska, Texas and California combined). These states are made up of island chains that are separated by hundreds of miles.

"This is an excellent opportunity for the team to get valuable experience working independently yet cohesively," said Pacific Partnership 2011's Operations Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Dave Burkett. "In a humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) crisis, responders may have to carry out the mission in remote locations and work independently. We've been working up to this point at each of our mission ports, and we're ready to take on this final challenge."

The multinational team, which included military representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Spain and Timor-Leste, also included a contingent from Japan which joined the Pacific Partnership team in Timor-Leste. The Japanese contingent was not expected to participate this year in the wake of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Tohoku, but they remain committed to engaging in the humanitarian assistance initiative.

The partner nations and NGOs of Pacific Partnership will engage in engineering, dental, medical and veterinary civil assistance projects and subject matter expert exchanges designed to increase interoperability between host nations and partner nations. The combined team of Pacific Partnership and host nations will also develop sustainable solutions for environmental and social challenges in the region.

"This particular mission will be a real test of our interoperability," said Royal Australian Navy Cmdr. Ashley Papp, Commander Australian Contingent, Pacific Partnership 2011. "While Captain Wilson will have to travel to the more remote locations, I will have the privilege and responsibility of representing Pacific Partnership at our main locations."

To date, Pacific Partnership treated more than 36,000 patients, engaged in more than 20 engineering projects, provided care for more than 1,500 animals, and conducted more than 40 community service projects in Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.

The Pacific Partnership mission was born out of the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, which devastated Indonesia. Following that mission, Pacific Partnership began in 2006 and has gone to many countries in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, treated more than 240,000 patients, and continued to enhance interoperability with partner nations.

President Praises Troops During Independence Day Event

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 4, 2011 – Military service members attending the White House Independence Day celebration represent the latest in a long line of heroes who have served the United States with honor and sacrificed much to protect the freedoms all Americans enjoy, President Barack Obama said here today.

“I cannot think of anybody I would rather celebrate with than all of you,” the president said, “the men and women of our military and our extraordinary military families.”

Obama and his wife and children hosted a traditional Fourth of July celebration for members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. About 1,200 service members and their families attended the White House event, which included a barbeque, a USO show featuring Train and Amos Lee and a viewing of the national capital fireworks.

“After all that you do for our country every day, we wanted to give you a chance to get out of uniform, relax a little bit and have some fun,” Obama told the troops. “But of course it’s also a time for us to reflect on the meaning of America.”

The small band of patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence might be surprised to see their legacy, Obama said, including a nation that’s led revolutions in commerce, sent people to the moon, lifted up the poor, cured the sick, fought for democracy and served as a beacon of hope around the world.

“All this could only happen because of our founders’ central faith that through democracy and individual rights ordinary people have it within their means to forge a nation that’s more just and more equal and more free,” Obama said.

Every service member is heir to that legacy, the president added, introducing five heroes, one from each service.

While on patrol in Iraq, Army Sgt. 1st Class Justin Gang’s convoy was struck by a roadside bomb and fell under enemy fire, Obama said.

“Even after being wounded by shrapnel himself, he helped secure the scene and evacuate his wounded comrades to safety and today we honor his extraordinary courage,” he added.

Nigeria-born Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Obi Nwagwu, a hospital corpsman, became an American citizen and volunteered to serve in the U.S. military.

“As an orthopedic technician, he helps our wounded warriors regain their strength and resume their lives back home,” Obama said. “Today we honor his incredible dedication.”

Whether it’s partnering with the Iraqi army or making sure our troops have shelter in some of the toughest places on the planet, Obama said, Air Force Master Sgt. Heather Adkins “knows how to get things done and today we honor her tireless devotion.”

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Robert “Keith” Kesterson rushed through enemy fire to free a fellow Marine trapped inside a burning vehicle, the president said.

“After untangling the Marine’s equipment, he extinguished the flames and pulled him to safety, and today we honor his unyielding loyalty,” Obama added.

Less than 24 hours after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the president said, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Marlene Riklon was on the scene helping direct aid and save lives in the midst of chaos.

Today, Obama said, “we honor her incredible dedication.”

These patriots and their fellow service members, the president said, are the reason why America and its armed forces “remain the greatest force for peace and security that the world has ever known.”

Together, he added, “you’re standing with all of those throughout the world who are reaching for the same freedoms and the same liberties that we celebrate today.”

USS Constitution Underway, Celebrates Independence Day

From USS Constitution Public Affairs

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- USS Constitution and its crew got underway from the ship's berth in Charlestown, Mass., July 4 to celebrate the United States' independence.

Constitution's second underway of 2011 is one of the last major events of Boston Harborfest, June 29 to July 4.

"For nearly 214 years, Constitution has been serving our nation in one capacity or another," said Cmdr. Tim Cooper, Constitution's 71st commanding officer. "Today, her job is one of education and outreach. As part of that, we're excited to take the ship out into the harbor to recognize our great nation."

The USO Liberty Bells kicked the underway off by singing the "Star-Spangled Banner." They later also recognized the 70th anniversary of the USO. The ship then departed pier-side at 11 a.m. with 552 guests, including the 2011 lottery winners in attendance.

Constitution officially opened its lottery program to the public for the first time in three years Feb. 1.

"I feel really lucky to have won," said Ray Darnell, who traveled from Needham Market, England. "I think it's got to be an experience of a lifetime, and unfortunately, we [British Royal navy] didn't manage to take the ship back from you [referring to the War of 1812].

"The ship is well maintained and is a credit to the U.S. Navy. We've also been very well looked after by the crew."

Sailors then began teaching guests about "Old Ironsides'" history. At 12 p.m. they performed a 21-gun salute near Fort Independence on Castle Island. Fort Independence is a state park that served as a defense post for Boston Harbor at one time.

Sailors performed a final 17-gun salute to the city of Boston near Coast Guard Station Boston and returned pier-side at 2 p.m.

"This was my last underway aboard this great ship," said Yeoman 1st Class (SCW) Chrishinda Dobbs, who will transfer to a different command. "Doing it on the Fourth of July couldn't conclude my experience here any better. I've learned so much, and it's amazing how every time this ship goes out just how proud she makes people. They never forget her history. She really is special, and I will be sad to leave her."

Harborfest is a six-day Fourth of July festival that showcases the colonial and maritime heritage of Boston. The festival strives to honor and remember the past, celebrate the present and educate the future with reenactments, concerts and historical tours.

Constitution Sailors have been performing 17th century-era boarding pike and gun drills in the Charlestown Navy Yard since Harborfest began. They also hosted their annual Sunset Parade July 1.

Additionally, Constitution's color guard will perform in the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular at Boston's Hatch Shell at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Constitution is located in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston and is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year.

Bulkeley's Crew Preserves US Sailors' Cemetery in Menorca, Spain

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lauren G. Randall, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Public Affairs

MENORCA, Spain (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) Sailors participated in a community relations (COMREL) project at the Anglo-Americano Cemetery in Menorca, Spain, June 25.

The Anglo-American Cemetery is the resting place of 34 U.S. Sailors who were based in Mahon Harbor and who died working to deter piracy in the 1800s.

"I thought it was really amazing that the cemetery was there," said Ensign Jonathan Niksarian. "It was really heartwarming that another nation takes such great care of our fallen Sailors."

Sailors from Bulkeley helped to clean up the cemetery in preparation for a memorial and wreath laying ceremony, which was attended by Bulkeley Sailors and Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris, commander, U.S. 6th Fleet.

"I enjoy helping out in the communities that we visit during our deployments and learning about the local history," said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) Fireman Gina Derderian. "This COMREL really meant a lot to me. There were many unknown U.S. Sailor graves, and I appreciated hearing the history behind it."

The COMREL consisted of minor upkeep to the cemetery, such as weeding, picking up debris and watering plants. Three walls had fallen a few years ago, and there were still some rocks around the area that needed to be moved.

"It wasn't a difficult COMREL for us," said Niksarian. "The cemetery was very well maintained. We just did some basic preservation and showed our support for the cemetery."

George Ferrara, the vice president of the U.S. Navy League Madrid Council, oversaw the clean up and taught the Sailors about the history of the cemetery and the Sailors buried there.

"I always like to see the U.S. Sailors helping with this cemetery — it is their history," said Ferrara. "I love telling them about the Sailors who came before them, and how much they meant to us here in Menorca."

Bulkeley is deployed as part of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. The Enterprise CSG includes aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65); CSG 12; Destroyer Squadron 2; guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55); guided-missile destroyers Bulkeley, USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87); and the eight squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1.

Ford Sailors Bring Toys, Smiles to Russian Children

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det., Japan Public Affairs

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (NNS) -- Approximately 15 Sailors assigned to USS Ford (FFG 54) visited children at the Regional Children's Cancer Ward in Vladivostok, Russia July 2.

Sailors brought donated modeling clay (play dough), toys, and paint for the children. Together they painted and drew pictures, took pictures, played games and answered each other's questions with the assistance of local interpreters.

While some of the children were unable to go into the play areas, Sailors went to them, sitting with the children on their bed, playing games and talking with them and their families.

Before the Sailors left, the children presented the Sailors with the paintings, decorations and drawings they made during the visit.

Administrators said they were happy the Sailors visited, fostering a positive relationship between the U.S. Navy and the facility. In 2010, Sailors assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) visited the children and the administrators said everyone enjoyed the experience.

"Today they brought so much joy to the hearts of the children and to their families, we are very, very happy that Sailors from USS Ford took time out of their day to visit," said Svetlana Dernashova, a spokesman from the public affairs department at the U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok. "While I am sure it meant a lot to them, it meant so much for the children. I saw nothing but smiles on their faces today and the Sailors' interaction with the children brought tears to the eyes of some the parents that were there. We cannot thank the Sailors enough."

Sailors said they enjoyed their time with the children and that being in Russia made the experience even more special.

"When it was time to leave, I don't think any of us really wanted to leave the children," said Damage Controlman 2nd Class Jeff Orcino of Redding, Calif. "One of them even gave me the decoration he worked on; I was very surprised by that. This is definitely one of the best service projects I have been apart of.

"Since we arrived here today in Vladivostok it has been great. I hope in my Navy career that I have the chance to come back here," said Orcino.

"Today was a lot of fun. The kids are very creative and were so full of spirit," said Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class (SW) Joshua Borel, from Tyler, Texas. "They were really excited to see us; you could see it in their eyes. I am glad we were able to come to the center and spend time with the children. I would definitely love to come back here and volunteer again."

During Ford's port visit to the Russian coastal city, Sailors will engage with the Russian navy, participate in sporting events, give ship tours, and conduct community service projects.

Ford, an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 9. Since departing its homeport of Everett, Wash., in May, Ford has visited Hawaii, Guam, Japan and Malaysia.

CPPD Reservists discuss FY-12 plan, training support

By Susan Henson, Center for Personal and Professional Development Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS (NNS) -- MINNEAPOLIS (NNS) – The Center for Personal and Professional Development's Reserve Component Sailors held its first planning session June 24-26 in Minneapolis, marking the first time these Sailors, while assigned to the same overall command, have come together as a group.

The purpose of the CPPD Reserve Component planning session, held at the Navy and Marine Corps Operational Support Center in Minneapolis, was to present the Fiscal Year 2012 Operational Support Plan for the Reserve Component, as well as review current and new policies and procedures for the administration and operations of CPPD product delivery.

CPPD's RC consists of 56 enlisted Sailors and 27 officers assigned to the headquarters in Virginia Beach and its three regional detachments. They contribute to CPPD's mission of developing the Navy's workforce through education and training opportunities to build personal, professional and leadership competencies by providing qualified instructors that support in-house and mobile training team courses to both Active and Reserve Component Sailors.

"The Reserve Component continues to contribute to CPPD's mission success," said Capt. Chuck Hollingsworth, CPPD commanding officer, who attended the session "It's important that everyone in the unit from the top down is aware of the plan going forward and understands the role they each have in supporting personal and professional course delivery in 2012 and beyond."

Attendees discussed a range of topics during the weekend, such as the status of CPPD's RC performance, the command's course schedule and training plan, and new course reviews. The status update was a review of courses taught to date this fiscal year, personnel onboard, gains and losses, and instructor qualifications review. The course schedule and training plan helps identify travel needs early enough to request funding from Naval Education and Training Command's operational support officer, according to CPPD Reserve Operational Support Coordinator Steve Poellinger.

Regarding the new course review, CPPD RC will deliver the Department Head Leadership Course in a new two-day format to better fit with Reserve Component drill weekends. In addition, the Senior Officer Leadership Pilot Course, currently under construction, is a new course being designed to target reserve officers in the O-4 to O-6 pay grades, as well as those in leadership positions of non-commissioned reserve units.

Another part of the plan discussed was how CPPD RC enlisted professional development instructors will assist select Navy Operational Support Centers through the limited delivery of Petty Officer 1st and 2nd Class Leadership courses as well as the Command Training Team Indoctrination course. Recent data indicates the Reserve Component is experiencing difficulty in meeting the requirement of leadership training for advancing petty officers. Consequently, Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command asked CPPD RC to help train RC Sailors at selected NOSCs that may not have adequate staffing to accomplish the training in a timely manner.

CPPD will hold up to 40 leadership courses for CNRFC in FY-12. In addition, CPPD will be offering the Command Training Team Indoctrination course at select locations in an effort to improve the quality of command-delivered instruction by the Full-Time Support staff at the NOSCs. "To best sum it up, CPPD will either help you by conducting the training or by helping train your trainers," said Religious Program Specialist Master Chief Billie Campbell, CPPD's senior enlisted leader.

"There are many new courses planned for FY-12 that will benefit Sailors, and we want to ensure everyone in the chain is onboard with the goals that have been set," said Poellinger. "In addition, our Sailors are the command's ambassadors, and they need to remain current on the mission in order to promote CPPD's products and services to both Active and Reserve Component Sailors."

First Moroccan F-16 pilots to complete training with Arizona Air Guard

By Air Force Maj. Gabe Johnson
Arizona National Guard

TUCSON, Ariz. (6/27/11) - Next Month, the Kingdom of Morocco, a strategic partner for U.S. forces in North Africa, will become the 25th country to own and operate F-16 Fighting Falcons. The pilots tapped to fly them are scheduled to finish training here in time to bring them home, July 30.

Four Royal Moroccan Air Force officers, former F-5 pilots, will conclude 15 months of rigorous instruction at the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing; the international F-16 training unit at Tucson International Airport.

They are the first from their country to accomplish consecutive courses in basic qualification, flight lead upgrade and instructor pilot certification in the multi-role fighter.

A handful of Air National Guard pilots will accompany them as they deliver the first four of Morocco’s 24-aircraft purchase.

The new planes, block 52 versions of the fighter, will be fresh off the assembly line and are a considerable step up in technology from the third generation fighters Morocco currently flies.

“We are modernizing our fleet and we’ve chosen the F-16, not only because it is a high-quality airplane, but also because of the close relationship we have with the United States, said Brig. Gen. Abdelali Houari, deputy inspector of the Royal Moroccan Air Force,.

“We are really happy to send our pilots here to be trained. After a year and a half in the United States our pilots are happy, of course they want to return home, but they have gained a lot of experience here with the Arizona Air National Guard.”

Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Haase, the Morocco program manager for the 162nd, worked with the RMAF for the last three years. He’s trained fighter pilots from all over the world and fully understands the scope of the students’ historic accomplishment.

“It’s all them,” he said. “It’s a big commitment to be the first F-16 pilots for Morocco. It’s a testament to their positive attitude and work ethic. They are excited about the F-16 and its capabilities yet they understand how much work there will be to build up an F-16 base.”

As students, the pilots averaged three sorties per week and accumulated more than 150 F-16 hours each. Once home, they will not only be responsible for training others, but will also be instrumental in standing up F-16 operations at Ben Guerir Air Base.

It’s a former U.S. air base located about 36 miles north of Marrakech and once served as a transatlantic abort landing site for the space shuttle. It’s currently undergoing upgrades that, according Moroccan officials, are modeled after U.S. Air Force bases.

“These are the best F-5 instructor pilots for their air force. They think they way we think,” Haase said. “They have really shown that they want to learn how [U.S. fighter pilots] operate with the F-16 so they can do it the same way – not just flying, but everything from maintenance to logistics.”

Six additional Moroccan pilots are currently in the basic F-16 course here with graduation planned for September. They too will return home to help manage Morocco’s growing F-16 fleet.

It's unclear if more student pilots from Morocco will train in Tucson; however, according to Haase, the 162nd stands ready.

“Every country is very different, that’s what’s so fascinating for instructor pilots here,” he said. “We get to know these guys on a personal level and establish trust with them. Training capable fighter pilots and fostering relationships along the way is what this is all about.”

Since 1989, the 162nd has trained with virtually every nation that flies the F-16. In addition to Morocco, the wing currently trains with pilots from Singapore, Norway, Belgium, Chile, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands.

Panetta Makes Fourth of July Calls to Deployed Service Members

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 4, 2011 – Six forward-deployed U.S. service members began their Fourth of July morning with telephone calls from Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.

Panetta, sworn in as the nation's 23rd secretary of defense on Friday, reached out late Sunday evening to convey his thanks and support for their service, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Doug Wilson said today.

The defense secretary spoke by phone with service members deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Bahrain, Wilson said.

“They represent America's men and women in uniform who are away from their families on this July 4 weekend,” Wilson added, noting that they “come from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Army National Guard.”

Panetta told each service member how proud he was of their service and emphasized to each his commitment to fight for them and their families as they are fighting for their country, Wilson said.

“He told each that he looks forward to meeting them during his travels as secretary,” Wilson added.

The names, home towns and locations where they are aserving are as follows:

U.S. Army Spc. Darwin Siquig is serving in Afghanistan and is from Kahuku, Hawaii.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Shain Frazier Jr. is serving in Afghanistan and is from San Diego, Calif.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Frankie Lizcano is serving in Afghanistan and is from San Antonio, Texas.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jay D'Amico is serving in Afghanistan. He is originally from Joliet, Ill., and now lives in Surprise, Ariz.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Frawley is serving in Bahrain.  He is originally from Augusta, Ga., and he and his family now live in Newport, N.C.

Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Kelly Ann Pels is serving in Iraq. She is from Clermont County, Ohio.

Oak Hill Sailors Visit With Homeless Veterans

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

BOSTON (NNS) -- Several Sailors from USS Oak Hill (LPD 51) took part in a community relations project July 1 by visiting the New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV) in Boston.

NECHV's mission is to extend a helping hand to homeless men and women veterans who are addressing the challenges of addiction, trauma, unemployment, and severe and persistent mental illness.

"Many of our veterans have served in the Navy and they reflect on those times fondly," said Stephen Cunniff, a NECHV representative. "Many of them have hit upon a hard time in their life and the encouragement from Oak Hill Sailors helps greatly for their morale."

Many of the Oak Hill Sailors felt privileged to be in the company of past heroes.

"I'm glad this event came about because it gave me a chance to pay my respects to those who went before us and laid out the groundwork for what we carry on within our military today," said Engineman 1st Class (SW) Shawn Charles.

The veterans were just as honored to have spent time with the present-day Navy. "They took time out of their time off to see us, and for me that speaks volumes to their professionalism and the leadership that is provided to them," said Edward Nadeau. Cmdr. David Bauer, Oak Hill's commanding officer and a native of Columbus, Ohio, was pleased with the turnout.

"I'm thrilled the Oak Hill Sailors were quick to volunteer themselves to the community," said Bauer. "It goes to show that the crew of this ship understands its obligation to the community and its debt to veterans who have served before us. We are truly a Global Force for Good."

Petraeus Confirmed as CIA Director

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2011 – The Senate yesterday confirmed Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, currently the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, as the next director of the CIA.

Petraeus will replace Leon E. Panetta, former CIA director, who took office today as secretary of defense.

During his confirmation hearing June 23, Petraeus said some observers have questioned whether his previous involvement in Afghanistan and other endeavors will color the agency's analysis of those efforts.

“Let me reassure you on this issue,” he said. “Clearly I have views on the efforts in which I've been engaged. I've shared them in the past with the agency's analysts, and I'll do so in the future. However, if confirmed, when I am in the situation room with the president, I will strive to present the agency position. I will also remain keenly aware that I am the leader of an intelligence agency, not a policymaker.”

According to a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, Petraeus will turn over command July 18. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John R. Allen has been nominated for promotion to general and appointment as Petraeus’ successor.

Petraeus will retire from the Army on Aug. 31 and assume his new duties as central intelligence director Sept. 6, the spokesman said.

Today in the Department of Defense, Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta is traveling.

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