Military News

Friday, July 08, 2011

DOD Orders Halt to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Enforcement

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2011 – The Defense Department today issued guidance on the July 6 federal appellate court decision ordering DOD to cease enforcing the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

In a memorandum for the secretaries of the military departments, Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, directed the services to comply with the injunction immediately.

“It remains the policy of the Department of Defense not to ask service members or applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat all members with dignity and respect, and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline. Further, because the injunction is once again in effect, the department will process applications for enlistment or appointment without regard to sexual orientation,” the memorandum read, in part.

Further guidance will come as developments warrant, Stanley wrote.

Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan said lawyers in the Defense and Justice departments are reviewing the court’s ruling to determine what actions may follow.

In October, then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates directed that any discharges under the law be reviewed and approved by the service secretaries in consultation with the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness and the Pentagon’s general counsel.

Lapan said four service members have been discharged under the law since October, the most recent of which was effective June 23.

Any possible appeal to the injunction is “still being discussed and looked at,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lapan added, work continues on the department’s preparation to implement repeal of the law barring openly gay men and women from serving in the nation’s armed forces. The repeal act, passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in December, calls for training the force and for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense to certify to the president that the conditions for repeal are met.

PCU Mississippi COB Participates in Two Significant Navy Milestones

From Commander Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- The Chief of the Boat (COB) assigned to Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Mississippi (SSN 782) participated in two unique voyages aboard PCU California (SSN 781), and later USS Constitution, during their annual holiday cruise, July 4.

Master Chief Machinist's Mate Bill Stoiber, Mississippi COB, participated in the Navy's newest Virginia-class submarine initial, or Alpha, sea trials aboard California, which ended successfully, July 2. Stoiber participated in California's sea trials for familiarization and preparation for Mississippi's sea trials to be held next year.

Stoiber, a native from Pittsburg, Calif., was pleased to participate in the submarine's first maiden voyage. "I was honored to say I was underway aboard the submarine named for my home state."

Immediately after returning to its pre-commissioning port in Newport News, Va., July 2, Stoiber traveled to Boston, for his next adventure aboard the world's oldest commissioned war ship, "Old Ironsides," for its annual Fourth of July Boston Harbor cruise.

"These two events were once-in-a-life time experiences because I was able to celebrate our great nation's freedom by starting out aboard PCU California, the Navy's newest ship, and capping it off with the Boston Harbor cruise aboard USS Constitution," said Stoiber. "I will never forget this day."

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

California is commanded by Cmdr. Dana Nelson a native of Clinton, Conn. California is currently undergoing Bravo sea trials followed by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey trials, which will commence in late July 2011. Built under a unique teaming agreement by General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls-Newport News, the submarine will be commissioned on Oct. 29, 2011 in Norfolk.

July Storms Prove Need for Portable Emergency Weather Radios

(MADISON) - Summertime in Wisconsin means outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and boating. It also can mean severe storms such as tornadoes, lightning and strong winds. That's why it is important to have a portable emergency weather radio to alert you and your family to potential severe weather.

Already this year, Wisconsin has had 31 confirmed tornadoes including one in northern Wisconsin last weekend. In addition, strong storms on July 1st caused one death and numerous injuries. A Park Falls couple believes a portable emergency weather radio saved their lives during a tornado outburst last summer.

Last July 27, Larry and Rita Krznarich were camping on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage between Park Falls and Mercer. Just after 7:00 p.m., their emergency weather radio alerted them that a tornado was coming. They immediately told campers nearby and everyone took cover.

Larry was injured in the tornado but Rita and others were ok. Everything at the campsite was destroyed. “There was debris in chunks flying through the air,” said Rita Krznarich. “If you’ve ever heard one tree fall you can imagine 50 trees all cracking and falling around you."

Larry and Rita Krznarich believe that without the warning alert from their emergency weather radio - giving them the chance to seek cover - they would be dead. They are sharing their story in a powerful TV and radio public service campaign in hopes that more lives can be saved.

In the public service announcement, Rita and Larry urge everyone to buy an emergency weather radio. “Ever since the storm we’ve given weather radios to people as gifts. You can get them for $20 or in that range, so there’s no excuse not to have one or many.”

Wisconsin Emergency Management and its ReadyWisconsin preparedness program are sponsoring this campaign. “That early warning from the National Weather Service via the emergency weather radio is a lifesaver,” said Tod Pritchard, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “Having a portable radio is essential if you’re camping or hiking.”

Along with the 30-second public service campaign, ReadyWisconsin is posting a longer version of Larry and Rita’s story at http://readywisconsin.wi.gov along with other tornado survivor stories from Kenosha and Eagle.

A copy of the public service announcement can be obtained from ReadyWisconsin by emailing Tod Pritchard at: tod.pritchard@wisconsin.gov.

Flags lowered to half-staff in Wisconsin for U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Michael C. Nolen

Flags at Wisconsin National Guard armories, air bases and other facilities across the state will fly at half-staff Saturday (July 9) in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Michael C. Nolen of Spring Valley, Wis., who lost his life while serving his country in Afghanistan. The Guard will render these honors in accordance with an executive order issued by Gov. Scott Walker.
EXECUTIVE ORDER # 38 reads:

Relating to a Proclamation that the Flag of the United States and the Flag of the State of Wisconsin be Flown at Half-Staff as a Mark of Respect for Corporal Michael C. Nolen of the United States Marine Corps Who Lost His Life While Serving His Country During Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan

WHEREAS, Corporal Michael C. Nolen provided faithful and honorable service to the people of the State of Wisconsin and the people of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the people of Wisconsin mourn the death of Corporal Michael C. Nolen; and

WHEREAS, a memorial service will be held for Corporal Michael C. Nolen on July 9, 2011;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, SCOTT WALKER, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me by Federal and State law, do hereby order that the flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Wisconsin shall be flown at half-staff at all buildings, grounds, and military installations of the State of Wisconsin equipped with such flags beginning at sunrise on Saturday, July 9, 2011, and ending at sunset on that date.
________________
All Wisconsin state government facilities are covered by the governor’s order and a 2007 amendment to the U.S. Flag Code now requires all federal facilities in Wisconsin to comply. Other government agencies, businesses and private residences with flagpoles may also honor Cpl. Michael C. Nolen by lowering their U.S. and Wisconsin state flags to half-staff during the daylight hours on July 9.

DOD Announces Appointment of DOD Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program Director

Kicklighter has been appointed director of DoD Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program.

Kicklighter, a Vietnam veteran with 35 years’ service in the U.S. Army, served as executive director of the United States of America 50th Anniversary of World War II Commemoration Committee, and provided oversight for the writing of the plan for the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War.  Most recently, he served as the director of the Center for Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, at George Mason University.

The DoD Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program is partnered with other federal agencies, veterans groups, state, local government and non-government organizations to:

Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans. 
Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the armed forces. 
Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War. 
Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War. 
Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.

For more information call 877-387-9951 or visit the official website at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Kansas National Guard Soldiers pose with Ugandan soldiers

Ugandan People's Defense Force soldiers pose with U.S Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion 161st Field Artillery, Kansas National Guard, at Camp Kasenyi, Uganda, after graduating the 16-week Kasenyi Special Forces Group Advanced Infantry Training Course, June 22, 2011. The U.S. Soldiers partnered with UPDF instructors to teach the course. From left to right: Army Spc. Daniel Dennett, UPDF Lance Cpl. David Esoru, U.S. Army Spc. Chris Shields, UPDF Pvt. Moses Irumba, U.S. Army Spc. Leymon Harris, UPDF Lance Cpl. Bosco Guma, U.S. Army Spc. Michael Stinger and UPDF Cpl. Stephen Baguma. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ray Bowden)

Blue Ridge Arrives in Brisbane

By Mass Communication Specialist Mel Orr, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Public Affairs

BRISBANE, Australia (NNS) -- The U.S. 7th Fleet command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived in Brisbane, Australia, July 8 in support of exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 (TS11).

The exercise enhances joint combat readiness and interoperability between U.S. and Australian air, land and maritime forces and will focus on crisis action planning and execution of emergency response operations.

TS11 is jointly sponsored by U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defense Force (ADF) Joint Operations Command and is designed to support and strengthen ADF's capability to defend Australia and its national interests.

"The U.S. and Australia have a proud, longstanding history of working together," said Blue Ridge Commanding Officer Capt. Daniel Grieco. "This exercise will further strengthen ties between our two nations and enhance our ability to cooperatively operate our military force to further peace and stability in the region."

While in Brisbane, some Blue Ridge and embarked U.S. 7th Fleet staff Sailors will visit Putrell Park and Karingal Campsite to help with cleaning, painting and planting, while other Sailors will visit children at Mater Children's Hospital as part of community service projects.

Sailors will take in the sights during the numerous scheduled tours and meet local Brisbane residents, all in the spirit of friendship and camaraderie.

Blue Ridge serves under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Commander, Task Force (CTF) 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force. Blue Ridge is the command ship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. CTF 76 is headquartered aboard White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

President Considers Tax Credit to Hire Veterans

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2011 – A tax credit for companies that hire military veterans could be the next step in helping the acutely underemployed group, President Barack Obama suggested yesterday in his Twitter town hall meeting.

The president addressed many economic issues surrounding his theme of how to reduce the federal deficit, and was asked about jobs for veterans while fielding questions submitted on Twitter.

A Twitter user asked the president, “Can you give companies a tax break if they hire an honorably discharged veteran?"

That, Obama said, is a subject he’s discussing with his staff.

“We've got all these young people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan [who] have made incredible sacrifices [and] have taken on incredible responsibilities,” the president said. “You see some 23-year-old who's leading a platoon in hugely dangerous circumstances, making decisions [and]operating complex technologies. These are folks who can perform. But unfortunately, what we're seeing is a lot of these young veterans have a higher unemployment rate than people who didn't serve. And that makes no sense.”

The president said one idea under discussion is to combine a tax credit for companies that hire veterans with a campaign to get private companies to “do the right thing” and hire additional veterans.

An outreach program to hire veterans already exists in the federal government, the president noted.

“We’ve [put] huge emphasis on ramping up our outreach to veterans and hiring veterans,” Obama said, “and this has been a top priority of mine.

“The notion that these guys who are sacrificing for our freedom and our security end up coming home and not being able to find a job, I think, is unacceptable,” he added.