Military News

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Command Ombudsman at NAS Whidbey Island Receives Dorothy Flatley Award

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joan E. Jennings and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardel Gervacio, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Whidbey Island

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- A Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island command ombudsman received an award for superior performance during a surprise ceremony held at the Nor'Wester Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) at NAS Whidbey Island, July 26.

Dana Ledford, Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMVAQWINGPAC)command ombudsman was one to two ombudsmen Navywide to receive the 2010 Association of Naval Aviation (ANA) Outstanding Achievement Dorothy Flatley Award.

The Dorothy Flatley Award is given annually to one spouse from Naval Air Forces Pacific and one spouse from Naval Air Forces Atlantic for extraordinary inspirational support to Navy families for fostering excellent morale among squadron personnel and their dependents, especially during deployments and for promoting activities that benefit the spouse's command and other Navy and military personnel.

Ledford was named the winner due to her support of squadron families in which she focused on building strong morale among her fellow squadron personnel and their family members, especially during deployments.

"The Dorothy Flatley Award goes out to a spouse that has really supported the community, supported the spouses and family members and has gone above and beyond their command," said Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Michael W. Peach, of U.S. Navy Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Ledford has dedicated 13 years of service as an aviation command ombudsman, and 15 months as the (COMVAQWINGPAC) Ombudsman.

"Dana is well deserving of the recognition of the Dorothy Flatley Award," Peach said. "Her heart is taking care of the Sailors, their families and doing everything she can."

Among her accomplishments, Ledford has re-energized the NAS Whidbey Island Chief Petty Officer Spouse Association that brought in 42 senior enlisted spouses, worked on fundraisers for several local charities to include Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, the American Red Cross, and Operation Homefront.

With tears running down her face, Dana accepted the award from Capt. Chris Shay, commodore, COMVAQWINGPAC and thanked the command ombudsmen in attendance.

"For many years it's been a great program. Mentorship means the world to me. Without mentors, what would we do?" asked Ledford. "I thank you for being part of my world and participating like you do. Keep mentoring those below you; without you we would not be here."

ANA is a support group for U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard's aviation forces. The squadron's functions are to support naval aviation and notify the public about the job of the men and women of naval aviation, and also to share in the camaraderie of being connected to naval aviation.

Intel Agency Director Cites Value of Shared Knowledge

By Jason Tudor
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, July 27, 2011 – A heightened level of shared knowledge, speed of information and sending professionals to the battlefield are crucial to future military endeavors, the U.S. military’s top intelligence officer said here yesterday.

Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, spoke to about 200 people at the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies and the Seminar on Transatlantic Civil Security at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

Although sharing opportunities may have pitfalls, such as the events leading to the WikiLeaks publication of classified material, Burgess said, the value of sharing information transcends the temporary damage it may cause.

“You can’t let an event like that slow down what you know to be the goodness of what it is you’re trying to do,” he said. “While that happens, you need to fix what may have caused leaks like that and ensure you put safeguards in place that allow you to protect information. You can’t let it detract you from what you’re trying to do overall.”

Burgess said intelligence products are being shared to a degree he never thought possible, thanks to good relationships. And the time to build those relationships and the sharing opportunities they provide, he added, is before things fall apart.

“When crises occur,” the general said, “that is not the time to be building relationships.”

Speed of information also is paramount in his world, Burgess said, noting that the Internet, social media and “you name it” have raised that speed limit. He cited “the commander’s eternal quest for certainty” and the need for policy makers to move on events quickly as reasons his agency needs to get it right quickly.

“Everybody wants to know as much as they can. The speed of that system has taken on a whole new meaning,” he said. “Nobody wants to make decisions with only half of the puzzle.”

With 875 people from his agency deployed in theaters across the globe, Burgess cited a watershed change in business practices that pulled the experts out from inside the Washington, D.C., Beltway and put them side by side with the warfighters.

“Intelligence is just one line of information coming into a commander,” he explained. “As such, they deserve our best assessment of what is going to happen. They should demand it. We’ve had the most success when placed alongside other intelligence disciplines and agencies.”

Though his agency didn’t have an “upfront and central role” in finding and killing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, it did play a part in the May 2 operation, Burgess said. The agency supported the element that went in to do the mission, he added, but “all source” intelligence was the key to success, along with the fusing and sharing of that intelligence information.

“Very seldom does single intelligence information by itself produce actual intelligence,” he said. “It does happen, but for the most part, it’s a fusing of all source intelligence, and that’s what happened with bin Laden. A lot of things came together.”

For his own part and the parts played by his team, Burgess was blunt. “We speak truth to power. … We’re not paid to have a point of view,” he said.

Burgess also talked about the importance both Marshall Center programs have to the warfighters and the world at large.

“It demonstrates with each class the value of shared knowledge,” he said. “At this very moment, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are working side by side on the battlefield. We owe it to them to challenge ourselves.”

Lincoln Sailors Build New Homes during Navy Week LA

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Brian Brannon, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

LAWNDALE, Calif. (NNS) -- Wielding hammers, saws, trowels, and drills, 25 Sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and the mine countermeasures ship USS Champion (MCM 4) volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to make two families' dreams of living in safe, affordable housing come true, July 26.

Erin Hale, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater L.A., thanked the Sailors for their skill and professionalism in working alongside her team.

"We're very excited that the Navy's out here because we know that not only have these Sailors given tremendous service to our nation, they've also done a lot of service and humanitarian aid while they're out at sea. The fact that while they're here in Los Angeles at the port, that they're spending time with Habitat for Humanity means so, so much to us," she said.

Candy Royce is scheduled to move into one of the homes around Thanksgiving, along with her mother and three adopted children. She was honored to have Navy volunteers help build her new home and encouraged Sailors to leave messages on the unfinished walls.

Although the notes will eventually be covered with drywall, Royce is collecting photographs of the faces and writings of everyone who has worked on her home.

"Almost everyone writes messages on the walls," she said. "They have some funny things that they say and some very sincere things. And I can say this house was built with love."

With instruction from regular Habitat for Humanity volunteers called "Rusty Nails," Sailors framed porches, built stairs, added trusses, put stucco on walls, and performed electrical work.

Lincoln Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class Rockie Johnson enjoyed the chance to make a difference in the community.

"We're helping good people out here; a good family," he said. "I wasn't too fortunate before coming in, and to give to someone else that's not, it's just [satisfying]."

Navy Week is an opportunity for the officers and crew of the visiting ships to help the Navy showcase the quality of its personnel to local citizens. Lincoln's participation in L.A. Navy Week will demonstrate to area leaders and the general public that the Navy remains an effective and vital tool of national defense and a viable career opportunity for young men and women.

The Navy conducts approximately 20 Navy Weeks each year, reaching out to communities across the country to showcase for Americans the investments they have made toward their national defense.

Participating in L.A. Navy Week 2011 are Lincoln, Champion, guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, and personnel from Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, Maritime Expeditionary Security Group (MESG) 31, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 3 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit 1.

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is in Los Angeles between at-sea training and certification periods ahead of a deployment scheduled for the end of the year.

Family Matters Blog: Blogger Meets ‘Extreme Makeover’ Star

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2011 – I must admit I was a bit starstruck last week while visiting the set of a military-focused episode of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” in Fayetteville, N.C.

A few of my long-time home-designing favorites, including celebrities Ty Pennington and Paul DiMeo, were there in full force, putting their designing skills to the test to turn a modest 1,500-square-foot ranch-style home into a sprawling 5,000-square-foot complex in one short week.

The designers and more than 3,000 volunteers had joined together to build Barbara Marshall a new center for homeless female veterans called the Jubilee House. The 15-year Navy veteran established the center last year with her own funds to provide shelter and resources to female veterans in need.

After a week of round-the-clock construction, the house was picture perfect July 21 and ready for Marshall’s arrival. A crowd of well-wishers and volunteers gathered early, braving the oppressive heat to watch a deserving veteran receive a new home.

By the time the limo pulled up, carrying Marshall and her family, we all were dripping with sweat and covered in dirt, stepping lightly to avoid the discarded water bottles scattered across the ground. But all that was forgotten as Marshall stepped out and faced the famous “Extreme Makeover” bus blocking her view of the house.

Surprise guest First Lady Michelle Obama stepped out of the bus to cheers and applause as the crowd began to chant: “Move that bus! Move that bus!”

The bus pulled away and Marshall’s jaw dropped as she took in her new home, complete with a porch, upstairs deck and immaculately landscaped lawn.

“When I saw Mrs. Obama and the new home, all I could think of was ‘Yay,’” she told me during an interview the next day. “I know that’s not that profound, but I said it in my heart and my mind and my spirit, and then I said, ‘Astounding. Help is here -- tremendous help.’”

This new and improved Jubilee House will enable Marshall to take in more female veterans than ever before, while also offering expanded resources to help them.

Marshall said it’s the least she can do for her fellow veterans. “A homeless woman has children -- brings with her homeless children,” she said. “I think that our nation is not prepared for that kind of legacy. We need to leave a good, positive legacy for our women vets and for their children.”

As I walked away from that interview and with familiar faces from TV all around, I realized I had just met the true star of the show.

The “Extreme Makeover” episode featuring Marshall is scheduled to air Oct. 21 on ABC.

National Guard, active duty Green Berets receive high honor from French Ambassador

Special Forces Soldiers from the 10th Special Forces Group and the 20th Special Forces Group are seen after they received the French Croix de la Valeur Militaire, roughly analagous to the Silver Star, during a private ceremony at the French Ambassador's Residence in Washington, D.C., on July 25, 2011, awarding the honor to five National Guard and one active duty Special Forces Soldiers. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill)

Command Ombudsman at NAS Whidbey Island Receives Dorothy Flatley Award

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joan E. Jennings and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardel Gervacio, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Whidbey Island

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- A Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island command ombudsman received an award for superior performance during a surprise ceremony held at the Nor'Wester Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) at NAS Whidbey Island, July 26.

Dana Ledford, Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMVAQWINGPAC)command ombudsman was one to two ombudsmen Navywide to receive the 2010 Association of Naval Aviation (ANA) Outstanding Achievement Dorothy Flatley Award.

The Dorothy Flatley Award is given annually to one spouse from Naval Air Forces Pacific and one spouse from Naval Air Forces Atlantic for extraordinary inspirational support to Navy families for fostering excellent morale among squadron personnel and their dependents, especially during deployments and for promoting activities that benefit the spouse's command and other Navy and military personnel.

Ledford was named the winner due to her support of squadron families in which she focused on building strong morale among her fellow squadron personnel and their family members, especially during deployments.

"The Dorothy Flatley Award goes out to a spouse that has really supported the community, supported the spouses and family members and has gone above and beyond their command," said Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Michael W. Peach, of U.S. Navy Commander, Electronic Attack Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Ledford has dedicated 13 years of service as an aviation command ombudsman, and 15 months as the (COMVAQWINGPAC) Ombudsman.

"Dana is well deserving of the recognition of the Dorothy Flatley Award," Peach said. "Her heart is taking care of the Sailors, their families and doing everything she can."

Among her accomplishments, Ledford has re-energized the NAS Whidbey Island Chief Petty Officer Spouse Association that brought in 42 senior enlisted spouses, worked on fundraisers for several local charities to include Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, the American Red Cross, and Operation Homefront.

With tears running down her face, Dana accepted the award from Capt. Chris Shay, commodore, COMVAQWINGPAC and thanked the command ombudsmen in attendance.

"For many years it's been a great program. Mentorship means the world to me. Without mentors, what would we do?" asked Ledford. "I thank you for being part of my world and participating like you do. Keep mentoring those below you; without you we would not be here."

ANA is a support group for U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard's aviation forces. The squadron's functions are to support naval aviation and notify the public about the job of the men and women of naval aviation, and also to share in the camaraderie of being connected to naval aviation.