Military News

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Today in the Department of Defense, Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn and senior service officials attend the farewell tribute for Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James E. Cartwright at 10 a.m. EDT at the Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, D.C.  Secretary Panetta, Deputy Secretary Lynn and Gen. Cartwright will deliver remarks.  Media interested in attending should contact Capt. Lisa Lawrence, MCB PAO at 202-433-6660 or Lt. Col. Cliff Gilmore, VJCS PAO at 571-256-7408.

Obama Nominates Carter as Next Deputy Secretary

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2011 – President Barack Obama today nominated the Pentagon’s head of acquisitions, technology and logistics to become the next deputy secretary of defense.

Ashton B. Carter, whose nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, would replace William J. Lynn III, with whom he has worked closely and who recently announced his resignation.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta issued a statement saying he is “delighted” that the president has chosen Carter for the job, adding that he has excelled in his current position as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

“His rapid and responsive support to the warfighter, and technical and program expertise are transforming the way this department does business and acquires weapons systems,” the secretary said. “His work has helped ensure that the weapons the United States military buys are more effective and more affordable.

“He is also a top strategic thinker, serving during the Clinton administration as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy and holding top academic posts at Harvard University,” Panetta continued. “I look forward to having Ash as my partner as we drive solutions to the strategic management challenges facing the Department of Defense.”

Panetta also praised Lynn for his “outstanding career of government service.”

“Bill has led this department in preparing for new strategic and fiscal realities,” he said. “He has shaped key major acquisition decisions, and was instrumental in crafting a new space policy, our first-ever operational-energy strategy, and a landmark cyber strategy.

“Secretary [Robert M.] Gates and I have relied on his experience and expertise, and his service will leave a lasting legacy,” he added.

Carter was appointed to his current position in April 2009, and has been a leader in Pentagon efforts to run the department more efficiently and find cost savings. His was among several nominations for various positions that the White House announced today.

“These dedicated individuals bring a wealth of experience and talent to their new roles, and I am proud to have them serve in this administration,” Obama in a statement announcing the nominations. “I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Last week, Obama appointed Carter to the 11-member Government Accountability and Transparency Board, which he established in June to cut waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government.

In his two years as undersecretary, Carter has championed efforts to find cost savings in the budget, especially in acquisitions, and to redirect money to support warfighters and speed up the fielding of equipment and other needs to deployed troops.

Wisconsin Soldiers, Airmen display aviation assets at AirVenture 2011

By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
Wisconsin National Guard

The event referred to as the "World's Greatest Aviation Celebration" takes place in the heart of the badger state, so naturally the Wisconsin National Guard would be on hand to take part in the fun and celebration.

Soldiers and Airmen from across the state converged on AirVenture 2011 from July 25-31 in Oshkosh to display their own aviation assets during the 59th annual event, which incorporates more than 10,000 flying platforms and draws nearly 250,000 visitors each year.

"We're not here in a recruiting mode, but, when we put the uniform on it gives us the opportunity to tell the National Guard story," said Lt. Col. David Tessmer, mission support group director and comptroller at Volk Field Air National Guard Base.

While Soldiers from the 135th Aviation Regiment are currently flying UH-60 Black Hawk missions in Iraq, another Wisconsin Army Guard helicopter unit was able to unveil one of the Army's newest helicopters - the UH-72A Lakota.

Landing with less than 50 flight hours and with a look noticeably different than the Black Hawk, the Lakota attracted many spectators.

Ronald Schleicher, of Big Bend, Wis., was drawn to the Lakota's unique appearance. While initially inquiring about the helicopters' capabilities, he walked away with a better understanding of the Wisconsin National Guard's stateside mission.

"Whenever there's a catastrophe, these guys are around to assist with patients, and that's a very nice thing to have," Schleicher said.

That's exactly what the Lakota crew was looking for from their AirVenture visit.

"I think after people talk to us they start to realize, 'the Wisconsin National Guard doesn’t just stay in Wisconsin, they help out everywhere,'" said Chief Warrant Officer Dirk Brandt, UH-72A pilot. "I think being out here is beneficial to the public's perception of the Guard."

Airmen from the 128th Air Refueling Wing offered tours of a KC-135 Stratotanker while flight personnel from the Madison-based 115th Fighter Wing displayed an F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Soldiers from the 32nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion showed many unfamiliar spectators around the RQ-7 Shadow 200, the unmanned aerial vehicle often mistakenly referred to as a Predator or a drone.

"We just get clobbered with people as soon as we get the Shadow out here," said Pfc. Waylon Brunsell. "People just start crowding."

Other Wisconsin Guard members promoted Wisconsin Guard aviation in different ways.

Master Sgt Angela Koberle, Volk Field Air National Guard Base deputy airfield manager, utilized AirVenture to address many general aviation community members about flying safety concerning military aircraft and restricted air space.

"We want to ensure general aviation aircraft aren't running into our aircraft and this is a great venue to get our information out," Koberle said. "Safety is our primary goal."

Airmen from the 128th ARW brought their expertise in aircraft parking ramp procedures to assist with ground operations for the week. The team of four aircraft maintainers brought Air National Guard equipment and helped move nearly 300 airplanes to set up the event and stayed busy throughout the week towing and providing logistical support to countless aircraft in the Conoco Phillips Plaza.

"I like seeing the old war birds like the B-29 - it's not often you get to help move something like that," said Master Sgt. Matt Kuspa, inspection section supervisor for the 128th.

Many of the Wisconsin Soldiers and Airmen working EAA agreed - work and play at EAA go hand-in-hand.

"I love to be out here talking about our mission, but a lot of times, people are telling their stories too," Brunsell said. "It's all around good for everyone."

Japanese Sailors Welcomed Aboard USS Nitze for PASSEX

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Jesse Monford

USS NITZE, At Sea (NNS) -- The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) conducted a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) from July 29 to Aug. 2, which tested communication capabilities and offered a chance for a professional exchange in the Atlantic Ocean.

The PASSEX was conducted to aid communication between three U.S. ships and three Japanese ships while giving them realistic situations they may encounter while working together in the future. The exercise also provided a valuable opportunity for Sailors to learn about life and work on the other country's ships, as Japanese officers and enlisted sailors from aboard the Japanese ship Asagiri (TV-3516) embarked Nitze during the exercise.

"It's my first time being aboard a foreign ship," said Hiroshi Nakajima, a Radar Technician attached to the Asagiri. "The people are friendly, the food is different here. My ship is old. The Nitze is high-tech."

Many Japanese sailors said that the lifestyle aboard a United States ship differs greatly from that of their own. For example, operations aboard a typical Japanese ship's bridge differs from the bridge of USS Nitze. Nakajima said that the manning and protocols were instructional to observe.

"I think that this is a great opportunity for us to learn from them and from them to learn from us." said Master Chief Michael J. Mahoney, command master chief of USS Nitze. "It is well worth it to share experiences with other forces and our allies.

Nitze's crew is pleased that they were given the opportunity to step up and do the exercise, said Mahoney.

The series of exercises that were conducted covered maneuvering, communication, and other types of general training. Two other U.S. Navy ships, guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50) and guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69), participated in the exercises as well.

All three of the Japanese ships will pull in port in downtown Norfolk, where the JMSDF sailors will have an opportunity to explore the city and crews from both nations can continue their work to build a stronger relationship.

U.S., Vietnam Establish Formal Military Medical Partnership

From U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

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HANOI, Vietnam (NNS) -- Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr. participated in a signing ceremony Aug. 1 with the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense.

Representing the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Robinson signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) on Military Medical Cooperation with Senior Colonel Vu Quoc Binh, director general of the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense's Military Medical Department. U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Claire Pierangelo and Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defense Lt. Gen. Le Huu Duc witnessed the signing.

The signing ceremony represented progress on one of the key areas of military cooperation that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Minister of Defense Phung Quang Thanh agreed to pursue in October 2010.

The SOI builds on a long trend of cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnamese militaries and will be the foundation for all future military medical and interagency medical engagements that will include subject matter expert exchanges, workshops, conferences, Medical Civil Action Projects (MEDCAPS), clinical exchanges, and medical research collaboration.

"This is an important day between our two nations," said Pierangelo. "This growing military medical partnership will benefit the U.S. and Vietnam and also contribute to increasing our health cooperation in the region."

According to Robinson, this historic agreement is the culmination of over three years of diplomatic visits and discussions and begins a bright future regarding the medical opportunities between the two countries.

"This historic bilateral agreement is not about personalities or politics," said Robinson. "Medicine and medical research are universal languages that all countries and cultures understand. Diseases affect us all in the same way. By working together in areas such as infectious disease research, we not only help each other, we help the world meet these global health challenges."

The foundation for this historic agreement began with a meeting between Robinson and Vietnamese Lt. Gen Chu Tien Cuong, who was then the director of the Military Medical Department of Vietnam, at the annual Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) conference in St. Louis in November 2009. During their initial meeting, they discussed opportunities to increase military medical collaboration between the U.S. and Vietnam. Numerous follow-on diplomatic meetings and discussions followed culminating in the agreement to formalize a military medical partnership.

Robinson participated in the signing ceremony while visiting Hanoi to co-chair a planning conference on bilateral military medical cooperation with the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense. Topics of discussion will include Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response, infectious disease research, aerospace and undersea medicine and more.

As the Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Robinson leads 63,000 Navy Medicine personnel that provide healthcare support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

NAS Whidbey Island Commemorates Centennial of Naval Aviation

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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardel Gervacio, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Whidbey Island

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Thousands of local residents poured onto Naval Air Station Whidbey Island to witness Navy history in the present during the base's Centennial of Naval Aviation Celebration (CONA) July 28–30.

In a tribute to 100 years of progress and achievement in Naval Aviation, the open base celebration had vintage aircraft from local heritage collections, Navy aircraft with historic paint schemes, as well as current military aircraft being flown around the world.

"I think this is a great opportunity for the community to see the history of Naval aviation from its beginning to what it is currently today," said Lt. Thomas Amano of Beaverton, Ore., air terminal officer at NAS Whidbey Island. "You've got the latest and greatest aircraft on display, and you have some of the oldest airplanes in history here. It's great for the public to see how we progressed over the years and to get an opportunity to look how far we've come along in Naval aviation."

Along with classic aircraft such as the F7F Tigercat, F8F Bearcat, and the B-25D Mitchell, on display, attendees observed Search and Rescue (SAR) air demonstrations, a car show featuring Northwest (NW) Region Ferrari Club of America, Majestic Glass Corvette Club of Anacortes, Pacific Northwest (PNW) DeLorean Club, Club Lotus NW, and Porsche Club of America PNW Region. Residents also experienced normal festival fare including concessions, memorabilia, youth area with inflatable play areas, climbing wall, carnival games and a quilt show.

A strong military presence was available to interact with guests, and to provide information on static displays.

"With the historical flights and the planes that we have here today, it's amazing how far we've gone," said Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Webster Clay of Lousiville, Ky., assigned to operations department at NAS Whidbey Island. "One of the biggest things I see in the crowd today is that they get to see a lot of history and they also get a chance to meet someone who have experienced it all."

The "Tales of Naval Aviation," staged in historic Hangar 1, presented an opportunity for guests to hear from scholarly naval aviation experts. Stephen Coontz, author of "Flight of the Intruder" and retired Cmdr. Harry Ferrier, a Battle of Midway survivor, were two of the speakers who provided their personal accounts throughout the day.

"These events are great for everyone to see current and vintage aircraft that have survived over the years and to hear stories from those [who] lived it," said Kyler Lent, of Sacramento, Calif. "It's a great turn out; it's been exciting for me to see aircraft like the F-18 and the B-52 fly today."

The Centennial of Naval Aviation is being celebrated with a variety of events and commemorations throughout the year, including with air shows, art exhibits, flyovers and demonstrations. The Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard among other organizations, are working together to ensure that proper recognition is given to this year-long celebration of naval aviation excellence over the past 100 years.

"This has been a wonderful experience for us," said Carol Zalewski of Edmonds, Wash., member of the Historic Flight Museum. "Events like these honor our service men and women, past and present and the sacrifices they made."

Since 1942, NAS Whidbey Island has been home to seaplane, patrol, reconnaissance, heavy attack, medium attack, electronic attack, transport and search and rescue aircrews, support personnel and their families.