Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Incoming: Vietnam 1969

The September 22, 2011, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with US Army Vietnam Veteran, Combat Medic and author Jack Manick.

Program Date: September 22, 2011
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Incoming: Vietnam 1969
Listen Live: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lawenforcement/2011/09/22/incoming-vietnam-1969

About the Guest
Jack Manick “volunteered for military service in 1968. He served one Tour of Duty in Vietnam as a Combat Medic with the remainder of his three year obligation spread among hospital and Infantry Duty in Germany and the US. His military service was with the 1'st and 24th Infantry Divisions, the 70th Combat Engineers and USAREUR (US Army Europe).

Jack Manick has written seven specialty Art Books documenting the life and times of artists who have shaped the destiny of the 20'th and 21'st Century, names like Michael Godard, John Kelly, James Coleman, David Garibaldi and others. Along with Richard Enfantino from Enfantino Publishing, they published their first ever book, "Don't Drink and Draw," the life story and art work of world famous artist Michael Godard. It won the "Best Art Book in 2006" Award by the "USA Book News." In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jack wrote a Veterans Column titled "Insights of a Veteran," for Comcast's "IntheGardenState.com" local content site in New Jersey and was awarded a "Best Military Site" by Military.com for it.

Jack believes that every day is a "Gift" from a higher power and that it should be lived with conviction and passion. Transforming what in the heart and soul to the "Printed Word" is Jack's passion and he plans to continue with it into the future.” Jack Manick is the author of Incoming.

According to the book description of Incoming, “1969 was a momentous year for the world and especially America. It was a year when man first set foot on the moon and in an equally amazing feat, the New York Mets won baseballs coveted World Series. While earth shaking events were happening two hundred thousand miles from home or deep within the confines of Shea Stadium, men of every race, education and age group were fighting and dying 12,000 miles from home in America’s most unpopular war, Vietnam.

Today, 40 years later, writer, husband and Veteran Jack Manick reaches into his soul and resurrects the fear, tension, foreboding, laughter and terror that he and his fellow "Band of Brothers" felt as they walked the jungles and forests of the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1969. While in the "Bush", he carried a pack, a medical aid bag, two knives, three grenades, a rifle, pistol and an unbreakable commitment to save the lives of his fellow soldiers, even at the cost of his own.

The story of Jack "Doc" Manick and his fellow soldiers is one of survival...survival in a country laden with malaria, crawling with venomous snakes, scorpions, rats, giant centipedes and tigers and dominated by an enemy determined "Not to lose the War!" The language is as tough as the enemy who fought against him, as unrelenting as the blistering heat of the Dry Season and as depressing as the endless mud and mold of the Monsoon Season. Incoming invites you to lace up your jungle boots and take a walk with Jack through the jungles and the fields of dry grass in the Central Highlands of Vietnam in 1969.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole:

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Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

Vermont Official Praises National Guard for Storm Help

By Army Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

RUTLAND, Vt., Sept. 6, 2011 – The National Guard is essential to Vermont’s recovery from Hurricane Irene, the director of the state’s crippled road system said here Sept. 4.

“I don’t believe we could do it without you,” said Brian Searles, Vermont’s secretary of transportation.

A week after post-Irene flooding crippled arterial roads through the state, the Vermont National Guard’s Task Force Green Mountain Spirit is leading a multi-state effort to support civil authorities who are helping affected residents and reconnecting cut-off communities with the rest of the world.

“We’re just so thrilled that the National Guard has come through [in] this way so quickly, and we’re looking forward to getting to the end of this,” Searles said.

More than 2,500 Guard members worked through the Labor Day weekend in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island and Vermont to assist residents and repair roads in the storm’s aftermath.

More than 700 members of the Vermont Army National Guard and Air National Guard are mobilized here, said Air Force Lt. Col. Lloyd Goodrow, state public affairs officer, and they have been joined by Guard members from supporting states, including Connecticut, Illinois, Maine and New Hampshire. More troops and equipment are en route from Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia.

“What began as a Vermont National Guard mission has now become a true multi-state National Guard mission, and that’s something we’re very proud of,” Goodrow said. “States continue to call to lend their hand. This is a time when, really, the National Guard shines.”

Late Sept. 3 and through the early morning hours the following day, a convoy of 118 military vehicles and about 200 National Guard members rolled in here after a 12-hour drive from Maine, bringing heavy equipment to speed the repair of Vermont’s roads.

“We need engineering units and construction units,” Searles said. “Everybody involved in Vermont has been working on this, but they really needed to be augmented.”

Vermont has its own equipment and its Guard members are at work -- including the 131st Engineers -- but widespread damage to the state’s road system has left many residents separated from jobs and outside services. The fall leaf season that normally draws thousands of tourists here and the winter ski season -- both important to the state’s economy -- are also imminent.

The Maine National Guard “feels incredibly honored to assist in the recovery operation to the people of Vermont, overcoming these serious infrastructure damages,” said Army Lt. Col. Normand Michaud, commander, 133rd Engineer Battalion.

The Maine Engineer Task Force -- about 200 Maine Army and Air National Guard members -- responded within 36 hours to the state of Vermont request, Michaud said, bringing 169 pieces of heavy engineering equipment -- including D7 bulldozers, 20-ton dump trucks and excavators -- to assist the people of Vermont.

While much of Vermont was spared the worst of Hurricane Irene and is open for business as usual, key east-west roads in the state’s famed central mountains are closed. Residents discuss agonizing work commutes that include detours into surrounding states to try to work around road closures. Important trucking corridors are impassable.

“It’s about reconnecting people to their jobs, to their groceries,” Searles said. “It’s also about commerce.”

The topography that gives Vermont its scenic beauty -- rugged mountains, steep valleys, narrow streams and low-lying pastures -- also brings the state’s greatest challenges. When four miles of Route 107 -- including one river-eaten stretch about a mile long -- were damaged by the flooding, it cut off some communities completely and added many hours and dozens of miles to the routine drives of even those who could get out of their towns.

“It’s the biggest event in my lifetime, for sure,” Searles said. “It’s been compared to the flood of 1927 and … there are a couple of rivers that have exceeded 1927 water levels,” which claimed 85 lives.

“We know a lot more about how to deal with these sorts of things and save lives than we did back then,” he said. But Irene wreaked havoc with essential infrastructure.

“The comparisons with 1927 are valid,” he said.

DOD Establishes School Attendance Policy

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2011 – A new Defense Department school policy underscores the importance of student attendance, while also considering military families’ unique needs, the acting director of the Department of Defense Education Activity said.

The policy, which went into effect Sept. 1, requires students attending DOD schools to be in attendance for 180 instructional days per academic year, barring illness and emergency situations. Most schools typically have 181-183 days scheduled per school year.

The policy also takes into account military parents’ requests for excused absences related to a military lifestyle, including those related to deployments and moves.

“We want to tighten up on discretionary leaves and absences,” Marilee Fitzgerald told American Forces Press Service. “We understand children will leave early when moving, and understand that a parent will be deployed and children will want to spend time with parents pre-or post-deployment.

“But, by and large, kids need to be in school,” she said.

Key components of the policy include:

-- Students who are absent will be expected to complete an educational plan consistent with regularly planned school work;

-- Increased communication with parents about the effect of absences on student performance;

-- Referral of students with five days of absences to a student support team, and referral of students with seven days of absences to the local command for intervention and support; and

-- Daily record-keeping, review and analysis of attendance.

The policy emphasizes the importance of attendance for students of all ages, from kindergarten on up, Fitzgerald said.

Children aren’t just playing in kindergarten, she noted, they’re learning. In fact, missing just 5 percent of kindergarten – about nine days – can be an indicator that a child will fall behind by the fifth grade, according to the education activity’s website.

This points to the important link between classroom attendance and academic success, Fitzgerald said. “Establishing good attendance habits in school makes you a more productive citizen,” she said. “You are informed and disciplined -- characteristics and traits you need for lifelong success.”

While mandatory school attendance always has been addressed in the education activity’s local, district and area policies, a single, comprehensive policy was needed to bring all DOD schools on the same page, education activity officials explained.

The policy also mirrors attendance standards in stateside school districts, officials said, which can help ease transitions from DOD to public schools.

While school officials will work to enforce the policy, Fitzgerald noted, they’ll also rely on parents to ensure the policy’s success. For example, when moving, parents should enroll their children into the new school as early as possible to minimize absences.

Officials work hard to ensure students attending DOD schools have state-of-the-art equipment at their fingertips, Fitzgerald said, but “all of our resources – whether it’s curriculum-related, ensuring the best teachers are in front of our kids, or making sure the technology is there -- is for naught if children aren’t coming to school.”

For more information on the attendance policy, including a list of excused absences, people can visit the back-to-school section of the education activity’s website at DODEA.edu.

Survivor Supports Families in Wake of 9/11

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2011 – It’s been a decade since American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, but Bonnie Carroll vividly recalls the aftermath.

As a family-support volunteer, she spent hours “listening and sharing” with families who were waiting to be notified about a missing loved one.

Carroll, president of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, was among a team of volunteers who responded in the wake of the devastating terrorist attack that took 184 lives at the Pentagon.

That day “changed everything about the world in which we live,” she said. “It gave every American an appreciation of those on the front line protecting freedom -- a renewed sense of appreciation.”

Carroll was at home in Anchorage, Alaska, when the news broke about the terrorist attacks here and in New York, and she immediately felt compelled to help -- both as an Air Force reservist and as the president of TAPS. She had founded this organization to offer support to survivors of fallen military loved ones after her husband, Army Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll, died in an Army C-12 plane crash in 1992.

In her reserve capacity, she was assigned to the Pentagon’s office of national security and emergency preparedness and had just wrapped up reserve duty there and returned home. But when she heard the news, she put on her uniform and was on the first plane out of Alaska.

Carroll put a call out to her TAPS peer mentors to come to Washington at their own expense to help. More than 200 responded in a “tremendous response,” she said. She arranged to have them serve six to 10 at a time in weeklong shifts offering 24/7 support to family members in the Pentagon Family Assistance Center at Crystal City's Sheraton Hotel in Virginia.

The center opened the morning of Sept. 12 and remained open around the clock until Oct. 12, helping both Defense Department victims' families and families of the passengers aboard Flight 77. Along with TAPS volunteers, the center was staffed by military community and family policy specialists, plus thousands of volunteers.

“We had folks who were surviving family members there to just be a comfort, to sit and hold hands,” Carroll said. “We had really, really tremendous people who stepped forward.

“It was just beautiful,” she added. “So much healing took place in that little closed environment. So much love and care and support, and the bonds that were formed exist to this day.”

To avoid burnout, Carroll scheduled the volunteers in one-week blocks so the peer mentors and survivor support team were “alert, fresh and ready,” she said.

“A big part of the effort … was providing tremendous care to those 500 families at center, but also care to our team members who also were survivors,” she noted.

The organization also brought in grief and trauma experts from around the nation. “We were focused on getting the best, most appropriate support in place that would complement the support provided by the DOD,” she said.

In time and as reports rolled in, Carroll said, the atmosphere of hope shifted into a time of solace and support.

Twice a day, she recalled, now-retired Army Gen. John A. Van Alstyne, then deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, briefed the families and take their questions.

The general offered families a fact-based, sometimes graphic briefing, and on some days, asked everyone to stand up and sing “God Bless America,” Carroll said. And then “he would remind everyone to breathe. People didn’t realize they were holding their breath.”

Carroll said the general often remarked, “Regardless of their job -- whether a contractor, DOD civilian or military member -- the day of their death, they were on duty for America.”
Carroll vividly recalls the family members she met and their reactions in the aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon.

She remembers standing in the hall with Pat Hogan, an Air Force doctor who lost her Army major husband in the Pentagon. They were talking, when then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Erik K. Shinseki and his wife, Patricia, walked up.

Carroll said Hogan looked Shinseki in the eye -- just days after her husband had been killed -- and said, “I have no children; I have no husband. Nothing is holding me back. I want to transfer to the Army and I want to go to the front lines.”

“I would have thought he would have patted her on the head and told her to take time to grieve,” Carroll said, choking up. “But he said, ‘You got it.’”

However, the Air Force chief of staff at the time, now-retired Gen. John P. Jumper, got wind of the conversation and asked her to stay in the Air Force. He said he’d send her with pararescue personnel to Afghanistan so she could serve as their doctor.

“She left soon after,” Carroll said. “She’s amazing.”

Carroll also recalls the Hemingway family from Kansas, who lost their son, a father of two.

“They hung in there all day every day for six weeks,” she said, “and then they were the last family to be told that nothing of their son could be identified. There was nothing found.”

After six weeks, the support center closed down, Carroll said, but TAPS volunteers continued to support the families of the fallen -- the same mission that continues today. The organization’s support includes peer-based emotional support, a 24/7 help line, support groups, seminars and one-on-one counseling.

In turn, many of the 9/11 surviving family members became staunch supporters of TAPS, she said. Lisa Dolan, whose Navy husband died in the Pentagon, started a therapy dog program for TAPS’ Good Grief Camp, which offers support to children of fallen service members.

Another survivor, Joyce Johnson, who lost her husband, works for TAPS as part of the adult survivor support team, which reaches out to those with newly lost loved ones.

Their contributions speak to their resilience, she said, as well as the resilience of the nation.

This year marks a decade since the tragedy occurred, but Carroll said Americans are reminded of the attacks every day.

“Every time we go through airport security or see a flag-draped coffin on the front page of the paper, every time we hear about security concerns,” she said, “we’re reminded of where this journey began and the precious nature of our freedom and the fragile world in which we live.”

50th Anniversary of the Berlin Crisis Mobilization!

Do you remember when World War III almost started?  These veterans do.  Check out this Berlin Crisis book written by a veteran who was there, facing down the Soviet Army.

In September 1961 about 10,000 32nd Infantry Division Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard were alerted to an impending call-up and then ordered to report to active duty at Fort Lewis, Washington on October 15, 1961.

Berlin Crisis Veterans are invited to join us Saturday, October 15, 2011, in Camp Douglas, Wis., at the 32nd Infantry Brigade's headquarters for a special day to commemorate the selflessness, dedication and duty of these Wisconsin citizen-Soldiers 50 years ago. This event is NOT open to the general public.

October 15, 2011 at Volk Field, 12:00 - 16:00
Open House Museum & Equipment Displays, Brief Ceremony
Burgers Brats & Soft Drinks will be available
Veterans are encouraged to bring scrapbooks & memorabilia

If you are a Berlin Crisis Veteran and plan to attend this commemoration, please RSVP by September 21, 2011 to:
32ndBerlinCrisis@gmail.com OR
WI Army National Guard, JFHQ Public Affairs Office
Attn: Maj. Kurt Geifuss
2400 Wright St.
Madison, WI 53704-2572

Please send the following information:
Mobilized Unit
Contact Phone
Bringing a Guest? Y/N

USS New York to be in NYC to Commemorate 9/11

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced today that amphibious transport dock ship USS New York will travel to New York City to participate in numerous events throughout the city honoring the victims and responders from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Additionally, 170 members of the 9/11 Families Association, which includes families of victims and first responders, will embark the USS New York for the transit from Norfolk, Va., to New York Harbor.

 “I am grateful to the mayor and his office for their tremendous support this past month as we worked together to ensure the USS New York and her crew were able to represent the Navy in New York. Every member of the crew has a tremendous sense of mission and appreciation of the unique role their ship plays for the citizens of New York. She is an emblem of the strength and renewed spirit of a city that was damaged but never defeated. She and her crew belong with the family members of the victims and the first responders in New York City on the tenth anniversary of 9-11,” said Mabus.

 “With the steel from the World Trade Center in her bow, the USS New York represents a powerful symbol of the deeply personal connection that New Yorkers have with our military and is a symbol of the courage and resilience of our nation,” said Bloomberg. “She helps protect the freedoms that make this the world’s most diverse and tolerant city and we are honored to welcome the men and women of the USS New York back to our city.”

The ship is scheduled to be pier side in Manhattan Sept. 8-9 and will anchor in the Hudson River Sept. 10-12. On Sept. 11, the USS New York will move from its anchorage in the Hudson River to a location within sight of the World Trade Center. Members of all branches of the military, including Navy and Marine Corps service members from the USS New York, will participate in the honor guard during the city’s commemoration ceremony.

The USS New York is the sixth U.S. Navy ship to be named to honor the state of New York. Her bow stem includes seven and a half tons of steel recovered and re-forged from the World Trade Center’s twin towers. The ship features many design elements and furnishings throughout her interior that serve as tributes to the events of 9/11. The ship’s motto is “Strength forged through sacrifice. Never forget.”

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. For more information on amphibious dock ships, visit http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=600&ct=4 .

Panetta to Visit 9/11 Attack Site

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2011 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will spend today honoring those killed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, as he travels to New York.

A planned visit later in the day to the field near Shanksville, Pa., where United Flight 93 crashed after passengers struggled with hijackers for control of the aircraft was cancelled due to weather.

The secretary will visit ground zero in lower Manhattan, where hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 into the two towers of the World Trade Center.

The secretary will travel with five service members – one each from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard - who joined the military since 9/11, Douglas B. Wilson, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, said.

They are:

-- Army Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Celko, who enlisted in the Army in 2004 and deployed twice with the 10th Mountain Division’s 4th Base Support Team Battalion out of Fort Polk, La. During his first deployment to Afghanistan in 2006, Celko's unit conducted route reconnaissance and clearance operations in Ghazni province from forward operating bases Wolverine and Warrior. His primary role was a M240B gunner. During his Iraq deployment from November 2007 to January 2009, he was squad leader and a Husky vehicle driver operating from Forward Operating Base Loyalty, east of Baghdad. He is from Middlesex, N.J.

-- Navy Lt. Adam C. Jones, who enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy in 2002 and earned his commission in 2006. His was the first class to enroll after 9/11. He was selected to the surface warfare community and served two tours: the first aboard the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge, and the second as an electronic warfare officer deployed with the 2-1 Calvary Brigade in Kirkuk, Iraq. He is from Annapolis, Md.

-- Marine Corps Sgt. Carlos A. Tovar, who enlisted in March 2008. He deployed to Iraq in January 2009, where he served with the Marine Transport and Refueler Squadron 252. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, he became a U.S. citizen while serving in the Marine Corps. He is from Orlando, Fla., and is a 1st degree black belt in martial arts.

-- Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Gutierrez Jr., who enlisted in 2002 following graduation from Southwestern Community College. He deployed to Africa in support of Marine and Navy special operations elements, and twice to Afghanistan, where he was responsible for directing airstrikes in support of Army Special Forces. Gutierrez received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and was selected as one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year in 2010. He was wounded by enemy fire on his second deployment. He is from Chula Vista, Calif.

-- Coast Guard Lt. Nikea L. Natteal, who graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2006 as part of the first class to enroll following 9/11. She has served aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, homeported in Alameda, Calif., where she participated in the seizure of illegal fishing vessels. She also has served as an intelligence watch and warning officer in support of Coast Guard surface assets serving under the direction of the Navy's 6th Fleet, and has overseen intelligence operations during Operation Southeast Watch following the earthquake in Haiti. She is from Yuma, Ariz.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to join Panetta at ground zero, where the two will tour the Sept. 11 memorial, scheduled for unveiling on the attack’s 10th anniversary. Panetta later will tour the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania, also set for unveiling Sept. 11.

Both memorials are closed to media representatives until family members of 9/11 victims visit the sites before the unveilings, Wilson said. While in New York, the secretary is scheduled to have lunch with members of Helmets to Hardhats, an organization that works to connect veterans with construction jobs, he added.

Panetta’s visit to the attack sites is meant to serve as a remembrance of those who perished in the attacks, to emphasize the concept of service to the nation, and to honor those, both uniformed and civilian, who have served the nation over the last 10 years, Wilson said.

In Panetta’s view, “This generation of men and women in uniform, like previous generations, has stepped forward – and the country is better as a result,” Wilson said.

Panetta will follow today’s visits to the crash sites by participating throughout the week in several other events commemorating the 9/11 attacks, Wilson said.

All Sortied Ships Returned to Hampton Roads

From Commander, U.S. Second Fleet Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- All U.S. Second Fleet surface ships and submarines that sortied in advance of Hurricane Irene have returned safely to their piers by Sept. 2 in Hampton Roads.

In all, 27 surface ships and submarines sortied from Naval Station Norfolk and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story joining 11 other Second Fleet assets already at sea Aug. 25, as a precaution against potential damage from Hurricane Irene.

The ships began a staggered return Aug. 30, with the remaining ships returning to Norfolk Sept. 2. Throughout the sortie and return, Second Fleet worked closely with many various commands and agencies in the Hampton Roads area to ensure a successful and safe evolution. U.S. Fleet Forces Command, U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Naval Station Norfolk, Carrier Strike Groups 8 and 10, Expeditionary Strike Group 2, Naval Ship Support Activity, and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2 all played key roles throughout the sortie and return.

"As prudent mariners, we safely and expeditiously sortied the fleet," said Commander, U.S. Second Fleet Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway. "Remainnig prudent mariners, we stayed focused until the last ship was moored to ensure that everyone returned home just as safely as we sortied."

During the sortie, a total of 28 ships whose maintenance status prevented them from taking part in the sortie required a safe haven berth. Safe havens are pre-designated berths that offer better protection against weather conditions than would a general pier. Eleven ships were moved to safe havens, while 14 ships' berths were already designated as safe haven berths and the remaing three ships returned from sea to seek a safe haven berth. On Aug. 30 ships that had been moved to safe havens began being transported back to their normal berthing piers beginning with the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65).

The fleet conducted a staggered return to ensure maximum safety to the fleet, the channel and the maritime infrastructure in the Hampton Roads area.

Holloway said that although the last ship coming back to Norfolk marks the end of the Hurricane Irene sortie, the lessons learned are far from over. "With the peak of hurricane season still upon us, it's imperative that we maintain our readiness both with our fleet and our families so that we are fully prepared to handle any future storms between now and the end of hurricane season " said Holloway.

Navy Helps with Cincinnati's Walking School Bus

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Davis Anderson, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

CINCINNATI (NNS) -- Sailors from the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Cincinnati helped students in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati get to school Aug. 31 during one of the community service events at Cincinnati Navy Week 2011.

The program, called the Walking School Bus, is a way for teachers, faculty and parents of children in Cincinnati Public Schools to make sure that the children safely make it to and from school.

"We had a lot of students who were walking to school by themselves, unsupervised," said Cheron Reid, principal at Rockwood Academy in Avondale. "We said, 'Something has to be done.'"

What they did was take an existing program and make it their own.

"The Ohio Department of Transportation had the Safe Routes to Schools, it had never been implemented in public schools, so we figured we would be the first pilot school to do it," said Reid. "The school board and the district were right on board with us. The parents were on board and it's been taking off ever since."

Everybody involved was excited to see representatives from the Navy out helping with the Walking School Bus. "Oh, it was wonderful," said Reid. "If we could have the Navy every day it would be even better. It was awesome to see them out in the community, the community responded very well to them."

This community relations event is just one area where the Navy is able to help in the community in addition to all of the humanitarian assistance they offer around the world.

"It was nice having the Navy here, just that extra reinforcement that lets the community know it's bigger than just Avondale," said Reid. "This is an issue across the world, where children are not making it to school safe. It's a very harsh world and to have [the Navy] out there supporting what we're doing - it's powerful."

The children, teachers and Sailors had a good time walking to school.

"Most of them thought we were the police, because I guess, we're in uniform and everything," said Builder 2nd Class Theodore Berry from NOSC Cincinnati, "but other than that, they had fun."

This event gave the Sailors stationed at the NOSC several opportunities, such as helping the community they live in and showing the greater Cincinnati community their desire and willingness to make the region a better place.