Friday, September 09, 2011

White House Chooses Four Service Members As Fellows

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2011 – The White House Fellows Program was created in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to give promising American leaders “first- hand, high-level experience with the workings of the federal government, and to increase their sense of participation in national affairs,” according to a White House press release.

The program provides those selected with an opportunity to work within the U.S. government, and it is intended to encourage active citizenship and a lifelong commitment to service.

Education and community service also are key components of the fellowship program. Each fellow must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute meaningfully at senior levels in the federal government.

Throughout its history, the program has fostered leaders in many fields, including government, business, media, medicine, education, diplomacy and the military.

Air Force Lt. Col. Rodney Lewis, a C-17A pilot and commander of the 4th Airlift Squadron, will spend his fellowship at the White House.

Lewis was directly responsible for the Defense Department’s only Prime Nuclear Airlift Force, which handles the nation's most sensitive cargo and provides tactically qualified C-17A crews who stand ready to airdrop combat troops and supplies anywhere in the world.

In 2010, Lewis was awarded the Air Force Association National Medal of Merit for his work supporting children with medical problems in the Pilot for a Day program. He is a native of Oklahoma City, Okla.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Theodore Johnson is an information warfare officer who recently served as a military professor at the U.S. Naval War College, where he taught cyberspace and information operations.

Johnson, who will spend his fellowship at the Energy Department, deployed in 2007 with Expeditionary Strike Group SEVEN in support of Operation Sea Angel II, the disaster relief response to Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. He hails from from Raleigh, N.C.

Army Maj. Jaron Wharton most recently served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he was a special assistant to the undersecretary of defense for policy where he served as a liaison to the president’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Wharton will serve his fellowship with the U.S. Agency for International Development. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academyand a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonprofit think tank. , He is from Birmingham, Ala.

Lt. Clay Pell is a Coast Guard judge advocate general. Pell executes regular Coast Guard exchanges with China to improve military diplomacy, instructs courses on human rights and military justice, and has prosecuted crimes for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Prior to military service, Pell worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, and international law firms.

Pell helped lead a national campaign to increase funding for inexpensive, lifesaving medicines for children under five, and has supported Progreso Latino, the International Institute, and the China Working Group in their drive to instruct foreign languages in local schools and provide critical services to communities of new Americans.

Pell, who is fluent in Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic and studied law in China and Argentina, will undertake his fellowship at the White House. He is a native of Providence, R.I.

Selection as a White House Fellow is highly competitive and based on a record of professional achievement, evidence of leadership potential, and a proven commitment to public service, White House officials said in a released statement.

Naval Academy Mids Contribute to Humanitarian Mission

By Jessica Clark, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Five U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen participated in the humanitarian assistance mission Continuing Promise 2011 ending Sept. 6 while embarked with Military Sealift Command's hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20).

Midshipmen 1st Class Matthew Milam, Amadeo Deluca-Westrate, Andrew Marthy, David Hoang, and Jacob Cole - all medical corps applicants - embarked aboard Comfort at different times throughout the five-month mission.

The hospital ship brought medical, dental and civic action programs to nine Caribbean, Central and South American countries during the deployment. The humanitarian operation offered training for U.S. military personnel and partner nation forces while providing valuable services to communities in need.

This was the sixth humanitarian-focused naval deployment, designed to promote partnerships and goodwill throughout the region, since 2007.

The midshipmen started out rotating through a variety of shipboard departments, including surgery, nursing, sick bay, and the operation room, observing the daily work of the medical staff on board.

Eventually, the midshipmen began to regularly accompany medical personnel who were going ashore every day to see patients at medical sites out in town. They were each paired with a doctor and spent the whole day, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., observing treatments and helping where they could, said Milam, a native of Memphis, Tenn.

In addition to observing the doctors at work, the mids performed basic skills like taking blood pressure and vital signs and escorted patients throughout the site. While Continuing Promise visited multiple Spanish-speaking countries, the language barrier didn't present much of a problem, said Milam.

"I was still able to get around. The language barrier was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be," he said. "I was able to interact with the children and other patients."

For Miram, his participation in the deployment offered a good chance to see the operational side of Navy medicine, something that interested him even before he came to the academy.

"The people I met were incredible. I met a lot of Navy doctors, but also doctors from all over the world," he said. "It's comforting to see that their level of medicine is really just the same as ours. They're excellent doctors."

Miram appreciated the opportunity to work with foreign militaries in a high-stress environment.

"Sometimes the patients would come in and there would just be nothing we could do for them. It was difficult to see them struggle because we either didn't have the resources on board or didn't have enough time to treat them," Miram said. "That was the most difficult and the most eye-opening part."

The Navy's medical officer program is highly competitive. Of the 22 midshipmen applying for the program, only 10 will be approved. Whether he makes it into the program this time around or not, Milam plans to be a Navy doctor someday.

"If it doesn't work out, I'll do whatever else they want me to do and see if I can transfer into the program later," said Milam.