Sunday, October 02, 2011

Miramar Air Show Commemorates Centennial of Naval Aviation

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Matthew Olay, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

MIRAMAR, Calif. (NNS) -- Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar opened its gates to three-quarters of a million members of the local San Diego community Sept. 30 - Oct. 2 for the facility's annual air show.

Themed "A Salute to San Diego: Birthplace of Naval Aviation 1911 - 2011", the show focused on this year's Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) by highlighting how far military aviation (specifically that of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) has advanced during the past century.

"The Miramar Air Show is an excellent example of the Centennial of Naval Aviation. It's a tri-service celebration," said Lt. Harriet Johnson, a Naval aviator and protocol officer for the CoNA. "All three of the sea services go through the same flight training, so [this event] shows our mutual heritage and history that we've gone through."

As with each year, the air show featured a wide variety of airborne flight demonstrations from an assortment of Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, as well as demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team. The U.S Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Team rounded out each day's performance with their signature demonstration of aerial agility, and the Marine Air-Ground Task Force provided the crowd with a dynamic ground and air pyrotechnic mock-combat demonstration.

Away from the main flight line, there were also a number of static aircraft displays for attendees to view. As this year's show commemorated the CoNA, air show organizers worked hard to bring a great deal of vintage Navy and Marine Corps planes from around the U.S. to be put on display.

"We don't have a lot of civilian aircraft out here this year, and that was by design," said Lt. Col. D.R. Lingman, MCAS Miramar's operations officer. "We wanted to illustrate 100 years of military aviation, [to honor] the people that build these great machines that we fly, and to show that this is the progression from where we were to where we're going."

For spectators like area resident Ty Phillips, the air show did not disappoint.

"It's amazing," he said. "It's my first time here, and I have to praise our military because they do an amazing job every day, and I thank them."

Johnson said that the CoNA isn't simply a military milestone.

"It's a milestone of the entire United States," she said. "The military services are all a representation of our country and of our public, so it's important to show the American public who we are, what we're doing, and to thank them for our history and heritage."

Battaglia Takes Oath as Chairman’s Enlisted Advisor

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

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va., Sept. 30, 2011 – Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey administered the oath of office to Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia here today to serve as his senior enlisted advisor.

Dempsey, who hours earlier took the oath of office to become the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted the assumption of office ceremony to swear in Battaglia as the second noncommissioned officer to hold the position.

“I’m here today because of the support and guidance that I received from noncommissioned officers,” Dempsey said. “I had a great education at West Point, and I had a great group of officer mentors through the years. But whenever I look back at the moments of greatest learning in my career, there was generally a noncommissioned officer in there someplace.”

Battaglia will serve as the principal military advisor to the chairman and to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on all matters involving the joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force and joint development for enlisted personnel, officials in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

“Sergeant Major Bryan Battaglia is the right guy, at the right place, at the right time,” Dempsey said. “We [have] some challenges coming up,” he added, noting that Battaglia had served as senior enlisted leader at U.S. Joint Forces Command.

In addition to his work at Joint Forces Command, Dempsey said, Battaglia is widely known as an advocate for junior Marines.

“He was well known throughout the Marine Corps as always being in the corner of his young Marines,” Dempsey said. “At the end of the day, if we’re to maintain our trust with the force, it’s going to take that kind of reputation. We’ve all got to have a reputation for being in the corner of those young men and women who we ask to leave the safety of their homes, raise their right hand, swear an oath, and then go out and do the nation’s bidding.”

Noting his multiple deployments and extensive operational knowledge, Dempsey welcomed Battaglia’s experience.

“He’s a warrior -- a leader who can walk with kings … but has the common touch,” he said. “He’s also a combat-tested veteran who was the senior enlisted person in al-Anbar Province several times, and of course, that’s maybe where our toughest fighting, certainly in Iraq, and arguably, in this entire war, has taken place,” Dempsey said.

The chairman said Battaglia has been described to him as the kind of man a commanding general needs in his corner – “one who will tell you straight up what you need to know.”

Battaglia said that as Dempsey’s enlisted advisor, he plans to let his actions speak for him.

“Rather than stand before you today and go through a lineage of promises or job descriptions of what I can do, … actions speak louder than words,” he said.

Battaglia thanked the many mentors who helped him along the way and the chairman for giving him an opportunity.

“Thank you, General Dempsey, for your trust and confidence in my abilities to serve this office. … You have my total commitment to the total force,” he said.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. William J. “Joe” Gainey – who served then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace as senior enlisted advisor from Oct. 1, 2005, until he retired in April 2008 -- was the first service member to hold the position.

Obama Praises Mullen, Welcomes Dempsey as Chairman

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

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama today lauded Navy Adm. Mike Mullen during a hail and farewell ceremony here that featured the transfer of responsibilities as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Mullen to Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.

 “Mike, as you look back [at] your four consequential years as chairman and your four decades in uniform, [rest] assured our military is stronger and our nation more secure because of the service you have rendered,” Obama told Mullen at the event held at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia.

Obama highlighted the nation’s achievements during Mullen’s tenure.

“Today, we have renewed American leadership in the world,” the president said. “We’ve strengthened our alliances, including NATO. We’re leading again in Asia, and we forged a new treaty with Russia to reduce our nuclear arsenals.”

The president recognized Mullen for leading a new generation of service members brought forth by the events of 9/11.

“Today, we see the remarkable achievements of our 9/11 generation of service members,” Obama said. “They’ve given Iraqis a chance to determine their own future. They’ve pushed the Taliban out of their Afghan strongholds and finally put al-Qaida on the path to defeat.

“Meanwhile, our forces have responded to sudden crisis with compassion, as in Haiti, and with precision, as in Libya,” Obama added. “And it will be long remembered that our troops met these tests on Admiral Mullen’s watch and under his leadership.”

Obama observed that America is moving forward from a position of strength as Mullen retires and hands the chairmanship to Dempsey.

“Fewer of our sons and daughters are in harm’s way and more will come home,” the president said. “Our soldiers can look forward to shorter deployments, more time with their families and more time training for future missions.

“Put simply, despite the stresses and strains of a hard decade of war, the military that Admiral Mullen passes to General Dempsey today is the best that it has ever been,” the president added.

Obama talked about recent DOD policy changes, such as allowing women to serve aboard submarines and the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“Soon women will report for duty on our submarines and patriotic service members who are gay and lesbians no longer have to lie about who they are to serve the country that they love,” he said.

“History will record that the tipping point towards this progress came when the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff went before Congress and told the nation that it was the right thing to do,” Obama said.

With the change of responsibility, Obama said the mantle of leadership now passes to Dempsey, who the president hailed as one of the nation’s most respected and combat-tested generals.

“Marty, after a lifetime of service I thank you, Deanie, Chris, Megan and Caitlin for answering the call to serve once more,” Obama said to Dempsey and his family. “In this sense, today begins to complete the transition to our new military leadership team.”

Obama also spoke to some of the challenges the U.S. military faces during difficult fiscal times.

“We still have much to do,” the president said. “From bringing the rest of our troops home from Iraq this year, to transitioning to Afghan lead for their own security, from defeating al-Qaida, to our most solemn obligation -- taking care of forces, and their families, when they go to war and when they come home.”

The president, who pledged to maintain America’s national security, expressed gratitude for Mullen’s four decades of service.

“The United States of America and our armed forces will remain the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known,” Obama said. “As we salute Mike Mullen as an exemplar of this spirit, we salute him for a life of patriotic service.

“Mike, thank you from a grateful nation,” the president said.

Missouri Guard members provide medical services in Dominican Republic

By Jennifer Archdekin
Missouri National Guard

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (10/01/11) - Reaching out beyond the U.S. borders, Citizen-Soldiers with the 205th Area Support Medical Company recently completed six rotations serving impoverished areas of the Dominican Republic.

Over the span of five months, 42 Soldiers rotated every two weeks to the city of Mao for overseas training. The unit supported a larger medical operation for the U.S. Southern Command, which is one of nine unified combatant commands in the Department of Defense.

Overall, the humanitarian medical mission provided vaccinations, dental services and veterinarian services for the underdeveloped areas in the vicinity of Mao, while also building two hospitals in the community. Specifically, the Missouri Guard members took care of medical needs of U.S. and Dominican troops and DoD civilians while they served the local citizens.

The medical company is designed to provide assistance when needed, such as evaluating and transporting casualties, as well as stabilizing them for further treatment.

The exercise included both Army and Army Reserve components, as well as National Guard troops from other states.

Throughout the course of the mission there was an average of 250 U.S. troops serving at any given time. This was the first mission of its kind for the medical company to take part in.

While fulfilling their two-week annual training obligation as Guard members do, this operation allowed the Citizen-Soldiers to not only learn, but also reach out and help others one-on-one.

“To be able to truly go out and go somewhere to take care of other people in another country and see the scale of this mission is unbelievable,” said Army Staff Sgt. Dwayne Washington, readiness noncommissioned officer.

Though serving in another country may be rewarding, it also posed additional challenges.

“You practically had to learn a new language in order to treat the Soldiers,” Washington said. “Being in a Third World country where we’re not the dominating factor, we had to go into their culture and learn their culture.”

Seeing the children that were positively affected by the mission meant the world to Washington and the other troops.

“It meant a lot to actually see the little children and provide them water and medical assistance,” said Washington. “You knew they truly never had it before and would be benefit from it.”