Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dempsey Settles in as Chairman Behind MacArthur’s Desk

Discover some of the best World War Two books written by brave veterans who fought across Europe, Africa, and the Pacific.

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2011 – Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took some time today, his first Monday on the job, to speak with Pentagon reporters.

The session was off the record, but it yielded some insights about the 18th chairman his staff agreed could be made public.

-- Individual military awards and honors are represented by ribbons worn on the left side on the uniform. Dempsey’s official portrait shows eight rows of such awards, but the chairman wears only two rows. These are his joint awards and his highest Army awards, he said. Dempsey will wear his full complement of ribbons for official ceremonial occasions, but otherwise prefers to follow the precedent set by Gen. George C. Marshall, former Army chief of staff, secretary of state and the third secretary of defense. A World War I hero, Marshall helped to run World War II from Washington and wore only one row of ribbons, Dempsey said, as a reminder to look ahead at coming challenges rather than back at past achievements.

-- Speaking of Marshall, Dempsey has an original oil painting of the general -- recovered from “some repository” of historical military art and objects -- in his office. The painting is larger than life-size and hangs so that the chairman can see it clearly from his desk.

-- The desk in Dempsey’s office, which looks to measure at least a hefty 4 by 6 feet, is the same one Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur used in the Philippines during World War Two. In his office at home, the chairman said, he has a desk formerly used by Army Gen. Omar Bradley, the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

-- On MacArthur’s desk is an item distinctly Dempsey’s: a wooden box that holds laminated cards the chairman had made when he commanded 1st Armored Division during its 2003-2004 deployment to Iraq. The cards each bear the photo, personal and family information for a division solider killed in action there. The box has “Make it matter” carved on its lid. This, Dempsey said, was the phrase he used to console grieving troops during the memorial services for their fallen fellow soldiers.

-- Dempsey said that after he was confirmed as chairman but while still serving as the Army chief of staff, he visited the economics department at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He was seeking expert opinions to help him manage effectively in what Pentagon leaders have for more than a year called a “constrained budget environment.” Dempsey heard from senior economics professors, as well as “young majors” with doctorate degrees fresh from the London School of Economics and from Georgetown University here. The visit was interesting and informative, Dempsey said, and each expert had an opinion as to how best to tackle budget issues. As the Defense Department’s budget strategy unfolds, the chairman said, it will, in part, be “art, not science.”

DCoE TBI Expert Participates in Live Webcast to Veterans

Discover the best Vietnam War books written by Vietnam War veterans!

By Robyn Mincher, DCoE Strategic Communications

Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) subject matter expert Kathy Helmick participated in a live webcast hosted by USVets.tv September 30. Helmick, DCoE deputy director for traumatic brain injury, was part of a panel on traumatic brain injury (TBI), which focused on symptoms, prevention, treatment and progression of TBI care along with Dr. Vicky Youcha, director of Brainline.org, and Dr. Dan Budenz, founder of Online Rehab Clinic.

Because a large part of the USVets.tv audience includes Vietnam veterans, the panel discussed how some TBI cases were not treated because little was known about TBI during the time of the conflict.

“As we read history books and documentation of previous references to ‘shell shock,’ one would wonder if [they were] concussion related,” Helmick said. “We now have the capability to learn so much about concussion sustained during combat that it would be a shame to let this important time pass without filling these gaps of knowledge.”

A TBI may still be difficult for many service members to recognize. According to Helmick, there are guidelines to help service members remove some of the guess work.

“When a service member is exposed to a potentially concussive event, they’re now required to have a mandatory evaluation,” she said. “This, along with education, has transformed our culture [so] everyone can have detection capabilities.”

Helmick spoke about the progression of TBI care, which now includes in-theater telehealth capabilities for early detection.

“Technology has allowed us to communicate with a provider [remotely] so that the service member can stay as close to their unit as possible,” she said. “Unit cohesion is important to avoid co-occurring conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The panel also discussed the challenges military families face as they care for a service member with TBI. Helmick identified the Family Caregiver Curriculum, created by Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), a DCoE component center, as a helpful resource for families and caregivers.

Youcha, with Brainline.org and Brainlinemilitary.org, listed the tools available on the DVBIC and DCoE websites as helpful to get more information about TBI prevention, detection and care.

“People can access information at their fingertips anonymously, such as fact sheets, clinical practice guidelines and videos of those coping with a TBI,” Youcha said.

Resources available through the two centers include the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Pocket Guide, a quick reference, all-encompassing diagnostic tool for providers, as well as the Co-occurring Conditions Toolkit, a comprehensive clinical guidance tool to help providers assess and manage patients with TBI and psychological health concerns. DCoE also has a comprehensive TBI Information Sheet providing data and resources on TBI and a DVBIC Information Sheet, containing Department of Defense statistics on TBI throughout the military.

USS Denver Conducts Replenishment at Sea

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Casey H. Kyhl, Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs

USS DENVER, At Sea (NNS) -- The forward-deployed amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) conducted a replenishment at sea (RAS) with the Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE 9) in the Philippine Sea Oct. 3.

The ship received more than 160,000 gallons of diesel fuel marine and 25 pallets of supplies during the ship's first-ever RAS with the Matthew Perry. This was Denver's first RAS in more than eight months.

"Today's evolution went very well," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Elvis M. Acosta. "It's been a long time since our last RAS, so the training and safety briefs we conducted beforehand really paid off for us."

The design of the Matthew Perry allowed it to refuel and re-supply Denver and the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) simultaneously by way of connected and vertical replenishment.

"A lot of Sailors and Marines worked together to get all of our supplies on board today," said Logistics Specialist 1st Class (SW) Gilbert A. Raquino. "The weather delayed our progress but, once we got going, everything was done quickly and safely."

Conducting a RAS allows ships to continue their mission indefinitely without pulling into port.

"Many of the Marines that assisted us with the fuel transfer had never participated in this type of evolution," said Acosta. "Despite the challenges, everybody stepped up, did their job and worked together to make this RAS a success."

Denver is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group which reports to Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.

A Conversation with Politico Columnist - Mr Roger Simon

No one understands politics like Roger Simon, Chief Political Columnist for Politico! Mr. Simon will be our guest on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show with MoJoe this Sunday the 9th of October at 5 pm ET.

Mr. Simon grew up on the South Side of Chicago where politics was a contact sport. At the Chicago Sun-Times, where he wrote a column four times per week, Simon was taught that the only way for a journalist to look upon a politician was down. He admits he now fights against that impulse daily.

Roger calls ‘em as he sees ‘em, straight up the middle giving a view from a lay person's perspective.

And what a perspective it is. From Chicago to Saudi Arabia, from Lebanon to Egypt, Israel, South Africa and now his view from his perch in Washington, DC, Simon has seen it all!
He’ll be giving us his straight up the middle view of today’s political climate on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show with MoJoe, Sunday, October 9, 5 pm ET.