Military News

Thursday, October 20, 2011

64 Sailors Caught Illegally Using or Distributing Designer-drug Spice

From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors from three commands have recently been investigated and identified as using the designer drug Spice, officials from U.S. 3rd Fleet announced Oct. 20.

The use of synthetic drugs in the Navy, to include Spice, is illegal, and the Navy continues to aggressively investigate the use of synthetic drugs and hold those in violation accountable.

"The Navy's policy on drug abuse is simple and clear - zero tolerance," said Vice Adm. Gerald R. Beaman, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. "Drug abuse puts lives and missions at risk and undercuts unit readiness and morale. The use of synthetic drugs, to include Spice, is illegal and the Navy continues to aggressively investigate the use of synthetic drugs and hold those in violation accountable."

Eleven Sailors from USS San Francisco (SSN 711) and three Sailors from floating dry dock Arco (ARDM 5) received non-judicial punishment in the past month for using the designer drug Spice, and two others were found to have used other illegal drugs. Of those, six Sailors also admitted to cocaine use, and one was found to have used methamphetamines. All are being processed for separation in accordance with the Navy's zero tolerance policy. One additional Sailor from USS San Francisco continues to be investigated on a possible distribution charge.

Forty-nine Sailors have been identified from the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) connected to the sale, possession, or use of Spice. The alleged ring includes two distributors, one middle man, and 46 users. Of the 49 suspects, eight have been administratively separated for prior drug use identified via the command urinalysis program and three have already been separated for non-misconduct related reasons. While the investigation remains open, the two distributors and the middle man continue to be investigated for possible legal action, and the other identified Sailors remain subject to appropriate disciplinary action and administrative processing.

"Our Sailors must understand the dangers and consequences of using drugs -- substance abuse risks the lives of shipmates and erodes readiness," said Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "I need my Sailors to be ready for any tasking. Shipmates must watch out for shipmates and spread the word that this behavior is absolutely inconsistent with our Navy core values of honor, courage, and commitment. Abusers will be caught."

The Navy has a series of measures in place to educate Sailors about the perils of drug use and dependency; to deter them from ruining their professional careers and personal lives by choosing to use drugs; and an aggressive program to detect drugs in the unlikely event a Sailor decides to use them.

By holding Sailors accountable for drug abuse, the Navy better protects and retains the overwhelming majority of Sailors who conduct themselves honorably. The Navy continues to actively investigate suspected illicit and designer drug use and possession. If it is determined that additional Sailors have used drugs, those Sailors will be held accountable and if appropriate, processed for separation.

On March 1, 2011, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) exercised its emergency scheduling authority to control five chemicals used to make Spice and other "fake-pot" type products.

32nd "Red Arrow" Division, Brigade commemorate Berlin Crisis

By Staff Sgt. Michelle Gonzalez
112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Approximately 150 veterans of the 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry Division and their guests joined Wisconsin National Guard leaders and Soldiers assigned to the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team at the 32nd Brigade headquarters in Camp Williams, Wis., Saturday (Oct. 15) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the year-long deployment spent in preparation for the 1961 Berlin Crisis.

The commemoration included historical displays, video footage from the mobilization, modern equipment displays, scrapbook sharing and culminated with a ceremony.

For many veterans, the event was an opportunity to reconnect with fellow service members and share their deployment experience from five decades ago to friends, family and current Red Arrow Guardsmen.

"I like to see the guys and reminisce," said Maum Rollie, a Soldier assigned to the 32nd Division's 732nd Ordinance Company from Tomah, Wis., as he looked over a display recounting a train crash he was a part of.

"There are so many of my friends in the 32nd who are gone," said George Rosholt, a mail clerk for Company A, 3rd Battle Group of the 127th Infantry from Milwaukee. "I'm lucky to be standing here today."

In September 1961, the 32nd Division received notice of possibly serving one year of active duty. The division began mobilizing October 15 of that year and reported to Fort Lewis, Wash., to train.

By February 1962, the division was declared Strategic Army Corps which meant the 32nd Division was prepared for joint Army and Air Force deployments to any trouble spot in the world on short notice.

"For that year, it was hell on earth for some Soldiers but after it all we were ready to deploy at a moment's notice," Rosholt said. "The Cuban Missile crisis happened shortly after the Berlin Crisis and I thought we'd be called again," he added.

During the ceremony, Wisconsin Guard leadership spoke to the differences between 1961 and 2011 Red Arrow Soldiers and applauded the service of 32nd Division veterans.

"Just like you did 50 years ago, Soldiers spend up to nine months on the ground executing the most difficult missions then come home and reintegrate like you did," said Col. Martin Seifer, 32nd Brigade commander. "They try to explain to their family and friends why they wanted to go back and in some cases why they even considered to serve."

"What you did was magnificent," said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin. "I'm proud to be associated with you. I'm proud to stand here with you and I thank you for your service."

NAVFAC Southeast Awards $542.8 Million to Small Businesses

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From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast exceeded all assigned small business goals for the third consecutive year by awarding $542.8 million in prime contracts to small businesses during fiscal year (FY) 2011, which closed out Sept. 30.

"This demonstrates the command's continuing commitment to ensure maximum practicable opportunity is made for Small Businesses" said NAVFAC Southeast Deputy for Small Business Nelson Smith. "This has been an amazing team effort, and I'm proud to be part of an organization that chooses Small Business as the first option for our contracting requirements".

The amount awarded to small businesses represents over 55 percent of the command's prime contracting dollars. The "small business" breakdown includes: Small Disadvantaged Businesses received $389.2 million (39.9 percent), Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) $146.5 million (15 percent), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) $54.4 million (5.6 percent), and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) $129.8 million (13.3 percent).

Smith said these achievements significantly exceed the statutorily mandated goals of 23 percent for Small Business, 5 percent each for SDB and WOSB, and 3 percent for HUBZone and SDVOSB. Additionally, $155.9 million (16 percent) was awarded to Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.
Maximum practicable utilization of small business concerns is a matter of national interest with both social and economic benefits. America's 27 million small businesses employ more that 58 percent of the private work force, generate more than 51 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, and are the principal source of new jobs.

Stratcom Chief Discusses U.S. Nuclear Triad

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2011 – While 10 years of war have focused the military on conventional weapons, the nation’s nuclear force is in need of attention, a senior officer told Defense Writers Group reporters yesterday.

Air Force Gen. C. Robert “Bob” Kehler leads U.S. Strategic Command, which with its subordinate and functional commands is responsible for missile defense; global strike; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; cyber defense and space operations, as well as combating weapons of mass destruction.

Stratcom’s nuclear mission is one of its “big three” responsibilities, along with space and cyber, Kehler said.

The U.S. nuclear triad includes 450 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic missiles deliverable by 76 Air Force B-52s and 20 B-2s, and 18 Navy Ohio-class submarines carrying ballistic or cruise missiles.

While sustaining current systems is an immediate issue, the triad also needs to be modernized in the coming decades, Kehler said, noting the Ohio-class submarine fleet likely will reach the end of its service life in the late 2020s.

“That will come because of reasons that the Navy understands well about operating platforms that are constantly subjected to [pressure variations],” he said. “We’re going to have to make some decisions … [that will] require us to have some modernization programs in place.”

All three of the triad legs “need to be sustained … until replacements come along. And, of course, the replacements are being discussed in the budget discussions, as well,” Kehler said.

The Air Force plans to replace the B-52 fleet with a long-range strike platform or family of systems, which Air Force leaders have said would center on a new long-range, penetrating bomber, a global strike system, a long-range standoff weapon, and an enabler system.

Stratcom’s chief said his organization has set three requirements for the new system: it must be truly long range; it must be able to penetrate defenses; and it must serve as both a conventional and a nuclear platform.

While Stratcom has not set a specific intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance requirement for the new system, Kehler said, the value of a platform that can both drop bombs and gather intelligence is clear.

“The more flexibility that we can include in platforms today, the better,” he said.

Over the course of its active service with the Air Force beginning in 1955, the B-52 has served as a platform for conventional bombs, smart weapons and nuclear weapons, he said.

The current challenge is sustaining the B-52 as a standoff nuclear platform until a new long-range strike capability comes on line, Kehler said.

What aircraft or missiles the Air Force will ultimately select and fund for future long-range strike missions still is under discussion, he added.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has been clear that he wants defense budget decisions to be based on strategy, and planning discussions now underway are taking that approach, Kehler said.

“I continue to stand by the need for a triad; certainly in the near term, I believe that we can sustain a triad,” the general said. “I think there are going to be interesting questions about both the scope and pace of modernization as we go forward.”

The U.S.-Russia strategic arms reduction treaty known as “New START” that took effect this year sets nuclear force ceilings at 1,550 deployed weapons and 750 deployed launchers, Kehler noted.

“In that structure, I believe a triad of forces makes the most strategic … [and] operational sense,” he said. “As we look into the strategic future, the answer about whether or not we’re going to need a triad, I think, is ‘it depends.’”

Future arms control agreements, force structure and budget levels will factor into the decision of whether to reduce the triad, he said.

“Can we, in fact, as we look to modernize … afford to spend the resources to modernize the entire triad? Those are not all questions for today,” Kehler said.

A viable nuclear force requires sufficient force structure, expertise, and industrial-base support for weapons, he said.

“You can have a hollow nuclear force, and we need to be very careful about that,” he added.

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Recycle Center Kicks Off Energy Awareness

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

OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island hosted an Energy Awareness 2011 Kick-off event at the base recycle center, Oct. 19.

The kick-off promoted energy conservation education and awareness on recycling, as well as informing attendees of continual energy saving integrations implemented by the base.

In a brief statement, Capt. Jay Johnston, commanding officer at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island thanked the attendees for kicking off the event and highlighted Team Whidbey's achievements so far.

Highlights included the installation exceeding mandated 30 percent energy reduction ahead of the fiscal year 2015 time line; the installation is also well on its way to meeting the mandated 26 percent water reduction goal by the end of fiscal year 2020.

For fiscal year 2010, the combined energy and water cost to the installation was $4.9 million and energy projects awarded or under construction in fiscal year 2011 are a combined annual energy cost reduction of $566,000.

"It's the little things that make a difference in energy usage, and we call all to make the choice to do them and be a part of making a difference," said Johnston.

"Our goal here at the recycle center is to try to be at a point where we are 100 percent waste-free; our goal is zero waste by 2020," said Kassandra Gale, recycling office technician, NAS Whidbey Island recycle center.

NAS Whidbey Island's conservation efforts were recognized Oct. 12 in Washington D.C. at the Navy Memorial with a fiscal year 2010 SECNAV Platinum Level of Achievement, an award NAS Whidbey Island has achieved four years in a row.

"We have the vision, and where we are right now, we are at 77 percent for the fiscal year '11. It's the fifth year we had 77 percent recycling or better, so I'm happy about that," said Gale.

According to Gale, NAS Whidbey Island recycling efforts in FY11 alone saved 22,644 mature trees, 9,324,000 gallons of water, 3,996 cubic yards of land fill space, 2,664 barrels of oil, and 5,328,00 kilowatt hours of electricity.

"Recycling to me means a healthier lifestyle for me and my entire family. It keeps my house and my living situation cleaner, and it helps the environment," said Aviation Maintenance Administrationman Airman Stephen Anderson of Oak Harbor, Wash., assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Northwest (FRCNW). "I'm a nature buff; I've enjoyed the beauty of our beaches and the mountains of Washington, and I've seen a lot of trash along the way and stuff that are recyclable. That's why recycling and energy conservation and the disposal of household and hazardous materials is so important."

Today's event also served as the start of the countdown to America Recycles Day, November 15, celebrated annually since 1997.

Wisconsin National Guard celebrates opening of Guard Resilience University

By 1st Sgt. Vaughn R. Larson
Wisconsin National Guard

The celebration was ceremonial, but the reason for the celebration was significant.

"Today's ceremony represents the symbolic opening of the Guard Resilience University to all members of the Army National Guard," Lt. Col. Andrew Ratzlaff, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 426th Regional Training Institute - which operates the Army National Guard's very first resilience training facility - said Monday (Oct. 17).

Resilience in this sense is a method of coping with significant challenges, and was originally developed at the University of Pennsylvania to help teachers provide coping mechanisms to students. The U.S. Army began teaching resilience skills in recent years in response to an increased need for psychological aid among some Soldiers.

"What we're doing here is adapting to change again," said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin. "This is not some namby-pamby feel-good kind of experience. This is about readiness; this is about defending this country. This is about maintaining the courage that you and I are privileged to share in this uniform."

Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, director of the U.S. Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, praised the National Guard for embracing the concept of resilience and pursuing its own training facility, which officially opened at Fort McCoy in August and offers master resilience trainer courses for up to 60 students once per month.

"Is this part of pre- and post-deployment?" she asked. "No. Is this part of some kind of therapy? No. This is just making people more psychologically fit. Just as we would not wait until someone flunks a [physical fitness] test for them to become physically fit, why in the world would we wait until someone has some psychological crisis or some demonstration of bad coping to give them better psychological fitness?"

1st Sgt. John Peterson, from the Resilience Training Campus at Fort Sill, Okla., and a facilitator for the current master resilience trainer course at Guard Resilience University (GRU), said that teaching resiliency skills is not an indication that the Army is going soft.

"One of the first things I tell the Soldiers is resiliency is not leniency - it's a process," he explained. "The process is to make you better. Resilient is not a soft word, and they'll find out when they go through this course. It's mental agility, it's strength of character, it's understanding your values. There's nothing soft in those words."

Ratzlaff recounted how GRU began as a discussion in the back of the room where the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held.

"Little did we know the positive result we were about to set in motion," he said, crediting Maj. Sylvia Lopez and Sgt. 1st Class John Battista with the success of the master resilience trainer courses offered at the 426th. "Without their tireless efforts, networking skills and long hours, we would not be standing here today."

Lopez said that the ceremony represented the culmination of much hard work by many good people.

"You have to talk to a lot of different entities," she said of raising the idea of a National Guard-operated resilience training facility to the National Guard Bureau. "They all want the same things, but you need them on the same sheet of music to move forward. Everybody wants the same thing - it's just how do we get there?"

Lopez said that the resilience skills taught in the course were used to realize establishing GRU in Wisconsin. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch praised the end result.

"In the private sector we like to tell people that Wisconsin is open for business," she said. "It is truly an honor today to show that, in one more regard, Wisconsin is open for business and advancement when it comes to the resilience of our National Guard."

Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Kletzien of Battery A, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, completed the level 1 master resilience trainer course in August.

"It's something I believe in," he said, "something I want to be a part of. Overall, it makes you a better leader. You're able to look at situations differently and not jump to conclusions."

Peterson said that having resilience skills helps him know he's solving the right problems.

"It's easy to go out there and bark out orders, but am I barking out the right orders to the right audience in the right way?" he said. "If I can be a more effective leader, using resilient skills, I can bounce back from anything that's thrown at me. It's a win-win - that's why I love this program."