Military News

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TCCC Prepares NHB Corpsmen for Combat Environment

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Charlemagne Obana, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) Staff Education and Training Department Sailors conducted a highly refined and improved Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) Nov. 14-18 at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor Behavior Health and Education Center (BHEC).

"We're giving deploying corpsmen training in treating traumatic injuries in a combat environment," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (FMF) Bryan Thude, TCCC instructor. "They're being given tools to keep themselves and their patients safer."

TCCC instructors added elements of realism by attending a course in fabricating simulated improvised explosive devices (IED) at Joint Base Fort Lewis-McCord.

"We went down to Fort Lewis for a day class in order to learn how to effectively and safely put together IED simulators," said Thude. "I think it adds to the realism and opens up the students eyes more."

The weeklong training culminated in the 25 students running through a final course simulation that reflected a scenario which might play out in the battle space.

"Now, we incorporate tactical maneuvers and IED simulators. We have new staff members who have returned from battle in Afghanistan who are instructing students on applying techniques learned doing the job while being forward deployed," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Andy Chase, TCCC lead instructor.

"The instructors themselves have gone through more training. We've completed the Operational Expeditionary Medical Skills (OEMS) course. In addition, we implemented physical training throughout the course because as a corpsman, you have to be stronger than the ones you have to provide care for."

"It's one of the best TCCC courses I've been to," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (FMF) Brian Brock. "This was more hands-on so you get idea about what you're doing instead of it being verbalized."

During the final scenario, the TCCC instructors emphasized the importance of situational awareness in the battle space and the significance of maintaining communications with those around them.

"We're really trying to teach the students to not only be tenacious but to understand that they have to endure all endeavors to keep that patient alive," said Chase.

"I've never seen explosions at TCCC before which is good since they can really throw you off your game in combat. It's good for people who haven't been over there to get the idea. It was a good experience," said Brock.

"Our goal with this training is to send our deploying corpsmen over into the battle space well prepared and confident in their skills," said Chase.

By that measure, NHB's TCCC instructors have been highly successful judging from the positive reactions of the students after completing the final simulation.

"It's a very good course with seasoned instructors who know what they're talking about. I'm really impressed with how they put it together," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW) Gil Garcia who is anticipating his first deployment to Afghanistan with 1st Marine Division in early 2012.

"This training will no doubt come into play with where I'm going and hopefully help me save lives."

Thanksgiving Message

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta

For the past 10 Thanksgivings, our nation has been at war.  For 10 Thanksgivings, our troops have been deployed to the battle zones and around the world, defending our freedom and putting their lives on the line.

We are thankful for your service and for your steadfast commitment to keeping all of us safe.  Our thoughts and prayers will also be with your families, whose love, support and sacrifice are essential to your success.

I know that this can be a difficult time for service members and their loved ones who must spend it apart from each other.  To those deployed away from home, and to their families:  You are making a real difference every day and keeping our country strong and safe.

As all Americans pause to take stock of our blessings of freedom and liberty, I want you to know that we can only do so because of your willingness to bear the burden and hardship of providing for our security.

Throughout our history, America has faced serious challenges – economic, social, political and military crises.  This is one of those periods.  And yet, the spirit of the American people remains our greatest strength to overcome whatever crisis we confront.  That great spirit is reflected in you - our men and women in uniform.  Hopefully, your example of courage and bravery can inspire others to do the right thing.

On this Thanksgiving, as our nation remains at war, Sylvia and I join all of you in one simple prayer: Peace on Earth, and goodwill to all.  To all our service members and their families: Have a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Stop: 'Spice' is Illegal

Special from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/SW) Rick D. West

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy reemphasized to senior enlisted leaders that Sailors who use "Spice" will be separated, lose benefits and let down the Navy team.

MCPON (SS/SW) Rick D. West wants every Sailor to know that "Spice" is illegal, and he stated the following in a Personal For message to all command master chiefs, chiefs of the boat and command senior chiefs.

"Senior enlisted leaders,

Our Sailors continue to experience phenomenal personal and professional successes, exemplifying all it means to be a global force for good. I say with complete sincerity that the future of our force has never been brighter due to the inspiration, intelligence, and innovation of those honing their talents on the deckplates today. While there are abundant challenges facing us (force-shaping, budget constraints, and high operational tempo to name a few), we are deliberately working through those to ensure our warriors have every opportunity to excel.

A challenge that concerns me greatly though, and one we are compelled to confront head-on now, is the problem of synthetic cannabinoid use by far too many Sailors. This issue is not driven by money or manpower realities but by extremely poor personal choices, an alarming lack of awareness, and perhaps a false sense of security. While the name may change from "Spice" to K2 or countless other catchy street monikers, this drug is consistently bad news to both the Sailors using it and the Shipmates they are letting down.

Virtually every week in all-too-familiar SITREPS, we see detailed accounts of "Spice's" tangible impact on command manning and individual careers. Unfortunately message traffic can't capture the true toll on critical unit cohesion and mission readiness, or adequately articulate the drug's aftermath in terms of indelible personal consequences. Those most agonizing and private aspects often go untold to Shipmates, left to either inference or simple (but detrimental) disregard.

We need to erase that blind spot through continuous education, visible engagement, and transparent accountability. The Navy's stated policy on "Spice" is zero tolerance: Sailors who get caught using these substances go home under other than honorable conditions and suffer substantial losses to their veterans' benefits, and the fact of the matter is, those who use drugs eventually get caught. The terms are non-negotiable and irreversible: promising starts summarily decimated by bad decisions. The aggregate long-term effects of this trend on our service demands focused efforts by everyone wearing an anchor on their collars. Chief petty officers will make a difference.

If you're not already familiar with the pervasive and treacherously fashionable appeal of "Spice" derivatives or the very real health risks they pose, comprehensive information on the physiological effects and legal ramifications of "Spice" are readily available from a number of resources, including:

* Naval personnel command web site at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/pages/default.aspx;

* BUMED web site at http://www.med.navy.mil/pages/spice.aspx;

* Drug enforcement agency (DEA) web site at http://www.justice.gov/dea/; and

* National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) web site at http://www.nida.nih.gov/infofacts/spice.html.

Our Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), another great resource for presentations and data, is intimately involved in the campaign to eradicate "Spice" by surveilling head shops and other locations known for selling the drugs. Your Sailors need to know NCIS is active in these places, vigilantly watching who comes and goes and what they purchase. NCIS stands ready to talk to your command about their "Spice" operations and measures you can implement to deter use. For assistance from NCIS, contact your ISIC, regional, or TYCOM command master chief.

In FY 2011, nearly 400 Sailors were processed for separation because they made a choice to use synthetic cannabinoids. In many cases, several Sailors made this calamitous decision together, sometimes under the influence of alcohol and other times because of peer pressure. They did it in hotel rooms, bars, barracks, and cars. They didn't know the regulations, deliberately opted to ignore them, or thought their use of "Spice" would not be detected. Regardless of the circumstances or thought process, these Sailors are no longer in the Navy; gone, along with incredible potential and promise, from our ships, squadrons, submarines, battalions, and shore commands.

We are charged with leading Sailors - it is what we do and do well with training, mentorship, personal example, and a commitment to good order and discipline. We attack challenges by developing situational awareness, coaching up our shipmates, capitalizing on resources and intervening when it's the right thing to do. With synthetic cannabinoids and the array of other precarious temptations (i.e. inhalants, steroids, and misuse of over-the-counter drugs), we have an obligation to help Sailors steer a safe course and prevent them from running aground.

Chiefs, anchor up! MCPON West sends."

USS Boone Completes Final Underway with NYC Patriotic Showing

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Jacob Sippel, Navy Public Affairs Support Element-East, Detachment Southeast

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- USS Boone (FFG 28) returned to its Naval Station (NAVSTA) Mayport homeport for the final time, Nov. 17, following a 10-day underway which included a visit to New York City.

Boone is scheduled to be decommissioned Feb. 23, 2012.

The visit to New York coincided with the city's Veterans Day festivities which included a remembrance and celebration at Citi Pond at Bryant Park and a Veterans Day Parade.

More than 400 Sailors and veterans from all branches of the military service participated in the parade that began at Madison Square Park Nov. 11. They marched up New York City's famed Fifth Avenue, while 600,000 spectators watched the festivities along the route.

"Visiting New York City this Veterans Day was a great privilege and honor for us. There was no better way we could have spent Veterans Day than celebrating with those who have served and given so much of their lives to defend this great nation of ours," said Cmdr. Roy Love, Boone commanding officer. "Marching in the parade alongside the veterans and all those serving on active duty from every service was an unforgettable experience. Being surrounded by New Yorkers who were cheering, praising, and thanking the veterans and Armed Forces was exhilarating. You could feel your heart beating in your chest, and the pride and joy well up deep within and come bursting out in loud cheers that harmonized with those of the crowd. What an exciting moment for all of us!"

The U.S. Navy, for the first time since the parade was founded in 1919, was this year's featured armed service. Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, served as the parade's Grand Marshal. Navy Band Northeast and the U.S. Naval Academy Women's Glee Club performed throughout the day. The parade theme this year was, "The 10th Anniversary of the Response to Sept. 11."

Boone, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate, had more than 200 Sailors participating in the ceremonies.

Along with the celebrations at Citi Pond and 5th Avenue, Boone Sailors participated in other patriotic-themed military appreciation events.

Quartermaster 2nd Class (SW) Anthony Banaszek, who was invited to attend the taping of the David Letterman Show, said it was an experience he'll never forget.

"The hospitality shown to us at the Letterman Show was fantastic. Upon arrival we were invited to the entrance where the celebrity guests for the show were. We witnessed the guests come in and we were given VIP passes into the show," said Banaszek. "The show itself was awesome and so funny. Everyone involved in the show was very supportive of us and then brought us down to the stage afterwards to take pictures. It was absolutely unforgettable."

On Nov. 12, Navy League New York Council members hosted a hoagie meal for Boone Sailors. Later, Boone reciprocated holding a reception on the flight deck with more than 200 invitees providing an opportunity for the crew to show their appreciation for the city's support.

"We were honored and humbled to be part of such a wonderful event," said Ehren Baxter, of Jersey City, N. J. "Last night (Nov. 12) was a once and a lifetime opportunity for us and we are so grateful that USS Boone included us in their ship's celebration. Taking the tour, meeting the officers and crew while celebrating such an important holiday was an amazing experience. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything."

"We hosted more than 250 people on board throughout the Veterans Day weekend. It was a once and a lifetime opportunity for visitors from New York City to visit the ship and the Sailors enjoyed every bit of it," said Lt. Jason Lautar, Boone's operation's officer. "One of the best things about the tours and reception were the New York Police Department (NYPD) guests. The police officers and detectives were fantastic hosts and guests at the same time. They represented more than half of the tour guests and it was a pleasure to meet all of them. We had Sailors volunteering to give tours and walk them through the ship. It gave us an opportunity to let them see for themselves what it is like to live on board a U.S. warship. They have done so much for New York City and we just wanted to show our appreciation to them as well by allowing their families and friends on board."

The ship was open to the public at Staten Island's Homeport Pier throughout Veterans Day weekend allowing the Boone crew to demonstrate their mission capabilities and underway-living conditions.

"Our interaction with the pier detail officers of the NYPD was an amazing experience," said Electronic's Technician 2nd Class (PJ) Michael Loftus. "We gave personal tours, traded hats, shirts, coins, patches and of course stories. We all sacrifice the same for this country but in different capacities and they treated us like their own. I was honored to have them on board and share a brotherhood that seemed to exist from the minute we moored to the pier. "

The Veterans Day weekend concluded with Boone and other local Sailors participating in a pre-game ceremony honoring them during the New York Jets and New England Patriots football game Sunday night. During this time, service members from all United States military branches unfurled a giant American flag during the national anthem.

"The entire experience was phenomenal," stated Lt. Jeffrey Carideo, from Holliston, Mass. whose father, William, was aboard the ship for the Tiger Cruise back to Mayport. "I felt honored to be a part of the flag ceremony with fellow military members from all branches."

Boone recently completed a six-month deployment in support of Southern Seas 2011 and counter illicit trafficking operations in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility, during which the Boone team circled the South American continent and made 18 port visits. The ship also transited the Straits of Magellan, Panama Canal and visited seven countries while participating in major multinational exercises including both Pacific and Atlantic phases of UNITAS.