Monday, December 31, 2012

Face of Defense: Army Captain Recalls Journey from Cambodia

By Army 1st Lt. Will Martin
49th Military Police Brigade

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 31, 2012 – Army Capt. Thoeuth Duong’s life story is a study in contrasts. Parts tragedy and providence, it is torn from the annals of history and speaks to the authenticity of the American dream.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Capt. Thoeuth Duong, a California National Guardsman serving with the 49th Military Police Brigade in Fairfield, Calif., escaped war-torn Cambodia and is now living the American dream. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
For Duong, now serving with the California Army National Guard’s 49th Military Police Brigade, that dream has become reality -- but before the dream, there was the nightmare that was his Cambodian childhood.
Born into stark, agrarian poverty in 1969, Duong could have just as easily grown old as a farmer in rural Cambodia, but destiny had different plans for him. Chaos in his homeland, where Pol Pot energized a revolution that bloodied Cambodia, thrust darkness into Duong’s childhood.

“I remember I had to work on a boat downloading food, and we had to harvest the leftover rice in the fields,” Duong said of his forced labor at the hands of the Khmer Rouge revolutionaries, who seized his country in 1975 before carrying out a three-year genocide that claimed an estimated 1.7 million lives.

Just 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge claimed power, Duong’s father was murdered and three of his brothers were forcibly relocated to communist-run factories. Only Duong, his 7-year-old brother and his mother -- now a widow -- remained at home. Soon, his mother was forced to spend her waking hours at a nearby labor camp, allowing her neither the energy nor income to care for her starving sons.

“For a whole year, it was just me and my brother. We did everything; we took care of ourselves,” Duong said. “Once in a while my mom stole some stuff for us, fruit or whatever, but I got sick all the time. She didn’t think there was any chance I was going to make it. I had a bloated stomach -- I looked like I was going to die.”

Duong’s first rays of hope came from an unlikely source: the North Vietnamese. Though brutal in their own right, the invading Vietnamese deposed Pol Pot in 1979 and brought order to the chaos that had saturated Duong’s life.

“I remember when the Vietnamese came, they dropped propaganda leaflets. And after the leaflets, they dropped bombs,” said Duong, who recalled hiding and watching tracer bullets fly overhead in the darkness of night. “But they kicked out Pol Pot and allowed us to move around wherever.”

Reunited with all her children, Duong’s mother saw a window of opportunity in their newfound freedom of movement. His mother quickly gathered her children, Duong said, and for two weeks traversed westbound on foot -- in slippers -- in an effort to reach neighboring Thailand.

At the border, the Duong family narrowly escaped pirates and Vietnamese troops before reaching a United Nations rescue station. From there they were bused into Thailand and found a temporary home in a U.N. refugee camp. For the first time in his memory, the 10-year-old Duong experienced something resembling a normal childhood.

“It was the first time going to school and brushing my teeth,” Duong said. “I was excited about being in a stable environment and getting to go to school. There was stuff there I had never seen before -- gum, candy, painting -- I learned a little English.”

The English soon proved useful. Duong’s family lived as refugees in the camp for three years, until 1983, when an educated Cambodian who had fled to America to escape Pol Pot’s wave of terror brought the Duongs to Long Beach, Calif. Embarking on a new life in an unknown land, Duong was struck by the strangeness of it all.

 “I started school in the last half of the 7th grade, didn’t speak hardly any English, in the middle of big city,” Duong said. “People thought I was in 3rd or 4th grade because I was so small and skinny [because of malnutrition]. The craziest part was to see all those buildings. It was very interesting.”

With the help of a Cambodian classmate who pointed him from class to class, Duong soon picked up the language and excelled in his classes. His surroundings, however, were marked by violence and despair, encouraging Duong to seek out a way to further improve his station in life.

“In high school, the environment was really, really bad. Many of my friends joined gangs and used drugs. In the late ’80s, crack was big, and people I knew were getting shot,” Duong said. “After graduating [from high school], I had nowhere to go, no destination, so I joined the Army. Nobody wanted me to do it, but I had to do what was best for me.”

Duong’s decision to enlist in the Army was “the best decision I could have made,” he said. Multiple combat deployments, a two-decades-long marriage, a college degree and an officer’s commission through the California National Guard stand out as highlights of a life rooted in military service.

“When I came back to Long Beach after Desert Storm, I found out three of my best friends had been shot and killed [in California],” Duong said, reflecting on how easily he could have shared their fate.

“The Army saved me,” he said.

Duong will soon retire from the Army after 22 years of service. He plans to spend more time with his family and put more energy behind his civilian career as a probation officer. But in reflecting on his nightmarish childhood, when death and poverty were the norm, his gratitude is obvious.

“I came out from a war zone,” Duong said, “and then to have a commission in the best army in the world, a college degree, married with kids, a house, a good civilian job … Yeah, I’m living the American dream.”

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Military Injustice

 Commentary by Lieutenant Colonel John Lewis Cook, USA (ret.)

American military justice is highly regarded throughout the world due to the  safeguards against abuse built into the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  The military is justly proud of the fairness of this system, free from political influences that could determine the outcome of any court martial proceedings.   Everyone involved must swear a sacred oath to be impartial and be influenced only by the evidence presented against the accused.  All oaths are taken seriously in the military because the penalty for violating any oath is swift and usually severe. The accused is even allowed to bring in civilian attorneys to mount a defense.  As a result, the decisions rendered at a military count martial are rarely challenged in federal court. The key to the system is the fact that it is applied the same way, hence  uniformly, across all services and all ranks.   

However, two cases currently working their way to trial presents a cause for concern.  First is the Sergeant Robert Bales case.  Bales has been charged with sixteen counts of capital murder as the result of an alleged shooting spree he went on in southern Afghanistan on March 11th, 2012.  He is charged with murdering unarmed Afghan men, women and children. Bales was on his fourth combat tour at the time and had previously been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  However, he was cleared for his fourth and final tour in spite of that.  Last week, the Army announced it will seek the death penalty in the case and plans to move it quickly to trial.  The last time the military carried out an execution was on April 16th, 1961, when John A. Bennett was hanged at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 

Now consider the case of Major Nidal Malik Husan.  Husan has been charged  with shooting forty-two Americans at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5th, 2009, killing thirteen.  This was over three years ago and the case has not yet proceeded to trail.  The government is not expected to seek the death penalty in this case. Husan, a devout Muslim,  has never served in combat and it is unlikely he can raise the PTSD defense.  We know now that he had ties to radical Muslims and that his colleagues and superiors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center were very concerned about his irrational behavior before he was assigned to Fort Hood.  Yet no one intervened. Why?  What were they afraid of?

So why are these cases being treated so differently?  We know that President Hamid Karzai has demanded that the shooter responsible for killing the sixteen Afghans in southern Afghanistan be “severely punished.”  In the Muslim world, that means the accused must be executed.  Is the administration putting undue pressure on the Army to dispose of the Bales case as quickly as possible, in the severest possible manner, in order to appease Karzai?  How else do we explain this unusual rush to judgment in such a serious case?  And how does the Army explain the unusually long delay in getting the Husan case before a court martial.  And why does the administration insist on calling the shooting at Fort Hood “work place violence” rather than a domestic act of terror committed in the center of the Army’s largest installation?  No one ever called the Afghan shooting “work place violence.” Is this a case of discrimination based on rank, where an enlisted man is more severely punished than an officer? Or is there a deeper, darker agenda at work here?  At this point, it appears that both cases are headed for a gross miscarriage of justice and the highly respected military justice system is about to be permanently stained.  If that is allowed to happen, we all lose. Was Karzai secretly assured that Bales would be “severely punished” in order to appease the Afghan president?  And if he was, who assured him?  Certainly not the Army.  Could it have been our President, who has shown unusual deference to the Muslim world since taking office? Was the Muslim world secretly told that Husan would escape the death penalty in order to appease Islam?  Right now, we don’t know.  The problem is the perception of unequal treatment that the Army has allowed to fester in both of these cases. That’s why professional journalists need to dig into both cases and get to ground truth.  As of now, no adequate explanation has been offered by the Army and it doesn’t appear one will be forthcoming willingly.  Why the difference? Is military justice about to be sacrificed at the alter of political correctness in order  not to offend Islam?  Both of these cases scream out for answers immediately  because neither case passes the smell test right now.  

About the Author
Lieutenant Colonel John Lewis Cook, United States Army (Retired), “served as the Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Interior in Kabul, Afghanistan, with responsibility for developing the force structure for the entire Afghan National Police.  As of 2012, this force totals 157,000.  From March 2008 until August 2012, his access and intimate associations with all levels of the Afghan government and coalition forces have provided him with an unprecedented insight into the policies which will determine the outcome of the war.  It is this insight, coupled with his contacts and associations throughout Afghanistan that form the basis of Afghanistan: The Perfect Failure

Click to read more about Lt. Colonel John Lewis Cook

Academy falls to Rice in Armed Forces Bowl

by John Van Winkle
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

12/30/2012 - FORT WORTH, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force Academy fell 33-14 to Rice University in the 2012 Armed Forces Bowl today.

Rice University used a combination of size, speed and better execution to dominate the second half and end the Falcons season with a loss.

After a few initial three-and-outs, Rice mounted its first sustained drive to score when quarterback Taylor McHargue connected with receiver Jordan Taylor from 16-yards out in the corner of the end zone to go up 7-0.

McHargue would later go with a concussion and not return. Air Force also switched out under center, pulling senior quarterback Connor Dietz in the second quarter in favor of sophomore Kale Pearson, hoping to spark a offense that can stay on the field for more than three consecutive plays.

"We came into the game expecting both guys to play for us at quarterback," said Falcons head coach Troy Calhoun. "Kale played well for us in the second quarter."

Pearson commanded the Falcons' first sustained drive of the game and ended the series with a 9-yard run around the right to tie the game at 7-all. The Falcons took the lead a few series later when senior running back Wes Cobb dove in from a yard out for the Falcons' second touchdown. Kicker Parker Herrington added the extra point, giving the Falcons a 14-7 lead. The Owls evened the score before the half, and took control of the game from that point on, keeping the Falcons out of the end zone and on their heels for the remainder of the game. Rice would score four times in the second half to mount and sustain a 33-14 lead until time ran out.

"At every single spot, we didn't play well enough in the second half to win a game," said Calhoun.

On offense, the Falcons would end the day converting only four of 14 third downs, and one of two on fourth down. Two critical turnovers in the fourth quarter also killed any chance the Falcons had of mounting a comeback.

"We put an awful lot of strain on our defense," said Calhoun. "Sometimes it was in field position, and sometimes it wasn't getting enough first downs. Sometimes it was in third downs for the other team. When your opponent has 20 third downs, you aren't stopping them enough to give your offense a shot."

Defensively, the Falcons allowed 503 yards of offense to sustain several long drives and win time of possession battle by over 15 minutes.

"It just came down to execution," said senior linebacker Austin Niklas, Air Force's move valuable player for the game.

Size was also an advantage that Rice monopolized. It is an advantage that most opponents have over service academy football teams. Service academy teams compensate for this up front with their triple-option offenses, and utilize technique, strength and mobility to overcome the opponents' mass advantage. But against Rice's offense and their three wide-receiver set, the Falcons smaller secondary spent the game in their opponent's shadows. Between Rice's two quarterbacks, the Falcons gave up 295 yards in passing offense and had zero interceptions.

"It was a combo of our secondary, our defensive backs, getting beat up, and our pass rush. Rice has a lot better size on the ends and our pass rush just didn't bring it home," said senior linebacker Alex Means.

Rice receiver Jordan Taylor used his 6'5" frame to tower over Falcon defenders and score all three of Rice's touchdowns.

"I wish we had won," said Niklas. "We fought hard the whole game. Rice has a good football team, and we were unable to stop them consistently in the second half. The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl people were great, and we appeciated our time here."

For the Falcons, this concludes their 2012 college football season. After a few more days of holiday leave, next up for the players will be off-season workouts in the weight room in January for the underclassmen. For most of the 22 seniors, it's the last game of their collegiate careers, so they have just one more semester and graduation awaiting them. For the coaches, recruiting trips and recruiting visits will take the forefront of the days to come, as well as preparations for spring football in early 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Navy Training Commander Sees Benefits of Desktop Virtualization at Gulfport Training Center

By Steve Vanderwerff, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) announced Dec. 28 that the commander of NETC visited the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) Keesler Air Force Base to see firsthand how the learning site has successfully implemented a Virtual Desktop Initiative (VDI).

Rear Adm. Don Quinn, NETC commander, was briefed by Cmdr. Jonathan Vorrath, CNATTU Keesler's commanding officer, about the learning site implementation of VDI and how they use it to train students.

VDI is a five year plan to deploy the VDI to more than 36,000 daily users and will replace 80 percent of the more than 23,000 desktop computers in more than 2,500 classrooms at 68 learning sites around the world.

Desktop virtualization provides multiple student and instructor workstations from a centralized server environment, which eliminates physical workstations residing in an electronic classroom.

"CNATTU Keesler is the first learning site to implement the virtual desktop initiative (VDI), which will expand throughout the NETC domain," said Quinn. "We have thousands of computers. To keep pace with current technology, security risks and software, each computer currently has to be updated. When you virtualize a classroom, you shift from multiple updates to an update of a single server. In this case, we went from 152 computers to three servers. Now when we update, we only have to do it three times instead of 152. It's a huge time and money saver."

Besides being a money saving venture, Quinn says he is also pleased by how VDI saves electrical power and time, and benefits the students.

"There's also a power issue - instead of running 152 desktops we now have only 152 monitors and three servers. So we save on electricity, manpower, and time," Quinn said. "In terms of mission effectiveness, the most important thing is speed. It's so much better for the students. It's reliable, it's faster, and instructors now spend less time fighting technology and more time teaching. It is clear that once we incorporate this change in more than 2,500 electronic classrooms containing more than 23,000 computers, that this is a huge deal for NETC and the Navy."

Spearheaded by NETC's Information Technology Services Department, the initiative stemmed from a mission imperative requiring cost effective delivery of training content.

During the planning process, the integrated project team determined VDI should be phased in throughout the domain because of diverse training environments and multiple stakeholders with varying requirements. For example, the Center for Surface Combat Systems Detachment West's mission is to provide surface ship combat systems training, which varies significantly from the Center for Service Support Learning Site San Diego, whose mission is to provide training to the Navy's administrative, logistics, and media communities.

Because several training applications are learning site specific, the team needed to consider each site and decided which workstations, programs and applications could be delivered as a service to the student. The virtual system requires no desktop operating system or disk drives, and no virus or spyware monitoring requirement.

It would also need to have full Universal Serial Bus (USB) capability to support thumb drives, and dual monitor capability but no refresh requirements due to software updates or new applications, and no media, graphics or memory restrictions.

Desktop virtualization separates the different computing layers and executes all of them on a secure server, which allows end users to access all of the data and applications without being tied down to a specific hardware device.

According to Cmdr. Sean O'Brien, NETC's deputy chief Information Officer, it reduces desk-side support costs by up to 40 percent through centralized desktop and application deployment and management, and improved desktop reliability.

"Productivity and flexibility is boosted by providing users with anywhere and soon any-device access to their work," O'Brien said. "Security of the user's data is also bolstered, and it simplifies disaster recovery by separating processing and storage from desktop hardware and lowers operational expenses by extending the life of peripheral desktop hardware. The benefits of virtualization are that it's engineered to meet current requirement, it's expandable for future demand and provides a standardized solution for student application loads."

O'Brien said the successful implementation of VDI is the result of outstanding cooperation and teamwork.

"The success of this project is the result of close collaboration of the dedicated VDI integrated project team and CNATT's commitment and willingness to work closely with the team to ensure that all training delivery requirements were incorporated into the solution design," he said. "Traditionally, Information Assurance (IA) is done on the backside when a project is completed and then needs to be made IA compliant, which generally delays deployment and requires rework because of IA requirements that don't work. We brought IA in from the beginning to ensure that compliancy was designed and built into the system."

Using the lessons learned from the initial roll out at the Keesler training unit, NETC can template the process across the domain.

"An important part of the process was ensuring that the documentation was written conversationally so non IT technicians could read the instructions and understand how to set up the system," said Angie Chase, Electronic Classroom program manager. "This is truly the first step toward being a cloud computing environment. When you talk about cloud computing you're talking about accessing information from anywhere at any time, but it's more than that, it's delivering software, the desktop, data and computing power as a service."

The team also considered security.

"VDI creates a much more secure environment. In a VDI environment, when a student logs in and then logs off, any changes to the operating system disappear," said David Thomas, project IA compliance lead. "In a secure VDI environment, if a student generates or downloads a virus or malware from the Internet to the desktop, when they log out it's gone for good. What do viruses and malware do? They effect changes to your operating system. With the VDI environment you get a fresh pristine operating system every time you log in."

Cmdr. Vorrath said students and instructors benefit by desktop virtualization, and it could benefit other commands as well.

"VDI creates ease for students to log in to the programs and the ease for our administrators that maintain those systems. It benefits the students because the technicians we have that to do the trouble shooting will be able to focus more on customer issues instead of having to worry about security updates on each individual desktop or individual system program updates," Vorrath said. "When you think about all of the desktops across the Navy and all of those systems that have to be deployed as a result of NMCI, it would be an incredible cost saving.

"Our first step in VDI is a huge success. I knew that before I visited here, but I wanted to look the people who made it happen in the eye and thank them. It took multiple players from multiple organizations to make this happen and I am proud of them," Vorrath said.

American Heroes Book of the Year Recognition

Each year American Heroes Press recognizes a book written by a US Military servicemember and a book written by a US law enforcement official.

The application period for the “ 2013 Book of the Year” and the “ 2013 Book of the Year” is now open.

For more information about the contest and awards:

Friday, December 28, 2012

First Sergeants deliver gifts to Yokota's angels

by Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

12/28/2012 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- 'Tis the season for giving to those in need, and the First Sergeants' Council is doing just that throughout Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Sixty-three children, otherwise known as angels, received gifts this Christmas courtesy of anonymous donors in the Yokota community.

"Everyone has a time when they need a little extra help," said Master Sgt. Shanti Leiker, Angel Tree coordinator. "The angel tree program allows us to not only help, but also add a little more brightness to deserving children in the community."

Every year, first sergeants throughout the wing collect names and ages of children who meet specific criteria, come from families with parents E-6 and below and with a single income. Each child is then assigned a number, to keep their identity anonymous, and a tag is made to hang on the Angel Tree.

Once hung on the tree, members from the community can choose their angel. For some who choose an angel this experience is more than buying a gift.

"During the holidays, we sometimes become so busy with parties, shopping, or other events that we forget many people do not have the luxury of all the blessings many of us enjoy," said Capt. Jenna Mirandette, an Angel Tree donor. "Growing up, we were always taught to give to others, and the rewards of giving."

Part of a first sergeant's primary duties revolves around the morale and welfare of the Airmen in their organization. While the spirit of giving prompts extra effort around Christmas time, the first sergeants at Yokota strive to meet the needs of their Airmen year-round.

"People are our mission," said Master Sgt. Joshua Hodgin, 374th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. "Bringing cheer to their families is just part of what we do."

1st ECEG provides full-spectrum engineering resources for AFCENT

by Capt. Craig Carper
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

12/28/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- In March, the previous commander of the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Group unveiled a new operational concept in the civil engineer community; the merger of the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group, deployed from Andersen Air Force Base, and the 577th EPBG to create the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group.

Col. John Allen, 577th EPBS former commander, fused the 1st ERHG a theater-heavy construction capability with the 577th EPBG, the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan "outside-the-wire" engineer force into a full spectrum engineer resource for the U.S. Air Force Central commander.

The creation of the 1st ECEG centralized and improved all support services for Afghanistan and Arabian Gulf current and future engineer requirements. Additionally, it provides ready forces the ability to respond to emerging combat commander needs and maintain a ready engineer "9/11" emergency engineer response force.

"In coordination with theater engineer commanders, we can adjust, augment, or forward deploy with joint forces to get the mission done anywhere at any time" said Col. Pat Baker, 1st ECEG commander.

Traditional Air Force civil engineers deploy to maintain an airbase, execute expeditionary bed down of forces and missions, manage contracted construction projects, and complete minor troop labor projects.

The 1st ECEG, is not organized to maintain an airbase but rather provides the ability to design and execute heavy troop construction in addition to presenting quick response life, health and safety repair teams. Furthermore, the group is able to provide design and build projects along with an inspection and base master planning capability while providing a full spectrum of outside the wire troop support.

"Our strategy with this program is focused on continually looking over the horizon to ensure we have the flexibility to meet the enduring long term commitments in the gulf and surge to meet immediate requirements as needed," Baker said.

The 1st ECEG is comprised of more than 600 members stationed at five primary locations throughout the area of responsibility. The 1st ECEG, 557th ERHG and the 577th EPBG have their headquarters based with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing while the 777th EPBG headquarters is located at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Currently the 1st ECEG has members forward deployed to 16 locations throughout the AOR. The squadrons are comprised of Airmen from active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve forces from more than 50 bases throughout the world.

"Having active, Guard and Reserves working together from both Prime BEEF and RED HORSE has helped our mission by leveraging the training we gain from the centralized knowledge and experience of our colleagues," said Chief Master Sgt. Brent Sheehan, 557th ERHG chief enlisted manager.

Although this concept is relatively new, indicators show the program is having a positive impact on the joint mission.

"This initiative is working as it was designed to function," Lt. Col. Aaron Altweis, 577th EPBG commander said. "It's the first time in civil engineer history to bring full force engineering capabilities to the theater under a single commander - it is the first time heavy construction, light construction, repair and professional services are centrally managed under one commander. The commander can adjust his resources and allocate them where and when needed, and streamline the process to expedite support to the battle space commanders."

With the one year mark of this unique initiative approaching in March, the group continues to analyze and adjust to ensure it remains a model program allowing the 1st ECEG to set the standard for civil engineer efficiency and provide a full spectrum of engineering solutions while remaining flexible in this resource constrained environment.

AFSA brings cheer to underprivileged kids

by Airman 1st Class Paris Heckard

12/28/2012 - Air Force Sergeants Association -- Children from the Misato Children's Home wanted a normal Christmas like any child with family members snug in their homes.

To give them the Christmas they've dreamed of, Kadena's local Air Force Sergeants Association chapter donated more than 500 toys to more than 300 children for the holidays.

Tech. Sgt. Darris Wyatt, a member of the AFSA chapter, said the staff members were surprised when they saw the donation and offered their thanks and praises to the members.

The chapter set up a collection site at the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron's Individual Protective Equipment Element to get as much awareness about the drive as possible.

Because of their diligence, they received toys ranging from sports balls, dolls, cars, teddy bears and games from members across Okinawa for the home.

"It brings me great joy to see the kids with smiles on their faces during this holiday season," said Tech. Sgt. LeKetra Cole, a member of the AFSA chapter.

This is just one of the many good deeds the local chapter has contributed to the local community over the past year. Kadena's AFSA chapter looks forward to returning to the home sometime in January to spend time with the children.

Team Andersen donates in holiday spirit

by Senior Airman Benjamin Wiseman
36th Wing Public Affairs

12/28/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- As the holiday season is known to be the season of sharing, members from Team Andersen did their part by giving back to the local community Dec. 21.

A collaboration between members of the African American Heritage Association and the Andersen Chapel provided gifts for local children. A month of planning led to the formation of an Angel Tree donation system for children in the Big Brother, Big Sister Organization.

The base chapel and the AAHA chose the Big Brother, Big Sister Organization (BBBS) to donate to due to the organization's mission, which is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally-supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better.

"We sat down early in November to decide what we were going to do. We chose the BBBS Organization to give back to the youth," said Tech. Sgt. Jermaine Smith, AAHA president. "After coming up with our plan, we talked to the base chapel to set out an Angel Tree. The idea took off from there."

Names of local children from the BBBS program were written on ornaments and placed on a tree in each of the base's chapels. From there, any member from Team Andersen could select an ornament and provide gifts for that child.

"After the trees were put out, ornaments started to disappear one by one," said Sergeant Smith. "At the end, 52 presents were collected for BBBS children."

Not only did the AAHA and base chapel set up the donations, but some of the AAHA members also hand-delivered presents to the children at school.

"We went to Agueda Johnson Middle School, Tamuning Elementary School, and Price Elementary School to pass out the gifts that were donated," said Capt. Rey Heron, acting AAHA treasurer. "We passed out gifts to about eight children at each school. The rest will be delivered to the children's homes by BBBS."

Part of the AAHA mission as an organization is giving back and aiding less fortunate members of the community.

"It feels great to help someone else," said Captain Heron. "It is a very humbling experience to give back to the community."

"The holiday season is about reflection, being thankful and taking extra steps to help make someone else's holiday better," Sergeant Smith added. "It's all about what you can do for someone else during the holidays."

This Day in Naval History - Dec. 28

1867 - U.S. claims Midway Island, first territory annexed outside Continental limits.
1905 - Drydock Dewey left Solomon's Island, MD, enroute through the Suez Canal to the Philippines to serve as repair base. This, the longest towing job ever accomplished, was completed by Brutus, Caesar, and Glacier on 10 July 1906.
1941 - Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks requests that construction battalions be recruited.
1982 - Recommissioning of USS New Jersey (BB-62), the first of four Iowa-class battleships that were returned to service in 1980s.
1990 - LCDR Darlene M. Iskra becomes commander of USS Opportune, a salvage vessel.
1998 - USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS America (CV-66) Carrier Battle Groups deploy from Norfolk, VA, for Middle East to join Operation Desert Shield.

Guam Medics Resuscitate Baby Girl

From Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, GUAM (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Fire and Emergency Services (FES) medics resuscitated a 1-year-old civilian girl who was brought to Station 2 on Naval Magazine Site in Santa Rita Dec. 24.

Upon arrival, the girl was unconscious, unresponsive and had acute cyanosis from lack of oxygen. Medics performed approximately 10 back blows in an attempt to dislodge the piece of food. Once her airway was clear, medics then delivered oxygen and the patient's condition improved.

NBG FES personnel Capt. Nick Perez, Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician Andrew Babas, Firefighter J.P. Taimanglo, Firefighter Ted Borja and Paramedic Gregory Simon were the first to treat the infant, said NBG FES Fire Chief Robert Green.

"After back blows and oxygen was delivered, (she) was able to move (her hands) initially and cyanosis eventually went away," Green said.

Station 2 medics and Advanced Life Support from Station 1 on board NBG continued to monitor the girl's vitals as she was transported to Guam Memorial Hospital.

"I was relieved that she started to breathe on her own," Perez said. "It was the best gift I could receive and give - to give someone back their life especially during the holiday season."

Emergency response to the incident was an example of the Mutual Aid Agreement between NBG FES and the Guam Fire Department to ensure that emergency service resources are available at all times.

"We have responded to 158 medical mutual aids with GFD so far this year," Green said. "That many calls keep us sharp and proficient in our medical skills."

Perez agreed with Green and added that medical incidents should be addressed immediately regardless of who the patient is.

"As first responders we're here to save lives," he said. "When it comes to life, there are no boundaries. I'm happy that everything's fine, and I'm glad we were able to bring her back. I thank God that it worked for our favor and hers as well."