Military News

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

US Naval War College Kids' War Game Tackles Naval Warfare History

By Teresa Sullivan, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Twenty-two of the U.S. Naval War College's (NWC) youngest war-gamers participated in "Sink the Bismarck," a family event held in the college's McCarty Little Hall, Feb. 24.

Children ages 8-17 years old participated in a war-gaming exercise to acquaint them with NWC's mission in preparing future maritime leaders to make key decisions in a competitive, time-pressured environment.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to get the families in to see what we do in our department and expose the kids to the idea of roll-playing as a team," said Lt. Cmdr. Larry Johnson, one of NWC's war-gaming directors. "This really expands the perspective and point of view to their approach for problem solving, competition and working together."

The scenario was based on the World War II, naval Battle of the Denmark Strait between the German Kriegsmarine and Britain's royal navy in May, 1941. Each team comprised of a captain, navigator, operations officer and an engineer. Crews had one to three minutes to design a plan, report to the battle bridge and carry out their mission. The fleet's arsenals consisted of a main and secondary battery, torpedoes and mines, and whichever team scored the most damage points in the allotted amount of time would prevail as the winner.

For 10-year-old Mayla Ward, captain of the British battle cruiser HMS Hood, the key to success was in figuring out the other team's plan, and counteracting their strategy.

"So far we're doing really well. Our strategy is for all of our ships to do the same things and to put as much battle damage on the other ships as possible," explained Ward, a 4th-grade student from Aquidneck Island Christian Academy and daughter Dave Ward, who is a contract war-game specialist at NWC. "As you can see, the Bismarck has sustained a large amount of damage."

This is the third year NWC's War Gaming Department held the event during the local school winter break. Pete Pelegrino, NWC war-gaming senior military analyst, said the game not only gives the kids an idea of what NWC does to prepare future military leaders but also provides them a bit of a history lesson.

"It's a very kinesthetic game and it harkens back to the old retro-style of gaming NWC conducted back when they used molded-lead ships on a large classroom floor at the turn of the century," Pelegrino said. "This is just a modern version of those components. Good old floor games and board games can be powerful educational experiences."

Pelegrino said this event all started when he purchased a couple of battleship models on eBay and evolved into purchasing more model ships to form British and German fleets. He then developed the game that is now known as "Sink the Bismarck" battleship war-gaming experience.

"It's pretty true to history," said Pelegrino. "We hold similar games for Cub Scouts, cadets, high schools in and around Rhode Island. It's all free and run by NWC volunteers. Our goal is to bring gaming to the classroom as a free resource."

Academy for struggling teens now accepting applications

Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office

A no-cost alternative program for "at-risk" youth, the Wisconsin Challenge Academy is now accepting applications for its next class of cadets entering on July 19. Located at Fort McCoy, Wis., the Academy offers teens that are at risk of not graduating a chance to earn their High School Equivalency Diploma, learn essential job and life-coping skills and, most importantly, develop the strength of character to become responsible citizens.

To qualify for this program - which is no cost to families - applicants, both male and female, must be at least 16 years and nine months old but not yet 19, have dropped out of school, been expelled, or become at least a year behind in credits. Candidates must not have been convicted of a felony and cannot be on adult parole or probation at time of entry.

"Deciding to attend this program was definitely the hardest decision I've made in my life so far," Kayla Kurzynski, a current cadet at the Challenge Academy, said. "Before Challenge Academy I was skipping school, hanging around negative influences and not only messing up my own life, but also setting the example my younger siblings were beginning to follow. I knew I had to put a stop to that cycle. Now, because of Challenge Academy I am working towards a future that not only I can be proud of, but my family as well."

For someone who has the desire to get his or her life back on the right path, the Challenge Academy may be a step in the right direction. Call the Admissions Department toll-free at (866) 968-8422 or (608) 269-4605 for an application, or visit the Challenge Academy's website (ChallengeAcademy.org).

Iwo Jima Changes Command

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Morgan E. Dial, USS Iwo Jima Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) held a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk Feb. 28.

Capt. Grady Banister relieved Capt. Thomas Chassee as commanding officer.

"I would like to say one last time what an honor and privilege it has been to be a part of Iwo Jima's ship's company," said Chassee during his farewell address. "I had it easy because I had over one thousand of the best Sailors on the planet."

This assignment will be considered a fleet-up tour for Banister, who reported to Iwo Jima in 2010 as the ship's executive officer.

"This is the most combat ready ship on the waterfront and Capt. Chassee led this group through it all," said Banister. "Iwo never missed a mark, nailed every single certification and set records all the way. No one, certainly not I, could come close to the success in bringing this group to such a fine edge."

Banister, a Sunnyside, Ga. native, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1987. His sea duty assignments include Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 6; USS Duluth (LPD 6); Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 8 "Dragon Whales"; and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 "Chargers."

Banister's staff and shore duty assignments include: Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 3 "Pack Rats"; Joint Staff J-2, personal aide de camp to the secretary of the Navy and a tour U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

Chassee reported to Iwo Jima in 2008 as the executive officer and took command of Iwo Jima in July of 2010. During his tour on board, he led the ship through Continuing Promise 2010, Bold Alligator 2012 and many other operations including Fleet Week(s) New York and Port Everglades, Fla. His next assignment will be president of the Board and Inspection and Survey.

Iwo Jima along with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Readiness Group and 24 Marine Expeditionary Unit are scheduled to deploy in March 2012.

Panetta, Shinseki Discuss Issues of Common Concern

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta welcomed Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to the Pentagon yesterday for the latest in a series of regular meetings the two secretaries have held on issues of common interest to both departments.

The meeting included a discussion with disabled veterans, two of whom are on the U.S. Paralympic team, about their experiences as they left active service and transitioned to veteran status.

The Paralympic athletes told the two Cabinet members how their respective departments’ adaptive sports programs helped them to recover from their injuries and gave new purpose to their lives after the military.

“It is clear that there is a lot of good work being done to help our service members have the smoothest transition possible to veteran status and civilian life,” Panetta said. “But there are still too many stories of programs that are poorly connected between our departments and that are time-consuming and plain confusing for our service members and veterans.”

Shinseki said he and Panetta are committed to continuing the progress DOD and VA have made.

“The vision Secretary Panetta and I share is to provide an integrated, seamless experience to our people across their lifetime -- from when they raise their hand to take the oath, to when they leave active service and join the veteran ranks, to when they are laid to rest with final honors,” he said. “Over the past three years, VA and DOD have made significant progress, but more work remains.”

In their meeting, Panetta and Shinseki focused on five areas in which the two departments have joined efforts on behalf of the nation's service members and veterans: the Disability Evaluation System, electronic health records, transition programs, joint pharmacy initiatives and recovery coordination for the wounded, ill and injured.

The two secretaries said they were pleased with the status of plans to implement President Barack Obama's directive to develop a new model for the Transition Assistance Program to ensure that all service members are career-ready when they leave the military.

They also discussed improvements to the Integrated Disability Evaluation System as a result of $400 million recently added to the Defense Department budget over the next five years and VA’s commitment to increase the number of personnel supporting administration of the system.

With more than 24,300 service members currently being evaluated for disability ratings through IDES, officials said, the secretaries stressed the importance they attach to shortening the time service members spend waiting for their ratings before they can complete their transition from active duty to veteran status.

Panetta and Shinseki also discussed steps forward on electronic health records, noting that the interagency office established by the two departments to lead the way in building the joint integrated electronic health records system now has new leadership.

The secretaries also received an update on development of the graphical user interface program, in which they learned that doctors at the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center at North Chicago now can view both VA and DOD patient records simultaneously on a single monitor.

The Lovell Center is a first-of-its-kind partnership between VA and DOD to provide integrated care to service members and veterans in the same facility, officials explained. It has been a testing ground for the departments’ efforts to deliver a fully integrated electronic health record for all service members and veterans.

Officials said Panetta and Shinseki plan to meet in Chicago in May to visit the Lovell Center and to review progress on deliverables the two departments have committed to achieve by the end of the year, including:

-- A detailed implementation plan for the revised transition assistance program;
-- Spurring development of electronic transfer of patient files to reduce processing and mailing costs and disability evaluation processing times; and
-- Finalizing a contract for joint pharmacy capability at the Lovell Center.

Battleship NORTH CAROLINA Power Plant Tour March 17, 2012

Full Steam Ahead
Power Plant Program
Battleship NORTH CAROLINA
March 17, 2012
Noon - 5:30 PM

WILMINGTON, NC - Calling all Navy engineering enthusiasts! Join us on March 17, 2012 from Noon until 5:30 pm for an in-depth program on the Battleship's power plant. Learn in detail about the ship's eight Babcock & Wilcox boilers, four sets of General Electric turbines and reduction gears, steam and diesel powered service turbo generators, along with electrical distribution, water distillation, and steering mechanisms. Our program features classroom presentations and behind-the-scenes tour of engineering spaces. Discover what it took to propel a 36,000 ton heavily armored battlewagon bristling with massive firepower and 2,300 fighting men across the Pacific.

The program is for adults only (ages 16 and up) and is limited to 40 participants. It is not appropriate for those who have difficulty climbing narrow ladders or over knee-high hatches. Wear warm, comfortable, washable clothing, sturdy, rubber-soled shoes and bring a camera! Registration and payment are due by Thursday, March 15, 2012. Event is $50/$40 for Friends of the Battleship or active military. Call 910-251-5797 for reservations.

Interested in more details of the magnificent World War II vessel or did you miss one of our Life Long Learning programs this year? The Battleship will offer Hidden Battleship Tours, Firepower tour and Power Plant again in 2013.  These hands on programs give access to un-restored areas not open to the public and provide details about the ship's armament as well as her movement.  For more information on these programs or to learn more about the new Professional Military Education Program (PME) please call 910-251-5797.

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is self-supporting, not tax supported and relies primarily upon admissions to tour the Ship, sales in the Ship's Store, donations and investments. No funds for its administration and operation come from appropriations from governmental entities at the local, state or federal levels. Located at the junction of Highways 17/74/76/421 on the Cape Fear River.   Visit www.battleshipnc.com or follow us on Facebook.com/ncbb55 and Twitter.com/battleshipnc for more information.

USS Constitution to Open 2012 Lottery

By Sonar Technician Submarine 2nd Class (SS) Thomas Rooney, USS Constitution Public Affairs

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- USS Constitution will officially open its 2012 lottery program to the public from the ship's berth in Charlestown, Mass. March 1.

The lottery drawing selects 150 winners to ride Constitution for her annual July 4th turnaround cruise.

"It is always a great to show USS Constitution to the public, but especially during a turnaround cruise and the lottery allows us to do that in a fair manner," said Cmdr. Matt Bonner, Constitution's 72nd commanding officer. "And this year's cruise has the added bonus of the Coast Guard Barque Eagle joining us and the Blue Angels flying over both ships -I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day."

After the drawing, winners will receive a ticket signifying their selection and eligibility to embark. Tickets are non-transferrable to other individuals with no exceptions. Winners will also be allowed to bring one guest, and all winners and guests must be in good health and be between the ages of 8 and 70.

Entries can be made by completing the entry form and returning it by e-mail or mail. The lottery will close April 27, and the drawing will be held April 30.

"I think this is a great opportunity for the public to be a part of this ship's great history," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Johnny Janica, Constitution. "It's a great way to see our mission here on Constitution. Along with it being a special time for the ship, this year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812."

The July 4th turnaround cruise celebrates the nation's birthday with a salute to the nation by Constitution firing a 21-gun salute exchange with Fort Independence located on Castle Island. The voyage is about 4.5 miles total, typically lasting three hours.

To enter the lottery or for more information on the lottery program, visit http://www.history.navy.mil/ussconstitution/Lottery.html.

Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat. She defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today's Navy. Constitution's mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship's history, as it welcomes more than 535,000 visitors per year.

NAS Whidbey Island Sailors Train as Auxiliary Security Force

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

OAK HARBOR, Wash (NNS) -- Sailors from various commands aboard Naval Air Station Whidbey Island took part in an Auxiliary Security Force (ASF) training course, Feb. 6-24.

The Sailors will serve as force protection assets and offer support to the base's security department. The focus of the ASF course is to be a force in readiness.

"We have 13 students, in which they learn unarmed self-defense, weapons, OC (oleoresin capsicum) spray, baton, watch-standing duties, inspections and tactical team movements," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) David Janovetz of Wausau, Wis., security training leading petty officer (LPO) and ASF assistant coordinator assigned to base security at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. "Upon successfully graduating, students will stand watch with master-at-arms at various posts on base."

The ASF course trains Sailors in non-security ratings, who would be called upon to augment the base's security department during contingencies, exercises and special events that require heightened levels of security on base.

The training ranges from the rights and responsibilities of an arresting officer, mechanical advantage control holds, proper handcuffing skills, searching a suspect, antiterrorism management skills and shooting skills.

"For us to stand sentry gate watches, its important knowledge to properly use a weapon in case an unauthorized person comes through the gate," said Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Joleen Marcotte of Bend, Ore., assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. "We can neutralize the situation in whatever means necessary through the training we learned."

Janovetz attributes the importance of ASF to the ever-changing security threats around the world and the importance in having Sailors prepared to defend against those threats.

The ASF academy graduates were all volunteers from tenant commands.

"As far as manning goes, you can never have too much security," said Aircrew Survival Equipmentman Airman Robert Chandler, of Vinemont, Ala., assigned to VAQ 129 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Requirements for the program include top physical readiness and the ability to pass weapon qualifications and a written exam.

"This class has been great; they were on time which is important and were always ready to learn," said Janovetz.

For many ASF graduates, the most challenging part of the training was the OC spray obstacle course. ASF Sailors were required to pass this course in order to receive their OC spray qualification and be able to carry the spray as a means of defense.

"Everyone comes in pretty nervous about being sprayed, they all have heard stories about how much it hurts," said Janovetz. "It's a team-building exercise and something to be remembered the rest of your life."

During the course, Sailors are sprayed with OC primarily targeting the facial area, ensuring coverage of the eye zone. They must then endure the completion of a five-station obstacle course, where they must successfully demonstrate various take-down techniques and demonstrate correct use of a baton.

"This class has been very informative and challenging at times," said Marcotte. "The instructors brought a lot to the course, they made sure that we made it through class and we understood what they were teaching us."

Members of ASF have gone through extensive training, studying various security methods that will help keep the base safe from terrorists or harmful threats.

Janovetz said the students worked hard in the course and now have the tools to provide better force protection. "As with all of our classes, the students have been given knowledge to be an immediate asset to the department, they were able to demonstrate the skills learned to a high degree of proficiency."

Wisconsin Guard leaders explore generational differences within ranks

By 1st Sgt. Vaughn R. Larson
112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Military organizations, including the Wisconsin Army National Guard, develop and enforce a distinct culture that influences every aspect of military life - how the uniform is worn and training is conducted to codes of conduct, and so on. This culture ensures a baseline of standards which facilitates the ability of individuals or units to communicate and function with one another.

Continuing that culture from one generation to the next requires effectively communicating the value of that culture, and overcoming any generational barriers that may interfere with that message.

"We're a very diverse organization - we cross numerous subsets," state Command Sgt. Maj. George Stopper told Wisconsin National Guard enlisted leaders and officers Saturday (Feb. 25) during a session on generational differences at the Wisconsin National Guard's Wisconsin Military Academy at Fort McCoy. "Wouldn't it be awesome if you had some more tools in your toolbox to break down those barriers to help you communicate more effectively with those subsets within our organization we might be having a difficult time reaching?"

Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, commander of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, recalled joining "pretty much a homogeneous group" of Baby Boomers as a young commander.

"We pretty much understood where each other came from - we had similar backgrounds, so we knew how to interact with each other," Anderson said. "But we are a much more diverse organization now."

That diversity, according to Dr. Elisabeth Nesbit of the Denver Seminary, extends to worldviews and motivations, which translate into different reasons for joining or staying in the military, different approaches to accomplishing tasks, and different methods of social interaction.

"We need to look at generations as cultures, not as people that are older or younger than us," Nesbit explained. "We value multiculturalism, we value diversity. But we haven't applied that [across age groups]. If we start applying it that way, it takes some of the angst out of the process - that it's not just an old person who doesn't get me and it's not just a young person who doesn't have responsibility and doesn't understand how the real world works."

Nesbit defined three generations presently in the military - Baby Boomers (born between 1945 and 1964), Generation X (born between 1961 and 1981) and Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001) - and outlined some broad characteristics of each. For example, she said Baby Boomers value "paying your dues," identify themselves by their occupations, attach to organizations, and don't require much affirmation. Members of Generation X, on the other hand, value competence over next-in-line promotion, are skeptical of organizations, have a strong sense of self-reliance and seek occasional affirmation.

"One thing about Millennials," Nesbit said, "we don't know who they are yet. They're still figuring out who they are and what their place in the adult world is going to look like."

If Generation X was the "latchkey generation," Nesbit said the Millennials are the "helicopter parent" generation. They highly value regular affirmation and are very collaborative, working better in small groups than independently.

"Millennials have been told their whole lives that they can be whatever they want to be, but no one taught them how," Nesbit said. She added that not every Millennial fits this broad definition, but that the definition was useful in bridging the generation gap.

"The choice is mine in my attitude, that I can either get upset or view it as a fun challenge," Nesbit said. "The same is true in management and leadership. You can either be really upset that someone didn't teach them what you think they should have learned at that age, or you can reassess if this person is teachable. You have to come alongside and mentor from there."

Millennials are seeking mentorship, Nesbit said, but not finding mentors in the Baby Boom generation.

"There's something about passing on a legacy, about understanding what has come before us that we value and is important to our survival," she said. "Now we have a generation that is asking for it and doesn't take it for granted."

Steve Tonkin, a presenter from Denver Seminary, said that people are born with one or more of seven motivations - motivator, orchestrator, teacher, illuminator, value builder, empathizer and server. Understanding individual motivations and how they interact with other motivations can help develop better mentoring skills, he said.

"The question is, as we grow does that change? The answer is fundamentally 'no,'" Tonkin said. "If a person is born a leader, they're going to be a leader. If a person is born a teacher, they're going to be a teacher. But it's how you function in that role. It doesn't mean you can't lead if you don't have that orchestrator motive - it just means you're going to do it differently."

Anderson echoed the importance of mentoring the younger generation.

"The organization is not broken - I just want to make it better," he said. "I really want to take the organization to the next step. And I recognize that we have a lot of young folks in this organization, whether they are enlisted or young officers, who are going to be the future leaders of this organization. I want to impart some of my experiences upon that younger group, and a big component of that is mentoring."