Monday, March 12, 2012

This Day in Naval History - March 12

From the Navy News Service

1917 - All American merchant ships to be armed in war zones.
1942 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt designates Adm. Ernest J. King to serve as the Chief of Naval Operations, and commander in chief, U.S. Fleet, to which he was appointed Dec. 30, 1941.
1956 - In the first overseas deployment of a Navy missile squadron, Attack Squadron 83 left aboard USS Intrepid (CVS 11).

Sesame Street, USO Launch Tour for Military Families

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2012 – Military families across the nation soon will be invited to take a stroll down Sesame Street.

The Sesame Street and USO Experience for Military Families, a free traveling tour exclusively for military families, will kick off April 7 at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and will visit more than 70 installations over the next eight months.

The show features Sesame Street favorites Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster and Rosita, as well as a new addition, Elmo’s friend, Katie, a character from a military family dealing with a military move.

During the musical show, Katie opens up to her Muppet friends about her fears and excitement about the move. With the help of a few songs, Elmo and other pals reassure her that she’ll make new friends while still remaining close with old ones.

“Our goal is to reach as many military children and their families as we can with Elmo and Katie’s messages of hope and resilience,” H. Melvin Ming, Sesame Workshop president and CEO, said in a news release. “And as we begin our sixth phase of this tour, we are proud to see the growing number of troops and their families reached by this effort.”

Created exclusively for this tour, Katie first was introduced to military families in April by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, at a Joining Forces rally in Columbus, Ohio. Joining Forces is the White House’s initiative to rally the nation’s support for troops, veterans and their families.

“The USO is very excited to partner again with Sesame Workshop as we return the tour to the U.S. with a fresh new look, theme and character,” Sloan Gibson, USO president and CEO, said in the release. “Our nation’s military community is our top priority, especially our youngest heroes.”

Before the show rolls onto installations across the country, officials are inviting people to help in naming the new tour bus. People can submit their ideas on Facebook at Later in the month, families can visit Facebook at to vote on the finalists. In early April, officials will announce the winning name and unveil the new tour bus.

The Sesame Street and USO Experience for Military Families debuted in July 2008 to help families deal with the challenges of deployment and homecomings, according to the news release. Since its inception, the tour has taken its message to more than 248,000 troops and military families, and performed 433 shows on 131 military bases in 33 states and 11 countries, the release said.

Arizona Guard reaches out to community, youth

By Army National Guard Sgt. Lauren DeVita
Arizona National Guard

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. (3/12/12) - Young boys’ voices are heard in unison yelling the word “challenge” as they drop to do pushups. The boys conduct the exercise with stern, determined faces while the instructor shouts cadence.

While this may sound like something out of a military basic training movie, it is just a snapshot of a program where teens have come together in search for new direction in their lives so that they can be better people.

Twice each year, teens from across the state participate in Project Challenge here, hosted by the Arizona National Guard.

The program is operated by civilians, veteran service members, as well as Guard members, who provide coaching and mentorship to teens in need of redirecting their lives.

“This is a program designed to take in at-risk youth and help them become productive members of society, and ensuring they regain their confidence in achieving personal and professional goals,” said John Burk, the senior executive officer for the Department of Military Affairs for Arizona, and overseer of Project Challenge.

The course is for youths between the ages of 16 to 19 who come from a variety of backgrounds with a desire to make better life choices.

“These kids come from all different walks of life,” said Army Spc. Ian Carefoot, an Arizona Guard member and an instructor for Project Challenge. “Some of the kids come from good families, but the kids just made some certain negative decisions, some come from broken homes and are in need of guidance with life skills. We build them back up and give them the tools they need to be a positive part of society again.”

Although, the five-month residency course is not considered a school, it serves as an academic social transition for those youths who have dropped out and have voluntarily decided it was time to make a change.

“We do recruiting where teams will go out to local schools and communities and reach out to youth who are at-risk,” Carefoot said. “It is all by choice, the parents or guardians may encourage attendance, but it comes down to the cadets making that decision to enter the program and turn their lives around.”

The students – called cadets – are taught a variety of lessons based on an intervention model with eight core components: life coping skills, academic excellence, responsible citizenship, health and hygiene, job skills, physical fitness, leadership and followership, and service to community.

“Each Core Component is broken down into many different sections with each section having different "milestones" along the way,” Carefoot said. “I'm always telling these cadets that they can only get what they put into the program. We can teach anything and everything under the sun, but it's what they choose to do with that knowledge is what counts.”

Partnered with Sequoia Charter Schools, which is accredited by the Arizona Department of Education, Project Challenge accepts youths and assesses what kind of future educational plans should be implemented for each cadet.

The program may seem like a charter school, but what sets it apart from the rest is it is a residency program with a “quasi-military” training environment designed to provide a micro-guided approach to life skills training.

“The residency training, within a military-type environment, provides a structured way students can learn life and academic skills and even after they leave the academy, we still follow-up with them by conducting a one-year mentorship to ensure the continued success of Project Challenge,” Burk said.

The cadets are not the only ones who take something away from the program – Guard members who take on the duties as role models for the kids are able to connect to their community and engage with troubled teens who look up to the staff for advice and guidance.

“I’ve worked for Project Challenge for five years and the one thing I love about this program is to witness all the successes from previous classes,” Carefoot said. 

“It’s motivating just for me that I am a part of shaping a kid’s life and it’s important that our community knows about this program and continues to use it,” he said. “The community sends their troubled teens here and we return them back to be contributing members of society – kind of like paying it forward.”

Ham encourages enlisted Soldiers to earn their commissions as officers

Army Courtesy report

WASHINGTON (3/12/12) - Army Gen. Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, is urging enlisted Soldiers who are looking for a new challenge to step up and become an officer through the Army’s Green to Gold program.

“Leadership exists at all levels of our Army - particularly among our junior enlisted ranks - there exists a deep pool of talent with the potential to contribute in another way as officers,” Ham said.

“How do I know? I used to be one of those enlisted Soldiers.”

Having been among the group of first Green to Gold members, Ham relishes opportunities like these.

“I’ve cherished serving as an officer for almost 40 years now. That opportunity can be yours now as well,” he said.

The following scholarships available for Soldiers to apply for are awarded for two, three, or four years:
•Soldiers with two years of college remaining to complete their degree are considered for two-year scholarships.
•Soldiers with three years of college remaining to complete their degree are considered for three-year scholarships.
•Soldiers without college credit who require four years to complete their degree are considered for four-year scholarships.

The deadline to apply for Army ROTC Green to Gold scholarships this year is April 1. More information can be found on

CNO Realigns OPNAV Staff

From Navy Office of Information

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Operations released NAVADMIN 083/10 March 12 outlining the realignment of his staff at the Pentagon to enhance the Navy's ability to navigate fiscal challenges and deliver fleet and platform readiness.

Vice Adm. Bill Burke will assume the new position of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) for Warfare Systems (N9) March 12. He will be responsible for the integration of manpower, training, sustainment, modernization, and procurement of the Navy's warfare systems currently resourced by the directors of Expeditionary Warfare (N95), Surface Warfare (N96), Undersea Warfare (N97), and Air Warfare (N98).

"The realignment combines resources, and responsibilities necessary for procurement, manpower, training and readiness under the resource sponsors for information dominance, surface warfare, undersea warfare, air warfare, and expeditionary warfare" said Burke. "These changes are intended to improve decision making processes associated with planning, programming, budgeting, and execution, and enhance our focus on warfighting capability and total ownership cost,"

With this realignment, N8 will be responsible for integration of capabilities and resources and will be comprised of the directors for Programming (N80), Assessments (N81), Fiscal Management (N82), Navy-Joint Capabilities and Integration (N83), Innovation, Test and Evaluation, and Technology Requirements (N84), and Special Programs (N89). The director of test and evaluation and technology requirements (currently N091) will realign to N8 (N84) to improve understanding of future systems science and technology needs and effectiveness of our science and technology investment. The Naval Warfare Integration Group (N00X) will also be realigned to N81 to better integrate the OPNAV assessment process.

In this new plan, manpower and readiness resources for the Information Dominance Corps will be consolidated under the DCNO for Information Dominance (N2/N6) to enable informed program wholeness and warfighting capability trades for information, cyber, and electronic warfare systems. Additionally, personnel, training and readiness personnel from N1 and N4 will be transferred to N2/N6 to enable more informed system centric trades and warfighting integration. N2/N6 will be responsible for Integration and Interoperability assessments for all warfare systems.

N4 will transfer afloat readiness resources to N2/N6 and N9, but will maintain resource sponsorship for Logistics Programs, Energy & Environmental Readiness, Ashore Readiness and the Combat Logistics Force. N4 will also retain responsibility for Fleet readiness reporting and assessment.

While N1 will transfer manpower and training resources associated with Information Dominance, Fleet Readiness/ Logistics and Warfare Systems to N2/N6, N4 and N9, respectively, the N1 organization will retain resource sponsorship of all accessions and advanced education, exercise administrative control over Navy manpower policy, maintain responsibility for manpower assessment.

The realignment begins this month and expected to be completed by August 2012 to inform the fiscal year 2015 Program Objective Memorandum decisions. There will be no personnel or billet reductions with this realignment, but there may be a small growth to allow the staff to conduct the missions, functions and tasks required.

"We must become more effective and efficient in our management of resources," said Burke. "By harnessing the effort of the staff to plan and deliver, our Navy will continue to evolve and remain the world's preeminent maritime force in the face of emerging threats. We will remain focused on warfighting first, operating forward, and being ready."