Military News

Monday, March 19, 2012

This Day in Naval History - March 19


From the Navy News Service

1898 - USS Oregon departs San Francisco for a 14,000-mile trip around South America to join the U.S. Squadron off Cuba in the days leading up to the Spanish-American War.
1917 - The Navy Department authorizes enrollment of women in the Naval Reserve with ratings of yeoman, radio electrician or other essential ratings.
1942 - The Secretary of the Navy gives the Civil Engineering Corps command of the Seabees.

First Lady Lauds Minnesota’s Military Family Support


By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 19, 2012 – First Lady Michelle Obama met with military families and support group leaders in Minnesota last week to “shine a spotlight” on the state’s efforts to aid troops and their families.

Speaking at a March 16 roundtable on Minnesota Air National Guard Base, the first lady called the state a model of military family support.

“We have just been amazed at how organizations and businesses and individuals are stepping up in ways large and small,” Obama said.

Spotlighting military family support efforts is one of the goals of the Joining Forces campaign, the first lady noted. She and Dr. Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, launched this initiative last year to boost the nation’s support of troops, veterans and their families and “to highlight the great work that’s happening already.”

Obama encouraged roundtable participants to share their success stories. “I want to make sure that the rest of the nation understands how you work as a state, how your organizations come together, the needs of our military families and how organizations can serve them,” she said. “You’re educating me, but you’re also educating the nation.”

The roundtable included representatives from the support group Serving Our Troops and three Joining Forces Community Challenge finalists from Minnesota: the Armed Forces Service Center, Defending the Blue Line and GreenCare for Troops.

The Community Challenge is intended to recognize and celebrate individuals, communities and organizations that have displayed outstanding support to military families and veterans. Last month, the first lady and Biden announced the challenge’s 20 finalists, and will announce the winners in a White House ceremony April 11.

“We’ve got 1 percent of this country serving and sacrificing on behalf of the other 99 percent of us,” the first lady said. “That can be a daunting position to be in. And a lot of times America just doesn’t understand the struggles. … We take it for granted because you all handle and shoulder the burden so well.

“It’s time,” she added, “for people to really understand what military families and our military kids go through.”

NHB Promotes 'Crews Into Shape'


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

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Multiple teams from Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) are taking part in the monthlong 12th annual "Crews Into Shape" challenge, March 4-31.

"The goal for 'Crews Into Shape' is overall health improvement by getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables and stay physically active throughout the week," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Holly Dean, NHB Health Promotions.

Crews consist of 2-10 members registered online with a crew leader and crew name. No weigh-in is required and each member sets their own weight loss, maintenance, or gain goal. Points are accumulated for things such as eating fruits and vegetables, physical activities, and goal attainment.

"As a group, we're trying to get higher Physical Readiness Test scores than last year," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Elizabeth Ramos, NHB Orthopedics leading petty officer and co-captain for the "Boneheads" team. "My personal goal is to run the PRT instead of doing my usual cardio event, the bike."

The "Crews Into Shape" challenge runs concurrently with National Nutrition Month and is sponsored annually by the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC). The challenge is open for all DoD employees.

To counter busy work schedules, some NHB crews have found creative and effective means of fulfilling their daily exercise and diet goals and raising awareness with health education.

"This week's activity is a Juice Friday where we are sampling a spinach, kale, carrot, and apple juice that I made at home this morning. Juicing unlocks the nutrients in the veggies and fruits and is a great way to get the health benefits from the produce. Other plans for our team included Salad Friday and Smoothie Friday, as well as walking lunches," said Peggy Hall, NHB clinical staff support and crew leader for the "Quality Matters" team from NHB Quality Management which she also led in last year's challenge.

Taking the steps instead of the elevator for cardiovascular exercise is one method a number of teams are incorporating into their daily routine. One of the most frequent traveled routes in the main hospital is from the sub-level basement to the third floor. There are 98 steps in that route.

"Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we walk the stairs from the sub-level to the flight above the Seventh floor. We do it at least two times a day and we try to increase it on Wednesdays to three," said Ramos. "Also, one of our crew members is a command fitness leader (CFL) and some of our techs go whenever she leads a fitness enhancement program session [after hours]."

Physical fitness is one of the main areas of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.

"I think it gets overlooked, but physical fitness is one of the most important things. It's important for taxpayers to see a Sailor and feel proud about their appearance in uniform," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Chad Pilkington, MNHB Optometry leading petty officer and CFL.

"I don't think it's good for them to see us in uniform and only think we're well fed. I want them to see that we're healthy and we take pride in our uniform and represent it well. [Crews Into Shape] is a tool and incentive to get Sailors into that healthy frame of mind."

"People make poor choices everyday and one thing I would like to see them get out of this challenge is greater awareness to help them know where they are and where they should be to maintain their optimal level of health," said Dean.

Dean notes that one dynamic "Crews Into Shape" introduces to some participants is an alternative for those who have tried to get healthier alone to now have a group effort to help them stay in shape and eat right.

"The great thing about having other people with similar goals is that you have someone else holding you accountable other than just yourself. When it's just you, it's easier to slip up and not eat enough of the healthy foods throughout the day or skip a day of working out," said Dean.

"It's vitally important even if you have an exercise plan. If you've got somebody expecting you to be there and keeping you on track, it's going to work. We didn't score the most points [last year], but we became more aware and had fun. It's not necessarily just about eating right and physical fitness, but it's also the camaraderie with your team members. The most challenging thing about this program is getting people to join especially the ones that would benefit the most," said Hall.

"Thanks to a strong network of command health promoters, we have had an amazing turnout in the local area for the Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center's "Crews Into Shape" challenge.
Navy Region Northwest has the strongest representation of any region navy wide," said Janet Mano, NHB Health Promotion coordinator.

There are 13 teams at Naval Hospital, with an additional five teams at Naval Branch Health Clinic Everett, and another 85 throughout the greater region, including teams from Command Navy Region Northwest Safety, Naval Base Kitsap, Operational Health Support Unit Bremerton, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Naval Station Everett, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport, and Naval Air Station Oak Harbor.

Army Guard director tours Guard facilities in Hawaii


By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Andrew Jackson
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam

HONOLULU (3/19/12) -- Army Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr., the director of the Army National Guard, finished his first 100 days in his new post with a three-day tour of the National Guard Facilities in Hawaii.

His visit comes at the end of a two-week trip that took the general to South Korea and Guam.

Ingram spoke with leaders and Soldiers about the future structure and missions of the Army Guard in a series of meetings that spanned the length of the Hawaii tour.

As it stands right now the Army Guard is the strongest it has ever been, in its long history, Ingram said, “We have been actively engaged in war efforts for the last 10 years, we are well equipped and well trained.”

He hosted a town hall meeting with local leaders and traditional Soldiers at the Hawaii Army National Guard Headquarters in Kalaeloa. The Soldiers knew this was a unique opportunity for them to voice their concerns and questions to a man that is in a position to direct change. Key topics of discussion where mission requirements and preparation, and maintaining an aging infrastructure.

Army Brig. Gen. Gary Hara, HIARNG commander, briefed Ingram on the development plans for the upgrade of the Guard facilities on Kalaeloa, where the HIARNG is using buildings that once belonged to the Navy at the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station.

Senior officers and enlisted leaders from throughout the HIARNG were also invited to a special informal dinner where Ingram held round table discussions and answered questions. Meetings where also held with the staff of Joint Task Force – Homeland Defense, U.S. Army Pacific Command, and the Joint Operations Center for the Hawaii Department of Defense, where joint operations, force integration, and State Partnership Programs were explored.

Ingram also visited Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, where he met with Army Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Tom the first commander of JPAC to come from a reserve component. During the JPAC visit Ingram received a tour of the Central Identification Laboratory from Calvin Y. Shiroma, D.M.D., forensic odontologist, where he was briefed on recovery techniques, efforts and historical examples from all the major war efforts.

The final day of the Army Guard trip included an aerial tour of military facilities on the Island of Hawaii via a Hawaii UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, a walking tour of the Hawaii Air National Guard’s F-22 Raptors, and was concluded with an admiral’s barge tour of Pearl Harbor.

The Hawaii Guard’s innovative implementation of it many programs is surprising and impressive, Ingram said.

“You all are in great shape, and that is largely due to the quality of your leaders, they are a great group with lots of vision,” he said.

Building strong relationships with the Guard Bureau and the Pentagon is vitally important to our organization, said Army Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong the adjutant general of Hawaii.

“This visit allowed us to show our leadership what we are capable of, and what we are dealing with. It also helps to understand the man we will work closely with to help shape the future of the Army National Guard. This is a good partnership,” he said.

Louisiana (Gold) Welcomes New Commander


By Lt. Ed Early, Commander, Submarine Group 9 Public Affairs

KEYPORT, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) welcomed a new commanding officer for its Gold Crew March 16.

Cmdr. Robert Peters relieved Cmdr. Joseph Turk during the ballistic missile submarine's change-of-command ceremony at the Naval Undersea Museum.

"Team Louisiana, you are a group of elite professionals doing an incredibly challenging and important job," said Turk. "You can all take great pride in the foundation of safety and security you provide our nation."

During his command tour, which began in May 2009, Turk completed four strategic deterrent patrols with the Gold Crew. In addition, working with his Blue Crew counterparts, Cmdr. Eric Woelper and Cmdr. Paul Varnadore, Turk delivered Louisiana on time from the most complex Ohio-class extended refit ever completed.

"I'm confident that Joe's leadership is the catalyst that kept the crew focused on the tasks at hand," said Vice Adm. Timothy Giardina, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, who served as the event's guest speaker. "Under his inspirational leadership, the Gold Crew of USS Louisiana has excelled in virtually every area with respect to submarine operations."

Turk will next serve as deputy commander of Submarine Squadron 17 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

The ceremony marked a homecoming of sorts for Peters, who was raised in Oak Harbor, Wash., and received his commission from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Washington State University. Peters attended the Naval War College and the Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Command Course, and served as Gold Crew executive officer aboard USS Tennessee (SSBN 734).

"You are a proven and exceptional team that gets the mission done every time, on time and at a high standard," said Peters. "I promise to give you my complete dedication and effort in the execution of our strategic mission."

Louisiana is one of eight Ohio-class Trident ballistic missile submarines stationed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, providing the survivable leg of the nation's strategic deterrent forces.