Thursday, March 22, 2012

RIVRON 1 Earns Green H Award for the First Time

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Heather M. Paape, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Riverine Squadron (RIVRON) 1's Medical Department was the first iverine command to earn the Force Health and Wellness Unit Award, or Green "H," March 13 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

The Green "H" is an annual award earned by commands who demonstrate medical readiness, physical readiness and commitment to health, fitness and mental well-being of its Sailors throughout the year. Commands display their commitment by participating in activities such as, smoking cessation courses, tactical combat causality care, drug and alcohol programs, suicide awareness classes, fitness sessions and education on healthy living.

Participating commands from NECC were judged upon their medical readiness standards from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2011. Capt. Christopher Halton, commodore of Riverine Group 1, visited RIVRON 1 March 19 to congratulate the command on their award.

"This is the first time in Riverine history that the Green "H" was awarded to any Riverine Squadron and RIVRON 1 is the first and only," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Julian Torres, RIVRON 1 medical department. "We are very proud as a medical department to have helped receive this award and to make sure our Riverines are deployment ready."

The Green "H" demonstrates RIVRON 1's dedication to helping shipmates make productive changes in their lives. It also encourages participation in health promotion by providing resources to ensure the Sailor's health is at the highest level, and by offering every opportunity to educate the command.

"The Green 'H' is like the Battle 'E' of medicine," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Brett McIlmail, RIVRON 1 medical department. "Winning has definitely increased the morale of the command and is just another testament that we provide the best care for our Sailors."

Commands that earn the Force Health and Wellness Unit Award are authorized to paint a green "H" to display evidence of the honor. For each consecutive competition won, the command may paint a hash mark, below the green "H".

"It's not just the medical department that won the Green "H," but the command as a whole," said Chief Hospital Corpsman Anthony Royal, leading chief petty officer, RIVRON 1 Medical Department. "We won because of the effort that was put forward by every Sailor in the command."

The medical department ensures that the Riverine Force is deployable and capable of accomplishing their mission of providing an offensive combat component to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and Navy brown and green water operation areas.

Frontline Psych with Doc Bender: 24/7 Help at Veterans Crisis Line

By Dr. James Bender, DCoE psychologist

Dr. James Bender is a former Army psychologist who deployed to Iraq as the brigade psychologist for the 1st Cavalry Division 4th Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Hood, Texas. During his deployment, he traveled through Southern Iraq, from Basra to Baghdad. He writes a monthly post for the DCoE Blog on psychological health concerns related to deployment and being in the military.

Hello. A friend at work recently asked me about patient confidentiality and suicide prevention hotlines. After our discussion, and speaking with a few others, my informal poll told me chances are there may be misinformation floating around. So I reached out to Patricia Lucas, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) suicide prevention coordinator for the Washington, D.C. area, and decided to spotlight a free, confidential resource for service members and veterans in emotional crisis this month—Veterans Crisis Line.

Partnered with VA and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the crisis line is available 24/7 by calling 800-273-TALK (8255) and pressing “1,” online chat or text message to 838255. In five years, the crisis line has fielded more than 500,000 calls and made more than 18,000 “rescues” where emergency services went to the caller’s location.

There are usually complex and varied reasons why someone may experience suicidal thoughts, but hopelessness is a common theme and a better predictor of suicide than depression. When people feel “trapped” or that their situation will never improve, it may lead them to consider suicide as the only option. It’s safe to say we probably all experience times when we’re down and not feeling ourselves, but people whose behaviors don’t seem to improve and actually worsen, may show signs that they need help. Here are some warning signs to look for: increased substance use; anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness; dramatic mood changes; rage, uncontrolled anger; and withdrawal from family, friends or society.

Who can use the crisis line?

Veterans can use the Veterans Crisis Line—you don’t have to be registered with VA—and how long you served or your discharge status doesn’t matter. Additionally, any service member, or concerned person can use this service. Here’s how it works:

1. When you call, use online chat, or send a text, it’s answered by a VA professional experienced with military-related issues and suicide prevention. They may even be a veteran. The responder starts with basic questions, like inquiring what the immediate problem is and how long the problem and poor moods have been going on. They may ask if the caller is thinking about hurting or killing themself and if so, if there’s a plan to do it. These questions may sound morbid, but they’re the most effective way to determine the best course of action.

2. If the caller is not in immediate danger, the nearest VA suicide prevention coordinator will follow-up with the caller within a day. This follow-up will require a name and phone number, so a face-to-face visit with a local health care provider can then be scheduled if the caller is receptive.

3. Because the safety of the caller is a primary concern, if the caller is at risk of suicide, a rescue is initiated to the caller’s location for immediate assessment and treatment, usually at a hospital emergency room.

Having worked with suicidal patients, I can tell you that there are many dramatic recoveries and some people literally consider themselves “reborn” after recovery from their suicidal episode. They are often scared to look back at this period in their life because they came close to making a big mistake.

It’s important for people to know that there is help available and to talk to someone before issues escalate. Stressful events can affect our health in multiple ways. It helps to maintain proper physical, emotional and psychological health in order to better deal with stressors in our lives.

Find out more about suicide prevention information and resources, and thanks for reading.

Transport, Triage, and Treat training with NHB Mass Casualty Exercise

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton held a mass casualty exercise March 21 to test after-hours response capabilities of limited staff on duty.

The exercise, held in conjunction with force protection exercise Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield 2012, and in cooperation with Naval Base Kitsap and Command Navy Region Northwest Fire/Emergency Medical Services, focused on how those on duty could handle a scenario involving multiple casualties in need of immediate medical assistance.

"We plan and practice several mass casualty drills a year and for this one, we wanted to see how our weekend and after hours staff would respond if they were suddenly surged due to an influx of multiple injured patients. In such a scenario, they're going to be the only ones for about the first hour. They need to know how to deal with all that's needed during that time," said Terry Lerma, NHB emergency preparedness coordinator.

The exercise scenario involved a vehicle accident on Naval Base Kitsap Bremerton. A passenger van swerved to avoid a pedestrian, tipped over and rolled, causing 12 people to sustain various injuries. NBK Bremerton Federal Fire Department initially responded with NHB helping to handle the surge of multiple patients needing medical treatment.

"As always, when an actual emergency happens, it won't be at our convenience. It will be when we least expect it and we have to ready. Planning and training to prepare for that actual emergency will give us the experience needed to be able to handle whatever needs to be done," said Lerma.

On any given weekend and after normal working hours, there are duty personnel in such areas as Operating Room, Emergency Department, Nursing Services, and Clinical Support Services. The objectives of the exercise were to primarily stress the capabilities of the emergency department and main operating room with the patient surge, and assess the ability of the after-hour staff to respond, triage, treat and/or transport injured patients to appropriate treatment areas. The exercise also tested the collective communication capability of the staff on duty.

"The communication during the exercise was good. Our emergency department did really well. The turnover and interface with the fire department delivering the incoming casualties was very good, as was the triaging and transferring of some of the injured to the operating room and multi-service ward," said Lerma.

According to Lerma, one of the top three after action report items after any emergency exercise is always about internal communications. This mass casualty exercise gave the command the opportunity to activate the alternate hospital command center (HCC) and iron out information-sharing and various means of informing staff, patients and beneficiaries.

"We primarily used landlines, but also had our command radios on hand for the exercise. Our command duty officer relayed inputs and updates to the HCC which was very timely," Lerma said.

"This exercise was valuable. It allowed us to talk things through, especially regarding communication," said Russ Kent, NHB Facilities Management Department head and HCC operations section chief.

Of prime importance to the HCC during any emergency is ensuring that the timely and accurate word gets out to staff on reporting to assigned places of duty. During an after-hours emergency event, the duty section has the immediate responsibility as other staff members are notified to augment the caring for casualties.

"We do have several ways to quickly recall additional clinical support and every emergency exercise can pose a different scenario. If we're dealing with an earthquake, that could impact our network connectivity and we might have to use other means. If we're handling a number of casualties from a automobile accident, then we can use our internal pager system. We will use the best methods available to get the word out to staff if they need to immediately report to the hospital. Social media also gives us several options that we will utilize," said Capt. Mark Turner, NHB executive officer and HCC incident commander.

"I would say this training is very valuable especially for the emergency medical technicians and firefighters. They were the ones who went through and practiced their training. I learned the importance of triaging. We don't normally see these kinds of cases on a day to day basis so being able to do it in a drill makes you more aware. The hospital staff was very professional. They treated me like I was an actual patient and I was impressed," said Hospital Corpsman Andrew Colbeck, of Branch Health Clinic Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

"There are always three priorities in any emergency," said Lerma. "There is life safety where we take care of the sick and injured; incident stabilization that in a mass casualty scenario we treat every patient; and property conservation/business continuity where we still provide services to care for other patients when dealing with mass casualty casualties. We did all of those today."

Naval Hospital Bremerton is part of Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery, a global healthcare network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

Training as well as health and wellness are important elements of the readiness area 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.

NAVCENT Commander Visits Lincoln

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan P. Idle, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- The commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command visited the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in the Arabian Gulf, March 19-20.

During his visit, Vice Adm. Mark Fox met with leadership from Abraham Lincoln, embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. He also toured the ship and spoke to Sailors during an all-hands call.

Fox discussed numerous topics including Operation Enduring Freedom, the future of cyber warfare and the importance of the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

"We as a nation have interests all over the world," Fox said. "The Strait of Hormuz, and this particular part of the world in general, are vital to the overall wellbeing of the global economy, and we are all interconnected."

He thanked the crew for all the long hours and months of work they have put in supporting the mission and maintaining stability in the region.

"I fully understand the nature and the challenges of the mission we've given to all of you," he said. "You guys have been on a really tough schedule, but you're all doing some incredibly important work. I appreciate it."

Fox acknowledged the professionalism of the men and women serving on the ship and throughout the strike group.

"You are the role models of what our nation is all about," he said. "You come together from all over different parts of our large country to serve and do something that is so much bigger than yourselves."

He concluded by thanking the crew for their service to the country and for their devotion to duty. "Thanks for your service," he said. "It's an honor to be aboard Abraham Lincoln. God bless you all, and thank you for what you're doing."

CSG 9 is comprised of Lincoln, CVW 2, guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and DESRON 9, which consists of guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Momsen (DDG 92). The strike group is in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Flags lowered to half-staff Friday in Wisconsin for U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jesse J. Grindey

Flags at Wisconsin National Guard armories, air bases and other facilities across the state will fly at half-staff Friday (Mar 23) in honor of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jesse J. Grindey of Hazel Green, Wis., who lost his life while serving his country in Afghanistan. The Guard will render these honors in accordance with an executive order issued by Gov. Scott Walker.


Relating to a Proclamation that the Flag of the United States and the Flag of the State of Wisconsin be Flown at Half-Staff as a Mark of Respect for Staff Sergeant Jesse J. Grindey of the United States Army Who Lost His Life While Serving His Country During Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan

WHEREAS, on March 12, 2012, Staff Sergeant Jesse J. Grindey, a member of the 287th Military Police Company, 97th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Riley, Kansas, United States Army, died while serving his country in Afghanistan; and

WHEREAS, Staff Sergeant Jesse J. Grindey provided faithful and honorable service to the people of the State of Wisconsin and the people of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the people of Wisconsin mourn the death of Staff Sergeant Jesse J. Grindey; and

WHEREAS, a memorial service will be held for Staff Sergeant Jesse J. Grindey on March 23, 2012;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, SCOTT WALKER, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me by federal and state law, do hereby order that the flag of the United States and the flag of the State of Wisconsin shall be flown at half-staff at all buildings, grounds, and military installations of the State of Wisconsin equipped with such flags beginning at sunrise on Friday, March 23, 2012, and ending at sunset on that date.


All Wisconsin state government facilities are covered by the governor’s order and a 2007 amendment to the U.S. Flag Code now requires all federal facilities in Wisconsin to comply. Other government agencies, businesses and private residences with flagpoles may also honor Staff Sgt. Jesse J. Grindey by lowering their U.S. and Wisconsin state flags to half-staff during the daylight hours on March 23.