Military News

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cambodia: Idaho Army Guard Soldiers, Royal Cambodian Army provide medical care to thousands of Cambodians


By Army National Guard Staff Sgt. April Davis
Idaho National Guard

KAMPOT PROVINCE, Cambodia (3/26/12) – Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers from Charlie Company, 145th Brigade Support Battalion, assisted with medically treating more than 5,000 Cambodian citizens in a joint Medical Civic Action Program during the Angkor Sentinel 2012 exercise here, March 13 to 23.

Angkor Sentinel is an annual bilateral military exercise sponsored by United States Army Pacific Command and the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.

The MEDCAP included 16 U.S. Army medical personnel, 15 delegates from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, 17 interpreters, and a medical team from the Children’s Surgical Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Through the combined effort of the RCAF, U.S. Army, and the Children’s Surgical Center thousands of Cambodians were provided medical care that is otherwise difficult for people of rural provinces to receive.

"The experience we’ve had here in Cambodia is incredible and I cherish this opportunity to work side-by-side with our RCAF partners to help people,” said Army 1st Lt. Casey Seckel, of Charlie Company, 145th BSB.

The MEDCAP provided care to Cambodian locals in two different locations; the Kampong Kes Primary School and the Hun Sen Ro Lous School. Men, women, and children of all ages received medical care, dental care, and ophthalmic treatments and surgeries, as well as health care education.

The general medicine team saw the largest majority of patients with common ailments ranging from minor wounds, muscular-skeletal issues, gastrointestinal issues, and high-blood pressure to diseases not often seen in the U.S. including typhoid and tuberculosis.

Army Maj. Heidi Munro, commander of Charlie Company, 145th BSB, said this experience is unlike any training that could be replicated at home for her Soldiers.

“Our training is usually focused on treating combat injuries, this is much more complex because the soldiers have to diagnose actual patients with different illnesses and diseases,” she said.

The Chidren’s Surgical Center performed ophthalmic surgeries, including cataract removal, and prescribed many pairs of eyeglasses.

Army Capt. Andrew Schug, of the Idaho Army National Guard Medical Detachment, was enthusiastic about the mission; “It is definitely a rewarding experience. You hear stories about what it’s going to be like, but it's not until you get a patient standing in front of you, blind in one eye with lymphoma, that you can really understand what we are doing here. That isn’t something anyone can prepare you for.”

Patients also sought dental care - mainly extractions. Dental technicians with the Idaho Army National Guard received hands-on experience in extracting teeth, a skill reserved only for dentists back at home.

“The ability to help the Cambodians who cannot afford dental care, to give them some pain relief is very rewarding,” said Army Spc. Sara McDonald, a dental technician with the Idaho Army National Guard.

The RCAF medical team said the MEDCAP program benefited both nations involved, as well as the ancillary organizations that supported it, as they worked together to help improve the health of the Cambodian population.

Um. Oeun, an RCAF medical officer, expressed his thoughts on working with the U.S. military.

“We all get more experience when we are able to train together and the American military is very helpful in assisting with this mission in Cambodia,” he said. “We are so happy we have the best cooperation with the American military.”

The RCAF has conducted several MEDCAP humanitarian missions with U.S. forces in the past.

“I have done missions often with the Air Force, Navy, and Army,” said Cmdr. Ky Yadeth, of the Royal Cambodian Navy. “I like doing them because I like to see the cooperation between the Cambodian military and the American military."

Interpreters working with the medical team said patients were grateful to receive free health care because many families in rural Cambodia can’t afford medical treatment.

“I think what the soldiers will take away from this experience is an appreciation for everything we have at home, especially health care,” Munro said.

Dempsey Discusses Combatting Transnational Organized Crime


By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

MIAMI, March 26, 2012 – Transnational organized crime is not specifically mentioned in the new defense strategy, but leaders understand the threat, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at U.S. Southern Command today.

One of the command's main missions is to deal with the threat posed by drug cartels, human traffickers and gunrunners -- what the command calls transnational organized crime. The command works with regional allies and with U.S. interagency partners to combat this transnational threat.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey spoke during a Southcom town hall meeting before leaving for a visit to regional allies. Before the town hall, he met with Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, Southcom’s commander, and received briefings on the range and breadth of threats and opportunities in the region.

“I want to assure you that we recognize the threat that transnational organized crime presents, not just because of what they transport to our shores, but what they could also transport -- terrorists and weapons and weapons of mass destruction,” the general said.

These crime organizations present many of the same problems that other threats in the world pose the United States. “They are networked, they are decentralized and they are syndicated,” he said.

Crime organizations are using 21st century technologies to commit their crimes. They are able to exercise command and control over a wide area and adapt quickly. Dempsey noted that the semi-submersible drug-running craft that is used as a display at Southcom headquarters is just a thing of the past to cocaine traffickers. They now use true submarines that carry a small crew, and a large cargo of cocaine.

The crime networks are decentralized, the chairman said, and will not mass against the United States because they will lose. Rather than challenge the American military directly, they’ll work in an asymmetric manner.

Finally, they are syndicated. This means they will ally themselves with other organized crime gangs, weak governments, rebel groups, or whoever suits their needs at the time.

To defeat them, the United States has to be quicker than they are, Dempsey noted. The United States must be a partner in a regional network, and the Defense Department must be a part of a network that includes all aspects of government. The military can clear an area, but if the government cannot hold it -- and bring jobs, education and health care benefits -- it will lose that area.

Vietnam Wall Turns 30 as Officials Plan Education Center


By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2012 – Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial groundbreaking here today, officials of the memorial's fund announced the development of an education center to inform younger generations about the war's history.

Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a Vietnam veteran and chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund advisory board, said the center also will showcase a "Wall of Faces" of the lives lost during the war, just as the wall bears their names.

"The wall is not just for the [millions] of us who served, but also for the 300,000 or more who were wounded, the 58,000 who were killed, and all the pain that brought along with it [for] dads, mothers, brothers, friends," McCaffrey said. "It's an extraordinary achievement."

And the crux of the education center, he said, will be to connect service members' stories, families and experiences to the wall.

"It will also connect the other veterans from our other wars from the Revolutionary War all the way up to the unbelievable heroism and sacrifice of our service members who are still fighting in Afghanistan," he said.

"The Wall" is one of the most visited memorials in the nation's capital, added retired Army Brig. Gen. George Price, who also was an early supporter of the memorial and served in Vietnam.

Price said the American public owes knowledge of the Vietnam War to today’s children.

"We owe this center to our youngsters to bridge the gap between then and now," he said. "We need to make sure they understand that mistakes were made, good things were achieved, and most importantly, they must understand the sacrifices of service to the most important country in the world, the United States of America."

To preserve the legacy of the fallen, the center will offer exhibits such as:

-- "Telling Their Stories," to showcase military service taken from excerpts of letters and memories;

-- “The Wall of Faces," digital images of the more than 58,000 service members who are memorialized on the wall;

-- “The Legacy of Service," comprising images of service members who served in all the nation's wars through Iraq and Afghanistan; and

-- “The Artifacts Collection," which is expected to exhibit more than 120,000 personal items left at the wall by families and visitors.

The center also will provide other educational resources for information on the fallen, officials said.

The education center's groundbreaking is expected to take place sometime this year, amid other celebrations to take place all year along the National Mall to commemorate the memorial's 30 years, Memorial Fund officials said.

U.S. to Expand Security Role in Pacific Region


By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 26, 2012 – President Barack Obama today reaffirmed the U.S. intention to take a larger role in the future of security in the Asia-Pacific region.

During a news conference with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in conjunction with the Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea’s capital of Seoul, Obama talked about upcoming plans for the Asia-Pacific region.

“My visit to Korea reflects the fact that the United States is leading again in the Asia-Pacific -- a region that will affect American security and prosperity in the 21st century like no other,” he said.

The president noted that in a November speech to the Australian parliament, he said the United States, as a Pacific nation, will play a larger and long-term role in shaping the region and its future. “And the cornerstone of our efforts is our strong alliances, including our alliance with the Republic of Korea,” he added.

Obama said South Korea is on track to assume operational control on the Korean peninsula for the alliance in 2015.

“We reviewed our ongoing efforts to modernize our security alliance,” he said. “We agreed to have our foreign and defense ministers meet in June to discuss concrete measures we can take to continue strengthening that alliance.”

Obama also said he and Lee discussed the future in light of fiscal constraints that will reduce U.S. defense spending.

“I reaffirmed, as I said in Australia, that reductions in U.S. defense spending will not come at the expense of the Asia Pacific -- and that includes South Korea,” he said. “America’s armed forces are going to stay ready for the full range of contingencies and threats. And the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea remains unshakable.”

Obama said he and Lee also discussed regional security, which starts with the issue of North Korea. Lee said he and Obama will continue to enhance and strengthen the two nations’ combined defense capabilities, and he called on North Korea to end its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

“We will firmly respond to any threats or provocations from the North,” the South Korean president said. Both countries can work together along with the international community, he added, if North Korea gives up nuclear weapon and missile development.

Both presidents noted North Korea’s contradiction of its own recent commitments to the international community.

“Last month, North Korea agreed to a series of steps, including a moratorium on long-range missile launches,” Obama said. “This month, North Korea announced its intention to conduct a missile launch. This would constitute a direct violation of Pyongyang’s own commitments and its international obligations. Moreover, it would only deepen North Korea’s isolation, damage further its relations with its neighbors, and seriously undermine the prospect of future negotiations.”

Lee said the United States and South Korea agree that North Korea's announcement that it will test-fire its long-range missile is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, not to mention the latest agreement between the U.S. and North Korea.

“Therefore,” he said, “President Obama and I both agreed that North Korea must immediately repeal its decision and abide by its international obligations.”

Noting that he and Obama reaffirmed the value and importance of the U.S.-South Korean alliance in their meeting today, Lee said they also discussed their vision of the partnership’s future.

“Following the adoption of the future vision of the alliance, which was adopted in June 2009, our alliance is evolving into a truly global partnership where we are working shoulder-to-shoulder to resolve global challenges,” he said.

Understand High Year Tenure to Maximize Your Career

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrea Perez, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Navy's High Year Tenure (HYT) program is a force management tool used to size and shape the active-duty and Reserve enlisted force, officials said March 26.

HYT sets the maximum number of years an enlisted Sailor may serve based on rank before he or she must advance, separate or if eligible, retire.

"High Year Tenure assists in force management by limiting the number of years a Sailor may serve without showing professional growth via the advancement system," said Senior Chief Personnel Specialist John Gigliotti, Navy Total Force Policy Advancement Planning for HYT Policy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
By limiting how long Sailors can remain in the Navy, the HYT program increases advancement opportunity for high-performing Sailors across paygrades and Length of Service (LOS).

"HYT policy recognizes Sailor performance by separating Sailors who have not advanced after a set amount of time," said Gigliotti. This gives other Sailors who are performing at or above Navy standards better advancement opportunities, because the Navy advances Sailors to fill openings in the next higher rank. Actively working towards advancement to the next higher pay grade is critical, because advancing is the only way a Sailor can maximize the length of their career."

The following HYT LOS gates have been established based on pay grade:

* E1/E2 - Active-duty/Full-Time Support (FTS), 4 years; Reserve, 6 years;
* E3 - Active-duty/FTS, 5 years; Reserve, 10 years;
* E4 - Active-duty/FTS, 8 years; Reserve, 12 years;
* E5 - Active-duty/FTS, 14 years; Reserve, 20 years;
* E6 - Active-duty/FTS, 20 years; Reserve, 22 years;
* E7 - Active-duty/FTS/Reserve, 24 years;
* E8 - Active-duty/FTS/Reserve, 26 years;
* E9 - Active-duty/FTS/Reserve, 30 years.

Command master chiefs may exceed 30 years of service with certain provisions, according to Gigliotti.

Continuing beyond 30 years isn't associated with the advancement system like E1 to E9, but it is associated with incentivizing professional growth and increased responsibility for senior enlisted leaders in command leadership positions for flag/general officers.

Officers are not subject to HYT, but instead limited to statutory service limits by paygrade. In addition, the Navy uses other force-shaping initiatives to manage the officer community, including the Selective Early Retirement Board and Probationary Officer Continuation and Redesignation Boards.

HYT waiver requests are considered on a case-by-case basis for approval. Requests to continue beyond a Sailor's current HYT date in support of an urgent and immediate operational requirement, in a deployed or soon to be deployed unit, or in an undermanned rating have the best chance of being approved.

All waiver requests for active-duty and Reserve Sailors must arrive at Navy Personnel Command (NPC) ten months prior to the service member's HYT date.

Gigliotti encourages Sailors to take advantage of every advancement opportunity possible. Command Career Counselors can advise Sailors on what's required to be advancement eligible, show them how to study and assist them with getting the study material they need for their rate and pay grade.

MILPERSMAN 1160-120 is a revision of the HYT policy that will incorporate both active-duty and Reserve policy, and will be effective July 1, 2012.

For more information, visit the HYT Web Page on the NPC website at www.npc.navy.mil/CAREER/RESERVEPERSONNELMGMT/ENLISTED/Pages/HYT.aspx or call the NPC Customer Service Center at 1-866-U-ASK-NPC or 1-866-827-5672.

Ensuring Sailors are fully aware of the issues that affect their careers is an important element of the continuum of service 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.