Military News

Thursday, April 12, 2012

#SAAM: Assault Craft Unit One Promotes Sexual Assault Awareness


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Shawnte Bryan, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 1 Sailors participated in a self-defense course aboard Naval Amphibious Base Coronado as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), April 11 and 13.

The two-day course was designed to teach basic core fundamentals, personal striking posture and the dynamics of person-to-person contact in order to be successful in defending oneself in an assault.

"A part of SAAM is knowing how to protect yourself," said Quartermaster 2nd Class Regina Jones, a victims advocate of ACU-1 and event coordinator. "I felt the best way to get the command involved is to allow them to be proactive and build confidence in their ability to protect themselves in an assault."

According to Jones, sexual assault does not discriminate, and you will be astonished to know how frequently sexual assault happens and how much of an impact it has on the military.

In fiscal year 2010, there were 611 restricted and unrestricted reports of sexual assaults. Of the 441 unrestricted reports, 49 percent (214) were aggravated sexual assault and 65 percent (285) were cases in which a service member was assaulted by another service member.

"Unfortunately we live in crazy times, and that's just the reality of life, " said Electrician's Mate 1st Class Corey Allen, personal defense instructor. "We wouldn't have these programs throughout the military if people in the armed forces were not getting attacked, so I encourage other commands to get involved with these types of courses."

Sailors participating in the course enjoyed learning different self-defense techniques.

"This class was very interesting, informative and fun," said Engineman 3rd Class Charmaine Jacksonross. "I think that everyone should be proactive in sexual assault."

Jones said she is happy her command has an entire month to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate her command on how to prevent sexual violence.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response is an important element 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 Navy and Marine Corps. The Department of the Navy is working to aggressively to prevent sexual assaults, to support sexual assault victims, and to hold offenders accountable.

Help raise awareness by joining the conversation on social media using #SAAM.

NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support Welcomes First High School STEM Employee


By Lt. Cmdr. Andre Sadowski, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support and Margaret Kenyon-Ely, Naval Supply Systems Command Public Affairs

PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- Commander, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support, officially welcomed the organization's first high school student hired under the Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Engineering (STEM) program, April 6.

Wei Quan Li, who is the first STEM Senior from Northeast Magnet High School, has been working for NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support's Engineering and Product Development Directorate since March.

"Hiring this young man into WSS was another significant milestone in our STEM program implementation. Now that this path has been established, it will enable us to easily hire additional STEM students in the future and further impact our local community," said Rear Adm. John G. King, commander, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support; who met with Li to welcome him to Navy civilian life and to congratulate him for receiving a full scholarship from Drexel University to study engineering, due to his high academic standing.

To meet NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support STEM hiring eligibility, students have to be in good academic standing and complete the four-week NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support Microsoft Excel Preparatory Course.

NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support created this STEM job initiative to assist students in earning money for college, to give them valuable work experience in their field of interest and to expose them to an employment path that could result in successful Government Service career.

Northeast Magnet is a Philadelphia Math, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) high school that falls under NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support's STEM agreement with Temple University.

A field activity of the Naval Supply Systems Command, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (NAVSUP WSS) is the U.S. Navy's supply chain manager providing worldwide support to the aviation, surface ship, and submarine communities. NAVSUP WSS provides Navy, Marine Corps, joint and allied forces with products and services that deliver combat capability through logistics. There are more than 2,000 civilian and military personnel employed at its two Pennsylvania sites. The NAVSUP WSS Philadelphia site supports aircraft, while its Mechanicsburg site supports ships and submarines.

Special Tactics Officer Receives Air Force Cross


By Air Force Capt. Kristen D. Duncan
Air Force Special Operations Command

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2012 – A special tactics officer received the Air Force Cross today for his role in a 2010 battle in Afghanistan.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz presented the award to Capt. Barry F. Crawford Jr. in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. The Air Force Cross is the service's highest medal, and second only to the Medal of Honor.

Crawford received the award for heroic actions controlling the air space and calling in airstrikes during the battle, allowing his special operations team to get out of the kill zone and ultimately saving the lives of his American comrades.

While assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, Crawford was the joint terminal attack controller for a U.S. Army Special Forces and Afghan commando team.

Crawford called in multiple fixed- and rotary-wing air assets, allowing for the safe return of all U.S. forces, the evacuation of two Afghan commandos killed in action, and the rescue of three other wounded Afghan commandos.

"Captain Crawford repeatedly and conspicuously disregarded his own safety to assist his United States and Afghan teammates," Schwartz said at today’s ceremony. "It is not hard to be utterly impressed by his bravery and inspired by his selflessness."

"Crawford braved effective enemy fire and consciously placed himself at grave risk on four occasions while controlling over 33 aircraft and more than 40 airstrikes on a well-trained and well-prepared enemy force,” his award citation reads. “His selfless actions and expert airpower employment neutralized a numerically superior enemy force and enabled friendly elements to exfiltrate the area without massive casualties."

The team of about 100 personnel flew into the steep mountains of Laghman province early May 4, 2010. As soon as they were on the ground, they heard enemy chatter on the radios. Within 30 minutes, they found a substantial weapons cache inside the village. The enemy force apparently was dug in to defensive positions, waiting for the sun to rise before beginning their assault on the coalition force.

"As soon as the sun came up, we started taking extremely heavy enemy fire," Crawford said in an interview. "Our placement in the middle of the village, and the enemy's superior fighting positions, required us to 'run the gauntlet' of enemy fire no matter where we were in the valley."

Enemy fighters were expertly using sniper and medium machine-gun fire to target the force as insurgents were closing in on their location from all sides. Five commandos were wounded in the assault.

"Recognizing that the wounded Afghan soldiers would die without evacuation to definitive care, Captain Crawford took decisive action and ran out into the open in an effort to guide the [medical evacuation] helicopter to the landing zone," according to the citation. "Once the pilot had eyes on his position, Crawford remained exposed, despite having one of his radio antennas shot off mere inches from his face.

"Acting without hesitation,” the citation continues, “Crawford then bounded across open terrain, engaging enemy positions with his assault rifle and called in AH-64 strafe attacks to defeat the ambush."

When the weather cleared, the team moved along the steep terrain. To allow his team to freely move in the open and prevent further casualties, Crawford coordinated the delivery of danger-close AH-64 Apache Hellfire missiles, and 500- and 2,000-pound joint direct attack munition bombs from F-15E Strike Eagles.

"Everyone there was on task and wanted to crush the enemy," Crawford said. "My teammates went above and beyond, and everyone's efforts really re-energized the entire assault force's morale."

As the U.S. and Afghan commandos left the burned-out village, Crawford's team once again came under attack. Stuck in an open, narrow valley with 300- to 500-foot sheer mountain cliffs around them, the team was forced to hold their position in poor weather conditions.

With the enemy merely 150 meters away, Crawford repeatedly called for danger-close 30 mm strafing, and rocket attacks from AH-64 Apaches overhead. To mark the enemy locations, Crawford ran into the open to engage the enemy while continuing to direct Apache airstrikes.

"The Apaches were our lifeline," Crawford said. "They were consistently engaging. It was a battle of survival for us, and they unleashed hell on the enemy."

The original mission was to collect intelligence from a remote village sympathetic to the Taliban. However, the village had been burned prior to their arrival. Their mission quickly turned into a battle for survival, which was remarkably successful. The special operations team suffered two Afghan commando casualties, but more than 80 insurgents were killed during the engagement, including three high-ranking enemy commanders.

Crawford is currently assigned to the 104th Fighter Squadron in the Maryland Air National Guard's 175th Fighter Wing. He will soon attend pilot training to fly the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

How we are preparing for an uncertain future


By Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar
Adjutant General of Wisconsin

On March 6, the U.S. Air Force publicly released their recommendation for substantive changes in USAF force structure and personnel to Congress. The recommendations were driven by budget constraints and changes in our national security strategy. What follows is an update to my original message from March 7.

Here is what I know.

The U.S. Air Force plan remains unchanged. If Congress accepts the budget submission, we would lose two KC-135 Stratotankers from the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee and our RC-26 from the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison, and we would see our authorized end strength reduced by 5 percent or 114 positions. The Combat Readiness Training Center at Volk Field is hit particularly hard with the loss of 18 full-time AGR positions. The National Guard Bureau has forwarded our manning documents for Fiscal Year 2013, which is when most of these changes are due to take effect. All of the positions affected by this change occur no later than April 1, 2013.

At this point, Congress continues to question the USAF on its assumptions and analysis. This information comes from the National Guard Bureau and the USAF.

Here is how I am responding.

I have worked with your commanders and, as a team, we have taken steps to mitigate the impacts of this decision, if implemented. I initially placed a freeze on recruiting until the dust settled and we could analyze the impact on unit manning documents. I have authorized selected hiring/recruiting when the action would have no bearing on personnel potentially affected by this budget action, and have delegated this authority to Brig. Gen. John McCoy in coordination with your commanders.

I’ve been assured by my command team that all personnel potentially affected have been contacted personally. If you haven’t been contacted, you can rest assured that these changes, if implemented, won’t affect you; however, one note of caution — because these changes aren’t approved, it is possible that future decisions by the USAF or Congress could change the impact on Wisconsin. If that happens, I will ensure you are aware and we will take the same measured steps to mitigate any impact.

We will continue a selective freeze on recruiting to assist personnel in positions slated for elimination. We will use multiple tools — selective retention, cross training, and planned retirements to meet projected reductions. We will continue to do everything within our power to assist Airmen affected. We will continue to work with the National Guard Bureau and analyze these changes. NGB has provided us the documents promised and continues to work with us to mitigate the impact on you and your families.

Here is what I need you to do.

Keep doing what you have been doing – remaining focused on the mission and continuing to do your job safely. We continue to act prudently and are working hard to ensure you have the best information available — worry will not improve this situation. You are members of the Wisconsin National Guard — each of you is valued and appreciated. If this change is enacted, we will manage it together.

I trust you and you can trust me and your commanders. I renew my pledge to you and your families to do everything in my power to mitigate the impacts of this decision. Our core values remain: integrity, selfless service, excellence, diversity and resilience and our core values will guide us through this challenge. I am proud of this organization and I am proud to serve with you

Naval Health Clinic New England Commanding Officer Relieved


From Navy Medicine East Public Affairs

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Medicine East (NME), relieved the commanding officer (CO) of Naval Health Clinic New England (NHCNE), Apr. 6, citing a loss of confidence in the CO's ability to command.

Capt. Marcia Kimberly Lyons had been in command since July 2010, and has since been reassigned to Navy Medicine East in Portsmouth, Va.

Rear Adm. Elaine Wagner, Commander, NME identified command climate issues following results of an annual command climate survey. NHCNE's Command Master Chief, Hospital Corpsman Master Chief (SW/FMF/AW) Robert Whitten, was also relieved of his duties for similar reasons. Hospital Corpsman Master Chief (SS/DV) Ronald S. Hudson, assumed duties as NHCNE command master chief Apr. 9.

Capt. Sheherazad Lena Hartzell, NHCNE executive officer, has temporarily assumed command until Capt. Tina Davidson reports to the command later this month. Davidson is currently executive officer of Naval Health Clinic Annapolis, Md.

Patient safety and security were not adversely affected and were not a factor in the decision. No impact to the medical care at NHCNE is expected.

NHCNE is the health care system for the Navy in the Northeast Region, providing medical care to more than 70,000 beneficiaries. The command headquarters is located in Newport, R.I., with Navy Branch Health Clinics at Groton, Conn., Portsmouth, N.H., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.