Military News

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day: Naval Station Newport Celebrates with Base Clean


By Bob Krekorian, Naval Station Newport Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Active duty personnel and DoD civilian employees at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Newport conducted a base-wide clean up of debris, litter and trash, and recyclables, April 16-20, in conjunction with Earth Day 2012.

The shoreline areas adjacent to Narragansett Bay was the focus of this year's clean up, scheduled daily, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Available personnel from the various NAVSTA Newport departments and 12 tenant commands were assigned areas of responsibility. The base was divided into three areas to insure the entire installation received some attention: Coasters' Harbor Island, Coddington Point, and Coddington Cove.

The result of the clean up produced a total of 2,378 pounds of debris and litter. Recyclable material recovered included 1,120 pounds of wood; 221 pounds of bottles/cans/paper, and cardboard; and 500 pounds of scrap metal. Trash collected totaled 537 pounds.

The total amount of recyclables recovered, 1,841 pounds, helped contribute to a 77 percent diversion rate to local landfills.

"Our annual base clean up demonstrates that we can make a difference in showing our continued commitment to environmental stewardship," said Capt. Douglas Mikatarian, commanding officer, Naval Station Newport.

"By involving all possible NAVSTA departments and tenant commands, we achieved our goal of improving base appearance and keeping our shoreline free of debris and litter," Mikatarian said.

To accommodate academic scheduling at the Naval Academy Preparatory School, Newport, R.I., 200 Midshipman candidates started collecting debris, April 14.

Thirty Scouts and their adult chaperones from Boy Scout Troop 7, Middletown, R.I. and Boy Scout Troop 4, Riverside, R.I., are visiting Naval Station Newport, April 20-22, for an overnight encampment that includes a litter and debris clean up at Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Carr Point Recreation Area.

Last year, more than 2,800 pounds of debris were bagged during a similar weeklong clean up; recyclable material recovered totaled 1,700 pounds.

Dempsey Meets With Jordan’s Defense Chief, Moves on to Afghanistan


By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 22, 2012 – Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met today with his counterpart in Jordan’s capital of Amman before flying here for the second leg of an overseas trip.

The chairman and Lt. Gen. Mashal al-Zaben, Jordan’s defense chief, discussed regional security issues.

“Jordan is one of our most important non-NATO allies, and they’ve been actively involved with us in Afghanistan,” Dempsey told American Forces Press Service during the flight to Kabul. The Jordanian military has contributed to the reconstruction, counterterrorism, special operations and medical efforts in Afghanistan, he noted.

“So they’ve really been very important partners in that,” the chairman said.

Jordan and the United States have an enduring partnership that includes exercises and exchanges, the chairman said, citing the upcoming Exercise Eager Lion 12 as an example. The exercise will bring together more than 8,000 participants from more than 15 countries over five continents. Its focus is to strengthen military-to-military relationships of participating partner nations through a joint, whole-of-government, multinational approach, Dempsey’s spokesman, Marine Corps Col. David Lapan, said yesterday in Amman.

Such exercises are a good fit with the new U.S. strategy, the chairman pointed out, helping to build partners on the basis of capabilities and common interests.

In his meeting with Zaben, Dempsey said, the two military leaders also discussed the Jordanian perspective on the situation in neighboring Syria.

Upon arriving in Amman yesterday, the chairman had a series of meetings with U.S. Embassy officials and took time to meet informally with service members stationed in Amman.

During Navy Week New Orleans Wasp Sailors Strengthen Foreign Relationships


By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kevin F. Johnson, USS Wasp Public Affairs

NEW ORLEANS (NNS) -- Sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), including the commanding officer and executive officer, visited three foreign navy vessels April 19, as part of the the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration during Navy Week New Orleans.

Officers and Sailors attended receptions on board the HMCS St. John's, the Indonesian tall ship Kri Dewa Ruci and the Ecuadorian tall ship Guayas.

"Everyone has been really nice and made us feel right at home," said Chief (select) Ship's Serviceman Angela Zamora, recently selected United States Fleet Forces Sailor of the Year. "These events are important because it gives us a chance to learn about what these foreign navies do and what their mission is."

Crew members from each ship treated guests to food, drinks and entertainment including traditional music, dances and cultural craft from each foreign nation.

"It was impressive and inspiring to see such rich Naval heritage preserved and remaining active in a 21st century environment," said Capt. Brian Teets, Wasp's executive officer. "To experience the variety of cultural differences was enjoyable and enlightening."

Hosts of the event recognized the historical significance of the War of 1812 as a driving force in forming strong alliances between the different nations.

"We formed many allies during that war," said Cmdr. James A. Clarke, commanding officer of the HMCS St. John's. "It truly is inspiring to see those relationships continue so strongly today."

Wasp leadership uses events such as these to help strengthen relationships with the Navy's foreign allies and preserve the Navy's presence and image.

"Regardless of the event or ship type, these meetings are about building military relationships," said Teets. "These relationships help to lay the foundation for military cooperation in the future."

Constitution Sailors Participate in Caps for Kids During New Orleans Navy Week


By Seaman Michael Achterling, USS Constitution Public Affairs

GRETNA, La. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to USS Constitution gave Navy ball caps to children during a Caps for Kids event at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans, April 19.

Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Kelvin Wiggins, Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) Conrad Hunt, Damage Controlman Fireman Ashley Fairfax, Seaman Stephen Beck, and Yeoman Seaman Jaslynn Villanueva participated in the Navy Office of Community Outreach-sponsored event as part of New Orleans Navy Week, April 16-23.

"It's important for Sailors to participate in community outreach programs like Caps for Kids," said Wiggins. "Caps for Kids gives Sailors a chance to step back from their normal duties and interact with children who need a helping hand."

Caps for Kids became a national outreach effort in 2000. Since then, more than 500 commands and thousands of Sailors have donated ball caps to hospitals across the U.S. Most of the children who were given ball caps are dealing with long-term or lifelong health issues.

"It gives the children a morale boost," said Phyllis Dotson, child life coordinator at Ochsner Hospital. "Having members of the armed forces visit creates a very special atmosphere for the children and parents."

The idea for the Caps for Kids program originated at Children's Hospital, New Orleans in 1993 by Dr. Stephen Heinrich, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

"Interacting with these kids was something I'm never going to forget," said Villanueva. "I felt like I shared a special moment with each child I visited."

New Orleans is the second of eight Navy Weeks Constitution Sailors are scheduled to participate in during 2012, celebrating the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The primary purpose of Navy Week is to increase Navy awareness by presenting the Navy to Americans who live in cities that normally do not have a significant naval presence. New Orleans Navy Week will showcase the mission, capabilities and achievements of the U.S. Navy and provide residents the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand.

Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors per year. She defended the sea lanes against threat from 1797 to 1855, much like the mission of today's Navy. America's Navy: Keeping the sea free for more than 200 years.

Constitution's mission today is to offer community outreach and education about the ship's history.

Face of Defense: ‘Man’s Best Friend’ Inspires Blood Drive


By Mike Peacock
Armed Services Blood Bank Center - Europe

LANDSTUHL, Germany  – Holly-Eva, a five-year-old boxer and her bad knees motivated more than 100 people to donate blood at a drive held last month at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, Germany.

The drive collected 109 units of whole blood for the Armed Services Blood Program, making it the largest held in Wiesbaden in more than five years, said Air Force Maj. Madelaine Sumera, chief of the Armed Services Blood Bank Center – Europe which is based here.

“I had made the decision … that one way or the other -- if Holly lived or died -- I would try to put on a blood drive in her honor,” said Holly-Eva’s best friend, Army 1st Sgt. Clark Kuhling, of Company B, 24th Military Intelligence Battalion.

In the summer of 2010, Holly-Eva blew out the anterior cruciate ligament in two of her knees. The first surgery for knee implants went perfectly, said Kuhling. A couple of months later she underwent the second.

One of her knees healed, but Holly-Eva experienced many problems with the other. Medications failed to fight infection and a decision was made to remove the implant in the bad knee.

Before the surgery, Holly-Eva’s body started to attack itself, said Kuhling, who has had the boxer since she was a puppy.  Then, her liver started to fail. A blood transfusion was performed but her condition only worsened. The vet told Kuhling the only hope was a transfusion of concentrated human plasma.

Kuhling set out to see if he could find this within the U.S. military and was directed to the blood bank at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center here.

“They really wanted to help, but because Holly-Eva was not a working dog, they were not able to, due to regulations,” Kuhling said. “As this was happening, I had a dozen or so friends and coworkers state that they would give blood right then and there, if needed.”

Then, Kuhling was told by the vet Holly-Eva was responding to the transfusion of canine blood, meaning the human plasma would not be needed. The boxer recovered and is in great health now, Kuhling said.

After returning from a deployment to Afghanistan in January, Kuhling enlisted help from throughout the Wiesbaden military community to advertise and promote the historic blood drive, attended by his pal Holly-Eva, complete with photos of the boxer for every blood donor.