Military News

Monday, April 30, 2012

Soldier Missing from Vietnam War Identified


The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Army Capt. Charles R. Barnes of Philadelphia, Pa., will be buried May 2, in Arlington National Cemetery.  On March 16, 1969, Barnes and four other service members departed Qui Nhon Airfields bound for Da Nang and Phu Bai, in a U-21A Ute aircraft.  As they approached Da Nang, they encountered low clouds and poor visibility.  Communications with the aircraft were lost, and they did not land as scheduled.  Immediate search efforts were limited due to hazardous weather conditions, and all five men were list as missing in action.

From 1986-1989, unidentified human remains were turned over to the United States from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) in several different instances.  None of the remains were identified given the limits of the technology of the time.

In 1993, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted investigations in Quang Nam-Da Nang, and Thua Thien-Hue Provinces.  They interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who supplied remains and an identification tag bearing Barnes’ name, which he claimed to have recovered from an aircraft crash site.

In 1999, another joint U.S.-S.R.V. team interviewed additional Vietnamese citizens about the crash and they were led to the crash site.  In 2000, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered human remains and material evidence.

Scientists from the JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial evidence, and forensic identification tools such as mitochondrial DNA -- which matched that of Barnes’ sister -- in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1420 or visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo .

Toby Keith Performs Underway for Deployed Cape St. George Sailors


By Ensign Lexi Dauernheim, USS Cape St. George Public Affairs

USS CAPE ST. GEORGE, At Sea (NNS) -- A country music celebrity superstar performed for more than 350 Sailors during an underway concert on the forecastle of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), April 24.

With the garrison flag flying from the forward deckhouse, the Sailors gathered to hear Toby Keith perform several of his numerous hit songs, including "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," "Red Solo Cup" and "As Good as I Once Was."

The United Services Organization (USO) and Navy Entertainment sponsored the concert to boost the morale of the deployed Sailors. Keith, who is on his 10th USO tour, "Live in Overdrive," performed a concert aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) the day before.

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Kyle Peters said his brother saw Keith two years ago in Forward Operating Base Salerno in Afghanistan, and Peters was glad to also have the chance to see Keith perform live. "His patriotism and support for the U.S. military shows through his music and the amount of time he spends visiting the troops," Peters said.

While aboard Cape, Keith toured the vertical launching system, the MT51 5-inch gun loader room, and the combat information center before performing and signing autographs.

Chief Logistics Specialist Zach Schneider, one of Cape's supply leading chief petty officers, said he also saw Keith while he was in Afghanistan.

"He has entertained Sailors, soldiers, Marines and airmen all over," Schneider said. "I admire the man personally, and I enjoy his music."

Capt. Don D. Gabrielson, commanding officer of Cape, accompanied the band on guitar for the last few songs.

"Toby Keith's visit was one of the most morale-boosting events we have had this deployment. I don't think he will ever know how much it lifted our spirits," said Ensign Kelly Carson, Cape's strike officer.

Cape and Lincoln are currently deployed with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, which also includes embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and Destroyer Squadron 9, comprised of the guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104). CSG 9 is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and combat flight operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Fleet Week Ships' Sailors of the Year Honored at Navy League Luncheon


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) J. C. J. Stokes, USS Wasp Public Affairs

PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy League United States Fort Lauderdale Council honored service members during their annual Enlisted Person of the Year luncheon in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., April 28.

Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen received awards from Rudy Oetting, president NLUS Fort Lauderdale Council, Debbie Ingram, Broward County Navy Days, and guest speaker Command Master Chief Anthony Josey, Expeditionary Strike Group Two.

"I am glad to see many Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard here today," said Josey. "Throughout the history of our Navy, from its birth in 1775 to today, Sailors have been the driving force of our Navy, defending our nation above, on, and below the sea. These fine Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen carry on that proud tradition 200-year-old tradition."

As an example of Sailors being the driving force of the Navy, Josey, mentioned Fleet Forces Sea Sailor of the Year, Wasp's Chief Ship's Serviceman (Sel) (SW/AW) Angela Zamora.

"Out of approximately 266,000 Sailors only four were chosen as the best of the best in our Navy, and it is my pleasure to have her here at this luncheon with us today," said Josey.

Zamora, a native of Ecuador, came to America when she was 15 and she could not speak English. She enlisted in the Navy and is the first ship's serviceman selected as Fleet Forces Sea Sailor of the Year.

"It is an honor to be here," said Zamora. "It really touched me when I received a standing ovation, it was a little overwhelming. When people came to congratulate me and thank me for my service, all I could say was no thank you, because it was you all whose shoulders I stand on."

According to Oetting, a former Marine, it's a matter of patriotism.

"I'm not a flag waver, but I've served my country like my father did in WWI. Being a part of the Navy League is a way for me to give back to the Navy and the men and women in uniform. This is why we do the luncheon, to show our appreciation for enlisted service members while they are here for fleet week because they are the workers. Thank you all for being here and serving our country. Semper Fi," he said.

With over 600 members, NLUS Fort Lauderdale Council has been serving Fort Lauderdale by providing a unit for the local Sea Cadets, raising awareness about the Navy and its benefits, and helping Sailors and Marines feel at home when they are away from their families.

Wasp is in Port Everglades April 25-30 as part of Fleet Week, which this year commemorates the War of 1812 Bicentennial. Overall, there are about 3,000 Sailors and Marines and six ships in attendance. The War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration is part of a series of city visits by the Navy that take place over the next three years. The commemoration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 is a salute to all Sailors and Marines who fought gallantly in that conflict, who have served in our nation's conflicts since then, and who are defending freedom around the world today.

Leap Frogs Perform at Lauderdale Air Show


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Luke Eastman, U.S Navy Parachute Team Public Affairs

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy parachute demonstration team, the Leap Frogs, performed at the 14th Lauderdale Air Show, April 27-28.

The Leap Frogs performed three of five scheduled jumps but had to cancel two jumps due to inclement weather.

The team jumped with members of the Army 101st Airborne Division parachute demonstration team, the Screaming Eagles. The Leap Frogs and the Screaming Eagles jumped from a CASA HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft, flown by members of Coast Guard Air Station Miami.

More than 2,000 spectators watched the practice jump during the air show rehearsal on Friday. The Leap Frogs performed a second jump for more than 3,000 people at the air show take-off event later that evening.

"It was the most impressive thing I've ever witnessed," said Dan Dees, a spectator at the take-off event. "What I found most exciting was the speed at which they came down. I couldn't believe they jumped with this wind and were able to make such pinpoint landings."

The Leap Frogs were scheduled to jump during the national anthem to start the air show on Saturday, but they had to cancel the performance due to high winds and low cloud cover. After a few hours, the weather cleared up and the team was able to jump outside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino for a crowd of more than 500 people.

"The most exciting part was seeing the two guys tangle up together and do those tricks in the air," said Rafael Nieves, a spectator at the event. "This is the first time my kids have seen this and they're actually helping the SEALs pack their parachutes right now. It's a very cool experience. My son is only four years old but after seeing this today he told me it's something he wants to do when he gets older."

After the performance, members of the team showed spectators how to pack their parachutes. The Leap Frogs were also available to answer questions, sign autographs and pose for photographs.

"It's a great community event and a great way to bring the community together," said Jack Seiler, mayor of Fort Lauderdale. "More importantly it's a way for our community to show our admiration and appreciation for the men and women who serve this country. It's just fantastic and we thank all the men and women who sacrifice to serve this country; we really admire what they do."

Lauderdale Air Show is one of 35 major events on the Leap Frogs' schedule this year. The team is based in San Diego and performs aerial parachute demonstrations across America in support of Naval Special Warfare and Navy recruiting.

For more information about the Leap Frogs, visit www.leapfrogs.navy.mil.

For more information about NSW programs and opportunities, visit www.sealswcc.com. For more news from U.S. Navy Parachute Team, visit www.navy.mil/local/usnpt/.

Culinary Specialists Go to Battlestations in Fleet Week Galley Wars


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Greg Johnson, Commander, Navy Region Southeast Public Affairs

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NNS) -- More than 30 culinary specialists assigned to ships participating in Fleet Week Port Everglades 2012 competed in Galley Wars April 28 at Hugh's Culinary in Oakland Park, Fla.

The event was designed to test the kitchen skills of participants and recognize their superior talents in the field of culinary arts through a fast-paced cooking competition, an event Hugh's Culinary owner and event organizer Hugh McCauley said is intended to bring the military and civilian communities closer together.

"Our main goal is to promote some camaraderie between the military and the community," he said. "We all enjoy the opportunity to interact with each other and mingle and this event is a great way to do that."

The competition featured one team from each ship, including the multi-purpose amphibious assault Ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile destroyers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64), the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS DeWert (FFG 45), the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bernard C. Webber and the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Dallas (SSN 700). Each team had one hour to prepare two identical platters composed of several courses with at least one of those dishes including the secret ingredient - swordfish.

"It's one of those things you can't really prepare for," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Curtis Pacheco of Wasp. "You don't really know what you'll be working with until you get there. It was the first time I had done something like this and it was really fun," said Pacheco. "There was definitely a lot of competitiveness in the kitchen between the ships."

"Every participant from the ship has to bring their A-game to succeed here," McCauley said. "It's always a challenge, but they always bring their individual expertise and pull together a team effort to overcome a difficult environment."

Once the dishes were plated, they were judged by five celebrity judges. This year's Judges Choice Award winner was Dallas and the Audience Favorite Award winner was Bernard C. Webber.

However, winning and losing were not the most important aspect of the event, said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class (SS) Josue Ramirez, a culinary specialist assigned to Dallas.

"They all had great attitudes and teamwork," he said. "They were really some of the best cooks in the Navy and it was a great experience to compete against them and learn from each other."

According to McCauley, the competition was fierce and it was extremely difficult to choose a winner.

"All the teams were really close and they all did a great job at using their experience. Every one of them did a superb job with the secret ingredient and every team put forth a tremendous effort. All of them should be proud," he said.

The Navy's more than 7,000 culinary specialists (CS), deployed around the globe, feed on average more than 92 million wholesome and nutritious meals per year, ensuring the Navy's fighting forces operate at peak performance and are ready to respond to threats worldwide. Navy commanding officers agree that nothing impacts Sailors on a day-to-day basis more than the food CSs prepare for them; they believe these top quality meals contribute directly to Sailor quality of life and morale. Today's CSs have greater culinary instruction than ever before. With even more advanced training on the way. Sailors, both afloat and ashore, can look forward to even healthier and better-tasting meals in the near future.

Four U.S. Navy ships, a submarine and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter are participating in Fleet Week Port Everglades 2012, an event designed to showcase the investment Americans have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.