Military News

Friday, May 04, 2012

Team Navy Coast/Guard Wins Bronze in Archery, Advance in Wheelchair Basketball


By Lt. Michael Fallon, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (NNS) -- Team Navy/Coast Guard's archers won the team's first medal in the second day of competition of the 2012 Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 2, 2012.

Team Navy/Coast Guard was represented in the individual and team recurve and compound archery events. The recurve team, represented by Navy Culinary Specialist Seamen Judy Boyce, Navy Machinist's Mate 1st Class Mike Dayton, and retired Navy Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Joshua Rosenberg, defeated the Air Force team in the bronze medal round of competition. Their performance achieved Team Navy/Coast Guard's first medal of the games and has reaffirmed the spirit of the athletes.

"That we have three members, rise up as a team to earn [a bronze] medal speaks volumes. They watched each others' backs and won as a team," said retired Master Chief Wilson.

Dayton, who narrowly lost the individual recurve bronze event earlier in the day, was excited that it all came together in the team event. "I may not have won an individual medal, but it's all about the team."

That unity extended into the evening competition. In the second day of wheelchair basketball games, Team Navy/Coast Guard defeated Special Operations Command (SOCOM) by a margin of 16-5. With this win, Navy/Coast Guard is in contention for the medal matches on Friday.

Retired Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Henry Sawyer responded "It doesn't matter who we play -- we're gonna win!"

An optimistic attitude and a spirit of commitment have been the essence of Team Navy/Coast Guard at these Warrior Games.

The 35 warrior athletes are participating as Team Navy/Coast Guard, sponsored by Navy Safe Harbor, the Navy and Coast Guard's wounded warrior support program, a key component of the Department of the Navy's 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative. The initiative is meant to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency, and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.

The Warrior Games, hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee's paralympics military program, provides an opportunity for wounded, ill, and injured service members to participate in competitive sports against members of other branches of service.

Priorities Chart Way Forward for Eucom


By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

STUTTGART, Germany, May 4, 2012 – Using the new defense strategic guidance as its roadmap, officials at U.S. European Command say they’ve fixed their compasses on four basic priorities: maintaining ready forces, completing a successful transition in Afghanistan, sustaining strategic partnerships and countering transnational threats.

Keeping a steely-eyed focus on these priorities is particularly important at a time of limited resources, Navy Vice Adm. Charles Martoglio, Eucom’s deputy commander, told American Forces Press Service.

“Our highest priority is readiness to execute the contingency plans that we are responsible for,” he said. “That goes directly back to the Constitution that says the military’s mission is to fight and win the nation’s wars.”

That, explained Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, the command’s deputy commander for plans, policy and strategy, means being ready to act if called upon to deal with issues in a 51-country area of responsibility that stretches across the Baltics, the Balkans, the Caucasuses and the Levant.

Eucom’s next priority is to complete a successful security transition in Afghanistan from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to Afghan national security forces, the admirals said. This, Montgomery explained, requires evolving from an operational role to a training role to ensure Afghan forces are prepared to accept increasing security responsibility.

“Many people don’t realize that most of the non-U.S. forces in ISAF are from Europe,” Martoglio said, noting that about 32,000 of the 35,000 partner forces in the coalition deploy from European soil. Eucom has been active over the past decade helping to organize, train and equip forces from countries not financially or logistically capable of doing so themselves.

“Some would say we should expect more from our European partners,” Martoglio acknowledged, noting the 90,000 U.S. troop  contribution to ISAF. “But I would say that if it weren’t for those 32,000 European partners there, we would require 32,000 more Americans.”

As the coalition draws down forces in Afghanistan, Eucom’s next priority, he said, will be to preserve the strategic partnerships solidified there.

“We have been alongside NATO, or NATO has been alongside us, for 10 years in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Martoglio said. “We have a combat edge that has been honed by 10 years of working together in very challenging circumstances.

“So as we come out of Iraq and Afghanistan, how do we sustain that combat edge over time, particularly when everybody’s budgets are being significantly constrained?” he asked. “Our job here is to sustain the strategic partnership, the NATO alliance – that most successful coalition in history – across these difficult financial times."

NATO never has been at a higher level of readiness to conduct contingency operations, Montgomery said. He cited the immediacy of a mission that’s brought interoperability within ISAF to its highest level ever, but could begin deteriorating over time without a concerted effort to preserve it.

“The question,” he said, echoing Martolgio, “is how do we preserve all the investment that’s been made over the last eight to 10 years – an investment of not just money, but blood and sweat, working together in both Iraq and Afghanistan?”

Martoglio emphasized the importance of continued engagement and training, both to take new strategic partnerships forged with Eastern European nations to the next level, and to maintain other ISAF contributors’ high-end capabilities.

“We have to look toward ensuring interoperability of those forces and routinely training together so that if we have to conduct high-end operations, we have the ability to work together from a technical perspective, and the skills to work together from a training perspective,” he said.

Looking forward, Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis, the Eucom commander, identified four specific countries for increased engagement: Israel, Russia, Turkey and Poland.

Israel is one of the United States’ closest allies, Martoglio said, noting the U.S. commitment to help in deterring its adversaries. Russia has a major impact on security in Europe and the world, and forging a more positive bilateral relationship is essential, he said.

Turkey, a rising regional power and NATO partner, is able to influence events in parts of the world the United States simply can’t. And Poland, an increasingly influential leader in Northeastern Europe, is on a trajectory toward extending its economic and democratic impact beyond the immediate region.

These partnerships will be vital in confronting new and emerging threats in a rapidly-changing security environment, Martoglio said, particularly transnational threats that no one country can tackle alone. These include violent extremist organizations, cyber attacks, ballistic missiles and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

NATO addressed these concerns at its 2010 summit in Lisbon, Portugal, tasking member countries to contribute to various capabilities as part of its new 10-year strategic concept. The United States took on a significant ballistic missile defense tasking, Montgomery noted, and is working within NATO and U.S. structures to address other challenges.

Stavridis, testifying before Congress in March, said these evolving threats demand the steady commitment that the trans-Atlantic alliance has demonstrated since its inception more than six decades ago.

“Working together with our historic partners on these critical security challenges of the 21st century to wisely leverage the significant investments that America has made for over half a century will be more important than ever in light of the fiscal constraints that we all face,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Stavridis credited the men and women of Eucom who work alongside allies and partners across the dynamic European theater every day pursuing common security interests and as a result, forward defense of the United States.

 “With every action, they are shaping the rapidly changing world we live in today, in order to provide the ensuring capabilities, security structures and trust we need for a stronger world tomorrow,” he said.

Four to be inducted into Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor


Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs Office

The Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor will expand its prestigious roster to 51 this Saturday (May 5) with the induction of four retired Guard Soldiers during a 10 a.m. ceremony in Witmer Hall at Joint Force Headquarters, 2400 Wright Street, Madison.

Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Kerry Denson of Lake Mills, Wis., Brig. Gen. (Ret.) James Krueck of McFarland, Wis., Col. (Ret.) Timothy Pfrang of Sussex, Wis., and Col. (Ret.) David Schumacher of Onalaska, Wis., will receive one of the highest recognitions the adjutant general of Wisconsin can bestow upon a former member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

Denson was drafted into the U.S. Army in December 1965, earning the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, 35 Air Medals and the Purple Heart during two tours in Vietnam as a UH-1 combat pilot. He joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard after completing his active duty service, and served in a variety of command and staff assignments. He commanded the 147th Attack Helicopter Battalion, was director of aviation for the Wisconsin Army National Guard, and in the final nine years of his career commanded the Wisconsin Army National Guard. Denson's military career spanned 40 years and 10 months.

Krueck enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1966, became a warrant officer in 1975 and was commissioned a second lieutenant after completing officer candidate school in 1976. He held a variety of command and staff assignments as well as directorate posts before taking command of the 32nd Infantry Brigade in 2000. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2004, and deployed to Kuwait as commander of the 32nd Separate Infantry Brigade (Light) and deputy commander of the 377th Theater Support Command in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He capped his military career as commander of the Wisconsin Army National Guard from November 2006 until his retirement in February 2008. His military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal and two Meritorious Service Medals.

Pfrang enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1971, and transferred to the Wisconsin Army National Guard in 1974. He received his commission in 1977 and, after graduating Infantry Officer Basic Course in 1978, was assigned as a platoon leader in Company B, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry. He held a variety of staff and command assignments at the battalion and brigade level until assuming command of the 132nd Support Battalion in July 1996. He was assigned as the Wisconsin Army National Guard mobilization readiness officer in October 1998, the operations and training officer in late 2000 and the director of plans and operations in 2002. He was promoted to colonel in October 2002. His military awards include the Legion of Merit and two Meritorious Service Medals.
Schumacher joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard in June 1967 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1969. As training officer for the 426th Engineer Battalion he developed professional development programs for junior officers and was rated the top field grade officer in the 264th Engineer Group. During his time as commander, the 426th Engineer Battalion earned the Eisenhower Trophy and Superior Unit Award, oversaw the mobilization of the 229th Engineer Company and deployed to Panama in 1992 in support of Fortes Caminos. During this time Schumacher also served on the Fort McCoy Facility Review Committee, which eventually led to relocating the Wisconsin Military Academy from Camp Williams to Fort McCoy in 1995. He commanded the Wisconsin Military Academy and the 426th Regiment from 1992 until his retirement in 1997, and led the academy through a period of significant growth and transition. His military awards include the Legion of Merit and two Meritorious Service Medals.

Since its inception in 2000, the Wisconsin Army National Guard Hall of Honor program has recognized Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers who have distinguished themselves through exceptional achievement and devotion to duty. After Saturday's ceremony, the Hall of Honor members will boast more than 1,500 collective years of service in the armed forces, mostly with the Wisconsin National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, and Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, Wisconsin Army National Guard commander, will lead the induction. Attendees include family and friends of the inductees as well as current and retired Guard members.

USNS MERCY (T-AH 19) departs for Pacific Partnership 2012


By Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- SAN DIEGO, CA - U.S. Pacific Fleet's humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) mission, known as Pacific Partnership, deployed aboard U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) May 3, 2012, for a four-month deployment to the host nations of Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Mercy was originally scheduled to deploy May 1, 2012. The ship's underway was delayed due to a mechanical issue in the ship's forward propulsion.

Mercy is the lead U.S. vessel and deployed with a joint, combined team of U.S. military and interagency personnel, representing the U.S. Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps; U.S. Department's of State and Justice, the Agency for International Development, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Japanese landing ship tank Oosumi (LST 4001), carrying a complete medical team, helicopters and representatives from Japanese volunteer organizations will join Mercy during its stops in the Philippines and Vietnam. Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand will also deploy teams of personnel as partner nations supporting the mission.

NGOs and international agencies are a critical part of the continuity that maintains and builds capacity with local populations. This year, NGOs participating include the East-West Center, Global Grins, Hope Worldwide, LDS Charities, Oceanit, Project Handclasp, Project Hope, U.C.-San Diego Pre-Dental Society, University of Hawaii, Vietnam Medical Assistance Program, and World Vets, along with numerous in-country organizations.

DOD Offers First-responder Viewing Site for 9/11 Arraignment


By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON  – First responders to the 9/11 attack sites will be able to view military commissions proceedings resulting from the attacks that begin May 5 from a site specifically set up for their use.

Some 400 to 600 first responders, officials say, will watch as five alleged 9/11 conspirators -- including the man who allegedly conceived and designed the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people -- face arraignment at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Wendy Kelly, chief of operations for the Office of Military Commissions, told American Forces Press Service that viewing sites for victims’ families and members of the media have been in place for previous proceedings, but first responders until now have not had access to closed-circuit television coverage of courtroom proceedings.

Kelly explained the sites set up for victims’ families are limited to those injured, and the immediate family members --including parents, spouses, children and siblings -- of those killed in the 9/11 and attacks and the Oct. 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole in a Yemeni harbor that killed 17 U.S. sailors and injured 39 others.

“In recognition of the very unique situation that occurred in New York City with the first responders, we wanted to [make a site available] for police, fire, paramedics and other emergency workers who lost friends and co-workers,” she added.

The new site, at Fort Hamilton, N.Y., is the result of collaboration between the Defense Department and the New York City government, she said.

City officials are in charge of inviting eligible attendees for this weekend’s proceedings, she said.

Four sites are available for family members of 9/11 victims to view proceedings, Kelly said: at military installations near Boston, New York City, in northern New Jersey and in the Washington, D.C., area.

An additional site is available near Norfolk, Va., where survivors of the USS Cole bombing and families of the victims can view proceedings related to that attack. The Cole is home-ported there, she explained, and all the sites are placed where the greatest concentration of family members live.

Media representatives also can view proceedings from a separate site at Fort Meade, Md.

Kelly said locating the family and first-responder viewing sites on military bases allows DOD to use existing facilities and security measures, which saves cost, and also allows people using the sites to avoid media attention if they prefer to.

Media representatives can gather outside the gates of installations where viewing sites are set up, and those attending the proceedings can engage with them there, she added.

The Office of Military Commissions reaches out to people eligible to attend the proceedings in a number of ways, including through a restricted, password-protected area of the organization’s website, Kelly explained.

DOD administers military commissions through five organizations: the offices of the convening authority, chief prosecutor, chief defense counsel, trial judiciary and court of review.

Under the Military Commissions Act of 2009, those subject to trial include “an alien unprivileged enemy belligerent who has engaged in hostilities, or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States, its coalition partners or was a part of al-Qaida.”

The May 5 arraignment involves charges and pleas in the case of the United States vs. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is alleged to have proposed the operational concept for the 9/11 attacks to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden as early as 1996. He is accused of obtaining approval and funding from bin Laden for the attacks, overseeing the entire operation and training the hijackers in all aspects of the operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The overall charges allege that the five accused are responsible for the planning and execution of the attacks of Sept.11, 2001, in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., resulting in the killing of 2,976 people.

They are charged with terrorism, hijacking aircraft, conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, and destruction of property in violation of the law of war.

If convicted, they could be sentenced to death. In accordance with the Military Commissions Act of 2009, each of the accused has been provided learned counsel with specialized knowledge and experience in death penalty cases.

The accused are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, officials emphasized.