Military News

Friday, May 11, 2012

Reservist Selected for Navy Safe Harbor Anchor Program


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Gilbert A. Bolibol

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (NNS) -- A Navy Reservist has been chosen as the first mentor in the Colorado area for the Navy Safe Harbor Anchor Program.

The program matches a Sailor returning to his or her local community with a mentor that will provide local support and assistance. Aviation Structural Mechanic 2nd Class Randy Cullen was selected primarily based on his leadership for the past three years as the lead petty officer for the Warrior Games located in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"The Navy Safe Harbor Anchor Program is a program designed to help transition wounded warriors back into the civilian sector and matching them up with a mentor in the area that they will be residing," said Cullen.

As a Reservist, Cullen drills with Operational Support Unit (OSU) 1914 at Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Fort Carson. He was paired with Master-at-Arms Seaman Steven Hancock on July 10, 2011. Hancock sustained injuries during a tour in Dubai where he fell five stories when the balcony that he was standing on collapsed.

Each wounded warrior is given a questionnaire to find out his or her particular needs. Hancock used his questionnaire to find out what type of outdoor recreation and activities were available in the Colorado area since he was relocating from Florida. Even with the injuries sustained in Dubai and the countless surgeries due to the injuries, Hancock has not let that slow him down and still enjoys life with the help of Cullen.

One of the requirements of the Anchor program is to have the mentor contact the Sailor at least once per month for a full year. Cullen stays in contact with Hancock well beyond the minimum requirements.

"I contact Steven at least on a daily basis. According to Steven, the mentor program has turned more into a father/son relationship," Cullen said.

The relationship between Cullen and Hancock grew as the mentorship continued.

"We talk about what he does on a daily basis and what his short term and long term goals are," Cullen said. "I have helped and guided him with his first new home purchase and then helped move his belongings."

The Navy Safe Harbor Anchor Program is unique to each individual and Cullen is proud to be a part of it.

"I love the Mentor Program, I love being able to keep reminding wounded warriors that they are still part of the Navy and that the Navy has not forgotten them," Cullen said.

Navy Safe Harbor is the Navy's lead organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen and their family members. Navy Safe Harbor provides a lifetime of assistance designed for the member's recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities that include the Adaptive Athletic Reconditioning program. This program includes enrollees to participate in the Warrior Games.

Navy Safe Harbor is continuously looking for senior mentors to volunteer to be a part of the Anchor Program to support wounded warriors transition from the active service to the civilian communities. To learn more about being a mentor, contact the coordinator at 703-692-2186, visit the Navy Safe Harbor web site, www.safeharbor.navy.mil or email inquiries to safeharbor@navy.mil.

MCPON Sends Military Spouse Message 2012


Special from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick D. West released the following message to the fleet in honor of Navy spouses May 11.

"Shipmates,

Military Spouse Appreciation Day, although officially recognized May 11 this year, should be a daily occurrence.

Our spouses work as hard as we do making sure our homes and families are well looked after and allowing us to focus on America's missions.

Our spouses have to pay the bills, fix the cars, build science projects, and most times work a full time job themselves. They are also the ones who may have to answer the door when someone in uniform knocks and delivers a message no one ever wants to hear.

All over the globe, the proud men and women who support our Navy's Sailors consistently answer the call of sacrifice. It takes a truly remarkable person to endure the separation and stress of being married to a Sailor - it takes a unique set of gifts. And all of you who proudly stand beside our Navy men and women do so quietly, offering your prayers, kindness, and love, while seeking nothing in return. If Sailors are the backbone of the Navy, then truly our families are the Navy's heart and soul. For without all of you, there would be nothing to protect and defend.

On behalf of my wife, Bobbi, and myself, I would like to personally thank each and every one of you who continue to advocate for and offer your unending support to our shipmates every day, and to also thank you for everything you do to make our Navy and our Nation the greatest and strongest on earth.

HOOYAH Navy spouses! We are all so proud of all you do for us!

Very Respectfully,
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West"

Wisconsin Challenge Academy Open House Slated for Milwaukee


Wisconsin Challenge Academy representatives will conduct an open house and informational session Monday (May 14) for applicants to the academy's next class, which begins July 19. The event will be held at the National Guard armory, 4108 N. Richards Street, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Challenge Academy staff members, cadets and parents of cadets will be available to speak with teens and parents who have an interest in the academy and to assist them with the application process. Educators, health and social services personnel, and juvenile justice officers are also welcome to visit at that time. A presentation by admissions personnel for potential candidates will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The tuition-free Challenge Academy offers "at-risk" youth the opportunity to change the direction of their lives. Challenge Academy cadets participate in the academy's eight core components: academic instruction leading to a Wisconsin High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED); job skills training; physical fitness; health, hygiene and nutrition; leadership; life-coping skills; responsible citizenship; and service to community.

The program is for male and female applicants at least 16 years, 9 months, but not yet 19 years old, who have been expelled, dropped out of high school or due to truancy, have fallen more than one year behind in credits. Applicants must not be currently charged with or previously convicted of a felony and must not be on adult parole or probation. Cadets attend voluntarily; the academy is not open to placement by court order.

For further information, contact the Challenge Academy toll free at 1-866-968-8422 or visit the academy's Web site at www.challengeacademy.org.

Report Shows Success of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal


By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON  – A new report shows the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law is being implemented successfully in the military, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said during a news conference today.

The repeal of the law banning gay and lesbian people from open military service took effect Sept. 20, 2011. The secretary said he received the report on repeal implementation yesterday, and it shows repeal is going “very well” and according to the department’s plans.

“It's not impacting on morale. It's not impacting on unit cohesion. It is not impacting on readiness,” he said.

Panetta said he credits military leaders for effective repeal planning.

“Very frankly, my view is that the military has kind of moved beyond it,” he said. “It's become part and parcel of what they've accepted within the military.”

During the same conference, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he has not seen “any negative effect on good order and discipline” resulting from the repeal.

In response to a reporter’s question of what the military had been afraid of in allowing open service, the chairman said, “We didn't know.”

“We were given a year to make this assessment, to educate ourselves, to collaborate, to build a sense of trust on this issue,” he added. “And given that time to do it, I think it worked out well.”

In addition to the report on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Panetta also spoke about a second law that impacts the rights and benefits of same-sex partners in the military, the Defense of Marriage Act.

The act “obviously does have some impact with regards to the benefits that are provided to same-sex couples,” Panetta said. “And so we continue to review the benefits. But those have to be provided consistent with DOMA. And until DOMA is either rejected by the courts or changed by the Congress, that's the law we abide by.”

Panetta added same-sex marriages are allowed by law in some states. “Where state law provides for that, then obviously that kind of marriage can take place,” he said. “If the law … prohibits that, then it cannot take place on a military [installation].”

Dempsey said military partner benefits fall into three categories: self-declared benefits, such as service members’ naming of life insurance beneficiaries; benefits governed by policy, which the secretary determines and which are under review; and those set by law, such as marriage.

“Those three bins, if you will, are each rather clear in how we approach it,” he added.

The Players Championship Honors Military


By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Damian Berg, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East, Detachment Southeast

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (NNS) -- Continuing a PGA Tour tradition of honoring men and women in uniform, servicemembers were honored during Military Appreciation Day at The Players Club (TPC) Sawgrass May 9.

This year's theme is "A Tribute To America's Volunteers" in honor of the 375th anniversary of the United States National Guard.

Servicemembers lined the balconies of the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass as the ceremony began with the national anthem preformed by the 13th Army Band followed by a jet flyover from the 125th Fighter Wing of Florida Air National Guard.

"This is a great reminder of everything you, as servicemembers, do for our wonderful country," said Alvin Brown, Mayor of Jacksonville. "Our military deserves a thank you everyday because of the hard work they do for our country."

It was followed by remarks from PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, General Craig McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau and PGA Tour player and two-time Players champion Davis Love III.

"Thank you for the support and it means a lot for me to be here," said Gen. McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. "It's a magnificent experience and Jacksonville truly supports its veterans. God bless the USA!"

Davis Love III followed McKinley and expressed his admiration for the day's events.

"It's a great honor to be here and participate in military appreciation day. To be around so many great people and for them to be doing such great things, it's truly humbling."

Country music star Luke Bryan helped the tournament honor local military by performing a special concert with his most popular singles.

"If it was not for you guys in uniform, we couldn't have the fun we are having today", said Bryan. "I love you guys and thank you so much."

The music performance was the final gesture of the night by the Players Championship and local community to show support.

"It's a honor to have the privilege to be here and it feels great to get noticed and appreciated," said Air-Traffic Controller Airman Adam Admill, Naval Station Mayport. "I loved the opening concert and the fly-over was awesome. I'm thankful for everyone letting us come out and enjoy the festivities."

The tournament coordinators are providing all active duty, retired, and reserve military personnel, along with their dependents, with complimentary admission to the tournament.