Military News

Monday, June 18, 2012

This Day in Naval History - June 18


From the Navy News Service

1812 - U.S. declares war on Great Britain for impressment of Sailors and interference with commerce.
 1942 - First African-American officer, Bernard W. Robinson, commissioned in Naval Reserve.
 1957 - Chief of Naval Operations approves ship characteristics of the Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine.

Carter Urges Charleston Troops to Consider Future


By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., June 18, 2012 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter visited service members in the coastal low country of South Carolina today, urging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who serve the nation here to think about the future.

Against the backdrop of a hulking C-17 Globemaster III transport jet, one of 54 on the base, Carter urged the service members to look ahead.

“It’s important to all of us, and we all need to think about, … what’s next for us,” he said. “What’s the next challenge? What challenges in the security field are going to define our future?”

After 10 years of hard work, U.S. troops have done “incredibly well” at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the deputy secretary said, crediting the efforts of many, including the service members here.

“No other military could do anything like what we’ve done, Carter said. “But you can see that era is coming to an end.”

He mentioned new challenges that will arise as the U.S. armed forces shift thjeir focus toward the Asia-Pacific region, as well as challenges such as cyber defense that barely existed a decade ago.

“The skills and people represented here and in this community that’s it’s been our privilege to visit with are going to be part of that future,” Carter said, “because you have the skills that are going to be needed, you have the heart, and you have the reputation and the record of performance that we’re going to be counting on in the next phase.”

The joint base, under the jurisdiction of the 628th Air Base Wing of the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, formally combined Charleston Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity Charleston in October 2010. Today, the support activity here has more than 40 tenant commands and is a training center for the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, the Nuclear Power Training Unit, the Propulsion Facility and the Border Patrol satellite academy.

Others that make up the joint base include the Mobile Mine Assembly Unit, explosive ordnance detachments, the Marine Corps Reserve Center, and an engineering complex with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, called SPAWAR.

“There are many things you have done that are a signature of Charleston,” Carter said, including the integration and shipping out to the war zone of life-saving mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, called MRAPs.

In May 2011, a SPAWAR-Atlantic integration team here won an award for its collaboration with MRAP manufacturers, other military units, industry partners and the community as they integrated more than 16,000 MRAPs and 8,000 MRAP all-terrain vehicles with communication, computers, command and control, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

“You can go, as I frequently do, to hospitals in Washington where wounded warriors come back, and I can’t tell you the number of them who have said, ‘I’m here, not in [the military morgue at] Dover, … because of the MRAP,’” Carter said.

“And the MRAP was there when they needed it because the integration was done over at SPAWAR,” he added. “It was brought over here, and you all flew it out so it was there on time. That’s history in the making. It’s making our country secure and saving the lives of Americans at the same time. You all did that, and we are truly grateful.”

That’s just one sign of Charleston and the Charleston community contributing to the U.S. war effort, Carter said.

During his visit to the joint base, Carter and his delegation had briefings on space and naval warfare systems and Army logistics, and took time to thank military members and Defense Department civilians and their families for their service and sacrifice.

Carter brought thanks to the soldiers, sailors and airmen from Washington, he said, and he also sent thanks along to the service members’ families.

“Whether it’s a spouse and children or a mom, dad, or just a friend -- whoever you’re close to, whoever you call family -- tell them that you were thanked today and then turn around and thank them, because they support you, and it’s their support that makes it possible for you to support this great country,” he said.

Resilience Helps Sailors and Families Navigate Rough Times


From Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Navy leadership has implemented the Operational Stress Control (OSC) program to help Sailors and their families recognize and navigate stress, said Navy officials, June 18.

According to Capt. Kurt Scott, director, Navy Behavioral Health, the Navy's goal is to help individuals identify stressors and develop the skills and tools to be resilient and handle the curveballs life may throw.

Deployment work-ups, a sick child, four-section duty, marital trouble can all cause stress levels to rise. Stress is a fact of life but resiliency helps make stress manageable.

"Stress is normal and can help you excel and succeed, but there is a point when stress may impact your ability to meet life's challenges," said Scott.

OSC defines resilience as the capacity to withstand, recover, grow, and adapt in the face of stressors and changing demands.

Scott discussed four skills that can help Sailors and their families improve resilience.

- Maintain your body for its unique optimal performance. Balanced and nutritious meals with moderate portions help fuel the body. Getting enough sleep is critical to physical and emotional well being. Regular exercise helps you physically and improves your mood.

- Develop positive relationships. Nurturing at least one trusted friendship can help individuals achieve personal and professional success.

"A friend can provide support, influence personal growth and provide a source of strength during difficult times," said Scott.

- Manage your finances - Don't let them manage you.

"Financial strain is a top stressor. It can cause personality changes in an individual and has been linked to depression which can impact duty performance and interpersonal relationships," said Scott. Fleet and Family Support Centers, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and command financial specialists can help Sailors examine their finances and develop a budget.

- Consider spiritual wellness. "Talking with a mentor, trusted advisor or chaplain can be a great outlet for stress reduction and resiliency.

When stress becomes overbearing to your well-being, ask for assistance.

"Asking for help is a sign of strength and a commitment to yourself to perform at your optimal level," said Scott. "Friends, families and co-workers can be your support network, but there may be times when someone with more experience, knowledge and skill is better suited to provide the help you need."

The OSC Continuum can help individuals determine what level of support is needed. The continuum is a color-coded guide for Sailors and leaders to measure their stress as it relates to one of four color-coded zones: green is ready, yellow is reacting, orange is injured and red is ill.

"The green zone is where we want to be but the green zone is not stress free," said Scott. "It means you have the skills and the tools you need to really be able to manage what life is throwing at you. Learning from life lessons makes you stronger and more resilient - and that is our goal."

Officials Express Concern Over Egyptian Transition


By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2012 – Millions of Egyptian people voted to elect a new president democratically, but the Egyptian military’s last-minute amendments to the country’s constitution concern the Defense Department, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

“We support the Egyptian people and their expectation that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will transfer full power to a democratically elected civilian government, as the SCAF previously announced,” Little said in a statement released to reporters.

“We have, and will continue, to urge the SCAF to relinquish power to civilian-elected authorities and to respect the universal rights of the Egyptian people and the rule of law,” he added.

Little said the Defense Department is “deeply concerned” about the new amendments to Egypt’s constitutional declaration and the timing of the announcement as polls closed for the presidential election.

“We believe Egypt’s transition must continue and that Egypt is made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy,” he said. “Egypt has an enduring role as a security partner and leader in promoting regional stability, and we look forward to working with the new government on a host of issues.”

Meeting today with reporters along with Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby, the press secretary said Defense Department officials remain in close contact with the Egyptian military on the matter, noting that Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta spoke June 15 with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, leader of Egypt’s ruling council. “We plan to continue to maintain those close contacts and cooperation with the SCAF,” Little said. “That being said, we need to see where things go.”

Little said the U.S. and Egypt have maintained a very strong military-to-military relationship for many years.

“We want that to continue, … [and] we’re going to monitor events closely,” he said. “It’s very important to the entire U.S. government, and the U.S. military, that the SCAF take steps to promote a peaceful transition to democracy and a government in Egypt that is responsive to the Egyptian people.”

Little said the United States has been clear about its position on Egypt’s transition to a democratically elected government and that he believes the SCAF is fully aware of these concerns.

“We believe they’ve taken those concerns onboard, and there’s time for all of this to be sorted out … in the right way,” he said.

Kirby said the Defense Department has enjoyed a strong military-to-military relationship and cooperation with the Egyptian military for more than three decades and still believes in maintaining that connection.

“Speaking from a purely military perspective, that relationship continues,” he said. “It’s been important.”

Kirby said that while Egypt has been going through “a year of momentous change” that has altered the two nations’ exercise regimen, the core of the relationship still remains.

“We’ve expressed our concerns about some of these recent decisions,” Kirby said. “Our hope, and our expectation, is that they will facilitate a smooth, democratic transition in accordance with the constitution of their country. It’s now up to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to do the things that the Egyptian people expect it to do,” he added.

Indiana National Guard takes part Bold Quest 12-1, tests digital communication technologies to reduce fratricide incidents and enhance combat effectiveness


By Army Sgt. Will Hill
Indiana National Guard

EDINBURGH, Ind. (6/18/12) - Indiana Army and Air National Guard members have been taking part in Bold Quest 12-1, a two-week air combat assessment exercise that focuses on testing digitally aided close air support technologies to reduce friendly fire incidents, enhance combat effectiveness, and increase situational awareness on the battlefield.

Held at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, and other training venues across Indiana, the exercise includes participants from throughout the U.S. military as well as from 12 foreign nations as well.

"Bold Quest is important on several different levels, said Army Maj. Gen. Omer Tooley, assistant adjutant general for the Indiana Army National Guard. “It represents what we consider to be the required testing of the 21st century in order to provide relevant capabilities to our young men and women going in harm's way."

As part of that, the exercise works to bring together different technologies and simulates wartime conditions to ensure coalition communication systems can effectively work between platforms.

"In a sense, what they are doing is taking these technologies that are present in various services as well as other countries and are actually putting them in a simulated and highly realistic environment to see if they actually work together," said Tooley, adding that one of the main goals is to work to eliminate the possibility of friendly fire incidents.

"Bold Quest is a unique area for arena testing and validation that our systems are compatible with U.S. systems and also other coalition systems so that we know when we meet in theater we can share the same information and eliminate fratricide," said Norwegian army Maj. Tommy Myrvoll, of the Norwegian Battle Lab.

And Camp Atterbury worked well to do just that.

"The Atterbury-Muscatatuck complex is designed and built to specifically support this type of event," said Tooley. "Where you are bringing these high-payoff technologies into a very realistic complex environment and working through the issues as to whether or not they are going to actually function as planned."

The Indiana Army National Guard’s 76th Special Troops Battalion and the Indiana Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing were among the units to take part in the exercise and have benefited from that experience.

For Army Staff Sgt. Warren Sherman, the training noncommissioned officer with the unmanned aerial system platoon, B Company, 76th STB, this meant working with members of the Marines and the RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle.

 "We have learned a lot here from the Marines on their Shadow system in regards to how they set up their equipment for operations, to how they troubleshoot issues and [compared our troubleshooting techniques]," he said. "I feel that we both have learned from each other."

Additional testing during the exercise consisted of taking commercial, off-the-shelf cellular technologies and incorporating that into a tactical military communications network.

"The advantage of what we are doing is leveraging commercial technology," said Army Maj. David Hernandez, deputy branch chief, Bold Quest future capabilities assessment branch. "With the low cost [of cellular] hand held devices as compared to a radio, we can provide one to each Soldier."

That can give servicemembers a greater sense of situational awareness, communication abilities and access to updated information.

 "Each Soldier can have a common operating picture device or a friendly force tracking device in their hands,” said Hernandez. “They can also do voice [communication] and they can also do streaming video. This provides that Soldier a key advantage as opposed to our enemies in the battlefield."

And that is all part of the goal of the exercise and working toward eliminating potential incidents of fratricide, said Hernandez.