Military News

Thursday, August 09, 2012

This Day in Naval History - Aug. 09


From the Navy News Service

1815 - Captain Stephen Decatur concludes treaty for the United States with Tripoli.
 1842 - Signing of Webster-Ashburton Treaty under which United States and Great Britain agreed to cooperate in suppressing the slave trade.
 1865 - Return of Naval Academy to Annapolis after four years at Newport, R.I.
 1919 - Construction of rigid airship Shenandoah (ZR 1) is authorized.
 1941 - Atlantic Charter Conference is first meeting between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.
 1942 - Battle of Savo Island begins; First of many sea battles near Guadalcanal.
 1945 - Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Navy weaponeer arms the atomic bomb.
 1949 - First use of pilot-ejection seat for emergency escape in U.S. made by Lt. Jack I. Fruin of VF-171 near Walterboro, S.C.

German NGO Surgeon Works with PP12 Patients, Cambodia


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Feddersen, Pacific Partnership 2012 Public Affairs

SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- A German non-governmental organization surgeon working in Cambodia for the past 18 years joined Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12) surgeons aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T AH-19) to treat Cambodian patients Aug. 8.

Dr. Cornelia Haner, a Hope Worldwide volunteer, and Hospital Director at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital in Kampot, Cambodia, performed general surgery aboard USNS Mercy alongside U.S. and partner nation surgeons.

"I came on the ship because I wanted to learn," said Haner. "I wanted to learn how we could help the mission in the future. I think getting to know people and see the experience people have and how they work in a very professional way by keeping standards and focusing on safety is one of the best things I have taken away from being aboard."

During Haner's two day stay aboard, she was able to work on a number of different general surgeries with U.S. Navy Surgeon Capt. William Brunner. The two surgeons were able to work together as well as with Cambodian college students to help build relationships.

"I think it helped the students expand their ideas of possibilities and got them excited to come and assist us in future missions, not only here but in other countries," said Brunner. "Getting them involved helped us move forward and allowed them to want to come out again on missions in the future, especially if there is a disaster."

Haner said that coming together on the ship gave her an understanding of the importance of PP12's mission.

"I think this mission really helps a lot of patients in Cambodia and I am grateful for the patients coming in," she said. "I think the interaction with the Cambodian medical students and the exchange of information is the most important part in missions in general because of the short term and long term capacity building."

Capacity building is one of the main goals of Pacific Partnership so in the event of a disaster, host and partner nations are able to seamlessly work together to treat and assist patients in a quick and safe manner.

Now in its seventh year, Pacific Partnership is an annual U.S. Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance mission U.S. military, host and partner nations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies designed to build stronger relationships and disaster response capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

New RHIBS for Security Forces Underway Training


By Darryl Orrell, Center for Security Forces Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR) announces Aug. 9 the procurement of four new rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), as part of its continuing effort to provide high-value waterborne security training to the fleet.

 At 36-feet-long and powered by two twin inboard diesel engines with water jets, these are the same RHIBs employed on most Navy amphibious ships.

While the Navy operates a wide-array of small craft, the versatility of these new boats makes them the ideal to teach basic small boat tactics and operations.

"This is a smarter way to train because students attending the course often show up with mixed qualifications on various types of boats," said Steve Knapton, waterborne security curriculum model manager. "We give students one-on-one training to get them comfortable with operating these boats in both open and confined waterways."

Knapton went on to state that tactical coxswain training requirements are based on tactics, techniques, and procedures that can be applied to all craft, as opposed to only one specific type of craft. The new boats are universal enough to apply to all the different small craft in the fleet.

The new boats are made of heavy-duty fiberglass from all organic materials and can carry up to 26 people or a maximum load of 22,000 pounds. They carry up to 265 gallons of fuel and can reach speeds of up to 45 knots or about 52 miles per hour.

"There are many advantages to having these new boats - one being they are new," said Knapton. "The lifecycle of our equipment is normally much shorter than that of their fleet counterparts simply because of the induced training environment operational tempo."

The new boats will be used in support of the new ARG/MEU VBSS boat crew training requirement and serve as backup for the Navy's Level II Coxswain Operations and Tactics Course during times of extended maintenance, repair or scheduled overhaul. The Level II Coxswain Operations and Tactics Course trains qualified coxswains in the advanced skills necessary to operate high-speed security boats.

"In time, the plan is to employ these boats in all CENSECFOR underway training and working towards standardizing our inventory of Training platforms. This is a long process, but in the long term it will reduce operating costs without losing the quality of training being delivered," said Knapton.

Knapton acknowledged that the longevity of these new boats is greatly dependent upon those behind the training scene. People who not only keep the boats in top operating condition, but also the boat equipment, electronics, personal protective equipment, and so on. All of which is necessary to maintain top safety and the highest quality of training to arm Sailors for success in the fleet.

"Many people comment on the excellent condition of all our boats even the oldest ones of about 10-years still in our inventory. We definitely have hard working people at the Learning Site's boat maintenance and repair shop," said Knapton.

Learning Site Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va. is one of 14 training locations within the Center for Security Forces domain. All of which provides specialized training to more than 22,000 students each year around the world.

Navy Begins Construction on Next Amphibious Assault Ship


From Team Ships Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) started fabrication of the eleventh LPD 17 San Antonio class ship, LPD 27, Aug. 6, following the Navy award of the detail design and construction contract July 27.

The LPD 17 San Antonio-class ships are designed to functionally replace more than 41 ships (the LPD 4, LSD 36, LKA 113 and LST 1179 classes of amphibious ships), providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern, sea-based platforms that are networked, survivable and built to operate with multiple 21st century platforms, and a key element of the Navy's ability to project power ashore.

"This is an important milestone for the LPD 17 program as we begin construction on the eleventh ship in the class," said Jay Stefany, LPD 17 class program manager for Program Executive Office, Ships. "We look forward to continued improvements on production progress achieved on the previous ships of the class and delivering this very capable warship to the fleet."

The principal mission of LPD 17 class amphibious transport dock ships is to transport and deploy the necessary combat and support elements of Marine expeditionary units and brigades. The ship will carry approximately 720 troops, have the capability of transporting and debarking air cushion or amphibious assault vehicles, and accommodate virtually every size of Marine Corps Helicopter and its tilt-rotor MV-22 Ospreys. These ships will support amphibious assault, special operations and expeditionary warfare missions through the first half of the 21st century.

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

The ship will be constructed at HII's Pascagoula facility.

DeLoach Takes Bronze in Olympic Long Jump


By Gary Sheftick
Army News Service

LONDON, Aug. 9, 2012 – Air Force family member Janay DeLoach leaped 6.89 meters last night at Olympic Stadium here to take the bronze medal in women’s long jump at the Summer Olympics.

USA teammate Brittney Reese won the gold with a jump of 7.12 meters, and Russia’s Elena Sokolova earned the silver with a jump of 7.07.

DeLoach said Reese motivates her to improve and provides advice. “She helps me get on the board,” DeLoach said of her first-place teammate.

Reese isn’t her only supporter, though.

“My dad’s here with me, cheering me on,” DeLoach said. “He’s been there the whole way through. … He’s always supported me in all my endeavors.”

Her father is retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. William DeLoach, whose last assignment was at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. He now works as a contractor there with the 416th Flight Test Squadron.

His daughter began competing in long jump at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, at age 13.

“I didn’t get too many meets in, but you know, it set the stage for where I am now,” DeLoach said of competing in track and field at Ben Eielson High School.

She went on to compete in track and field at Colorado State University, but said she didn’t really get serious about long jumping until last year.

“That was the year that I won indoors,” said the 26-year-old, 5-foot-5-inch athlete. DeLoach won the World Indoor Championship last year with a jump of 6.99 meters.

At the Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Ore. five weeks ago, DeLoach earned the No. 3 spot on the USA team with a jump of 7.03 meters.

At the long-jump finals here, DeLoach was in third place early with her first attempt of 6.77 meters. Then the second jump for Brittney Reese of the United States put her in first place with a 7.12-meter leap. This dropped DeLoach to fourth place.

After three jumps, DeLoach remained in fourth place, with her longest jump still the initial 6.77 meters. But it was enough to put her in the top eight and give her an opportunity for three more attempts.

On her fourth jump, DeLoach leaped 6.74 meters, still just short of her first attempt and still in fourth place. On her fifth attempt, however, DeLoach soared through the air for a jump of 6.89 meters. She got up out of the sand pit with a smile.

After judges registered the distance, DeLoach realized she was one centimeter in front of Latvia’s Ineta Radevica for the bronze. The Latvian had jumped 6.88 meters on her first try in the finals.

On her final attempt, Redevica flew across the sand and planted her feet close to DeLoach’s best of the day. But judges measured it at 6.79 meters, 10 centimeters short of the bronze.

“Oh I was crumbling,” DeLoach said. “I was like, ‘Please God, let me have this bronze medal.’ I knew she could do it, but it just didn’t happen at this point. … I inched her out by just a centimeter.”

Then Russia’s Anna Nazorova made her last attempt, again looking close to the mark DeLoach set. But the jump was measured at 6.62 and DeLoach threw her hands up in joy, realizing she had the bronze medal.

Alabama Guard member chosen to entertain troops in international “Soldier’s Show”


By Army Sgt. Maj. James Oakley
167th Theater Sustainment Command

FORT MCCLELLAN, Ala. (8/9/12) - As a child in Staten Island, N.Y., Army Lt. Daniel Monplaisir, for the Alabama National Guard’s S-1 for the 731st Combat Service Support Battalion, performed in church plays put on by his parents.

“The plays were huge productions,” he said. “For Christmas, we’d start practicing and rehearsing in August.”

The family moved south to Montgomery when he was nine, but the productions continued.

“We attended Frazier Memorial Church in Montgomery,” he said.

At Frazier - one of Montgomery’s largest churches - Monplaisir got involved in Puppetry.

“It was Muppet style puppetry and was a lot of fun.”

He became very good at it and was invited to become part of an international “Dream Team” that travelled all over to perform for children. He has worked birthday parties and apartment stores with his Puppetry talents.

When choosing a college, he looked for a place that had a good theater program. Right around the corner was Faulkner University. In college, he tapped into the skills developed through years of performing at church and with puppets and majored in live theater; performing many shows at Faulkner.

Monplaisir took an active role in his major at Faulkner and took part in over 100 performances, while at the same time he joined the ROTC program at Auburn University-Montgomery.

“I was a big fan of our military through movies and shows with John Wayne and Bob Hope. I stumbled into a ROTC program almost by mistake. I also do motivational speaking, “he said. “I needed extra college credit and came across a course titled Individual Leadership Study.

“I thought that would be a good thing to help me with my speaking. The course turned out to be sponsored by the AUM ROTC program. I learned more about it and learned about opportunities with the Alabama Army National Guard and thought it would be a great thing,” he said. “I was right; it has been great for me.”

In fact, it was through the military that he got his first break in show business.

“I was looking at some websites and saw where a Soldier's Show was coming to Fort Benning,” he said. “I grew up watching Bob Hope and his tours for servicemen and women and thought it would be a good thing to go see.”

He researched armyentertainment.net and found out what the Soldiers Show was about. Its mission is to provide quality entertainment for the soldier by the soldier.

“It’s an audition based show for the military and anyone is eligible to try out for it – Regular Army, Guard or Reserve.”

If you are chosen for the show you receive orders for one year. Your unit is authorized to release you and when you are finished with your one year tour you return to the unit.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to serve and to give back to your fellow Soldiers,” he said.

He got the information he was looking for then went through a competitive tryout. He got the call about making the show and felt like he had made it to the big time.

“Competition was tough,” he said. “There are so many talented individuals throughout the military.”

In the “Soldier’s Show” he sings and dances. He says he is listed as an actor/singer who moves well.

“I’m not actually classified as a dancer,” he said. “To be a dancer you have to have years of formal training.”

In the “Soldiers Show” he sings and dances. His versatility adds greatly to the show as he sings a country song, Hillbilly Bone, and also a medley of George M. Cohen’s patriotic songs from over 70 years ago.

“I love all types of music but to get to sing songs that were not only famous but made a difference in the level of patriotism people felt during periods of war is pretty special.”

After receiving his commission, he chose the Adjutant General Officers branch and finished Basic Officers Leadership Course at Fort Jackson, S.C., in 2011.

 On the civilian side, he is pursuing an acting career while also serving in the Alabama Army National Guard.

“The greatest thing is that I am doing something I love to do for the people I love the most,” he said.

When he finishes his tour of duty he will return to the Alabama Army National Guard and resume his duties with the 731st. No matter the situation, Monplaisir will be sure to make sure it is entertaining.

Farragut Sailors Strengthen Bonds in Latvia


By Mass Communications 3rd Class A.J. Jones, Farragut Public Affairs

RIGA, Latvia (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) continued to strengthen relationships with Baltic nations as it began a four-day port visit in Riga, Latvia, Aug. 4.

During the port visit, Sailors played a game of basketball against members of the Latvian National Armed Forces and participated in two community service projects.

"The city of Riga offered incredible interactions for our Sailors during the community service projects, and the basketball game was a highlight as well," said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Christopher J. Sill, Defense, Naval and Marine Attach for the U.S. Embassy in Riga. "Latvia and the United States have a long standing partnership, and I know that Farragut's visit helped to strengthen this relationship."

The community service projects provided Sailors the opportunity to build and install new birdhouses for the Love Island Ecological Site and visit the Stella Maris Riga City Social Care Centre, a care facility for the elderly run by the government.

"It was a great opportunity to contribute to the community, meet the people and see what the culture is like," said Chief Electronics Technician Jason Howes. "It really gave us a good feeling to come help out and show our support."

Farragut concluded its visit with a reception aboard the ship.

"We would like to thank the Sailors of the Farragut for their visit," said Lt. Col. Sill. "Their visit has shown a lot of support toward a close NATO ally, and has gone a long way toward making that relationship stronger."

Farragut is on a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Family Matters Blog: Heroes Program Helps Families Travel


By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2012 – Families of wounded warriors already are benefitting from a program that started last month to make it easier for them to travel with their loved ones for medical treatment.

The Defense Department and Fisher House Foundation have teamed up to oversee the Hotels for Heroes program, which allows the American public to donate their unused hotel reward points to families of wounded warriors so that they might stay for free in hotels around the country while their family member receives medical treatment.

“The family members of our wounded heroes should never have to stress about the financial burden of travel,” David Coker, president of the Fisher House Foundation, said at a July 16 ceremony. “We are honored to help facilitate the process and are confident that the American public will help make this new program a success.”

Cindy Campbell, the foundation’s vice president for community relations and media affairs, said Aug. 7 that the program already has provided 60 nights of lodging for military families.

“We’re very fortunate in that many of the hotel chains banked a lot of points for us,” she said. “That has allowed us to go ahead and get started. And a lot of people already have donated points, but we are going to go through these quickly.”

Sadly, Campbell said, “there is a huge demand” from families who must travel to locations without one of the 57 Fisher Houses, or where they are full. The houses near large military medical centers fill up quickly.

The program’s sponsors are optimistic, given the success of its sister program, Hero Miles, that has allowed them to give away more than 30,000 plane tickets since it was created in 2003, Campbell said.

The annual need for hotel rooms “is a very substantial six-figure number,” she said, “so this is really going to help us out.”

Jessica Allen, whose husband, Army Staff Sgt. Charles Allen, is recovering from a roadside bomb, used Hero Miles to fly herself and her two daughters back and forth to her husband’s hospital bed during his recovery and rehabilitation.

“Hero Miles saved our family from a crushing expense – and gave our daughters the chance to be with their dad when he was in the hospital and learning to walk again,” Allen said at the program’s launch ceremony. “Hotels for Heroes will do something similar, and I am thankful to all the people who have and will donate their unused hotel points to benefit our military families.”

Six major hotel companies – Marriott, Wyndham, Best Western, Starwood, AmericInn and Choice Privileges Hotels – are participating in the program.

The program fills a void, Campbell said, in allowing the American public to give back. “It’s a very simple way for business travelers while they are racking up so many hotel points, to give back,” she said.

People can donate points by going to their hotel rewards club website, which has a tab for Fisher House donations.

Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. The Fisher Houses are donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs, and families can stay in the houses while a loved one is receiving treatment. Additionally, the foundation ensures that families of service men and women wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan are not burdened with unnecessary expense during a time of crisis.

USS Jason Dunham Junior Enlisted Training Team Pushes Young Sailors Toward Advancement


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Jamieson, USS Jason Dunham Public Affairs

USS JASON DUNHAM, At Sea (NNS) -- The Junior Enlisted Training Team (JETT) aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) is helping junior Sailors study for advancement during the ship's maiden deployment, Aug. 8.

 JETT is organized by and for the junior enlisted Sailors of Jason Dunham in order to maximize advancement through professional military knowledge training courses and study sessions.

"I want every Sailor who comes to a JETT meeting, to first and foremost, learn how to study, what to study and then I want them to take that knowledge and pass it on," said Information System Technician 1st Class Lawrence Mikel, program manager. "When these young Sailors become 1st Class Petty Officers, I want them to remember that their biggest and most important responsibility is to the young Sailors they lead."

 During the bi-weekly meetings, one Sailor will be designated as instructor and lead attending Sailors in a chosen topic related to professional military knowledge or study skills.

 "We have many junior Sailors from many different rates aboard, and we wanted to do something that could help all of them study for advancement," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Shantell Allen. "We organized these meeting around different areas of professional military knowledge pulled directly from the advancement exam bibliographies. Our goal is to give each Sailor, no matter what their community is, a leg up in studying for advancement exams and help them in furthering their Navy career."

 Some of the Sailors directly attribute the JETT study sessions to being prepared for their upcoming advancement exams.

 "It is always easier to stay motivated and study in a group that is supportive like JETT has been," said Ship Serviceman 3rd Class Matthew Thomson. "They always covered a really broad range of topics from naval heritage to basic seamanship to study skills. I felt prepared when I took the exam and saw questions we had studied. It's a great way to spend your time for self improvement, especially on deployment."

Jason Dunham is on a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

Panetta: National Guard, Reserve Key to Defense Strategy


By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y., Aug. 9, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told the airmen and soldiers based at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station today their service is critical to the defense strategy.

Panetta said New York was the cradle of the United States military, and that its critical role for the armed forces continues today.

“New York's Air National Guard is the largest Air Guard in the nation, with tremendous cutting-edge capabilities,” he said. “And many New York installations, including Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, are making a very important contribution to our nation's defense.”

Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is the largest employer in Niagara County. The base is home to the Air Force Reserve’s 914th Airlift Wing and the Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing. Together, more than 2,700 service members and civilians are assigned to the units.

Soldiers from Alpha Company, 865th Combat Support Hospital and the 1982nd Forward Surgical Team were also present for Panetta’s visit. The units are among several Army Reserve and National Guard tenant units at the base.

The spirit of public service exemplified by the Reserve and National Guard is essential to democracy, Panetta said. It demonstrates a commitment to securing the nation and providing better futures for the nation’s children, he added.

“This is an historic time to be serving the nation. It's an historic time to be an American. We're at a strategic turning point when it comes to our national security,” Panetta said.

That turning point is the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the resulting cuts in defense spending, he explained.

Budget cuts must be responsible, Panetta said, and undertaken in a way that allows the U.S. military to maintain its position as the strongest in the world, while not hollowing out the force.

“In the past, as we've come out of wars, whether it was World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, when we cut the defense budget, it was cut across the board and it hollowed out the force,” Panetta said. “It weakened every element of our defense establishment. I am not going to repeat that mistake.”

The best plan would create a defense strategy not just for today, but for the future, Panetta said.

“We're going to be smaller, we're going to be leaner, but we have to be agile,” he said. “We have to be deployable, we have to be flexible and we have to be on the cutting edge of technology,” he said.

Additionally, the defense strategy has to take into account potential trouble spots, such as the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, and it must allow the United States to maintain a worldwide presence, the secretary said. It also has to enable the military to defeat more than one enemy at a time, he added.

The final consideration has to be investing in the future, Panetta said -- not just in military systems and units, but also in companies that service the military.

“I do not want to outsource our national defense to other countries,” he said.

The reductions will come at a cost. “Let me be frank with you: I can't reduce the defense budget by $487 billion and not create some pain,” he said.

The National Guard and Reserve hold a key role in the defense strategy, he said, and the Defense Department is committed to protecting the New York Air National Guard.

“It's the largest in the country. I think it's one of the best, and I also want to make clear that we are committed to maintaining this base for the future,” Panetta said. “We're counting on this base. It's important geographically. It's important to the mission that we need to look forward to.”

Panetta said investment in the base will continue and that he plans to look for additional roles for the base as the defense mission evolves.

“We're going to upgrade eight C-130s and replace them over five years with the C-130H3s,” he said. “We're going to invest $6.1 million in order to create a C-130 flight simulator here.”

The base now has 12 C-130H2 Hercules aircraft. They are assigned to the 914th Airlift Wing, but are operated jointly along with the 107th Airlift Wing.

Panetta also discussed potential effects on communities if Congress allows budget sequestration to take effect in January. The measure would add about $500 billion in across-the-board defense spending reductions over the next decade in addition to the $487 billion cut that’s already coming.

“We have to be part of the same team, not only protecting our defense, but meeting our responsibility to our fiscal needs,” he said. “Frankly, one of my biggest concerns right now for communities like Niagara Falls is not the budget that I'm working on, it's the danger of sequestration and the fact that for some crazy reason, we may walk off of that cliff.”

While he expressed confidence that sequestration could still be avoided, Panetta said that if it happened, “incredible damage” to the nation’s defense would result.

“It's a formula that cuts across the board,” he said. “It's mindless, and it will hollow out our military. I want you to know that I am committed to do everything I can to fight for your interests, and I want you to join me to fight for what's right.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we bless ourselves with the hope that everything is going to be OK in this country,” he continued, “but frankly, it doesn't mean a damn thing unless we're willing to fight for it. The fact that you're here tells me that you are willing to fight -- to fight for that dream that brought my parents to this country, to fight for a strong America, [for] the future, and to fight for, most importantly, a government of, by and for all people.”

Carrier Air Wing 11 Departs USS Nimitz


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Winn, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

USS NIMITZ, At Sea (NNS) -- The squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11 embarked on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercises left for their home stations beginning with the fly off Aug. 8.

Disembarking an air wing is a massive undertaking and requires coordination between many different departments.

As many as 700 tri-wall reinforced storage boxes will be moved from the ship, said Cmdr. Frank Bennet, Nimitz' maintenance officer.

"We've got to coordinate with squadrons; as soon as the last plane leaves we start getting all the tri-walls moved to the hangar bays," said Bennet.

"When that last plane takes off, it's a scramble to get everything into the tri-walls," said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Jason Everett, corrosion prevention leading petty officer for Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154.

Each squadron will get approximately 30 tri-walls to fill with supplies they brought on board for the underway including computers, tools, chains, support equipment, televisions and grease pencils.

"It's like Tetris getting everything to fit inside," said Cpl. Jeremiah Clark, assigned to Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 323. "I already have a packing list of where everything goes, and everything we have is really organized, especially our tool boxes. It will only take us about two hours to do the actual packing."

As the ship pulls pier-side, shore based cranes will be in place to move the boxes to the pier where a fleet of forklifts will load the trucks which will depart for their home bases.

This offload presents the challenge of simultaneously on-loading gear for the fleet replacement squadrons, which are to go underway with Nimitz for carrier qualifications.

"The hardest part is getting everything staged," said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Hildalgo, officer in charge of the offload. "We have nine squadrons to move. It's going to be an all hands effort."

Security, Air Department, Supply Department, Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Department, Safety Department and all the squadrons coordinate between each other and Naval Air Station North Island to ensure all the gear is moved properly.

The offload marks the final step in the completion of RIMPAC 2012.

Face of Defense: Book’s Profits Benefit Wounded Warriors


By Dan Thompson
U.S. Army Installation Management Command Europe

HEIDELBERG, Germany, Aug. 9, 2012 – Being an Army public affairs officer often means working irregular hours and constantly providing high-quality content for everything from newspapers to social media.

While it is a demanding, high-visibility profession, most PAOs could not imagine serving any other way. But for one civilian public affairs officer at U.S. Army Garrison Benelux, keeping service members and their families informed in Belgium and the Netherlands is not enough. He reaches for the stars.

Keith Houin is a "purple" PAO: a retired Air Force noncommissioned officer now working as a U.S. Army civilian. In his spare time, he also is one of the hosts of “The Science Fiction Show,” a weekly podcast about everything science fiction that has been downloaded more than 10,000 times since May 2011, according to Houin. The show is an outlet for Houin and his fellow hosts Jason Tudor and Michael Wistock, to share their passion for science fiction in film, television, books and other things. It also has become a way for Houin to share his love of science fiction, public relations, and charity.

Keith and his co-hosts, all Air Force veterans, have released a compilation of sci-fi stories in a book called "Battlespace" to raise money for the Warrior Cry Music Project charity.

"Choosing the right charity was a must," Houin said. "We wanted to donate the money from the book to the right cause, and helping wounded veterans was first on our mind. The Warrior Cry Music Project was high on our list, and we're excited to be able to do something with these folks."

The Warrior Cry Music Project helps wounded warriors in the Washington, D.C., area by donating musical instruments and lessons in a form of music therapy.

Houin said 100 percent of the profits from the book, which can be ordered online as a paperback or e-book, will be donated to Warrior Cry. The first donation is scheduled to be made tomorrow, according to podcast’s Facebook fan page.

"This has been a lot of fun to create and a lot of fun to read,” said Wistock, one of Houin’s co-hosts. “I hope the people that pick up this book will enjoy it as much as we have."

"Jason Tudor was the real workhorse behind putting all the material together, and without his talent this project may have never gotten completed," Houin added. Tudor is a Defense Department public affairs officer at the Marshall Center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

MEDLITE 12: Air Guard members teach aeromedical evacuation principles to Botswana defense force


By Air Force Senior Airman Lausanne Morgan
48th Fighter Wing

THEBEPHATSWA AIR BASE, Botswana -- Air National Guard members along with members of the Botswana defense force worked together to kick-start MEDLITE 12 here Monday.

 MEDLITE 12 is a joint exercise between U.S. and Botswana aimed to establish and develop military interoperability, regional partnership and to synchronize capacity-building. The exercise began Monday with classroom work, to include an introduction to fixed wing aircraft aeromedical evacuation principles, stresses of flight at altitude and a question and answer session to encourage dialogue.

Approximately 30 BDF personnel attended the classes, in jobs that ranged from medical technicians to nurses, loadmasters, flight engineers and aircraft mechanics.

“We’re hoping that with this course we can achieve the transport of patients via aeromedical evacuation here,” said Air National Guard Lt. Col. June Oldman, the MEDLITE 12 mission director. “We are here to exchange ideas and learn from each other.”

She said she hopes the program would not only help the BDF, but also Botswana as a whole.

The concept of aeromedical evacuation began in 1910 and the theory behind it was to provide timely, efficient movement of patients and en route care. This type of evacuation was used extensively during World War II, the Korea War and the Vietnam War, where it saved countless lives.

North Carolina Air National Guard Maj. Chuck Scronce, a 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron flight nurse, said that even though the equipment used during these evacuations hasn’t changed much over the years, the care given has certainly changed.

“Care has gotten progressively better since World War II,” Scronce said. “Even just 10 years ago most [military members] might have died in the field; where today we have better care, giving them ... a better opportunity of surviving.”

As a sister force through the state partnership program, the North Carolina Air National Guard hopes to share this knowledge with the BDF so they can provide the same care to the people of Botswana bringing them something they have never experienced, Scronce said.

Throughout the day the airmen trained their BDF counterparts and exchanged lessons learned and experiences they have had to help the BDF develop their own aeromedical evacuation program.

“They are excited to be able to help and I think if they can continue to show their leadership how excited they are and how willing they are to help they will develop a great program,” Scronce said. “All the humanitarian missions I have done don’t really compare to this -- it’s just a cool mission.”

MEDLITE 12 will culminate with a mass casualty exercise on Aug. 14.

USS Louisville Completes WESTPAC


By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ronald Gutridge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Friends and family of the crew members from USS Louisville (SSN 724) gathered at the submarine piers to welcome back the Los Angeles-class submarine as she returned to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam after completing a six-month deployment to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) region, Aug. 8.

"I am extremely proud of the crew of the Louisville. They accomplished tasks in support of both theater and national interests with great enthusiasm and skill," said Cmdr. Lee Sisco, USS Louisville commanding officer. "This was the most rewarding and successful deployment out of the seven WESTPAC deployments I've conducted."

While deployed, Louisville executed a wide range of operations in support of Commander Seventh Fleet. In addition, she conducted several training exercises, contributing to the nation's strategic posture in the Western Pacific region. Louisville also strengthened relationships with Japan during an exercise with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force.

 During the deployment, 26 Sailors qualified in submarines and are now entitled to wear the submarine warfare insignia, also referred to as "Dolphins", after completing a rigorous qualification process that included in-depth understanding of submarine construction and operations, and practical assessments of the Sailor's ability to combat a wide range of casualties that could be encountered while onboard the submarine. A majority of the crew also completed advanced qualifications, including Engineering Watch Supervisor, Diving Officer of the Watch and Chief of the Watch. These qualifications provide greater watch bill flexibility and help ensure that Louisville's performance will remain strong.

 "We left on WESTPAC with a fairly junior crew but, they worked hard to keep the ship clean and stowed, and rapidly became qualified for senior watch stations," said Master Chief Fire Control Technician (SS) Joseph Bransfield, Louisville Chief of the Boat.

 Despite steaming over 40,000 nautical miles in support of the nation's defense, the crew enjoyed several memorable port visits which included Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan; Sepangar, Malaysia and Subic Bay, Philippines.

"Within the last six months I have been able to experience many different cultures during each port visit which has been both exciting and humbling," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SS) Erick Hahn.

During their Malaysia visit, Louisville and the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) hosted a reception for Secretary of Defense, Ray Mabus, and Malaysian Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar. This event directly contributed to further cooperation between the two countries' respective navies according to Sisco.

Louisville is the fourth United States ship to bear the name in honor of the city of Louisville, Ky. She is the 35th nuclear powered fast-attack submarine of the Los Angeles-class design.

F-35 Completes First Airborne Weapons Separation


By Victor Chen, F-35 Integrated Test Force Public Affairs

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (NNS) -- The F-35 Lightning II accomplished a significant test milestone Aug. 8 when the aircraft successfully released a weapon in flight.

BF-3, a short take-off and vertical landing F-35 variant, executed an inert 1,000-pound GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) separation weapon over water in an Atlantic test range while traveling at 400 knots at an altitude of 4,200 feet.

"While this weapons separation test is just one event in a series of hundreds of flights and thousands of test points that we are executing this year, it does represent a significant entry into a new phase of testing for the F-35 program," said Navy Capt. Erik Etz, director of test for F-35 naval variants. "Today's release of a JDAM was the result of extraordinary effort by our team of maintainers, engineers, pilots and others who consistently work long hours to deliver F-35 warfighting capability to the U.S. services and our international partners."

The release was the first time for any version of the F-35 to conduct an airborne weapon separation, as well as the first from an internal weapons bay for a fighter aircraft designated for the U.S. Marine Corps, the United Kingdom and Italy.

The milestone marks the start of validating the F-35's capability to employ precision weapons and allow pilots to engage the enemy on the ground and in the air.

"[Using an internal weapons bay] speaks to how much capability the JSF is going to bring to the troops," said Dan Levin, Lockheed Martin test pilot for the mission. "Stealth, fifth-generation avionics and precision weapons ... coupled with the flexible mission capability of the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B is going to be huge for our warfighters."

An aerial weapons separation test checks for proper release of the weapon from its carriage system and trajectory away from the aircraft. It is the culmination of a significant number of prerequisite tests, including ground fit checks, ground pit drops and aerial captive carriage and environment flights to ensure the system is working properly before expanding the test envelope in the air.

Aircraft and land-based test monitoring systems collected data from the successful separation, which is in review at the F-35 integrated test force at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

The F-35B is the variant of the Joint Strike Fighter designed for use by U.S. Marine Corps, as well as F-35 international partners in the United Kingdom and Italy. The F-35B is capable of short take-offs and vertical landings to enable air power projection from amphibious ships, ski-jump aircraft carriers and expeditionary airfields. The F-35B is undergoing test and evaluation at NAS Patuxent River, Md., and Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., prior to delivery to the fleet.

Williams assumes leadership of the Air National Guard Readiness Center


By Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Jerry R. Bynum
Air National Guard Special Staff Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. - Air National Guard Readiness Center personnel welcomed a new leader Tuesday at the ANGRC here, as Air Force Brig. Gen. R. Scott Williams assumed command of the ANGRC from Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, the director of the ANG.

During the ceremony Wyatt said that Williams’ integrity and leadership was why he was selected for the position. He added that he was proud of what the ANGRC has done during the last four years, and with Williams’ background he is the right choice to continue to lead this world-class organization into the future.

Williams gained valuable leadership experience as the director of the South Carolina Joint Force Headquarters Joint Staff where he served as a senior advisor to the Adjutant General of South Carolina on matters of training, manning and readiness of more than 10,500 South Carolina Army and Air Guard personnel. Williams plans to leverage his experience on a national level at the ANGRC.

“My priorities will always address our mission, our people, and our future,” he said. “Any decision I make will be made with these priorities in mind.”

The ANGRC ensures ANG field units are properly resourced to train and equip in support of state and federal missions across the entire spectrum of military operations and provide support sustaining ANG airmen throughout their careers.

Williams’ goal at the ANGRC is to continue providing the best possible support for ANG Airmen, adequately resource units to fulfill overseas and homeland mission requirements, and position the Air Guard for continued, long-range success.

“Our overarching goal will be to continue providing high quality, efficient, fully-operational forces while facing significant funding challenges,” Williams said. “General McKinley as chief of the National Guard Bureau and Lieutenant General Wyatt as the director of the Air National Guard have fought hard to ensure our world-class organization’s ability to meet the evolving needs of the Department of Defense without compromising the needs of our airmen and their families.”

Williams follows the leadership of Air Force Brig. Gen. Brian G. Neal who served as the ANGRC commander from August 2010 to June 2012. Neal was selected to serve as the deputy director for Antiterrorism and Homeland Defense, Joint Staff Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He is the primary advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in his duties as principal advisor to the secretary of defense and the president for all matters relating to antiterrorism, force protection, homeland defense, and defense support to civilian authorities.
   
“Brigadier General Neal’s leadership as Air National Guard Readiness Center Commander was truly outstanding, Williams said. “I hope to sustain and aspire to build upon his many successes as we follow our senior leaders' strategy for our future.”