Military News

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Great Lakes Chief Selectees to Serve as Museum Tour Guides


By Judy Lazarus, Naval Station Great Lakes Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill (NNS) -- Forty nine volunteer chief selectees completed training to serve, for the second year in a row, as tour guides at the Museum of Science and Industry for the USO U-505 Naval History Program, presented along with the Pritzker Military Library and the museum, Sept. 4-8.

The selectees received training Aug. 9-10. about the history and artifacts relating to the U-505, the only German U-boat captured during World War II.

U.S. submariner veterans also provided their knowledge and experience during the two-day training.

The selectees will volunteer at the exhibit to answer questions and discuss submarine-related artifacts with museum guests.

Located in a 35,000-square-foot exhibit at the museum, the U-boat serves as a national war memorial for those who lost their lives in the two battles of the Atlantic during World War I and II.

"This is an outstanding program on many fronts," said Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman (FMF/SS/SW) Roger Buck, senior enlisted leader, director Fleet Medicine, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. "The new selects learn about the heroic capture and transport of the U-505 and get to work alongside submarine veterans and share their new knowledge with museum guests. This program has expanded Navy/CPO presence in Chicago and educated thousands of civilians on naval history and the role/history of CPOs," the senior chief said.

Command Master Chief Leon Walker, Naval Station Great Lakes, noted that the volunteers are an example of, "chief selects giving back what has been given to them."

"Having an opportunity to be even a small part of the career development path for Navy chief selects is truly an honor for the USO of Illinois," said USO President and Chief Operating Officer Alison Ruble. "We are thrilled to offer this program, now in its second year, and to continue to support our Navy chief petty officers while fostering connections to naval heritage through the legacy of the U-505 submarine."

Chief selectee participants said they look forward to serving as museum guides.

"I am personally very excited to represent the U-505 and share its experience with the public," said Chief Machinery Repairman (select) Kelly Morrow, Machinery Repairman Strand School course supervisor. "Heritage is everything to me, and being able to actually relive the stories is an honor," said the Los Angeles, Calif. native who has been in the Navy 19 years.

"Volunteering at the U-505 exhibit in the Museum of Science and Industry is an honor that I take very seriously," said Chief Hull Technician (select) Nolan Nichols, from Monroe City, Mo. "Representing the Navy and chiefs mess, in front of thousands of people at one of the most important naval heritage exhibits in the area, is going to be one of the highlights of my induction that I will remember for the rest of my life.

"Now that I have learned about what happened with the capture of the U-505, I will take the lessons of honor, courage, and commitment that those U.S. Sailors showed and instill those same core values in Sailors in today's Navy," said Nolan, who has been in the Navy for almost eight years.

"Overall, the U-505 has been a great experience. I would recommend that anyone who gets the chance make a trip down to Chicago to see the exhibit and learn the story behind the exhibit for themselves."

"In my lifetime, I can recall going to museums and wishing I had a guide," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (select) Shante Morris. "Having someone to explain the artifacts or the significance of a time period, in layman's terms, would have made my experience more enlightening. So when the opportunity arose to be a volunteer at the museum I was elated.

"The museum was captivating; the atmosphere was exciting for kids and adults alike," said Morris, who noted the friendliness of the other chief selectee volunteers. "They were genuine about their interactions with the visitors and were excited the entire time I visited. I expect to be infected by that excitement and help carry out the museum's mission and vision.

"I love interacting with people, so this is going to be an awesome experience," said the Atlanta, Ga. native who has been in the Navy close to 15 years. "Not many people are afforded the opportunity to make a difference in a young person's life and I am honored that they are entrusting me to do so."

Naval Station Norfolk Hosts Annual 'Run with the Chiefs' 5k


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Molly A. Greendeer, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Naval Station Norfolk (NSN) hosted the ninth annual "Run with the Chiefs" 5k, Aug. 24.

 More than 2,900 chiefs, senior chiefs, master chiefs, chief petty officer (CPO) selectees and participants from throughout the region, ran in support of the 2013 CPO selectees, singing cadence along the way to celebrate the selectees' pride and camaraderie.

Command Master Chief David Carter, NSN, was among those leading the pack.

"This event is a great opportunity to commit ourselves to a lifestyle of physical fitness and to set the example as leaders in fitness," said Carter. "It is also a great way to build camaraderie and esprit de corps among ourselves, our leaders, and our Sailors."

The event was part of the six-week induction process, a Navy tradition chief petty officer selectees go through before being officially pinned with anchors.

Carter said that induction season is also a time for existing CPOs to renew their commitments the Navy, each other, and to reconnect to the history and heritage of the CPO rating.

"Tradition is the bedrock upon which our core values are formed," said Carter. "Tradition guides us and gives us direction. Without tradition, our Navy would be adrift like a ship without a rudder."

NSN Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) were among the many committees that sponsored and organized the race.
Duffy Drum, NSN MWR athletic director, said he was very pleased with the turnout.

"We had a third more participants come out this year than last and I hope to see an even bigger turnout next year," said Drum.

The race itself did not generate any profits, but the NSN CPO Induction Committee raised money for the CPO Scholarship Fund by selling limited-edition souvenir T-shirts. The CPO Scholarship Fund provides family members of CPOs with scholarship awards.

After the run, participants and spectators gathered for the "best guidon design" contest. The judges were NSN Commanding Officer Capt. Mike Culler, Sublant Force Master Chief Kirk Saunders and Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Command Master Chief Dominick Torchia.

The four winners of the guidon contest were presented with plaques. Naval Air Station Oceana won best overall, NSN won most CPO heritage, George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) won the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy favorite and Naval Medical Center Portsmouth won best original design.

Carter told the CPO selectees that putting on anchors is just the beginning.

"Chief petty officers have to earn their anchors every day," said Carter. "Anchor up, shipmates. Hooyah!"

The Navywide pinning ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Wisconsin National Guard cultural support team receives a hometown welcome at Miller Park


By Tech. Sgt. Jon LaDue
Wisconsin National Guard

Milwaukee fans gave a triumphant cheer Monday (Aug. 25) as the Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 9-5 at Miller Park - but fans gave an even bigger applause to start the game as three Soldiers of the Wisconsin National Guard were honored for their recent return from a historic deployment to Afghanistan.

The three Soldiers, all women, were three of four Wisconsin Guard Soldiers who spent the past year helping Army Special Forces units in Afghanistan build relationships with local nationals, especially women and children as part of the Army's Cultural Support Program - who operate as Cultural Support Teams or CSTs. The Wisconsin women are some of the first females in U.S. history allowed to serve alongside Special Forces in combat operations.

"I feel honored to be honored for going to Afghanistan and doing the mission that we did," said Sgt. Sonia Buchanan, of Cottage Grove, Wis. "It's going to open doors for girls down the road."

Buchanan was joined at Miller Park by 1st Lt. April Nelson, of Viroqua, and Sgt. Kristen Elegeert, of De Pere, Wis. (Master Sgt. Karen Dumke, of Waupun, was also on the CST mission but was out of state during the game).

The women stood jubilantly for about three minutes as they watched pictures of themselves on the giant Miller Park screen and heard their story shared with more than 28,000 fans in attendance.

The event and recognition was part of the Brewers' "Mission Welcome Home," a program coordinated through the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize Wisconsin's service members returning from deployments since 9/11, according to an event coordinator Nate Nez, who also serves as a senior program specialist at WDVA.

"It really puts a personal face to what our troops are doing - especially here in Wisconsin," Nez said. "It shows communities, when the service members are not in uniform, that they are from small town Wisconsin and they are doing some unique missions."

There's no doubt the CST's 10-month tour in Afghanistan was unique and historic. The four Soldiers were among nearly 250 applicants nation-wide. A little more than 100 were selected for screening and the four Wisconsin Soldiers were among 56 to complete the inaugural training at Fort Bragg, N.C. Their primary task was to engage the female population in areas where such contact may be deemed culturally inappropriate if performed by a male servicemember including conducting medical civic-action programs, searches and seizures, humanitarian assistance and civil-military operations.

And while there's no way to tell how many young women were at Miller Park Monday or how many female Soldiers nation-wide were inspired by the CST mission, the recognition given by the Brewers and embraced by a stadium full of fans is enough to make the future look bright for everyone ... but especially for female service members.

"I think it puts us out there and shows everyone in Wisconsin and throughout how important it is to have females in combat," Nelson said. "It also helps the younger generation realize that women can do whatever they want and accomplish whatever they want as far as goals and a profession.

"There's other females throughout the nation who haven't had as much support and recognition from their state," said Nelson, "it makes me proud that I'm from Wisconsin."

USS Jason Dunham Departs Greece


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deven King, USS Jason Dunham Public Affairs

SOUDA BAY, Greece (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) departed Souda Bay, Greece, after a scheduled four-day port visit, Aug. 22.

This was the ship's second visit to Souda Bay on its maiden deployment and Sailors took the opportunity to relax and explore the area.

"The last time I was here I did some of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation tours so this time I just went to the beach and walked around town and tried to experience the culture on my own," said Operations Specialist Seaman Chelsea Jefferies. "The people are very friendly and the country is beautiful."

Other Sailors spent time at a nearby recreation center, which featured a baseball field where Jason Dunham's officers and chief petty officers faced off in a game of softball.

"The commanding officer and I were joking with each other about a game [between] the chiefs and the officers, and the executive officer caught wind of it," said Master Chief Ray R. Chamberlain, Jason Dunham's command master chief. "Pretty soon the whole wardroom got involved. The chiefs mess just remained silent until game day."

The chief petty officers' mess won the game in the 10th inning with a final score of 10-9.

"It was an opportunity to let our hair down, have some fun and show the crew it's okay to have events where senior and junior Sailors can compete," Chamberlain said. "It helps build a sense of community and emphasizes that it's one ship, one fight - and it was great beating the officers."

The port visit also consisted of Sailors conducting boarding procedure training, force protection exercises and an ammunition onload.

"It was hot out and it was delicate work, but we got everything aboard safely," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class Nick Sauble. "We're loaded up and ready to go."

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.

HSV Swift Departs Nigeria Following Africa Partnership Station Visit


By Ensign Joseph Keiley, High-Speed Vessel Swift Public Affairs

LAGOS, Nigeria (NNS) -- High-Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) completed a weeklong visit to Lagos, Nigeria, in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2012, Aug. 24.

During the visit, Swift conducted several classroom and field training engagements with Nigerian service members, hosted a health fair, and held a reception for the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria.

Capt. Richard N. Soucie, commander, Task Force 63, said that visits such as this helps to promote partnership and interoperability between African countries.

 "Maritime domain awareness has been an issue at the forefront of our visits to Africa," said Soucie. "This serves as an opportunity for us to get together and work on common issues, and it's very exciting because we have numerous people and trainers aboard Swift who interacted all week with the Nigerian people as well as the Nigerian navy."

Terrence McCulley, U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, commended the crew for their partner-building training and their community outreach efforts during their visit.

"I'm delighted to have Swift in Lagos," said McCulley. "I'd like to thank the Swift team for their efforts in demonstrating partnership between the U.S. and the Nigerian navy. They showed how effective our military can be."

Local military officials said they valued Swift's visit.

"This visit strengthened our relationship as we sharpened our skills and ready ourselves to turn our attention back to the sea," said Commodore HM Babalola, Nigerian navy.

Upon leaving Nigeria, Swift will continue its APS deployment, making several more stops along the West African coast.

APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.