Sunday, November 04, 2012

Marines Assist New York’s Storm-stricken Staten Islanders

By Marine Corps Capt. Lucas Burke
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y., Nov. 4, 2012 – Marines assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit today are helping to clear debris in this storm-stricken community as part of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew Reynoso, an automotive organizational mechanic with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and a native of New York City’s Bronx borough, assists in debris removal efforts at Staten Island, N.Y., Nov. 4, 2012. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Bryan Nygaard

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine leaders from the USS Wasp, to include Marine Corps Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, the 26th MEU’s commanding officer, went airborne in an UH-1N Huey helicopter yesterday to conduct disaster relief assessments and survey damage inflicted by Sandy along southeastern Staten Island. The Huey is from Marine Light Attack Squadron 467, which is assigned to the 26th MEU.

The UH-1N is a twin-pilot, twin-engine helicopter used in command and control, resupply, casualty evacuation, liaison and troop transport operations.

The 26th MEU has been using the helicopters to survey damaged areas of Staten Island in preparation of follow-on support to local residents.

The flights have also allowed the Marines to land in the hardest-hit areas and see what local leaders and residents needed the most.

“We’ve all seen the news, but to actually walk around and talk to people about what they are going through allows us to build a clearer picture as we conduct our planning,” St. Clair said. “Despite the devastation, seeing the communities come together and help each other is motivation for us. Marines always talk about ‘One Team, One Fight’ and we’re just joining their team.”

The 26th MEU, with more than 300 Marines and sailors and 12 helicopters, has been moving gear and personnel during the past two days to the U.S. Navy amphibious ship USS Wasp, while the unit received its mission priorities and assembled capabilities prior to going ashore to assist storm-stricken residents.

The 26th MEU, stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., was in pre-deployment training when it received orders to head north to the New York-New Jersey coastal region hit by Hurricane Sandy.

As an expeditionary force-in-readiness operating from the sea, the MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force capable of conducting amphibious operations, crisis response and contingency operations.

Cold Quiet Country

Date: November 29, 2012
Time: 1500 Hours Pacific
Topic: Cold Quiet Country
Listen Live:

The November 29, 2012, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with United States Army veteran Clayton Lindemuth is the author of Cold Quiet Country.

According to the book description of Cold Quiet Country, “On his last day in power, with a blizzard threatening 18 inches of snow, Sheriff Bittersmith is called to the scene of a crime. A farmer has been stabbed clean through the neck with a pitchfork. Two sets of tracks lead from the barn, and the dead man's frantic wife exclaims her daughter is missing. Convinced it was Gale G'Wain, the orphan who worked at the farm, Bittersmith follows the vanishing footprints into the storm. Three miles away, Gale G'Wain is alone and close to dead. He's holed up in an empty farmhouse, half-dressed and nearly dead after falling through lake ice. Innocent, but unlikely to ever stand trial in a town as corrupt as Bittersmith, he loads his gun and prepares to defend himself against the dead man's bloodthirsty sons and the Sheriff's Department.

Set in small town Wyoming in the 70s and unfolding in a single day, Clayton Lindemuth's debut novel, Cold Quiet Country, explores small-town corruption and the lengths some people will go to exact revenge. With a deft hand and sinister eye, Clayton Lindemuth reminds us that the green, idyllic landscape of Middle America can suddenly become an ominous backdrop for violence and treachery. Suspenseful, intelligent and bold, COLD QUIET COUNTRY brings a new edge to the world of modern noir and readers will not be able to look upon rolling hills, pastoral fields and picturesque barns without a sense of foreboding anytime soon.”

Connecticut Guard has answer for Sandy

by Capt. Jefferson S. Heiland
103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs

11/3/2012 - RENTSCHLER FIELD, East Hartford, Conn. -- Approximately 850 members from the Connecticut Army and Air National Guard here and around the state were called up for state active duty Wednesday in response to the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.

Guardsmen were involved with initial emergency response preparations as early as Oct. 27 in preparation to execute a variety of missions including brush clean-up with chainsaw crews, dropping off supplies and generators, and performing search and rescue missions.

Connecticut Airmen and Soldiers also were called to Rentschler Field to operate a commodities distribution center. The commodities, water bottles and meals-ready-to-eat, are being distributed to various towns in Connecticut that requested emergency assistance. Truck loads are being distributed throughout the state with the focus on the hardest hit areas along the shoreline and Fairfield County.

With a potential Nor'easter expected mid-week that may complicate matters, 24-hour operations at the distribution center will continue, according to Col. Roy Walton, the 103rd Mission Support Group commander.

"It's been long days and a lot of hard work, but I can't say enough about the commitment and dedication that our Airmen and Soldiers have displayed here this week," said Walton. "I think it really says a lot about the unique relationship that our Guardsmen have with the local communities ... this is exactly the type of mission that highlights how important the National Guard is when we can leverage our resources for the state mission."

Day-shift operations at Rentschler Field were run by Connecticut's ANG members that included expert forklift operators from the 103rd Logistic Readiness Squadron.

"I think most people feel good when they help somebody," said Senior Master Sgt. Jay Fournier, 103rd LRS, who was part of the operations at Rentschler Field. "This is really what we joined [the Guard] for ... to help people in need."

Other members of the 103rd Airlift Wing assisted Milford Firefighters who responded to many calls near the shore, which included a call for a house that had collapsed. The fire department had to send divers into the water to shut off gas lines for the fallen home and about five other neighboring homes.

Senior Airman Eric Lutz, 103rd Maintenance Squadron, was one of the Airmen involved in the mission.

"[Working] hands-on with the civilian emergency response has been amazing," said Lutz. "It feels good to help the community."

Air National Guard C-27J aircraft respond to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, help bring power to NY

by Tech. Sgt. David Speicher
175th Wing Public Affairs

11/4/2012 - BALTIMORE -- A C-27J Spartan aircraft crew from the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, here flew power generators and other equipment to New York in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts Saturday.

ANG crews from Ohio, Mississippi and Maryland flew the first-ever C-27J domestic operations missions transporting power generation equipment and HUMVEEs to Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y., to help provide needed power resources in the affected area.

ANG domestic operations provide support during and in the aftermath of a domestic emergency, in this case Hurricane Sandy.

"It is really nice knowing that when flying the C-27J that if you have to get to the small airfields that the big planes can't, you can provide the supplies for the people who need it," said Master Sgt. Matt Kerstetter, a loadmaster from 135th Airlift Squadron here.

The C-27J is a medium-sized military transport. It has the similar logistical and maintenance characteristics of the C-130J Hercules aircraft and has access a wide range of airfields, including short, unprepared strips while transporting heavy loads.

"The C-27J can get into some smaller airfields due to weight restrictions," said Capt. Paul Mercier, co-pilot from 135th ASQ.

According to 1st Lt. Ken V. McGee, a public affairs officer for the Ohio Army National Guard, the 1484th Transportation Company was convoying about 70 trucks and 118 soldiers to set up a food and water distribution point in New York City as part of Ohio's response to assist neighboring states. An advance team was airlifted by three C-27Js: one each from Maryland, Ohio and Mississippi ANG units.

"This gets the equipment there faster than on the ground," said Lt. Col. Gary Laubach, an aircraft commander from 135th ASQ.

The C-27J crew flew their plane to Macon, Ga., October 27 - safely out of the path of Hurricane Sandy. On Wednesday, they returned and were immediately put on alert for disaster relief missions.

"It feels different when you are so close to home and closer to your state," said Laubach while talking about the difference between this mission and past disaster relief missions. "One of our pilot's mothers is in the affected area and will be out of power for a week. This mission was great - extremely satisfying. It feels good to get stuff to the people who need it; I only wish I could be there when the generators get plugged in where the people need the electricity. This is the best mission you could get."

"It was nice to provide a little help to the folks in the New York area. It feels good," said Mercier. "This is close to home and I have friends in the New York area. Hopefully I have been helping our friends in the area."

According to Mercier, the aircrew worked hard to avoid refueling on the mission. Fuel is at premium in the hurricane affected areas.

"Two factors were in play, said Mercier. "We do not want to use any additional fuel out of Newburgh. We planned for our fuel burn. We came up with a good plan to arrive back with enough reserves."

Mercier was deployed earlier in the year to Afghanistan and was happy to do a state-side mission.

"We finally get to do what the Guard is designed to do," said Mercier. "It is nice to do the state-side mission, which is why a lot of people signed up in the National Guard. It was very successful and showed the capabilities the C-27J."

"It is a great experience to get out there and help people and do what we are meant to do in a National Guard unit," said Senior Airman Ian Beanland, a loadmaster from 135th ASQ. "We do a lot of training with the C-27J, today is one of these days we executed the mission as planned."

"It was very rewarding after watching the news and being able to help," said Kerstetter.