Friday, December 28, 2012

First Sergeants deliver gifts to Yokota's angels

by Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

12/28/2012 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- 'Tis the season for giving to those in need, and the First Sergeants' Council is doing just that throughout Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Sixty-three children, otherwise known as angels, received gifts this Christmas courtesy of anonymous donors in the Yokota community.

"Everyone has a time when they need a little extra help," said Master Sgt. Shanti Leiker, Angel Tree coordinator. "The angel tree program allows us to not only help, but also add a little more brightness to deserving children in the community."

Every year, first sergeants throughout the wing collect names and ages of children who meet specific criteria, come from families with parents E-6 and below and with a single income. Each child is then assigned a number, to keep their identity anonymous, and a tag is made to hang on the Angel Tree.

Once hung on the tree, members from the community can choose their angel. For some who choose an angel this experience is more than buying a gift.

"During the holidays, we sometimes become so busy with parties, shopping, or other events that we forget many people do not have the luxury of all the blessings many of us enjoy," said Capt. Jenna Mirandette, an Angel Tree donor. "Growing up, we were always taught to give to others, and the rewards of giving."

Part of a first sergeant's primary duties revolves around the morale and welfare of the Airmen in their organization. While the spirit of giving prompts extra effort around Christmas time, the first sergeants at Yokota strive to meet the needs of their Airmen year-round.

"People are our mission," said Master Sgt. Joshua Hodgin, 374th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant. "Bringing cheer to their families is just part of what we do."

1st ECEG provides full-spectrum engineering resources for AFCENT

by Capt. Craig Carper
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

12/28/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- In March, the previous commander of the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Group unveiled a new operational concept in the civil engineer community; the merger of the 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group, deployed from Andersen Air Force Base, and the 577th EPBG to create the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group.

Col. John Allen, 577th EPBS former commander, fused the 1st ERHG a theater-heavy construction capability with the 577th EPBG, the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan "outside-the-wire" engineer force into a full spectrum engineer resource for the U.S. Air Force Central commander.

The creation of the 1st ECEG centralized and improved all support services for Afghanistan and Arabian Gulf current and future engineer requirements. Additionally, it provides ready forces the ability to respond to emerging combat commander needs and maintain a ready engineer "9/11" emergency engineer response force.

"In coordination with theater engineer commanders, we can adjust, augment, or forward deploy with joint forces to get the mission done anywhere at any time" said Col. Pat Baker, 1st ECEG commander.

Traditional Air Force civil engineers deploy to maintain an airbase, execute expeditionary bed down of forces and missions, manage contracted construction projects, and complete minor troop labor projects.

The 1st ECEG, is not organized to maintain an airbase but rather provides the ability to design and execute heavy troop construction in addition to presenting quick response life, health and safety repair teams. Furthermore, the group is able to provide design and build projects along with an inspection and base master planning capability while providing a full spectrum of outside the wire troop support.

"Our strategy with this program is focused on continually looking over the horizon to ensure we have the flexibility to meet the enduring long term commitments in the gulf and surge to meet immediate requirements as needed," Baker said.

The 1st ECEG is comprised of more than 600 members stationed at five primary locations throughout the area of responsibility. The 1st ECEG, 557th ERHG and the 577th EPBG have their headquarters based with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing while the 777th EPBG headquarters is located at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Currently the 1st ECEG has members forward deployed to 16 locations throughout the AOR. The squadrons are comprised of Airmen from active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve forces from more than 50 bases throughout the world.

"Having active, Guard and Reserves working together from both Prime BEEF and RED HORSE has helped our mission by leveraging the training we gain from the centralized knowledge and experience of our colleagues," said Chief Master Sgt. Brent Sheehan, 557th ERHG chief enlisted manager.

Although this concept is relatively new, indicators show the program is having a positive impact on the joint mission.

"This initiative is working as it was designed to function," Lt. Col. Aaron Altweis, 577th EPBG commander said. "It's the first time in civil engineer history to bring full force engineering capabilities to the theater under a single commander - it is the first time heavy construction, light construction, repair and professional services are centrally managed under one commander. The commander can adjust his resources and allocate them where and when needed, and streamline the process to expedite support to the battle space commanders."

With the one year mark of this unique initiative approaching in March, the group continues to analyze and adjust to ensure it remains a model program allowing the 1st ECEG to set the standard for civil engineer efficiency and provide a full spectrum of engineering solutions while remaining flexible in this resource constrained environment.

AFSA brings cheer to underprivileged kids

by Airman 1st Class Paris Heckard

12/28/2012 - Air Force Sergeants Association -- Children from the Misato Children's Home wanted a normal Christmas like any child with family members snug in their homes.

To give them the Christmas they've dreamed of, Kadena's local Air Force Sergeants Association chapter donated more than 500 toys to more than 300 children for the holidays.

Tech. Sgt. Darris Wyatt, a member of the AFSA chapter, said the staff members were surprised when they saw the donation and offered their thanks and praises to the members.

The chapter set up a collection site at the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron's Individual Protective Equipment Element to get as much awareness about the drive as possible.

Because of their diligence, they received toys ranging from sports balls, dolls, cars, teddy bears and games from members across Okinawa for the home.

"It brings me great joy to see the kids with smiles on their faces during this holiday season," said Tech. Sgt. LeKetra Cole, a member of the AFSA chapter.

This is just one of the many good deeds the local chapter has contributed to the local community over the past year. Kadena's AFSA chapter looks forward to returning to the home sometime in January to spend time with the children.

Team Andersen donates in holiday spirit

by Senior Airman Benjamin Wiseman
36th Wing Public Affairs

12/28/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- As the holiday season is known to be the season of sharing, members from Team Andersen did their part by giving back to the local community Dec. 21.

A collaboration between members of the African American Heritage Association and the Andersen Chapel provided gifts for local children. A month of planning led to the formation of an Angel Tree donation system for children in the Big Brother, Big Sister Organization.

The base chapel and the AAHA chose the Big Brother, Big Sister Organization (BBBS) to donate to due to the organization's mission, which is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally-supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better.

"We sat down early in November to decide what we were going to do. We chose the BBBS Organization to give back to the youth," said Tech. Sgt. Jermaine Smith, AAHA president. "After coming up with our plan, we talked to the base chapel to set out an Angel Tree. The idea took off from there."

Names of local children from the BBBS program were written on ornaments and placed on a tree in each of the base's chapels. From there, any member from Team Andersen could select an ornament and provide gifts for that child.

"After the trees were put out, ornaments started to disappear one by one," said Sergeant Smith. "At the end, 52 presents were collected for BBBS children."

Not only did the AAHA and base chapel set up the donations, but some of the AAHA members also hand-delivered presents to the children at school.

"We went to Agueda Johnson Middle School, Tamuning Elementary School, and Price Elementary School to pass out the gifts that were donated," said Capt. Rey Heron, acting AAHA treasurer. "We passed out gifts to about eight children at each school. The rest will be delivered to the children's homes by BBBS."

Part of the AAHA mission as an organization is giving back and aiding less fortunate members of the community.

"It feels great to help someone else," said Captain Heron. "It is a very humbling experience to give back to the community."

"The holiday season is about reflection, being thankful and taking extra steps to help make someone else's holiday better," Sergeant Smith added. "It's all about what you can do for someone else during the holidays."

This Day in Naval History - Dec. 28

1867 - U.S. claims Midway Island, first territory annexed outside Continental limits.
1905 - Drydock Dewey left Solomon's Island, MD, enroute through the Suez Canal to the Philippines to serve as repair base. This, the longest towing job ever accomplished, was completed by Brutus, Caesar, and Glacier on 10 July 1906.
1941 - Chief of Bureau of Yards and Docks requests that construction battalions be recruited.
1982 - Recommissioning of USS New Jersey (BB-62), the first of four Iowa-class battleships that were returned to service in 1980s.
1990 - LCDR Darlene M. Iskra becomes commander of USS Opportune, a salvage vessel.
1998 - USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) and USS America (CV-66) Carrier Battle Groups deploy from Norfolk, VA, for Middle East to join Operation Desert Shield.

Guam Medics Resuscitate Baby Girl

From Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, GUAM (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Fire and Emergency Services (FES) medics resuscitated a 1-year-old civilian girl who was brought to Station 2 on Naval Magazine Site in Santa Rita Dec. 24.

Upon arrival, the girl was unconscious, unresponsive and had acute cyanosis from lack of oxygen. Medics performed approximately 10 back blows in an attempt to dislodge the piece of food. Once her airway was clear, medics then delivered oxygen and the patient's condition improved.

NBG FES personnel Capt. Nick Perez, Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician Andrew Babas, Firefighter J.P. Taimanglo, Firefighter Ted Borja and Paramedic Gregory Simon were the first to treat the infant, said NBG FES Fire Chief Robert Green.

"After back blows and oxygen was delivered, (she) was able to move (her hands) initially and cyanosis eventually went away," Green said.

Station 2 medics and Advanced Life Support from Station 1 on board NBG continued to monitor the girl's vitals as she was transported to Guam Memorial Hospital.

"I was relieved that she started to breathe on her own," Perez said. "It was the best gift I could receive and give - to give someone back their life especially during the holiday season."

Emergency response to the incident was an example of the Mutual Aid Agreement between NBG FES and the Guam Fire Department to ensure that emergency service resources are available at all times.

"We have responded to 158 medical mutual aids with GFD so far this year," Green said. "That many calls keep us sharp and proficient in our medical skills."

Perez agreed with Green and added that medical incidents should be addressed immediately regardless of who the patient is.

"As first responders we're here to save lives," he said. "When it comes to life, there are no boundaries. I'm happy that everything's fine, and I'm glad we were able to bring her back. I thank God that it worked for our favor and hers as well."

Sailors and Marines Participate in the 2012 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karolina A. Martinez, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West San Diego

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- More than 50,000 college football fans watched members of the U.S. Navy and Marines perform during the Pre-Game Spectacular at the 2012 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Dec. 27.

The pre-game performance featured members of the "Leap Frogs" U.S. Navy parachute demonstration team, a flag presentation and color guard from Marines assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Honor Guard, and the national anthem sung by Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Marqueta Rodgers, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4).

Lance Cpl. Michael Trujillo, assigned to the MCRD Honor Guard, was proud to perform for the game's attendees.

"I am very excited to be out here representing our military and our country," he said.

The "Leap Frogs" commenced the show, as they maneuvered from the air into the stadium. Fans stood from their seats and looked into the night sky with anticipation, seeking the blue and gold canopies with the embroidered words 'NAVY', 'SEAL', and 'EOD'. Each of the Leap Frogs landed precisely into the stadium, ending with the last Leap Frog flying a U.S. flag beneath him.

Following the Leap Frog demonstration, the MCRD Honor Guard marched onto the field carrying a 50-yard flag and unfurled it to cover the whole field. While the flag was displayed, Rodgers began to sing the National Anthem. As sung the last few lines, fireworks brought the performance to a conclusion.

"It feels good to be out here in front of a crowd," said Rodgers. "I sing the national anthem a lot and it makes me proud each and every time I sing it."

At the halftime show, there was a performance produced by WorldStrides Heritage Performance Programs honoring firefighters, emergency medical technicians, police officers and members of the armed forces. Members of a high school marching band performed on the field spelling out the word 'HERO' as they played.

The game ended with the Baylor Bears coming out on top 49-26 against the UCLA Bruins, bringing the celebration to an end and bringing a close to a memorable day for many Sailors and Marines.

USS Higgins Sailors Make the Holidays A Little Brighter for NMCSD Pediatric Patients

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class T. J. Ortega, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Sailors from guided-destroyer, USS Higgins (DDG-65) donated gifts and food to Naval Medical Center San Diego's (NMCSD) pediatric hematology and oncology in-patient ward making the holidays a little brighter for the special group of patients Dec. 21.

Higgins' Yeoman 1st Class Jaime Saenz's daughter, Isabella, is currently a patient in NMCSD's hematology and oncology in-patient ward and learned that past sponsors for the in-patient ward were not able to provide a holiday party this year. So Saenz approached his fellow shipmates in Higgins' First Class Petty Officers Association for help.

"I found out that the people who had provided funding for the holiday party pulled out the past two years. So I went back to my ship and approached the First Class Association, they agreed to provide funding and assist," said Saenz. "I also opened up the idea to the Wardroom and Chiefs' Mess. So we put together some funding and I got some volunteers. My wife and I, along with my generous shipmates, went out and bought gifts, stalkings and food."

A special appearance by Santa Claus made the experience even more memorable allowing the kids to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.

"I think it's awesome! The second Petty Officer Saenz suggested it, we were all onboard," Lt. Cmdr. Megan Grubbs, Higgins Combat Systems officer. "The staff here is amazing! Every day they are doing miraculous things and any little bit we can do creates a remarkable experience for everyone," said Grubbs.

Pediatric in-patients were able to enjoy normal holiday festivities, in spite of ongoing going treatment.
"The kids will gain appreciation that they are not alone in the world," said Hospitalman Kyle Free. "It's good to know we have people out there that are willing to help and cheering them on during their fight [against cancer]," said Free.

USS Pasadena Sailor of the Year to Participate in Rose Parade

By Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, Commander, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

PASADENA, Calif. (NNS) -- The Sailor of the Year from Los Angeles-class attack submarine (SSN 752) will participate in a namesake visit to the city of Pasadena to participate in various Rose Parade related activities and welcome in the new year, Dec. 29 - Jan. 1.

Electrician's Mate 1st Class (SS) Phillip Alampi and his spouse, Veera, were invited by the Pasadena Foundation to take part in the Rose Bowl Kick-off Luncheon, Rose Bowl Game and meet with various Pasadena Foundation civic leaders.

"The USS Pasadena Foundation is delighted that the Pasadena Sailor of the Year and his spouse can join us for our New Year's Day festivities," said William Creedon, former U.S. Navy captain and submariner, and current president of the Pasadena Council of the Unites States Navy League.

Given the strong relationship between the USS Pasadena Foundation and the USS Pasadena, the Alampis will also ride on the City of South Pasadena's float during the 124th Rose Parade.

"I'm honored my wife, Veera and I were invited to participate," said Alampi. "I'm very thankful for the USS Pasadena Foundation and my command to provide this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The Tournament of Roses annual parade of flower-covered floats has been held in Pasadena since Jan. 1, 1890. One of those flower-covered floats participating in the Rose Parade represents the City of South Pasadena.

Their float is different than past years largely due to the Spanish Galion ship that is displayed across an open book of endless waves of blue flowers. This massive display is 50 feet long and 18 feet wide and includes a wide array of some 25,000 to 30,000 blooming flowers said Chris Colburn, a former Navy Hospital Corpsman who now serves as the Construction Chair of the South Pasadena Float.

"It makes sense to us to honor someone whose achievements in the Navy fit our float's theme to a tee," said Colburn, who said their float's theme is the "Sailing the Sea of Knowledge." "EM1 Alampi embodies what it truly means to 'sail the sea of knowledge' by being chosen as Sailor of the Year for the USS Pasadena."

Colburn has reflected on the importance of including a USS Pasadena Sailor and his wife to ride in the city's float.

"We're all absolutely ecstatic about having the Alampis ride on our float," said Colburn. "By having them ride they can help to teach people not just about those who serve to protect us and our great country, but being the best in their field and going above and beyond."

Like a Sailor's dedication to his or her nation, Colburn is dedicated to his float. Colburn started building the City of South Pasadena's float in April 2012 and he and his team of builders have amassed about 3,500 to 4,000 man hours, but he doesn't regret the amount of time dedicated to something that has become a tradition in his life.

"I started participating at the age of eight, and it is a proud community tradition I wanted to continue," said Colburn. "I want to be able to cultivate this tradition of celebrating my hometown with future generations."
Colburn has literally served every position on the float from welding, to driving the float, to gluing on the fresh flowers that adorn it.

He added that another 2,000 man hours will be needed to apply the seeds, leaves and flowers to the impressive float. The Alampis will be helping to add some of those flowers when they volunteer to prepare the float for the parade.

"It is an amazing opportunity that my wife and I are excited to be a part of," said Alampi.

USS Pasadena is currently undergoing an engineered maintenance overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

The 124th Rose Parade will be broadcast on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA (Tribune), NBC, RFD-TV and Univision. The Parade is also seen in more than 220 international territories and countries.