Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Lt. Gen. Clarke confirmed as Director, Air National Guard

1/2/2013 - ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Lt. Gen. Stanley E. "Sid" Clarke III, commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region and 1st Air Force, has been confirmed by the Senate to be the next director of the Air National Guard.

Clarke will replace Lt. Gen. Harry "Bud" Wyatt, who is retiring this month. Wyatt has led the Air National Guard since February 2009.

Clarke said he is eager to take charge of an organization that comprises 106,000 people.

"I look forward to the opportunity to lead the best Air National Guard in our nation's history," he said. "The Air National Guard, and the 106,000 men and women who make it work, has served our nation and our communities with great distinction in combat and during numerous domestic crises."

Wyatt, who intends to retire to his home in Oklahoma, said Clarke is the right person, at the right time.

"Sid has served here at the Pentagon and has a wealth of command and staff experience," Wyatt observed. "He will help shape and guide the Air Guard as we forge ahead to the future."

As Air Guard Director, Clarke will be responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, plans and programs affecting more than 106,000 Air Guard members in more than 88 flying wings and 200 geographically separated units throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.

Clarke is no stranger to key leadership positions. He has served as the Deputy Director of the Air National Guard and as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air for the Alabama Air National Guard. At 1st Air Force, he commanded four direct reporting units, 10 aligned Air National Guard units, and a large number of active air defense alert sites -- including aircraft, air defense artillery, and up to 15,000 active duty, National Guard, Air Force Reserve and civilian personnel.

Clarke is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flight hours, including more than 100 in combat, in the T-38, C-26, A-10 and F-16. Prior to his NORAD assignment, Clarke served as the Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché in Turkey. The general was commissioned in 1981 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at the University of Georgia. He has served in various operational and staff assignments including duty as an A-10 and F-16 instructor pilot. He also has commanded a squadron, fighter wing and air expeditionary wing.

BATCATS earn Meritorious Unit Award

by Tech. Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs

12/30/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan  -- The 353rd Special Operations Group was awarded the Meritorious Unit Award Dec. 16 for their exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service from Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2012.

Superior performance of the day-to-day mission alone does not satisfy the requirements needed to earn this award. The unit must also be able to show how their accomplishments stand out from the rest, and the diverse 353rd SOG mission reflects just that.

"Men and women of the 353rd SOG maintain a continuous combat presence in Afghanistan and the Philippines while also contributing to emergent humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations like Operation TOMADACHI, Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed exercises rehearsing contingency operations, and joint combined exercises operationalizing theater engagement strategy," said Col. Brad Sullivan, 353rd SOG commander. "Group personnel are vigilant...we rehearse and train hard year round so we can execute when we are called to do so. This award testifies to our ability to prosecute missions to the highest standards through an empowered combination of SOF-educated decision making and personal accountability."

During the two-year period, the group participated in 26 Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed and joint combined exchange training exercises throughout the Pacific. These exercises are what keep the air commandos of the Pacific primed and ready for anything.

In March 2001, the group completed their Operational Readiness Inspection earning an "Outstanding" rating. Just 72 hours later, they deployed six aircraft and approximately 350 people to support exercise FOAL EAGLE in the Republic of Korea. Less than a week into the exercise, Northwestern Japan was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami followed.

From Korea, half of the deployed SOG personnel further deployed to Yokota to provide humanitarian relief. The group's special tactics personnel facilitated the first landing into the heavily damaged airport of Sendai. The opening of the airfield created the opportunity to the deliver 2.5 million pounds of aid for the disaster victims.

Airmen assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Group during the award period should see their records automatically updated in virtual Military Personnel Flight within the next few weeks.

"This award only begins to spotlight the caliber of people we have in the 353rd SOG," said Chief Master Sgt. Gregg Jones, 353rd SOG, command chief. "Every day I am proud to be a part of this exceptional organization and our specialized mission. The award is no small feat and very well deserved."

This Day in Naval History - Jan. 02

1813 - Congress authorizes construction of two 74-gun ships and six 44-gun frigates.
1937 - Adm. William Leahy becomes the seventh chief of naval operations.
1969 - Operation Barrier Reef began in Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

Stennis Sailors Read to their Loved Ones

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Fred Gray IV, John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS JOHN C. STENNS, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) are taking advantage of an opportunity to connect with friends and family while forward deployed.

The United Through Reading (UTR) program offers Sailors a chance to record videos reading books to send home to their loved ones.

"It's an amazing feeling to be able to help connect Sailors to their loved ones," said Cryptological Technician (Technical) 1st Class Javonna Gregory, UTR coordinator aboard Stennis, from Jacksonville, Fla.

Gregory said that just seeing the smiles on the Sailors' faces after they are done reading is priceless, and it also makes running the program a very rewarding experience.

The recording sessions are 30 minutes and Sailors can schedule appointments on a sign-up sheet located outside the ship's museum every Sunday. Sailors are limited to one recording session per day but can sign up for as many sessions as they want throughout the month.

"It's a good way to give back to both the families and the Sailors," said Information Technician 1st Class Thaddeus Boyd, a UTR volunteer and participant, from Brooklyn, N.Y.

The books read during the recording session are mailed home along with the DVD for the families to enjoy.

"It's a great way to bond while on deployment," said Yeoman 2nd Class Silvia Newkirk, from Gainesville, Fla. "I'm happy to have that connection with my son, especially because he is still learning to read and write."

"If you have a family member in the hospital, or just want someone to hear your voice, then yes, definitely sign up," said Gregory.

More than 100 Stennis Sailors sign up each month to record videos to stay connected to their families and friends back home.

The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG), consisting of Stennis, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) are forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility to strengthen regional partnerships, sustain maritime security, and support combatant commander requirements for assets in the area.

San Diego Training Command Recognized for Fostering Positive Community support

From Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit North Island Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) North Island and Miramar announced Jan. 2 that it received the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC) 2012 Achievement Award for providing outstanding volunteer support to multiple San Diego organizations.

"Through its continuing support of the community, CNATTU North Island and Miramar Sailors and Marines are committed to fostering a positive relationship with the city of San Diego," said Cmdr. Gary Van Ert, commanding officer of CNATTU North Island and Miramar.

The ceremony was held on board Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Complex Point Loma in San Diego. Vice Adm. Dave Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces was the keynote speaker.

Accepting the award on behalf of the command were Van Ert and CNATTU's Senior Enlisted Advisor, Master Chief Aviation Support Equipment Technician Felipe Buenviaje, Public Affairs Officer Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate Nemrod Guevaraestrada, and Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Joel Hagstrom, representing the command's First Class Petty Officer/Staff Sergeant Association.

Dignitaries among the audience included Bob Filner, Mayor of San Diego, Marine Maj. Gen. Steven Busby, commanding general of 3rd Marine Air Wing, Brig. Gen. Vincent Coglianese, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West-Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, SDMAC President for 2012 retired Rear Adm. James Johnson, and Rear Adm. Forrest Faison, commander, Navy Medicine West.

During 2012 CNATTU North Island and Miramar Sailors and Marines devoted more than 2,200 hours r supporting Partners in Education at Kimbrough Elementary School, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, I Love a Clean San Diego, San Diego Veterans Museum, Fort Rosecrans Cemetery, and St Vincent De Paul Village.

At Kimbrough Elementary, close to 200 volunteers spent time assisting teachers, chaperoning field trips, and raising more than $1,000 to pay for transportation for a field trip. The volunteers also provided more than 400 hours helping San Diego's Meals on Wheels deliver meals to the infirm and visit with elderly living alone. At San Diego's Habitat for Humanity, close to 150 hours were devoted to building new homes and rehabilitating homes for families in need. Working with "I Love a Clean San Diego" the Sailors and Marines, removed several hundred pounds of trash and debris from Coronado Island's Central Beach. CNATTU's Chief Petty Officers' Mess also got involved cleaning up the grounds at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, renovating the Veterans Memorial Museum and serving meals to homeless people at St Vincent de Paul Village.

SDMAC is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation, whose mission is to support and promote the common business and other interests of the military in the San Diego community as well as act as an advocate on behalf of the military and their families.

Naval Hospital Bremerton's First Baby of 2013 Enjoys Strong Community Support

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- The New Year celebration at Naval Hospital Bremerton's Northwest Beginnings Family Birth Center officially began more than 17 hours into 2013 with the arrival of the first baby.

Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Doug Lason and his wife Jordyn celebrated the birth of their son, Corey Matthew, who was born Jan. 1, 2013 at 5:39 p.m. PST, and weighed 6 pounds, 1 ounce.

Lason is assigned to fleet ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) Blue. Both parents are natives of West Branch, Mich., and currently reside in Silverdale, Wash.

Corey is the family's second child. Both mother and baby are doing well. "The staff here are great. We were admitted yesterday and didn't think the entire process would take as long as it did," said Doug, a very proud father.

It was Lason's 2-year old daughter, Zoey, who decided on the name Corey for the new addition to the family. "She came up with the name one day and it just fit. We then added his middle name later on. Corey Matthew flows," Doug said.

The staff at Northwest Beginnings Family Birth Center was busy taking deliveries from the stork throughout December, especially on the last day. There were 66 new babies for December, five births recorded Dec. 31, including one who was born 45 minutes before the New Year. Overall, Naval Hospital Bremerton recorded 804 births for 2012, an average of 67 per month.

In honor of the first NHB New Year's Baby of 2013, the NHB Oakleaf organization took the lead to recognize the family by presenting them with a gift basket that included such items as bathing supplies, blankets, books, clothing, diapering items, toys, and sparkling cider for a celebration toast.

According to Laura Stetler, NHB Oakleaf president, they originally proposed the idea of providing support for the first baby born in 2013 to the hospital leadership in November and were granted approval for their enthusiasm.

"Oakleaf member Lisa Danenberg brought the idea to Bremerton from Naval Hospital Jacksonville. This is one of our ways to actively share support for Navy families in our area.," said Stetler, who worked with the command leadership, and Labor and Delivery to coordinate presentation of a basket of donated gifts from Oakleaf to the family.

"We are all very happy to help out in any way that we can," said Danenberg.

Oakleaf is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization comprised of Medical, Dental, Nurse, and Medical Service Corps officers' spouses in the Puget Sound area. NHB Oakleaf builds community through social activities and interest groups and supports the military hospital community through charitable projects.

"NHB Oakleaf members enjoy getting involved in celebrating the Navy community here at NHB and the larger Kitsap community. The New Year's Baby is a fun way to support the Navy family of NBK," Stetler said.

USS Bremerton Arrives in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jared Aldape, USS Emory S. Land Public Affairs

SUBIC BAY, Republic of the Philippines (NNS) -- Sailors and civilian mariners from submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) conducted a coordinated tended mooring to bring Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Bremerton (SSN 698) into Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines Dec. 29.

The visit to Subic Bay marks Bremerton's first routine port visit while on a scheduled Western Pacific deployment.

"My crew has worked hard and I am honored to allow them the opportunity to explore all that the Republic of the Philippines has to offer during this holiday season," said Cmdr. Caleb A. Kerr, Bremerton's commanding officer. "The Sailors of the USS Bremerton look forward to engaging the community and strengthening the historic ties and friendship that our countries share."

For some of Bremerton's crew, the port of call in the Republic of the Philippines is considered a milestone.

"Having served in the Navy for a few years, I've always heard great stories about my fellow submariners travels to the Philippines," said Sonar Technician (Submarine) 3rd Class Rigo Baca, assigned to Bremerton. "Now, I can finally say that I've made it here. I look forward to unwinding with my shipmates and creating lasting memories."

During Bremerton's visit, Sailors from both Bremerton and Land will participate in various local events.

"The Sailors onboard Land and our extended Bremerton family will be involved in a city parade this holiday" said Lt. Aaron Roberton, Land's command chaplain. " We are also involved in a few ongoing projects to help out the city of Olongapo and neighboring communities".

Bremerton, homeported in Pearl Harbor, is on a Western Pacific deployment while Land, homeported in Diego Garcia is undergoing a voyage repair period in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines. Land, is a forward deployed expeditionary submarine tender on an extended deployment conducting coordinated tending moorings and afloat maintenance in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations.