Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hope For The Warriors Partners with the USC School of Social Work to Deliver Social Work Education Nationwide

Nonprofit to work with first research university in the nation with a military-focused social work program

NEW YORK, NY, January 16, 2013  – Hope For The Warriors® is excited to announce its partnership with the top-ranked University of Southern California School of Social Work to train Master of Social Work students who are enrolled in the online MSW@USC program.  This is the first partnership of its kind, matching a top-ranked social work program with a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that specializes in meeting the needs of today’s active duty members and veterans.  Hope For The Warriors® is a national nonprofit organization that assists combat wounded service members, their families, and families of the fallen.
USC is the first prestigious research university to offer a national accredited, web-based MSW degree  through its Virtual Academic Center. As with the on-campus program, the MSW@USC includes hands-on training through internships in students’ communities.

USC was the  first social work program at a research university to offer a military social work specialization that prepares graduate-level students to address the unique mental health needs of veterans and their families.  In addition to coursework, each student must also complete a 550-hour internship working with a military-focused population.  Through the partnership, students will be able to complete their internship with Hope For The Warriors® under the supervision of an experienced master social worker. 

“Hope For The Warriors® has witnessed the needs of our military families grow significantly due to the impact of more than 10 years of combat operations,” Tina Atherall, LMSW, Hope For The Warriors® Executive Vice President, said. “We are excited to work with USC students who have a passion for working with this population and increasing their competency in the specific culture of the military and their families.”
According to the National Association of Social Workers, the United States has an estimated 207 social workers for every 100,000 people nationally. By 2018, the country will need an estimated 100,000 more.
“USC is committed to addressing this mental health professional shortage head on and helping positive change take root across the nation. The first step was making our flagship MSW degree program available to more students who can now actively engage in the learning process— wherever they live—and one day create the change they seek in their own communities,” said USC School of Social Work Vice Dean R. Paul Maiden.

Launched in the fall of 2010, the Virtual Academic Center’s highly advanced web-based platform uses social networks and face-to-face, interactive technology to conduct live classes and connect students across the United States.

About Hope For The Warriors®:
The mission of Hope For The Warriors® ( is to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members, their families, and families of the fallen who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty.  Hope For The Warriors® is dedicated to restoring a sense of self, restoring the family unit, and restoring hope for our service members and our military families.
Hope For The Warriors® has earned a Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator (, an independent organization that evaluates fiscal responsibility and accountability of nonprofits.

About the USC School of Social Work:
The University of Southern California’s School of Social Work ( ranks among the top social work graduate programs in the nation. Its mission to prepare students for leadership roles in public and private organizations that serve individuals, families and communities in need is achieved through value-driven, scholarly and creative social work education, research and professional leadership. Known for the quality of its MSW clinical training in mental health and child welfare, the articulation of “policy practice” and advocacy as professional skills, the school has also gained national repute for its military social work program, the first of its kind at a research university.

Hope For The Warriors® (Federal Tax ID 20-5182295) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity as defined in sections 509(A)(1) and 170(B)(1)(A)(VI) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Combined Federal Campaign, CFC #27800.

Dempsey Attends NATO Chiefs of Defense Meeting

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Jan. 16, 2013 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, is attending the NATO and Partners’ Chiefs of Defense Meeting here today.

The meeting, hosted by Danish Army Gen. Knud Bartels, chairman of NATO’s military committee, is being held at a particularly busy time for the alliance.

NATO and its partners have more than 110,000 service members deployed in five operations and missions in eight countries and at sea in the Mediterranean and off the Horn of Africa. “These personnel, working together across nations, languages and cultures, are central to the work of NATO and its partners,” Bartels said in his remarks to open the meeting. “Through their continued commitment and professionalism, they reflect the very best aspects of the alliance, and as such, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to each and every one of them.”

Afghanistan is by far NATO’s largest and most complex operation, and the chiefs will hear from Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. ISAF is made up of the 28 NATO nations and 22 partners.

Allen will brief the chiefs on the current situation in Afghanistan and on the progress and plans for the transition toward Afghan lead in the country’s security, Bartels said.

The NATO Military Committee also will consider the post-2014 mission in Afghanistan. Seven partner nations who have committed to the post-2014 mission will participate in the discussion.
“Throughout these discussions, our objective will be to ensure that we build upon the momentum and success currently achieved in order to set the conditions for the transition of responsibility for security to credible, capable and sustainable Afghan security forces,” Bartels said.

But NATO is about far more than simply Afghanistan. The alliance chiefs have a busy schedule that also includes examining NATO military structures and capabilities to ensure they’re adequate for collective defense of the alliance’s nations.

The chiefs also will discuss the current economic realities and the limitations that an austere fiscal environment will impose. This contributes to the uncertainty facing NATO’s militaries, Bartels said, and is occurring “at a time when the rapid evolution of world events continues to challenge our ability to predict, prepare for and address emerging strategic security threats.”

“We must, therefore, continue to work collaboratively to deliver military capability more rapidly, more effectively and more economically,” he added.

The general called on NATO allies to adopt a fresh approach to the problems and threats facing them. NATO’s “Smart Defense” doctrine looks for the military and industry to work together, he noted.

Bartels said he has three themes for the meeting. The first is to continue to deliver success in ongoing operations. The second is to build on the strong partnerships NATO has forged on operations and issues of regional security.

“Finally,” he said, “we should establish the roadmap for the recuperation, restoration and reform of NATO military capability delivery to ensure it is effective, affordable and available to support the alliance’s strategic objectives.”

The meeting will include sessions with the alliance’s NATO-Russia Council format and Euro Atlantic Partnership format. Tomorrow, the military committee and partner nations will review the alliance’s Kosovo mission.

24 SOW strengthens force through resiliency programs

by Raquel Sanchez
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

1/16/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- Special Tactics Airmen have held the forefront of combat operations for more than a decade, undertaking the most dangerous missions. These mission-ready operators are the first ones there. They cannot be mass produced and are in great demand.

The U.S. Special Operations Command's Preservation of the Force and Families initiative supports the special operations force's truth that humans are more important than hardware. It provides resources targeted on physical, mental and spiritual aspects of resiliency for Airmen and their families.

Their motto, "First There ... That Others May Live," is a testament to the commitment of a Special Tactics Airman. These battlefield Airmen face multiple deployments and intensive training schedules that impact them and their families.

The 24th Special Operations Wing has led the way to ensure ST Airmen and their families have the resources available to them to deal with the stressors of a demanding operations tempo.

The 24th SOW is the third and newest wing in Air Force Special Operations Command, and the only one comprised of ST Airmen that include officers, combat controllers, pararescuemen, special operations weathermen, tactical air control party operators and specialized combat support Airmen from 58 Air Force specialties.

Their mission is to provide ST forces for rapid global employment to enable airpower success. Special Tactics Airmen are often the first to deploy into crisis situations because of their exceptional capabilities. These include airfield reconnaissance, assessment, and control. They also engage in joint terminal attack control, personnel recovery, and environmental reconnaissance.

"It's a mission that we have to sustain," said Col. Robert Armfield, 24th SOW commander. "We have a generation of people who have 10, 12, 14 rotations of doing this."

"The cumulative effect of this type of lifestyle can cause psychological and physical trauma, and we have to continue to take this highly trained force and employ it on the next 10 rotations," Armfield said. "So how do you do it, how do you invest your resources to take care of your force and their families?"

The 24th SOW is taking care of their force and families through resiliency programs, resources and counseling. Leadership at the wing identified the need for specialized care for their force then assigned caregivers to their units to provide continuity of care and immediate one-on-one treatment to ST Airmen and their families.

The physical requirements of an ST Airman are demanding. No day is the same, and Airmen must be willing to test their physical and mental abilities to get the job done. ST Airmen are trained in parachuting, scuba diving, rappelling, skiing, motorcycling, survival skills and much more.

"The nature of the job is that they take risks," said Lt. Col. Chetan Kharod, the 24th SOW surgeon general. "We study what the most likely types of injury are during training, during deployment and off-duty to come up with prevention measures.

"Physical fitness covers exercise, nutrition, and overall health of the mind and body. Each unit has their own fitness operations with an athletic trainer and strength coach who shapes the building of an ST Airman," Kharod said. "They also have a physical therapist that knows them and who can treat their injuries to ensure an effective recovery."

The 24th SOW hopes to improve their return to duty rates by having caregivers on site who can help identify risks early on and who can provide treatment to get Airmen back to daily life and operational capability.

The wing is also one of the first to embed a psychologist and chaplain into each of their deploying units.

"We are identifying issues very early during the deployment and building rapport with the operators so they feel more comfortable talking about them when they get back," said Lt. Col. James Young, the 24th SOW chief of psychological applications. "This allows us to connect them with resources and provide treatment almost immediately.

"In the past there was sometimes a stigma attached to those who asked for help, and many would continue to struggle and never seek the care they needed. Embedding psychologists into the units has made it easier for Airmen to ask for help," Young said.

"For every deployment rotation that I've done, there have been four to five guys who have sought follow-up care just based off the conversation we had while deployed," Young said.

Chaplains also deploy alongside psychologists to provide counseling to ST Airmen and their families before, during and after a deployment.

"When not on the battlefield with our prizefighters, our main focus is to take care of our families," said Maj. Jason Botts, 24th SOW chaplain.

Family members are just as invested in the mission as the service member, and they are affected by the lifestyle of a career ST Airman. To help care for the needs of their families, the wing has off base resiliency retreats. Each squadron has two per deployment cycle: one mid deployment for spouses and one post deployment for the entire squadron. Retreats provide a setting that encourages interaction, information sharing and access to caregivers.

A psychologist, chaplain, military family life consultant, and doctor are present to educate and consult with members and their families. A psychologist begins the retreat by providing training on stress physiology followed by the chaplain who teaches spiritual resiliency. Both seminars help attendees thoroughly understand the various stressors associated with ST deployments and provide tools for effectively managing the associated stress with the latest psychological techniques and spiritual formation practices.

These resiliency based retreats have proven to have an impact on our Airmen and their families, Botts said.

"We continually receive feedback from spouses that say, 'We've never had anything like this before; now I understand my husband and can more effectively reintegrate my life with his upon returning home.'"

The military family life consultant teaches the latest relational resiliency strategies for adults and recently began a program to help children cope with the continual ST deployment cycle.

"There's not a universal formula for resiliency," Botts said. "However, I do know one truth about keeping people poised under pressure which we try to take advantage of via the retreat paradigm," Botts said.

"The likelihood of bouncing back is much greater when we look out for each other, helping one another bear the stress that comes with ST deployments whether on the objective or at the diaper changing table," Botts said. "So, along with getting high quality training, our retreats provide strategic down time for attendees to build stronger friendships with each other."

The 24th SOW plans to continue to strengthen their force through the POTFF initiative adding personnel and facilities to take care of the Airmen and their families. AFSOC will build its first Resiliency Operations center at Hurlburt Field with a groundbreaking expected in fiscal 2014. The center will provide streamlined deployment processing, integrated physical and mental health care. It will also provide top-tier training for ST Airmen, aviators and medical specialists.

"We hope the results of what we're doing for the 24th SOW will help influence the future of how the Air Force and how special operators across the services train and take care of their people," Armfield said.

The POTFF initiative has been a key component to help enhance mission readiness of the 24th SOW.

"When people join Special Tactics their lives are on the line every day. Since 9/11 we've lost 17 members and have had more than 100 critically injured," Armfield said. "What we're asking them to do is pretty incredible. We owe them the most we can do; to take care of them, to make them ready to be successful in combat, and to take care of the families that we're asking to give so much to us."

NCOs Crucial to Suicide Prevention, Battaglia Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss., Jan. 16, 2013 – The senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today that he can’t succeed at his job without the help of enlisted service members, and he called on noncommissioned officers to know their troops well enough to head off problems.

Air Force and Marine Corps first sergeants assigned to Keesler Air Force Base met with Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia and talked about several challenges faced by the enlisted force.
“You have a hard job,” he told the noncommissioned officers. “I wish I could give you a pay raise.”
Over breakfast, Battaglia answered questions about suicide prevention efforts and whether the position of senior enlisted advisor to the chairman would become an enduring one.

The fact that the military suicide rate is lower than that of the population at large shouldn’t be considered a compliment or accolade, Battaglia said. “We don’t use society as a bar,” he noted, adding that instead, the military should stand as a model for society.

The military suicide prevention effort will succeed only if suicide is taken out of the decision-making process for service members, Battaglia said. “This is easier said than done,” he acknowledged, but he told the first sergeants they are up to the challenge.

“You really have to know your folks,” he said. “I just can’t overemphasize this.”

Battaglia said he recently came to the realization that “maybe we’re studying the wrong thing” in the suicide prevention effort. Instead of studying what the military is doing wrong, he said, he is now focusing on what it’s doing right.

For example, he told the NCOs, the suicide rate in U.S. Forces Korea is nearly zero. Discussions with the senior enlisted leaders there have shown him that command climate and operational focus are essential tools in battling suicide.

As to whether the job of senior enlisted advisor to the chairman continues to exist after he leaves it, Battaglia told the service members it depends on how he performs. The position is resonating well throughout the force, he said, adding that he hopes it continues.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s first official act as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was to swear in his enlisted advisor, the sergeant major said. “That was huge,” he added, because it indicated the value the chairman places on enlisted service members.

“I don’t know why he selected me,” Battaglia joked. “I don’t plan on asking. Some things are better left unsaid.”

Beverly Midnight 13-1: Flybys and bug-outs

8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

1/16/2013 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The first operational readiness exercise of 2013, Beverly Midnight 13-1, continued at the Wolf Pack Jan. 16.

Wolf Pack Airmen continued to prove their ability to execute the mission in a wartime environment.

The base's day-to-day operations are carried out along with the base exercises to provide realistic training environments mimicking wartime operations. These exercises include self-aid and buddy care, evacuations, par-sweeps, mass casualty response, aircraft generation and mission-oriented protective posture training.

DOD Health Official Updates Status of PTSD, TBI Care

By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2013 – A top Defense Department health official told a Pentagon task force yesterday that determining the impact of mental health programs across the military will be a key project this year for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

DCoE’s director, Navy Capt. Paul S. Hammer, listed accomplishments over the past year as well as areas where improvement is needed, including “streamlining functions that effectively accomplish the stated DCoE mission and vision.”

“Our job is to make the system better so that our service members, their families and veterans get better care,” he told the Recovering Warrior Task Force, whose mission is to provide DOD with advice on managing care for post-traumatic stress disorder and TBI.

DOD and the Veterans Affairs Department are “collaborating to shape policies and programs with a long term impact on returning warriors, during military service and after transition to civilian life,” he added. He called for increased screening and referral of service members believed to be experiencing PTSD, and for improved access to quality care for those being treated.

In addition, he called on DOD as well as the services to adopt strategies to better recognize PTSD among returning warriors and to step up efforts to ensure those who need treatment stick with it.

Hammer told the task force members his organization benefits efforts throughout the Defense Department to help those suffering from PTSD and TBI. “We believe that by serving as the principal integrator and authority on psychological health and traumatic brain injury knowledge and standards for DOD," he said, "we are uniquely positioned to accelerate improvement and care.”

Hammer noted that a transition is under way as support responsibility for DCoE shifts from DOD’s TRICARE Management Activity to the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command under a Defense Department directive.

“What we need is leadership to really clarify expectations on what they want for us in terms of our roles and functions,” he said. “I think the challenge or difficulty is ensuring that we are clear on what our role is and what the relationship is with the services.”

The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury was established in 2007 to develop excellence in prevention, outreach and care for service members with psychological health conditions including TBI. It oversees three centers: the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, the Deployment Health Clinical Center and the National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

Sea Cadets Tour Submarine at Point Loma

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Melissa K. Russell, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Participants from the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps toured the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) aboard Naval Base Point Loma Jan. 12 to see what life is like aboard a U.S. Navy submarine.

Submariner tour guides taught the students how the submarine moves through the water and how it stays balanced, heated, and defensive, along with how the crew lives.

"I enjoy telling people what we do," said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Jared Sainz, one of Jefferson City's appointed tour guides. "Most people don't understand what happens in a submarine or how a submarine works on a basic level."

Twenty-three children, ranging in age from 11 to 17, toured the vessel along with their chaperones in an effort to better understand what a career as a submariner would be like.

"It's a good eye-opener for these guys to pinpoint what they want to do when they graduate from high school," said Ginny Fessler, a chaperone and parent volunteer. "Some of them said, 'Yeah, I could do this,' and others were like, 'No, I think I'm too tall!'"

The tour allowed the visitors to see virtually all of the unclassified spaces on the nuclear-powered submarine including the control center, sleeping quarters, galley, torpedo space and wardroom.

Hannah Lockmann, a 14-year-old student at Hill Creek Elementary School, said she enjoyed the firsthand experience.

"Today was a lot of fun and I learned a lot." Lockmann said. She added that her career ambition is to become a Navy Corpsman, but not on a sub. "It's just too small!" she said.

Sainz said there was real value for the touring children in familiarizing themselves with actual Navy equipment and culture.

"I wish these opportunities existed when I was younger," Sainz said. "They get to see what's going on in the Navy and they'll understand a little bit better what they're getting into if they do decide to join."

Since 1958, the Naval Sea Cadet Corps has been committed to providing American youth with a drug and alcohol-free environment to foster their leadership abilities, broaden their horizons through hands-on training, and guide them to becoming mature young adults.

For more information on the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps visit

CNIC Releases New Online Navy Spouse Orientation Course

From Commander, Navy Installations Command Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Commander Navy Installations Command's (CNIC), Work and Family Life Department released an online training course for new Navy spouses called New Spouse Orientation (NSO), officials announced Jan. 16.

The course is designed to support new Navy spouses that may be geographically isolated or unable to attend this Fleet and Family Support Center workshop in person. The NSO course is available on demand 24/7.

The online training provides information on benefits, support services, military culture and resources to help Navy spouses adapt to the military lifestyle.

According to Dede O'Rourke, CNIC Relocation Assistance Program Analyst, "the NSO course should be at the top of any new Navy spouse's to do list."

For direct access to the course, visit or

This online training does not replace the Fleet and Family Support Center new spouse workshop; it provides access to those who cannot attend in person.

For more information on New Spouse Orientation please contact the Fleet and Family Support Center. To find your nearest center, visit

USS Boxer Holds Change of Command At Sea

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Veronica Mammina, USS Boxer Public Affairs
USS BOXER, At Sea (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) held a change of command ceremony in the hangar bay while underway Jan. 11.

Capt. John E. Gumbleton relieved Capt. Kevin P. Flanagan as commanding officer.

Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, Rear Adm. Gerard P. Hueber, flew via helicopter to preside over the ceremony and award Flanagan with a Legion of Merit for his exceptional service as commanding officer.

Hueber thanked Flanagan for his work and added that the Boxer crew gets every job done.

"Boxer gets it done, plain and simple," said Hueber. "There are not many ships on the waterfront who need less help or any help at all than Boxer."

Flanagan expressed his feelings toward the change of command.

"The change of command is designed for the crew," said Flanagan. "I can't be any happier to do it underway."

Under Flanagan's leadership, Boxer successfully completed a Western Pacific Deployment and a nine-month Planned Maintenance Availability. Also, the ship was awarded the Retention Excellence Award for outstanding retention during fiscal year 2011 and the 2011 Battle Effectiveness Award (Battle "E"). His next assignment is at Naval Beach Group 1 in San Diego.

Flanagan expressed his thoughts on his duty aboard the ship.

"I would like to give you all a hearty well done for the last three years because this isn't about my accomplishments, this is about three years of your accomplishments," said Flanagan. "From the bottom of my heart, I'm not going to say thanks, I'm going to give you all a no kidding 'Bravo Zulu.' Well done, shipmates."

Gumbleton complimented Flanagan's ability to command the ship and her crew and said he looked forward to the future.

"Together I know we will meet every challenge, carry out any mission and defeat any enemy," said Gumbleton.

Hueber added his remarks about the ship's new commanding officer.

"I have the greatest respect for Captain Gumbleton professionally and personally," said Hueber. "I think you're all going to get an absolutely tremendous commanding officer." Gumbleton added he is looking forward to getting the ship ready for deployment later on this year.

USS Germantown departs for Spring Deployment

SASEBO, Japan (NNS) -- The forward deployed Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), part of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), departed Tuesday, Jan. 15, for its spring deployment in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

Germantown will take part in an amphibious integration training (AIT) and certification exercise (CERTEX), participate in the annual multinational combined joint training exercise Cobra Gold, and conduct various other exercises.

"Training is extremely important for us, not just as a Navy but in our case specifically as an ARG. These types of training exercises allow us to come together, at times with our allies, with the Marine Corps to practice, improve, and evaluate our capabilities," said Lt. Brad Tonder, operations officer aboard Germantown.

AIT and CERTEX are training exercises focusing on the ARG's and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's (31st MEU) amphibious assault capabilities, humanitarian assistance capabilities, disaster relief operations, and non-combatant evacuation missions.

Cobra Gold is an annual U.S and Kingdom of Thailand sponsored joint, multinational exercise intended to demonstrate the ability to rapidly deploy a joint task force to conduct combined operations at sea and ashore.

"Joint, multinational operations are a reality of our time. We have strong ties with our allies, but in order to be effective while working together, we must be able to practice in order to understand each other. Cobra Gold allows us such an opportunity," said Ensign Jessica H. Choi, Germantown's electrical officer.

Germantown is the second of three ships from the ARG to get underway. USS Tortuga (LSD 46) departed Jan. 14 and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) will depart at a later date to meet up with Germantown and Tortuga.

Bonhomme Richard ARG reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.

Harry S. Truman Strike Group Begins COMPTUEX

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Taylor DiMartino, Harry S. Truman Strike Group Public Affairs
USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Strike Group (HSTSG) began its composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) after departing Naval Station Norfolk Jan. 14.

COMPTUEX is a series of training scenarios designed to certify HSTSG as a deployment-ready fighting force capable of completing operations in overseas theaters.

The exercise will be evaluated and graded by Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTA) through warfare scenarios that will include simulated surface, air, undersea, strike and electronic attacks.

In addition, events such as maritime interception operations (such as visit, board, search and seizure [VBSS]), live-fire evolutions, and strike group formations will also be assessed by CSFTA.

"We can always run simulations, but nothing takes the place of real live scenarios with communication between various units and aircraft in real, tactical situations," said Cmdr. Jason Darish, Truman's combat direction center (CDC) officer. "Proficiencies have been built at a very high rate in the months leading up to COMPTUEX and I think our Sailors are ready for this exercise."

Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Michael Masley, CDC's leading chief petty officer said his Sailors are ready for the evaluation after months of training and preparation.

"This is the last time that we can prove we are proficient at our jobs and ready to go on deployment," said Masley. "This scenario will be a final test of the crew's deployment readiness and is intended to make sure everyone has the ability to fight and defend the ship in real-world scenarios."

Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Erin Maisch, assigned to Truman's intelligence department, said COMPTUEX will verify her department's ability to accurately collect, analyze and disseminate information under stressful conditions.

"We need to be prepared for anything," said Maisch. "Throughout COMPTUEX, we need to show that we can do our jobs with 100 percent accuracy, within rules and regulations and within a certain time frame."
Darish said he has confidence that every member of HSTSG will perform admirably during the upcoming scenarios.

"I have nothing but the highest expectations," said Darish. "I think we're eager to prove ourselves, eager to learn and to train. Everyone is ready and willing to get the job done. We will have the skills right out the door when it comes time to deploy."

Units operating with HSTSG include: Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron (1CDS), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Gravely (DDG 107), the German ship FGS Hamburg (F220), and the Canadian ships HMCS Ville De Quebec (FFH 332) and HMCS Preserver (AOR 510); USS Monterey (CG 61), USS Gettysburg (CG 64), and USS Kauffman (FFG 59).

Recruiting Duty: Shaping the Future Force

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrea Perez, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Shore special programs detailers are currently looking for Sailors in pay grades E-5 and above to serve as recruiters, said a Navy official Jan. 16.

"The Navy is a rotational force and recruiting is essential to maintaining an experienced 21st Century fleet," said Capt. John Alexander, assistant commander, Navy Personnel Command (NPC) for Career Management.

The mission of recruiting is to recruit men and women for enlisted, officer candidate and officer status in the active duty and Reserve components of the Navy. Interested Sailors should start by talking with their chain of command and command career counselor.

"Recruiters are important to the Navy because we're always looking for the most highly qualified men and women to fill our ranks," said Chief Navy Counselor Russell Custer, lead recruiting detailer for production recruiters, NPC.

According to Custer, there are different types of recruiters. "Some Sailors recruit officers, some recruit enlisted personnel and the Navy even has a Career Recruiting Force (CRF). Once selected for CRF, Sailors will spend the remainder of their career recruiting," said Custer.

Enlisted Sailors in most rates, if eligible, can request to serve as a production recruiter. Production recruiters earn the 9585 Navy Enlisted Classification Code and are considered the classic recruiter for enlisted personnel.

"Recruiting duty is very demanding. It teaches you time management and prioritization unlike any other job in the Navy," said Custer. "It's very similar to a fast-paced sales environment and Sailors are expected to accomplish various goals and expectations on a daily basis."

According to Custer, applicants must have no performance mark averages below 3.0, no alcohol related incidences, no NJPs (non-judicial punishments) within the last 36 months and have a valid driver's license. Sailors must also be within height, weight, or body fat standards and have passed their last three years of regularly scheduled physical fitness assessments and body composition assessments. Lastly, Sailors must have a recommendation from their command master chief and their commanding officer.

A complete listing of eligibility requirements can be found in MILPERSMAN 1306-964. Sailors who meet the requirements and would like to apply for the recruiting duty program should contact their rating detailer when entering their permanent change of station orders negotiation window, nine months prior to their projected rotation date.

"There are recruiting opportunities for Sailors across all 26 Navy Recruiting Districts throughout the United States," said Custer.

Sailors accepted to the recruiting duty program as production recruiters attend the Navy Recruiting Orientation Unit in Pensacola, Fla. for five weeks of training. Students are taught sales skills which will enable them to promote the Navy. Sailors will also learn, develop, and practice competence in the areas of marketing, public speaking and social networking.

According to Custer, recruiters are currently eligible for Special Duty Assignment Pay of $450.00 per month, use of a government vehicle, cell phone and laptop, and Supplemental Clothing Monetary Allowance.

Tour lengths are a minimum of 36 months and begin when a Sailor arrives to their assigned Navy Recruiting District (NRD). A Sailor's NRD will then further assign them to a Navy Recruiting Station (NRS). Therefore, a Sailor's ultimate duty assignment is based on the needs of the NRD. Sailors may not always be stationed in the exact geographic location they request, but most Sailors are assigned to the location they request or as close to the location they request as possible, said Custer.

"I think that every Sailor should apply to be a recruiter at some point in their career," said Custer. "Recruiting gives a Sailor the opportunity to give back to the community. It allows them to promote Navy awareness within their community, talk about what the Navy has done for them and give others the opportunity to achieve their ambitions, goals and dreams by serving in the Navy."

Shore Special Program detailers assign Sailors to more than 20 shore special programs Navy-wide. These programs are not necessarily geared for a specific rating, but manning them with qualified Sailors is still important.

Examples include recruit division commander duty and brig staff duty, service on the USS Constitution or the USS Arizona Memorial, and assignment to the Blue Angels or the Navy Ceremonial Guard. MILPERSMAN 1306-900 contains a complete list of special programs available.

Panetta, in Italy, Addresses Global, Local Issues

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

ROME, Jan. 16, 2013 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Italian government officials discussed a range of issues here today, from conflict in Africa to security transition in Afghanistan to Sicilian concerns about a proposed U.S. communications facility there.

The secretary met with government officials including President Giorgio Napolitano, Prime Minister Mario Monti, Foreign Affairs minister Giulio Terzi di Sant' Agata and Defense Minister Giampaolo Di Paola.
Panetta and Di Paolo, the secretary said during a joint conference, “had a very productive session covering a host of bilateral issues -- Afghanistan, our shared concerns about the situation in Mali, and how to strengthen our defense trade and cooperation for the future.”

The secretary noted as the son of Italian immigrants to America, he has always felt a strong connection to Italy. “But as secretary of defense, I have gained a profound new respect for Italy’s significant contributions to regional and global security,” he added.

Italy is a key member of the NATO alliance and the lead nation for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan’s Regional Command West, Panetta said.

“In our session, Minister di Paola and I updated each other on the significant progress our forces are making in building an Afghanistan that can govern and secure itself,” he said. “That progress will enable us to reach a key milestone this spring, when Afghan forces shift into the lead for security throughout the country.”
The United States is very grateful to Italy for its “steadfast support” in the ISAF effort, he said.

“We will never forget the more than 50 Italians who have died carrying out the mission in Afghanistan,” Panetta told the audience.

America is also grateful for Italy’s “extraordinary hospitality” in hosting more than 30,000 U.S. service members, civilians and family members on U.S bases in Italy.

Panetta said Aviano Air Base, in northeast Italy; Caserme Ederle, near Vicenza; Naval Air Station Sigonella, in Sicily; and Camp Darby, in the province of Pisa, “enhance the collective security of the alliance.”
The U.S. presence in Italy, he said, is “critical to our military’s ability to respond to crisis, and to meet challenges in the region and beyond.”

The secretary noted he will travel to Vicenza tomorrow, “to personally thank U.S. military personnel who are stationed there.”

Together with their Italian military counterparts, he said, young American service members are helping to write a new chapter in the long history of friendship between the two nations.

“I know they are inspired by the same goal my Italian father always told me: we must work hard and protect those we love to build a better life for our children,” Panetta said.

During a discussion today with Italian reporters and press traveling with him, the secretary responded to questions on the F-35 joint strike fighter, and on the previously mentioned communications complex in Sicily.
Panetta said the U.S. is fully committed to the fifth-generation F-35, which he called “the future in fighter aircraft.”

Italy has partnered with the United States on the fighter since 1998, when the program was in its concept and development phase. Other international partners include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, Israel and Singapore.

“We have made very good progress in the development of that plane,” the secretary said.
“We believe it’s a very good investment … and we appreciate Italy’s commitment and willingness to participate,” he said. “We believe the F-35 is the plane of the future.”

The planned communications facility in Sicily, Panetta said, is intended to provide U.S. forces with advanced defense communications capabilities. He noted Sicilian residents have expressed concerns about possible health hazards the installation may present.

“I understand the concerns of the people there,” he said.

The secretary said he and Di Paola are working to address those concerns, and that studies performed to date indicate no risks to health will result from the installation.

“But I want to make sure that we do everything possible to address the concerns of those residents,” he said. “They, too, have to be convinced that this is something that can be done without impacting their health or well-being.”