Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Face of Defense: Teens Volunteer at Navy Hospital in Florida

By Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James Stenberg
Naval Hospital Pensacola

NAVAL HOSPITAL PENSACOLA, Fla., Aug. 14, 2013 – The American Red Cross and Naval Hospital Pensacola work together each summer to support the Red Cross-sponsored Summer Teen Volunteer Program, which enables teens to volunteer at the hospital.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Hannah Branstetter, a teen volunteer, records information while volunteering at the Computer Axial Tomography Scan suite at Pensacola Naval Hospital in Florida on July 31, 2013. Teen volunteers like Branstetter spend their summer working and learning in various departments at Naval Hospital Pensacola through the Red Cross-sponsored Summer Teen Volunteer Program. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class James Stenberg

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The Red Cross has a long and proud tradition of assisting U.S. military medical facilities. From greeting everyone with a smile as they come in the door to assisting staff and patients in various ways throughout the hospital, the volunteers here make a big difference in helping the hospital complete its mission of providing exceptional health care.

“We have a joint venture with the Red Cross for the teen program and every year we do what is called the Red Cross Teen Summer Volunteer Program,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Edward Brinston, the hospital’s Summer Teen Volunteer Program coordinator. “The goal is to allow [teens] to come to our facility or our outlying clinics and volunteer to get the exposure of how we operate as a medical treatment facility. What I like about it is that the [teens] are able to rotate around to different departments depending on what their interests are.”

The program gives the teens a chance to work at various sections in the hospital. Along with the experiences they get from working in the medical field, their volunteer time counts as community service hours towards certain graduation and scholarship requirements.

“Part of our mission is to support the services of the armed forces,” said LaDonna Spivey, volunteer coordinator for the Northwest Florida Red Cross Chapter. “This teen volunteer program helps them get the best of both worlds. As they support the hospital and get volunteer hours they might need for [graduation] or for scholarships, they also get to explore a potential future career.”

Some of the volunteers used the opportunity to explore a possible career in medicine.

“I’m really interested in going into the medical field, so that was a big draw for me,” said Hannah Branstetter, a teen volunteer. “I have learned a lot and really like the people here in radiology. I learned how to set up X-rays, I.V.s and lots of other things, and it all helps if you want to go on and do things in the medical field.”

“I volunteered to get my community service hours and for [planning] my future,” said Latiya Bailey, another teen volunteer. “I was thinking about wanting to be a pediatrician or dental hygienist and while I was volunteering here I worked in dental and pediatrics.”

While some of the volunteers had little or no previous knowledge of Navy medicine, several of the volunteers had in-depth knowledge prior to arriving to the hospital through their parents who work at the hospital.

“I was happy that she had the opportunity to volunteer this year,” Bailey’s mother, Ananda Lemon, leading petty officer, Directorate Branch Health Clinics, said when asked about her daughter’s volunteer experience at the hospital.

“She was able to complete her community service hours in a relatively short amount of time,” Lemon said of her daughter. “She passed the mark she needed for graduation, but she was interested in pediatrics and dental. I think getting the opportunity to see a little bit of both helped her focus on what she really wants to do in the future.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for teens,” she continued, “they can get an idea of what reality is all about as far as the work force, and it gives them a different mindset on different types of careers they could possibly go into. Anybody that has the opportunity to take advantage of the program should do it.”

15 Guard, Reserve members complete aeromedical evacuation training program

by Senior Airman Melissa Dearstone
440th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

8/14/2013 - POPE FIELD, N.C. -- After seven schools and months of training, 15 students from the reserve component Aeromedical Evacuation Formal Training Unit completed the final 28-day program and graduated Aug. 12.

Special guests at the ceremony included Col. Brian Kraemer, 440th Operations Group commander and guest speaker Staff Sgt. Beau Embrey of the 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Pope Field.

Embrey talked about his medical evacuation experience after being shot while deployed to Afghanistan. "The crews that were helping me to safety and to get home were incredible. They took care of all my needs and by the time I arrived back here, I was able to walk off the plane. Hats off to you guys for what you do, I'm very humbled."

"The students graduating today were such a phenomenal group," said Lt. Col. Maureen Allen, AE FTU commander. "This was a diverse group with all different backgrounds and throughout the whole training kept positive attitudes. I would just like to thank them all for their hard work and dedication."

The AE FTU is the final training students complete in order to be able to fly and care for medical patients without instructors present.

"The program is extremely hard work," said Staff Sgt. Kevin Black, AE FTU nstructor. "The students as well as instructors are working long days and are very dedicated to their mission."

Students learn patient care and everything about the C-130, KC-135 and C-17, which are the three aircraft used in the career field.

"There are 10 days of classroom training and tests," said Black. "Then the students will move on to our simulators which are fabricated from the fuselages of decommissioned aircraft and equipped with special effects to create realistic 'in-flight' situations and emergencies."

Lt. Col. Bryan Koenig,  934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Minneapolis Air Reserve Station, Minn., said that volunteering to be a flight nurse instructor for the AE FTU is gratifying and rewarding. He said that when the students first arrive they need instruction and guidance, but by the end of the training the instructors just sit back and watch how much students have grown and learned throughout the last 28 days.

Senior Airman Charla Colbert, 908th AES, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., said that her biggest accomplishment was stepping up in leadership roles during the simulations and making sure her crew was taken care of as well as making sure what needed to be done was being accomplished.

"I'm glad it's done," said Colbert. "It was a lot of training, hard work, long hours and dedication but it's very rewarding and I'm excited to go back to my home unit."

The AE FTU is a specialized school that provides aeromedical evacuation crew members with basic aircrew qualifications on three different types of aircraft. The school is the only AE FTU in the Air Force for Reserve and Guard Airmen. Instructors are Airmen from different aeromedical evacuation squadrons all over the country who volunteer for assignments to teach students how to successfully do the job.

AMC commander praises Tinker's Air Reserve Component association

by Maj. Jon Quinlan
507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

8/13/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla, -- Reservists and Guardsmen showcased the Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard's first unit association during a joint visit by the commander of Air Mobility Command here Aug. 6.

Gen. Paul Selva met with Airmen, toured facilities and praised the Reserve's 507th Air Refueling Wing and the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 137th ARW for their total force mission successes.

"Your stats are awesome, your mission performance is awesome, and your relationship speaks for itself," said Selva. "Having an association that works speaks volumes. Showing the association multiplies combat power speaks volumes. The fact that you just crushed the [inspector general] inspections speaks volumes."

During the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure and Total Force Integration process, the 507th and the 137th ARWs began their partnership forming the first Reserve/Guard association in the Air Force.

With more than 100 existing Total Force associations, there are currently only two between the Guard and Reserve. One is at Tinker, and the other is the C-130 association at Niagara Airport/Air Reserve Station in New York. The Tinker association brought the two units together to provide KC-135 air refueling, airlift and aeromedical evacuation missions worldwide.

"We are now on our second generation of leadership, that's grown up with associations as the normal way of doing business," Selva said. "It's about multiplying combat capability, and it's making iron (aircraft) more effective when we have to use it. Here the Air Force Reserve/Air National Guard association is actually working the way it's built."

Air Force associations are not new but they can provide cost savings for the Air Force by merging combat capabilities, which is very important in today's budget climate.

The 507th and 137th ARWs successes have largely been possible due to the men and woman at the ground level making the association work, according to Col. Russell Muncy, 507th ARW commander.

"From the beginning we laid the foundation that makes the association work and makes it successful," Muncy said. "A total partnership in all areas and at all levels is key. In every unit there is a story of teamwork and overcoming obstacles."

One such story is from the maintenance teams. The KC-135 mission capability ratings are consistently high. MC rates measures aircraft availability for mission effectiveness and is generally used to measure fleet health and maintenance productivity. From July 2012 to May 2013 the KC-135 MC rate was 86 percent for the wings.

Day to day it is nearly impossible to identify Guard from Reserve maintenance members. The pro-super position is charged with supervising all the maintainers on the flight line. This position in the past was filled by a reservist. Now the position is held by a guardsman.

The story is much the same in the medical units. During last year's operational readiness inspection the 507th Medical Squadron joined up with the 137th Medical Group and the 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron to provide expeditionary medical care during the inspection and exercise. Their partnership had challenges but proved to be rewarding.

"We had a monumental task of bringing our units together even though all our unit type codes looked very different," said Senior Master Sgt. Doug Mason, 137th MDS and wing planner for the deployed expeditionary medical squadron. "The best part of working together was getting to know the people and learn what their skills were and how to best integrate those skills to fill any mission gaps. Bringing together the units really clarified our perspective in providing medical care."

The 137th ARW Commander, Col. Glen Baker said the unit was happy host Gen. Selva and showcase the partnership between the two wings.

"We will continue to instill the general's vision of maintaining a caring and respectful workplace as well as maintain risk management at all levels," said Col. Baker.

The Reserve and Guard association has had many successes since its inception in 2005 to include:

2012-13 Operation Enduring Freedom/ Operation New Dawn joint deployments
2012 Global Thunder Nuclear Readiness Exercise
2012 RIMPAC (International Maritime and Air Defense Exercise)
2012 Nuclear ORI/Conventional ORI, which yielded "excellent" ratings
2010 Logistics Compliance Assessment Program, which resulted in an "outstanding" rating
2010 Joint ANG/AFRC KC-135 Operations Facility

Historic airpower database now online

by Tech. Sgt. Sarah Loicano
Air University Public Affairs

8/9/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- More than eight years in the making, a new database containing information from U.S. military and coalition aerial bombing campaigns over the last century is now publicly available online.

An historical data collection project developed and researched by Lt. Col. Jenns Robertson, the Theater History of Operations Reports database, or THOR, has evolved into a full-scale research tool available online at

The database combines digitized paper mission reports starting with World War I to create a central source of bombing history around the globe. The database can be searched by date, conflict or even aircraft-specific criteria, and organized into spreadsheets, charts or onto maps, forming a live-action sequence of events.

The THOR database is useful not only for current and future military commanders, Robertson said, but also for academic researchers, historians and government agencies involved in unexploded ordnance cleanup efforts.

"The most exciting part is that I can't envision all the ways this can be used," Robertson said. "This is a data trove that allows us to look over the last 70-100 years of bombing data, how we've conducted wars for the last century using airpower, and if we can't pull lessons out of that, then we're not doing our job."

Currently, the public can access data, including 58 different aircraft, bomb information, and even altitude, from World Wars I and II and Vietnam. The records from World War II and Vietnam are the most complete, he said, and include U.S. and Royal air force data, as well as some Australian, New Zealand and South African air force missions.

"We've tried to have all air forces, to make sure that it is an airpower view versus just a [U.S.] Air Force view, so joint, coalition data is our goal," explained Robertson.

Korea, he added, will be included on THOR, but record keeping during that time was done by hand due to changing technology.

"Everything was done free-text, not punch-card text or digitally, so we have to read the reports to pull the context out in order to get the data," he said.

Robertson began the project in 2006 when his military duties required him to create weekly briefings of current bombing activity. Realizing that it was taking longer than necessary to gather information from multiple resources, Robertson wanted to create a centralized source of information for military commanders to use. The need for a single information pool on current missions expanded into Robertson's goal of building an entire airpower collection dating back to World War I. During his off-duty time, Robertson spent the next five years decoding almost four million Vietnam War entries gathered from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

When he was assigned to the Air Force Research Institute here to work exclusively on THOR, Robertson was able to locate strategic bombing information from WWII and battlefield raid reports from WWI, further adding to the database.

"We're still hunting for some of the data, and I don't know if we'll ever find it. You ask and you hunt and oftentimes we get lucky and find a trove like in the halls of the Air Force Historical Research Agency where I ran across the bombing survey books that had been untouched for 70 years," Robertson said.

Although the THOR website is just now publicly available, the database has already proved helpful, most recently by the Vietnamese government, which is using the Vietnam conflict data to assess post-war bomb and mine contamination in the Southeast Asia region.

"We can show that they have actually been able to save lives and prevent casualties since they originally got the data back in 2010, and the data that we've been able to give them has been even better, so hopefully we'll improve their chances of lowering exposure to explosives," Robertson said. "To be told, and to find out from the folks that are doing the demining in the field, that the data that was sent to them made them more effective. It's an incredible feeling to get that feedback that what you're doing is important."

From the time the Minnesota native arrived at the Air Force Research Institute, he and THOR team members John Conway and computer programmer Billy Barth have been working to get the data online for public use. Robertson said part of the goal of putting THOR on a public website is to have the best and brightest academics and historians fill in the gaps in official documents and correct inaccurate data whenever necessary.

"The professors at the various universities who teach and are writing books and doing research, we want to provide them access to this resource so they can give us the feedback of whether or not we've got it right," Robertson said. "I suspect there are errors still uncovered within the system that I cannot discover because I don't have the knowledge base myself, but, if I put it out there for the experts to examine, we can make it a better resource faster than relying on me working by myself or just a small crowd of us within the [Department of Defense]. I look forward to seeing the response and see how we can make the database better for them."

DOD, VA, Other Agencies Team to Study PTSD, TBI

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2013 – In response to President Barack Obama’s executive order, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs highlighted the establishment of two joint research consortia at a combined investment of $107 million to research the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury over a five-year period, according to a DOD news release issued Aug. 10.

“VA is proud to join with its partners in the federal government and the academic community to support the president’s vision and invest in research that could lead to innovative, new treatments for TBI and PTSD," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in the release. "We must do all we can to deliver the high-quality care our service members and veterans have earned and deserve.”

The Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, a collaborative effort between the University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio, San Antonio Military Medical Center, and the Boston VA Medical Center will attempt to develop the most effective diagnostic, prognostic, novel treatment, and rehabilitative strategies to treat acute PTSD and prevent chronic PTSD.

The Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium, a collaborative effort between Virginia Commonwealth University, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the Richmond VA Medical Center will examine the factors which influence the chronic effects of mild TBI and common comorbidities in order to improve diagnostic and treatment options. A key point will be to further the understanding of the relationship between mild TBI and neurodegenerative disease.

Since Sept. 11, 2001 more than 2.5 million U.S. service members have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Military service exposes service members to a variety of stressors, including risk to life, exposure to death, injury, sustained threat of injury, and the day-to-day family stress inherent in all phases of the military life cycle.

To improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health conditions, the president released an executive order directing federal agencies to develop a coordinated National Research Action Plan. The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education came forward with a wide-reaching plan to improve scientific understanding, effective treatment, and reduce occurrences of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, co-occurring conditions, and suicide.

DOD Announces Same-Sex Spouse Benefits

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2013 – Today, the Department of Defense announced its plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees, according to a DOD news release issued today.

After a review of the department’s benefit policies following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.

The DOD remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs.

Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision. Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted. For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.

The DOD recognizes that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur. This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married.
For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the DOD will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor’s guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses.

UCMJ remains strict on drugs

by Airman 1st Class Sam Fogleman
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

8/13/2013 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- With the successes of Initiative 502 in Washington state and Amendment 64 in Colorado last November, the legal framework of drug use has become decisively more lax.

However malleable the legal status of marijuana and other drugs becomes for civilians, the Uniform Code of Military Justice has not shifted at all.

"Airmen are always subject to duty and we agree to live by a set of military rules and standards," said Col. Brian Newberry, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. "One of those standards is remaining drug-free. As such, illegal drug use will not be tolerated and that message must ring loud and clear, far and wide, despite local state laws that may suggest differently."

The UCMJ remains firm, prosecuting drug crimes without exception.

According to Article 112a of the UCMJ, a controlled substance is any substance listed in Schedules I through V of the Controlled Substances Act. This includes substances ranging from heroin to cough suppressants containing codeine. Military members are expressly prohibited from using any intoxicating substance (with the exclusion of the lawful use of alcohol or tobacco) for the purpose of altering mood or function.

"To put that in perspective, let's say Airman #1 has a sore back and Airman #2 has some prescription pain medication," said Capt. Lisa Wotkowicz, Area Defense Counsel. "Airman #2 gives Airman #1 one of his pills and Airman #2 takes the pill. The result: both Airmen face the prospect of court martial and administrative separation."

Members found to have used such substances face a general discharge, or worse. The wrongful use of prohibited substances can lead to criminal prosecution, which may result in severe consequences to the member.

The maximum punishment at a general court martial for wrongful use of a Schedule I, II or III substance is five years confinement, reduction to E-1, total forfeitures and a dishonorable discharge. The maximum punishment at a general court martial for wrongful distribution of a Schedule I, II or III substance is 15 years confinement, reduction to E-1, total forfeitures and a dishonorable discharge. Members who receive these downgraded types of service characterizations may lose some or all of their military benefits, to include their GI Bill.

"Illegal drug use is absolutely incompatible with our core values and military service," Newberry said.

Safety first for Senegalese AF, AMC air advisors

by 621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs

8/14/2013 - DAKAR, Senegal -- Four air advisors assigned to a safety traveling contact team from the 818th Mobility Support Advisory Squadron began a week-long trip to Dakar, Senegal, from July 27 to August 3, 2013.

The air advisors, deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., focused on safety topics including crew resource management, operational risk engagement, guidance for fire and emergency services, airfield safety, response safety, foreign object damage and bird hazards. Thirty-three personnel from the Senegalese Air Force attended the safety discussions.

"Safety is an aspect that can be applied to all career fields," said Lt. Col. John Scott, 818th MSAS operations officer and team leader. "Safe practices are paramount to sustained operations. Sustainment is a fundamental principle of building partnership capacity."

According to Lt. Col. Papa Loum, Senegalese Air Force Chef de Corps, safety is an important aspect of every mission yet it is something that's hard to measure.

"If you have safety, you will not see outcomes," Loum said. "If you do not have safety, you will have something happen that is very costly. That is why safety is such a challenge."

This is the third mission the 818th MSAS has conducted with the Senegalese Air Force. The last visit in May discussed disaster relief contingency planning.

"The success of our recent mission in Senegal is a reflection of the 818th MSAS's unique capability to provide air mobility advisory and training assistance in support of the Air Force goals of building partnerships and partnership capacity," said Lt. Col. Pete Larsen, 818th MSAS commander.

The MSAS is a tailorable, expeditionary organization established to conduct building partnerships and building partner capacity engagements at partner nation locations where air mobility operational support is non-existent or insufficient. The core capabilities that define the MSAS is command and control, air operations, aerial port and aircraft maintenance.

Dempsey Gets Viewpoints from Partners on Syria

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

AMMAN, Jordan, Aug. 14, 2013 – After attending meetings this week with leaders here and in Israel, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff reiterated his belief that bilateral and multilateral efforts, not military intervention, remain the best approach to containing unrest in Syria and preventing it from spreading.

“It goes to the underlying issues, which are the reason we all believe that it will be a long-term project,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said.

Dempsey today spoke with reporters traveling with him about regional issues after he’d met separately with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Lt. Gen. Mashal al-Zaben, Jordan’s defense chief.

Jordanian and Israeli leaders view the Syrian crisis through “two different lenses,” the chairman said. But some of their viewpoint, he added, is common.

On the Israeli side, he said, the movement of weapons is the immediate concern. In Jordan, he added, it’s the movement of refugees.

“For Israel, it’s the possibility that weapons that could affect them could end up in the wrong hands, notably Lebanese Hezbollah or extremist groups,” Dempsey said. “For Israel, there’s a greater degree of concern about Iranian influence. For Jordan, it’s very clearly the refugee issue -- not only the number, but the challenge it puts on their economy and their critical infrastructure, commodities like food and water.”

Israel and Jordan are also concerned about what long-term prospects prolonged fighting in Syria may bring, the chairman said, including “everything from terrorism to chemical weapons.”

Jordan in particular, the chairman said, is concerned about “the possibility this movement in Syria will be hijacked by extremists groups like al Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.”

Israel and Jordan order their concerns differently “depending on where they sit,” Dempsey said. Yet, a consensus is building, he noted, that the United States, Israel and Jordan should take both bilateral and multilateral approaches to containing today’s violence in Syria and preventing conditions there from spawning tomorrow’s crises.

Bilaterally, he said, the United States will continue to work with each of its two closest partners in the region, and “broaden that aperture a bit to talk about what we can do together, not just bilaterally but in a broader coalition of interests.”

Dempsey said the challenge “of identifying a moderate opposition [in Syria], and then enabling it to be effective” was discussed during his meetings in Israel and Jordan.

While “a lot of these opposition members who sign up to be trained lack documentation,” the chairman said, “certainly our partners in the region are far better equipped to determine who’s who and with what motivation than we are. They are and will continue to be an important part of making those identifications.”

Direct military action in Syria was not discussed this week, Dempsey said.

“That actually never came up,” he noted. “What did come up … was what we could do to help [the opposition] build their capability and capacity.”

The types of possible U.S. support that were discussed include border surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance assistance, training Jordanian special operations forces, fusing intelligence gathered from various platforms, and incorporating intelligence and operations, Dempsey said.

“Here in Jordan, they’re particularly interested in what we can do to help them see and secure their very long border with Syria,” the chairman said.

Dempsey noted that al-Zaben has in his office a photograph of the Bagram, Afghanistan, ramp ceremony for a Jordanian soldier who was killed in action. The soldier’s casket was carried by U.S. airmen, Dempsey said, while lining the ramp of the aircraft was an honor guard of U.S. soldiers.

“It reminds him of our great partnership,” the chairman said. “ … Because of that [partnership], I came over here to, literally, ask him, ‘What can we do?’ And he gave me a list of things and I’ll carry those back.”

He said Jordan’s leaders also “voiced frustration with our foreign military sales process.”

The U.S. process for selling arms to allies and partners is “deliberate, but it’s deliberate because we tend to deliver a product that’s sustainable over time and actually produces the capability that we advertise,” Dempsey said. He added that he will work to expedite such sales, “particularly for those countries that are under such pressure here, and who are such close partners.”

Dempsey said refugee relief was high on the agenda in Jordan, and he credited Jordan’s leaders with working both to relieve current suffering and to set better conditions for the future. Dempsey said he found out today that the more than 500,000 refugees in Jordan are mostly children -- 65 percent are 18 or younger. Some 20 percent are women, and only 15 percent or so are men, he said.

“That’s not the image I had, frankly, of the refugee challenge,” he said.

Dempsey noted that his wife, Deanie, accompanied him on this trip and met today with Jordan’s Queen Rania Al Abdullah. He said the queen is working both to aid her own people as conditions here tighten, but also to ensure the best possible conditions for refugees.

Dempsey noted that sectarian strife is one root of the issues in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere.
Jordan’s king, he said, “has done a great deal of work to try to get religious leaders on all sides to change that narrative; and in so doing, to try to resolve at least one of those underlying issues.”
He added if regional concerns could be addressed jointly by a community of interest -- which might include some of the Gulf States, the Jordanians and Iraq -- “then I think we begin to isolate some of the issues that are fuelling this tension inside of Syria.”

Dempsey said his travels this week reinforced his feeling that U.S. partners in the Middle East are best positioned to assess and guide response to the situation in Syria.

“The dichotomy is the degree to which those who live right here, and right now, appreciate the complexity,” he said.

The chairman added that the conflict in Syria is more complex than it may seem to some observers.
“I think what the people who live in the region can very clearly see is that this is not about choosing one side or the other,” Dempsey said, “it’s about choosing potentially one side among several others. … That complexity becomes clearer the closer you get to it.”

Georgia Guardsmen continue a family tradition

by Tech. Sgt. Regina Young
116th Air Control Wing, Public Affairs

8/13/2013 - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Being in the military is a proud tradition for the Gellins family. Two sons and their father serve in the Georgia Air National Guard together and the military lineage in the family dates back to the Revolutionary War.

2nd Lt. Brett Gellins:
What led you to join the Guard?
I wanted to be like my dad, Master Sgt. Kenneth Gellins. The uniform and greasy hands appealed to me. After high school I joined the Air National Guard and worked as a crew chief on the E-8C Joint STARS for about seven years.

Would you recommend being enlisted or officer? After about three years of working full-time, I realized I had achieved my goals in the enlisted ranks. By using an education program called Tuition Assistance, which paid for school while I was on extended Title 32 Active Duty orders, I earned my degree. The decision to become enlisted or officer is a decision based on personal preference and goals. I feel my prior enlisted experience gives me an advantage over those without experience on how to manage people.

Senior Airman Casey Gellins:
Why did you join the Guard?
I was the complete opposite of my brother. I wanted to work on computers and be a techy, not greasy, so I went to college first. When there was more school than money I came home but the job market was bare. My dad and brother kept encouraging me to join the guard and I joined in 2009. I had the opportunity to work in the 116th Communications Squadron managing the personal wireless communication systems as well as a few other programs. Recently, I was hired as a full-time Active Guard Reserve, Title 32 Federal employee.

Master Sgt. Kenneth Gellins:
Give us a summary of your military career.
I wanted to be like my dad who served in the military and I thought about the lineage of Gellins' who served during the Revolutionary War era. I joined the Air Force in 1981 and served on active duty until 1987. After my stint in the Air Force, I came back to Georgia and joined the Air National Guard in 1989. I became a full-time, dual-status, Civil Service technician in 1990 with what is now, the 116th Air Control Wing.

What about the Air National Guard appealed to you? I was thinking about the future. I thought I'd work one weekend a month, two weeks a year and earn a retirement.

When you joined the Air National Guard did you know about or envision becoming a full-time technician? It wasn't until I got knee deep into the guard that I learned about Civil Service technicians. It opened my eyes. It's the best kept secret in the military.

You are truly a Guard family. What is it like to serve together in the Guard? Being a technician in the guard is awesome. I'm proud of my sons. We've got our roots here and our families are very supportive. The whole Gellins family is dedicated to supporting and volunteering in the community. 

What do you like to do as a family outside the Guard? Brett coaches softball for his church and my wife and I volunteer for holiday and community programs throughout the year. There is a program called 'Computers for Learning' for which Casey volunteers. Also, we're big Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets fans so we go to a lot of the games together and as a family we go to church and play softball.

Field of 1,000 Flags

The 10th Annual Celebration of Honor Featuring the Field of 1,000 Flags, the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Wall and Medal Ceremonies Returns to Chinook Winds Casino Resort September 19-22, 2013

LINCOLN CITY, OR - For the past ten years, Chinook Winds Casino Resort has spearheaded the Annual Celebration of Honor, a public event that honors active duty personnel, military veterans, and their families. This year, the event will take place September 19-22, 2013. The American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) Wall and Cost of Freedom Tribute is back for viewing Friday, September 20, through Sunday, September 22.
There are many way for individuals, families, youth groups, businesses, and organizations to become involved with the Celebration of Honor. A fundraiser for a Veteran’s group; a special or discount at your business for Veterans and their families; red, white, and blue decorations at your store; flying red, white, and blue kites; displaying the American flag at your home or place of business; shaking the hand of a Veteran or active-duty personnel and offering a “welcome home” or “thank you”; or planning an event are just a few ways you can become part of this year’s celebration.  Whether it’s a big event or a small fundraiser, every effort contributes to make the 10th Celebration of Honor more meaningful and personal. 
            This weekend-long tribute to our service men and women begins with opening ceremonies at the AVTT Wall in the southeast parking area of Chinook Winds Casino Resort at 6PM.  Kicking off Saturday, September 21, at noon, there is an opening day ceremony with the Ride of Honor led by the Oregon Coast Veteran’s Association (OCVA). Volunteers are needed and welcomed to sign up to help locate names on the wall from 8AM to 8PM each day. Please contact Roger Robertson to sign up at 541-921-8809.
            The Lincoln City Cultural Center hosts “Vintage Military Uniform and Weapon Displays” Thursday September 19 through Sunday September 20, featuring Author Steve Sparks. Steve will speak about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at a time TBD.
The Oregon Veterans Medal Presentation Ceremonies are held on the Field of Flags at 2PM on Friday, September 20, and Saturday, September 21. Many friends and family members of service men and women killed in action will post flags on behalf of their fallen, loved heroes at the opening of the ceremony. The Oregon Veteran’s Medal is a custom-designed medal that signifies our appreciation for the service and sacrifice of Veterans. To qualify for this medal, an application form must be completed in advance of the ceremony with proof of military service attached. Forms are available at Chinook Winds Casino Resort just outside the Bingo Hall Entrance, starting at noon September 17. For more information, go to
On Thursday, September 19 at 11AM, Always Traveling hosts a free showing of “Windtalkers” for Military personnel and their families at the historic Bijou Theatre on Highway 101. Starring Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater. It follows the true-life tale of World War II Corporal as he rallies to return to active duty. His entire squad was killed in action and left him nearly deaf from an enemy’s grenade explosion. Enders' new assignment becomes the protection of Navajo Code Talker Private Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach); earning him the rank of Sergeant. In the film, Sergeant Ox Anderson (Christian Slater) receives a parallel assignment to protect Navajo Code Talker Private Charlie Whitehorse (Roger Willie). The stellar movie event is free for all Military and their family members; only $5 for all others who wish to attend.
 Your casual stroll on the beach could provide a hidden treasure in the form of a red, white, or blue glass float that was carefully placed among the miles of sand, shells, and driftwood by Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau Volunteers. This treasure-discovering promotion is part of the critically-acclaimed “Finders Keepers” community program.
            In addition to the North Lincoln Historical Museum’s permanent WWII exhibit, will showcase the documentary “Wounded in Action: Legacy of Heroes” during this year’s Celebration of Honor. This film honors the heroism, dedication, and sacrifices of the 600,000 military medical men and women who served during WWII. It highlights the contributions that orthopedic surgeons have made to advancements in care for trauma-related injuries. Surgeons recall how they faced the terrible responsibility of saving the lives of so many wounded men. These personal recollections are brief snatches of a past lifetime; moments still indelibly etched in the minds of those who leave their quiet heroism as legacy for us today.
On Sunday, September 22, the Rededication of the Traveling Veterans Memorial takes place in front of the Casino at 2PM. The Siletz Tribe Honor Guard and Tribal Drummers start the dedication. Veterans and Active-Duty Personnel eat FREE during open hours at the Siletz Bay Buffet on Sunday, September 22, 2013.  Veterans and Active Duty personnel must stop by the Winners Circle to register, show proof of military service (DD-214 or other Military ID), and receive this benefit.
Your participation is welcomed:  contact Heather Hatton at 541-996-5766 or  for inclusion in our Schedule of Events or forthcoming press releases.  September is just around the corner!  By working together during this praiseworthy event, we maintain our distinguished reputation and provide a successful city-wide event.  We continue this ten-year-old tradition to honor those who have selflessly guarded our freedom.