Military News

Friday, January 24, 2014

AFSOUTH Airman and Soldiers aim for the T.K.O.

by Staff Sgt. Heather Redman
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs


1/24/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- The sounds of bodies hitting the mat rang through the Benko Fitness Center as Airmen from 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) and Soldiers from the 1st Battlefield Coordination Detachment (1 BCD) learn the basics of hand -to -hand combat.

Members from the 1 BCD, taught the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) Basic Combatives Course Level 1 from Jan. 13 to 16.

MACP is the approved combative system of the U.S. Army. With roots in a variety of martial arts, the MACP Level 1 course teaches students basic ground grappling. Ground grappling provides students a sound base to learn and achieve more difficult techniques.

Along with teaching the basics of hand-to-hand combat, the course also instills a sense of achievement and confidence in the students.

"This course helps to instill the Warrior Ethos into the students by teaching them to close the distance with the enemy and achieve tactical dominance," said Army Staff Sgt. Parris Bussiere, a Tactical Instructor Level 4. "It is a physically demanding course that teaches people not to be afraid of confrontation."

Several Airmen saw this as an opportunity for self-improvement, while many Soldiers like Spc. Megan Dietz, 1 BCD, volunteered for the course in order to gain certification. Soldiers receive combatives training as part of their Basic Combat Training, which is one of the 40 warrior core tasks of the Warrior Ethos initiative.

Airmen from 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) were also invited to attend the MACP course.

"I signed up because it sounded interesting and fun," said Tech. Sgt. Joshua Holliday, 612th Air and Space Operations Center. "Plus, it has increased my knowledge of a skill set that I can utilize downrange."

Airmen and Soldiers attending the class received instruction on how to perform and escape various mounts, chokes, and guard positions.

"The skills they teach during the Basic Combat Training course is something that everyone should have a chance to experience," said Capt. Brian Dicks, 55th Rescue Squadron. "Not only does it teach team building, but you also learn vital skills that you may need down-range."

The 40-hour course focuses on the three phases of basic fight strategy; close the distance, gain the dominate position, and how to finish the fight.

Throughout the course, the students are constantly put into situations where they must determine the techniques they must use to gain the tactical advantage.

"Remember, no two situations are ever the same. Know the foundations, know the basics, and know when to use what skill set," added Bussiere.

The MACP Basic Combatives Course Level 1 is offered twice a year and plans are in progress to begin offering the MACP Tactical Combatives Course Level 2.

Resilient Airmen hit the slopes

by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Bass
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


1/24/2014 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The 20th Fighter Wing Chapel took a group of junior enlisted Airmen on a resiliency ski trip to Sugar Mountain Ski Resort in Boone, N.C., Jan. 18-20.

Twenty-five Airmen went on the three-day trip and learned about resiliency while also enjoying the wonders of winter weather.

"The purpose of a trip like this is morale," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ellison, 20th Fighter Wing Chapel chaplain's assistant. "We want to make sure that Airmen on base are engaged, they can network and make sure that they have a healthy mindset."

"This trip was a great way for us to get out from behind our units and become a wingman for someone we don't know," said Senior Airman Georgina Walton, 20th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician.

The Airmen spent two days on the slopes, skiing or snowboarding as much as they could during the day. At night, around dinner they would gather and talk about resiliency.

The resiliency discussions, led by Chaplain (Capt.) Randy Croft, 20th Fighter Wing chaplain, and Ellison, focused on knowing how to recover and return to normality after life has knocked you down. Using real life examples, Croft and Ellison talked to the Airmen and introduced the foundations of resiliency.

"Resiliency to me is the importance of how to bounce back from traumatic experiences and to know how to help others bounce back," said Walton.

The first night's resiliency lesson focused on bouncing back after a traumatic experience. The second night's focus was on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his ability to combat violence and hatred with peace and love.

Ellison said that Airmen need trips like these to get familiar with the chapel as an option to help them deal with the issues in their lives.

"The Airmen need to know that the chapel has a lot of different resources for them," said Ellison. "Many people who aren't necessarily spiritually minded think that the chapel is not an option for them, but really we have things that will help people even if you're not affiliated with any kind of religious belief."

Everyone agreed that they would go on this trip again, despite the bumps and bruises that came from falling, every Airman who fell on the slopes bounced back up and hit the slopes again.

MacDill units embrace 'one team, one fight'

by Airman 1st Class Ned T. Johnston
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


1/24/2014 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Air Force has long been a shining example of how active-duty, National Guard and reserve components can come together for Total Force Integration; together being able to achieve a greater overall effectiveness, while still preserving their separate cultures.

The Airmen with the 6th Air Mobility Wing and the 927th Air Refueling Wing are no exception to this reputation.

In 2008, the Air Force Reserve Command's 927th ARW was relocated to MacDill, where it became the premier associate wing to the 6th AMW.

Immediately the servicemen and women from the 6th and the 927th started working together seamlessly. What started as two separate wings very quickly became one larger, more efficient MacDill Air Force Base.

"MacDill's command post is a prime example of an integrated total force unit," said Maj. Michael Albert, 927th ARW command post chief. "We have active duty, reservists, and civilians working side by side under one roof."

MacDill's 33 command post Airmen work shifts around the clock to ensure the base operates smoothly and effectively.

Command post Airmen work right in the middle of all the action. They are essential for keeping the commander in contact with higher levels of command, scheduling flights, and making sure aircraft receive the proper loading and off-loading of cargo.

With so many different components in one unit, working as one team is paramount to mission success.

"The integrated total force works beautifully in the command post," said Tech. Sgt. Sandi Ruela. "For instance, I'm the NCOIC of the 927th command post training. My counterpart, Tech. Sgt. Montellano, is the NCOIC of the 6th command post training. However, we do everything together. I train the reserves and active-duty folks, and he does the same in return. We are one team in here."

With trying times ahead for the Air Force, MacDill's command post has already started taking steps toward a leaner, more efficient MacDill Air Force Base and proves to be a model unit for future Total Force Integration.

Structural integrity name of game for Luke NDI

by Airman 1st Class Pedro Mota
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


1/24/2014 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- A building filled with machinery that emits an eerie fluorescent glow, rooms that smell of burnt carbon and oil, and nearby test tubes filled with strange liquids and chemicals may seem like some type of mad scientist's laboratory, but this is the environment of the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Nondestructive Inspection shop.

NDI consists of using several techniques to check the structural integrity of aircraft components and ground equipment without impairing their future functionality. Using these techniques, they detect cracks and are able to make oil analysis, keeping the aircraft and equipment safe from potentially disastrous events.

"There are several critical components on the aircraft that could cause it to crash during takeoff, flight or as it is landing," said Senior Airman Brian Burkett, 56th EMS NDI journeyman. "There are many different methods we use, including penetrant, magnetic, ultrasound, Eddy current and X-ray inspections. By identifying the cracks and malfunctions, we keep planes in the sky."

The work done by NDI assists other maintainers in identifying potential problems before they become catastrophic.

"If we weren't doing our jobs here, crew chiefs wouldn't know what was damaged or cracked until it was bad enough for them to see visually," Burkett said. "They wouldn't be able to do their jobs."

NDI even has the capability to check oils and fluids from aircraft to make sure there is no abnormal metals in it, an indicator of engine wear, said Doug Reeser, 56th EMS NDI technician. The F-16 oil is checked after every flight for materials inside the oil that could cause the engine to seize up or malfunction.

"Engine oil samples are burned to measure wear metal trends inside the aircraft by placing it on a stand for the joint oil analysis program," Burkett said. "A rising trend can be an indicator of an internal problem."

Whether finding cracks in parts before they grow or flagging excessive engine wear, NDI Airmen are critical to keeping jets ready for the sky so the pilots can fly.

"Our job is to find malfunctions while the part is inert instead of finding out it has malfunctioned in the air," Reeser said. "It feels good to know you are helping make the aircraft structurally secure."

564th Minuteman III silos to be eliminated

1/24/2014 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- In accordance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty requirements, the initial phase to permanently eliminate 50 previously deactivated 564th Missile Squadron Minuteman III launch facilities has begun here.

The initial phase includes hazardous material surveys and the staging of fill material. The actual removal of the first launcher closure door is tentatively scheduled for late March.

The 50 missile launch facilities set to be eliminated were part of the 564th MS that was deactivated in 2008. The deactivation process involved the removal of intercontinental ballistic missiles from the facilities, and since that time, the silos have remained in caretaker status.

The elimination of these facilities moves the U.S. closer to compliance with New START. New START, which went into effect in February 2011, reduces nuclear capacity in the U.S. and Russian arsenals, and as a result, the Air Force must eliminate a total of 103 missile launch facilities and 10 missile alert facilities by February 2018.

The 103 deactivated ICBM launch facilities are comprised of 50 Minuteman III launch facilities at Malmstrom, 50 Peacekeeper launch facilities, which were deactivated at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., in 2005, and three test launchers at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Elimination of the 50 F.E. Warren launch facilities began in August and is scheduled to be fully complete by December 2014.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Air Force Civil Engineering Center selected Bryan Construction Inc. of Colorado Springs, Colo., as the demolition contractor. Current estimates call for eliminating the 50 launch facilities, located in Toole, Pondera, Teton and Chouteau, Mont., counties by early 2015.

The demolition contractor will eliminate the launch facilities by filling them with earth and gravel. Gravel fill is a more effective and environmentally friendly method of elimination that also happens to be faster and is more economical than those used in the past, under the original START. This demolition does not pose any threat to public safety or the environment.

Once the launch facilities are eliminated, the land will be available for purchase. Adjacent landowners will have the first right to purchase the land at fair market value in accordance with United States Code. The land will then be offered to federal, state and local government agencies for their use. The final option for disposing the land is through public auction.

Air Force officials relayed these final land disposition arrangements to the public during environmental assessment public scoping meetings in late 2011 in the towns of Great Falls, Choteau, Shelby and Conrad. At each of these meetings, representatives of the Air Force were available to answer questions regarding the dismantlement effort. Leadership at each location continues to maintain open lines of communication with local landowners, to address any concerns they might have.

For more information or for further questions, please contact the 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs office at 406-731-4050.

Senior Enlisted Advisor visits Malmstrom, ensures trust in mission

by Senior Airman Katrina Heikkinen
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs


1/24/2014 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., Jan. 15 to 18 to meet with enlisted Airmen and their families, and Great Falls community members.

"As the most senior noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, he serves as the principle military advisor to the chairman and the secretary of defense on all matters concerning joint and combined total force integration utilization, health of the force and joint development for the enlisted personnel," said Staff Sgt. Kara Tank, 341st Missile Wing command chief assistant.

Battaglia spoke at an enlisted Airman's Call where he expressed his gratitude for the men and women of Malmstrom and ensured his trust in the nuclear deterrence mission.

"This trip to Malmstrom was extremely educational for me and I needed that, because I needed to learn more about what the nuclear community did and does," Battaglia said. "The reason for my visit here is more than just seeing Airmen and their families. . . I wanted to get out in the community and see the civic leaders out there, just to ensure there was some great activity between the community and the base, and there is."

During Battaglia's first visit to the base, he met Airmen in a variety of Air Force Specialty Codes and settings, including a breakfast with junior enlisted Airmen and nightshift workers at the Transportation Control Center, Command Post, Tactical Response Force, a missile alert facility, Guardmount and the base fire department.

According to Battaglia, properly preparing service members for the possibility of separating and maintaining civic leader engagement are major priorities.

"General Welsh came out with 25,000 Airmen that we're going to have to reshape the Air Force with," Battaglia said. "Don't think it's only you all - all five branches of the service are taking that hit and it is all for the reshaping. That's just the evolution of our military. That's the shelf life that we all have. At some point we're all going to separate or retire in some shape or form. We want to deliver you the best veteran or citizen that we can."

Although all branches of the service are undergoing major reductions in force, Battaglia took much away from his visit to Malmstrom.

"I'm happy to say that I believe in my assessment - the Airmen continue to remain focused on that very task and that is to maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear force," Battaglia said. "I attained a very sincere appreciation for the Airmen. You start to ask them about their job, their roles and responsibilities, what they do here in the unit that they're assigned, and it only takes a matter of time until you can see the excitement in their voice. I believe they fully understand how important their role is here in the defense of our country."

Program revamped to TAP you out

by Staff Sgt. Steve Stanley
Air Combat Command Public Affairs


1/24/2014 - Langley Air Force Base, Va. -- The Air Force is providing separating and retiring Airmen with the revamped Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which is more comprehensive and standardized across the DoD.

The goal of TAP is to reduce veteran unemployment, which is at a rate of 12.5 percent; however, the unemployment rate for veterans under 24 years of age rises drastically to 32 percent.

"Our goal it is to help our members from the highest rank to the lowest," said Anna Bennett, community readiness specialist at Langley AFB, Va. "All members receive identical information."

Pre-separation counseling provides information on transition benefits and assists members and spouses with assessing individual needs, referrals to service providers and offers future career guidance.

Spouses are strongly encouraged to attend pre-separation counseling sessions.

"The Airmen realize that it is valuable information and an opportunity to network and senior leaders get to guide our younger members," said Bennett.

Transition assistance is recommended two years out for retirees and separating Airmen should begin looking into these programs one year out.

"One challenge is making sure that we have time to give service members all of the information they need," said Bennett. "Do this early and take advantage of the resources available. Don't wait until it's too late."

"A common misconception is that you have to have orders to attend the class. But in reality, you just have to have it in your mind," said Bennett.

The Airmen Family Readiness Center's main goal for TAP is to help Service members' transition successfully into civilian life. Individual transition plans are used to assist Service members identify a game plan.

"It can be scary to write a resume or recreate a budget," said Bennett. "You first need to find a job and state how you are qualified for it. We are here to help show them that they have the skills required and that they are invaluable."

Optional training for higher education, entrepreneurial and vocational training is also available along with extensive counseling to help Airmen develop a individual transition plan that will outline education, training and employment objectives.

"We want them to utilize those tools available to be successful," said Bennett. "Airmen should know that we have programs like the employer's panel and we have VA reps to help them with their medical records and education benefits."

For Service members at geographically separated units, retiring or with a short-notice separation, a virtual curriculum has recently been made available.

"The Airmen Family Readiness Centers are relevant," said Bennett. "We truly care."

Hagel, French Counterpart Discuss Mutual Interests, Challenges




By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met today with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to address shared interests and security challenges both nations face and to reinforce the oldest U.S. alliance.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters during a joint news conference with Le Drian, Hagel expressed his appreciation for “the important relationship and the big issues” both countries must navigate.

“We reinforced the deep and enduring security relationship between France and the United States,” he said. “France is America’s oldest ally. Our defense partnership continues to be one of great importance. It’s important both in Europe and around the world.”

Hagel announced that earlier this week, U.S. Strategic Command and the French Ministry of Defense signed a space situational awareness agreement. “This will enhance information-sharing between our two countries in this critical domain,” he said. “This is an important step that we’ve taken with some of our closest allies, and now with France.” It also will help to bring the U.S.-French alliance closer into the 21st century, he added.

In recent years, the defense secretary said, French and U.S. troops have served side by side around the globe, from Africa to Afghanistan.

“One area of focus today was our continuing cooperation and support of our international efforts in Africa, including significant French contributions in Mali and the Central African Republic,” Hagel said. “I commended Minister Le Drian for France’s leadership and taking decisive action in Mali, as well as other locations, to displace extremists that were gaining a foothold there.”

Hagel noted the United States has provided support to operations in Mali since early 2013, including continued airlift support, refueling for French aircraft, and intelligence cooperation.

“I also commended France’s leadership in helping the African Union’s international support mission to provide humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic,” Hagel added. “The United States has been and remains committed to supporting efforts to protect civilians, prevent further atrocities, and provide humanitarian assistance in the Central African Republic.”

About six weeks ago, the secretary said, U.S. aircraft, in coordination with France, began transporting some 850 peacekeeping troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic to help in quelling the violence in that area.

“Last week, we extended the support to peacekeepers from Rwanda,” he added. “Today, the minister and I discussed ways we can continue working together in Africa, and other locations, to address shared interests and challenges going forward, including its support of crisis response and counterterrorism efforts.”

The United States and its European allies, he said, have taken the threat of violent extremism seriously since 9/11. “We are working together to find new ways to combat this threat in Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” he added.

The defense secretary said he and Le Drian also discussed other critical issues, such as objectives for the NATO summit in September, better facilitation of cadet exchanges between service academies and cooperation in areas such as space flight safety and operations.

The French defense minister, speaking through a translator, noted that another reason for his visit was to prepare for an upcoming visit from French President Francois Hollande.

Franco-American cooperation has never been as important, he said, noting that both countries share the same analysis of threats, proliferation risks, terrorism and the same determination to fight extremists and violent groups.

“In our talks, we emphasized the questions linked to Africa,” Le Drian said. “I thank Chuck Hagel for the important support -- the indispensable support -- that the United States gave, both for France, but also gave to the U.N. missions [and] the African missions during these operations both in Mali … and the Central African Republic.”

Both defense leaders agreed on the need to pursue cooperation in dialogue on Africa, Le Drian said, which is a question both of development and security in Europe and the international theater.

The French defense minister said he and Hagel agreed to create a high-level group with a representative of each of country to discuss their analysis and common initiatives in Africa. Also, Le Drian said, he explained the new positioning of French forces in Africa to better identify and target terrorists in areas from Mauritania to the Horn of Africa.

He and Hagel also discussed the future of the NATO summit, the conclusion of the European Council and other topics they will readdress in February during a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Le Drian said.

Hagel Vows to Restore Confidence in Nuclear Mission



By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2014 – A day after ordering an independent review of the military’s nuclear force amid allegations of cheating on proficiency exams by Air Force officers overseeing the nation’s ballistic nuclear missiles, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today vowed to restore confidence in the Air Force’s nuclear mission.

“Whatever the factors -- historical, institutional, cultural -- the Department of Defense and the Air Force will do whatever it takes to continue to ensure the safety, security, reliability and effectiveness of our nuclear enterprise,” Hagel said at a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for Deborah Lee James, the 23rd secretary of the Air Force.

The service has suspended 34 launch officers overseeing intercontinental ballistic missiles after an investigation implicated them for cheating or failing to report cheating on exams. A Pentagon spokesman told reporters yesterday the allegations “raise legitimate concerns about the department's stewardship of one of our most sensitive and important missions,” prompting Hagel to call for an independent, broader examination of the strategic deterrence enterprise as it relates to personnel.

At today’s ceremony, Hagel said he, James and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark. A. Welsh III are deeply concerned “about the overall health and professionalism and discipline of our strategic forces,” and called the problems facing the new Air Force secretary daunting. But he credited James with a “swift, decisive and thoughtful response,” to the matter after she visited missile bases around the country in recent days. Even so, he said, “restoring confidence in the nuclear mission will be a top priority.”

Hagel called James well suited to lead the Air Force as the nation faces an increasingly uncertain security environment.

“The rise of emerging powers, dangerous rogue states, affiliated terrorist organizations, and the proliferation of technology will mean more contested and complicated domains, from space to cyber to sea lanes,” he said.

James, who was officially sworn in as secretary last month, pledged to “leave this Air Force some years from now on a path toward greater capability and better affordability for our taxpayers while always remembering and protecting the important people who underpin everything we do.” But she cautioned the service will continue to face difficult challenges and trade-offs brought on by shrinking budgets.

Hagel noted that James has spent the last 30 years serving on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee, at the Pentagon, where she served three secretaries of defense, as well as in the private sector. Her approach, he said, “has been to understand the problems and opportunities, listen carefully, and then act decisively.” This, he added, will make her a success leading the Air Force.

Blue Angels visit Kentucky Air Guard for Thunder planning session

Click photo for screen-resolution imageBy Maj. Dale Greer
123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (1/24/14) - A U.S. Navy Blue Angels fighter jet streaked across the skies of Louisville on Thursday before landing at Louisville International Airport, giving local residents a taste of things to come at this year's Thunder Over Louisville air show.

The jet, a Navy F/A-18 Hornet, and two Blue Angels team members were in town as part of a "pre-season visit" to the Kentucky Air National Guard Base, where they will discuss preparations for the 25th anniversary of the show, according to Capt. Josh Ketterer, air show coordinator for the Kentucky Air Guard.

Ketterer said Kentucky Air Guard members will again be providing hundreds of hours of support to military aircraft flying in the April 12 event - a crucial factor in securing top acts like the Blue Angels.
"Because of the current budget climate, the Department of Defense has suspended a lot of the participation it historically provides to air shows, so we're fortunate to be one of just 34 sites that will feature the Blue Angels this year," Ketterer said.

Mike Berry, president and chief executive officer of the event's sponsor, the Kentucky Derby Festival, said he was pleased to be working with the Kentucky Air Guard, which has provided support for military aviation since the Derby festival added military aircraft to Thunder in 1992.

"Our air show wouldn't be one of the top events in the country without their support," Berry said. "With the return of the Blue Angels, the 25th Thunder will be one to remember."

Lt. Ryan Chamberlain, a Blue Angels pilot and air show narrator, promises an exciting display during the team's hour-long demonstration.

"We're going to fly the aircraft at minus three to positive seven-and-a-half Gs at airspeeds approaching just under Mach, which is basically about 700 miles per hour, at altitudes down to about 50 feet," he said. "During the formation flights, the pilots will be flying as close as 18 inches apart.

"You're going to see precision maneuvers, you're going to see solo crossing maneuvers at high speed - basically crossing rates at a little over 1,000 miles per hour. And everything's going to happen right there in front of you."

Chamberlain expects this year's show to be "the best (Thunder) yet" because of pent-up demand to see high-performance military aircraft. All but two of the Blue Angels' events were cancelled last year when sequestration hit in March, grounding all U.S. military aircraft from air show participation.
"I think people are excited for 2014," he said. "They've missed the military, and I think they're going to be very excited to come out. I think they're going to see a great demonstration, not just with us, but with all the performers that are going to be here."

The Kentucky Air Guard's Ketterer agreed.

"It shouldn't be lost on anyone that we're going to have (the Blue Angels) one year after sequestration, during our 25th anniversary show," he said. "It's going to be fantastic, and I could not be more excited."
The air show also is expected to feature Canadian CF-18 fighter jets and a German C-160 transport aircraft. Non-military acts slated for the event include an assortment of historic aircraft like the P-51 Mustang and F-86 Sabre, as well as Lima Lima, a six-aircraft civilian aerobatic team, and the Trojan Horsemen T-28 Demo Team.

EOD Iceman saves life while deployed to Papua New Guinea

by By Staff Sgt. Jim Araos
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


1/24/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Imagine sitting in a hotel lobby of a foreign country, when suddenly, a scream for help echoes from a dark parking lot outside. Without hesitation, you leap to your feet and depart the safety of the hotel in search for a person in need.

While recently deployed to Papua New Guinea for a Joint Prisoner of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command mission, Staff Sgt. Joseph Riemer, 354th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician, put his combat life-saver skills to the test when he encountered an injured local.

"At that moment, I didn't even think about if I should help this guy," said Riemer. "It was either I save his life or he bleeds out."

By following the sound of the screams, he came across a man hunched over and drenched in blood.

Although hotel security soon arrived on scene, they were reluctant to assist Riemer with treating the injured victim due to the large AIDS epidemic in Papua New Guinea. Instead, armed with shotguns, they created a perimeter to ensure the incident was not recurring.

Riemer laid the injured man on his back and began an assessment of his injuries. Due to the low lighting, Riemer resorted to using his cell phone as a makeshift flashlight.

"The man had been stabbed three times," Riemer explained, "once through the right tricep and twice in the inner left thigh."

After his assessment, Riemer applied direct pressure to the victim's leg in an attempt to stop the blood loss.

"I pressed my right knee on the pressure point in his groin to stop the bleeding," said Riemer. "At this point, I knew that this guy wasn't in real good shape, and I thought he was going to die."

While the bleeding continued, Riemer took the victim's shirt off and ripped it into two halves. He tied both halves as improvised bandages on both wounds while continuing direct pressure. Riemer then instructed the hotel security to call for police and an ambulance.

"I asked one of the security guards for a tourniquet, but he didn't understand," said Riemer. "So I asked for his belt and applied it to the victim's inner left thigh."

Although the bleeding did not stop instantly, it drastically slowed in its pace. Riemer elevated the victim's leg higher and continued applying pressure on the pressure point.

"After that, I felt a lot more comfortable with what was going on," said Riemer. "I did everything I could with what I had."

Riemer requested towels to wipe off blood that may have been hiding additional wounds. He readjusted the victim's bandages on his arm and retightened them. After 20 minutes had passed, and with no ambulance in sight, Riemer instructed a manager to utilize a hotel van to transport the injured man to the hospital.

"I put him in the van in a position where his leg was elevated," said Riemer.

Before the hotel staff members transported the man, Riemer briefed the staff on the individual's name, injuries and what medical attention he received.

"Afterwards, I was covered in blood," said Riemer. "I walked to my hotel room and took a thorough shower. "

On his way through the hotel lobby, Riemer was thanked by several hotel staff.
The following day, the hotel managers waited for Riemer in the lobby to inform him the good news of the victim's survival. The man was a member of the hotel staff who was arriving to work early for a midnight shift when he was mugged by three assailants.

"He was a hurt individual and it was kind of a human instinct to help him," said Riemer. "The guy ended up living, which was a really awesome feeling."

According to the hotel management report from the doctor, the victim would have died without Riemer's diligent actions to save his life.

"His reaction is a common response for someone of this high-caliber," said Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Sterner, 354th CES EOD flight chief. "He thinks of others before himself. I'm very proud of Staff Sgt. Riemer."

U.S. Will Help With Olympics Security If Needed, Hagel Says



By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2014 – Top Defense Department officials have offered the Russian government U.S. help with security during the Feb. 7-23 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, but have received no requests, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said this afternoon.

Hagel and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held a joint news conference after their meeting at the Pentagon today, and both answered questions about national responses to threatened terrorist attacks during the games.

Participants and spectators expected in the Russian city include a U.S. team of 230 athletes, along with 270 coaches and support staff, as well as about 10,000 American spectators.

“Right now, the Russians have not requested any specific assistance or technology,” Hagel said.

“We want them to know that if they need our help we want to help,” the secretary added, noting that the department will have two ships in the Black Sea during the winter games.

“We have had conversations with the Russian government on the protection of our citizens, of course,” Hagel said, “[and] if we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do that.”

Hagel noted that Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had an in-depth discussion this week in Brussels about Sochi and other matters with Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, his Russian counterpart. The secretary added that he spoke recently with his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Speaking through a translator, Le Drian said that Russia has not asked France for support. “If the question is, ‘Do you have the intention to ensure the protection of your citizens that might have problems in Sochi?’ the answer is yes,” he added.

As is true for other Olympic games, the host country, in this case Russia, has primary responsibility for security.

Later in the afternoon, senior administration officials speaking on background held a media conference call to discuss increasing attention on security, reports of threats to the games, and U.S. government preparations for security support if needed.

The U.S. Olympic Committee says Team USA’s safety and security are their top priority, a senior administration official said, and the committee is working with the State Department, local organizers and law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of U.S. delegation members and other Americans traveling to Sochi.

State Department consular services will be in force there, and U.S. officials are on the ground now to provide information, support and services to Americans visiting Russia, the official added.

Another senior official said the State Department Diplomatic Security Service leads an interagency group called the International Security Event Group. “We have been working long and hard prior to the Olympics to liaise with the Russian government, Russian security services and Russian forces there, the official added.

“In Sochi, we have diplomatic security agents and representatives from other federal agencies, including the FBI,” he said, adding that experts on the ground will man an information hub called the Joint Operation Center.

During the games, diplomatic security agents will accompany American team members to all venues and will be on site at all times to work with Russian government security services and generally oversee security levels, the official said.

Another senior official described the uptick in threat reporting and said they are aware of reports of potential threats during previous Olympic games, media accounts of female suicide bombers and a video posted online claiming responsibility for recent bombings in Volgograd and promising more attacks during the Sochi games.

“We take all such threats seriously,” the official stated.

The U.S. Olympic Committee security coordinator has advised the athletes not to wear team colors or team uniforms outside accredited areas. “It’s just good common sense,” a senior administration official said during today’s conference call.

The United States continues to work with Russian and international security partners to look into such reports and will continue to update its security information for American citizens, another official said.

In terms of contingency planning, the official added, “the United States relies primarily on the host country, but the State and Defense departments are doing prudent planning and making sure assets are available if needed by the U.S. government or requested by the Russian government.”

The full resources of the U.S. government are aligned in support of athletes, delegation members and Americans attending the Olympics, the officials said.

“U.S.-Russian defense cooperation on different specific projects -- among them [countering] improvised explosive devices -- predates the issue of Sochi,” a senior official said, “so there is very good defense cooperation between the U.S. and Russian militaries in specific areas … because of our common broader interests in cooperating on counterterrorism.”

The United States and Russia have a working group under the Bilateral Presidential Commission, and the issue was also discussed in the call between President Barack Obama and President Vladimir Putin this week, the official added.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow leads an effort to engage with the Russian government directly on issues of security in Sochi to make sure that U.S. liaison officers have the right credentials and will have access at the site, according to the officials.

On e senior official said the United States has many sources of information it’s using to assess the situation, an official said, adding that one of the most important venues for such cooperation is with the U.S. Five Eyes partners, which include the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

On the Defense Department’s potential role in Sochi, a senior administration official said that commander of U.S. European Command, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, “wants to make sure he has complete visibility on the assets in his region and to know what he has available, including potential airlift and perhaps even sealift, if he’s called upon for that kind of a mission.”

DOD takes its lead from the State Department on such overseas events, the official said. “All we’re doing at this point is the kind of prudent planning and research into assets available to make sure we [know] what we have and where we have it, just in case we’re called.”