Sunday, March 30, 2014

Honor Flight

The April 5, 2014, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with Vietnam era veteran, retired law enforcement official and founder of Honor Flight New England Joe Bryon.

Program Date:  April 5, 2014
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Hero Flight

About the Guest
Joe Byron is the founder of Honor Flight New England. Honor Flight New England is a non-profit organization that transports World War II Veterans to the World War II Memorial in Washington DC at no cost to the veteran. Joe is a Vietnam era veteran, retired law enforcement officer and recognized expert in elder crime issues. After retiring he served as the Senior Services Coordinator with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and went on to work as a criminal investigator with the New Hampshire Office of the Attorney General Elder Abuse and Financial Exploitation Unit. He is responsible for the introduction of House Bill 180, which made the neglect of an elderly, disabled or impaired adult in New Hampshire a crime.

Honor Flight New England is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America's veterans for their sacrifices. Through generous donations we transport veterans from the New England States to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at their memorials AT NO COST TO THE VETERAN. Top priority is given to our most senior veterans – World War II survivors, and veterans of other wars that are terminally ill.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.
About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

Working together to prepare for the worst

by SGT Benjamin John
364th Press Camp Headquarters

3/30/2014 - VALDEZ, Alaska -- As part of Alaska Shield 14, volunteers were stranded in frigid water simulating victims of a Tsunami here, March 29, 2014. This was a planned event to test disaster response by the U.S. Coast Guard and Army National Guard.

The collaboration of these two groups during the exercise made the day successful and educational for everyone involved. Alaska Shield 14 is an exercise that involves state, federal, military, and local agencies, designed to test response and coordination efforts during a disaster and is modeled after the 1964 Good Friday earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated much of South Central Alaska including the city of Valdez.

"The drill went very smoothly, very professional, and everything was conducted safely," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Aaron Christoferson, a Boatswain Mate with the U.S. Coast Guard stationed in Valdez, AK.

The U.S. Coast Guard teams, based in Valdez and Kodiak, AK picked up the stranded victims from the frigid waters near Valdez and provided aid to each while in transit to the shore where the National Guard medical teams from Tempe, Ariz. took over. Once on shore the patients were transported to medical facilities - either to standing facilities or an alternate care facility established after the initial earthquake which started the exercise March 27, 2014 to coincide with the anniversary of the 1964 quake.

"I don't think you could find a training event quite like this in the lower 48," said Maj. Kevin Onan, Commander with the Arizona Army National Guard 996 Area Support Medical Company out of Tempe Ariz.

The Arizona Army National Guard came to Valdez to help with the expected overwhelming need for medical treatment of patients during the Alaska Shield 14 exercise and the U.S. Coast Guard are stationed in Valdez to prepare for events that took place 50 years ago and may happen again in the future. The day's exercise was a success because of the joint efforts of everyone involved.

Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Completes 5th Fleet Mission

From Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Ships and embarked squadrons from the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group (HST CSG) completed operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOR) March 28.

The strike group completed a 120-mile transit of the Suez Canal, marking the end to more than seven straight months of operations in the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), maritime security operations and security cooperation efforts with various countries throughout the region.

"The Truman Strike Group has been America's away team these past eight months," said Rear Adm. Kevin Sweeney, HST CSG commander. "Our young Sailors and Marines have operated in a very demanding environment and executed with professionalism, precision and lethality when called upon. I could not be more proud of their dedication and sacrifice."

While in the 5th Fleet AOR, the strike group conducted a full range of maritime operations and theater security cooperation efforts with coalition partners and allies, ranging from OEF support to assisting mariners in distress.

The strike group also conducted five weeks of integrated operations with French Task Force 473, led by the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91). The two navies operated and exercised together conducting flight operations, boarding exercises, air defense exercises, combat search and rescue training, live-gunnery exercises and personnel exchanges.

HST CSG also interacted with the Spanish, Italian, Norwegian navies and the Australian-led counter-piracy task force, Combined Task Force 151 during its deployment to the region.

Sweeney said the strike group's time in the Middle East was very successful.

"Despite the many security challenges throughout the Middle East, the Truman Strike Group demonstrated America's commitment to this region and certainly enhanced the level of trust and confidence our partners have with us," he said.

HST CSG consists of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 and its squadrons: Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 32 "Swordsmen," VFA-37 "Ragin' Bulls," VFA-105 "Gunslingers," Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 "Checkerboards," Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126 "Seahawks," Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 130 "Zappers," Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 7 "Dusty Dogs," and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74 "Swamp Foxes;" the embarked staffs of Carrier Strike Group 10 and 1st Combined Destroyer Squadron; guided-missile cruisers USS San Jacinto (CG 56) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64); and guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) and USS Mason (DDG 87).

U.S. Pacific Fleet Announces Sailors of the Year

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Kolmel, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

HONOLULU (NNS) -- Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, announced Naval Aircrewman Mechanical 1st Class Matthew Meadows as the 2013 Sea Sailor of the Year (SOY) and Builder 1st Class Deanna Dimeo as the 2013 Shore SOY during a ceremony at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki March 28.

Harris commended all 10 finalists for their teamwork, excellence, integrity and leadership.

"Out of the 100,000 or so Pacific Fleet Sailors, the 10 finalists standing on the stage with me have risen to the top and I, for one, am truly thankful to have them on our team," Harris said. "They all faced challenges and they've proven themselves well-equipped to meet those challenges."

"They do not accept second-best at anything they put their minds to. They're winners, always have been, always will be. They exemplify the highest standards of service to our nation, at home and abroad, at sea and ashore, in combat and in peace," Harris said.

Representing Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 4, Meadows will fly to Washington, D.C, and be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer. Meadows recognized all of the people that have supported him throughout his career to get him to this point.

"This has been an outstanding opportunity and a very humbling experience," Meadows said. "When I heard my name called, I couldn't help but think about all those who helped me to get here, the junior Sailors, chiefs, officers and long years of dedication to those people and what they gave back to me. It's an amazing experience."

Dimeo, representing Naval Construction Group 1, will travel to the capital to compete in the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year competition. Dimeo said she felt honored to win.

"It's an incredible feeling to be here and represent my community and my family of Seabees at this level," Dimeo said. "I've been in 11 years, and everyone from an E-1 to a master chief has touched me in some way and contributed to where I am today."

The 10 finalists spent the week in Pearl Harbor learning about the rich naval history and heritage of the area with visits to the USS Arizona Memorial, where they honored those Sailors who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor with a wreath-laying ceremony, the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum. They also spent time networking with each other and speaking to Navy leaders from throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific.

"The events of Sailor of the Year provided each of these outstanding Sailors a better glimpse into our naval history and heritage," said U.S. Pacific Fleet's Master Chief Marco Ramirez. "The week provided them with better understanding of the area and something they can take back and share with Sailors at their commands."

Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Robert Layton agreed.

"SOY week has been a very special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I think the biggest thing I have taken away is meeting Sailors from different communities and learning more about heritage and history and the pride that it gives me," Layton said.

Many of Sailors brought their families with them, which gave them a chance to be recognized for all they do.

"Having the families here is very important, and to have the chance to honor them is what makes this event even more special," Ramirez said. "They are a big part of the SOY's success, and it's nice they are recognized, as well."

"I would say that my family has done everything for me to get to this point," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Nicholas Fessler. "I have a very loving wife; I'm here because of the commitment she has to stand next to me through the long hours and hard work."

The Sea Sailor of the Year finalists were Master-at-Arms 1st Class Nicolas Fessler, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6); Equipment Operator 1st Class James McVicar, Underwater Construction Team 2; Electrician's Mate 1st Class Scott Koenig, USS Jimmy Carter (SSN23); and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Benjamin Pit, SEAL Team 5.

The Shore Sailor of the Year finalists were Machinist's Mate 1st Class James Nelson, Commander, Submarine Squadron 15 Performance Monitoring Team Det. Guam; Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Robert Layton, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jeremiah McArthur, Pre-Commissioning Unit Jackson (LCS 6); and Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class Jessica Villa, Commander, 3rd Fleet.

Former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet established the SOY program in 1972 to recognize an individual Sailor who best represents the group of dedicated professional Sailors at each command and, ultimately, in the Navy.

Within 10 years, the Sailor of the Year program was expanded to include the shore establishment and Navy Reserve Sailors.