Military News

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Gunman Kills 3 Fellow Soldiers at Fort Hood, Takes Own Life



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2014 – A soldier killed three fellow soldiers and wounded 16 more before killing himself at Fort Hood, Texas, officials said tonight.

There is no evidence that the incident is related to terrorism, said Army Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the commander of 3rd Corps and Fort Hood.

“We are not ruling anything out, and the investigation continues,” the general said DURING a late-night news conference. “Our focus now is to focus on the families of the injured, and focus on the families of the killed [to] ensure they have the best care and counseling available.”

The soldier used a recently purchased .45-caliber pistol and first fired on personnel in the 1st Medical Brigade at about 4 p.m. CST before moving on to the 49th Transportation Battalion.

A military policewoman confronted him in a parking lot, where he drew his pistol and killed himself. Milley called the MP’s actions heroic.

The soldier – whose name is withheld until his next of kin are notified – had some behavioral health and mental health issues and was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress, Milley said.

“When we have these kinds of tragedies on our bases, something is not working,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a news conference in Hawaii, where he has been attending a conference of Pacific-nation defense ministers and visiting U.S. forces.

In a written statement issued by the Pentagon, Hagel stressed that nothing is more important to the department than the safety and well-being of service members and their families. “I am grateful to all the first responders who rushed to the scene,” he said. “We will closely monitor the situation at Fort Hood and stay informed by what investigators and law enforcement personnel learn about the shooting.”

President Barack Obama also is following the situation closely. In an appearance in Chicago, the president said DOD, federal and state officials will work together to find out what happened and why.

Obama said the shooting reopens the pain of the shootings at Fort Hood five years ago. “We know these families,” he said. “We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire community.”

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the thoughts and prayers of the greater military community are with those at Fort Hood. “Many questions remain, and our focus is on supporting the victims and their families,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said in a statement released at the Pentagon. “This is a community that has faced and overcome crises with resilience and strength.”

Personnel on the base were ordered to shelter in place, and the order was lifted about 10 p.m. EST.

Alaska patient evacuation on the wings of the U.S. Air Force

by SPC Lindsey Schulte
364th Press Camp Headquarters


4/2/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- U.S. Air Force staff setup a Disaster Aeromedical Staging Facility in Hangar 1 to simulate the treatment and evacuation of patients sent to them from Alaska's hospitals in a disaster situation here, March 31, 2014 as part of the state wide Alaska Shield exercise.

"If there is a disaster and the state requests assistance, we come in and provide this service to any state," said Air Force Col. Tami R. Rougeau, director of operations of the DASF.

Patient treatment includes pain management, administering anti-nausea medication and ensuring dressings are clean, dried and intact. If the medical equipment the patient arrives with is not approved for flight, DASF staff transfer the patient onto the Air Force's medical equipment.

"We have a flight surgen who will approve the patients for flight and make sure that they're stable enough to fly," said Rougeau.

If a patient's condition worsens and it is not safe for them to fly, the DASF will notify the state. The state will decide where and how the patient will go for care. DASF will follow the state's instructions and then record that information in the manifest of accountability.

This accountability is important for patients whether or not they are evacuated. Every patient is assigned an identification number and patient information is recorded for accountability.

This accountability information allows state and family members to track down patients.

This collaboration of the Air Force and the state of Alaska helps improve DASF operations in case of an actual disaster.

"It's good for us to come in and see what your processes are and who your local contacts are," said Rougeau. "So if there was really a disaster, we would know coming in how we're going to set up, and who we're operating with and what your expectations are."

The Air Force's DASF is part of the military's role in Alaska Shield 14. Alaska Shield 14 is a multi-agency, state-wide test of emergency response resources to an earthquake and subsequent tsunami disaster.

U.S. Commander Outlines Posture to Counter North Korean Threats



By Amaani Lyle
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2014 – Readiness is critical to thwarting North Korea’s effort to develop nuclear arms and long-range missiles, the commander of U.S. forces in Korea told the House Armed Services Committee here today.

Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, who commands United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command in addition to U.S. Forces Korea, said his organizations will work closely with the South Korean military to develop its capabilities and stanch an increasing asymmetric threat on the Korean Peninsula.

“We will … combine [communications] systems, an alliance countermissile defense strategy, and a procurement of precision-guided munitions, ballistic missile defense systems and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms,” Scaparrotti said.

The general noted that North Korea has the fourth-largest military in the world, with more than 70 percent of its ground forces deployed near the Korean Demilitarized Zone. “[North Korea’s] long-range artillery can strike targets in the Seoul metropolitan area, where over 23 million South Koreans and almost 50,000 Americans live,” he said.

In addition to violations of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, Kim Jong Un’s regime also is aggressively investing in cyberwarfare capabilities, the general reported.

“North Korea brings risk to the world’s fastest-growing economic region, which is responsible for 25 percent of the world’s [gross domestic product] and home to our largest trading partners,” Scaparrotti said. “Against this real threat, our nation is committed to the security of South Korea and to our national interests.”

The general pledged to transform, sustain and strengthen the alliance, maintain the armistice to deter and defeat aggression, and be ready to fight. Priorities, he added, also include sustaining the force and family readiness and enhancing the United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea teams.

“An essential part of this is a positive command climate that focuses on the covenant between the leader and the led and our mission together,” he said. “At the core of mission success is the close relationship we share with our South Korean partners; we benefit from an important history forged on many battlefields, shared sacrifices and democratic principles.”

Over the past 60 years, the general said, the United States and South Korea have built one of the longest-standing alliances in modern history.

“We will continue to ensure strong and effective deterrence posture so that Pyongyang never misjudges our role, commitment or capability to respond as an alliance,” he added.

Girl Scouts help first responders train during Alaska Shield

SGT Shane Dorschner
364th Press Camp Headquarters


4/2/2014 - CORDOVA, Alaska -- Members of Girl Scout Troop 285 participated in a mock disaster drill at The Red Dragon in conjunction with Alaska Shield 14 here March 29, 2014.

The drill was done in support of civil disaster emergency response training and included members of the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department and soldiers from the 1-297th Reconnaissance and Surveillance Squadron of the Alaska National Guard.

Girl scouts, 11 and 12 years old, staged the building to appear like the roof had caved in to coincide with the citywide mock tsunami drill. They covered the floor with debris and donned makeup to give the appearance of serious injuries.

Within minutes of the initial call, fire trucks and ambulances responded with EMT's, first responders and firemen. Shortly after that, soldiers from the Alaska National Guard A-troop, 1-297th Reconnaissance and Surveillance Squadron arrived to assist.

Both firemen and soldiers entered the litter strewn structure to rescue the Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts had been coached how to act like trauma victims by screaming and moaning to make the scenario more realistic.

"The girls really loved getting all moulaged up," said Joanie Behrends, Cordova emergency management planner. Moulage is the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training emergency response teams and other medical and military personnel.

The soldiers and firemen escorted ambulatory victims out of the building. The non-ambulatory victims were carried out on stretchers. EMT's and first responders then assessed the injuries and applied first aid prior to placing them on an ambulance if the injuries warranted further treatment.

"We've been doing this for years," said Behrends. "Many of the girls that did this in the past grew up to be firefighters."

They do this through a program called "Explorers," which allows high school students in Cordova to work with the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department in a service support role. Duties for the Explorers include changing air packs and providing water to firefighters.

This and other preparedness drills were performed in Cordova in conjunction with other federal, state and local exercises throughout Alaska in support of Alaska Shield 14.

Alaska Shield 14 is an exercise that involves state, federal, military and local agencies, designed to test the response and coordination of the disaster modeled after the 1964 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated much of South Central Alaska including the city of Cordova.

Tapia shares advice, motivation with Columbus Airmen

by Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs


4/1/2014 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Command Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, Air Education and Training Command, visited Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., March 26 and 27 alongside Gen. Robin Rand, AETC commander, on his tour of AETC bases.

During his visit, Tapia met with numerous Airmen from a multitude of career fields and ranks to discuss everything from education and motivation to his personal expectations of today's Airmen.

"Be the very best Airman you can be, you want to be the subject matter expert," said Tapia. "Be the kind of Airman your supervisors can count on. You want to be the Airman in the shop that everyone else can't wait until you make staff sergeant because they want to work for you."

Advancing Airmen is not just the goal at Columbus AFB but for Chief Tapia as well, and education is a huge role in force multiplying.

"Education to me is a black or white object; there is no gray area," said Tapia. "It is either really important to you or it's not. Education is a force multiplier; if you go to school and come back better educated you are going to be a better Airman. I am an absolutely huge supporter of education."

Airmen don't just coast through their career in the Air Force and make chief master sergeant. Tapia was motivated in his career and encouraged Airmen to continue working hard and doing amazing things.

"I have a lot of things that motivate me in my career; some of them are professional and some are personal," said Tapia. "On the personal side, my family is my biggest motivator; on the professional side I am a recipient of many countless hours of people that have invested in me. I am the benefactor of a lot of people that have had faith in me and that motivate me like there's no tomorrow."

Chief Tapia made it clear to the March Airman Leadership School class that investing in their Airmen is a huge part of being a noncommissioned officer.

"You've got to be involved in the lives of the Airmen that you lead," said Tapia. "We need to motivate, lead and inspire the Airmen that we are in charge of supervising. When I was a young Airman I felt like I belonged, was appreciated and involved in something much bigger than myself and that motivates Airmen."

Chief Tapia and General Rand spoke about how impressed they were with Columbus AFB and the great community that supports the base.

"I think I can speak for General Rand as well as myself in saying that we were really impressed with what we have seen at Columbus Air Force Base," said Tapia. "I saw supervisors taking ownership in their Airmen's lives and I am very pleased by that. You have a beautiful base out here and a community that believes in and supports you."

Buckner Fitness Center hosts annual Dirty Shoe Run

by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs


4/2/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Military members and their families participated in the Dirty Shoe Run on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, April 1.

The Dirty Shoe Run is a 5K race during the transition from winter to spring when the ice and snow begin to melt. More than 25 military members and their families participated in this year's run.

"This is my first year in charge of the Dirty Shoe Run," said Riley Kelleher, 673d Force Support Squadron sport specialist. "Our focus is to get military members and their families as a community to participate in a physical activity together," he said. "It's a great opportunity to get together with others and enjoy being active outdoor in Alaska."

Although this event was a "Dirty Shoe Run", participants ran on frozen mud and dirt.

"This is my first Dirty Shoe Run and it was really awesome," said Sgt. 1st Class William Dhondt, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, target noncommissioned officer. "It's still too cold out here to get dirty, but I can say that the ice we were running on was dirty," Dhondt said. "I slipped on the ice about every six seconds, but it was a good time."

The first participant to cross the finish line of the recreational race was Alex Flores, 673d Force Support Squadron lifeguard.

All running events hosted by the fitness centers on JBER are open to all service members, Department of Defense civilians and their families.

"I recommend anyone just come out and give it a try at least once while they are here," Kelleher said.

For more information about future events like the Dirty Shoe Run, contact the JBER Fitness Center, 552-5353, or the Buckner Fitness Center, 384-1308.

Airmen participate in Marine exercise

by Airman 1st Class Zade C. Vadnais
18th Wing Public Affairs


4/2/2014 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Airmen from Kadena's 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels management flight traveled to Marine Corps Camp Hansen to participate in a field exercise with Marines from the 9th Engineer Support Battalion March 24 through 27.

Five Marines from Camp Hansen are currently embedded with the 18th LRS on Kadena, learning to use equipment they do not have access to on their home base. The 9th ESB invited three Airmen, one staff sergeant and two senior airmen, to Camp Hansen to return the favor.

The exercise simulated the Marine Air-Ground Task Force being forward deployed, with the 9th ESB providing the fuel support for their operations. The 42 Marines and three Airmen participating slept in tents and ate meals, ready to eat as necessary, as opposed to having set meal times, in support of the exercise's 24-hour operations.

"Basically we're setting up a fueling yard," said Staff Sgt. J Mack, 18th LRS fuels hydrants and fixed facilities supervisor. "We run a hose reel from the beach to a booster station, then on to the tank farm."

Personnel participating in the exercise were divided among three zones. Water, in place of fuel for the exercise, was collected at Landing Zone Hawk, pumped at a rate of 600 gallons per minute to LZ Mallard, a booster station designed to maintain pressure within the hoses, and finally deposited at LZ Falcon, a 120,000 gallon "tank farm" where the "fuel" was stored in 20,000 to 50,000 gallon bladders for distribution.

In addition to setting up all the equipment necessary for the exercise, participants set up tents to sleep in and constructed berms, square pits surrounded by dirt levees and covered with tarps, which act as secondary containment in the event of a burst bladder.

"It's a little more in-depth compared to what we usually do (during an exercise or deployment)," Mack said. "We usually move into an established area which is a bare base, versus here where we had nothing to begin with -- we came in with our own equipment and started building from the ground up."

The exercise gave Airmen hands-on experience with equipment they will use in the field that cannot be found on Kadena.

"We're providing Kadena Airmen a glimpse of what bare-base Air Expeditionary Force operations look like," said Master Sgt. Jason Bowman, 18th LRS fuel operations section chief. "We're not equipped with this type of function (on Kadena). All of our assets are hardened for permanent operations."

While Airmen benefitted from the opportunity to train with new equipment, they, along with their Marine counterparts, also gained experience working in a joint environment.

"At some point in our careers we will cross paths with each other," Mack said. "If we start building a bond now, when we go overseas it'll be easier to work together and get the mission done."

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Craig Hodges, Pacific Air Forces chief of fuels and vehicle management, happened to be visiting Kadena during the exercise and traveled to Camp Hansen to see the service members in action. Noting recent budget and manpower cuts, he agreed that joint training is becoming increasingly important.

"In a world of diminishing resources, the only way we're going to be able to survive is to operate with each other and cross-utilize equipment and personnel," Hodges said. "From what I've seen, this exercise has done an absolutely outstanding job of that."

It is this type of initiative in training that has made the 18th LRS fuels management flight one of three finalists for the American Petroleum Institute's best fuels operation in the Air Force. The final results for this award are due to be released in May.

It always seems impossible until it's done: 12th AF Airmen Conquer Hard Charge

by Staff Sgt. Adam Grant
12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs


4/2/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz.  -- A team comprised of the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Airmen and their civilian counter parts recently boosted morale by participating in the Hard Charge Televised Obstacle Mission held at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, AZ on Saturday, 29 March.

According to the Hard Charge website, the purpose of the event was to raise both money and awareness for the Children's Miracle Network Hospital which has been assisting local children and their families for the past 30 years.

Climbing, crawling and sprinting were a few of the many ways the members from 12th Air Force  (Air Forces Southern) Airmen trekked though the rigorous 37-obstacle course.

"This course was very difficult and often it pushed me to my limits both physically and mentally where I felt like I wanted to give up, but in the back of my mind I just kept telling myself, "I will not falter and I will not fail," and that, with the thought of not letting my co-workers down pushed me to continue on," said Tech Sgt. Linda Hodgson, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Personnel Programs manager.

Before the event, the team figured out what they were getting themselves in to and decided that proper planning is the key to success. They searched for a training regimen that would ensure they were able to successfully take on the obstacle course.

"We often trained twice a day, three times a week, focusing mainly on cardio and strength training while also doing some cross fit. I think one of the important things to our planning was seeing the different obstacles on the Hard Charge website and figuring out where each of us would have challenges and then focusing on those areas," said John Viray, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Contingency Plans and Operations chief  .

Though training as a team proved to be very helpful, it also let the members evaluate each other's abilities.

"Training as a team is very important because it not only lets my team members know my strengths and what I bring to the team, but it also lets me know what theirs are as well, while also keying me in on areas where I may have to be there to help motivate my team mates," said Senior Master Sgt. Jason Beaudoin, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Contingency Plans and Operations superintendent.

Despite all of the rigorous training, at certain portions of the course, team members wanted to give up, but persevered and all completed the course as a team.

"Once the race was over and done with, it was all worth it to go through such adverse times and stick together as a team to reach our goal, which was an amazing feeling. I think that this will definitely roll over in the work environment where we may face obstacles and need to attack them as one cohesive unit," said Capt. Yvonne Nollmann, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) section commander.

According to the Hard Charge website, they have raised a total of $4.7 billion dollars.

Editor's note: This is part two of a series on athletes in 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern).

MV-22 Osprey to fly in for 2014 Sea-Air-Space Exposition




The U.S. Marine Corps will fly the MV-22 Osprey from Marine Corps Base Quantico to National Harbor, Md., on April 7 for the first day of the Navy League’s 2014 Sea-Air-Space Exposition. The Bell Boeing-built tiltrotor aircraft is slated to land at 11 a.m. and be on static display until 6 p.m.
Held April 7-9 at the Gaylord Convention Center in National Harbor, Sea-Air-Space is the largest maritime expo in North America. #SAS14 has a robust professional development program, featuring key decision-makers from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Maritime Administration participating in panel discussions and roundtable sessions as well as in briefings on the show floor. Additionally, more than 180 exhibitors, including 18 military commands, will display some of the latest technologies, activities, products and services.
Media registration is free and information can be found at www.seaairspace.org or directly here.
Please contact Rebecca Grapsy at rgrapsy@navyleague.org or 703-312-1581 with any questions.

ESGR Announces Air National Guard Nominations for 2014 Secretary of Defense

by Beth Sherman

4/2/2014 - ARLINGTON, Va -- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, received 466 nominations from members of the Air National Guard for the 2014 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. This represents a 25 percent increase in nominations from Air National Guardsmen for the Freedom Award compared to last year. ESGR received 2,864 nominations from Guardsmen and Reservists nationwide. The Freedom Award is the Department of Defense's highest recognition for employers providing exceptional support to employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve. Up to 15 award recipients will be announced this summer and honored at the Pentagon in September at the 19th annual Freedom Award ceremony.

Even with recent troop drawdowns, service members are frequently called to duty to protect our Nation's security and support humanitarian relief missions. Service members rely on the support of civilian employers, who provide reassurance and stability for these Citizen Warriors and their loved ones. The Freedom Award honors those employers who not only safeguard the positions of their military employees while they perform military duty or are deployed, but establish exceptional and generous initiatives that accommodate and care for employees and their families.

"These employers exemplify the true spirit of patriotism," said ESGR National Chair Paul E. Mock. "By supporting their National Guard and Reserve employees, the 2014 Freedom Award nominees demonstrate what it means to serve our Nation's Citizen Warriors."

Last year, recipients met with President Barack Obama, who praised them for the exceptional support provided to their Guard and Reserve employees. Recipients also met with senior Defense Department leaders as part of the award recognition.

Nomination season for the 2014 Freedom Award was held from November through January. This year's nominees represent employers large and small from nearly every industry, including airlines, grocery store chains, national retail brands and IT companies, as well as small businesses, and state and local governments. ESGR received nominations from Guard and Reserve members in all 50 states, Guam-CNMI, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. Semifinalists will be announced later this spring. To see the complete list of nominations, please visit www.FreedomAward.mil.

About ESGR and the Freedom Award:
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. In the years since, 190 employers have been honored with the award. ESGR develops and maintains employer support for Guard and Reserve service. ESGR advocates relevant initiatives, recognizes outstanding support, increases awareness of applicable laws, and resolves conflict between service members and employers. Paramount to ESGR's mission is encouraging employment of Guardsmen and Reservists who bring integrity, global perspective and proven leadership to the civilian workforce.

Navy to Commission Littoral Combat Ship Coronado



From Department of Defense

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy will commission its newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Coronado (LCS 4), April 5, during a ceremony at Naval Air Station, North Island in Coronado, Calif.

Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Susan Ring Keith, a long-time leader in the San Diego community, will serve as ship's sponsor. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Keith gives the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

"The commissioning of USS Coronado is a celebration of the history of the great city of Coronado and its lasting relationship with our Navy and Marine Corps. The sailors aboard LCS 4 will bring this mighty warship to life with their skill and dedication, honoring her namesake and our nation for years to come," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "When she sets sail for distant shores, Coronado, and ships like her, will have a vital role maintaining freedom of the seas, and providing naval presence in the right place, all the time."

Cmdr. Shawn Johnston, a native of North Carolina, is the commanding officer of the ship's Gold Crew and will lead the core crew of 40 officers and enlisted personnel. The 2,790-ton Coronado was built by Austal USA Shipbuilding in Mobile, Ala. The ship is 417 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 100 feet, and a navigational draft of 15 feet. The ship uses two gas turbine and two diesel engines to power four steerable water jets to speeds in excess of 40 knots.

Designated LCS 4, Coronado is the fourth littoral combat ship and the second of the Independence variant. Named for Coronado, Calif., it is the third Navy ship to bear the name. USS Coronado (LCS 4) will be outfitted with reconfigurable mission packages and focus on a variety of mission areas including mine countermeasures, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.

The first USS Coronado (PF 38) was a patrol frigate and served as a convoy escort during World War II. The subsequent Coronado (AGF 11) was designed as an Austin Class Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD) and was reconfigured to be an Auxiliary Command ship (AGF) in 1980 and subsequently served as the commander, Middle East Force flagship, then the commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship in the Mediterranean, and subsequently the commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet flag ship in the Eastern Pacific Ocean prior to decommissioning in 2006.