Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Dyess, Abilene firefighters train together to keep blaze under control

by Senior Airman Kia Atkins
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

4/9/2014 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Firefighters from the 7th Civil Engineer Squadron and Abilene Airport Fire Department participated in live fire training here April 2 and 3.

The purpose of live fire training is to evaluate and improve firefighting capabilities on various types of aircraft fires.

"In this live fire training, we use actual jet fuel, whereas a lot of other bases use propane, which doesn't present the same challenges," said Floyd Jones, 7th CES deputy fire chief.

The firefighters from the 7th CES were completing their mandatory bi-annual training in conjunction with the Abilene Airport Fire Department's yearly fire certifications required by the Federal Aviation Association.

"Our guys will be fighting live fuel today, and if they mess up...they get burned," Jones said. "It's not just a simulated fire, it's a real fire. The Air Force has seen that Airmen deployed from bases who use propane instead of jet fuel in their firefighting training do not have as good of techniques as the Airmen who do. It's the same as anything: hands-on training just makes you better at your job."

Instead of having to go to Dallas-Fort Worth for their yearly certifications, the Abilene Airport Fire Department is able to perform their training on base with the Dyess Fire Department. Abilene Airport purchases the fuel for these yearly certifications. By not having to make the commute to Dallas; it saves the taxpayers of Abilene roughly $15,000 to $20,000 a year.

"I believe that doing this fire training with the Abilene Airport Fire Department, it makes us stronger as a community," Jones said. "We have a mutual aid agreement with the Abilene Airport and City of Abilene Fire Departments that if an accident happens at the airport or here on base we can all respond to them. The interoperability between us becomes a lot better, because we can communicate better. They know what our guys do; we know what their truck does, so it just makes all three departments better."

Good News Clubs help resiliency, spiritual strength of military families

by Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett
673d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/8/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska  -- Georgene Bandara has always had a passion for God, country and caring for children. She is the coordinator for Good News Clubs at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, an after-school program taking place at some of the elementary schools on base.

The clubs include a Bible lesson, songs, Scripture memorization, overseas mission updates and review games or other activities related to the lesson's theme, Bandara said. The GNCs are designed for children to learn Biblical principles and moral values, and for building character. The program welcomes volunteers and normally includes an administrative coordinator, a Bible teacher and two assistant teachers per team.

The clubs meet on Tuesdays at both Mt. Spurr Elementary and Orion Elementary schools in the multi-purpose room, and at Ursa Minor Elementary School in the cafeteria. There are also meetings after on Thursdays at Ursa Major Elementary School in room 220 and Aurora Elementary School in the multi-purpose room. Parent permissions slips can be found in the school's main office.

Across the five schools, there are an average of 98 children in attendance weekly, according to the JBER Religious Operations Center.

The GNC program is a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship, a worldwide organization in which trained teachers meet with groups of children in schools, homes, community centers, churches, apartment complexes or other locations the children can easily and safely meet with their parent's permission.

Bandara did not grow up in a military family, but said she felt the urge to serve children for God and country.

"I know there are a lot of people like me who love God and love our country, but don't know what to do," she said. "I was frustrated."

She began asking questions to find out what could be done where.

"I just kept asking, 'what is going on with our children?'" she said. "What are we doing? I know what happens to children when you're leaving and moving to another base and daddy's going to be deployed. How do kids wrap their minds around that? That's really a passion of mine."

Her inquiries spread and, in 2006, a call came from Fort Hood, Texas, inviting her to the base.

"As a civilian, this is a whole new thing for me," she said. "I was working in Jackson County, Ore., when in August of 2006 a colonel at Fort Hood who was familiar with the after-school Good News Clubs program invited me to bring the club to the base schools there. That's the first time in my entire life I ever talked to anybody in the military. He said he needed our program there and wanted us by December first."

Bandara didn't know how she was going to make that happen, she said, but it happened anyway.

"That's when God began working," she said. "I resigned from my position and arrived at Fort Hood December first. [The colonel] said that the chaplains would want this program. Well, here I am now; this is my fourth military base. I've been doing this program since I was 23, but my involvement on military bases didn't start until 2006. I've been involved in working with children for almost 50 years."

Today, the Good News Club program is a chapel-sponsored program.

"I was so excited about it, I convinced my wife to lead club for our kids' elementary school," Air Force Chaplain (Maj.) Steven Richardson, JBER senior protestant chaplain and the sponsor for the program.

The purpose of the Protestant program is to provide information on the 'good news' within public schools on military installations to bring resiliency, continuity and spiritual strength to military families, she said.

CEF currently sponsors clubs in more than 2,700 public schools in the U.S. with more than 130,000 children in attendance on a weekly basis, according to their website.

People across the country are partnering with Child Evangelism Fellowship to take advantage of this opportunity to impact the next generation, said Moises Esteves, acting vice president for CEF ministries in the U.S.

There are currently 23 installations active in the ministry.

"It's a non-denominational program; we keep the gospel very simple," she said. "Children need to see what the word of God says for themselves."

Chaplains rely on Bandara and other volunteers to recruit teachers, she said.

"It's taken a while, I have to recruit people," the GNC coordinator said. "A chaplain can't go to a local church and begin to recruit children's workers their programs. That's what I do.

"There are three things that I look for in volunteers," she said. "I look for someone who has roots in the community. They have to be outside the gate, living here. They have to understand and know this ministry because we train our volunteers. They have to have a passion for children and the Gospel. Those three qualities are not always easy to find."

Bandara's work isn't finished; she hopes to spread further in the military community.

"I'm working on getting a ministry with military wives because I understand what it's like to be alone and raise children," she said. "My last of seven were only six and nine when my husband passed away. I get it. I might one day get involved in ministry with the chaplains; they are the same ages as my sons. People my age have already retired. I'm a missionary; I looked up retirement in the Bible and it's not there."

JBER chaplains also want the program to grow.

"[I recommend we] establish 'Good News Clubs' in every military public education school to meet the commander's intent in addressing the spiritual/religious needs of military families," said Army Chaplain (Maj.) Dwight Croy, officer in charge of Soldiers' Chapel.

"It's been the passion of my life and I love it," Bandera said. "Who would have thought that at 65 I could run away from home and join the military? This is great; I'm honored to be here."

For more information, contact Georgene Bandara at or the JBER Religious Operations Center at 552-4422.

22nd Air Force commander visits Pope Field

by Senior Airman Melissa Dearstone
440th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/9/2014 - POPE FIELD, N.C.  -- Airmen with the 440th Airlift Wing received a welcoming visit from Maj. Gen. Mark Kyle, 22nd Air Force commander, April 4-5.

Maj. Gen. Kyle, accompanied by Chief Master Sergeant Michael Thorpe, 22nd AF Command Chief, visited the 440th Maintenance Group, 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 440th Medical Squadron and several others.

Kyle said that the 440th Airmen's attitudes and work ethic were impressive despite the proposed closure.

"I thought everyone was going to be upset -- and you probably are -- but it does not show in your work or your ability to laugh and joke," said Kyle.

"Although there was not clear or direct information on the decision that will be made, we gained the knowledge that we had someone on our team that is fighting for us as a wing as well as programs that will assist us in the fruition of the transition proposal," said Senior Airman Jomil Camp, 440th AW.

Kyle said he does not know what the future holds for the 440th.

"All I can tell you is my commitment to you is irrevocable, unwavering, undeniable, unmovable, impossible to challenge and I am not going anywhere," said Kyle. "I will take care of each and every one of you that wants to be taken care of."

DOD Officials Update Congress on Nuclear Weapons Program

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2014 – The United States should press on with cutting nuclear stockpiles under the New START treaty with Russia, even as U.S. and NATO planners must reconsider their options following Russian aggression in the Ukraine, Pentagon experts told Congress yesterday.

Andrew C. Weber, assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs, testified as part of a panel of witnesses before the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces subcommittee on fiscal year 2015 atomic energy defense and nuclear forces. Elaine Bunn, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, also testified.

Weber said the 2015 budget request for Defense Department nuclear forces programs would support DOD and Energy Department efforts to modernize and sustain “a safe, secure and effective nuclear weapons stockpile.”

However, “stark budget realities continue to stress our efforts to update an aging stockpile and infrastructure,” he cautioned the subcommittee. During January visits accompanying Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to nuclear and research laboratories, Weber said, he heard Hagel emphasize while speaking with the nuclear workforce “that we are going to invest in the modernization required to maintain an effective deterrent.”

The department’s most vital modernization efforts include life-extension programs for the W76-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile warhead and the B61-12 gravity bomb, Weber said. The W76 was manufactured from 1978 to 1987, and the B61 reached full production in 1968.

Life-extension programs repair or replace components of nuclear weapons to meet military requirements. According to National Nuclear Security Administration officials, extending the time that a weapon can safely and reliably remain in the stockpile helps to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent without producing new weapons or conducting new underground nuclear tests.

“The B61 life-extension program, which [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey] referred to as ‘a bright note’ is currently undergoing development engineering, and prototypes are being assembled for early testing,” Weber said.

“Due to sequestration impacts, the schedule for first production has been revised to the second quarter of 2020,” he said. “This will just” -- with emphasis on “just” -- “meet U.S. Strategic Command and NATO operational requirements.”

The B61-12 program, Weber said, will replace the four current models of the bomb with one, and “enable the retirement of the B83, the last megaton bomb in the stockpile.”

Stable funding for the B61 life-extension program is necessary to keeping the B2 strategic bomber viable and to maintaining U.S. commitments to NATO allies, Weber told subcommittee members.

“The world is safer today from the threat of full-scale nuclear war than it was during the Cold War,” he said. “While the role and numbers of [nuclear] weapons are being reduced, maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear stockpile is critical to deterring potential adversaries and assuring U.S. allies and partners. We ask for your support for the president’s fiscal year 2015 budget request.”

Bunn’s opening remarks yesterday followed Weber’s, and she zeroed in on Russia after telling members she meant to go beyond her prepared statement.

“Russia’s unexpected and dangerous aggression in Ukraine, in violation of international law, compels us to revisit our expectations about future Russian behavior and to reassess a number of U.S. and NATO policies [on Russia],” she said.

But two national policies will remain unchanged, she noted: “First, strengthening NATO’s collective defense.”

NATO is seeking “all options” to build collective defense capacity among member nations through expanded defense plans, exercises and deployments, she noted.

Second, Bunn told committee members, “this administration, like its predecessors, has sought a stable, strategic nuclear relationship with Russia -- especially during times of turbulence elsewhere in the relationship.”

“We will continue to implement the New START treaty ratified by the Senate in December 2010, … because it’s in our national interest,” she said. “The inspections and notifications under the treaty give us a window into Russian strategic forces and limits them for the duration of the treaty.”

Bunn outlined the department’s plan, announced yesterday, for its strategic nuclear force structure under the New START limits. The new limits will take effect by February 2018, and will maintain the U.S. nuclear triad of sea-, land- and air-based nuclear delivery platforms.

“Our 700 deployed strategic forces will look like this: 400 deployed [intercontinental ballistic missiles], 240 deployed [submarine-launched ballistic missiles], and 60 deployed nuclear-capable heavy bombers,” she said.

The United States also will maintain 100 nondeployed launchers and bombers, Bunn said, including 54 ICBM launchers backed by 50 “warm” ICBM silos -- which she described as “empty, but still functional” – 40 submarine launch tubes and six bombers.

The structure provides “flexibility, survivability [and] responsiveness of our nuclear forces,” she said, and ensures “an array of options is available under a broad range of scenarios.”

Bunn noted the plan preserves a “just-in-case upload capability” for each leg of the triad.

Returning to the subject of Russia, the policy chief said Moscow seems as determined as Washington is “to preserve the strategic nuclear stability embodied in the New START treaty.”

Coast Guard Commandant ‘Delighted’ to Get Air Force C-27s

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2014 – Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp said yesterday he’s “delighted” to receive 14 of the 21 brand-new C-27J Spartan medium-range aircraft that were consigned to the boneyard by Air Force budget cuts.

"It saves us about a half a billion dollars in acquisition costs, and we're off and running the program now,” the admiral said.

U.S. Special Operations Command will receive the remaining seven aircraft, he said.

Papp said he expects the Coast Guard to be fully using the aircraft in fiscal year 2016, noting that the delay is due to the need to qualify instructors and thoroughly train the pilot and maintenance forces.

The aircraft became available last year after declining budgets forced the Air Force to cancel the program. The cancellation came at a fortuitous time for the Coast Guard, which was seeking to fill a need for medium-range fixed wing aircraft, Papp said.

In competition, the C-27J originally lost out to the HC-144 Ocean Sentry due to higher lifecycle costs, the admiral said. The Coast Guard has purchased 18 HC-144s, he said, noting that he expects to end the program at 18 aircraft.

“But then last year, when the Air Force put up these brand-new C-27J's as excess, we thought, ‘Wow, if we can get 21 for free, that really lowers the lifecycle cost significantly,’” Papp said.

Part of the cost savings comes from the fact that the two-engine C-27J uses the same engines and avionics as the four-engine C-130J Super Hercules, he said, which is slowly replacing the Coast Guard’s fleet of older C-130H Hercules aircraft.

“We have been getting, incrementally, one or two each budget cycle, and hopefully we'll replace our entire H fleet with J's sometime in the future,” the admiral said.

The Coast Guard immediately put in a bid to acquire all 21 of the aircraft, the commandant said. Special Operations Command and the Forest Service also each initially expressed interest in seven aircraft, he said, but the Forest Service determined that the C-27J wasn’t large enough to join its aerial firefighting fleet.

In a deal with the Air Force, the Coast Guard will send seven of its C-130H aircraft to be overhauled by Air Force technicians for use as Forest Service tankers, Papp said. The deal nets the Coast Guard a total of 14 C-27J’s — enough to outfit three air stations, he said.

“Initially, we really don't have to do much more than paint them,” he said. “It has all the communications gear, it has a good surface search radar -- we ultimately will want to put a sensor package in it very similar to what we use in our HC-144s and our C-130s, and that we will put in the budget in future years -- but we can put that aircraft to work almost immediately after we get people trained up on it.

“Since this is relatively new to us, we're in the process now of doing an aviation plan,” Papp added. The service is determining how and where it will allocate its new aviation assets for best effect, he explained.

The Coast Guard always will consider excess military equipment, the admiral said, but it has to be selective in what it accepts, particularly as budgets shrink.

“A lot of the stuff that's coming back from theater is well-worn right now,” he said. “We have a history in the Coast Guard of taking on hand-me-downs, and then they end up costing us a lot of money in the long run, because they're old and they need repair.”

Sometimes, it's simply too expensive to acquire the equipment, the commandant noted, or it would mean displacing another still-needed program.

Inspectors keep Icemen safe, flying

by Staff Sgt. Shawn Nickel
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/9/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska  -- Food has the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gas pumps have weights and measures inspectors, and even buildings require experts to ensure quality and safety. Aircraft and their maintainers are no exception.

Maintaining "Excellence in all we do" is every Airman's job, though for the Airmen of the 354th Maintenance Group quality assurance office, it's their sole mission.

Quality assurance Airmen are maintenance experts who work to identify trends, provide support and advice, and handle difficult or unique maintenance situations from the sections they inspect daily.

"QA is here to ensure quality of maintenance performed and adherence to technical data and standards," said Master Sgt. Marshal Smith, 354th MXG chief inspector. "Without our inspectors, maintenance discipline would decline, ultimately resulting in incidents and mishaps. The QA section is largely responsible for the lack of class A and B mishaps at Eielson. We ensure a culture of quality and compliance."

Smith said only the best technicians in each Air Force maintenance specialty are interviewed and selected to be an inspector. They are tasked with becoming the subject matter experts and spend a lot of their time reviewing regulations.

After two to three years, they return to their section with an expanded knowledge to share with the next generation of maintainers. This group of highly skilled and motivated Airmen is the eyes and ears of the commander.

Although the entire maintenance community benefits from quality assurance's existence, and pilots receive highly functional and safe jets, a very important overlooked customer is the tax payer.

"The trend data collected by QA staff can be used as a cost reduction tool," said Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Brown, 354th MXS QA superintendent. "QA reduces mistakes that can be very expensive to repair, sometimes millions of dollars."

Overall, QA's ultimate goal is safety. These experts say the life and safety of every pilot is impossible to put a cost on.

Kadena joins military installations in signing emergency evacuation plans

by Airman 1st Class Keith James
18th Wing Public Affairs

4/9/2014 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Officials from the United States Air Force and Chatan City signed an agreement April 3 which allows local Okinawans access to Kadena Air Base in the event of a tsunami or other natural disasters.

Effective immediately, and lasting four years after the signing, the agreement ensures three crucial factors: The safety of all Okinawan residents which includes the Japanese locals, military personnel, Department of Defense workers, and dependents on the island; It also ensures there is a plan in place that not only alerts individuals when natural disasters strike, but helps to prepare them in the event that one does occur and it emphasizes the importance of our bilateral relationship; and reinforces our pledge to work together to solve areas of concern for both nations.

"We saw how dangerous a tsunami can be during Operation Tomedachi," said Brig. Gen. James Hecker, 18th Wing commander. "We knew that it was very important should a tsunami strike that we open up our gates and allow the Okinawans to get to safety".

As a part of the agreement, the United States Air Force will provide a route that runs through Kadena Air Base to Okinawa City where higher ground is located. Much of Chatan City lies in a low coastal area with limited options to moving residents to the safety of higher ground.

"It is very important to take action in the event of a tsunami disaster, especially with Chatan being only two to three meters above sea level," said Masahau Noguni, mayor of Chatan. "Today we sign the agreement with Kadena Air Base to take needed disaster preventive measures."

The route has evacuees entering Gate 1 and turning right onto at Schlegel Road, which turns into Vincent Avenue, then turns right onto Schreiber Avenue and continues out Gate 5 into Okinawa City.

Alternately in the event the primary route is unusable, congested, or to expedite emergency vehicles the route goes in a northeasterly direction up Douglas Avenue until it intersects with Schreiber Avenue, then turns right onto Schreiber Avenue and continues out Gate 5 into Okinawa City.

Chatan City also developed bilingual signs to post should a disaster strike which would guide residents to the evacuation route on Kadena Air Base.

"This is a historic day for Kadena and a great day for the members of Chatan Town," Hecker said.

Civilian receives Air Force level award

by Airman 1st Class Tammie Ramsouer
673d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/9/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- A 673d Civil Engineer Squadron section chief recently earned the Air Force Outstanding Civil Engineer Manager of the Year award for 2013.

Sean Grady, a retired Air Force master sergeant of 20 years and native of Aiea, Hawaii, received the award for going above and beyond to ensure missions were accomplished in a timely manner and people were taken care of.

Grady earned the award as station chief of Fire Station 4 on JBER-Richardson.

"To me, this position was second nature, because I was in a similar position before I retired, so I already knew what it took to be a station chief," Grady said. "I was in charge of the station that had a rescue unit, advanced life support, ambulance and a fire engine. I had to ensure that daily duties were taken care of while managing personnel on the floor."

As an additional duty, Grady was also in charge of training new battalion chiefs.

"The battalion chiefs already had the credentials, but they just didn't know how we did business in those areas," Grady said. "So my job was to familiarize them with our duties and responsibilities."

Leaders at the fire station said they have faith in Grady's capabilities.

"It doesn't matter what job he is put into or asked to do," said Senior Master Sgt. Richard Matteson, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron assistant chief of operations. "He is one of the most knowledgeable and professional guys I have had the pleasure of working with."

Grady said his main focus was to facilitate teamwork between the firefighters. He studied everyone's personalities to understand how each individual worked in a team environment.

"When we were together, we became a tight-knit group and it boiled down to us having good communication," Grady said. "I always believed that when we sat down for a meal and got the camaraderie going, it built that rapport amongst each other. I always made sure we all sat down to eat together."

At a young age, Grady said he was given a philosophy by his great aunt and uncle: "It is a good gesture to help people in their time of need, because you never know when you will need help yourself."

Grady holds himself to that advice and brings it to the workplace, saying his job as a supervisor is to empower his subordinates.

"I believe it is my responsibility as a supervisor to be a mentor and a positive role model, to support career progression and empower my people to achieve their personal goals," he said.

"His work ethic pushed me to do better," Matteson said. "He is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done; I think it would be hard to find a guy in this position that didn't want to be more like Mr. Grady."

Grady now serves as assistant chief of training at Fire Station 1 on JBER-Elmendorf. As such, he schedules training and organizes leave for all the members in the fire stations on JBER.

Although Grady is no longer in his manager position at Fire Station 4, he still keeps in close contact with his former team members.

"I still go to Mr. Grady for advice on how to make things better or how to do something here in the shop," Matteson said.

Grady said he couldn't have earned the recognition on his own.

"This award isn't just my award. It's really our award because we work so hard as a team that I can't take credit for everything," Grady said. "To me, a good leader has good followers -- and you don't look good unless your followers look good."

Family, Friends Come Together to Honor a Fallen Hero

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Molly A. Burgess

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Hundreds of service members, friends and family filed into the Naval Station (NAVSTA) Norfolk auditorium April 7, and whispered calming stories about 24 year-old Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark A. Mayo, as they waited for the memorial service to begin.

Mayo, labeled a hero for his actions on March 24 when he was on duty as chief of the guard on Pier 1 of Naval Station (NAVSTA) Norfolk, put himself between a gunman and USS Mahan's (DDG 72) duty petty officer of the watch, giving his own life to ensure the safety of the Sailors on board the ship.

"Webster defines a hero as an illustrious warrior, a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities and one who shows great courage. Petty officer Mayo epitomizes this definition," said NAVSTA Norfolk's Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Clark, during his opening remarks. "He made a split-second decision to act and benefit more than just himself. This type of courage cannot be taught, it is something that resides deep within and is displayed without conscious thought. It is the decision to render aid when many would watch from the sidelines."

As fellow shipmates and guests took turns at the podium, words were spoken to describe Mayo's character as they knew him to be.

"I think we can all say that when we were young, we thought heroes wore a mask, a cape and had super powers. Petty Officer Mayo wore no mask, yet he had character," said Lt. Errol Johnson, security officer at NAVSTA Norfolk. "He didn't have a cape, yet in the face of danger and adversity, he displayed courage, and with no super powers, also displayed a wealth of self-sacrifice. Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo is a true definition of a real hero."

Mayo, born in Washington, D.C., but moved to Hagerstown, Md., when still in grade school, joined the Navy in October 2007, completing a tour at Naval Security Forces Bahrain followed by a tour at Naval Station Rota, Spain, before checking on board to Naval Station Norfolk in May 2011.

Master-at-Arms Virgil Savage, a friend of Mayo's, and coworker at NAVSTA Norfolk, remembered Mayo for his outspoken demeanor and courageous posture who he said was always willing to help those in need.

"Mayo was a little guy but he carried himself with an attitude of a giant. He wouldn't back down from anybody and he wouldn't just let you roll over him for any reason," said Savage. "... he stood up for people all the time so when I heard that he saved another person's life, it did not surprise me at all. That's something he would do without thinking, and I am proud to say I knew him."

During the course of the ceremony, words of scriptures, prayers and kind words to the family were expressed, reminding those in attendance that Mayo and his selfless act would not be forgotten.

"To my shipmate and my friend, MA2 Mayo, rest on my brother," said Department of the Navy Officer Levon Snyder. "We have the watch here on Earth, but one day, we will relieve you from your watch in Heaven."

As the ceremony came to a close, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Orlando Morin stood at the podium and began a roll call where Master-at-Arms in attendance stood and replied back "Present MA1" as their names were called, signifying that they were ready to stand watch.

"Call of the roll. MASN Miller. MASN Harrell. MA3 Stewart," Morin called out. As he neared the end of the list, one name did not have a respondent. "MA2 Mayo... MA2 Mark Mayo... Mark Aaron Mayo."

The call remained unanswered.

"Thank you for providing the United States Navy with a young man of such impeccable character. A man who served his country with honor courage and commitment. Mrs. Blair, Mr. Mayo, your son will forever remain in the hearts and minds of everyone at Naval Station Norfolk," said Clark, comforting the family in attendance. "He will be remembered across this great country and throughout the Navy as a hero who made the unquestionable brave decision to protect the lives of others, even at his own peril."

Mayo will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va., later this month.

U.S. Naval Academy Funeral Honors Midshipman Hans Loewen

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nathan A. Wilkes

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Midshipmen, faculty and staff, family and friends filled the pews of the U.S. Naval Academy chapel April 9 for funeral services honoring the life of Midshipman 3rd Class Hans Loewen.

Loewen, 20, died while in a coma at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, March 29. His death came six days after he sustained injuries in a skateboarding accident while on liberty away from the academy.

Loewen was an oceanography major and a member of the 7th Company. He participated in the Adventure Racing Team, the American Nuclear Society and the Rock Climbing Club.

Remembrances of Loewen, before and during his time at the Naval Academy, were shared during the eulogy.

"As the superintendent told us when he visited Hans in the hospital just after his accident, every member of the brigade and Naval Academy staff are threads in the moral fabric that uplift our midshipmen," said Marine Corps Maj. Carrie Stocker, 7th company commander. "It's woven into the cloth that Hans wove since his baptism, confirmation and spiritual journey with his Episcopal Church family everywhere he lived."

Loewen had a reputation among his classmates for living life to the fullest and being fearless.

"Hans has the aura of a guy who can do the impossible," said Stocker while reading a remembrance. "Anything he put his mind to, he attacked with a fire unlike anyone I have ever known. He showed that 'impossible' is something we tell ourselves when we are afraid."

The number of midshipmen filling the chapel was a testament to Loewen's influence on his peers and friends.

"His capacity for good does not rest with his body," said Stocker. "It continues on in the success of the lives that he touched, as his spirit continues on into the eternity."

Immediately after the funeral service, Loewen was buried in the Naval Academy cemetery, following an on-foot procession from the chapel.

Loewen is survived by his parents, Eric and Jennifer, and his sister Zatha, who is also a midshipman at the Naval Academy.