Military News

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

ONI's Nimitz Operational Intelligence Center Changes Command



From Office of Naval Intelligence Public Affairs

Suitland, Md. (NNS) -- Capt. Nicholas Homan assumed command of the Nimitz Operational Intelligence Center in a change of command ceremony at the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), May 9.

Homan relieved Capt. Andrea Pollard, who will join the staff of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) for Information Dominance as foreign liaison officer.

Rear Adm. Elizabeth Train, ONI's commander, presided over the ceremony. She cited the many accomplishments of the Nimitz Center under Capt. Pollard's command and commended her for her leadership.

"You and your team have done your mission exceptionally well, and for this I am extremely grateful. Our Navy and our nation are well-served under your command," she said.

The Nimitz Operational Intelligence Center is one of four centers of excellence that are distinct commands subordinate to ONI. Its mission is to create decisional advantage for naval and national leaders through in-depth knowledge of the global maritime environment. More than 500 military and civilian intelligence professionals support naval operations and maritime activities worldwide.

Vice Adm. Ted Branch, director of Naval Intelligence and deputy chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance, was the ceremony's principal speaker. He praised the professionalism of the men and women who serve at the Nimitz Center.

"Time and again you have helped Nimitz earn its reputation as the Navy's center of excellence for operational and strategic analysis. Through your day to day actions, you provide that timely and relevant analysis to Navy and joint decision makers, the analysis they need to make the tough calls," he said.

Pollard joined in the praise of the Nimitz staff as she was relieved of command by Homan.

"I am turning over to you the finest, most expert, mission-focused, loyal group of intelligence professionals in the business," she said.

Homan served on the Joint Chief's of Staff J5 as an Afghanistan/Pakistan Hand before assuming command of the Nimitz Center. He also served as commanding officer of the Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) and as chief of the Signals Intelligence/Information Operations Division at the Joint Special Operations Command.

Homan urged the professionals of the Nimitz Center to maintain a healthy work-life balance and keep a sharp focus on their responsibilities to the Navy and nation.

"The nation remains at war and the road ahead will be filled with challenges but we will travel it together and I look forward to the journey," Homan said.

Warriors of the North Attend Silver Flag to Become Golden

by Senior Airman Zachiah Roberson
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


5/13/2014 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Airmen from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., recently participated in a Silver Flag exercise on Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

Tech. Sgt. Byron Ball, 319th Civil Engineer Squadron fire protection journeyman was one of the Airmen from Grand Forks who volunteered to attend Silver Flag, not only to sharpen his skills but also to help others who may need that little push.

"I try to be the person to display numerous ways to have a positive attitude when a certain situation is not too enjoyable," said Ball.

The civil engineers were put to work the second they stepped onto the play area, handing out MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) and assisting with the setup process.

Ball worked various jobs during his time in Florida such as land navigation, low and high angle rescues, HAZMAT response and more.

"We were taught how to act and respond to a number of situations, because that is what civil engineers do," said Ball.

Everything from explaining different ways to handle fire response, to base emergencies such as active shooters were discussed in classrooms. Civil engineers were trained in their career field's capability to handle certain situations in various ways. This gave the attendees as a whole a general understanding of the different parts CE will take in response to any emergency situation.

It's required that firefighters attend Silver Flag at least once every three years. This requirement is to assure they are keeping their skills sharp and gain new ones.

"It's not simply to learn skills, someone who attends this event may already know what they are doing in many areas of his job but this gives them the opportunity to hone those skills," said Ball.

Each day started early and ended late, but Ball kept his head up and helped motivate other Airmen to keep their spirits high. Geared up and ready for battle, the conditions were harsh and realistic, giving the atmosphere more validity in the eyes of the trainees.

"At one point we were required to do the majority of the work involved in a low-angle rescue; it was very difficult, but we succeeded in the end," said Ball.

Participants see Silver Flag as a privilege unlike any other in the United States Air Force.

"Silver Flag presents CE with a great learning environment and prepares us for real-world events," said Ball. "In the end, the things we practiced there could ultimately save someone's life in the future, and that makes all the training worthwhile."

Dog eat dog: Travis set to host K9 competition

by Senior Airman Nicole Leidholm
60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


5/12/2014 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Travis is hosting the 2014 Defenders K9 Trials May 16 and 17 where military and civilian police dogs will show off their best.

The trials, organized by the Travis Defenders Association and the Western States Police Canine Association, has 39 different police agencies from Northern California set to come out to Travis to compete with their dogs. Teams will also be coming from Beale and Edwards Air Force Base.

These trials are the season opener for the Western States Police Canine Association. These trials also mark a first for Travis and a first for the Western States Police Canine Association having a military installation hosting the trials.

On May 16, the detection portion of the competition will be scheduled to take place. The event starts at 1 p.m. and is only open to those in uniform. In the detection portion, the dogs will be searching for narcotics and explosives. The event takes place at the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, at the corner of Hickam Avenue and Ragsdale Road.

On May 17, the dogs and their handlers will be back at it again working on patrol, obedience and protection at 8 a.m. The teams will have the opportunity to showcase their abilities in K9 agility and searching vehicles. The all-day event will have Humvees, smoke and explosions. The event will take place at Johnson and National softball fields and is open to the general public. Food, drink and souvenirs will be available.

"Travis has spent weeks planning for this event," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Smith, 60th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog kennel master. "We have done everything from building and reserving equipment to fundraising for the event. There are a lot of agencies coming out, it takes a lot of preparation."

Smith said that it has just been training as usual for the dogs.

"We're not going to cheat," he said. "We're not out there showing them what's going to be happening. We're just sharpening their obedience and practicing searching vehicles and looking for the bad guys."

While Travis has teams competing in the trials, they are not eligible for a trophy.

"Because we're hosting the trials, we cannot be eligible," Smith said. "It just looks bad on us."

These trials are important because they are a great learning tool for the dogs.

"It's basically training," Smith said. "It's new stuff for the dog, new area, new scenarios, new challenges. After the competition it gives the dogs a new tool to put in the toolbox from what they learned."

Smith went on to say how it also helps them network with outside agencies.

"We're able to meet individuals who have experienced unique situations," he said. "They are able to tell us how they accomplished it so when we're faced with the same situation, we also know what to do."

The last competition that Travis participated in was in October 2013 in South Lake Tahoe, California

"It was the first time military had won," Smith said. "We earned the opportunity to host because of winning."

Other agencies have opportunities to showcase their abilities such as the Firemen's Challenge and Air Mobility Rodeos, Smith said.

"Other agencies have their opportunity to show off their skills," he said. "These trials give us the opportunity to show off what we're made of; show off our smart and talented dogs. We're really excited for this opportunity. It just helps to bring recognition and credibility to Security Forces and really to Travis."

Senior Airman Andrew Hanus, 60th SFS MWD handler, said he's excited to be participating in the trials with Beni, 60th SFS MWD.

"Last year we didn't get to compete because we were deployed, so this is our first competition," he said. "We don't know what to expect, but we just want to go out and have fun."

Those wishing to compete or watch the trials that do not have a Department of Defense ID card or police agency badge must pre-register for the trials.

For more information on the K9 trials or how to pre-register, contact Smith at 424-3155 or email travisafbk9@gmail.com.

Passport to Adventure gives kids an inside look at 440th

by Maj. Erin Karl
440th Airlift Wing, Public Affairs


5/13/2014 - POPE FIELD, N.C. -- The children of 440th Airlift Wing members got to experience some of what it takes to drive the airlift mission every day during a Passport to Adventure event May 3.

Members from maintenance, security forces, the fabrication shop, flight equipment, aeromedical evacuation, and operations participated in the special event. Many set up stations in the propulsion flight building where children could get hands-on with the equipment and have an up-close-and-personal tutorial in the finer points of the 440th mission. There was also a static C-130 Hercules which was staffed by pilots, loadmasters, and flight nurses.

"My co-workers and I really enjoyed the chance to showcase the propulsion aspect of maintenance and how it applies to the daily mission we are all committed to," said Tech. Sgt. Emmanuel Perez, a propulsion craftsman with the 440th Maintenance Squadron.

In addition to the children of wing members who attended, a Y Princess troop from Raleigh, North Carolina, made their way down to get a first-hand look at the inner workings of the 440th mission. The Y Princess program is for first, second and third grade girls and their fathers and is operated by the YMCA.

"This was such a wonderful opportunity," said Heather Quesenberry, mother of a Y Princess troop member. "It's amazing to see the high level of knowledge and proficiency these young men and women have in their jobs. They take a great deal of pride and it shows."

The event was organized by the Family Day Picnic Planning Committee with help from Nancy Schmitkons, wife of 440th Airlift Wing Vice Commander Col. Karl Schmitkons.

"The goal of the Passport to Adventure event was to give our wing families a chance to see what our Airmen do in the reserve," said Mrs. Schmitkons. "Family members often here about the jobs our Airmen do, but this gave them a chance to see it firsthand."

Naval Base Guam Security Participates in Police Week Event



By Jesse Leon Guerrero, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

BARRIGADA, Guam (NNS) -- Sailors from U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Security showcased their capabilities to the local community during the Guam Police Department's (GPD) Static Display Law Enforcement Carnival at the Tiyan soccer field in Barrigada, May 13.

The event was held in celebration of Police Week by giving the community an opportunity to learn more about the men and women working in law enforcement around the island.

"It's a good thing to help the kids out and let them see what we do in the Navy," said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Isiah Douglas. "In order for the Navy to really complete our mission, we need to work hand and hand with local agencies and law enforcement."

NBG Security displayed their assets by having attendees climb aboard a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and a 36-foot harbor patrol boat. Sailors also demonstrated their training by showing control tactics with handcuffs, submission tactics with a baton as well as an obedience drill and detection drill by the military working dogs unit.

Representatives from other law enforcement organizations such as the Guam Probation Office, GPD Special Weapons and Tactics, Guam Homeland Security, FBI and U.S. Marshals Service participated in the event.

"We do a lot of joint efforts in investigations," said Capt. Manuel Babauta, GPD Criminal Investigation division chief. "It's not only with (the Navy Criminal Investigative Service), but also FBI, (Office of Special Investigations) and (Drug Enforcement Agency)."

Babauta estimated more than 2,000 students from Guam's elementary and middle schools attended the event for an up-close look at the static displays and personnel. He added that it was important to have both local and military law enforcement involved because of their close relationship.

"We get to showcase what we have and what we do every day of our lives as law enforcement officers," he said. "Each of our divisions kind of has an attachment to these federal agencies. It is a good working effort."

Blue Ridge Strengthens Long-Standing Friendship with Thailand



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kelby Sanders

SATTAHIP, Thailand (NNS) -- U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) along with embarked staff, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 and Marines from Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Pacific successfully concluded a three-day visit to Thailand, May 13, strengthening ties and engaging with the local community.

While anchored in the Gulf of Thailand, Blue Ridge crew and 7th Fleet staff delivered toys to children at Pattaya Orphanage and Child Protection and Development Center (CDPDC) while embarked Seventh Fleet staff hosted officers from the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) for staff-to-staff talks.

"We view Thailand as an important ally," said Lt. Reuben Attah, 7th Fleet desk officer for Southeast Asia plans and policy. "Both sides were eager to further exchange and enhance expertise. The RTN left staff talks feeling assured that we'll continue our military-to-military engagements and focus on areas that we deem most important."

The Blue Ridge/7th Fleet First Class Petty Officers Association (FCPOA) sponsored a ship-wide clothing and toy drive in the days leading up to the Thailand visit and donated the gifts to Pattaya Orphanage.

"As a kid I always wanted to share anything I had, and as an adult, with more resources, I feel obligated to help the less fortunate." said Operations Specialist 1st Class Rose Thibodeaux, BLR/C7F FCPOA president. "I can't describe the feeling of seeing the looks of joy on the children's faces when we arrived."

In addition, several chiefs and first class petty officers teamed up for a Chief Petty Officer (CPO) 365 sponsored visit to CDPDC in Pattaya, Thailand bringing some gifts of their own to hand out and to spend time with the children there. CPO 365 is a year-round leadership training environment for first class petty officers working toward advancement to chief petty officer.

"Visiting these kids was honestly the highlight of my visit to Thailand," said Chief Personnel Specialist Kerri Scranton. "We were able to connect with these kids in a real way, from teaching them to jump rope to throwing a Frisbee around, we all had a blast."

The Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed in 1833, making Thailand, then known as Siam, the United States' oldest ally in Asia. As treaty allies, both countries enjoy the strongest and most enduring commitment two nations can make, forging positive military-to-military relationships based on common interests related to maritime security, counterterrorism, defense trade and security of the global commons.

Blue Ridge has been forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for 34 years. As the flag ship for Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas, Blue Ridge is vital in maintaining partnerships in the 7th Fleet area of operations.

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor Celebrates Nurse Corps 106th Birthday


By Sharon McIntyre, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor Public Affairs Officer

Oak Harbor, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (NHOH) nurses celebrated their 106th birthday with a week of events May 6-12, 2014.

This year's Nurses Week theme "Nurses: A Belief in Caring, Faith in Healing" was presented in a proclamation to Cmdr. Elizabeth Porter, Nurse Corps, by Oak Harbor City Councilman Bob Severns at the May 6 City Council Meeting.

The festivities began bright and early Monday morning, when the nurses enjoyed a hearty breakfast and conversation with their fellow nurses before starting their clinical rounds. On Wednesday and Thursday, a "Blessing of Hands" for all NHOH staff was performed by Chaplain Mark Tanis. The week-long celebration concluded with the congratulatory birthday wishes read to those in attendance from each of the Navy Medicine Corps Chiefs and the traditional cake cutting ceremony performed by the most senior and junior nurse at Naval Hospital Oak Harbor.

The Nurse Corps was established with the first "Sacred Twenty Nurses": a Navy Department circular order established the designation of Nurse on June 19, 1861, to be filled by junior enlisted men. Fifteen years later, the duties were transferred to the designation Bayman per U.S. Regulations of 1876. Although enlisted personnel were referred to as Nurses, their duties and responsibilities were more related to those of a Hospital Corpsman.

Nurses are key advocates for their patients ensuring they receive safe and quality care. Nurses spend a great deal of time with their patients and gain their trust, alleviate their fears, anxiety and pain. This trust has been validated by the Annual Gallop Survey naming the Nursing profession as the number one "most trusted profession in America" for the past decade.

Capt. Pruett-Baer, Director of Nursing, thanked the Naval Hospital Oak Harbor Nurses and Nurses Association who strive to provide safe and high quality patient-centered care for all of their patients.

Capt. Pruett-Baer concluded with: "as we continue through the changes in Navy Medicine, I want to thank each one of the nurses here today for choosing to enter this life changing profession and to always maintain your focus on the patient and their safe journey in our care. Thanks so much to the entire command for your support and for joining us in our annual Nurses Week celebrations."

Iowa State University NROTC Commissions New Navy Officers


By Ensign Ian Jordan, Iowa State University, NROTC


AMES. Iowa (NNS) -- Five Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) midshipmen and officer candidates were commissioned as naval officers at the Iowa State University Memorial Union, May 10.

The four Navy-options and one Marine-option NROTC students were recognized by the commissioned officers of Iowa State University NROTC and the guest of honor, Cmdr. Harry Statia, in front of an audience of more than 80. These newly commissioned officers will serve around the globe in a variety of military occupational specialties including surface warfare, submarine warfare, aviation, oceanography, and Marine Corps air and ground.

Statia recently turned over duties as the NROTC unit's executive officer and will retire this summer after nearly 30 years of naval service. He spoke to the new officers, their families and friends about his commissioning and how it was the highlight of his career at the time.

"The ceremony is special, because it represents the culmination of so many years of hard work for some like our two former officer candidates, Ensigns Jordan and Crocker," said Statia. "This has been a journey for them that they saw begin years before they ever set foot on campus here at Iowa State."

Statia continued, "this is just the beginning and the really hard work is about to start. These young men and women will be faced with numerous challenges throughout their careers where they will have to fall back on the training they learned here at ISU NROTC and life's experiences to make the tough calls and uphold our values of 'service before self' and the Navy's core values of honor, courage, and commitment."

Commissioned as ensigns were; Jeremy Crocker, Ian Jordan, Kelly Larkin, and Alyssa McKenna. Commissioned as a Marine Corps 2nd lieutenant was James Kokjohn. All individuals were commissioned by officers of their choosing.

Ensign Alyssa McKenna said, "This has been an incredible experience and opportunity. I never imagined I would have enjoyed this as much as I have. I look forward to getting out to the fleet," referring to her experience at ISU and in the NROTC program.

The audience contained parents, friends, family, alumni, and staff members.

"We are so proud of our son. It is incredible to see him finally realizing his dream and getting the opportunity to pursue a career as a Navy pilot," said Dee Larkin, the mother of Ensign Kelly Larkin.

"I am so proud of these young men and women. They have really developed into some fine young officers, and they are a true testament to the quality of education one can get here at Iowa State NROTC," said Lt. Jordan Mack, the nuclear programs officer.

Capt. Ricks Polk, Iowa State NROTC commanding officer, said, "I would sure like to join you in your future endeavors. I would go back to submarines in a New York minute. I would be glad to take that new division officer assignment aboard USS Nitze (DDG 94). I've moved from enlisted to officer, from doing the work, to leading the work. You are in for an amazing ride."

Naval Service Training Command (NSTC), headquartered at Naval Station Great Lakes, oversees 98 percent of initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy. This includes NROTC units at more than 160 colleges and universities around the United States.

The NROTC program was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.

NSTC also supervises Recruit Training Command (RTC), the Navy's only boot camp, at Naval Station Great Lakes; Officer Training Command (OTC) at Naval Station Newport, R.I.; Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide.