Thursday, June 05, 2014

Pacific Defender builds multi-national security ties

by Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
36th Wing Public Affairs

6/5/2014 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Team Andersen hosted a Security Forces Pacific Defender international subject-matter expert exchange (SMEE) May 19-23 to help build partnerships across the Pacific Region and promote interoperability.

The four-day event included service members from Mongolia, Tonga, Thailand and Australia.

The event was co-hosted by senior security forces members from headquarters Pacific Air Force and intended to build strong personal relationships and cooperation between the U.S. and allies in the Asia-Pacific region. During the event, members toured the 36th Contingency Response Group and the 736th Security Forces Squadron where key programs on training, tactics and techniques were demonstrated for the attendees by security forces members.

"During the (exchange) our Defenders were able to share knowledge on various programs via briefings and training they received," said Maj. Dennis Trutwin, 736th SFS commander.

In addition to briefings and tours, attendees received combatives training as well as weapons training.

"The tactical training we received was a very good learning experience for us," said Mongolian Armed Forces 1st Lt. Khash-Erdene Erdensaikhan, Air and Air Defense Command General Staff of Mongolian Armed Forces flight inspector. "I will definitely be taking the information I learned back to my country and use it to improve my military."

His Majesty's Armed Forces of Tonga Maj. Soane Aholelei, Officer Commanding Military Training School, said that Pacific Defender helped him realize that his background in infantry training has strong similarities to the way U.S. Airmen conduct tactical training.

"I was able to gather even more knowledge from the training to add on to what I already know, such as the use of tactics, techniques and procedures," he said. "Being able to work side-by-side with our allies and exchange information was an awesome experience."

During the SMEE, attendees spent the day at the PACAF Regional Training Center's Commando Warrior program, which gave the individuals a chance to see how the 36th CRG annually trains more than 1,500 Airmen prior to deployments.

"Being able to observe the training that goes on at Commando Warrior and seeing all the hard work that goes on was interesting," said Royal Thai Air Force Squadron Leader Ronarong Ariya, security forces officer. "Our allies have different ways of training, but we all come together to get the mission done in the end."

Throughout the exchange, the attendees were able to enjoy some Andersen and Guam-specific experiences, taking in Guam culture and observing Andersen security force operations.

"I enjoyed the SMEE, I have learned much knowledge," Aholelei said. "Being able to talk with our allies and update each other with current standard operating procedures will prove helpful during any crisis we may face together. We will maintain our tactical edge assisting the U.S. in the fight against terrorism and try to help out as much as we can."

China Continues Military Modernization, Report Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2014 – China continues to modernize and improve its military capabilities, according to an annual DOD report to Congress, and is also preparing for contingencies in the South and East China Seas where Beijing has been involved in increasingly tense territorial disputes with its neighbors.

The just-released “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China for 2014” report said China’s military expenditures continue to grow in keeping with its goal of being a regional and world power.

The main mission for the People’s Liberation Army, the report said, is to improve the capacity of its armed forces to fight and win short-duration, high-intensity regional contingencies.

China continues to prepare for potential conflict in the Taiwan Strait -- which includes deterring or defeating the United States, according to the report.

“The People’s Liberation Army also is placing emphasis on preparing for contingencies other than Taiwan, including potential contingencies in the South and East China Seas,” the report says.

The PLA Navy, the report said, conducted its largest-ever fleet exercise in the Philippine Sea.

China also conducted a series of joint military exercises in September and October, according to the report. “These exercises combined PLA ground, navy and air forces in large-scale maneuvers along China’s southern and southeastern coasts,” the report said.

“As China’s interests, capabilities, and international influence have grown, its military modernization program has also become increasingly focused on military investments for a range of missions beyond China’s coast, including sea lane security, counterpiracy, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief,” the report says. The United States has worked with China on some of these missions.

Chinese leaders, the report said, see this era as a “period of strategic opportunity” to advance national development.

China is using the strategic space to prioritize economic growth and development and to achieve “national rejuvenation” by 2049, according to the report.

“At the same time, Chinese leaders express a desire to maintain peace and stability along their country’s periphery; expand their diplomatic influence to facilitate access to markets, capital, and resources; and avoid direct confrontation with the United States and other countries,” the report said.

Following this strategy, China’s presence is growing in all regions of the world, the report said. This has led to friction between some of its regional neighbors, including allies and partners of the United States.

The U.S.-China relationship is expanding and improving, the report said. In the military area there are questions about the rate of growth. The Chinese have not been transparent about their spending, with U.S. experts believing the country spends roughly $145 billion on defense, far beyond the $119 billion that China has officially announced.

China has sustained its investments in strategic forces modernization, as well as key anti-access/area-denial capabilities such as advanced intermediate- and medium-range conventional ballistic missiles, long-range land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, counter-space weapons, and offensive cyber capabilities, according to the report.

Tradewinds Exercise Kicks Off in Caribbean

By Army Sgt. Chelsea Barber
122nd Public Affairs Operations Center

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda, June 5, 2014 – Members of 11 Caribbean partner nations joined the U.S. and Canadian militaries in Antigua yesterday to kick off Phase I of Tradewinds 2014.

The exercise, hosted in Antigua and Barbuda, is designed to enhance defense force abilities in maritime security and disaster response training.

The Caribbean partner nations, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, deployed maritime, national police, and coast guard units to take part in multiple training events.

“Tradewinds is all about ensuring interoperability among Caribbean forces and advancing cooperation and coordination in various security and disaster-related scenarios,” said Lt. Cmdr. Auden Nicholas, commanding officer of the Antigua Barbuda Defense Force’s Coast Guard, and Antiguan co-director for Tradewinds 2014.

The U.S. military plays an important maritime security role in the region and worked closely with Nicholas and his staff in setting up the Tradewinds exercise.

“The United States, as far as we are concerned, is the critical partner in the Caribbean basin and the U.S. has provided tremendous support in safety and security within the region,” Nicholas said. “It’s very important that we maintain and strengthen the relationship with the United States.”

Phase I of Tradewinds, considered the maritime phase, will last through June 10. It will focus primarily on security and countering transnational organized crime on the high seas, as well as training to improve the ability of the Caribbean partners to respond to natural disasters and provide humanitarian relief.

Several members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force are looking forward to the small boat operation training in particular, because a major acquisition project will add nine ships to their fleet in the next year, said Carlon Bethell, Senior Officer with the Force. With the addition of the ships, they will gain more awareness and Tradewinds will assist them in further developing standard operating procedures, he said.

The exercise also supports the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, a regional security partnership that has established the “Secure Seas” program. Some of the participating vessels are interceptors and patrol boats provided to partner nations. The crews of these vessels will train alongside members of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy, which is also providing a fleet diving team and a maritime patrol vessel.

Tradewinds participants gain knowledge and experience in several areas of security and emergency response. But perhaps the most important aspect of the multinational exercise is the partnership and relationship building that each of the nations goes home with at the end of the annual event.

“Tradewinds is vital to the nations of the Caribbean, Canada and the United States in order to collaborate against common threats to our peoples and the way we live our lives, as well as to sharpen our collective responses to deal with humanitarian crises, natural disasters and pandemics,” said Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which administers the exercise.

“Like the other nations participating in Tradewinds, we place a very high value on this training and the understanding and cooperation it fosters,” Kelly added.

Squadron members become closer while volunteering

by Airman 1st Class Kiana Brothers
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

6/4/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Would you ever expect that painting railings would build morale within your squadron? The 375th Operations Support Squadron recently took this approach. Once a month members from the 375th OSS volunteer in the community while building morale.

Senior Airman Lindsay Tow, Airmen 1st Class Sarah Haynes and Joshua Rose, 375th OSS members, have dedicated their time to volunteering. These Airmen are involved with the Community Outreach program within the 375th OSS.

"We're responsible for organizing a monthly unit event," said Haynes, an intelligence analyst and previously a point of contact for the organized volunteer events. "We take into consideration the impact it will have on the community, working with the unit's schedule, and getting everyone excited to go."

The program began in 2013, when Lt. Col. George Granholm, 375th OSS commander, decided he wanted his squadron to be regularly involved with the community. From that moment on, the 375th OSS has been reaching out and trying to make a difference.

Granholm soon called for any members who would be able to take on an important role of finding locations for volunteering. Every six months, members who have offered their time to do their part, will alternate roles in the program.

Haynes said, "Volunteering is like his baby, and I believe that it is also a morale booster. One of the most surprising things is that everyone is really excited to go and would like to volunteer again."

The first few months of the program, the unit offered a lot of their time to St. Louis. So far the squadron has volunteered at Veteran's Affairs, the St. Louis Food Bank, VA Gift Wrap, "Home front Enabling Relationships, Opportunities, and Empowerment through Support," the O'Fallon Food Pantry, and many more.

Many members from the unit suggest places to go volunteer and give positive feedback, said Haynes.

"We try to have something that people enjoy doing or have a passion for," said Rose, an air traffic controller.

For a couple of events, the unit donated items for the charity or program.

Before their visit to the Belleville Humane Society, approximately 50 items were donated for pets, Rose said. The 375th OSS also adopted a family for Christmas and was able to give them every item on their wish list.

"I think when people see the end result of the day they realize that it was worth it," said Rose.

The unit's recent volunteer event was at the Jefferson Barracks Historic Park in St. Louis.

Airman 1st Class Jacob Beyer, 375th OSS air traffic controller, was among the air traffic control members who helped with removing rust and painting.

"We are helping the community, but we're also kind of building our team up," said Beyer. "We have a common goal and that is working to get something done."

Many volunteering teams have formed and many of the same faces return for each event, Rose said.

The volunteers painted rails which rest on a small portion of the original 1,702 acres of the military installation established in 1826 as the country's first Infantry School of Practice. This location served as a major United States military installation until it was deactivated in June 1946.

Even though painting rails sounds quite tedious it does help the park because they depend on only volunteers, said Tow.

"For the community I think people appreciate the difference we're making out there," Rose said. "People say all the time, 'We love how the base supports the community.'"

Honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice

Commentary by Air Force Col. Brian P. Duffy
JBER and 673 ABW commander

5/22/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- On May 26, we will pause to mark the 146th official observance of Memorial Day. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

While, to many, it marks the unofficial start of summer, the true origins and intent of this day of reconciliation can be found in excerpts from Logan's General Order Number 11.

"The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit. Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

It is the purpose of the commander-in-chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades."

The tradition of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day was conceived by Moina Michael, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields." She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to friends and acquaintances with the proceeds donated to benefit service members in need.

The practice expanded to include the production and sale of artificial red poppies and has been advanced by agencies including the early Franco-American Children's League, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and others.

Remembrance activities are also many, and remind us all of this day's origins. Flags are placed by soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry at more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts place flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery near St. Louis, and with the assistance of the Girl Scouts, place a candle at the 15,300 grave sites of those buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

On Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, we will have our Annual Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 26, at noon at our Fort Richardson National Cemetery. We sincerely hope you can join us to mark this very special day and keep the true meaning of Memorial Day at the forefront.

That said, this time of year also begins our Critical Days of Summer with this year's theme of "Risk: Double Checks, Not Second Thoughts." As described in his May 19 memo to all personnel in Pacific Air Forces, General Hawk Carlisle reports he "is pleased to report that as a result of (our) efforts, FY14 mishaps are trending down." Through smart, real-time risk management and personal risk management skills, we have the opportunity stay on course!

Our campaign this year will consist of 15 weekly modules which will provide focus and attention on topics and activities that can present opportunity for mishaps through our critical days of summer period, and honestly, well beyond that and throughout the remainder of the year. I ask commanders and supervisors at all levels to review these materials and incorporate into your safety briefs. Risk management not only has its place in a mission setting, but with life in Alaska simply being different than what most experience in the lower 48 and in other locations, it has a big role in daily life.

I'm extremely proud to serve with all of you here on freedom's front lines and thank you again for your collective efforts to support the many missions and people of Team JBER. Please take time to put the true meaning of Memorial Day first and foremost as we take time to reset and re-charge. And, as always, have a plan, have fun, know your limits ... we look forward to seeing everyone back after the holiday.

Commander of Navy Recruiting Command Visits Seattle

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist John Lill, Navy Recruiting District Seattle

SEATTLE (NNS) -- Rear Adm. Annie B. Andrews, commander, Navy Recruiting Command (CNRC) received a warm welcome from the Sailors and staff of Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Seattle during her visit, June 2-3.

Andrews started her two-day engagement trip with a meet and greet with community influencers from area high schools, universities, Navy League and businesses who serve as a critical network with Navy recruiting. Among those in attendance was a familiar face to the admiral. Retired Capt. Kathryn Hobbs who, served as commanding officer of Naval Station Great Lakes during Andrews' tenure as commanding officer of Recruit Training Command and now serves as the executive director of the Washington State PTA, was all smiles as her friend entered the room.

"It was great to see the admiral, (those of us who served with her), knew she was special and would one day become a flag officer," said Hobbs. "The ability she has to make everyone she meets, feel that they are an important part of the mission, coupled with her outstanding professionalism, truly were and are her strengths."

After thanking them for their continued support, Andrews took a moment to reenlist Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Joshua Scheiderer. Scheiderer, who reenlisted for six years, brought his family and parents to witness the ceremony and were all recognized by Andrews and thanked for their support of his career.

"This was truly a surreal experience for me," said Scheiderer. "Admiral Andrews was my commanding officer when I went to boot camp and to have her as my reenlisting officer is one of the biggest honors of my career."

Later in the afternoon, Andrews participated in a media engagement with an interview on National Public Radio where she discussed the challenges of recruiting today and why the Navy is best of the services.

"Today's generation want to serve, they want to make a difference and contribute in the world and the Navy is the best service as we are truly a global force for good," said Andrews. "We are the first called on to provide humanitarian assistance around the world when disaster strikes and I feel that really speaks to those we recruit today."

Wrapping up her first day, Andrews attended a Future Sailor meeting at Navy Recruiting Station (NRS) Kent where she spoke to 23 of the Navy's recruits, several of whom were heading to recruit training in the next 60 days. She expressed her thanks in their willing to serve and be part of a greater cause.

On June 3, she visited recruiters stationed in Bellevue, Tukwila, Tacoma and Olympia. Throughout her visit, Andrews thanked the Sailors and support staff for their continuing efforts to recruit the best and brightest men and women that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. In addition to talking to each Sailor, she also wanted to know what her headquarters can do to assist and improve the process of recruiting.

During her visit to NRS Olympia, Andrews had the opportunity to address 35 future Sailors and their parents.

"While at boot camp you are going to meet people from all different walks of life, all with varied backgrounds, but they all joined to be part of something special and greater," said Andrews. "Thank you for choosing to serve and thank you parents for your presence here today. I am certain you are as proud of these young men and women as I am."

CNRC consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions and 26 Navy Recruiting Districts which serve more than 1,500 recruiting stations across the country.

With 70 percent of the world covered in water, 80 percent of the world's population living near coasts and 90 percent of the world's commerce traveling by water, America's Navy is very much a global force for good. CNRC's mission is to recruit the best men and women for America's Navy to accomplish today's missions and meet tomorrow's challenges.

USNH GTMO Optometrist Recognized Navywide

By Stacey Byington, U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY (NNS) -- Lt. Cmdr. Emily Sprague, the optometrist for U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, has been recognized as the Navy's Junior Optometrist of the Year.

Sprague was recommended for the honor by Cmdr. Kevin Moore, optometrist at Naval Medical Center San Diego, saying "She is an exceptional officer who consistently exemplifies Navy optometry's mission to support the operational forces," said Cmdr. Kevin Moore, optometrist at Naval Medical Center San Diego, who recommended her foth e awrd. "She demonstrates the excellence expected in the Navy on a daily basis, and represents the highest standards of performance as an optometrist, officer, and leader."

The Navy's Specialty Leader for Optometry, Capt. Penny E. Walter, MSC, USN, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, made the announcement to Optometrists Navywide.

"Lt. Cmdr. Sprague has consistently demonstrated outstanding clinical skills, emphasizing exceptional customer service and access to care for beneficiaries," said Moore. "She is a proven leader in optometry."

After graduating from optometry school in 2004, Sprague served at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, California; at Naval Health Clinic Hawaii, where she served as the department head of the largest OCONUS optometry department in Navy Medicine; completed her residency in ocular disease at Baltimore Veterans Affairs Hospital; and in addition to her current duties, also serves as the hospital's director of Clinical Support Services.

"My Dad encouraged me to consider the Navy as an option as I planned to enter Optometry school," said Sprague. "I received a four-year Navy Health Services Collegiate Program Scholarship, and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. My time in the Navy has definitely broadened my horizons and provided so many outstanding opportunities for professional development that would not have been possible otherwise."

Moore's recommendation reiterated Sprague's dedication to the optometry profession.

"She is a 13-year member of the American Optometric Association and a nine-year member of the Armed Forces Optometric Society," he said. "She was selected in 2012 as the Navy's representative on the American Academy of Optometry's Fellowship Admittance Committee, reviewing candidate submissions for fellowship and providing feedback. She was also named as the Southern College of Optometry's Young Alumnus of the Year in 2013."

"The Navy Medicine Optometry community is filled with professionals who work hard every day to ensure the vision readiness and eye health needs of our warfighters and all beneficiaries are served," said Sprague. "I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition given the many others who are most deserving."

"The Navy allows me to practice to the fullest scope of my training, which benefits both me and my patients," she added. "Prescribing a young child their first pair of glasses and hearing that they have begun to excel in reading at school, or removing an ocular foreign body and providing immediate pain relief will never get old. I love my job!"