Thursday, November 13, 2014

December Programming and Santa

Aboard the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA
WILMINGTON, NC – The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA announces the programming schedule for December, 2014.

Battleship Alive
Saturday, December 6, 2014
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Included with Paid Admission

Since 1997, the Living History Crew weekends have been a tradition at the battleship in the program called "Battleship Alive."  The Living History Crew provides insight into the daily life and routine of the crew aboard the USS NORTH CAROLINA by explaining the duties specific to the sailor's ratings (jobs) and demonstrates activities that occurred aboard the ship.  A great event for all ages. Bring your questions and cameras! Included with Battleship admission.

A Verry Merry Showboat
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Times: 10:00 am – Noon, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Free with Battleship admission

Enjoy a new holiday tradition! Kids can fly a flag with Santa (bring your own or buy a US or NC flag from the Battleship’s store). Santa and the Battleship’s Captain will sign your certificate of authenticity. Type your Christmas wish list on a vintage typewriter using authentic WWII USS NORTH CAROLINA radio message paper. Call the North Pole in the Battleship’s main radio room. See Santa’s journey being tracked in the Combat Information Center. Create Christmas cards for veterans in VA hospitals. And MORE! Bring your camera for some unique photo opps! A great way to start your holiday season!

The Battleship would like to thank the event partners: Battleship Living History Crew, Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club, American Red Cross and Friends of the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA for helping make the program possible.

About the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA
The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is self-supporting, not tax supported and relies primarily upon admissions to tour the Ship, sales in the Ship's Store, donations and investments. No funds for its administration and operation come from appropriations from governmental entities at the local, state or federal levels. Located at the junction of Highways 17/74/76/421 on the Cape Fear River.   Visit or follow us on and for more information. Relive with the crew on the Battleship Blog The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is an historic site within the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (

Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge Underway

From an Armed Services Blood Program News Release

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2014 – The annual Armed Services Blood Program Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge is officially underway, according to an Armed Services Blood Program news release issued Oct. 30.

This year, the release said, the ASBP will conduct more than a dozen blood drives all across the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area where units collected will help determine which service will win bragging rights and a trophy for the most units of blood donated to the ASBP.

The challenge, the release added, will be capped off with an on-field award to the winner during the third quarter of the Army-Navy football game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, Dec. 13.

Saving Lives Through Blood Donations

Navy Capt. Roland Fahie, ASBP director, noted that the famous Army-Navy rivalry is a great way to encourage donors to roll up their sleeves and donate blood.

“Obviously, sailors and soldiers alike are all looking forward to the football game in December,” Fahie said. “But the exciting part of this challenge is the amount of blood that is collected for the Armed Services Blood Program and how many lives can be saved because of those donations.”

"Blood is a valuable resource that stands ready to support in a time of need,” said Army Lt. Col. Audra Taylor, director of the Army Blood Program. “The timing of this challenge is key as we work together to support our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines -- both at home and abroad -- during this holiday season. I challenge everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to support the Armed Services Blood Program."

Blood Donor Challenge’s Fourth Year

This is the fourth year that the ASBP has conducted the challenge in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. In 2013, nearly 1,500 donors rolled up their sleeves and 827 units of lifesaving blood were collected. The goal for the 2014 challenge is to collect 910 units of blood.

"The Navy Blood Program is fired up for the Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge this year. We know how important blood donations are for saving lives, especially around the holidays when many donors are on leave,” said Navy Cmdr. Leslie Riggs, director of the Navy Blood Program. “This is a great way to show support for your service and to help make sure that the Armed Services Blood Program can continue to provide safe, quality blood and blood products to service members, retirees and their families without interruption.”

Army-Navy Rivalry

Over the course of the three previous blood donor challenges, the Navy has taken a slight edge over the Army in terms of wins. The Navy won in 2011 and 2012, but the Army won in 2013. Which service will win this year? Only time will tell.

“I am looking forward to bringing the Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge trophy back home to the Navy this year,” Riggs said. “But we need all the support we can get from Navy donors to make that happen. Go Navy! Beat Army!"

The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment on Fort Myer, Virginia, -- more commonly known as the “Old Guard” -- was the Army location with the most donations during last year’s challenge. According to Army Col. Johnny K. Davis, regimental commander, the “Old Guard” is ready to battle for the win again.

“We’ve already cleared a spot for this year’s trophy,” Davis joked.

“The regiment fully supports the ASBP and is ready to take on the Navy for this extremely important mission,” the colonel said. “I’ve seen firsthand how important blood transfusions are in saving lives. During combat operations in Afghanistan, many of my severely wounded soldiers received blood transfusions from the ASBP, and it saved their lives! The Army vs. Navy Blood Donor Challenge is a great way to promote and support the ASBP -- they do so much for all the services and for our families.”

The challenge kicked off Nov. 3, and will take place at 14 blood drives in the Washington, D.C., metro area, with the last blood drive held Dec. 10. All drives are open to individuals with proper identification who are able to access the blood drive facility, unless otherwise noted.

Dates, Locations

Blood drive dates, locations include:

-- Thursday, Nov. 13: U.S. Naval Academy, Dahlgren Center, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Annapolis, Maryland;

-- Monday, Nov. 17: Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Sanford Library, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Bethesda, Maryland;

-- Tuesday, Nov. 18: Navy Yard, Sail Loft Building 105/112, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Washington, D.C.;

-- Thursday, Nov. 20: Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, Building 40, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., West Bethesda, Maryland. (Closed to the general public);

-- Monday, Nov. 24: Fort Belvoir USO Warrior and Family Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Belvoir, Virginia;

-- Tuesday, Nov. 25: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Building 9 Mezzanine level, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bethesda, Maryland;

-- Monday, Dec. 1: Marine Base Quantico, Barber Fitness Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Quantico, Virginia;

-- Tuesday, Dec. 2: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Recreation Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Aberdeen, Maryland;

-- Wednesday, Dec. 3: Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Base Fitness Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Myer, Virginia;

-- Monday, Dec. 8: NSA Dahlgren, Dowell Community House, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Dahlgren, Virginia; (Closed to the general public); and

-- Tuesday, Dec. 9: Fort Belvoir, USO Warrior and Family Center, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

An Appeal for Blood Donors

Military blood program leadership is requesting the recruitment of donors be limited to 150 presenting donors at each challenge drive this year. This will help ensure blood is not over-collected, therefore donors are urged to make appointments early. To help make sure your service takes home the top honors this year, visit to schedule an appointment to donate.

“Good luck to both services!” Fahie said. “No matter who takes home the trophy on game day, remember that the real winners are the recipients of the blood you donated. Your donation truly is lifesaving.”

For more information about any of the blood drives participating in the challenge, contact Vikki Fernette, ASBP blood donor recruiter for the Armed Services Blood Bank Center in Bethesda, Maryland, at 301-295-2109 or email

About the Armed Services Blood Program

Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP staff works closely with their civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure.

To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest.

145th Airlift Wing remembers, celebrates Veterans Day

by Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/11/2014 - CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Around the country Veterans Day is celebrated to pay tribute to the men and women in the Armed Forces, both past and present who heroically served and are still serving our nation.

The word veteran may bring to mind someone who served in World War I or II, or in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, but after the terrorist attacks of 9-11, many young men and women volunteered not just to serve their country but to serve and protect their state as well by joining the National Guard.

The National Guard are citizen-Soldiers and Airmen; volunteering to serve their country; American veterans. They come from all parts of the Nation and all walks of life. They're men, women, mothers and fathers. They're sons and daughters, sisters and brothers.

For those who serve in the North Carolina Air National Guard, these veterans could be your next door neighbor, a cashier at the grocery store, the professor at the college your daughters attend or the dentist you saw last week. One day you're saying hi to them at the mail box then they are gone, returning sometimes up to a year later, from serving on another deployment.

They are diverse and unique. They have missions serving their state and helping their communities. Whether it's responding to floods in North Carolina or to hurricanes in Florida or wildfires in California they serve proudly with no reservations.

Last week more than 90 NCANG Airmen returned home from Qatar, where they flew humanitarian supply air drops on Mount Sinjar in Iraq. They conducted several resupply airdrops to the Iraqi Security Forces and engaged in battle with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

They are proud to be part of an elite group of service members who have served honorably in response to our State and Nation's call to arms.

So on Veteran's Day as the nation pays tribute to its veteran's so do the men and women of the North Carolina Air National Guard pay tribute to their brothers and sisters in arms, past and present, honoring all for setting the example of serving our state and country helping to establish a legacy and proud tradition upon which the North Carolina Air National Guard is built.

14th FS flies to Komatsu for ATR

by Staff Sgt. Alyssa C. Wallace
35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/13/2014 - KOMATSU AIR BASE, Japan  -- More than 120 Airmen from Misawa Air Base, Japan, arrived here Nov. 7 to conduct training with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force as part of the Aviation Training Relocation Program.

Implemented in 2006, the ATR program allows U.S. and Japanese forces to further enhance their interoperability and joint partnership by conducting training away from the U.S. forces' home station, while also providing a noise respite for those living near the U.S. Air Force installations of the units participating in ATRs throughout Japan.

The 35th Fighter Wing Wild Weasels participate in the program two to four times per year, depending on U.S. and Japan aviation training and deployment schedules.

While at Komatsu, the 14th FS works directly with JASDF operations and maintenance personnel to conduct mission planning, briefing, flight execution and debriefing.

Even more, the bilateral training conducted during this specific ATR is in concurrence with Keen Sword -- an exercise held once every two years to test how U.S. and Japanese forces work together.

According to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Cohen, 14th FS commander, building trust on this level is the foundation for confidence at the operational and strategic levels, both of which are necessary to ensure a strong relationship between both countries.

"Modern technology and tactics are complex, and close integration with our Japanese partners allows us to recognize deficiencies and point toward solutions," Cohen said. "The intent is to identify breakdowns in integration, interoperability and tactics, so we don't experience them during actual combat operations. This also helps our operators at the tactical level build trust and confidence in our Japanese partners."

JASDF Lt. Gen. Toshiya Okabe, Ground Self Defense Force deputy chief of joint staff, was on hand to watch F-16s take off for the first day of ATR missions and received a brief detail of the F-16's capabilities from Cohen and maintainers.

"I feel our partnership with U.S. forces is very tight, and they are very well trained ... it is very reassuring to have them as a partner," Okabe said. "The F-16 is an aircraft I have always been interested in for the missions it does."

Although the ATR and Keen Sword are two separate events, the 14th Fighter Squadron's mission as suppression of enemy air defenses and defensive/offensive counter air will stay the same throughout training.

"I am excited for the pilots in my squadron to gain experience flying at a new airfield, in new airspace, with new procedures," Cohen said. "This environment will provide several large force employment events which simulate combat realism. I expect all deployed 14th FS personnel to maximize their opportunity to learn from their Japanese counterparts."

FIP vehicles arrive on MAFB

by Airman 1st Class Sahara L. Fales
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

11/10/2014 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Minot Air Force Base received three new Dodge Ram 2500s and 12 new Ford F-150s in October as a part of the Force Improvement Program's initiative to provide more positive, rapid and substantial changes within the ICBM and bomber missions.

Minot AFB is expecting to receive nine additional Ford F-150 pickup trucks and two more Dodge Ram 2500s. They will be utilized by 91st Missile Wing Airmen who travel out to missile sites for crew changeover.

"It'll be an enormous improvement for the missile wing," said Art Nyberg, 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle fleet maintenance control and analysis manager.

At approximately seven years old, the other vehicles have experienced wear and tear from the unique mission and weather Minot has.

"When the older vehicles have to haul up to four people out at a time, plus all of the winter and survival gear, it can overload the vehicle," said Nyberg. "The new pickups are 4-wheel drive and half-ton, therefore they won't be overloaded. They are a lot safer for the Airmen and a much better fit for our mission."

From a design standpoint alone, the vehicles that are being replaced couldn't handle the mission that was needed of them, said Master Sgt. Jon Hoffman, 5th LRS production superintendent.

Because the old vehicles weren't designed to be on Minot's dirt roads consistently, driving along the roads full of gear and Airmen has worn down the suspension and transmissions over time.

Being able to receive the new vehicles will be a huge boost to morale and improve the logistics of the mission considerably, Nyberg explained.

"The FIP was the momentum we needed to make it happen," Nyberg said.

So far, the FIP initiative has allotted approximately $750,000 for the vehicles supporting the Minot mission.  In addition to the vehicles, Minot AFB also received 21 camper shells for the Ford F-150 trucks.

Ebola-zone Troops’ Health Remains Top Concern, Official Says

By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2014 – Ensuring that U.S. personnel dispatched to West Africa to help stop the spread of Ebola don’t contract the deadly disease remains the U.S. military’s top priority, a senior Defense Department official said today, as the first group of military personnel deployed to Africa as part of Operation United Assistance were set to return to the United States.

“Our government has deployed a top-notch team experienced in dealing with disasters and humanitarian assistance,” Michael D. Lumpkin, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“In all circumstances, the protection of our personnel and the prevention of any additional transmission of the disease remain paramount planning factors,” Lumpkin told the House panel.

Preventing the Spread of Ebola

The World Health Organization says more than 5,100 people have died of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea since March. New cases have now been reported in Mali where at least four deaths are reported, and today Lumpkin described the disease as potentially having an impact on U.S national security.

“Absent our government’s coordinated response in West Africa,” he said, “the virus’s spread brings the risk of more cases here in the United States.”

More than 2,200 U.S military personnel are now in West Africa as part of Operation United Assistance to support U.S. and international efforts to stop the spread of what health care officials have said is the world’s worst Ebola outbreak.

Troops Return from Liberia

The first group of military personnel to return home from the affected area were set to arrive today at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, aboard a military flight after being deployed to Liberia, according to a statement issued today by Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. He said none of the 84 returning service members show symptoms of Ebola, but that all will be placed under a controlled monitoring regime for 21 days. Even though they have not been involved in directly treating Ebola patients, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has accepted a recommendation made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff that all returning military personnel be monitored for three weeks as a precautionary measure.

In his statement, Kirby said those returning will be medically screened and transported to a controlled monitoring area at a secluded site and will continue to receive twice-daily screenings during the 21-day monitoring period. The 51 Air Force, 27 Navy, four Marines and two Army personnel will be able to communicate with family by telephone and electronic means during the period.