Military News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Super Bowl Participants to Troops: ‘You’re the Real Heroes’



By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

GLENDALE, Ariz., Jan. 27, 2015 – With the National Football League’s all-star game in the rear-view mirror, anticipation for the league’s championship -- the final pro football game of the year -- begins.

The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, the teams preparing to square off Feb. 1 in Super Bowl XLIX, shared their appreciation for U.S. service members serving overseas during media availabilities here yesterday.

Pete Carroll, head coach of the defending champion Seahawks, assured troops the team understands the sacrifice they are making.

“We want to make sure that you understand that the Seahawks know the work that you’re doing,” he said. “We just want to be more like you guys -- we herald the work that you do and the attitude that you bring. I know that the Super Bowl is really exciting to watch. It’s extremely exciting for us too, but if we could be a little bit more like you guys, we have a chance to win this thing.”

Carroll promised his team’s best effort. “So enjoy the heck out of it, and we’ll be thinking about you, and I hope you guys really enjoy the game,” he said.

Players Express Appreciation

Several players from both Super Bowl teams also joined in expressing their appreciation.

Kam Chancellor, a strong safety for the defending champs, offered not only his thanks, but also the gratitude of the team’s fans, who have a moniker that reflects their contribution to the efforts of the 11 Seahawks who are on the field at any given time.

“All the love from the Seahawks, [and] from the [12th man],” he said. “Kam Chancellor right here, man, wishing you the best.”

K.J. Wright, a Seahawks linebacker, said the team plans to “come out there Sunday and put on a good performance for you guys. Stay safe out there.”

His teammate, defensive end Cliff Avril, offered a “big” shoutout on behalf of the team and said the Seahawks hope to put on a show for the troops during the Super Bowl in appreciation of everything they do.

Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty also said his team hopes to put on a good show and thanked service members for everything they do. Matthew Slater, a wide receiver and special teams player for the American Football Conference champions, shared his gratitude for being able to play football for a living.

“Just want to give you guys a big hello,” he said. “And [we] appreciate all that you do for us, allowing us the freedom to play this great game of football that we love so much. You guys are the real heroes; we tip our hats to you. God bless you guys, and stay safe over there.”

Vince Wilfork, a Patriots defensive tackle, said U.S. troops are the “true patriots.”

“Thank you for everything you guys do for us,” he said. “You guys are the true patriots. You are everything we want [to be], so thank you for all the service you guys provide for us.”

Scott Airmen train on Transport Isolation System

by Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
375th Air Mobility Wing, Public Affairs


1/27/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Members of the 375th and 932nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons here began familiarization training on a Transport Isolation System Monday, which was unveiled to the world Jan. 23.

The TIS, which was unveiled after 60 days of planning, developing and testing, provides the Department of Defense with the capability to air transport multiple patients affected by highly contagious diseases, including Ebola.

The U.S. Transportation Command led the effort, citing the need to be able to move the nation's military members and their patients safely.

"Our approach was if we are going to put military members in harm's way, the capacity to move a single patient at a time was insufficient to the mission we were asking our team to do," said USTRANSCOM commander, Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva.

Previous to the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa, policy dictated that those who contracted infectious diseases would be treated in country. That is not the case anymore, which led USTRANSCOM to author a Joint Urgent Operational Needs statement that challenged the defense engineering community to come up with an operational solution for the requirement to move both the patient and the caretakers appropriately aboard military aircraft.

Currently the TIS is configurable to the C-17 and C-130 aircraft, with the first four isolation systems to be staged at Joint Base Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, where it is now ready for operational use. Each module is roughly 9 feet by 7.5 feet, is 8.5 feet tall and weighs less than 1,500 pounds, about the size of a minivan.

With $7 million in funding, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency began leading the development of the capability in October while the Joint Project Manager for Protection led system acquisitions.
A St. Louis-based company called Production Products, Inc., was awarded the contract and the proximity of the company allowed aeromedical evacuation experts to consult and provide feedback during the development of the equipment.

Capt. Michelle Pierson, a Flight Nurse Evaluator for Air Mobility Command, was one of the many Team Scott members who has been and will continue to advise the company on the equipment. She is also one of the members responsible for writing all the new regulations and guidance for AMC.

"Many Scott entities went down to the company in charge of building the equipment to let the company know how the equipment needed to interface with the aircraft, patients, and the Center for Disease Control guidelines, with safety being paramount," she said. "Scott AFB also provided equipment such as litters, pallets and configuration limitations."

In December, the initial units were manufactured and the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center conducted tests at Charleston and Eglin AFB, Florida. Two AE teams from Charleston and a team from the 375th AES were selected to receive the initial five days of training on the equipment at Charleston.

"The training was rigorous, but after receiving it, the teams are very confident we could complete the mission it is designed for," said Maj. Elizabeth Norris, 375th AES, flight nurse.

"We went through a whole day of learning the proper protocols with the infectious disease doctors right by our side every step of the way. We went through the pre-flight process, how to enter and exit while carrying a patient litter and practiced doing the mission in full protective gear as if we were in the air on a C-17. This system itself is not isolated to treating just one type of infectious disease."

While there we many moving parts and multiple entities all working together to make this happen quickly, one aspect that assisted with production was that the company was able to use several "pre-approved" parts, such as lights and generators, that were already tested for air worthiness, said Eric Nikolai, DTRA Liaison Officer to USTRANSCOM who coordinated the integrated efforts on the project.

In addition, the TIS is based on existing military patient support pallets. Each unit has a disposable liner and an air filtration system which circulates air in. The TIS maintains a negative interior pressure to keep contaminants inside the chamber. An alarm sounds if negative pressure is lost. The system has ports for the medical team to run sensor cables, oxygen lines and lines for other equipment, and a minor repair kit is included.

Maj. William Thoms, AMC Surgeon General office, explained that the TIS is composed of an anteroom module and either one or two isolation modules, based on the number of patients.  The staff will enter with protective gear on and remove it in the antechamber prior to exiting the aircraft.  The pallets can be configured with passenger seats, litters or both; the standard configuration is for two seats and one litter.

In all 25 units will be built for the DoD. USTRANSCOM will direct employment through AMC, its Air Force component. Charleston AFB will soon receive the first three production units for training and staging in case they are needed. Other eventual staging locations for the TIS will be developed following delivery based on ongoing world events.

"Now we have the capacity to isolate a single person and provide tactical and strategic worldwide patient transport capability in case of a biological event," said Selva. "It is the only capability of its kind other than the small-scale single evacuation capability that's available on commercial carriers."

Kadena members attend first SAP Summit



by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
18th Wing Public Affairs


1/27/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Two Team Kadena members attended the first Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention Summit held Jan. 12 through 17 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

Approximately 150 other Air Force representatives from bases around the globe attended the five-day summit to learn about and share their best ideas on how to take a stand against sexual assault.

"I think the conference is an important step as we look to permanently shift the Air Force culture to one which embraces and emphasizes persistent focus at all times on dignity, respect and inclusiveness for all of our Airmen," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "By the end of the week, we will all have a better understanding of sexual assault prevention and with your help, we can look at ways to operationalize prevention policy and tactics."

Participants consisted of active-duty, guard and reserve Airmen and civilian employees who were joined by top Air Force officials, including Maj. Gen. Gina Grosso, Office of Sexual Assault Preventions and Response director, and Gen. Larry Spencer, Air Force vice chief of staff.

The first-of-its-kind event was conducted in civilian attire to encourage open dialogue regardless of rank. The audience participated in discussions that included healthy sexuality behavior, masculinity, understanding the role of alcohol and more.

"The SAPR Summit was very informative," said Michael Knuth, 18th Communications Squadron unit program coordinator, who attended the summit. "It was just too bad that everyone could not attend. It changed a lot of misconceptions I had about sexual assault. Our main topic of discussion was prevention, and the first thing that comes to our minds is, 'how do we protect the potential victim?'"

Sexual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. In order to deny offenders an opportunity to strike in the first place, it requires a community that is actively looking out for indications of danger to protect one another.

As the week progressed, Airmen and civilian counterparts became more open to sharing their unique perspectives and experiences on sexual assault prevention, Knuth said.

"It was a subject that seemed to be taboo and not easily talked about," he continued. "I think I was very lucky to attend the summit. With open communication, it seemed every moment provided an 'ah-ha' opportunity.  I have learned a lot, become more aware and it has encouraged me to want to learn more."

Audience members left the summit empowered with a broader body of knowledge about stopping sexual assault. Knuth has already shared what he learned with the Kadena Air Base, Japan, SAPR team, helping them to improve their prevention strategy. However, even with new insights taken from the summit, the local Sexual Assault and Response Coordinator office can't solve the problem alone.

"There are people out there who have great ideas of how we can reach out to everybody on base and come up with ways to prevent sexual assault," said Capt. Elizabeth Belleau, 18th Wing SARC, "We can sit here all day and think about what we think would work, but until we reach out and hear what others have to say, that's where we are going to find what really works."

Talking about sexual assault is not unusual; it is necessary. Through speaking up and intervening at the very first indicators of sexual harassment and aggression, sexual assault can be deterred before the offender has the opportunity to cause harm. The war on sexual assault applies to all Airmen and it is won through awareness, enabling the professional development of warriors and support for the community they protect.

Battaglia Readies for Enlisted, Counterpart Visit in Asia



By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2015 – As the Defense Department’s highest ranking enlisted leader primes for his visit to military installations in the Far East, he stressed the importance of having an “American footprint” there given the United States’ long-standing relationship with Korea and Japan.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Feb. 1-12 schedule includes town halls, unit and organization command visits in the area of responsibility, and engagement at dining facilities and physical training sessions.

Action-packed Itinerary

“All of that will provide opportunities and venues for me to engage, not necessarily to transmit, but to receive,” Battaglia said. “And we have an action-packed itinerary that keeps us on the move.”

The sergeant major emphasized that being a good listener, especially to younger enlisted service members, is a major element of the job.

“You can collect assessments of how things are going for them out there from an operational to an administrative perspective,” Battaglia explained. “Those problems can only get solved if you know about them, and you want to make life better for them tomorrow than it was today.”

As the rebalance to the Pacific continues, Battaglia said he recognizes the plight of junior enlisted, whose first duty station might be in an unfamiliar environment where tension exists, such as between North Korea and South Korea.

“It’s sometimes very challenging for a young service member, regardless of branch, that they walk right into that environment and have to survive and succeed there,” Battaglia said.

Of visiting his counterparts, Battaglia said he’s “no stranger” to the Republic of Korea or Japan, but he acknowledges the virtues of exchanging information with fellow senior enlisted advisors.

“This isn’t only a matter of the United States, or my office or the U.S. [noncommissioned officer] corps,” the sergeant major said. “Displaying how a military should operate doesn’t mean we have all the right answers, so in our quest for self-improvement, there are ideas and practices from those two nations’ militaries we can learn from.”

Exchange and Collaboration

Battagalia said he’d like to explore Korea’s and Japan’s capabilities through avenues such as an exchange program. “Although education takes place in both locations, nothing’s limiting the opportunity for the ROK or Japanese ground self-defense force NCOs and petty officers to have some exchange agreement with the United States military regarding our enlisted, senior enlisted and petty officer academies,” he said.

The sergeant major said he’s also interested in collaborating with his counterparts to tackle daunting issues such as suicide. “The interchanging of dialogue is crucial,” he said. “… For all I know they may be doing something that’s very successful that we haven’t tried, and vice versa.”

Of training matters, the sergeant major said he’d also like to gauge the efficacy of U.S. military involvement with the Japanese self-defense force and the Republic of Korea.

“We train for one thing – and that’s the real deal,” Battaglia said. “Are [Japan and Korea] really feeling the positives about the training and exercises they go through with us as a bilateral nation?”

From a broader perspective, Battaglia also stressed that the United States’ commitment to NATO will remain strong in the Pacific Rim.

“The future I see is bright in the Pacific … but sprinkled with uncertainty, which there is all over the world,” Battaglia said. “Though we’re ready, trained, equipped, and can answer the call because we know the game very well.”

Still, the sergeant major asserts that critical partnership capacity is stable and will continue to grow.

“[Engagement] is a popular and effective technique and capability that we are going to continue to use … and that is not just with Japan and Korea, but other nations throughout the Pacific,” Battaglia said. “We can help them build their capacity and capabilities and should they need to answer the call of their own nation, they can do it much better tomorrow than they [could] yesterday.”