Military News

Monday, March 09, 2015

Winnefeld: DMZ Provides Reminder Why Military Defends Freedoms



By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

PANMUNJOM, Korea, March 9, 2015 – The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Korea's demilitarized zone yesterday, where soldiers from North Korea and South Korea have stared each other down for more than six decades after an armistice ended hostilities of the Korean War.

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. said the tour is a powerful reminder of just why American service men and women give so much to defend the freedom of the nation.

Winnefeld is leading a USO delegation of celebrities who are circumnavigating the globe in just over a week to bring cheer to deployed troops. After visiting in Europe and making their way through Bahrain, Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, South Korea was their last foreign call before heading for their final show in Hawaii.

He said he took the celebrities to the DMZ so they could gain a deeper understanding of the freedoms that the men and women of the U.S. armed forces and allied nations are fighting to defend -- and for the service and sacrifice of those who fought and died defending freedom in the Korean War.

The role of celebrities as goodwill ambassadors also is to greet the troops who are deployed so far from home, the admiral said.

Earlier in the day, at Osan Air Base, South Korea, Air Force Col. Brook Leonard, the 51st Fighter Wing commander, succinctly described the U.S. role in the region:

"Our grandparents fought and died together for freedom, and we continue to guard that freedom," he said.

North Korea Watches Delegation

Army Col. James Minnich, the secretary of the United Nations Command, Military Armistice Commission, briefed Winnefeld and the group and took them through the fortified DMZ area.

UNCMAC supervises the armistice agreement, which was signed in 1953 and created the DMZ that serves as a buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea.

"It is in U.S. best interests that things continue to progress over here, Minnich said. “Our presence here and our alliance ensure that stability."

When Winnefeld and the celebrities reached the inside portion of the Joint Security Area conference row, North Korean soldiers rushed to the windows on the North Korean side and furiously snapped photos of occupants inside.

The North Koreans will try to identify who was visiting the area, Minnich explained.

Winnefeld's guests included Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro, actor Dennis Haysbert, Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev, “American Idol” season 11 winner Phillip Phillips, and former “American Idol” contestants Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo, now a married couple.

The celebrities had lunch with U.S. and South Korean soldiers at the Joint Security Area to boost morale and bring a slice of home to the American troops.

The service and sacrifice of those who fought in the Korean War is a reminder of the price of freedom, Winnefeld said, proudly noting how his father was among those who fought in the conflict.

"My father served in the Navy in the Korean War and actually directed naval gunfire and his boat was hit, so he's seen this conflict right up front," Winnefeld said.

Luck's grandfather was a Marine Corps engineer in the Korean War.

"He used to tell stories about how he was deployed a couple months before the cease-fire started," he said.

The NFL star said he grew up with stories from his grandfather about how he helped to build the first 15 miles of the DMZ, and saw prisoner exchanges and the minefields being set up.

In advance of this trip, Luck said, he and his grandfather spoke multiple times and went over maps and photographs of the area.

"It's a bit surreal to be here," he said, noting that he looks forward to discussing the visit with his grandfather.

"I need to have a very extensive, lengthy, detailed report ready for him, … or else," Luck said with a chuckle.

Service Members Stand Ready

A little more than 28,000 U.S. service members are in South Korea. About 92 percent of those service members are on a one-year tour without their families, Leonard said.

"There is sacrifice to do that, but that sacrifice over the last 60-plus years since the armistice was signed has resulted in incredible prosperity in South Korea," he said.

The United States and its South Korean partners have done "an amazing amount of nation building," Leonard said.

The hope over time, he added, is that North Korea and South Korea will come together as one state or in other ways.

"It could be two separate states, but no longer at 'pause' but actually interacting," he said. "Who knows how that will play out? But it is our hope that it plays out in a very peaceful way."

Visitors to the DMZ will see the stark contrast between the sides, he said. A photograph from space shows South Korea vibrant and lit up at night, while North Korea is dark -- in a literal and figurative sense, Leonard said.

"It's pretty incredible to see how literally the relationship, the war, basically got put on pause, and so we say we are at 'pause' and not at peace," he said.

"We are here for basically the specific reason is to guard the freedom of 51 million people," he added. "We prioritize readiness to make sure we are ready to fight tonight."

The U.S. armed forces have been serving in Korea since the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950. The armistice was signed July 27, 1953.

"They signed an armistice, and we continue to reinforce that armistice every day -- every day -- by making sure that we're as ready as possible as we can be," Leonard said.

48th CBRN Brigade Soldiers Prepare for Liberia Deployment



By Walter T. Ham IV
20th CBRNE Command

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2015 – The 48th Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Brigade’s headquarters will deploy to Liberia to command the reminding American forces supporting the U.S. effort to help contain the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

The brigade cased its colors during a ceremony at the 3rd Corps headquarters here today prior to its first deployment since being activated in 2007.

As many U.S. troops now deployed there return home from the Ebola mission in Liberia, the Fort Hood-based 48th CBRN Brigade will replace the Army’s 101st Airborne Division as the joint forces headquarters.

Brigade to Support USAID

The brigade will support the U.S. Agency for International Development and provide oversight of any required follow-on capabilities. Other response functions are being transitioned to civilian personnel.

"Troops are coming home, but the United States is not leaving West Africa," said Army Col. Sven Erichsen, the brigade’s commander.

"The civilian-led response will actually grow in size and number in the weeks ahead, to continue the fight against Ebola until there are zero cases," said Erichsen, a native of Forest Grove, Oregon.

The brigade is a part of the 20th CBRNE Command, the Defense Department's only formation that combats global chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives threats.

Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to more than 85 percent of the active U.S. Army's CBRNE capabilities, including two explosive ordnance disposal groups, one chemical brigade, nuclear disablement teams, CBRNE coordination elements, expeditionary laboratories, remediation and consequence management units.

Another 20th CBRNE Command formation, the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, or 1st AML, deployed to Liberia in October 2014. The 1st AML commanded Task Force Scientist, a joint task force that operated six Ebola testing laboratories in Liberia.

Demonstrating Flexibility

Army Brig. Gen. JB Burton, commanding general of the 20th CBRNE Command, said the 48th CBRN Brigade and 1st AML deployments demonstrate the flexibility of his one-of-a-kind command.

Burton said the two units’ deployments to Liberia “as part of the enduring U.S. commitment to understand and contain the Ebola virus” demonstrate that his command and the entire CBRNE enterprise must focus on more than weapons of mass destruction.

"We must be capable of and comfortable with operating effectively across the full spectrum of CBRNE hazards," he said.

In support of the U.S. Army's regional alignment efforts, the 48th CBRN Brigade serves with 3rd Corps in Europe, Africa and the Middle East; the 71st EOD Group operates with 1st Corps in the Asia Pacific region; and the 52nd EOD Group deploys with the 18th Airborne Corps on global response force missions.

"With the ever-evolving CBRNE threats facing our nation, we need to fully leverage and integrate all of our capabilities to confront and defeat CBRNE hazards," said Burton, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee.

"This deployment is another important first in the 20th CBRNE Command's history of service with distinction around the globe," Burton said.

2nd Bomb Wing support of Continuous Bomber Presence extends with unit swap-out

by Airman 1st Class Mozer O. Da Cunha
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


3/9/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -  -- Barksdale aircrew, maintainers and B-52H Stratofortresses deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, March 3 in support of U.S. Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence campaign.

PACOM's rotational strategic bomber presence in the region has surpassed its 10-year mark, providing a significant capability that enables our readiness and commitment to extended deterrence, assures our allies, and strengthens regional security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

"This time around, we are replacing our own brothers and sisters from the 96th Bomb Squadron," said Senior Master Sgt. Walter Leitnaker, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant superintendent. "The 20th Bomb Squadron and 20th Aircraft Maintenance Unit are rolling out to replace them."

One of the purposes of CBP is to provide nuclear deterrence and assurance to the region.

"Guam is a valuable and strategic location in the region. It's an asset to the U.S. and its allies in Asia and the Pacific," said Leitnaker. "Just having our presence there with a nuclear capable aircraft makes strategic sense for us."

While deployed, the 20th BS will perform many of the same missions already performed on Barksdale but under different command.

"Our mission is to provide that long strike capability to PACOM," said Lt. Col. Wade Karren, 20th Bomb Squadron director of operations. "The objective is to deter our adversaries and to assure our allies in the region, so we provide that stability in that area of responsibility."

Deployments like these not only provide the area of responsibility with nuclear deterrence but also gives Team Barksdale an opportunity to develop skills unique to the area.

"The operational side gives aircrew, maintenance and the support agencies the opportunity to operate in an expeditionary type of environment," said Karren. "We may not have all of the things that we have as comforts from home, but we still need to be able to do the mission; it gives us the flexibility that's really important for air power."

Continuing rotation of U.S. Air Force bombers to the Asia-Pacific region has been ongoing since March 2004 as the U.S. adjusted its force posture to maintain a prudent deterrent capability and with continuous presence the U.S.  validates its commitment to the region.

628th CES commander named 2015 Federal Engineer of the Year

by Seamus O'Boyle
628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


3/9/2015 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The National Society of Professional Engineers named Lt. Col. Patrick Miller, 628th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, as the nation's top federal engineer during a ceremony Feb. 26, 2015 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

"This is the second year in a row that the Air Force nominees have finished in the top 10 with one taking top honors," said Brig. Gen. Timothy Green, the director of the Air Force Civil Engineers, "This is a remarkable achievement that reflects highly upon the selectees, our civil engineer community and the U.S. Air Force."

The Federal Engineer of the Year Award, sponsored by the Professional Engineers in Government, is the only one of its kind that honors outstanding engineers employed by the federal government.

Miller and the other nominees were evaluated on factors such as, engineering achievements, education, professional and technical society activities, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities.

"Joint base Charleston is very fortunate to have Lt. Col. Miller as our 628th CES commander," said Capt. Timothy Sparks, Joint Base Charleston deputy commander. "This award is a true testament to his leadership, management and technical abilities that he aptly  applies as he leads his command team in providing the outstanding services to the base community."

As the 628th CES commander, Miller is responsible for a $3.2 billion physical plant which includes 1800 facilities, four runways, five piers, two wharfs, and 34 miles of rail across 24,000 acres, providing him with a unique portfolio for an Air Force engineer.

During a deployment to Afghanistan, Miller accomplished more than 150 outside the wire missions to lead a $161 million construction program essential to organizing, training and equipping the Afghan National Security Force. He also led construction of a $20 million Afghan Commando and Special Forces compound and the $99 million Afghan pilot training campus for 1,200 Afghan Air Force pilots.

Miller was most recently deployed to Guantanamo Bay, where he led a 42-person engineer team in the in operation and maintenance of detention facilities, as well as the Expeditionary Legal Complex, all in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo and the Office of Military Commissions.

Being named the NSPE's Federal Engineer of the Year was not something Miller could have anticipated.

"Considering the high level of competition from the many other federal agencies, this is truly a humbling experience and the award is really a tribute to all of the men and women with whom I have had the privilege to serve."

Miller will be recognized again during the NSPE 2015 Annual Convention in Seattle, Wash., July 15 to 19.

Base builds international relationships

by Senior Airman Janelle PatiƱo
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


3/9/2015 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Six Japanese nursing students and their instructors from Iwate Prefectural University in Morioka, Japan toured the base March 3.

They were here through Washington State University's Iwate Prefectural University Study Program to encourage interaction and learning and introduce them to new customs such as the military culture.

The students were able to see the 92nd Operations Support Squadron control tower, the 92nd Medical Group and the 92nd MDG Aerospace Physiology.

"We appreciate them for taking time out of their schedule to give us a chance to show our base and our clinic," said Maj.  Julie Anderson, 92nd Aerospace Medical Squadron flight medicine clinic nurse manager. "Their visit gave us a chance to share a particular view of military nursing that most people don't see such as the flight clinic, public health nursing and others."

According to Maiko Saito, an Iwate Prefectural University student, their visit on base was a good experience for them.

"It was my first time visiting a military base so I'd like to thank Fairchild for showing us a glimpse of what it is like to be a nurse in the military," she said. "Thank you also for giving us a chance to share the Japanese culture and lifestyle with your Airmen."

According to Anderson, the tour was one way for the base to continue good relationships with the community.

"Welcoming schools onto our base is one way of building a strong and long-lasting relationship with the community and it was an honor for me to be able to have given a chance to participate in one," Anderson said. "It's important for us to be good neighbors and citizens."

Elite, joint communications unit completes Warrior Spirit '15

by Senior Airman Ned T. Johnston
6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs


3/6/2015 - MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Joint Communications Support Element kicked off their annual exercise Warrior Spirit March 2 through March 6, 2015, on MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

The JCSE is an elite, specially trained group of communications experts with the unique mission to provide immediate deployment support to regional combatant commands within 72 hours, facilitating a full spectrum of global operations. They are among the first boots on the ground setting up forms of communications in U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Commands' area of responsibility.

"We're doing this training to make sure our teams are ready for whatever might come their way the next time they deploy," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Miller, JCSE troop sergeant. "Warrior Spirit is an awesome training tool, but it also gives us a way to gauge where the teams might need additional training."

Warrior Spirit started with two physical days, meant to tear the teams down physically and mentally and simulate the fatigue they would feel from long hours in a deployed location.

Teams completed numerous ruck marches, a 1.5-mile log carry, multiple laps rowing a boat through the waters of Hillsborough Bay, low crawl and buddy carry scenarios, an obstacle course, and shooting sequences to test weapon proficiencies.

The exercise continued the next day with members of the JCSE conducting technical training at two simulated remote locations. As one team setup their equipment on the base's shoreline, another team traveled by boat to a secluded island to test their rapid-deployment capabilities and ability to communicate worldwide using two-way satellite and radio communications.

"This portion of the exercise is the most important part by far; making sure that these teams can stand up communications from remote locations is the heart of our mission," stated Miller.

Finishing the exercise, the element came together for a day of team building by completing a 65-foot-tall ropes course and group exercises that tested unit cohesion.

"In the end, the teams learned that they could push themselves to do things that they thought were impossible," said Miller. "They worked hard and got the mission done together. They're ready for whatever comes their way."

Why COCOMs continue calling upon the B-1B Lancer

by 2nd Lt. Lauren Linscott
7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs


3/9/2015 - DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- With each technological advancement in armament, the B-1B Lancer asserts itself yet again as a pinnacle in combat airpower.

On Dec. 2, 2014, the Department of Defense declared the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range for the B-1 to be an initial operational capability, signaling the JASSM-ER is ready for real-world combat operations.

The JASSM-ER more than doubles the range of the original JASSM and encompasses all of the same features. The JASSM is able to distinguish between targets and bystanders, fly a varied path after deployment, and penetrate well-fortified or buried infrastructure, which makes it one of the smartest, most precise armament the Air Force has to offer. Now that the JASSM can be delivered at an even greater range from the target, the missile better protects the aircraft and crew delivering this weaponry, as well as other aircraft in the strike package.

While the JASSM has been approved for the B-52 Stratofortress, F-15E Strike Eagle, and F-16 Fighting Falcon, the B-1 is the only airframe to have the JASSM-ER in the initial operational capability phase this soon after its introduction to the DOD.

The B-1 not only adapts new weaponry and technological advancements, its inherent design makes it an extraordinarily flexible aircraft.  Due to the bomber's swept-wing configuration, it has the ability to perform at a variety of altitudes and can reduce its overall drag and conserve fuel better than any of its bomber counterparts.  This allows the Lancer's range to extend across continents or stay above an area of interest for hours. The bomber can also achieve speeds of over 900 mph thanks to its afterburning engines. 

The B-1 also brings range to reach targets; persistence to keep sensors on a target for hours at a time; and speed for quick responses across large distances.

While the Lancer is a capable aircraft in its own right, it can be fully integrated in the fifth generation aircraft environment of the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II, as well.

"The B-1 fights side-by-side with fighter platforms as the main strike platform during exercises in medium and high-threat scenarios," said Col. Jason Combs, 7th Operations Group commander. "Although the B-1 often employs as part of an integrated strike package, it also has the sensors and range to find, track, and strike targets independently.

"The range of the B-1 and ability to work closely with ground forces are a large part of the reason the combatant commands requested the B-1 at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom and why it continues to be used today and into the foreseeable future."

The abilities of the B-1 are even more apparent after the latest six-month deployment of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Dyess in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom's Sentinel, and Operation Inherent Resolve. In previous deployments, the bomber dropped anywhere from less than 100 Joint Direct Attack Munitions to a high of about 500 JDAMs. During this deployment, though, the 9th BS released more than 2,000 JDAMs in support of multiple areas of responsibility.

"Though the threat has evolved over time, it's becoming increasingly apparent that the B-1 can adapt to those changes," Combs said. "Not only does its performance in overseas operations demonstrate its lethality but also its survivability is continually validated in demanding joint force exercises."

While the declaration of the JASSM-ER to be IOC is the latest accomplishment in technological advancement for the B-1, it is not the last advancement the aircraft will experience. As overseas contingency operations continue, and new threats to U.S. national security emerge, the long-range strike bomber will serve as a primary platform for progress due to its ability to adapt to its environment, fight in conjunction with other aircraft, and accept new weapons easily.

When the nation calls, the B-1 will continue to be the aircraft depended upon to deliver death from above.

Face of Defense: Marine Finds Purpose Caring for Wounded Warriors

By Marine Cpl. Jared Lingafelt
Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., March 9, 2015 – Brotherhood, loyalty and commitment aren’t just concepts to Marine Sgt. Jeremy Anderson. For him, as an athlete from Wounded Warrior Battalion – East competing in the 2015 Marine Corps Trials, those words are a way of life.

“I have always felt that it is my duty to take care of Marines,” Anderson said. “Coming up through the Marine Corps, I had leadership, but they weren’t really fully engaged. So, now that I am in the position I am in, I want to help as much as possible.”

Anderson has served in several positions throughout his career, including barracks manager, training clerk and staff judge advocate clerk. But it was the injuries he sustained while serving as a field artillery man that eventually landed him at the Wounded Warrior Regiment.

Helping Others Recover

Deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan took their toll on Anderson’s mind and body, he said, but his focus remained on helping out his fellow Marines.

“When I sit down and talk to a Marine and know that I have helped them out, even if it is just talking to them and letting them vent, they walk away feeling better and it’s a great feeling to know I was a part of that,” Anderson said. “I may have lost a little bit of sleep or it may have taken a couple hours out of my day, but I know that the Marine will be OK, and that is what it’s all about.

“I wouldn’t let anyone in my family go without something so why should it be any different for fellow Marines?” he added.

Anderson’s physical injuries make conducting daily tasks a challenge. Using a cane to aid even the simplest movements, Anderson never lets his injuries get between him and his Marines.

“I will do whatever I can to help someone out,” said Anderson. “If I just sat around all day and didn’t put myself out there, I wouldn’t be taking care of Marines. It’s our brothers and sisters in arms that matter.”

Full-time Commitment

Cpl. Barney Oldfield, one of Anderson’s friends, says the sergeant’s devotion and loyalty to his brothers and sisters in arms isn’t limited to the workweek –- he’s available to lend a hand or an ear whenever a Marine needs it.

“There was one incident when I was in [a fast-food restaurant]. I was having a hard time because there were so many people,” Oldfield said. “He was there with his family, and he saw that I was having trouble and that was all it took. He came over to me, stayed with me in line and talked to me … to make sure I was OK. Just because you are another Marine, you are already a brother or sister to him.”

When he completes the Marine Corps Trials, Anderson said, he hopes to return to Camp Lejeune with more experience and knowledge to help new Marines transitioning into his battalion.

“I’m still in the process of learning how everything works there, so when someone new does come in, I can be there to help,” said Anderson. “As leaders, we have to pass on the knowledge and information that we have to our Marines because the more knowledge they have, the more successful they will be, and in turn, the more successful the Marine Corps will be.”