Military News

Sunday, May 17, 2015

CP-15 Crew Completes Mission Stop in Jamaica



By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amy Kirk, CP-15 Public Affairs

KINGSTON, Jamaica (NNS) -- The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departed Kingston, Jamaica, May 15 after completing her third mission stop in support of Continuing Promise 2015 (CP-15).

Comfort's embarked military and non-governmental organization volunteers worked side-by-side with Jamaican military and civilian professionals to provide medical, dental, optometry and veterinary care, conduct subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) and complete engineering projects at three schools from May 6th through the 13th.

The Jamaica CP-15 mission stop was celebrated alongside Jamaican officials during a closing ceremony at the U.S. embassy May 13, marking the completion of the nine-day mission stop.

"On behalf of the over 1,000 members of the CP-15 team, thank you for your support, hospitality and generosity during our time in Jamaica in support of Continuing Promise," said Capt. Sam Hancock, CP-15 mission commander. "We are fortunate to have worked alongside our friends and partners, to further strengthen the enduring partnership between the United States and Jamaica. It is a partnership that enhances our shared values, interests and commitment to unity, security and stability within the region."

Guests attending the ceremony included: The U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica, The Honorable Luis Moreno; Rear Adm. Bruce Lindsey, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10; Capt. Sam Hancock, CP-15 mission commander; Capt. Christine Sears, commanding officer, medical treatment facility aboard Comfort; Capt. Robert Wiley, Comfort's ships master; the Jamaican Prime Minister, the Honorable Portia Simpson Miller; and the Jamaican Minister of Health, the Honorable Dr. Fenton Ferguson.

Partnering together, CP-15 members and Jamaican medical professionals conducted over 600 dental exams and procedures, more than 1,700 optometry exams and 110 surgeries. Overall, the CP-15 team provided primary medical care to more than 9,700 patients at medical sites set up at the National Indoor Sports Complex and the Maxfield Park Health Centre.

The CP-15 mission crew conducted SMEEs on more than 200 topics with their Jamaican counterparts. Collaboration efforts included basic life support certifications, an occupational health seminar, a veterinary presentation on livestock animal health and a preventative medicine health fair.

Seabees assigned to Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU) 202 worked with military engineers from the Jamaica Defence Force to complete renovations and improvements to Carberry Court Special School, Rennock Lodge All Ages School and Trench Town Primary School. The work included kitchen renovations, electrical upgrades and constructing a new library and chicken coop.

Comfort's chaplain's office coordinated community relation events at the Hope Valley Experimental School, Rennock Lodge All Ages School and the Mustard Seed Communities - Jerusalem Orphanage. The U.S. Fleet Forces band, "Unchartered Waters" performed at each school, while crew members visited with children and distributed donations of stuffed animals, coloring books, school supplies and soccer balls. Members of the ship's choir joined the band for a performance for residents at the Ozanam Senior Citizen's Home and other volunteers painted several rooms and the home's dining hall.

Comfort's next mission stop is Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. The CP-15 medical team will set up medical outreach sites at the Instituto Politechnico Heroes y Martires and the Colegio Moravo Juan Amos Comenius to provide no-cost medical and dental services to host-nation citizens.
CMBU 202 has planned civic-assistance projects at the Escuela Publica Rigoberto Cabezas and the Hospital Nuevo Amanecer Enfermera Nancy Bach.

Continuing Promise is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations including humanitarian-civil assistance, subject matter expert exchanges, medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support and disaster response to partner nations and to show the United States' continued support and commitment to Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Blue Ridge Concludes Patrol, Completes Key Damage Control Certification



By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Liz Dunagan

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) arrived at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, May 17, wrapping up a 35-day patrol and the successful completion of the Mobility Damage Control Warfare (MOB-D) assessment.

The final leg of MOB-D began once Blue Ridge departed The Republic of Singapore, May 8, and continued throughout the transit back to CFAY. Afloat Training Group (ATG) Western Pacific assessed the Blue Ridge crew's proficiency in responding to casualties and keeping the ship afloat in a simulated combat situation.

"This is one of the few certifications that involve 100 percent of the crew," said Blue Ridge Executive Officer Cmdr. Nathan Fugate. "Everyone was enthusiastic and the crew performed excellently. Our crew worked hard, and you couldn't ask for much more."

According to Senior Chief Damage Controlman Christopher Langteu, an inspector from ATG, for a ship to receive a MOB-D warfare certification the crew needed to pass all drills with a score of 80 percent or higher.

"Blue Ridge was able to apply all the training they received as individuals and use it as an integrated team, working together to complete the mission," said Langteu. "I watched the crew grow leaps and bounds from where they were at the beginning of their training."

MOB-D is broken up into multiple stages spaced out over several months. The first two stages consist of an initial material readiness review of damage control equipment, then an assessment of basic damage control fundamentals such as fire hose handling, pipe patching and erecting shoring to defend against structural damage.

During the third training stage, ATG guides Blue Ridge's Damage Control Training Team (DCTT) and the crew through a series of drills covering fires, floods and toxic gas leaks along with chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) attacks.

"In the event of a casualty, DCTT and ATG need to know our Sailors can successfully overcome any situation," said Damage Controlman 1st Class Joni Abando, Blue Ridge's DCTT coordinator. "The crew earned the certification working hard as a team and paying close attention to detail."

Everything learned throughout MOB-D culminated in a final assessment where ATG observed members of DCTT facilitating 29 total drills for all the damage control repair lockers including a general quarters scenario.

"We got to apply all of the training that we worked so hard to learn," said Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Bryan Slaton, a Blue Ridge crew member and repair party team leader. "Those drills have the potential to turn into real life situations. The training is hardwired into our brains now, and I feel like its second nature."

Marines Killed in Nepal Helo Crash Identified, Recovered



From Joint Task Force 505 News Releases

KATHMANDU, Nepal, May 17, 2015 – Joint Task Force 505 officials today identified the six U.S. Marines who were killed along with two Nepalese soldiers when their UH-1Y Huey helicopter went down in the mountains of Nepal May 12.

The fallen Marines are:

-- Capt. Dustin R. Lukasiewicz, a UH-1Y pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton, California, and a native of Nebraska;

-- Capt. Christopher L. Norgren, a UH-1Y pilot with HMLA-469, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton, California, and a native of Kansas;

-- Sgt. Ward M. Johnson, IV, a UH-1Y helicopter crew chief with HMLA-469, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton, California, and a native of Florida;

-- Sgt. Eric M. Seaman, a UH-1Y helicopter crew chief with HMLA-469, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton, California, and a native of California;

-- Cpl. Sara A. Medina, a combat photographer with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Okinawa, Japan, and a native of Illinois; and

-- Lance Cpl. Jacob A. Hug, a combat videographer with Marine Corps Installations Pacific, Okinawa, Japan, and a native of Arizona.

Recovery Effort

Today at approximately 10:00 a.m. Nepal Standard Time, Nepalese soldiers and service members from Joint Task Force 505 safely recovered the fallen U.S. and Nepalese service members to the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The soldiers and Marines were honorably received at TIA and will be transported to the appropriate medical facilities to be properly identified by mortuary affairs personnel.

JTF 505 Commander Marine Corps Lt. Gen John E. Wissler thanked the people of Nepal and the Nepalese armed forces for their selfless dedication in the search and recovery of the fallen service members.

"I am honored to serve alongside the Nepalese soldiers and to call them my friends" he said.

"You never hesitated in the joint effort to bring our brothers home. Everyone united -- the soldiers hiking through hazardous terrain, the pilots flying in uncertain weather conditions and the Nepalese special forces standing watch over our Marines on a mountainside at night,” Wissler said. “We honor our fallen comrades through our unselfish support to each other in this time of grief."

The fallen service members were "courageous, selfless individuals dedicated to the international Humanitarian Aid mission here in Nepal whose memories will live on through the lives they touched during this disaster relief operation and in their previous service to their countries," he said.

JTF 505 arrived in Nepal April 29 to conduct humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations following the April 25 magnitude-7.8 earthquake. The helicopter crashed about 8 miles north of Charikot, Nepal, while supporting casualty evacuations following a second earthquake of magnitude 7.3 that occurred May 12.