Friday, September 18, 2015

39th SFS defender, grandfather accomplish AF marathon together

by Senior Airman Michael Battles
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

9/18/2015 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey  -- Tradition is a large part of military heritage, but it is also a large part of what makes a family. To keep her family's tradition alive one senior airman from Incirlik Air Base is taking the words 'family tradition' to a higher level by traveling more than 5,500 miles home.

In May 2015, Senior Airman Mary Tarasiewicz, 39th Security Forces Squadron unit deployment manager, was notified that she would be competing in the 2015 Air Force Marathon as part of the Air Force Enlisted Village Team.

"It's definitely an honor to be selected for the team," Tarasiewicz said. "I've done marathons before, but this year it's different because I'm not just running for myself."

Along with her team, the young Airman will also be running the 26.2-mile run alongside her 74-year-old grandfather, Don Tarasiewicz, who has run the Air Force marathon since its inception. This is the fourth consecutive year they will run the marathon together.

Tarasiewicz said her real motivation to compete is her grandfather.

"I literally do it because my grandfather is doing it," Tarasiewicz said. "He's 74, so I give him that extra motivation so he can keep going. Additionally, it's something I get to look forward to and train to do with him."

A native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, located approximately an hour from the home of the Air Force Marathon, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the 39th SFS Airman said she practically grew up watching her grandfather compete in the race.

"My grandfather has run every marathon since the beginning," she said. "There is a small group that competes each year that have been here since the beginning, so I want to make sure he makes it."

On top of her commitment to the Air Force Enlisted Village, which requires participants to raise $500 for the organization, and her grandfather, Tarasiewicz said she also wanted to beat her goal of completing the marathon in less than four hours.

To accomplish her goal, she maintains a rigid training schedule that matches that of her grandfathers. As part of the training schedule, which begins with a 10-mile long run and builds up to 20 miles, the runner also participates in short distance road runs and indoor cardio.

With no plans to quit running the marathon in the near future, Tarasiewicz said that as long as her grandfather competes she will be out on the trail alongside him whether as a service member or civilian.

"I plan to join the guard soon, but I will always run with him," she said. "My grandfather always says, 'run for the health it,' which is why I will always do the race with him. The marathon also gives us a goal together."

In the near future Tarasiewicz will travel to her hometown, meet her grandfather and make the hour-long journey to the start line of the 2015 Air Force Marathon, which is scheduled for Sept. 19 this year.

Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel 15 Arrives in Cartagena, Colombia

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathleen A. Gorby

CARTAGENA, Colombia (NNS) -- The joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), operated by the Military Sealift Command, arrived in Cartagena, Colombia for the Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel 2015 (SPS-JHSV 15) mission, Sept. 16.

On Spearhead's fourth stop it delivered three Adaptive Force Package (AFP) elements ashore- Navy Divers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians and a Mass Communication Specialist.

SPS-JHSV 15's mission to the region exemplifies U.S. Naval Forces and U.S. Southern Command's commitment to cooperative partnerships in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

The AFP team will be joined by Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 133 (NMCB) from Gulfport, Mississipi.

"The Seabees will be building and teaching the Colombian engineers how to create a road challenge course," said Lt. Sean McSwain, from NMCB 133. "This is the first country where the Seabees are able to conduct true subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs)."

The Navy Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 3-1 from EODMU3 and EOD Technicians from Platoon 642, EODMU6 depart from the AFP currently in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala to conduct SMEEs in Colombia.

"The divers will be focusing on cutting and welding SMEEs," said Ensign Pierce, AFP EOD officer in charge, Platoon 642, EODMU6. "The Colombian divers have a great diving program, which allows for us on to focus on advanced techniques."

In previous countries, divers and EOD worked together during SMEEs. In Colombia, they will be focusing on rating specific specialties and teaching two different groups.

"EOD will be focusing on counter-improvised explosive device exchanges and tool familiarization," said Pierce. "The Colombians are interested in learning more about our bomb suit and robot."

The force's arrival to Cartagena not only serves as a means to assist the local community, but also continues to strengthen ties with our military partners in the 4th Fleet's AOR. The SPS-JHSV 15 mission will continue through mid-October.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to counter illicit trafficking, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions

DoD’s Maritime Strategy Addresses Nation’s Asia-Pacific Interests

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, September 18, 2015 — The Defense Department’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region is a strategy that safeguards U.S. interests and military access, builds partner capabilities and preserves stability in that part of the world, the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs told a Senate panel yesterday.

David Shear and Navy Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, outlined to Senate Armed Forces Committee members how the U.S. Maritime Security Strategy for the Asia-Pacific will uphold maritime security in the region.

The strategy reflects U.S. interests and the importance of maritime peace and security in a critical part of the world, Shear said. It is also one part of a larger strategy to protect American interests in “international law, freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peaceful resolution of disputes,” he added.

The U.S. military has been indispensable in the region for 70 years to ensure peace, stability and security, Shear told panel members. But today, he said, regional military modernization “has increased significantly the potential for dangerous miscalculations or conflict in the maritime domain.” Shear pointed to the risks of China’s large-scale efforts to reclaim land and construct artificial islands in the region.

“As we've stated clear to [the] Chinese, ‘These actions are not only unilaterally altering the status quo; they're also complicating the lowering of tensions and the peaceful resolutions of disputes.’” Shear said.

Strategy Uses 4 Lines of Effort

DoD’s strategy employs four lines of effort to counter such challenges, he said, which would:

-- Strengthen military capacity to deter conflict and coercion, and respond decisively;

-- Build U.S. allies’ and partners’ maritime capacity for greater interoperability and more integrated operations. And DoD’s new Southeast Maritime Security Initiative, he added, will increase training, exercises, personnel support and maritime domain awareness;

-- Leverage defense diplomacy to reduce miscalculations and conflict risk, and promote shared maritime rules of the road; and,

-- Strengthen regional security institutions and encourage open regional security architecture. As an example, Shear cited Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s recent announcement to deploy a technical adviser to support the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' maritime security.

“We've seen positive momentum in promoting shared rules of the road,” Shear said, adding thanks to committee members for their support of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. “Our efforts would be greatly strengthened by Senate ratification of UNCLOS,” he added.

Asia-Pacific is Vital to Nation

Harris said the Asia-Pacific region’s importance to U.S. security and prosperity cannot be overstated, and he noted that nearly 30 percent of the world's maritime trade, or more than $5 trillion, transits the South China Sea each year. “This includes $1.2 trillion in shipborne trade bound for the United States,” he said

And while the region has remained free of conflict for decades, “the security environment is changing, potentially placing … stability at risk,” Harris said.

“Rapid economic and military modernization and a growing demand for resources have increased the potential for conflict," he said. "Peacetime freedom of navigation is under pressure. If not handled properly, territorial and maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas can disrupt stability throughout the region.”

DOD's maritime strategy “capitalizes on the momentum” of the Asia-Pacific rebalance, Harris told the panel.

Senior Pentagon Leaders Honor POW/MIA Sacrifices During National Recognition Day

By Shannon Collins DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, September 18, 2015 — Tears streamed down the face of former Army Technician Grade 5 Robert “Bob” T. Davis, a World War II prisoner of war, as the honor guard marched across the Pentagon’s River Parade Field, to post the colors before the defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff addressed the solemn crowd.

“In a year of anniversaries – when we mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s end, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam War’s end – today we remember that even when war ends, not everyone comes home,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described his own way of honoring Operation Iraqi Freedom missing-in-action service members who served under his command from 2003 to 2004.

'Make It Matter'

“On my desk, less than 100 yards from where we stand, sits a small wooden box. And inside that box, there’s small laminated cards with a picture of every service member lost in Iraq under my command from 2003 to 2004," Dempsey said. "And on that box are inscribed three simple words, ‘Make It Matter.’

"I carry three of those cards in my pocket at all times. That’s all the inspiration I need to try to make my decisions matter, to make their sacrifices matter, to make my life matter," the chairman added. "The lives and the sacrifices of those we honor today matter. They matter to me, and they matter to our nation.”

Dempsey said he’s fond of the Marine Corps’ slogan, “Semper Fidelis’ [always faithful] “because they don’t just say it, they live it. It’s more ethos than slogan. The words ‘We Will Never Forget’ are more than just a slogan. They are a powerful, animating force for those individuals and organizations who dedicate their purpose to fulfilling our nation’s promise -- a promise to unite every prisoner of war and every service member still missing in action with their loved ones.

"'We will never forget' is a constant call to make it matter, to stay the course until the job is done until every family is made whole again,” Dempsey said.

'A Long Way Home'

Davis said it was an honor to meet the Carter, and it will give him bragging rights back home. After landing in France nine days after D-Day, he fought in the battles at Saint-Lo and Mortain before he was captured by German soldiers and spent six months in a POW camp.

“It was a tough battle. Our company was wiped out,” said Davis, a 91-year old Ocean City, New Jersey, resident. “We were in the town of St. Bartholomew in France when we were captured, and then I was in a prison camp close to Trent in Poland. We were starving to death. All we got was a ladle of soup and a slice of bread a day. We just went down to nothing.

"Then the Russians came in, killed all of the Germans, and I walked all the way across Poland to as far as Lublin, and then the Russians picked us up and took us to Odessa [Ukraine]. It was a long way home,” Davis said.

Remembering Those Who Never Came Home

He said he had never seen a ceremony like the event today and it brought tears to his eyes. It was also his first time back at the Pentagon since 1945.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” Davis added. “I can’t believe I shook hands with the Secretary of Defense.”

For Thomas “Tom” Horio, a former Army Specialist 6, attending the event was more about honoring the fallen.

“We were working the Cambodian border and our firebase got overrun,” Horio said, a Vietnam POW. “I was on [listening post] duty, and we were captured by the North Vietnamese," he said. "I spent six months in a Cambodian jungle camp, and then we walked up to Hanoi along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. I spent a little over three years at Hanoi."

Horio said he attends events like this for the fallen who were not recovered during his stay.

“This is not for me, but for the people who are still there, because there were two or three guys who were killed in our jungle camp, and they’ve never recovered the remains," Horio said. "It’s in remembrance for them really that I come."

He said he hopes others will honor and respect the fallen.

“We served our country, and we served it well, and we honored the Code of Conduct,” Horio said. “Remember the fallen. They tried to honor their country and keep the Code of Conduct, and that’s the reason they’re not here.”

The Mission Continues

Carter said there are still 73,515 missing from World War II; 7,841 missing from the Korean War; 126 missing from the Cold War; and 1,626 missing from the Vietnam War.

The Defense Department is harnessing new technology and investing in advances in forensic science to identify previously unidentifiable remains of some of the fallen, Carter said.

“We’re also using new communication channels to keep in touch with families of the missing,” he said.

One of the improvements the department has made is the creation of the new Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which combined the activities and resources of three different organizations and more than 600 staff members. Amid the reorganization, Carter said they identified 67 missing service members this year.

“We are the defense organization that is responsible for doing the research, investigation, field recoveries and identifications of those who have never returned from all of our past wars,” said Michael Linnington, DPAA director. “We’re expanding our operations through strategic partnerships, and we’re going to try and significantly increase the number of folks we identify and provide answers to family members in the years to come.”

Linnington, who retired from the Army after 35 years of service, said he was inspired to talk to the six POWs in attendance.

“Today is one day, but this commitment to recovering our missing from previous wars is an all-year enduring effort," Linnington said. "So I appreciate the commitment of our families, our family groups, everybody in DoD, and all of our partners to continuing this as we go forward. There are 365 days like today for our organization, and we appreciate all of the collaboration we can get.”

Carter said he was committed to bringing all service members home.

 “Every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman should know that we will --I will -- do everything we can to bring them back to their families,” he said.