Wednesday, October 07, 2015

USS Benfold Departs for Forward Deployment to 7th Fleet

From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) departed San Diego, Oct. 2 for Yokosuka, Japan, where the ship will join U.S. 7th Fleet's Forward Deployed Naval Forces.

Benfold will enhance presence in the 7th Fleet as part of the U.S. Navy's long range plan to send the most advanced and capable units to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, while adding to the Ballistic Missile Defense capable ships in the area of operations.

The security environment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific requires that the U.S. Navy station the most capable ships forward. This stance allows rapid response times for maritime and joint forces in any given situation, and brings the most capable ships with the greatest amount of striking power to bear in the timeliest manner.

"We are proud to join the Forward Deployed Forces family in Japan," said Cmdr. Michele Day, Benfold's commanding officer. "After a demanding shipyard period and training cycle, our Sailors are anxious to have an opportunity to prove their abilities among some of the most capable ships in our Navy. We look forward to the waterfront camaraderie and sense of community in Yokosuka."

Future missions will include maritime security operations and cooperative training exercises with allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

This ship, along with her counterparts in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, makes up part of the core capabilities needed by the alliance to meet our common strategic objectives. The United States values Japan's contributions to the peace, security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific and its long-term commitment and hospitality in hosting U.S. forces forward deployed there. These forces, along with its counterparts in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, make up the core capabilities needed by the alliance to meet our common strategic objectives.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international date line.

Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group Departs on Deployment

By Lt. Sonny Lorrius, Amphibious Squadron 4 Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines from the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26 MEU) departed from Norfolk and Little Creek, Virginia and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Oct 6.

The deployment is part of a regular rotation of forces to support maritime security operations, provide crisis response capability and increase theater security cooperation while providing a forward naval presence in the U.S Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.

The KSGARG is commanded by Capt. Augustus P. Bennett, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4 and is comprised of the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), the amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24), both homeported at Naval Station Norfolk, and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Virginia.

"The ARG/MEU team has done an excellent job going through the intensive and rigorous training cycle that has successfully prepared us for our deployment," said Bennett. "The hard work and dedication of every Sailor and Marine will allow us the ability to excel at any mission or situation that comes before us."

The 26th MEU is commanded by Col. Robert C. Fulford and consists of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit's Command Element, the Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, Logistics Combat Element and the Combat Logistics Battalion.

The KSGARG/26 MEU team will provide combatant commanders a versatile sea-based force that can be tailored to a variety of missions, including quick reaction crisis response

Airmen represent USAF on international level

by Senior Airman Trevor T. McBride
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/6/2015 - LONDON, England -- Under the blues skies at Wembley Stadium, approximately 140 Airmen assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing raced onto the field to proudly hold the U.S. and U.K. national flags on Oct. 4 to kick off the first of three international football games this NFL season.

The first NFL game at Wembley featured a battle between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. As the main attribution to the pre-game ceremony, the Airmen, who work in various units at the 48th FW, took to the field (or pitch as they say in England) to present large flags representing both countries. Not only do these provide a great representation of the NFL's presence in London, but it also demonstrates the continued cooperation between U.S. visiting forces and their U.K. hosts.

In addition to the flag presentation, the pregame ceremony also involved U.S. honor guard from Royal Air Force Molesworth, all in front of approximately 84,000 people.

With the crowd roaring with excitement after the national anthems, the Airmen exited the field full of smiles and pride.

"The flag detail was an awesome experience!" said Senior Airman Zachary Wodeage, 48th Fighter Wing Legal Office paralegal. "The pride I felt standing down on that field in front of 84,000 people was indescribable, a truly humble time."

For some players, playing in front of an international crowd was a unique experience.

"When we got out there today, it was a different feeling and the crowd was into it," said Brandon Marshall, New York Jets wide receiver. "It was one of the best games, as far as the environment goes, that I've ever played in."

Being stationed in the U.K., Airmen are given an easier opportunity to come see at least three NFL games in London versus traveling back to the U.S. Some Airmen voiced their opinion on the NFL's continued presence in the U.K.

"The NFL International Series has truly been a blessing because many of us stay up late due to the time difference, so having the opportunity to experience it live at a normal hour makes it even better," said Staff Sgt. Raymond Pajas, 48th Fight Wing Chapel assistant.

"The game is growing so much in popularity over here from that level all the way down to youth leagues, so this gives them that opportunity to see the game live," added Woodeage.

Miami Dolphins running back, Lamar Miller, recorded 7 carries for 26 yards in front of the international audience. After the game, Miller says he has high praise for the troops serving overseas.

"I want to make sure those [service members] know that I appreciate all that they do for us."

435th AGOW deploys team, expands OIR mission

By Airman 1st Class Cory W. Bush, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs / Published October 07, 2015

DIYARBAKIR AIR BASE, Turkey (AFNS) -- Full certainty is never guaranteed in the military, which is why Airmen are trained to deploy at a moment's notice and hit the grounding running when they’re called upon.

For Airmen assigned to the 435th Contingency Response Group, that need came Aug. 12 when the unit deployed to Diyarbakir Air Base, Turkey.

"The 435th CRG's mission is to get in and out," said Lt. Col Ryan Barney, the 435th CRG element commander. "The unique thing about this mission is the 435th CRG were the first troops on the ground; and we really depended on everyone and the defenders deployed with us for security as the building began."

The 80 Airmen from the 435th CRG, U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa's only expeditionary open-the-base force, were tasked to set up initial life-sustaining and operations facilities for the bed down of forces. The base stood up in support of Operation Inherent Resolve to enhance U.S. Air Forces Central Command's personnel recovery operations in Syria and Iraq.

According to Barney, the team had to build the base from nothing.

"When the 435th CRG first arrived, there was nothing but a grassy field and a lot of boulders," Barney said. "By providing airfield ops, combat support and training, security, construction, and mobile aircraft support, that field is now a bare base and ready for the follow-on force to arrive."

Due to the variety of missions the unit is tasked to accomplish, the 435th CRG deploys to each tasking with equipment prepared to achieve the mission in multiple types of environments.

"We have certainly had our challenges with the war-ready material equipment," Barney said. "When you're receiving over 680 tons of equipment, some of it is bound to not be in the condition you thought it would arrive in. With a little bit of innovation and teamwork, the Airmen here were able to overcome those hurdles to keep moving forward."

Made up of a variety of 29 Air Force specialty codes, Airmen assigned to the 435th CRG work in close proximity, which allows them to learn other career fields, as well as develop their own technical skills.

"My job as an aerial porter is to unload planes and deal with logistics," said Airman 1st Class Christopher McDade, a 435th Contingency Response Squadron air transportation specialist. "But sometimes, in order to get the job done, any one of us can be pulled from our daily operations to help out with something like construction, security or engineering."

Within less than two weeks, the Airmen of the 435th CRG have built 88 operational structures on Diyarbakir AB.

Diyarbakir AB is a Turkish base home to the Turkish air force's 8th Air Wing. According to Barney, the team couldn't have completed as much as they have without the continuous partnership with Turkey and the 8th Main Jet Base Command.

"This deployment has been very successful thus far," Barney said. "The cooperation between the U.S. and Turkish forces has been excellent and I foresee the relationship continuing to grow as operations here and throughout the rest of Turkey continue. The 435th CRG and I couldn't have asked for a better partner."