Friday, December 04, 2015

Mongolian NCO attends course with USARAK troops

by Sachel Harris
USARAK Public Affairs

12/4/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Throughout the years, more than four dozen foreign soldiers have attended Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Brevard Noncommissioned Officer Academy. However this year, one graduate is the first of her kind.

"I am so thankful to the U.S. and Mongolian armies for allowing me to come here," said Sgt. Muncunchimeg Nyamaajav, the first female Mongolian soldier to come to Alaska and train with U.S. Army Alaska.

On average, the NCO academy hosts 12 international students per year.
The last time Mongolian soldiers attended a course at the U.S. Army Alaska academy was 2007.

Nyamaajav, who was born in Bayankhongor City of the Bayankhongor province in Mongolia, said she has always had a desire to serve. Since joining at the age of 19, she has had a passion for seeing female soldiers succeed and 10 years later, that passion is still burning.

"My hope is that more female soldiers come here and learn," she said. "Though the terrain is the same here in Alaska, all of our experiences are different, and discussing those differences and learning from them makes us better."

Nyamaajav, who had to pass an English test in order to attend the courses, said her experiences here have built her confidence. With almost 17 percent of the Mongolian Armed Forces being female, confidence is  what she hopes for all female soldiers.

"I want female soldiers to learn and to be strong," she said. "I want them to hope and dream."

While she loves being the one to push her fellow soldiers to be great, Nyamaajav credits her own loved ones with being her source of inspiration.

"My family is a big source of support for me," she said. "My 6-year-old son is in the first grade and is studying to read.   Everything I do, I do because I want him to be proud of me."

Along with five other soldiers, Nyamaajav recently graduated from the Warrior Leadership Course and the Basic Leadership Course.

As part of the courses she attended, Nyamaajav participated in various field exercises that sharpened her leadership skills and further developed her professional ethics.

The soldiers are headed to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, where they will participate in various hands-on training opportunities.

Though it is her first trip to the United States, Nyamaajav said there is value in the partnership between her country and  the U.S.

"This partnership with the U.S. Army is so important," Nyamaajav said. "Because of it and the people I have met here, I am stronger and a better soldier, and I am so grateful."

Marine Missing From World War II Accounted For

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, unaccounted for since World War II, have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Marine Cpl. James D. Otto, 20, of Los Angeles, will be buried Dec. 8, in Arlington National Cemetery. In November 1943, Otto was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll, in an attempt to secure the island. Over several days of intense fighting, approximately 1,000 Marines were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. Otto was reported killed in action on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943.

In the immediate aftermath of the fighting on Tarawa, U.S. service members who died in the battle were buried in a number of battlefield cemeteries on the island. In 1946 and 1947, the 604th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company conducted remains recovery operations on Betio Island, but Otto’s remains were not recovered. On Feb. 10, 1949, a military review board declared Otto non-recoverable.

In June 2015, a nongovernmental organization, History Flight, Inc., notified DPAA that they discovered a burial site on Betio Island and recovered the remains of what they believed were U.S. Marines who fought during the battle in November 1943. The remains were turned over to DPAA in July 2015.

To identify Otto’s remains, scientists from DPAA used laboratory analysis, to include dental comparisons, which Matched Otto’s records, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at or call 703-699-1420.

All Air Force occupations open to women

By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information, / Published December 03, 2015

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced all occupations in the U.S. military will be open to men and women alike during a press conference Dec. 3.

The announcement came after a thorough review of findings from the last three years of studies, and the subsequent recommendation of service secretaries and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"This decision means that we will be able to maximize our military effectiveness because we'll be able to draw from a larger pool of skilled and qualified individuals,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “The bottom line is to ensure the force’s future success based on validated, gender neutral standards."

According to Carter, within 30 days all currently closed occupations will be open and available for the assignment of women or men. The services will begin implementing their current plans for recruiting, accessing and initial training of women in these occupations.

"Our Air Force is more effective when success is based on ability, qualifications, and mission performance,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “While not everyone aspires to be a Battlefield Airman, those who have the desire and are qualified will be afforded an opportunity to serve in those specialties in our Air Force. As with any new policy, implementation will take time and will be done in a deliberate and responsible manner. "

Carter said Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work and Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will oversee the decision’s short-term implementation, ensure there are no unintended consequences to the joint force, and periodically update Carter and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Women will be fully integrated into combat roles deliberately and methodically, Carter said, using seven guidelines.

Seven guidelines

1. Implementation will be pursued with the objective of improved force effectiveness.

2. Leaders must assign tasks and jobs throughout the force based on ability, not gender.

3. Equal opportunity likely will not mean equal participation by men and women in all specialties, and there will be no quotas.

4. Studies conducted by the services and U.S. Special Operations Command indicate that on average there are physical and other differences between men and women, and implementation will take this into account.

5. The department will address the fact that some surveys suggest that some service members, men and women, will perceive that integration could damage combat effectiveness.

6. Particularly in the specialties that are newly open to women, survey data and the judgment of service leaders indicate that the performance of small teams is important.

7. The United States and some of its closest friends and allies are committed to having militaries that include men and women, but not all nations share this perspective.

Integrating women in all military jobs

Implementation won't happen overnight, Carter said.

“Fully integrating women into all military positions will make the U.S. armed forces better and stronger but there will be problems to fix and challenges to overcome,” he said. “We shouldn't diminish that.”

The military has long prided itself on being a meritocracy, where those who serve are judged only on what they have to offer to help defend the country, Carter said.

“That’s why we have the finest fighting force the world has ever known,” he said, “and it’s one other way we will strive to ensure that the force of the future remains so, long into the future.”

Scott, Pope Field team up for C-17 aeromedical training

by Airman 1st Class Melissa Estevez
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

12/3/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Il. -- Aeromedical evacuation experts from Scott AFB recently teamed up with AE crews from Pope Field, North Carolina, for a collaborative Air Mobility Command training initiative Nov. 16-20.

For the weeklong exercise, both teams were flown to Pope Field in a C-17 Globemaster III by the 6th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

There were 41 medical personnel who flew between Scott and Pope, which gave each AES team the opportunity to maximize training on that aircraft without having to navigate around cargo.

"The 6th AS has not only allowed us a week of training on their C-17, but also negated any travel costs for the 43rd and 375th AES crews by flying between each location. The 6th AS is acquiring training time as well, so it's a win for all three of us," said Maj. John Hein, 375th AES Operations Flight commander.

Scott's AE crew trains, mobilizes, and deploys nearly 150 members each year to support aeromedical evacuation missions aboard C-21A, C-17A, C-130E/H/J, and KC-135R aircraft.

Capt. Nicole Ward, 375th AES flight nurse, said, "First, we set up the litter configuration, oxygen and electrical lines, and then verified we had adequate emergency oxygen systems for our patients in the event we had an in-flight aircraft emergency."

Once all the equipment and personnel were set up, multiple challenging scenarios were presented to the crews to include patient problems both with mannequins and co-workers acting as patients, as well as dealing with simulated in-flight aircraft emergencies.

Hein said, "Combined training provided both squadrons invaluable experience on the C-17, a plane that's not organic to Pope Field or Scott AFB. The ability to get in-garrison aeromedical evacuation training on the C-17 is invaluable because it's one of the primary aircraft we conduct patient movement on while deployed."

McGuire's Capt. Stephen Ching, C-17 pilot, explained that the size and versatility of the aircraft allows plenty of room for people and equipment which makes it an exceptional aircraft for aeromedical training.

All rise: NCO recounts experiences serving military justice system

Commentary by Air Force Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera
JBER Public Affairs

12/3/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- When we hear about a court-martial, curiosity often gets the best of us. What did this person do? What evidence is there to find this person guilty or not guilty?

All sort of thoughts go through my mind when I hear about it. Often, when I think of the military justice system, I feel uneasy.

Recently I had an opportunity to serve as a bailiff and was able to see how the whole military justice system works.

The week before the trial, I received quick guidelines about the responsibilities of a bailiff.

I remembered I was nervous on the first day. It's the same feeling you get when you are the new kid on the block and people are watching your every move.

I remembered the quick training I'd gotten from a paralegal outlining my duties.

"When the judge arrives, you say 'all rise,'" he said.

"When the jury panel members arrive, you tell the room to 'all rise.'"

See the judge, call the room. Got it.

See the jury panel members, call the room. Check.

Before the trial started, I assumed all parties would be present and that the counsel members would start their arguments like I normally see on screen. But there is more to a trial than what we see on TV.

There were other steps before the attorneys could present their arguments. The first order of the day was a pretrial hearing when both lawyers prepare evidence and witnesses, and file pretrial motions.

This is also an opportunity for the judge to settle any issues.

Once this was complete, the accused listened to the charges against him during the arraignment process. This also gives him a chance to enter a plea.

As the case slowly makes its way to trial, the attorneys went through a very long voir dire and challenges.

This was new to me. Not knowing much about the process, I asked the court reporter during a recess why they question each jury member. She explained voir dire is an opportunity for the attorneys to find out if the panel members can be fair and objective, and ensure they understand the accused is innocent until proven guilty.

The defense attorney and the prosecutors asked each one a series of questions.

When all parties agreed on jury selection, the judge instructed me, as bailiff, to dismiss four of the potential jurors.

I passed the news to the jury members and thanked them for their patience in the whole selection process.

When everything was set, the defense and the prosecutor stated their cases.

After a full day of calling witnesses to the stand, watching, and listening to both attorneys argue and provide closing arguments - I was intrigued. I felt both provided strong evidence and was thankful that I was not one of the jury members who would decide this Airman's fate.

Before the jury members were dismissed to begin deliberation, the judge reminded them the accused is presumed to be innocent, and the panel must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt. A two-thirds majority of the panel is needed to find the accused guilty.

As I sat outside, guarding the door of the deliberation room for a few hours, I remember looking out the window, watching the world go by as darkness loomed. It seemed to parallel how an Airman's life and career hung in the balance. I reflected it might be his last night with his family, and the military chapter of his life coming to a close.

The judge instructed the panel members to get some rest; and they would resume deliberation the next day.

Early that morning, I did my normal routine: checked in with the judge, refilled the water container, and informed the judge that all parties were present.

After a few more hours of deliberations and voting: they had a verdict.

The accused was found not guilty, and I saw him hug his mom as she tried to hold her composure.

As the family of three walked away from the courtroom, I was glad to witness the general court-martial procedures.

The bailiff duty was long, but also very rewarding - because I saw someone put their faith in the military justice. It gave me a better appreciation of how the military justice works and to trust its system.

If there is another opportunity as a bailiff, I would not hesitate to volunteer again.