Friday, August 25, 2017

Dunford Arrives in Scotland, Visits British Bases

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 25, 2017 — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived here today to visit British bases and to attend the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo as the guest of the British Chief of Defense Staff Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford will visit the Rosyth shipyard, where the future HMS Prince of Wales is being built. The aircraft carrier will be the second of the Queen Elizabeth-class British aircraft carriers and will carry 35 F-35B Lightning II aircraft.

Officials expect the carrier, now 80 percent complete, will be turned over to the Royal Navy in 2019.

Carrier Resurgence

The Royal Navy is re-entering the aircraft carrier business in a big way. Britain decommissioned the HMS Ark Royal, its last aircraft carrier, in 2010. The HMS Queen Elizabeth began sea trials in June. The 65,000-ton carrier has exercised with U.S. and NATO forces and Royal Navy personnel embarked on the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush to train for operations aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales are identical and are the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy, officials said.

The chairman will also visit the Royal Navy submarine base at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, where he will meet with sailors and Royal Marines.

The chairman will attend the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle, where he will join Peach in taking the salute. The highlight of the event is the Massed Pipes and Drums celebrating the contributions of Scottish service members worldwide.

Air Force Hurricane Hunters Track Harvey

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Heather Heiney, 403rd Wing

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss., Aug. 25, 2017 — Hurricane Harvey began as a scattered collection of clouds drifting across the Atlantic Ocean and in just over a week it has developed into a Category 3 storm.

Members of the Air Force Reserve’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron based here, better known as the Hurricane Hunters, have been investigating Hurricane Harvey since Aug. 17. The data they’ve collected every day has contributed to the National Hurricane Center’s ability to determine the intensity of the storm and predict where it could go.

Hurricane Harvey is predicted to make landfall in the vicinity of Corpus Christi on the Texas coast late tonight or early tomorrow, according to news reports.

President Donald J. Trump and his senior staff are closely monitoring Hurricane Harvey and the preparedness and response efforts of state, local, and federal officials, according to a statement issued by the White House today.

Today, the president was briefed by Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Advisor Thomas P. Bossert, and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the White House statement said.

Yesterday, the president committed to providing assistance as appropriate during phone conversations with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, according to the statement.

Each 53rd WRS storm mission is flown in a WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft by a crew made up of at least two pilots, a navigator, an aerial reconnaissance weather officer and a loadmaster. Many of these Air Force reservists travel from around the country to be a part of the mission, and only a small percent of the squadron are full-time air reserve technicians. The rest are traditional reservists who show up when called upon and put their civilian jobs and home lives on hold to fly into storms.

Monitoring Harvey

During the 10 flights into Hurricane Harvey so far, the reservists have flown through the eye of the storm dozens of times. During each pass through the eye, the loadmaster releases a device called a dropsonde that measures wind speed and direction, temperature, dew point and pressure. Data collected transmitted to the NHC every ten minutes throughout the duration of the mission.

“The data we collect is essential to the NCH right now because the capabilities of satellites and drones are just not there yet,” said Air Force Maj. Kimberly Spusta, a 53rd WRS aerial reconnaissance weather officer. “To go into the center of the storm to get that data is critical, so the NHC can have the most accurate forecasts possible.”

Hurricane Harvey in particular is a quickly developing storm. After entering the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it took less than 24 hours for the system to grow from a tropical depression into a hurricane.

“As the Hurricane Hunters our data is time sensitive and critical for the NHC,” said Air Force Maj. Kendall Dunn, a 53rd WRS pilot. “This storm is rapidly intensifying. Between the last flight that landed and our flight taking off, the conditions have changed, so it’s important that we continue to send the NCH the most current and accurate data we can.”

Past Storms

Air Force Col. Robert Stanton, 403rd Wing vice commander, said that it’s important to take NHC watches and warnings seriously, because he’s seen, firsthand, the damage that a storm like Hurricane Katrina caused after it made landfall on the Gulf Coast in late August 2005.

“There were so many people that thought because their home had made it through Hurricane Camille in 1969 that they were safe,” he said. “But even though Katrina was only a Category 3 storm and Camille was a [Category 5], the amount of water that she swept up the Gulf Coast was devastating.”

The 53rd WRS will continue to fly Hurricane Harvey and collect data until the storm makes landfall. To stay up to date on the most current forecast and tasked missions visit

Pacom Commander Meets With Philippine President

MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 25, 2017 — The commander of U.S. Pacific Command visited the Philippines Aug. 23 to 24 to meet with Philippine military and government leaders.
Left to right, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim; Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command; and Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte meet in Malacañan Palace in Manila, Aug. 24, 2017. They discussed U.S. support to the Philippine government for ongoing efforts to end the conflict in Marawi, interoperability between the two militaries, and regional threats. State Department photo

Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at Malacañan Palace here to discuss U.S. support to the Philippine government for ongoing efforts to end the conflict in Marawi, interoperability between their nations' militaries, and regional threats. The Philippine military is fighting to take back Marawi from pro-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters.

Wreath-Laying, Meetings

Harris participated in a wreath-laying ceremony Aug. 23 at the Heroes Cemetery, in Taguig to honor the sacrifice of Filipino military heroes buried there.

He also met with Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana; Gen. Eduardo Año, chief of staff of the Philippine armed forces; and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. In addition, the admiral traveled to Zamboanga to meet Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of Western Mindanao Command.

The meetings focused on upcoming bilateral engagements, recent aid and military assistance that the U.S. government has provided to the Philippines, as well as opportunities for additional U.S. support in Marawi, officials said.

(From a U.S. Embassy in the Philippines news release.)