Friday, October 06, 2017

Navy Participates in STEM Event at Rio Grande Valley Campus

By Burrell Parmer, Navy Recruiting Command

EDINBURG, Texas, Oct. 6, 2017 — Sailors and support personnel of Navy Recruiting District San Antonio, Navy City Outreach Southwest Region and the Navy's diversity office participated Oct. 3 and 4 in Student Leadership Day and Latina Day during this week's observance of Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week on the campus of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

The educational conference features events geared toward promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education to people of all ages and backgrounds.

During two Student Leadership Day breakout sessions, Lt. Andrew Descrary of the  Navy Civil Engineering Corps and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Toth of Navy Recruiting Station McAllen -- an electrician's mate nuclear -- briefed and discussed the 15 military leadership traits.

"It’s important for students to learn and understand leadership," said Descary, a native of Bakersfield, California. "It will instill those qualities that every leader needs to be successful, not just in the Navy, but abroad in the world."

Exposure to Different Environments

Monica Longoria, a teacher at Business, Education and Technology Academy High School, said she believes it is important for students attending the week's events to be exposed to different environments.

"I believe that giving students the opportunity to expand their knowledge in the areas of STEM is beneficial," she said. "Student Leadership Day helps reminds us that our students are potential leaders. The leadership characteristics briefed to the students by the sailors are those expected by any organization in the world."

Latina Day was held Oct. 4 to celebrate and promote women in the STEM fields. Hundreds of young Latinas from throughout South Texas were brought together to hear the inspiring stories of prominent women of all colors succeeding in careers and job tracks once exclusive to men.

Houston native Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu of Navy City Outreach Southwest -- along with Petty Officer 2nd Class JoAnn Consiglio, a logistics specialist; Petty Officer 2nd Class Karen Quepons, an interior communications electrician; and Petty Officer 2nd Class Brianna Crayton, a quartermaster, all from Navy Recruiting District San Antonio -- discussed grassroots perspectives on opportunities, benefits, and careers in the Navy.

They also served as role models to inspire young Latinas to pursue a career in the STEM fields.

Claudia Cortez, an engineering teacher at Gladys Porter High School in Brownsville, Texas, had attended the conference as a student and now as a teacher.

Great Opportunity

"This was a great opportunity for the girls to be exposed to careers that are in the Navy," Cortez said. "It is good for them to see that there are females in the Navy and that they can have a career in the Navy just as the men."

Cortez noted that the culture is in the Rio Grande Valley is family oriented.

"There are many that wish to stay close to their families and their communities," she said, "but having these sessions with the Navy and other organizations provides them insight to explore opportunities outside the valley."

Through the support of sponsors and partners, including the Navy, Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week strives to empower teachers and administrators with the resources to inspire their students to pursue STEM careers through Educators Day, Student Leadership Day, Latina Day, Robotics Day, the Middle School Challenge, and the Navy’s SeaPerch Challenge Competition.

Additionally, during the Fall Career Expo, university students will be provided with employment and internship opportunities, and the community as a whole will partake in Community Day.

Little Rock Airman Supports Family in Puerto Rico

By Air Force Senior Airman Mercedes Taylor, 19th Airlift Wing

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Oct. 6, 2017 — What does a person do when family faces strife on an island thousands of miles away?

Air Force Airman 1st Class Kenny Rivera Rojas, a crew chief with the 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron based at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, responded to his family’s plight in Hurricane Maria-ravaged Puerto Rico by offering his helping hands.

The 19th squadron is part of the 19th Airlift Wing based at Little Rock AFB, that’s assigned to the Air Mobility Command’s 18th Air Force.

Volunteers for Duty at MacDill AFB

Rivera Rojas volunteered for a temporary duty assignment here to help maintain aircraft delivering aeromedical evacuation response and delivering supplies to Puerto Rico.

Rivera Rojas’s family is among the 3.4 million people in Puerto Rico impacted by Maria. His family resides in the city of Canovanas, Puerto Rico, about 30 minutes away from San Juan.

Rivera Rojas’s conduit to his family in Puerto Rico is through his sister, who works at San Juan Luis Munoz Marin Airport.

‘They Mean the World to Me’

“They mean the world to me,” Rivera Rojas said. “I’m very close to everyone, even my extended family. Although my sister hasn’t gotten the chance to talk to them, I try to call at least once a day. Since there isn’t electricity, all I hear is the phone ring. They don’t know I’m here.”

As many other Puerto Ricans, his family requires food, water and fuel. Puerto Rico is receiving support from federal and private agencies.

“It’s heartwarming to see people donate to help so much,” Rivera Rojas said.

Pre-Flight Checks

Rivera Rojas has contributed to maintenance operations of responding aircraft by conducting preflight checks and loading supplies onto aircraft headed to Puerto Rico.

Every day, he wakes up with the resolve to do as much as possible stateside to help his family and others in need. Rivera Rojas said he will continue to do so as long as he can.

“Until I see my family again, I’m willing to do anything in my power to make sure they’re okay,” he said. “I’m here. I’m doing my best to help out and be there. I love you.”

Pentagon Begins Another Fiscal Year Under Continuing Resolution

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2017 — Pentagon officials bemoaned the fact that the Defense Department is starting another fiscal year under a continuing resolution.

A CR, as it is called, is designed to be short-term legislation that allows the government to remain open as legislators deal with authorizations and appropriations.

DoD Needs ‘Sufficient, Predictable Budget’

“The department needs a sufficient and predictable budget,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said during a Pentagon news conference today. “This week marked the ninth consecutive fiscal year the department has operated under … a continuing resolution.”

White stressed that in the past 10 years, DoD has operated under a CR for more than 1,000 days -- nearly three full years.

The current CR funds the government through Dec. 8. “Continuing resolutions hurt the readiness of our forces and their equipment,” White said. “The longer the CR lasts, the more damage they do.”

White said it is imperative for Congress to pass the budget for fiscal year 2018 quickly and eliminate the threat of sequestration.

White said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis asked for this in his testimony earlier this week, and made the same point in his confirmation hearings in January.

Mattis has been consistent in saying,   “‘No enemy in the field has done more to harm the combat readiness of our military than sequestration,’” White said.

The fiscal 2018 budget request begins the process of strengthening the armed forces and improving their lethality, she said.

CRs Affect Programs

A major problem with the CR is the department cannot fund new programs, White said. The Army, Navy and Air Force had all planned to grow, but that cannot happen under a CR, she said.

A continuing resolution wastes millions of dollars in administrative costs “because you can’t plan,” she said. “So again, we want the Congress to be good stewards of the American people's dollars and ensure we get a full FY '18 budget by December 8th.”