Military News

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Joint Chiefs’ Vice Chairman Presents Spirit of Hope Awards



By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2017 — Four people and two organizations were recognized with this year’s Spirit of Hope Award for service they provide to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilian Defense Department employees all over the world, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.

Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva provided keynote remarks and presented awards at the Pentagon ceremony.

Bob Hope: Legendary Actor, Comedian

The award was named for actor and comedian Bob Hope, who after 57 years of entertaining troops during wars and conflicts around the world with the USO, in October 1997 was named by Congress as an honorary member of the armed forces -- the only person to receive that honor.

Each recipient received a bronze medallion bearing Hope’s likeness.

“Bob Hope conducted his final USO tour in the Middle East in 1990,” Selva said. “Since that time the United States has been at war more than it's been at peace. Never before in our history has our force been asked to do so much for so long with so few.”

More than 82,000 troops are deployed worldwide, away from their homes, defending the U.S.’s vital interests, he added, and nearly 20 percent of that 82,000 are on their fourth deployment or more.

“We've asked an awful lot of our young men and women, Selva said, “and we should be incredibly grateful to every individual and organization that pours out their support and resources to help ease the burden that is carried by those members of our armed forces.”

Spirit of Hope Awardees

-- Office of the Secretary of Defense Recipient: Robert Irvine, world-class chef, founder of the Robert Irvine Foundation.

Irvine established the foundation in 2014 to support veterans and veteran causes that need the most help. He gives the foundation proceeds from his food company, and donates his time by attending troop rallies held by the Gary Sinise Foundation and touring regularly with the USO.

-- Army Recipient: Jennifer Corriea, Bridge Family Readiness Support Advisor.

Corriea’s efforts have provided families with critical medical emergency procedures, helped with their transition to a foreign country, and enriched their lives by providing opportunities for cultural experiences.

-- Marine Corps Recipient: Richard Stone, Special Forces Home for Christmas Fund.

This organization is committed to sending financially challenged Marines home for Christmas. It provides support for four Marine Corps battalions and since 2003 has sent 650 Marines home for the Christmas holiday by commercial air. It also hosts events to thank the Marines for their service.

-- Navy Recipient: Jim Marshall, retired chief petty officer.

Marshall has been a highly dedicated and selfless supporter of service members and their families in the Cheyenne, Wyoming, community for more than a decade. He established himself as a community leader, joining several community service organizations and stepping up as Toys for Tots coordinator for two Marines deployed to Iraq.

-- Air Force Recipient: Kevin Ott, Budget Analyst, 28th Communications Squadron.

Ott galvanized the military and veteran community across the Black Hills of South Dakota into an active and visible coalition. He created two annual events, and to tackle the rising number of suicides, launched a grassroots effort to provide a recurring social media and physical fraternity.

-- Coast Guard Recipient: Ann O’Connor, Trees for Troops.

Over the past 10 holiday seasons the Trees for Troops program has been an integral part of Coast Guard morale, well-being and recreation programs through its free tree distribution effort. The program provides free, farm-grown Christmas trees to service members in all branches of the military and their families.

During the awards ceremony, Selva said that the department is incredibly grateful to Hope's family, whose members were in the audience, “for continuing to sponsor this award so that we can recognize those men and women in organizations who give so much back to the nation.”

Dunford Charts Alliance Progress in South Korea



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea, Oct. 26, 2017 — Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford arrived here to participate in the U.S.-South Korean Military Committee Meeting tomorrow.

Just getting off the airplane put the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about 50 miles south of one of the most bizarre borders in the world -- the demilitarized zone.

The DMZ stretches from the Yellow Sea across the peninsula to the East China Sea. It is one of the most heavily militarized borders on Earth.

On the other side of that border is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his army of almost a million active duty soldiers. There are also 600,000 reservists, and the North says it has almost 6 million people in paramilitary formations.

Not content with the fourth largest army in the world, Kim also wants nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

This land was scarred 67 years ago when North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950. Osan Air Base was the site of one of the battles of that war when Easy Company of the 27th Infantry Regiment, low on ammunition, charged up Hill 180 with fixed bayonets.

That war is still going on and Dunford will meet with Korean Air Force Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo, the chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, to examine strategies, plans and means needed to deter any North Korean aggression.

The Military Committee Meeting is the way U.S. and South Korean leaders chart the way ahead for the alliance. Held each year since 1978, senior military officials gather to discuss what has occurred over the past year and the best ways to move ahead.

The Security Consultative Meeting takes place immediately after the MCM. Leading their respective delegations this year are Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo.

Military Committee Meeting

The annual Military Committee Meeting looks at all the issues that affect the U.S.-South Korean alliance. “We look at things like missile defense, command and control, capability development, installation of linked systems,” Dunford said to reporters traveling with him. “It is a wide range of technical issues that get carried on year after year.”

They will also discuss the threat.

It is a dangerous time on the Korean Peninsula as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un pushes his country toward developing nuclear weapons and the means to launch them. The North Korean Foreign Minister said the nation threatened to explode a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. Kim began nuclear testing in 2006 and the most recent test was Sept. 3.

North Korea also tested an intercontinental ballistic missile with the last test of the road transportable missile on July 29.

The rhetoric coming from North Korea is examined carefully, Dunford said. “I am not complacent about anything that comes out of the regime,” the general said. “What’s fair to say is with the unprecedented missile testing and nuclear testing by Kim Jong Un this is certainly a tense period on the peninsula and we are doing everything we can to emphasize we seek a political and diplomatic and economic solution to this. The military dimension is in support of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s diplomatic and economic effort.”

But the military aspect must be credible. The MCM is a report card highlighting capabilities and capacities. “We will review the things that were accomplished since and we will put some milestones out there: this is the meeting that drives the staff for the subsequent year,” Dunford said.

Expanding Capability

Dunford said he expects the two nations will discuss command and control capabilities, precision munitions, the maritime capability and anti-submarine capability. He also expects cyber capabilities and space resilience to be discussed in depth. “We have been on a path of increased South Korean military capability for a long time,” the general said. “The more they can do for themselves the better. “

Dunford and Jeong will present the results of the MCM to Mattis and Song at the Security Consultative Talks. He will then leave for Honolulu, where he will participate in a Tri-Chiefs of Defense meeting with Jeong and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, the chief of staff for the Joint Staff. Both Japan and South Korea are treaty allies of the United States and the South Korean military and the Japan Self-Defense Forces are working to improve their interoperability.

In answer to a question, Dunford said having three carriers operating in the Pacific -- the USS Nimitz, the USS Reagan, the USS Theodore Roosevelt -- is coincidental, but, he added, “It gives us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the region, it gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our ability to meet our alliance commitments, and then from an operational perspective I think there is some utility in bringing together the three carriers and operating in every yard.”

The Nimitz finished a deployment to the Middle East and is transiting to its home port in Washington. The Roosevelt, based in San Diego, will replace the Nimitz in the Middle East, but will exercise while in transit. The Reagan is based in Yokosuka, Japan. It has just finished an exercise with the South Korean Navy.

“This was scheduled months and months in advance. This is a routine demonstration of our commitment to the region,” Dunford said.

Joint Base Charleston Becomes Supply Center for Hurricane Maria Recovery



By Air Force Staff Sgt. William O'Brien Joint Base Charleston

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 26, 2017 — Joint Base Charleston has been established as the central hub and reception area for disaster relief supplies as part of sustained efforts in rebuilding Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Joint Base Charleston was chosen because it’s one of the few Defense Department installations with sea and aerial port facilities.

Different modes of transportation offer different benefits. A sealift vessel is capable of moving more cargo, but at a slower speed than airlift. And, while airlift is faster, no aircraft can hold as much cargo as a ship. By combining the two modes of transportation, representatives are able to airlift urgent items while sealifting large quantities of materials not immediately needed.

“Joint Base Charleston was asked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the [U.S.] Transportation Command to be an installation support base,” said Air Force Col. Rockie Wilson, 628th Mission Support Group commander. “An ISB is a reception area for disaster relief supplies. The interesting thing about Joint Base Charleston is it's one of the few places in the DoD where we can receive supplies by rail and road while having access to aerial and sea port assets. Such access provides maximum flexibility to FEMA to be able to send and receive needed supplies.”

Processing Cargo

FEMA and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency established an initial staging area where items are received, inspected and measured. That information is put into the 841st Transportation Battalion’s logging system, enabling them to create a stowage plan.

“We're receiving cargo from federal and state agencies from all over the country,” said Shawny Dallam FEMA transportation specialist. “When it arrives, it is inventoried and sent to the staging area to be transported to the vessel when it docks or to the air base to be flown out.”

The Navy’s roll-on, roll-off vehicle cargo ship, the USNS Brittin, which has a cargo capacity of 215,000 square feet, is scheduled to make six trips from here to Puerto Rico over the next two months. Since items are coming in from a wide range of agencies, some require repackaging before loading onto the ship.

“Once the items have been received and consolidated, if needed, the items are prioritized and a stowage plan is created,” said Navy Lt. Brenton Breed, the 841st Transportation Battalion’s operations officer. “This stow plan is then shared with the receiving agencies in Puerto Rico. The plan allows them to know exactly what they’re getting, and what order it will come off the ship, facilitating a smooth off load when the ship arrives.”

The primary mode of transportation for this mission is by sea, but if perishable or urgent items arrive at the staging area, they can be sent to Joint Base Charleston’s aerial port to be flown to their destination within hours. Transporting cargo by air has the added benefit of being able to land hundreds of miles from the shore.

“We can be ready as soon as we receive the assets,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Rebecca Ryti, 437th Aerial Port Squadron air freight flight commander. “Once a truck pulls up to our dock, we can unload it, inspect it and get it out to the aircraft in under two hours. Aerial movement is quite amazing because you can move things from one point to another much more quickly than by any other means of transportation.”

Logistics Support

Members from units across the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron provided the logistics support enabling the base to accommodate these interagency partners in accomplishing their mission. This effort was led by Air Force 1st Lt. Ana Smith, 628 CE emergency response flight commander. She met with FEMA and PEMA representatives prior to establishing the staging area to understand their requirements and identify the base assets to fulfill them.

“It has been a little bit of a chess game trying to anticipate their requirements and making sure they have everything they need,” Smith said. “We knew, in general, they'd need base access, a space to store items waiting to be shipped and escort vehicles when shipments arrive at the gate. Additionally, I also had to think beyond the surface and look at finer details. For example, rest room facilities are needed because they are going to be out here for extended periods of time each day.”

This partnership brings together professionals from a variety of different agencies with different skill sets and backgrounds. The team to works as a unit to solve any problems and continues to support the people who are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Maria.

“FEMA and PEMA are great partners,” Breed said. “We work together well. I can provide the logistics expertise they need to ship things because that's not their normal mission. We're looking forward to working together with them to help the American citizens of Puerto Rico.”