Military News

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Southern Georgia Named ‘Sentinel Landscape’ for Readiness Enhancement



WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2017 — The departments of Agriculture, Defense and Interior have designated southern Georgia as a Sentinel Landscape to maintain military readiness while preserving local agriculture, natural resources and wildlife habitat, Defense Department officials announced today.

Spanning a significant portion of the southern part of the state, the Georgia Sentinel Landscape joined the cooperative partnership between DoD and the Agriculture and Interior departments, DoD officials said.

In July 2013, the departments launched the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership through a memorandum of understanding to meet three critical goals: preserve working and agricultural lands, restore and protect wildlife habitat, and assist with military readiness.

The first designees were Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, Fort Huachuca in Arizona and Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. These designees were joined in 2016 by Avon Park Air Force Range in Florida, Camp Ripley in Minnesota and Eastern North Carolina, officials said.

Vital to National Defense

Through the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership, the federal agencies work with state, local and private partners to preserve working and natural lands important to the nation’s defense mission.

“This announcement represents a major accomplishment in the effort to protect our land, promote the livelihoods of hardworking Americans, and ensure our nation’s defense,” said Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment.

“Maintaining working and natural lands across southern Georgia will not only provide critical habitat for a number of important species and promote the economies of rural communities,” Niemeyer said, “but also enable the military to continue to test, train, and operate at nine key military installations in the state.

“The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership is an innovative initiative that protects critical Department of Defense missions through efficient government and private-sector collaboration,” he continued. “This is a true win for warfighters, taxpayers and the citizens of Georgia.”

Partnership Core Characteristics

Led at the local level, stakeholders work together to ensure that each Sentinel Landscape possesses three fundamental components, according to the partnership’s website:

-- An anchor military installation with a military mission that benefits from compatible land uses outside of the installation’s boundaries

-- A defined landscape that is associated with the anchor installation’s “mission footprint.” Within this landscape, government agencies, private parties, and nongovernment organizations coordinate their programs in support of ranching, farming, forestry and conservation with the full involvement and partnership of the landowners in the landscape; and

-- A coordinated and collaborative strategy or plan that provides incentives and recognition to participating landowners, who adopt and sustain land uses compatible with the military mission while providing tangible benefits to conservation and working lands within the landscape.

Benefits of Newly Designated Landscape

DoD officials said the Georgia Sentinel Landscape encompasses vital military ranges needed to test and train to meet threats as they arise and supports strong and effective conservation partnerships.

The Georgia Sentinel Landscape brings together more than 20 partners at the federal, state, and local levels to sustain working farms and forests and protect vital habitat for a number of important species, thereby promoting land uses compatible with the military mission.

Efforts to coordinate mutually beneficial programs among partners in this landscape will promote the military missions of nine important installations and ranges in Georgia, including Fort Stewart, Fort Benning, and Townsend Bombing Range. The military network stretching over the southern portion of the state provides a wide variety of test, training, and operational resources and capabilities to service men and women from each of the military services, including heavy armor maneuver areas, unimpeded air-to-ground training, live-fire training facilities, and low-level flight routes.

Building on a legacy of successful, collaborative land protection in the state, partners from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the military services, the state of Georgia, and a number of private conservation organizations have identified about 1.3 million acres as critical to important natural resources, working economies, and military readiness within the landscape’s boundary.

Leveraging Goals, Shared Priorities

The landscape partners seek to leverage a broad set of goals and shared priorities to not only ensure the continued viability of important military installations, officials said, but also promote the protection of habitat corridors for a number of important species, including the gopher tortoise, red-cockaded woodpecker, eastern indigo snake and other species of concern.

Partners hope to protect more than 20 additional viable gopher tortoise populations in the next five years to make it unnecessary to list this species under the Endangered Species Act, officials added.

The Georgia partnership also seeks to protect a core of at least 5,000 acres of important farmlands in four focus areas within the next five years, as well as more than 136,000 acres in the Savannah River watershed over the next 20 years.

Additional goals of the partnership include increasing public access to outdoor recreational opportunities, improving management practices on private lands and expanding outreach activities to private landowners within the landscape.
“This collaborative effort is a clear example of the value of working across conventional boundaries,” Niemeyer said. “When partners at the federal, state, and community levels work together towards a common goal, everyone wins. The Sentinel Landscape program brings together the resources of multiple federal entities in collaboration to promote common interests for military readiness, support for the warfighter, and the safety and security of this nation.”

In 1917, ‘Rainbow Division’ Celebrated Christmas in France



By Eric Durr New York National Guard

LATHAM, N.Y., Dec. 19, 2017 — In December 1917, the soldiers of the National Guard’s 42nd Division were all in France, waiting for training in the trench warfare that defined World War I in Europe.

The division's 27,000 troops had started moving to France in October from Camp Albert Mills on Long Island. The last elements of the 26-state division -- the 168th Infantry Regiment from Iowa -- had reached France at the end of November.

The 42nd Division had been formed by taking National Guard units from 26 states and combining them into a division that stretched across the country, “like a rainbow,” in the words of the division chief of staff, Army Col. Douglas MacArthur.

The largest elements were four regiments from Ohio, Iowa, Alabama and New York, which were organized in two brigades of two regiments and supporting units.

The New York National Guard's 69th Infantry Regiment, renowned as the “Fighting 69th” had been renamed the 165th Infantry Regiment.

Christmas in France

By Christmas, the division's elements were located in a number of villages northeast of the city of Chaumont, about 190 miles east of Paris. The men had hiked there from Vaucouleurs, where they had originally been deposited by train.

The 165th Infantry Regiment celebrated Christmas in the village of Grand. Father Francis Duffy, the regiment's famous chaplain, celebrated a joint American-French mass on Christmas Eve.

According to Army Sgt. Joyce Kilmer, a poet and editor, “the regimental colors were in the chancel, flanked by the tricolor. The 69th was present, and some French soldier-violinists. A choir of French women sang hymns in their own language, the American soldiers sang a few in English, and French and American [voices] joined in the universal Latin of ‘Venite, Adoremus Dominum.”


The Iowa National Guard’s 168th Infantry Regiment hosted 400 French children at a Christmas celebration in the village of Rimaucourt. Two American soldiers dressed as Santa Claus gave presents to the French children and a French band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The children received dolls, horns and balloons, recalled Lt. Hugh S. Thompson in his book, “Trench Knives and Mustard Gas.”

The 168th didn't eat as well as the 165th on Christmas day, according to Thompson. “Scrawny turkeys and a few nuts were added to the usual rough menu,” he recalled.

The Ohio National Guard’s 166th Infantry Regiment was reviewed by Army Gen. John J. Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Force, just before Christmas. On Christmas they enjoyed music from the regimental band and a good meal.

The ‘Valley Forge Hike’

While Christmas 1917 was a good one for most of the Rainbow Division, the next week went down in the division's memory as the “Valley Forge Hike.”

It was 30-40 miles from where the division's troops had celebrated Christmas to the town of Rolampont, where the Army's Seventh Training Area had been established.

Today, you can drive the route in an hour. In 1917 it took the soldiers four days to get there.

The march was miserable, according to the 1919 book, “The Story of the Rainbow Division.”

The soldiers had “scarcely any shoes except what they had on their feet, there was no surplus supply to speak of. Some of the men had no overcoats.”

They walked into a mountain snowstorm. In some places the snow was 3-4 feet deep. Soldiers’ shoes wore out. Some marched almost barefoot, and there were bloody trails in the snow.

Thompson recalled that the men in his unit were issued hobnailed boots: the soles were held by heavy nails. The problem, he said, was that the nails got cold and the men's feet froze.
A photograph from the book “the Story of the Rainbow Division” shows soldiers with the Missouri National Guard’s 117th Field Signal Battalion -- part of the 42nd Infantry Division -- making their way through the snowy French countryside in Dec. 1917 during the “Valley Forge Hike.” The troops marched over 60 miless in the snow, from Vaucouleurs to Rolampont, France. Courtesy photo

“Bleak expanses of icy geography appeared and vanished in monotonous fields between villages,” he said. “Legs ached, pack straps cut into shoulders unmercifully. Men fell out, exhausted.”

At night, the men huddled in the barns and haylofts of the French villages to keep warm.

The mule- and horse-drawn supply wagons got stuck on the icy roads and men had to move their best animals from wagon to wagon to get them unstuck, Duffy recalled.

Stretched Thin

For three days, the men in the 165th Infantry Regiment's 3rd Battalion had no food, Kilmer said, and when rations caught up to the men they got coffee and a bacon sandwich, or a raw potato and bread.

“The hike made Napoleon's retreat from Moscow look like a Fifth Avenue parade,” one New York officer remembered later.

“The men plowed over the hills and [through] the snow, enduring hardships which are not pleasant to remember,” wrote Reppy Alison, the author of a book about the 1st Battalion, 166th Infantry Regiment.

Medics reported cases of mumps and pneumonia as the temperatures dropped below zero. Hundreds of men fell out -- at least 700, including 200 of the New Yorkers -- but most made it to Rolampont.

As the 165th Infantry Regiment arrived, the regimental band struck up “In the Good Old Summer Time.”

By New Year’s Day the division's elements had all arrived in Rolampont, and along with a new year they got a new commander.

Army Maj. Gen. William A. Mann, the former head of the Militia Bureau, the equivalent of today's Chief of today’s National Guard Bureau, had taken command of the division at Camp Mills.

But, at age 63, Mann couldn't meet the physical standards for officers established by Pershing.

Mann was replaced by 55-year-old Army Brig. Gen. Charles T. Menoher.
As 1918 began, Menoher and the soldiers of the Rainbow Division began gearing up to go into the trenches. After completing a demanding training regimen led by the British and French armies, the division would spend 264 days in combat before the war ended on Nov. 11, 1918.

Face of Defense: Airman Puts Lifesaving Skills to the Test



By Air Force Master Sgt. April Wickes, U.S. Strategic Command

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., Dec. 19, 2017 — For one airman, a routine workout at the field house here turned into an opportunity to put his livesaving skills to the test.

Air Force Airman 1st Class David Robb, a security specialist and emergency medical technician with the 55th Security Forces Squadron, was starting his warm-up lap during his daily workout Nov. 15, when he saw enlisted and civilian gym workers sprinting past him.

“I know that usually when they do that it means something is going on, and by the way they were running, it was something serious,” Robb said. “I picked up my pace and ran to the other side of the gym where I noticed there was a man lying on his back with an automatic defibrillator, or AED, attached to him and someone was in the process of doing chest compressions on him.”

After Robb identified himself as an emergency medical technician, he asked the person assisting the patient to temporarily stop chest compressions, then assessed the situation and found that the man had no pulse and wasn’t breathing.

‘Step Back … Analyzing’

“I took over chest compressions and had the other gentleman maintain an open airway,” Robb said. “After about 45 seconds of chest compressions the AED said, ‘Step back from patient, analyzing.’”

The AED advised a shock.

“I continued with chest compressions for 5 to 10 seconds and once the AED was charged we stood back, pressed the button and the AED shocked the man,” Robb said. “I continued to do chest compressions after that for an additional two minutes.”

The AED analyzed the patient again and this time no shock was advised.

“At that point we did a quick assessment of the patient because he doesn’t need chest compressions anymore,” Robb said. “We checked his wrist for a pulse and he had a good strong pulse. He also started breathing again.”

In just a few minutes, Robb helped save a life -- something he had prepared for in his extensive CPR and EMT training.

In addition to the CPR training Robb is required to have as a security forces airman, he earned his national EMT certification in January 2015. The certification included specialized training in adult and infant CPR and use of an AED.

“I’m coming to the end of my enlistment,” Robb explained. “I’m going to be separating soon and my ultimate goal is to become a firefighter. In order to become a firefighter you have to be a certified EMT.”

Robb’s father was a paramedic firefighter in Mesa, Arizona, and like his father, he always desired to help people.

Hospital Visit

In fact, Robb’s desire to help the man at the gym didn’t stop when the Bellevue Fire Department showed up and took the patient to a local hospital.

That evening, he went to the hospital to check on the man he helped rescue.

“I really wanted to see if I could offer any assistance,” Robb said. “Growing up around firefighters, paramedics and police officers, [I know] the majority of the time when they go on a rescue and they do what they need to do, they drop the patient off at the hospital, and they never see them again. They don’t know the outcome.”

The patient’s wife and a nurse were at the hospital and thanked Robb for what he did. Robb also cleared up some information that was not passed on to them, such as where and when the patient was found at the Offutt Field House.

This was the first time he’s helped someone who was in cardiac arrest in the more than two and a half years he’s been certified as an EMT.

“With me separating soon, and my goal to be a firefighter, I felt like I hadn’t been put up to a challenge yet to see if I could really do this under pressure -- in a real life situation,” Robb said. “When the situation presented itself, I did what I could. When he [the patient] started breathing again and had a pulse, I was euphoric! I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think I came down from that euphoria for the rest of the day.”

When Air Force Capt. Keith Saylors Jr., the 55th Security Forces Squadron’s operations officer, received the news, he explained that he was a bit shocked because although Robb is a “steadfast defender, he is not always the most vocal person in the room.”

“In most cases, he will not be the first person to raise his hand, but knows all of the answers,” Saylors said of Robb. “On the other hand, his actions are not surprising. We teach our defenders from Day One of training that they are security forces 24/7, 365 days a year, and to always be prepared to react to the adversary or provide support to those in need.”

Everyone Should Learn CPR

Robb said that when he’s on duty, he anticipates that things like this event could happen, but to him, rescuing someone during his off-duty time seemed “completely out of the blue.”

Robb also noticed something that concerned him.

“I noticed there was a large group of people, even when I went over to start doing compressions,” Robb said. “Nobody was really doing anything except for one guy. I don’t know if those people knew CPR, but I also find that people are afraid to do it; they’re afraid to get involved. To me, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense; if a person is in cardiac arrest you can’t do any more harm.”

He also explained why he thinks people should learn CPR.

“The reason it’s so important to me is because you never know when situations like this happen,” Robb said. “They say that the average person in a non-rescue-type profession will at least one time in their life be put in a situation where someone will be required to perform CPR. The last thing I would want is to be in that situation and think, ‘Man, I had the opportunity to take the training, but now I can’t do anything.’ To me that is a scary feeling.”