Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Soldiers Visit Polish Cadets at Local School

By Army Spc. Dustin D. Biven, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

ZAGAN, Poland, Jan. 16, 2018 — Soldiers from 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas, met with Polish military cadets at a local school in Rzepin, Poland, Jan. 15, in an effort to continue building upon Polish-U.S. relations.

Soldiers sat at tables throughout a room in the school answering a wide variety of questions from the cadets, who sought to learn more.

"It was great being able to meet with the cadets,” said Army Sgt. Demetri Richardson, a wheeled vehicle mechanic assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd ABCT. “They had a lot of great questions.”

Sharing Smiles, Laughter

Though shy at first, through conversation, the cadets began sharing smiles and laughter with the American soldiers.

“They asked about the day-to-day activities of a soldier, what my hobbies were and even my favorite music,” Richardson said. “I feel like not only did they get something out of our visit, but we did too. I loved it and I look forward to being able to do it again.”

After the cadets finished asking the soldiers questions and learning about the United States' mission in Poland, Command Sgt. Major Craig A. Copridge, Dagger Brigade, showed the cadets step by step how to properly prepare meals ready to eat, or MRE.

Julianna Fedorowicz, a 16-year-old cadet at the school, volunteered first and tried the MRE.

“It was actually really good,” said Fedorowicz, when asked how she enjoyed the MRE. “It was great to meet with the U.S. military, they were all so kind and I learned a lot talking with them.”

Ewa Winiarczyk, principal of the school, helped arrange the visit between the cadets and the U.S. military to help the students learn firsthand what the United States is doing in Poland.

“While teaching our cadets about the military, a visit like today is a great opportunity,” Winiarczyk said. “We want our cadets to learn why the U.S. is in Poland and what it is they are doing here to help. This is our first time having the U.S. visit the school, but we look forward to many more.”

Cadets were able to learn more about the U.S. military’s presence in Poland and the United States’ commitment to providing collective security and America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region.

Army Engineers Generate Electric Power in Puerto Rico

By Codi Kozacek, Fort Irwin Public Affairs Office

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Jan. 16, 2018 — Maintenance operations conducted as part of the Army Corps of Engineers temporary emergency power mission in Puerto Rico are keeping nearly 1,000 federal emergency power generators running at critical public facilities across the island.

The generators help power lifesaving facilities such as fire stations and medical centers, as well as life-sustaining facilities like water and wastewater treatment plants until electricity from the grid is restored. Working at a pier in San Juan, Corps personnel operate a repair shop and staging area that’s critical to the success of the mission.

Logistics, Quality Assurance Specialists

Here, logistics and quality assurance specialists track all of the federal generators coming into Puerto Rico from the Virgin Islands and the mainland United States. Once the generators arrive, contract crews check to make sure they are fully mission capable -- meaning they produce a reliable source of electricity at the levels they are designed to provide. The generators can then be added to the inventory of generators available.

The pier also functions as a repair center for generators that exhibit problems after they have been installed at a facility. While Corps quality assurance specialists regularly check on installed generators and contract crews perform preventative maintenance, sometimes issues arise that are too complex to fix on site. In that case, the generator is deinstalled and sent back to the pier for repair. A functioning generator is sent from the inventory to be installed in its place.

Repairs run from exhaust systems to electrical breakers to fuel pumps, according to Jim Wade, a logistics specialist from the Corps’ Walla Walla District in the state of Washington who coordinates operations at the pier. They are the result of how hard the generators have been working -- in some cases, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for several months.

Equipment Wear, Tear

“It’s normal wear and tear,” Wade said. “It’s like taking your car on cross-country trips, back to back. It’s the same types of issues.”

The length of time it takes to repair a generator depends on how complicated the problem is, and if parts are available. Common parts are kept stocked at the pier, but some generators require parts that need to be manufactured, which adds to the repair time.

Once repairs are completed, contractors perform a load bank test to make sure the generator is fully functioning. The test employs a machine, called a load bank that simulates different levels of load -- the amount of electricity produced by the generator.

“It gradually builds the load up and shows you can operate the generator at capacity without any problems,” Wade said. "It helps reduce the number of failures in the field."

Generators that pass the test are signed off as fully mission capable and returned to the inventory of generators available for installation.

Mattis Highlights Diplomatic Solution for North Korean Situation

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2018 — Defense Secretary James N. Mattis has highlighted the efforts aimed at strengthening diplomatic avenues for a secure, prosperous and denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

Mattis spoke to reporters yesterday while en route to Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on the Korean Peninsula.

“The situation we face I would call it sobering,” Mattis said. “But this meeting is designed to still make progress diplomatically, such as you’ve seen with three unanimous Security Council resolutions over these last months.”

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is co-hosting the foreign ministers’ meeting today and tomorrow with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Mattis said his role in the conference is to provide the military situation, then leave the meeting in the hands of Tillerson and the foreign ministers.

Effort Firmly in Diplomatic Realm

“I just want to emphasize this, because this shows that this effort right now is firmly in the diplomatic realm,” he said. “That is where we are working it.”

Mattis did note that military options do exist if North Korea were to launch an attack. However, he reiterated the goal of strengthening diplomatic efforts.

Diplomatic initiatives are “starting to go in the right direction,” he said, noting developments such as North Korea saying it would send athletes and musicians to South Korea next month during the Winter Olympics.

Mattis traveled on today to visit the 366th Fighter Wing, known as the "Gunfighters," located at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. He said he wanted to discuss readiness with the airmen there.

“They are deployable fighter squadrons under that wing, and they are the ones who are training alongside the Singaporean air force there over the Snake River in Denver,” he pointed out.