Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Joint Staff Approves Humanitarian Service Medal for Hurricane Response

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2018 — Eligible military members who served in disaster relief efforts for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria are to receive the Humanitarian Service Medal.

The Joint Staff recently approved the military honor for qualified members in any branch of the armed services. The military departments are responsible for determining individual eligibility. Service members are advised to direct any questions to their respective military department.

For Hurricane Harvey, the award period starts Aug. 23, 2017, and ends Oct. 31, 2017, for the geographic area of Texas and Louisiana.

The Texas counties are: Aransas, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Tyler, Victoria, Waller and Wharton.

The Louisiana parishes are: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, Vermilion and Vernon.

For Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the dates for eligibility run from Sept. 8, 2017, to Oct. 20, 2017, and cover the state of Florida and the Caribbean Sea and adjacent waters from Barbados northward to Anguilla, and then westward to the Florida Straits.

Face of Defense: New York Sailor Saves High School Student

By Navy Chief Petty Officer Travis Simmons, Navy Recruiting District New York

SAG HARBOR, N.Y., March 13, 2018 — A recruiter assigned to Navy Recruiting District New York jumped into action to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a choking freshman at Pierson High School here, Oct. 4, 2017.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Bragaglia, a native of Holbrook, New York, and a 2005 graduate of Sachem High School North, was in the hallway outside the school’s cafeteria behind his recruiting table covered with Navy giveaways and informational pamphlets.

Bragaglia does this five to six times a month at Long Island schools within range of his recruiting station to answer questions about the Navy and to discuss possible career options with students. He said he normally answers questions like what he does in the Navy, what boot camp is like and how long he signed up for.

That day started the same with one exception; he happened to be the closest adult within range to a distressed student.


“After talking to a few students, I was behind my table and noticed one of the students came straight to my table and her face was blue; she was pointing to her neck,” Bragaglia recalled. “That’s when I jumped over my table and I asked her, ‘Are you choking?’ and she nodded her head yes.”

Bragaglis, who holds the military occupational specialty of gas turbine systems electrical technician, had received Basic Life Support training three times in the Navy. The last evolution took place one year prior at Naval Hospital Pensacola before Bragaglia reported to New York.

“I got behind her, said, ‘I got you’ and performed the Heimlich maneuver,” Bragaglia said.

The student’s airway was cleared on the second try when the obstruction flew out onto the hallway floor.

Student’s Gratitude

Bragaglia said the freshman thanked him, gave him a hug and then went back to her table and daily school routine. He was in the right place, at the right time and knew exactly what to do.

“I was very confident the training would work, because I’ve seen it done before while I was in boot camp,” Bragaglia said. “One of the sailors in my division was actually choking at a cafeteria visit and one of the recruit division commanders came and gave him the Heimlich maneuver, so I know it works.”

Bragaglia cleaned up the items he knocked over and spoke with some of the school security guards and lunch room chaperones to discuss what happened.

"Petty Officer Bragaglia's life-saving actions are a prime example of the broad scope of training Navy personnel receive,” said Navy Cmdr. Christian Gaskill, the commanding officer of Navy Recruiting District New York. “I was not surprised to hear that Petty Officer Bragaglia, being in the right place at the right time, had the knowledge and confidence to take action to prevent serious injury or death. I am grateful he is part of our Navy team!"

“Pretty much all the training kicked in, and I knew exactly what to do,” Bragaglia said.

Service Secretaries: People Are Most Important Part of DoD’s Success

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2018 — Speaking at a forum here today on issues surrounding the president’s fiscal year 2019 defense budget request, the three service secretaries agreed that the Defense Department’s most crucial need is continued investment in people.

Army Secretary Mark T. Esper, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the American military’s most crucial advantage is its people and that investment must continue to attract and retain them. Kathleen Hicks of CSIS moderated the discussion.

All three service leaders said the fiscal 2018 budget goes a long way toward repairing the damage done by the Budget Control Act spending cuts and that the 2019 request will begin the road to modernization.

“At the end of the day, people are what makes everything work, and we really have to focus on this,” Spencer said.

War for Talent

The services will be in a war for talent with the private sector, other portions of government and each other, the Navy secretary noted. “We are all going to be looking for more people to do more things in a more intelligent manner,” he said. “We are going to have to figure out a way to adopt and adapt those people that we have.”

Esper noted that the budget request supports the National Defense Strategy announced last month. He said the world is entering a “dynamic environment” with the return of great-power competition with Russia and China and the threats from Iran, North Korea and terrorism. The Army must be capable of countering terror threats as well as those posed by near-peer competitors, he said.

The Army must be able to fight across the spectrum of warfare, and it must be fast, Esper said. He pointed to the stand-up of the Army Futures Command later this year as a defining moment for the service.

“It will be the biggest reform in the Army since 1973 in terms of structure,” he said. “It promises to really reduce the time it takes to … field a new piece of equipment [and] to do it at less cost, and in time for the soldier to be able to use it.”

Joint Force Evolution

Wilson stressed that the services are continuing the evolution to a truly joint force. When she first joined the Air Force, she said, being joint meant having to serve in an assignment with people from other services, and joint operations meant deconflicting a battlespace.

“I would say the services are on the cusp of becoming integrated – not just interdependent, not just joint – but integrated in our operations,” she said. “Because if we can do that – if we can gather information faster, decide faster and act faster, then we are going to prevail in 21st-century conflict. I think we are on the cusp of being able to think and move in that direction.”

“What distinguishes our military, what makes us the premier fighting force in the world -- which guarantees it will prevail in any conflict -- is the quality of our service members,” Esper said. “They are – bar none – the best in the world. They’re smart, they’re aggressive, they’re resourceful, they are persistent and they have a lot of grit.”

All of the secretaries said the services need some personnel reforms. Wilson noted that it takes 150 days to hire a civilian employee and said the backlog for security clearances has doubled over the past 18 months.

The Air Force secretary said she wants organizational shifting to stop while the service implements acquisition reform. “There is something we need to pause, which is organizational change,” she said. “There’s been a lot of it in the Pentagon, and we need to just let the org-chart boxes stay where they are this year and focus on things like personnel reform and fine-tuning acquisition.”