Friday, June 01, 2018

Face of Defense: Sailors Balance Service With Motherhood

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Brooke Macchietto, USS George H.W. Bush

ATLANTIC OCEAN -- It’s a new day as the alarm clock goes off.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Shatia Carroll flings the covers off and begins her morning routine. She gets dressed before she dresses her son, but they brush their teeth together.

After getting her son breakfast, she drives him to preschool and makes her way to work. She arrives at the ship by 7:15 a.m.

Carroll, from Jackson, Tennessee, is a single mother to her 3-year-old son, Jayden. She’s also a culinary specialist assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, home-ported at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

Since returning from a seven-month deployment, the ship has sustained a busy underway schedule, forcing Carroll to leave her son with her sister and mother while she is gone.

Military Service, Motherhood

“The hardest part is being away from my son, because he changes every day,” Carroll said. “Before I left for deployment, he was saying a couple words. And then I came back home, and he was saying whole sentences.”

These changes don’t slow down as kids get older. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Megan Miller, a mother of three who hails from Oakland, Illinois, recalled striking memories of her children at a younger age.

“I just watched my oldest, Marcus, drive around the cul-de-sac in the car and I came to this thought of him doing it on his bike in the same exact cul-de-sac and just how fast time flies by,” Miller said.

Being a mother in the Navy is undeniably difficult, but it is also rewarding, particularly when mothers are able to get their kids involved in their job.

“They enjoy coming to the ship and seeing all the boats at anchor and everything in the fo’c’sle,” Miller said. “They like hearing my stories about being underway and some of the stuff we have done, so they definitely think it is pretty cool.”

Support From Home, Work

Support from home is paramount to being a successful parent while in the military, but being a successful sailor while raising children also requires support from work.

“You have to be open and communicate with your chain of command if you have issues,” Miller said.

With the right mentality and the right team, being a sailor and a mom is far from impossible.

“Stay encouraged and keep a positive mindset because it’s easy to become stressed having to be away from your child,” Carroll said. “As long as you have support from your friends and family you can still be a mother in the Navy.”

Carroll and Miller are counting down the minutes until they are with their children again.
“I will call him and he will say, ‘Mommy, when are you coming to pick me up?’” Carroll said. “And, I’ll say, ‘As soon as I get back home -- as soon as we pull in -- I am coming to get you.’”

Air Force Academy Hosts 2018 DoD Warrior Games

By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- Athletic competition at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games begins tomorrow and continues through June 9 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White told reporters today.

“Established in 2010, the Warrior Games showcase the resilient spirit of today's wounded, ill or injured service members through Paralympic-style sports,” White said.

The 250 athletes expected to participate -- service members and veterans -- have overcome significant injuries, White said, pointing out a Marine staff sergeant, injured in a 2009 improvised explosive device attack in Afghanistan, who will compete in eight events as part of Team U.S. Special Operations Command; and a retired Air Force tech sergeant, who is overcoming breast cancer and will compete in sitting volleyball.

The athletes represent the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Socom. Athletes from the United Kingdom armed forces, Australian Defense Force and Canadian armed forces also will participate, the spokesperson said.

Athletes will compete in 11 events, including archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track, wheelchair basketball and -- for the first time -- indoor rowing, power lifting and time-trial cycling, she said.

“The games provide an opportunity for athletes to showcase their healing and recovery through adaptive sports,” White said. “It is one of the ways we celebrate our warriors and their service to our nation.”

Eucom Enhances Force Readiness Through Summer Exercises

STUTTGART, Germany -- U.S. European Command is kicking off its summer exercise season by conducting three long-planned, key events: Baltic Operations, Saber Strike and Swift Response.

Eucom officials said these exercises demonstrate the command’s continued commitment to NATO allies and partners by maintaining its warfighting edge and ability for crisis response.

Throughout the year, Eucom carries out a continual training cycle with its service component commands, allies and partners. Top priorities are preparedness to address Russian malign influence and the ability to provide a combat-credible military force to deter war, protect U.S. interests and reassure European allies across the theater, Eucom officials said.

A premier maritime-led exercise in the Baltic Sea, Baltic Operations is one of the largest exercises in northern Europe. Its focus is delivering demanding training across the entire spectrum of naval warfare, including training to effectively counter aircraft, ship and submarine attacks; coordinate between air and maritime units; and conduct live gunnery and mine countermeasures operations.

Saber Strike is a cooperative training exercise to enhance relationship building across U.S., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and allied and partner nations. This year's key Saber Strike objective will be training and exercising NATO’s enhanced forward presence -- battle groups with a focus on promoting interoperability and improving joint operational capability in a variety of land missions.

Swift Response executes airborne crisis response scenarios that focus on training the U.S. Global Response Force to conduct rapid response infiltration. Swift Response will feature multinational forces, airborne exercises, joint forcible entry personnel and equipment drops, air assault operations, a force buildup using a short takeoff and landing strip, and noncombatant evacuation operations.

This event allows allies to connect -- personally, professionally, technically and tactically -- to build stronger, more capable forces that are ready at a moment's notice to respond to crisis situations, officials explained.

Active Engagement

At any given moment, Eucom and its components are actively engaged in more than 100 exercises and operations, officials noted. Eucom’s exercises and assessments division, led by Air Force Brig. Gen. John P. Healy, relies on the strong partnerships the command has with its NATO allies and European partners to make each exercise run as smoothly and successfully as possible.

"Our robust exercise program continues to ready our service members, allies and partners so they are the best trained warfighting force in the world," Healy said, "and that they are prepared for any crisis or challenge."

The exercises focus on joint cooperation and actions and are made relevant by continued challenges and threats around the world, officials said. For example, they noted, the combined military response in April to Syria's use of chemical weapons included Eucom and NATO alliance air and maritime assets. The familiarity built through joint and combined training allowed the United States, the United Kingdom and France to integrate planning efforts and conduct a successful strike that demonstrated allied cooperation and strength, officials said, adding that these actions demonstrate the necessity to maintain readiness and the importance of partnerships.

"No nation stands alone, and no nation's immune to the threat of violence posed by terror," said Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Eucom commander, during a recent discussion with European chiefs of defense. "We're definitely stronger together, and we're more effective as a team."

Eucom's exercise program provides the opportunity for military teams to come together to train, which ultimately strengthens the existing alliances that deter existing and potential threats, officials said. The ability to adapt to a complex security environment creates greater cohesiveness and enable allies, partners, interagency organizations, and other combatant commands to enhance their response to regional crises. It also meets country-specific security needs by improving border security, ensuring energy security, and countering threats such as terrorism, illegal trafficking and weapons proliferation, they explained.

Eucom maintains a ready forward presence, postured alongside proven, indispensable European allies and partners to ensure regional stability and represent national interests, command officials said. Through tough, realistic training, they added, the command continues to adjust to a dynamic strategic environment, aggressively adapting its thinking and approaches to meet its assigned missions.