Monday, July 09, 2018

Two Centcom-Based Service Members Die Over Weekend

By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- Members of the Defense Department express condolences for the two U.S. Central Command service members who died during the weekend, Army Col. Rob Manning, director of defense press operations, told reporters this morning.

While supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in the Tarin Kowt district of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province, Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, died July 7 of wounds he suffered during an apparent insider attack, Manning said, noting the incident is under investigation.

Maciel was posthumously promoted to corporal. He had served in Afghanistan since February.

Two other U.S. service members were wounded during the attack and are in stable condition, Manning added.

Maciel was an infantryman assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, based at Fort Benning, Georgia. Task Force 1-28 Infantry is deployed in support of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, the colonel noted.

Sailor Dies During Small-boat Ops

On July 8, a sailor assigned to the guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham died from injuries he suffered while conducting small-boat operations in the Red Sea, Manning said.

The sailor, whose name will be released 24 hours after family members are notified, was medically evacuated to a hospital in Jordan and was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. local time.

“The Navy is investigating the circumstances of his death,” the colonel said, adding that there was no indication of foul play in the sailor’s death and that he died in a nonhostile environment.

The Jason Dunham is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Centcom region, he added.

“These losses are a solemn reminder that our business is inherently dangerous -- but through training and pertinent planning, we always try to mitigate the risks to our personnel who are our most valuable asset,” Manning said.

Face of Defense: Haiti Native Finds Success in Connecticut National Guard

By Army Maj. Michael Petersen, Connecticut National Guard

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Army Warrant Officer Roberto Pauleus spoke two languages, but neither were English.

Like so many immigrants before him, he came to the United States under the impression that life would be glamorous once he landed on American soil.

But Pauleus found it to be much harder, realizing the blood, sweat and tears that would go into making a good life for himself and his family here in the U.S.

Pauleus grew up in Gonaives, Haiti. He was a teenager in 1990, when the nation’s first popular vote for president took place. Within a year of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s election, a military coup saw a nation repressed and Pauleus wondering what his future would hold.

“It was a like a civil war [in Haiti],” Pauleus recalled. “People were killing each other. I was still in high school at the time, but the goal was to join the Haitian Military Academy and to become an orthopedist after I graduated high school.”

Pauleus was a firsthand witness to the military government’s brutality. “I was arrested in Gonaives with two other friends while playing at the national public school one day,” Pauleus said. “We were let go almost right after because we didn’t do anything wrong, and so well-known neighbor spoke to that sergeant who agreed to let myself and my friends go. But other people I know were not so lucky.”

Shifting Goals

When Aristide was reestablished as the nation’s elected leader in 1994, it was done in no small part to the United States’ involvement, which included American boots on the ground in Haiti. Pauleus, who was already planning on joining the military, saw his goal shift.

“The goal was always to become a soldier anyways, but when I saw the U.S. Army, I changed my mind,” he said. “When U.S. soldiers peacefully came to Haiti and I saw their professionalism, discipline and teamwork, I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of. They saved lives, they brought peace to the Haitian people.

“I said to myself, ‘When I come to the U.S., I’m going to become a U.S. soldier.”

Pauleus didn’t come to America directly out of high school. He first studied accounting and supplemented his income by teaching French -- one of the two languages he is fluent in, along with Haitian Creole -- and basic computer skills at Success School at Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city.

He returned to his hometown and became an accountant for a conglomerate that owned supermarkets, restaurants and drug stores, but he never forgot his overall goal.

“I wanted to pay back what I felt I owed to the U.S. military,” Pauleus said. “How they saved lives, how they helped the people there. It was my debt to pay back to the country.”

With a college education, a solid work ethic and an upbringing that toughened him up, he decided in June 2001 to make the move to the United States.

“My mother, who used to live in Florida, moved to Connecticut. Here, she and my step-father sponsored me to come in United States legally,” Pauleus said. “I came with a green card with my three daughters.”

As if being responsible for three children, aged 7, 6, and 5 at the time his family moved to the United States, in a new country wasn’t enough of a challenge, Pauleus also had to overcome the language barrier.

Starting at the Bottom

“When I first came [to America], I didn’t speak any English, so all I could really do was wash dishes at a local hotel,” he said. “But I worked my way up and became a line chef supervisor.

“The biggest misconception is that people don’t have to work hard in America,” Pauleus said. “I thought I’d be rich in the U.S. The political turmoil in Haiti was constant … and it made me want to leave Haiti, despite having a house, a great job, two cars, a motorcycle.”

But he made the leap, and it paid off -- financially and romantically. Pauleus met his wife, Kristy, who worked in the banquet department of the hotel. Together they put their family under one roof and they have raised a total of six children; four girls and two boys.

“She was so patient with me,” he recalled with a laugh. “She taught me English. I used to carry my French-English dictionary around so I could find a few words to communicate.”

Pauleus joined the Connecticut Army National Guard’s 1048th Medium Truck Company in May 2003 as a Motor Transport Operator. He served the organization full time in a variety of roles in the supply and logistics fields before deciding to take the plunge and attempt to earn a commission as a warrant officer.

In 2005, he became a United States citizen, and he began to forge a promising career.

“Ten years ago, I interviewed for a job as a property book clerk, and during the interview someone asked me where I saw myself in ten years,” Pauleus said. “I told them I want to be a property book officer, and here I am.”


On Nov. 17, 2017, the 43-year old Pauleus officially became Warrant Officer Pauleus, the property book officer for the 143rd Regional Support Group in Middletown, Connecticut.

For Pauleus, life in America has been very good, but he knows he had to work hard for everything he owns.

“People think that all Americans are rich, that you don’t have to work hard, and that money literally grows on trees,” he said. “I was disappointed when I realized I would have to start all over again. It was a struggle, but I made progress, went back to school and got an associate’s degree in accounting.”

Pauleus also didn’t see a future for his children in Haiti. Now, he beams with pride when talking about all his children. His two boys are in college; one daughter recently got married and is working towards her teaching certification and another just graduated from Western Connecticut State University. One is getting ready to graduate from Western Connecticut State University next year, and one followed in her father’s footsteps as a unit supply specialist in the Army Reserve.

“We’re looking for her to come to the guard when her contract is over,” Pauleus said with a smile.

U.S., Philippines Strengthen Alliance with Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Philippines -- The U.S. and Philippine navies kicked off maritime training activity Sama Sama at Naval Station Ernesto Ogbinar here today.

The week-long engagement focuses on the full spectrum of naval capabilities and is designed to strengthen the close partnership between both navies while cooperatively ensuring maritime security, stability and prosperity.

Expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket, diving and salvage ship USNS Salvor and a P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft will operate alongside the Philippine navy frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz and landing dock ship BRP Tarlac in at-sea evolutions in the South China Sea.

Evolutions include air defense exercises aimed to increase proficiency in air and missile defense, diving exercises to promote mutual efficiency underwater, and search and rescue exercises designed to enhance capabilities in aid-and-assistance to distressed mariners.

Shore phase evolutions include symposiums and seminars on a wide range of naval capabilities, including medical, public affairs, engineering, explosive ordnance disposal and anti-submarine and surface operations, all taking place here and in San Antonio, Manila and Subic.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will join the exercise as an observer and valued partner.

‘Together, Jointly’

“The name of this Maritime Training Activity, Sama Sama, -- meaning ‘together, jointly’ -- perfectly captures the spirit and energy of this tremendous event. The U.S. and Philippine alliance has always been a special relationship based on mutual trust and respect and strengthened by enduring maritime engagements,” said Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander of Task Force 73. “Built on 70 years of strong friendship and deep historical ties, our shared interest in maritime security is what maritime training activity Sama Sama is all about -- our shared belief that regional challenges increasingly require cooperative solutions by capable naval forces.”

Sama Sama builds upon other engagements with the Philippines, including Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission; Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training, which involves more than a dozen partner nations; and Balikatan 34. These engagements serve to enhance information sharing and coordination and support long-term regional cooperation.

“This training provides us with an exceptional opportunity for both Philippine and U.S. navies to engage in a broader range of maritime operations and unique scenarios in our maritime areas,” said Philippine Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, commander of Northern Luzon Command. “In this way, we could explore for more cooperation, enhance our interoperability, and provide us effective mechanisms for collaboration and partnership of our navies in the spirit of our mutual treaty engagement

“Notably,” he continued,” this maritime training activity demonstrates the extraordinary commitment of our navies in building and strengthening our partnership in keeping with our bilateral relations as longtime ally. As such, this year’s exercise focuses on developing mutual capabilities in addressing maritime security priorities and concern for mutual benefits and interests”.

In July 2017, the U.S. and Philippine navies conducted a coordinated patrol in the Sulu Sea demonstrating a mutual commitment to responding to piracy and illegal transnational activity. Sailors from both navies exchanged best practices in visit, board, search and seizure techniques, as well as information sharing.
“It is incredible to see all that will be accomplished during this exercise, as sailors and Marines from the U.S. and Philippines work side by side across multiple domains to safely execute and engage on and under the sea, in the air, on land and in the local communities,” said Navy Capt. Lex Walker, commander of Destroyer Squadron 7. “As the MTA continues to evolve in scope and scale, the U.S. and Philippine navies will continue sailing together towards the common goals of increased maritime security and stability.”