Military News

Friday, August 24, 2018

Mattis Touts Past, Future at Transcom Change of Command


By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- When witnessing the connectivity and capability of the U.S. Transportation Command, any doubts about America's military might fade immediately, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said today at Transcom’s change-of-command ceremony at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons assumed command of Transcom at the ceremony, succeeding Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew, who is retiring after a 36-year military career culminated by three years as Transcom’s top officer.

Long before Transcom was formed 31 years ago as a combatant command -- comprising soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen -- the ability to swiftly move troops and equipment to the front lines has been an essential condition for military victory that was necessary in the earliest times in history, Mattis said.

“Well before the locomotive barreled down the track, Hannibal formed his own Alpine train, marching his 40,000-man army over the Alps from Spain to Italy,” the secretary said. “He chose to support that army with a pack train with the animal of choice -- elephants. And had it not been that the president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, turned down the king of Siam, pachyderms might have had a role in our military mobility as well.”

U.S. Military Railroad

Lincoln declined that offer, and opted instead for a different mode of troop and materiel transport, and that was the United States military railroad, Mattis noted. That boosted the logistical output during the war by a factor of 10, he added, denying the Confederacy their benefit of interior lines.

“Transcom has inherited this mission in modern times, employing creative solutions,” the secretary said. “And this joint command is no stranger to logistic feats of impressive proportions.”

In 1987, then-President Ronald Reagan saw the need for the command of a unified military mobility framework, and Transcom was born, “‘becoming one of the big boys,’ as its first commander, [Air Force Gen. Duane H. Cassidy], characterized this coming of age,” Mattis said.

It didn't take long for Transcom to prove its mettle in the most challenging of circumstances, when Iraq invaded Kuwait three years after the command activated, he said.

“As is usual in crises, there was little time to prepare,” Mattis added. “A massive force was moved across the globe, stopping any further attack beyond Kuwait. Transcom rose to the challenge with remarkable speed and grit, helping to seal that victory in Operation Desert Storm, and providing a … strong benchmark, a high benchmark for future military logistics.”

Desert Storm was Transcom's coming-out event, Mattis said, in which it proved its worth with superior performance.

McDew’s Leadership

Today, this Transcom team has carried forward that awesome legacy of years past under McDew's insightful leadership, the secretary said.

“You have been a role model, General McDew, of devotion to duty and competence in our profession,” Mattis told the outgoing commander. “In carrying out your command duties, you have integrated our National Defense Strategy and priorities into the operations, recognizing that mobility and agility form the core of a more lethal military.”

During McDew’s tenure, he strengthened relations with allies who require Transcom's enabling capabilities so they can join the United States on far-flung battlefields, the secretary noted.

“Your leadership style fosters collaboration and initiative that we have all witnessed -- spurring progress, whether it be in data analytics or moving to that high-potential cloud-based platform and strengthening our important relations with industry,” Mattis told McDew.

All of these efforts reflect a keen focus on warfighter effectiveness, a focus that will continue to guide the critical combatant command for years to come, the secretary added.

“So on behalf of the Department of Defense, thank you to the entire Transcom team for your efforts,” he said. “While others outside DoD may find it difficult to comprehend all that you do to keep America strong, you can be certain that America and our allies feel the impact of your actions every day.”

Mattis told McDew that as he passed the Transcom reins to Lyons, he could be proud of the foundation built on his watch.

Addressing Lyons, Mattis said the incoming commander’s experience as the logistics director on the Joint Staff, as the former Transcom deputy commander and in many other posts has earned him “an enviable professional record and the full confidence of your peers and your superiors.”

“As you return to the heartland,” the secretary added, “I charge you with taking Transcom to the next level in continuing to adapt its capabilities to meet the challenges of the storm clouds that we see gathering.”

Face of Defense: Man Sheds 40 Pounds to Serve as Marine Corps Officer


By Marine Corps Cpl. Jorge Rosales, 6th Marine Corps District

QUANTICO, Va. -- Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Zachary Bowman, a native of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, had what most would consider a successful life. After graduating from Winthrop University, he relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he began a career in real estate. Though his new job was everything he had worked for in college, he was left feeling unfulfilled.

Bowman missed being part of a team. “I had always been on a team sport and part of a team atmosphere, but I didn’t have much of that anymore,” he said.

In 2017, Bowman found what he was looking for inside a CrossFit gym.

“One coach there was a prior-service Marine,” he said. “There was a picture of him and all his buddies from the Marine Corps on the wall. I saw it every day when I would come in. That’s when I realized the Marine Corps is something I would like to do.”

Bowman’s mind was set, but he had an obstacle to overcome: his weight. By Marine Corps standards, Bowman was 35 pounds overweight, and he scored low on his initial physical fitness test. He began his training with Marine Corps Maj. Trey B. Kennedy with the Officer Selection Station in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he applied to become a part of the Platoon Leaders Class program.

"When I first met Candidate Bowman, he was far from meeting the Marine Corps' standard,” Kennedy said. “His devotion to achieving his goal of becoming an officer in the United States Marine Corps was unwavering. His progress was impressive."

Bowman said he weighed 250 pounds when he decided to join the Marine Corps. “But I started working out every day, and by the time I was ready to leave for [Officer Candidates School], I was 213 pounds,” he added.

Maternal Pride

Bowman lost nearly 40 pounds in less than a year to become an officer candidate. On Aug 11, 2018, Candidate Zachary Bowman became 2nd Lt. Zachary Bowman, an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Bowman’s family members traveled here from Pennsylvania to witness the now 197-pound Bowman’s graduation and commissioning.

“I am very proud of him,” said his mother, Tammy Bowman. “I would have never thought he would have done anything like this. If you told me back then that he was going to join the military, I would have said you were crazy.”

Bowman said he aspires to become a lawyer, and the Marine Corps has created a path for him to achieve his goal. After completing the Basic School, Bowman will attend the Naval Justice School, where he will learn the basic aspects of military law and responsibilities of a Marine Corps judge advocate.
“He used to tell me that he wanted to be lawyer,” the lieutenant’s mother said. “I told him that he wouldn’t be making a lot of money, but without hesitation he said to me, ‘I don’t care about the money. I want to help people and serve my country.’ And that’s my son.”

Sequenced Bomber Missions to Australia Showcase Alliance


JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers assigned to the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, conducted two sequential bilateral training missions to Australia as part of exercise Pitch Black 18.

Pitch Black, a biennial exercise designed to enhance flight operations and proficiency between participating nations, provided an opportunity for U.S. bombers to integrate with Australia’s defense force to maintain the proficiency between the two nations. These routine training missions were in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence Program.

“The 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron is excited to be participating in exercise Pitch Black,” said Air Force Maj. Jonathan Radtke, 96th EBS mission planner. “This training is crucial to our allies’ interoperability and stability within the Indo-Pacific theater. This realistic training gives our crews the unique opportunity to improve their tactics, techniques, and procedures in one of the largest training airspaces in the world."

During the missions, the B-52s integrated with Royal Australian Air Force and other Australian forces and conducted training Aug. 6 and 13 near Royal Australian Air Force Base Tyndall, Australia.

U.S.-Australian ‘Mateship’

Sequenced missions with Australia highlight the 100 years of “mateship” between the two nations, emphasizing bonds that date back to World War I. The U.S. and Australia have a longstanding history of maintaining regional stability by demonstrating the strength of their alliance and military-to-military partnership.
The routine employment of Continuous Bomber Presence missions is in accordance with international law and is vital to the principles that are the foundation of the rules-based global operating system, officials said, adding that these missions are intended to maintain the readiness of U.S. forces and are a key component to improving combined and joint service interoperability.