Military News

Friday, September 14, 2018

More than 7,000 Service Members ‘Leaning Forward’ to Aid Fellow Citizens


By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- More than 7,000 service members -- National Guard and active duty -- are standing by ready to assist as Hurricane Florence hits the Carolina coast, DoD officials said here today.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan are monitoring the Category 2 hurricane and the department is “leaning forward” to help civilian agencies as the storm approaches.

“The secretary is also receiving reports throughout the day on actions the military services are taking to protect the safety and well-being of the military community, and ensure the readiness of DoD installations in the region affected by Hurricane Florence,” Kenneth P. Rapuano, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security, said at a Pentagon news conference.

‘Dangerous Storm’

Both Rapuano and U.S. Northern Command commander Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy called Hurricane Florence a “dangerous storm” and urged Americans to listen to the warnings from state and local officials.

O’Shaughnessy also commands North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Outer bands of the storm have already started hitting the coast and officials said there are already winds exceeding 100 mph in some areas. The storm surge has hit in North and South Carolina and the storm is expected to slow down and deposit huge amounts of rain.

DoD is already working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pre-position helicopters, vehicles and supplies. The department is prepared to assist FEMA and our other federal partners in supporting the affected regions, Rapuano said.

O’Shaughnessy said DoD assets have virtually surrounded the area where the storm is expected to make landfall.

Positioning Forces

“We are proactively positioning forces now to respond from the north, from the south, from the east and from the west, across the full spectrum of DoD capabilities at every level -- by air, by sea and by land,” the general said.

Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia; Joint Base Bragg, North Carolina; North Auxiliary Airfield, South Carolina; and Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama are staging areas for FEMA.

About 80 light/medium tactical vehicles are staged at Fort Stewart, Georgia, set to respond quickly once Florence passes through the area. These trucks are high-water-clearance vehicles which can carry supplies or first responders. These vehicles proved their worth in this type of situation last year during Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

At Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, there are 35 helicopters available for search-and-rescue operations. A similar unit is at Fort Bliss, Texas, ready to move forward.

At Fort Bragg, there are 40 high-wheel vehicles for rescue and transportation, as well as seven helicopters staged for use in search and rescue and recovery missions, the general said.

The USS Kearsarge amphibious assault ship and the USS Arlington amphibious transport dock ship are following behind Florence. These vessels have Navy and Marine personnel, 16 helicopters and six MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

At Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, the Air Force has six HH-60 helicopters, two HC-30 aircraft and four pararescue teams at the ready.

At Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, 1st Air Force will provide robust command-and-control, air operations support to the DoD effort. This will include airborne command-and-control assets.

‘Ready to Respond’

“North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia are all home to well-known military bases and installations, and the secretary of defense is given authority for life-saving and life-sustaining actions in order to make DoD capabilities immediately available, and local commanders are proactively positioning forces and equipment to be ready,” O’Shaughnessy said. “At the state level, National Guard units, whether Army or Air, under the authority of their governors, are ready to respond to the individual and oftentimes neighboring states' needs.”

Mattis has activated dual-status commanders in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to provide seamless command and control over assigned active duty and National Guard forces.

Rapuano said U.S. Transportation Command is staging and prepositioning FEMA resources. “The Defense Logistics Agency is directly supporting FEMA logistics with the procurement and distribution of relief commodities, including food, fuel and water,” he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also directly supporting FEMA and is poised to support flood mitigation, temporary emergency power, temporary roofing and debris removal, Rapuano said.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency will provide imagery analysis and assessment, he said.

Face of Defense: Navy Recruiter Shares ‘Formula’ for Success


By Navy Chief Petty Officer Kim Martinez, Navy Recruiting District Miami

BRANDON, Fla. -- “Formula One. That’s my thing because I love competition,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jose Sotocora.

Sotocora is an enlisted recruiter working out of the Navy’s recruiting office here. He is among Navy Recruiting District Miami’s top producers.

“There is a lot of teamwork” in Formula One auto racing,” Sotocora said.

“And, it is so much like recruiting,” he added. “The driver and team both want to be successful, which is very similar to recruiters and divisions. Each day, the drivers and teams develop their cars and tech strategy, and must push themselves to be a better and faster team or car. If they don’t continuously develop, they will be surpassed.”

A Puerto Rico native, Sotocora joined the Navy in 2008. He experienced much of what the Navy offers as a fire controlman on board several Navy ships, and has travelled to many countries including England, France, Italy, Dubai, Bahrain and Spain.

Having the ability to see his shipmates operate the Navy in their respective ratings in various parts of the world motivated Sotocora to take on the challenge of becoming a Navy recruiter.

“Adapting to the change of being a fire controlman and being a recruiter and having to learn the craft from scratch was challenging,” Sotocora said. “Getting a grasp on the different approaches you can take to conduct the business of recruiting and juggling the different priorities isn’t always easy.”

Recruiting Success

Sotocora has achieved success in the recruiting field, having enlisted an impressive 11 applicants into the Navy in one month. He credits his success to the support he receives at home and at work.

“I always try to maintain balance at home because without it, you cannot successfully recruit,” said Sotocora, who’s married with children.

“I always communicate with top recruiters in our district to keep me on my toes,” he added. “We push each other and shoot for excellence.”

So far this fiscal year, Sotocora has recruited a total of 52 future sailors for the Navy, contracting 11 applicants in one month. Navy Recruiting Command awarded him the Navy Commendation Medal for recruiting excellence.

Navy Recruiting District Miami’s territory covers three major metropolitan areas in Florida, including Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, as well as the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

NRC consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, 20 Navy Recruiting Districts and six Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations across the country.
The Navy’s recruiting force totals over 6,100 personnel in more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the globe. Their goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

Senior Enlisted Leaders Discuss Cooperation at Indo-Pacom Conference


By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

HONOLULU -- Because a world of transregional threats requires transregional networks and solutions, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command hosted a senior enlisted leadership conference here this week.

Senior enlisted leaders from across the globe came together to discuss strategic leadership and the role of senior enlisted leaders in this complex and dynamic world. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Anthony A. Spadaro, Indo-Pacom’s senior enlisted leader, was the driving force behind the conference.

When Spadaro began the conference two years ago, six senior enlisted leaders attended. Last year, the number grew to 16. This year, it was 20.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was the keynote speaker on the first day of the conference. He called the role of senior enlisted leaders “transformational” in helping to build alliances and networks. “We are able to devote the time to each other in ways our chiefs of defense can’t,” Troxell said.

Troxell is the highest-rankling enlisted leader in the U.S. military. He advises the chairman and the defense secretary and works closely with the senior enlisted leaders of the services and the combatant commands.

Growing Relationships

The senior enlisted leaders start with professional relationships that build to friendships, Troxell said. “We do this together,” he added. “There is more of an interpersonal relationship here that allows us to grow and get after what we need to get after.”

Doing that, he explained, promotes the relationships that are so important to building interoperability. “We show our generals and admirals and elected officials the power of a collective network of senior enlisted leaders,” he said.

Each senior enlisted leader has to understand the visions, priorities and intents of commanders and political leaders, Troxell said, and senior noncommissioned officers must then develop complementary focus areas.

“If we don’t do that, we are on the fast track to irrelevance,” he said. “We need to have the personal and professional courage to do and say what needs to be said.”

Complex Operating Environment

Troxell said today’s world arguably presents the most complex operating environment in the history of modern warfare, where threats come from nations and nonstate actors looking to use new technologies in new domains to take on the United States. He also spoke about the ability of adversaries to use disinformation to push an agenda or to influence people. Globalization and the increased speed of communication makes this possible, he said.

“As senior enlisted leaders, we look at chaotic situations and shape the conditions so men and women can thrive, grow and develop and our armed forces can continue to develop and be that arm of action that defends our sovereign territory, our allies and our national interests,” Troxell told the senior enlisted leaders. “My role is to say what we are doing globally so it makes sense to our people who work regionally.”

To illustrate his point, Troxell noted the additional attention the U.S. military is paying to the Indo-Pacific region, noting that service members in other combatant commands may think their missions should have more resources and capabilities. For example, he said, troops in the U.S. Central Command area of operations are worried because they believe they have threats such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, al-Qaida and al-Shabab and are losing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets and fires control.

“I think we all know that if our troops know what is going on at the strategic level and why it affects them at the tactical level, they may not like it -- they may cuss about it -- but in the end they will accept it and they will drive on the mission,” he said.

Delivering a Message That Resonates

Senior enlisted leaders speak for the troops and to the troops, Troxell said, and his message in December to troops was that ISIS has only two options: surrender or die. If they didn’t surrender, he said, there would be no mercy and service members would “shoot them in the face, or beat them to death with an entrenching tool.”

“I am saying exactly what [Defense Secretary James N. Mattis] and [Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford] expect me to say,” the sergeant major said. “It’s about inspiring the troops and dispiriting the enemy. And it was what the troops needed to hear, which is [that] we’re going to stay focused on this threat, we’re going to defend our collective homelands, and we’re going to refuse to allow any terrorist to influence how we raise our children and grandchildren.

“We are the spokesmen for the troops,” he continued, “and we need to deliver the messages that will resonate with the troops, will get leadership attention and people will understand the direction we need to go.”