Military News

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Airman Practices Humanitarianism on the Home Front


By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Everett Allen, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- Massive flooding, forest fires, earthquakes and other natural disasters devastate thousands of families and homes each year around the world. Members from all branches of the U.S. military help to give relief from many of these events by providing aid through humanitarian missions.

However, not all humanitarian efforts from our troops follow a natural disaster, and not all of them happen overseas.

With sounds of power drills, hammers and coordinated shouts flying through the air, 27-year-old Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Eury Jr., from Concord, North Carolina, is found spending his time helping to build homes.

“I volunteer and help build homes with Habitat for Humanity in Washington, D.C.,” Eury said. “I just really enjoy doing it. I enjoy getting out and helping where I can, and I like the part where I interact with the community.”

While drilling a screw into a wooden panel on a house he’s helping to build, Eury explained where his desire to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity came from.

Positive Impact

“After I joined the Air Force in 2015, I wanted to continue what I had started back in 2011 when I used to volunteer with them,” he said. “I wanted to keep making a positive impact on people in the community. So that’s why I decided to go with Habitat for Humanity again. And I liked the change of pace from my usual duties. I really enjoy going out and doing different things. Each day, on the given volunteer site, we do something different.”

Eury serves on the Air Force Honor Guard at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling here.

Between his time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in 2011 and joining the Air Force in 2015, Eury took his volunteer work somewhere completely different from anywhere he had ever been before.

“I stepped out of college so that I could go to Africa for a little while and do volunteer work there,” he said. “It was conservation work for five weeks. We did ‘game drives’ through national parks, where we counted animals to make sure everything was going well. We also took measurements of grass and trees so that certain herds weren’t overused in certain areas. We kept track of animal movements so that if we needed to, [we could] relocate or introduce new animals to an area. It was all mostly to help maintain a balanced ecosystem for the people and the animals.”

Not very long after joining the military, Eury was determined to restart some of his old volunteering efforts.

“When I got up here to my current unit, I realized that I missed volunteering,” he said. “So in the summer of 2017, I joined Habitat for Humanity’s ‘open-build’ email list, but wasn’t able to go out on a job until January, when my schedule allowed. I asked if they could work with me and my schedule. My point of contact, Jan Lane, was super awesome with helping me out. We coordinated days that would work with my schedule and days that would work with her schedule, and we also worked to find out whether I was going to be a volunteer or a crew leader.”

Eury then worked as a volunteer, and other volunteers and workers noticed his efforts.

“He was very persistent about getting on here and volunteering with us,” said Jan Lane, volunteer services coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. “He’s one of our best. He does great work. He’s quite reliable, and we are glad to have him on our team.”

Leadership in Action

Lane said that Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps are two separate organizations, but they often work alongside each other. Not long after Eury’s volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity began, his AmeriCorps counterparts took notice of his leadership quality.

“[They] suggested to Jan that I fill out the application to become a crew leader,” Eury said. “And now, that’s what I do. It is still volunteering, but I can now lead other individuals.”

Eury fills a leadership role in both his volunteer duties and his professional duties.

“Working here at the Air Force Honor Guard, I am an instructor for our technical training course,” he said. “For me, I don’t really do my volunteer work for my leadership or command. I do it because it helps me to become a better-rounded person.”

Eury said he does want to inspire people to be proactive with volunteering. He stressed the importance of helping to make a positive difference.

“I hope that I inspire other people,” he said. “I actually want to get a group of volunteers from my unit to go out when Habitat has open slots or ‘open group-builds.’ We should all be volunteering. And we shouldn’t do it because we need to put a check mark in the box. We should do it for a bigger reason than just us and our personal well-being.”

Sweeping up the last few dust pans of saw and concrete dust, Eury expressed what he would tell others who are considering doing volunteer work.

“I would tell people my reason for doing it -- it’s fun, it’s a change of pace, and it’s helping others out. It is a win-win all around.”

Service Members Continue Helping Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria


By Air Force Staff Sgt. Megan Friedl, Defense Media Activity

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A year ago today, Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico, causing significant damage and devastation throughout the country. After the storm, more than 11,000 airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines from units around the United States mobilized to help the American territory.

Many members of the Puerto Rico National Guard’s 783rd Support Maintenance Company began recovery efforts just one day after the storm, and others joined shortly after. Their initial mission was to inspect the facilities of their armory, but local firefighters in the Toa Baja community alerted them about civilians in need of rescue.

The size of the unit’s military trucks enabled them to rescue people and transport them through the flooding water and mud as high as 8 feet in pitch-black darkness while it was still raining. Many of these soldiers left their families behind and didn’t have communication with them for weeks. Their focus was ensuring their rescue mission was complete.

Army Staff Sgt. Indira Duprey was in charge of some of the rescue missions. “The way Puerto Rico is structured, there are a lot of rural areas,” Duprey said. “They lost communication, power and even water sources.”

Duprey and others in her unit worked 15- to 16-hour days for weeks on these rescue missions. At times, they said, they forgot to eat and were working off of pure adrenaline.

The combined effort of the 783rd SMC, the municipal police and firefighters resulted in the rescue of more than 3,000 people, including children and the elderly. The 892nd Multi-Role Bridge Road Company was also among the units responding to the disaster.

Army Staff Sgt. Jose Motta, a heavy equipment operator with the 892nd MRBRC, became a part of the Task Force East on Aug. 7, 2017, to prepare for Hurricane Maria. He continued to work with the task force until June 18 of this year.

Motta and his team worked 12 to 13 hours, seven days a week, for his first four months. They cleared roads of debris and delivered essential supplies such as water, food, medicine and solar panels to civilians. They even delivered 64 45-foot poles for people to begin receiving electricity again.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers also played a vital role following the storm. Task Force Power Restoration bill of materials squad member Army Capt. Carlos Fabre contributed heavily in the mission to restore power to the island. His team has successfully reached 99.7 percent of completion of customers who have electricity, and Fabre said they will not stop until they reach 100 percent.

The Corps of Engineers has also been working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the request of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to help at the Guajataca Dam, which collapsed after the impact of Hurricane Maria. It’s conducting spillway stabilization, waterline reconnection, channel reinforcement and stabilization work at the slope and spillway, and water gate repairs. is the Corps of Engineers also is in charge of the operation and maintenance of 10 water pumps to move water from the reservoir to the irrigation channel.

Camp Santiago, a military training installation in southern Puerto Rico, provided essential assistance for many of the incoming units that assisted civil authorities during disaster relief operations.
“I had people here that started working very early in the morning,” said Army Col. Carlos R. Caez, the garrison commander at Camp Santiago. “It was a lot of hard work. It was very difficult for us to not give medals to everybody. A lot of people did good jobs and were not asking for any [reward].

Stratcom Commander: Military Coming to Grips With Multidomain Battlefield


By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- The multidomain battlefield requires a degree of integration that the U.S. military is coming to grips with, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said here yesterday.
Four-star Air Force general and Air Force command chief master sergeant speak at Air Force Association conference.

Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten spoke about the struggle to adapt to the multidomain battlefield at the Air Force Association’s annual meeting.

Stratcom has its headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, which once was the headquarters for the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command. SAC had the nuclear bomber and nuclear missile mission for the country. Its motto was “Peace is our profession.”

Hyten resurrected the SAC motto when he became commander, but he added ellipses at the end to remind possible adversaries that if “they don’t want peace, we can go a different direction,” the general said.

At its heart, the command provides for strategic deterrence and nuclear operations. The command oversees 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons and is the most powerful command in the world, yet those weapons alone do not deter “everyone from everything,” Hyten said.

Since the command formed in 2002, a number of missions migrated to it, Hyten said. “Space came in, network operations came in, cyber came in, countering weapons of mass destruction came in, [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] came in, missile defense came in, electronic warfare came in, analysis and warfare came in,” he said. “We formed all these functional commands for all these things. When I got there, we were down to 18 different components under Stratcom.”

This has changed, and now ISR is under the Joint Staff, and countering weapons of mass destruction is now under U.S. Special Operations Command. U.S. Space Command will be a global command in the future.

Strategic Deterrence Across All Domains

The changed environment requires a change in strategic deterrence to cross all domains, Hyten said. “The most important priority is to prevent the use of nuclear weapons on our country or allies and prevent the creation of catastrophic space or cyberspace actions that damage our nation,” the general said. “That requires the integration of all capabilities – nukes, global strike, cyber, conventional – all to deliver our deterrent effect.”

Hyten added that he also wants to know how this shift affects the current military command structure.

“We have five global combatant commanders and six geographic combatant commanders,” the general said. “And those five global combatant commanders, to one aspect or another, can deliver global fires. Cyber Command [and] Space Command will be able to deliver global fires. Stratcom will always be able to deliver global fires, both conventional and nuclear. [U.S. Transportation Command] enables everybody to deliver global fires.”

Currently, these fires are delivered around singular events in an environment where the United States is not threatened in all global domains, the Stratcom commander noted. “In the future,” he added, “there may be a fight that goes on in space and cyberspace – globally – involving special operations, involving Cybercom, all at the same time. What is our doctrine for integrating the global fires of this nation and providing that in support of a geographic combatant commander somewhere?

“We actually are just trying to figure this out right now,” the general continued. “That’s multidomain operations at its core. How do we integrate that so we can deter our adversaries? How do we integrate to deliver global fire on the battlefield of the future? Global fires, theater fires – they all have to be integrated in timing and tempo. That is unbelievably difficult.”