Friday, September 21, 2018

Face of Defense: Goalie-Turned-Air Force Officer Earns NCAA Accolades

By Sharon Holland, Uniformed Services University of the Health Science

BETHESDA, Md. -- Air Force 2nd Lt. Sidney Peters, the four-time Western Collegiate Hockey Association Scholar-Athlete, WCHA All-Academic, Academic All-Big Ten honoree and 2018 Hockey Humanitarian Award recipient, has been named as one of the NCAA’s Top 30 Woman of the Year honorees for her excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership.

Peters, who just began her studies as a first-year military medical student at the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine -- “America’s Medical School” -- at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences here, was a four-year letter winner as goalie for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s hockey team.

She completed her career with a record of 53-17-6, ranking 5th in all time wins, shutouts, goals against average and total saves for the Gophers, and sixth in save percentage.

Volunteer Work

In addition to her achievements on the ice, Peters devoted more than 800 hours over five years volunteering with the University of Minnesota’s campus Emergency Medical Services and the Maroon and Gold Impacting the Community student-athlete development program, which included community outreach to elementary schools and the university children's hospital.

And, at her own expense, Peters volunteered at the Hospital Bernard Mevs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for eight days, an experience that further fostered her desire to help others and eventually led to her decision to pursue medical school at USU.

“I really want to work with a deserving population and I feel like there's no more deserving population than the U.S. military," she said.

“Sidney is an amazing individual, and we are fortunate to have her among our number,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Aaron Saguil, associate dean for medical school admissions and recruitment at USU. “She is taking that same passion and work ethic that made her a hockey star and pouring it into her studies -- she will be a phenomenal physician to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”

Peters was among an initial 581 school nominees for the NCAA award. That number was culled to 154, and was ultimately narrowed to the top 30.

“These 30 women have demonstrated outstanding commitment to excelling in the classroom and in their sports while also serving their peers and community,” said Sherika Montgomery, chair of the Woman of the Year selection committee and associate commissioner for governance and compliance at The Summit League. “They represent the best and brightest of women competing in college and sports, and we’re thrilled to celebrate them and their achievements.”

In October, the selection committee will announce the nine finalists for Woman of the Year. The top 30 will be celebrated and the Woman of the Year will be named Oct. 28 in a ceremony in Indianapolis.

‘It’s an Enormous Honor’

"It is an enormous honor to be among the top 30 nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had as an NCAA student-athlete at the University of Minnesota,” Peters said. “I believe that my experiences playing in the NCAA prepared me well for my career as an officer in the United States Air Force and future physician.”
She added, “Collegiate athletics provided me with a platform to connect with many remarkable people and taught me about both leadership and followership, as well as the value of discipline and hard work. I am proud to be associated with the NCAA and the others that have been nominated for this award."

Air Force Assists Army During Saber Junction 18

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Milton Hamilton, Air Force Staff Sgt. Jimmie Pike and Air Force Airman 1st Class Alexis Schultz

HOHENFELS, Germany -- U.S. Air Force aircraft engines roar through the air, as pilots look for the marked drop zone.

And, in the back of the aircraft, U.S. Army paratroopers, along with paratroopers from four other nations, eagerly wait for the exit signal to appear above the cargo door.

“GO! GO! GO,” a jumpmaster screams as the jump light changes from red to green.

The airborne service members are participating in Exercise Saber Junction 18.

Saber Junction 18 is part of an annual U.S. Army Europe-directed exercise series that’s designed to assess the readiness of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade to execute unified land operations in a joint, combined environment and to promote interoperability with participating allies and partner nations.

While USAREUR led the charge during the exercise, U.S. Air Forces in Europe provided the airlift capability with C-130H Hercules and a C-17 Globemaster aircraft to assist the Army in completing their training objectives.

"The Air Force has been a huge help," said U.S. Army Maj. J. Christopher Giorgi, Saber Junction 18 lead planner. "You can't do joint force entry without the airlift component."

With aircraft support from USAFE, thousands of troops from the 173rd dropped within a few hours to commence a large-scale exercise.

"Airmen have been integrated since day one of planning to assist," Giorgi said. "With this integration, we can put an air brigade behind enemy lines within 18 hours. I don't believe many others can do that."
The American service members will be exercising alongside 19 ally and partner nations to increase operational efficiency.

DoD Agency Identifies Soldiers Lost in Korean War From Returned Remains

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- Two soldiers who died during the Korean War have been identified from the remains returned from North Korea, President Donald J. Trump announced last night.

Personnel at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified Army Master Sgt. Charles H. McDaniel and Army Pfc. William H. Jones. Their remains were repatriated from North Korea following Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Both men died in North Korea in 1950.

DoD officials expect many more identifications from the remains. “The 55 boxes we don’t necessarily attribute to 55 remains,” DPAA Director Kelly K. McKeague told the Defense Writers Group here yesterday. “The remains are comingled, … and we expect there to be more than 55.”

He noted that 208 boxes of remains turned over to the United States from North Korea in the late 1990s turned out to contain more than 400 U.S. service members.

The White House announcement came on the eve of today’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day observance.

The agency seeks to recover and identify service members missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Cold War. More than 72,000 Americans are unaccounted-for from World War II. More than 7,200 are unaccounted for from Korea, and around 1,600 from Vietnam. Today, 126 Americans are unaccounted-for from Cold War actions.

The agency’s priority is the missing from the Vietnam War because the acidic conditions of the soil in Southeast Asia is dissolving any remains.

Scientific breakthroughs – most notably DNA analysis – have made identification of remains more certain. McKeague said family members of the missing have provided DNA samples to aid in identification. The agency received the World War II identification effort in 2010, and it is hampered by the fact that only 6 percent of the families have DNA samples on record. This is compared to 92 percent for those missing in the Korean War and 87 percent from Vietnam.

Negotiations With North Korea

The agency has begun negotiations with North Korean officials to restart joint excavations in the near future, McKeague said. The agency received permission from the State Department to continue this humanitarian mission.

“So, we were allowed … to pursue active communications with the North Korean army separate and distinct from denuclearization talks,” he said. “Immediately when we received permission, we reached out to [North Korea’s] U.N. Mission in New York as our conduit.”

If the two sides can work out an agreement, joint excavations could resume in the spring, the director said, adding that he hopes the agency can sit down with the North Koreans in a neutral country in October to begin negotiations. The last negotiations on this subject were held in 2011.