Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Flag Officer Announcements

April 28, 2010 - Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has made the following nominations:

Navy Rear Adm. Michael H. Miller has been nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and assignment as superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. Miller is currently serving as chief of legislative affairs, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Navy Rear Adm. Allen G. Myers has been nominated for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and assignment as commander, Naval Air Forces/commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, San Diego, Calif. Myers is currently serving as director, warfare integration/senior national representative, N8F, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Military Pay Competitive With Private Sector

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2010 - Military compensation is competing well against the private sector, as evidenced by the high rate of recruitment and retention, a Defense Department official told a Senate subcommittee today.

Therefore, the department is focusing on targeted special pays and bonuses as an efficient means to give incentives for people to sign up for hard-to-fill and hard-to-retain specialties, William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel policy, told the Senate Armed Services Committee's personnel subcommittee.

Using regular military compensation – basic pay combined with housing and food allowances and federal tax advantages - as a comparison, military members are paid higher than 70 percent of their private-sector peers of similar education and experience, Carr said.

A $340 million investment in such pays could provide $30,000 bonuses to more than 11,000 servicemembers the military especially needs, Carr said, while the same amount would buy only a 0.5 percent across-the-board basic pay raise for all servicemembers. At the same time, however, it is important to ensure regular compensation remains competitive, he said, noting the department's request for a 1.4 percent across-the-board pay increase for next year.

Carr called specialty and incentive pays "essential," especially for special operations forces and people with medical, dentistry, mental health, aviation and nuclear skills. The services paid out $6.4 billion in specialty pays last year, comprising 4.4 percent of the personnel budget. The department is requesting $5.6 billion for 2011.

The decrease does not mean such targeted incentives are less important, Carr said. Rather, he explained, it reflects less need to use them during the slow economic recovery.

When recruiting and retention dropped in the strong job market of the late 1990s, Congress and Defense Department officials reacted quickly, Carr said. Since 2002, pay has risen 42 percent, housing allowance has gone up by 83 percent, and the subsistence allowance has grown by 40 percent, he said, compared to a 32 percent rise in private-sector salaries.

Three outside military experts - Brenda Farrell of the Government Accountability Office, Carla Tighe Murray of the Congressional Budget Office and James Hosek of the RAND Corporation think tank's national security division - testified with Carr and agreed that the overall military compensation package compares well against the private sector, with some studies placing military compensation equal to or greater than 80 percent of their civilian counterparts.

Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, a former Navy secretary who chairs the subcommittee, said military pay has risen dramatically in the three decades of the all-volunteer force.

Servicemembers Send Wounded Cyclists Off at White House

By Ian Graham
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

April 28, 2010 - Men and women in uniform from across the services gathered on the White House's south lawn today to give wounded servicemembers a send-off as they began a bike trip from the nation's capital to Annapolis, Md.

The White House to the Lighthouse Challenge, the fourth such trek hosted by the Wounded Warrior Project, is a four-day ride taken by servicemembers who have been injured in combat. Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki met with the troops before they mounted their bikes and took a ceremonial lap around the south lawn.

The vice president spoke to the riders before they began their ride, reminding them that while everyone is grateful for their sacrifice, nobody can know the extent of what they've given.

"What's even more unfathomable is your courage," Biden said. "You define -- I mean this literally -- who we are as a country. You're the heart, the soul and the spine of this country. You aren't just showing us what we should be; you show us that we can be anything we want to be."

The audience for the send-off was composed primarily of fellow servicemembers from around the Washington area who came to support their brothers and sisters in uniform.

Maj. Greg Johnson, a Marine who works in the office of the secretary of the Navy, is an avid bicyclist. He jumped at the opportunity to cheer on wounded warriors as they showed how well they've adapted to their injuries, he said, adding that he stood in awe of the riders, some of whom were double amputees on special bikes with hand pedals.

"It'd be hard enough to ride to Annapolis with my full capacity," he said, pointing to his legs. "For them, it's quite a task."

Johnson said it was good to see the vice president and other government officials in attendance showing their appreciation to troops.

"I always appreciate opportunities politicians and officials we've elected into office take to show their support for servicemembers, especially the wounded warriors in this case," he said.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Mellott, a soldier from the 12th Aviation Battalion, said it is vitally important for servicemembers to meet and get to know their wounded peers. That way, he said, they can learn what it means to wear a military uniform.

"It reminds everyone in the service what we're here for -- the sacrifices we make for our country," he said. "It's what we do, it's our job. People get to live their lives how they want because of the sacrifices made by the people riding those bikes."

Air Force Sgt. Erin Everhardt said she came to the send-off because she wants to support her fellow servicemembers as much as she can. Her unit, the 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Bolling Air Force Base, here, volunteered their morning to visit the bikers as they prepared to leave.

"I thought it was a great opportunity to show our support for them," Everhardt said. "It was really nice to come see them off."

The riders' trip will take them through Washington to Baltimore and then to Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Station Washington in Maryland, before they head to Annapolis.

Guard, Reserve Leaders Seek Funding for Growing Role

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2010 - The military's National Guard and reserve units need more funding to reflect the operational readiness they have proven in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than the ready-reserve model for which their current funding provides, reserve-component leaders told Congress yesterday.

Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, told the House Armed Services Committee's readiness subcommittee that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks forever changed the way the reserves support regular forces.

"Operational demands for Army Reserve support have been heavy and enduring," Stultz said in prepared testimony. "The reality is current operations are consuming Army Reserve readiness as fast as we can build it."

As those demands increased, he said, "it became ever apparent we could no longer function as a part-time strategic reserve."

An operational Army Reserve is a good return on investment, Stultz said. The Army Reserve's $8.2 billion appropriation last year represented only 4 percent of the total Army budget, yet the it supplied seven to eight brigade-sized elements each year, and 29,000 reservists have deployed since 9/11, he said.

"We can continue providing that positive return on investment to the nation when the Army Reserve is given the proper resources to succeed," the general said. He asked that Congress continue to provide appropriations for reservists to train on the latest combat equipment before they deploy to a war zone.

Maj. Gen. Raymond W. Carpenter, acting director of the Army National Guard, also spoke of the Guard as an operational force greatly changed in the past decade. With nearly 53,000 Guardsmen serving in harm's way, he said, "the Army National Guard is accessible and has met every request for forces to date."

Even with the high operational tempo, Carpenter said, the Army Guard has a 116 percent re-enlistment rate, proving that Guardsmen want to be part of an operational force.

"As long as our soldiers are doing meaningful missions and provided resources such as equipment and training facilities to accomplish those missions, Army National Guard soldiers continue to be an operational part of the national defense solution," he said.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, director of the Air National Guard, said that since 9/11, the Air Guard has "increasingly and dramatically" become more of an operational force. Of more than 146,000 airmen the Guard has deployed overseas since the terrorist attacks, 75 percent volunteered for those missions and 60 percent are on their second or third combat deployment, he said.

The Air National Guard provides one-third of the regular Air Force capabilities for less than 7 percent of the total service budget, Wyatt said. If the Air Guard force were full-time active duty, he said, its personnel budget would be $7.62 billion instead of its current $4.77 billion.

Air Guardsmen train to the same standards as regular airmen, but have not been allocated enough training slots, resulting in hundreds of shortfalls, Wyatt said. The reason for the shortfalls, he said, include increased Air Force manning, growth in emerging mission areas, and increasing Air Force basic training from six to eight and a half weeks.

Also, Wyatt said, the Air Guard needs more funding for special pay and bonuses. He cited an Air Guardsman who recently returned from his fifth deployment to Afghanistan, where he was a tactical air control party journeyman who directed close-air support in Kunar province, as an example to illustrate his point. With his skills, Wyatt said, the Guard could offer that airman a $15,000 bonus to re-enlist for six years, while the regular Air Force could offer him a $90,000 bonus to re-enlist for three years.

The Air Guard also lags behind the active duty in aircraft and equipment, Wyatt said.

"If the Air National Guard maintains its pace as an operational force," he said, "we will need to increase our investment in this critical area."

USS Klakring Conducts Military-to-Military COMREL Project in Fortaleza, Brazil

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Darryl Wood, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Public Affairs

April 28, 2010 - FORTALEZA, Brazil (NNS) -- Sailors from USS Klakring (FFG 42) and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42, Det. 10 had the opportunity to work side-by-side with the Brazilian Navy, performing maintenance at a nearby school while in Fortaleza, Brazil on April 22.

Twenty-five crewmembers of the guided-missile frigate volunteered to assist in a joint Brazilian/United States Navy-led community relations (COMREL) project. This allowed Sailors from both the United States and Brazilian navies to come together and provide assistance to the community.

The COMREL project in Fortaleza was located at Escuela Helenita Mota, a small school with an enrollment of about 400 students. Using volunteers from both countries, the project focused on painting and grounds maintenance.

"This COMREL is excellent in terms of integrating both forces and allowing us to work together as partners." said Lt.j.g. Alejandro Reginald of the Brazilian Navy. "A cooperative project like this builds great confidence. It is not just military-to-military working together, but this also impacts the students and the professors that teach at the school. Seeing us come together like this is inspiring."

"The COMREL was a team effort. The yard work required everyone to help out and we finished because we took turns," said Yeoman 3rd Class Emmanuel Rivera of Klakring. "I also feel it was important for the children at the school to see us doing the work we did, because it allows them to see us [U.S. military] for who we are."

From start to finish, both navies helped each other by giving a hand where needed. Groups were assigned individual tasks but as each task was completed that group would join in and help out on another project. No one stopped until all jobs were complete.

Task Group 40.0 is on a six-month deployment to South America and the Caribbean as part of Southern Seas 2010. Southern Seas is an annual U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)-directed operation implemented by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) and executed by Commander, Destroyer Squadron 40 as Commander, Task Group 40.0.

Southern Seas focuses on conducting a variety of exercises and multinational exchanges to enhance interoperability, increase regional stability, and build and maintain regional relationships with our partner nations.

NAVSO is the naval component command for SOUTHCOM and is responsible for all Naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. NAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the Maritime Strategy, including Theater Security Cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

Iwo Jima Hosts Tours for Fleet Week Port Everglades

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Morgan Dial, USS Iwo Jima Public Affairs

April 28, 2010 - PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (NNS) -- The multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) kicked off Fleet Week Port Everglades, hosting ship tours April 27.

Iwo Jima invited the local community to visit the ship to learn about the Iwo Jima's mission capabilities and see static displays from Sailors, embarked Marines and Seabees.

Retired veterans, local Sea Cadets, elementary school students and local Naval Junior Recruiting Officer Training Corps students were just some of the many groups that came on board. Stan Wolcyk, a 92-year-old veteran, who retired with a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, was an honored guest.

"I am amazed we have this equipment. I am impressed the Marines and Sailors really know what they are doing, and I am confident they will get the job done to protect our freedom," said Wolcyk.

The tour featured Marine vehicles, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment, harrier jets and the Iwo Jima's medical ward.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 6 displayed equipment used for air, surface and underwater EOD missions; such as the Talon robot, which is used to perform remote controlled EOD operations.

Guests were able to steer the Talon and try on the EOD personal protective equipment.

Explosive Ordnance Technician 3rd Class Matt B. Hulse believes it's important to show the public what they do and why they do what they do.

"The general public can get a feel for what we do. We are a small slice of the Navy, but we play a crucial part in this war," said Hulse.

Iwo Jima is participating in the 20th Fleet Week Port Everglades, South Florida's annual celebration of the Maritime Services. More than 2,500 American and German Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen will participate in a number of community outreach activities and enjoy the hospitality and tourism of South Florida.

Sailors Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity During Fleet Week Port Everglades

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leah Stiles, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Southeast

April 28, 2010 - PORT EVERGLADES, Fla. (NNS) -- Sailors from guided-missile frigate USS Halyburton (FFG 40) volunteered their time for a good cause at a Habitat for Humanity project April 28, as part of the 20th Anniversary Fleet Week Port Everglades.

Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that builds homes for people in need, was established to help eradicate homelessness throughout the U.S.

"I really enjoy helping out in the community," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW) Matt Jackson.

"It's a great feeling knowing that I can make a difference."

Sailors spent the day installing insulation, tiling, digging and painting the interior and exterior of several houses.

"The experience is worth it. I have volunteered with about twelve community relation projects throughout the world because I really enjoy the feeling of helping out," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class David Hernandez.

Qualification for the program is dependent upon the level of the family's need, willingness to become a Habitat for Humanity partner and ability to repay the no-profit, no-interest loan.

"We love having the Sailors out here because they are very excited to come in and volunteer with us," said Mary Lou Bowman Cubbin, director of construction for Habitat for Humanity. "As I have chatted with some of the folks that are with us today, they volunteer with a number of different agencies back in their homeports. So I think it is really great for us and great for them to be out here today."

The event was held as part of the 20th anniversary of Fleet Week Port Everglades, which started April 26 and will last through May 3.

Naval Station Norfolk's New Defibrillator Program

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ash Severe, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

April 28, 2010 - NORFOLK (NNS) -- Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fire & Emergency Services is initiating a public access defibrillation study and pilot program, May 1 to prepare for the implementation of the pending OPNAV instruction and to help refocus automated external defibrillator (AED) owners on program maintenance and training.

Naval Station Norfolk and Naval Support Activity Norfolk were chosen for the pilot due to the dense population and military facilities, and high number of existing facility-level AED programs.

An automated defibrillator is a computerized medical device that can check a cardiac arrest victim's heart rhythm and deliver an electrical shock to treat the underlying problem; the device uses a combination of voice prompts and text instructions on the display screen to guide the rescuer through the steps of performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and operation of the AED.

The pilot will study the effectiveness of two interactive, web-based software programs that maintain information on the readiness of facility AED's and track maintenance and training. The fire department hopes to increase interaction with facility AED coordinators and improve visibility of AED maintenance status and locations. A command's safety officer or other designated employee can access the site to ensure their own defibrillators are within standards, enter device maintenance information, and monitor the training status of designated facility AED responders. One of the programs being tested also provides online awareness and proficiency refresher training.

In an effort to reduce the time to defibrillation and improve cardiac arrest survival for Sailors, civilian employees, and visitors the secretary of the Navy has directed that the Navy and Marine Corps develop an AED program with consistent policy, oversight, support, and funding. An OPNAV instruction is pending that assigns responsibility for AED program oversight to Fire & Emergency Services.

The American Heart Association estimates that 250,000 people die in the U.S. each year from sudden cardiac death outside of a hospital. Early bystander CPR and defibrillation has been shown to dramatically increase the chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest.

Fire and Emergency Services is using the theme "maintaining the momentum" for AED public education.

"We chose the theme because many Norfolk commands have already been proactive and progressive in establishing their own programs," said Kevin Janney, Emergency Medical Services chief for the department. "What we have seen though, on not just a Navy level but government-wide, is that the initial momentum and enthusiasm can fade and employees knowledgeable about the program get promoted or transferred and maintenance and oversight suffers."

Failure to maintain AED awareness and training or to properly maintain the devices can result in an AED failing to function properly when needed, or having employees unaware of the AED or hesitant to use it during an emergency.

Pearl Harbor Diver to Compete in Warrior Games

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Mark Logico, Commander Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

April 28, 2010 - PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- A Pearl Harbor-based Navy Diver was selected to compete in the first joint-service paralympics-style "Warrior Games" at the Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10 to 14.

Navy Diver 2nd Class Jordan Green, who is assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team (SDVT) 1, recently recovered from a leg injury. Green is scheduled to compete in the Warrior Games' swimming events

Green is one of 25 athletes representing the Navy/Coast Guard team. More than 200 athletes were drawn proportionally from each military service.

"It's been kind of surreal, getting all the attention," said Green. "At the same time, it's been cool, because it's been a tough year, a really interesting year. This is like the cap for the whole recovery process."

According to the U.S. Paralympics website, Warrior Games will help elevate abilities through athletic competition for wounded, ill and injured service members, by incorporating athletics into military wounded warrior programs. The events include swimming, cycling, track & field, shooting, archery, wheelchair basketball and seated volleyball.

Green had only been with his command for 17 days, March 20, 2009, when he volunteered to be part of a boat crew, functioning as a search and rescue/safety swimmer, during a parachuting exercise off the coast of the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay.

During the exercise, a parachutist was forced to deploy his reserve parachute and land in the water. Green immediately responded, dove-in and swam toward the parachutist.

"I radioed in that we saw the guy," said Green. "We didn't know if he was injured or what had happened, so I jumped in and went to check on him to make sure he was okay."

The two made their way back to land and Green was able to make an assessment of the parachutist.

"I did a quick once over and found he was good, no injuries," said Green. "We were going to send the van around to pick him up. So I swam back up to the boat. I was going to radio in about the situation."

Tired from the previous swim, Green timed his strokes as he made his way to his crew on the small boat. When Green grabbed the bar on the boat and pulled himself in, the boat's coxswain started yelling to watch out.

"A huge wave broke over the bow of the boat, and all that water came right down on top of my head," said Green. "Just like a waterfall, a wave of that size, just ripped me off the side of the boat. I kind of got tossed along the side of the boat. I was going down feet first in a half fetal position, and then I hit the propeller. It went through the right leg on the knee down."

The propeller severed the tendon that connects the foot and lifts the ankle. Green lost most of the fine motor control to lift his foot and toes.

"There wasn't a lot of pain right at first," said Green. "But mostly it was nerves and adrenaline. It didn't look all that bad considering. It really just looked like a big cut. So I thought, okay it wasn't bad at all. I just thought that they would just stitch it up and that would be it.

"Once we got to land, that's when the pain started coming in," said Green. "Once I realized how severe the injury was then it started to really hurt. I started getting morphine and attention as the ambulance moved up."

Green was immediately taken to The Queen's Medical Center where he received his first treatment and surgery. Green was later transferred to Tripler Army Medical Center where he stayed for 37 days and received 13 more surgeries.

SDVT-1 stood by Green's side for support throughout his stay in the hospital. On Green's first night in Queen's Medical Center, SDVT-1 coordinated and paid for Green's father to fly to Hawaii. Later when Green was discharged from the hospital, SDVT-1 did the same for Green's mother.

"The command had people coming by to see me in the hospital all the time, bringing me little things like movies, magazines, lunch, coffee," said Green. "They offered me so much just support and patience and understanding."

Green spent nearly nine months recovering after being discharged from the hospital. SDVT-1, which has two gyms, a pool and a dedicated medical staff, helped Green throughout the hours of scheduled rehabilitation.

"I lost probably almost 50 percent of the use of my ankle," said Green. "I can completely push my foot out, the entire back of my leg is fine, but lifting my toes up, I can't do that so much."

During his recovery, Green has been working out his legs on a stationary bike and making full use of the gyms. By January, Green had no trouble running or swimming with a fin.

Almost a year since being discharged from the hospital, Green successfully made a full recovery, pass the physical screening test which involves a 1.5 mile run, 500 meter swim, push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. He can easily swim laps in a swimming pool and play ultimate football with his shipmates at SDVT-1.

February 2010, Green received word of his selection into the Warrior Games.

"I'm honored to be selected and being able to go to the swimming events," said Green. "I can't wait to go and compete. I'm from Colorado, and so it will be a really cool opportunity."

Fisher House groundbreaking ceremony set May 1

4/28/2010 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. (AFNS) -- The groundbreaking ceremony for the Fisher House and Meditation Pavilion for the Families of the Fallen at the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Center is scheduled for May 1here.

AFMAO members will direct the Fisher House as it provides free on-base lodging for families who come here to witness the dignified transfer of their loved one. To further enhance families' comfort, the Fisher House Foundation is building a separate building for meditation and relaxation.

Currently, the families stay in local hotels and are brought on base for the event. In the past, some families have had to stay as far away as Philadelphia due to the lack of local hotel vacancies at certain times.

Fisher houses are "comfort homes" that provide free housing to family members whose loved ones are undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation at military hospitals or Veterans Affairs medical centers around the country. Since 1990, more than 130,000 military families have stayed at one or more Fisher houses.

Fisher houses are more than hotels; they are fully equipped homes that feature common kitchens, and living and family rooms. The Dover Fisher House will serve only families of the fallen.

Construction on the nine-suite, 8,462-square-foot house and 1,714-square-foot Meditation Pavilion is expected to be completed late this fall. A portion of President Obama's Nobel Prize Award contribution to the foundation will go towards the funding of this house.

The Fisher House will be adjacent to the Center for the Families of the Fallen. The center is where family members who come here for the event receive care and support before and after the dignified transfer. The center also provides a point of contact where families can request follow-up assistance, such as counseling services or other needs, as they cope with the loss of their loved one.

Professionals such as experienced, licensed funeral directors, chaplains, counselors and family support specialists will staff the center as it hosts and helps families in every way needed. Together the Center for the Families of the Fallen, the Fisher House and the Meditation Pavilion will create a campus for families of the fallen here. A meditation garden with water features, a gazebo, paths and benches will surround, and flow through the entire campus.

AFMAO members are charged with receiving and caring for all US service members who die in overseas contingency operations. AFMAO staff, plus selected service-specific carry teams and senior leaders, conduct the dignified transfer.

Upon the return from the theater of operations to the United States, the fallen military members are transferred from the aircraft to a waiting vehicle and then to the port mortuary. Family members are authorized to witness the dignified transfer.

U.S., Philippine officials work together to provide final resting place for Airman

by 1st Lt. Bryan Bouchard
18th Wing Public Affairs

4/28/2010 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan (AFNS) -- Several military and State Department organization officials came together to ensure the wishes of a deceased Airman's family were honored.

Tech. Sgt. Raymond Natividad was stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., when he fell ill and was hospitalized in Suffolk, Va. The Airman's family flew to the U.S. from the Philippines to be with him during his illness. Ultimately, he succumbed to his illness and passed away. The NCO's mother requested her son be buried in the Philippines and her son receive full military honors.

Officials at JB Langley-Eustis, Dover Air Force Base, Del., and Air Combat Command headquarters spent the following days trying to meet that request. Every servicemember is entitled to be buried at the location and in the manner they, or the person authorized disposition of the remains, chooses, said Mr. Tim Nicholson, the chief of the entitlements branch of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Office at Dover AFB.

As chief of the entitlements branch at the AFMAO, Mr. Nicholson's job is to be an advocate for the families, to ensure those left behind are equipped and aware of all that is available to them.

"Initially it looked like it wasn't going to happen," Mr. Nicholson said. "There is not an assigned base to the Philippines for an honor guard to have full honors detail performed there. Regardless, we knew that if it (could) be done, we wanted it to be done with Air Force personnel."

Mr. Nicholson said they initially reached out to Pacific Air Forces Command officials while simultaneously making contact with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines.

"There were initially many concerns from a logistics perspective of getting an honor guard there from maybe Andersen (Air Force Base), Kadena (Air Base) or (JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam)," Mr. Nicholson said.

Another concern was with regard to the full honors aspect; there must be a rifle volley to complete it. Current restrictions make bringing weapons into the Philippines difficult.

The challenges didn't end there. Getting to the Philippines took quick work and arrangements from other offices at Kadena AB to get airfare and orders completed, as well as figuring out how to get from the airport in Manila, south to Bacolod, located in the central part of the Philippine archipelago.

In addition, while the Kadena AB honor guard members regularly practices various details, they don't get the opportunity to perform funeral details very often, as nearly all U.S. servicemembers who pass away here are transported back to the U.S. for final disposition.

"The honor guard team started conducting practice as soon as we were informed of the possibility that we would be performing the funeral detail," said Staff Sgt. Lacey Brown, a Kadena Air Base Honor Guard member. "Over the past few months we have performed a few memorials, receptions of remains, and even a funeral for a retired chief master sergeant. So although the overall team experience was limited the funeral was not a brand new concept."

While the honor guard members willfully stepped up to perform the detail, it was up to the U.S. Embassy to help make sure the rest of the full honors piece could take place.

Tech. Sgt. Brian Roberts, an airborne mission technician for the Defense Attaché Office in Manila, and others there coordinated with several organizations from the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group PACAF as well as the Kadena Air Base Honor Guard to make sure the funeral could happen.

The Philippine military offered to provide a firing detail for Sergeant Natividad, eliminating the requirement for the Airmen to bring their own weapons, and paving the way for them to head down to the islands and perform the detail.

"We are in the election season here and there is a gun ban," Sergeant Roberts said. "This made it impossible for the honor guard team to bring in their weapons. Our biggest headache was figuring out how we were going to provide the firing party. Once we figured that out the rest seemed to fall into place."

Performing alongside their Philippine counterparts and the bugler, Marine Sgt. Aaron Wagners from the 3rd Marine Band, the Kadena Airmen were able to properly signify Sergeant Natividad's Air Force career in front of his family in their home country.

"The moment of passing the flag to the next-of-kin is always filled with empathy for the loved ones and for their loss and this funeral was no different," Sergeant Brown said. "The difference was that along with the sorrow was gratitude for being able to be there for the family and be a part of the team that accomplished this significant act.

"Performing a funeral is the highest privilege for an honor guard member;" she said "It is the ultimate service to be able to honor a fallen comrade."

Being able to demonstrate Air Force excellence to a crowd of civilian Filipinos, many of whom may have never seen U.S. armed forces members, was one of the most rewarding parts of accomplishing this mission, Sergeant Roberts.

But there were other rewards as well.

"It was impressive to see that our Air Force is still cultivating fine young Airmen to accomplish the mission however and whenever, no matter the circumstances," he said.

General Officer Assignments

April 28, 2010 - The chief of staff, Army announced today the following assignments:

Brig. Gen. Edward C. Cardon, who has been selected for the rank of major general, deputy commandant, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., to deputy commanding general-support, U.S. Forces-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq.

Brig. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, Ky., to chief of staff, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Brig. Gen. Lloyd Miles, director, Iraq Training and Advisory Team-Army, U.S. Forces-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq, to deputy commanding general, I Corps and Fort Lewis, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Col. Bryan T. Roberts, who has been selected for the rank of brigadier general, director of integration, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., to deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, Ky.

Pentagon Dedicates NORAD Corridor

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

April 28, 2010 - The Defense Department today unveiled a corridor in the Pentagon bedecked with photos, quotes and historical passages centering on the foundation of the U.S.-Canadian defense relationship: the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD.

For more than half a century, this bilateral command has been responsible for keeping the skies over the two countries –- and, increasingly, the waters surrounding them –- safe from a myriad of potential enemies, from the Cold War Soviet threat to present-day terrorists.

"The chronology brings you up through the creation of NORAD and the adaptations made as our security environment has evolved through the decades," Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart said of the dozen chronologically arranged glass panel palettes on which the history of the command is displayed. "As the 20th commander of NORAD, I'm proud to dedicate this corridor to the selfless service of the men and women of NORAD, past, present and future."

The exhibit depicts the command's missions in the air and space domains that began in 1957 -- and the recent additions of the maritime and missile warning systems that bolster the command's ability to safeguard North America.

Speaking from a hallway housed in a building that hijackers struck less than a decade ago during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Renuart underscored the importance of having a robust NORAD defense.

"The ongoing adaptation of NORAD's mission and capabilities to meet the challenges posed by ever-changing threats testifies to the strength of the NORAD agreement and the solid relationship between Canada and the U.S.," he said. "The strength of the NORAD relationship has enabled it to serve as an extremely flexible framework, one that adapts to an evolving security environment."

Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer, who joined defense officials in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said the exhibit is emblematic of the strong partnership between the two nations and it also serves as a reminder of the dedicated personnel at NORAD.

"It is an honor for all of us Canadians having this display here at the Pentagon," Doer told the audience of Canadian and American military personnel and civilians. "The great bi-national coordination will evolve in the future."

In a military headquarters that serves as office space to tens of thousands of employees -- many of whom always seem to be pressed for time -- this new Pentagon corridor should give them reason to pause and its tributes should inspire reflection, the Pentagon's top policy official said.

"All of us who work in the Pentagon, including myself, get caught up in the work we do day to day, and we run from meeting to meeting, and we often speed through these hallways like we're running a race," Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said. "But this corridor should be a reminder to us all to, on occasion, slow down."

The ceremony today comes a month after Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay met at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to discuss bilateral defense topics.

Officials from both countries have touted the recent Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, as a highlight of the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Canada. They also noted the two nations will work together on security issues related to the G-8 and G-20 summits to be hosted in Canada.

The NORAD corridor is located at the "A" ring on the Pentagon's third floor between corridors 10 and 1.

Service selects 31 Airmen for physician assistant training

April 28, 2010 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – Air Force officials have selected 31 Airmen to attend the Interservice Physician Assistant Training Program at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

The March 2010 Physician Assistant Board met at the Air Force Personnel Center to consider 85 applicants. In addition to those selected to attend training, eight alternates were selected.

Airmen attending training in December 2010 are:

Master Sgt. Daniel M. Normandin

Tech. Sgt. Joseph A. Blanco

Tech. Sgt. Trinece M. Diaz

Tech. Sgt. Michael D. Marx

Tech. Sgt. ChristyLynne McGinnis

Staff Sgt. Wyatt B. Cherry

Staff Sgt. Jeffrey R. Hartzell

Senior Airman Samantha L. Guy

Senior Airman Nathan W. Hamilton

Airmen attending training in April 2011 are:

Master Sgt. Brian M. Edick

Tech. Sgt. Daniel J. Hubbard

Tech. Sgt. Jamie R. Owsiany

Tech. Sgt. Jeremy T. Powell

Staff Sgt. Jacqueline Etheridge

Staff Sgt. Kevin R. Graham

Staff Sgt. Jeramiah D. Lewis

Staff Sgt. James T. Oneal II

Staff Sgt. Nathan R. Rocha

Senior Airman Kristen A. Block

Airmen attending training in August 2011 are:

Tech. Sgt. Casey S. Brock

Tech. Sgt. Daniel D. Buhler

Tech. Sgt. William E. Howard

Tech. Sgt. Bryan A. Malcolm

Staff Sgt. Trisha M. Benish

Staff Sgt. Beau J. Taylor

Staff Sgt. Valerie L. Villanueva

Staff Sgt. Jodi M. Watkins

Staff Sgt. Jason W. Webb

Senior Airman Tanya M. Anderson

Senior Airman Eric L. Atkinson

Senior Airman Broghan M. Enright

The average selectee was 29 years old with 8.75 years time in service, and had a Scholastic Aptitude Test composite score of 1,712 and a 3.57 grade point average.

Airmen who successfully complete Phase I and II course requirements for the physician assistant program will be commissioned as first lieutenants.

For more information on this and other commissioning opportunities, visit the Air Force Personnel Center personnel services Web site or call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.



Lockheed Martin Corp., MS2 Radar Systems, Syracuse, N.Y., is being awarded a ceiling $70,000,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the continued maintenance and sustainment of the AN/TPS-59(V)3 three-dimensional long-range radar system. This acquisition is for the continued post-production life cycle support of the AN/TPS-59 radar system and includes engineering studies, evaluations, and analysis in order to support system improvements, eliminate obsolescence, and capitalize on technology insertions. The contract provides for the design, development, production, and incorporation of hardware, software, and firmware in support of accepted engineering change proposals (ECPs) into the end item baseline. The contract also provides for contractor logistics support (CLS) for the provisioning of data products subsequent to ECP procurement, including but not limited to: parts list identification data, engineering drawings, change pages to drawings, change pages to technical manuals (TMs) and updates to interactive electronic TMs. Additionally, the contract provides CLS in the form of a vendor level maintenance program and contractor engineering and technical support services. Work will be performed in Syracuse, N.Y., and is expected to be completed April 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-10-D-2200).

EDO Communications & Countermeasures Systems, Thousand Oaks, Calif., is being awarded a $20,795,230 modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-6311) to exercise options for the production and support of 436 Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (JCREW) 2.1 systems with the Band C engineering change proposal upgrade. Work will be performed in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $5,773,945 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Harris Corp., Lynchburg, Va., is being awarded a $9,196,796 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price contract (N65236-07-D-5115) for land mobile radio systems and equipment for the Hierarchical Yet Dynamically Reprogrammable Architecture (HYDRA) wireless interior communications program. The cumulative value of this contract, including this modification, is $39,196,795. Work will be performed in Lynchburg, Va., and is expected to be completed by November 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity.


Aegis Technologies Group, Inc., Huntsville, Ala., was awarded a $20,481,517 contract which will provide the Air Force Modeling and Simulation Training Toolkit, which is a non-commercial, government-owned simulation system used to train the Joint Force Command, Joint Force Air Component Commander, and their battle staff in multiple federation environments. At this time, $1,483,700 has been obligated. 753 ESG, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8731-10-C-0003).


Lion-Vallen, LP, Dayton, Ohio is being awarded a maximum $15,200,000 service contract to furnish warehousing, storage, logistics, and distribution functions for Army clothing and textile requirements. Other locations of performance are Virginia and Kentucky. Using services are Army and federal civilian agencies. There were originally 50 proposals solicited with seven responses. The date of performance completion is Nov. 13, 2010. The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (SP0100-99-C-0333).

Honeywell International, Inc., Tempe, Ariz. is being awarded a maximum $7,602,305 firm-fixed, sole-source contract for anti-icing valves. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Army. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. The date of performance completion is Jan. 1, 2014. The Defense Logistics Agency (DSCR-AH), Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (SPRRA1-10-D-0011).

National Guard (In Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of April 27, 2010

April 28, 2010 - This week the Army, Navy and Marine Corps announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Air Force and Coast Guard announced an increase. The net collective result is 473 fewer reservists activated than last week.

At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 101,746; Navy Reserve, 6,247; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 17,270; Marine Corps Reserve, 6,379; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 834. This brings the total National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been activated to 132,476, including both units and individual augmentees.

A cumulative roster of all National Guard and Reserve personnel who are currently activated may be found at

Navy Surgeon General Discusses the Navy's Role in Humanitarian Assistance at Howard University

April 28, 2010 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy surgeon general discussed the importance of the Navy's role in providing needed humanitarian assistance in Haiti April 27 at Howard University's Health Care Symposium.

The symposium entitled "The Health Care Discussion: People, Environment, and Policy" brought together top scholars, policy makers and activists to discuss health care issues.

Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson Jr. began his keynote address by commending the teaching staff at Howard University for their service.

"You are also to be commended for your commitment to teaching and serving these students through your leadership and mentorship," said Robinson. "Make no mistake, teaching is service. Just like our armed forces pledge an oath to serve their country in uniform, you have also made a pledge by having made a commitment to serve these students through your teaching."

Robinson focused on the theme of service throughout the speech and said it was the Navy's Medicine role to provide service to those in need around the world.

"From deploying doctors, nurses, and corpsmen to the battlefield to responding to humanitarian disaster, we support a wide range of missions all across the world, while at the same time taking care of our Sailors and Marines and their families here at home," said Robinson. "With 59,000 people under my charge, I take this responsibility very seriously."

Robinson provided an overview of Navy Medicine's role in Haitian relief including an overview of the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort's key role in the humanitarian assistance operation called "Operation Unified Response."

"Nowhere have I been more proud of military medicine's achievements in recent memory, than in regards to the extraordinary work we just accomplished in Haiti," said Robinson. "When the earthquake hit our Haitian brothers and sisters, our hospital ship Comfort was deployed and heading towards Port-Au-Prince within 76 hours which was in record time."

While in Haiti, Comfort treated 871 patients and performed 843 surgeries. Soon after arriving on station, Comfort was receiving patients every six to nine minutes during its first four days and had more than 540 critically-injured patients on board within the first 10 days. During this initial phase of its mission, the Navy hospital ship ran 10 operating rooms at full capacity to care for injured Haitian, American and other foreign national earthquake victims requiring surgical care. This deployment marked the first time the ship reached full operational capacity, utilizing all operating rooms and beds, since it was delivered to the Navy in 1987.

"Our response to the Haitian people shows the selfless character of our Nation, and shows our values of caring for others less fortunate," said Robinson. "By doing so whether in Haiti or elsewhere, we save lives in the short term, but we also provide the conditions for greater security and stability in the long term."

Joseph P. Reidy, Ph.D., Associate Provost of Howard University thanked Robinson for speaking at the first symposium sponsored by the Howard University Initiative on Democracy, Markets, Communication, and Technology.

"It was critically important that this new think tank bring together an outstanding line-up of participants in its first symposium," said Reidy. "Robinson communicated a wealth of knowledge from his many years of experience grappling with the issues of public health on a global scale and we are grateful to him for sharing his unparalleled insights."

North Dakota Airmen completes first humanitarian project in Ghana

(4/27/10) -- Halfway through a two-week humanitarian mission to Africa, North Dakota National Guard Airmen report the mission has been going well despite the high heat index in Ghana.

About 34 members of the 119th Wing’s Civil Engineer Squadron deployed to Ghana April 19 to work on two major construction projects that were kicked off by the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing during the first week of April.

As of today, the North Dakota Guardsmen were 95 percent complete with one project and were well on their way with the second, said Maj. John Gibbs of the 119th Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron.

“Our North Dakota Airmen are making great progress on these important projects," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, who is in Ghana this week to observe the construction progress and meet with key leaders involved with the State Partnership Program.

"Being able to help the people of Ghana, whom we’ve come to know very well over the past six years, is incredibly rewarding. Furthermore, this mission is providing considerable real-world construction training in a foreign environment for our Airmen, which is incredibly beneficial for today’s operating environment.”

North Dakota has been partners with Ghana since 2004 as part of the program, which is sponsored by the Department of Defense. The program aligns states with partner countries to encourage the development of economic, political and military ties.

During the past six years, more than 180 North Dakota Guardsmen, Ghana military members and civilians have taken part in State Partnership Program events and workshops. The current mission is providing valuable training on contingency skills for the Airmen while helping Ghanaians.

Today, the Civil Engineer Squadron was finishing painting a complex at the Acota Academy at Burma Camp, a Ghanaian military complex near Accra, Ghana’s capital. Installing doors and windows was the only task that remained after Michigan and North Dakota Airmen had replaced walls, redone electrical work, installed fans and air conditioning, plastered the exterior walls and more at the building that will be used to provide training to the Ghanaian Armed Forces.

“What we essentially did was gut the whole building and replace everything so it’s new,” Gibbs said in a telephone call from Ghana.

Many of the North Dakota Airmen moved on to Takoradi, in Ghana’s western region, on Sunday to begin on the second major project: a complete renovation of a medical laboratory facility co-located with the Ghanaian Armed Forces’ 2nd Battalion. While it’s a military facility, “the civilian population does come in and seek medical assistance at the clinic,” Gibbs said.

Typically hard chargers, the civil engineers have had to slow down a bit as they face a heat index in the 104- to 105-degree range.

“It takes a little getting used to,” Gibbs said. “You can’t work as hard as you normally would.”

Proper training and follow-through on heat injury prevention has paid off, Gibbs said, and there have been no heat-related injuries for the group, which is expected home May 2.

New York Air Guardsman selected for South Africa post

(4/28/10) -- Maj. Scott "LB" Williams, the deputy support group commander for the New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing has been selected to represent the New York National Guard, the National Guard, and the U.S. military in South Africa for the next two years.

He will leave for Pretoria, the capitol of the Republic of South Africa, early next month.

Williams will replace Maj. David Panzera as the South Africa bilateral affairs officer, or BAO, for the National Guard's State Partnership Program.

The State Partnership Program pairs American state National Guard's with the militaries of developing nations as a way to build military partnerships and understanding. New York has been paired with South Africa since 2003. The two nations exchange officers and non-commissioned officers for joint training, and New York has sponsored conferences for South African civilian officials as well.

Williams will be based at the U.S. Embassy, working for the New York State Office of Security Cooperation, which is a component of the U.S. Africa Command or Africom. The office represents U.S. defense interests primarily in the republic of South Africa. Williams will also be doing some work in Lesotho and the Kingdom of Swaziland.

"The main purpose of this position is to assist in building relationships between the New York Guard and the partnering nation by planning, coordinating, and executing military to military events and training," Williams said.

His duties will also include managing US security assistance programs, supporting cooperative arms programs, coordinating host nation support, acting as liaison for other defense matters of mutual concern and conceptualizing, planning, coordinating and executing familiarization visits between partnering countries.

"The application process was pretty tight," Williams said. "The position was only offered to majors and captains promotable to major." Through New York State and the Department of Military and Naval Affairs, he was selected from 10 finalists, who interviewed for the position.

Williams was picked for the job, because of his experience and skills, said Lt. Col. Joseph Sullivan, the New York Army National Guard officer responsible for New York's program.

Williams has been working within the partnership program at the 106th Rescue Wing for the past several years.

Two years ago, he arranged for 106th para-rescuemen to visit South Africa to train a South African military unit to set up a dive team and perform rescue dives. Also last summer, he helped arrange for a South African rescue team to train here with 106th para-rescuemen.

Williams also hosted Uruguayan visitors from the Connecticut Air National Guard's SPP to come here to the 106th and learn about combat search and rescue. He gave the partnering nation's team a briefing on CSAR and a tour of the base here.

Col. Thomas J. Owens II, the 106th Rescue Wing Commander, was a big help and is very supportive in what this does for the Wing, Williams said. It provides more opportunities for 106th Rescue Wing members to participate in the partnering nation's military to military events.

The BAO's job is to serve as the focal point for joint military exercises between the Republic of South Africa and the New York National Guard.

In conjunction with the state command structure and the partnering nation's military leadership, Williams will develop scenarios for deployment of New York National Guard soldiers and airmen to South Africa to meet the approved security assistance activities evaluated through the US Embassy and USAFRICOM staff.

These types of activities require a tremendous amount of coordination because of the number of entities involved and the delicate balance that must be maintained. In planning and executing National Guard Participation in foreign military exercises, the coordinator must take a myriad of considerations into account, Williams said.

The coordination process involves the State Department, Department of Defense, AFRICOM, New York State Partnership Program Coordinators, the various service secretariats, embassy staff members, the National Guard Bureau and South African military counterparts, he said.

San Antonio Navy Week Closes With Salute to Veterans

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist L.A. Shively, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

April 28, 2010 - SAN ANTONIO (NNS) -- San Antonio Navy Week came to a close with the All Veterans Memorial Service April 25, an annual ceremony sponsored by Alamo Chapter 366, Vietnam Veterans of America, saluting the military with speeches, patriotic music and a wreath laying.

Built around Fiesta San Antonio, Navy Week comprised 12 days of events that included performances by the U.S. Naval Academy Band Electric Brigade, parades, appearances by Sailors from USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and speaking engagements by flag officers.

Navy Weeks give the public a chance to get to personally know their Sailors explained Rear Adm. Albert Garcia III, Civil Engineer Corps deputy commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, deputy chief of Civil Engineers.

"One of the things that make our country strong and unique is that the military has never been a class unto itself," said Garcia. "We are a military that comes from every day America. That's not true in other countries. It's a strategic imperative for us to invest time, energy and effort into community outreach. Navy Weeks connect the people with their Navy."

Television, radio and newspaper interviews with Garica and Rear Adm. Robin Graf, deputy commander, Navy Recruiting Command, were instrumental in achieving the Navy's mission to educate San Antonio about Sailors in their community.

Navy presence is growing in San Antonio as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act. Sailors are currently and will continue to have major impact on the city as enlisted training commences through the Medical Education and Training Campus at Fort Sam Houston.

Run by the Navy, the facility will consolidate enlisted medical training for Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen and will be the largest military medical education and training institution when fully operational next year.

During San Antonio Navy Week Sailors played games with kids at the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio, read stories to youth at the Carl Wanke Elementary School, visited with children and handed out ball caps through the Caps for Kids program at local hospitals, and toured the USAA facility.

During Navy Day at the Alamo the public witnessed a reenlistment ceremony and watched as Sailors from the Naval Technical Training Center demonstrated riot control procedures, prisoner take down and military working dogs at work.

Members of Electric Brigade entertained audiences but also interacted with students letting them know that the Navy is more than just a career.

"The job I do gives me a sense of purpose. I feel like I am making a difference rather than just entertaining," said Musician 1st Class Mike Bogart.

Bogart explained that he took a break from a stint as a musician in the Navy and returned to civilian life where he played with high-profile musicians like Carlos Santana, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, and was successful with the soul and funk based Tower of Power.

Fleet Surgical Team 6 Feels at Home on Board Kearsarge

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) John Osborne, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

April 28, 2010 - USS KEARSARGE At Sea (NNS) -- The Medical Department on board the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) received a significant upgrade when Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 6 out of Norfolk, Va., embarked April 22.

The FST, along with several other embarked units, is participating in Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON)-Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Integrated Training (PMINT) through May 6.

Embarking on a new ship is nothing new to the men and women of FST 6. They returned from a seven-month deployment with USS Bataan (LHD 5) in December, where they made a valuable contribution and in mid-January began making preparations to ride Kearsarge to Haiti if the call came.

"It is difficult spending so much time away from home," said Cmdr. Tracy Thompson, group surgeon and officer in charge of FST 6. "We come to a fleet surgical team on a two-year tour and it is not uncommon to spend 18 of those 24 months deployed. We often have to be ready to deploy within 96 hours of getting the call, and we are expected to be ready to contribute as soon as we step on board. Kearsarge's Medical Department has been very accommodating and they have helped in any way they can. It definitely makes the integration easier when you are made to feel so welcome."

Thompson and her FST of 16 Sailors bring several capabilities and an array of talent to Kearsarge. Thompson explained that the general idea of carrying a FST is to bring on specialists who are not otherwise represented. The talent pool that Thompson leads includes a medical regulating and coordinating officer, senior enlisted leader, general surgeon, family practice physician, anesthesia provider, critical care nurse, operating room nurse, two surgical technicians, two laboratory technicians, one respiratory technician, two general corpsman, and one radiology technician.

All of these skill sets are necessary because the primary function of the FST is to save lives in the operating room during a mass casualty, something Thompson and her crew understand requires the participation of all medical personnel.

"I expect everyone to utilize their skill sets to benefit the amphibious readiness group," she said. "Everyone has a role to play and we have to recognize the crucial role of the ship's company during a mass casualty. It's critical that we all work together."

Chief Hospital Corpsman and FST Senior Enlisted Leader Chris Cwiklinski said cooperation among both medical teams is key.

"Kearsarge brings a lot of experience and motivation to the job, but most importantly, they want to be here, and they want to work with us. It has been a very smooth transition," he said.

Kearsarge's senior enlisted medical member, Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Robert Loomis, said he has been impressed with the professionalism of FST 6 and sees a great working relationship developing.

"They have been impressive with how quickly they have settled in here and contributed to the daily taskings," said Loomis. "It is always an anxious time when a new unit comes into your department, but FST 6 understands that only through cohesiveness can we accomplish the mission and we are happy to have such a great team on board."

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Samuel Sobrino, a surgical technologist with FST 6, said being associated with Kearsarge's Medical Department is one of the highlights of his time with the team.

"Anything we have needed, they have given us," Sobrino said. "They have made us feel welcome, and this is the best ship I have been on."

Army Releases 2010 Modernization Strategy

The Department of the Army released today the 2010 Army Modernization Strategy (AMS).

"The goal of Army modernization is to develop and field the best equipment available to allow our soldiers to be successful against our enemies," said Gen. George W. Casey, chief of staff of the Army. "We must continue to transform into a force that is versatile, expeditionary, agile, lethal, sustainable and interoperable, so that our soldiers will have a decisive advantage in any fight," Casey said.

The Army plans to achieve its 2010 modernization goals by developing and fielding new capabilities; continuously modernizing equipment to meet current and future capability needs through procurement of upgraded capabilities, reset, and recapitalization; and meeting continuously evolving force requirements through Army priorities and the Army Force Generation Model.

Equipping individual soldiers and units is a core Army responsibility under Title 10, U.S. Code. "Providing all of America's sons and daughters who serve in our Army with the most capable equipment for the battles they're fighting today and are likely to face in the future are the responsibilities that the Army takes seriously and is committed to accomplishing," said Lt. Gen. Robert P. Lennox, deputy chief of staff G-8 and the Army's chief material integration officer.

The complete 2010 AMS is available at:

For more information, contact Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings, Army Public Affairs, 703-697-7591,, or Mr. William Layer at 703-693-4987.

NHB Health Promotion Awarded for Strong Commitment to Optimizing Health

By Douglas H. Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs

April 28, 2010 - Naval Hospital Bremerton (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Bremerton was recognized on April 23 with the Navy Surgeon General's Health Promotion and Wellness Medical Command award, "The Blue H," for command excellence in health promotion.

"Our Health Promotion staff has a lot of passion and energy in doing such a tremendous job," stated Capt. Mark E. Brouker, NHB commanding officer. "They are helping to prevent damage and do great work to keep our staff and beneficiaries healthy instead of having to always rely on patching a patient up in the Intensive Care Unit years down the road."

"My thanks to leadership and our many team members who are committed to promoting healthy lifestyles at every opportunity," said Janet Mano, Naval Hospital Bremerton Health Promotion division head.

This is the 11th time NHB has received the annual award that encourages and rewards the promotion of health in Navy and Marine Corps organizations. More than 150 commands received the award this year, which includes medical treatment facilities, Fleet, Navy Reserve and Marines Corps commands.

"With the surgeon general setting the standard, it is wonderful to see so many rise to the challenge," Mano said. "This shows that many are not forgetting how important it is to be proactive in their health care."

According to Mano, NHB has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to optimizing health.

"In addition to supporting our beneficiaries through medical care, we are committed to promoting healthy self-care during medical visits by offering a wide variety of classes and reaching out to our active duty and beneficiaries where they work and play," explained Mano, who also noted that the award is a testament to deserving commands that actively engage in clinical primary prevention, carry out community health promotion, advocate medical staff health and wellness policies, and continually plan, organize and host activities and events to advance health-care delivery missions.

"The criteria and associated categories needed to be considered include clinical preventive care such as screening and counseling and arranging support when needed for weight management, tobacco and alcohol use, health promotion programs and activities within the MTF for staff and beneficiaries and also community outreach to commands and community groups," said Mano. "Heath Promotion happens at every level, from provider appointments to primary care to specialty clinics. This really is a commandwide effort and commitment."

"Physical therapy, the laboratory, mammography, nutrition management, substance abuse rehabilitation program (SARP), tobacco cessation and our mental health department are among the strong contributors to promoting wellness and self care," continued Mano. "We have strong support from our dieticians, pharmacists and hospital corpsmen and our health educators who teach classes and take health promotion outside to community events."

"Public Affairs and Marketing support enhances our partnerships throughout Navy Region Northwest with Ombudsmen, Safety, Right Spirit, Training and Workforce Development programs and makes it possible to bring Health Promotion programs to military, DoD civilians and family members throughout the region," Mano said.

Some of the Health Promotion Programs include Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention; Health Risk Assessment; Injury Prevention; Nutrition; Physical Fitness; Sexual Health and Responsibility (SHARP); Stress Management; Suicide Prevention; and Preventive Health Assessments.

Additionally, Health Promotion is also part of the planning with NHB's Population Health and Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program to be an integral part supporting Navy's smoking ban on submarines by the end of the year.

"We're really presented with a huge opportunity and challenge when the smoking lamp goes out in the submarines," said Brouker. "Our goal will be to help them quit smoking and keep them out of the ICU in 20 years due to some tobacco-related illness."

Mano attests there are many resources available to support getting a tobacco cessation program. Health Promotion can provide motivational presentations and health fairs to fleet readiness groups. "Quit Tobacco, Make Everyone Proud" is the slogan for the Department of Defense online support. Appointments are available at the Naval Branch Health Clinic Bangor and NHB for individual and group cessation support. "If anyone is thinking about quitting, has quit and/or wants to stay that way, we are here to help," said Mano, adding that anyone can also call 475-4541/4997 or e-mail to schedule a motivational program for any interested command.

Health Promotion provides quality products and services to every eligible beneficiary.

One of the many ways that goal is accomplished is through numerous classes such as several types of Movement Training classes with Tai Chi and Yoga, and support groups for new parents, Bariatric Surgery, Diabetes Support, and Cancer Support. The Cancer Support Group has also extended their participation far-beyond the classroom of NHB by supporting an American Cancer Society 'Relay for Life' team sponsored by beneficiary Juliet Hough, who recently passed away due to complications to cancer. Other examples of available classes are the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) classes that help provide support skills and motivation to live an active and healthy life. Some of the classes are, Long-Lasting Change; Diabetes Prevention; Healthy at Heart; Aim for a Healthy Weight; Everyday Fitness; Commissary Tour; Fitness Center and Water with Lemon.

One of the most popular events involving the community continue to be 'Car Seat Fittings. The next fitting for car seats will be during the upcoming National Child Passenger Safety Week July 20 at NHB's Level B Parking Garage. Car seat fittings are also held by appointment.

For more information on additional programs, services and events on health and wellness, please contact NHB Health Promotion at 475-4541 and to register for classes call TRICARE at 800-404-4506.

Retiree couples can sample AF Enlisted Village life

April 28, 2010 - SHALIMAR, Fla. (AFRNS) -- Air Force Enlisted Village officials are currently welcoming retired military couples to sample life at Teresa Village by making guest apartments available for a minimal fee.

Teresa Village is located in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and is close to shopping, beaches, fishing, golf, and military installations. Potential residents staying in the guest apartments can use the swimming pool and recreation areas at Teresa Village and are encouraged to participate in the many and varied activities such as ice cream socials, potlucks, parties, picnics and special outings.

The two bedroom apartments at Teresa Village are very affordable and offer a worry-free lifestyle, according to officials. The following amenities are included with the Teresa Village apartments: transportation, basic cable television, security, free laundry service, gardening plots, activities and trips, volunteer opportunities, maintenance, library, community room, chapel, grounds-keeping, water, sewer, trash collection, basic kitchen appliances, carpeting, and central air and heat.

People interested in trying the active life at Teresa Village can contact the Air Force Enlisted Village admissions office at 850-651-9422 to discuss eligibility and make a reservation for a guest apartment.

The Air Force Enlisted Village was founded in 1967 to provide a safe, secure and dignified place for indigent surviving spouses of retired Air Force Airmen.

Air Force Enlisted Village:

Kearsarge Completes 3M Certification

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephen Tate, USS Kearsarge Public Affairs

April 28, 2010 - USS Kearsarge, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) completed their Maintenance and Material Management (3M) certification April 16.

To date, the ship and crew have passed the Unit Level Training Assessment Certification/Engineering (ULTRA-C and E), Force Protection Initial Assessment and Supply Management Certification with flying colors.

The inspection included numerous shipboard spot checks and an evaluation of 66 work centers by inspectors from Afloat Training Group, Atlantic. Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW/AW) Michael Ziegler, Assistant 3M Program Coordinator, explained that recent training and weekly spot checks gave him confidence in the crew's ability to pass the certification, despite having little time to prepare.

"The current ship's schedule didn't allot much time for us to prepare, so we had to make the most of the time we had," said Ziegler. "We conducted numerous mock spot checks, went through every workcenter's manual, and created a training video that was broadcast on the ship's SITE TV system."

The ship was graded using various criteria, including spot checks, the Current Ship's Maintenance Project, and the 3M binders of all workcenters.

Many Sailors on board had to conduct spot checks with ATG members as part of the certification.

"The spot checks were a little stressful and intense," said Information System Technician 2nd Class (SW/AW) Wall. "Thankfully, the 3M office made sure we were well trained and that we knew what we were doing."

Kearsarge passed the certification with an 89.05 percent and is certified for another two years.

"We couldn't have done so well without hard work and attention to detail from our work center supervisors and 3M assistants," said Ziegler. "Thanks to them, we can put this behind us and move on in our certification cycle."

Army Colonel Charged with Producing Own Child Pornography

April 28, 2010 - ATLANTA, GA—EDGAR PAGAN-TORRES, 41, of Peachtree City, Georgia, a lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on child pornography production and possession offenses. PAGAN made his initial appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge on April 15, 2009 and was indicted this afternoon.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “This defendant allegedly sexually abused his own daughter and niece and then produced videos of his crimes, ‘mementos’ that he carefully organized into home video-style DVDs. This shocking and tragic conduct has no place in our nation’s military, nor anywhere else. I appreciate all the hard work the U.S. Army investigators did to bring this case to the FBI and to ensure that the Defendant now faces these very serious charges.”

“Today's indictment and continuing investigation clearly illustrates tremendous interagency cooperation with our global law enforcement partners,” said Brigadier General Colleen McGuire, the Provost Marshal General of the Army and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. “Working hand in hand with Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies in cross jurisdictional investigations, we are continually proving our commitment to investigate crimes impacting the Army, wherever they may occur.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the indictment and evidence in public record and in court: PAGAN was assigned to a military installation in Puerto Rico from 2004 to 2007. At that time, he and his family lived near PAGAN’s sister, who has a daughter the same age as PAGAN’s daughter. In 2008, a year after PAGAN and his family relocated to Peachtree City, PAGAN’s niece made an outcry alleging that PAGAN had molested her and his daughter. In 2009, family members passed this information to law enforcement in Puerto Rico, resulting in PAGAN’s guilty plea last month in Puerto Rico to criminal charges related to his niece’s molestation allegations.

At the same time the Puerto Rican authorities were investigating, agents from the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigations Division based at Ft. McPherson seized various computers and digital media from PAGAN’s home in Peachtree City. Searches of these items revealed sexually explicit videos PAGAN had made involving his daughter and his niece. Some of the videos were made in PAGAN’s home in Puerto Rico and others were made in his Peachtree City residence. Many of the videos had been transferred from the original recording media to home video-style DVDs organized into chapters. Additional forensic work uncovered a large collection of child pornography PAGAN had downloaded from the internet. Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the FBI, U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division, and the Peachtree City Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Robert McBurney and Jill Steinberg are prosecuting the case.For further information please contact Sally Q. Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is


DEFINITION OF A VETERAN A Veteran - whether active duty, retired, National Guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The "United States of America", for an amount of "up to and including my life." That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
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35 years after fall of Saigon

Thirty five years ago this Friday, the final chapter to the American portion of the Vietnam War was ingloriously concluded – even though American combat forces were largely gone by late 1971 and all remaining support troops, air crews and POWs were home in early 1973. Unlike Dec. 7, 1941, or June 6, 1944, or Aug. 15, 1945 (Victory over Japan Day), or any other notable day from World War II, April 30, 1975, will never be recalled in positive ways by those old enough to remember or those too young whose ideas have instead been shaped by contemporary media.

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