Friday, March 25, 2011

Support Organizations Augment Operation Pacific Passage Efforts

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Bill Larned, Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs

DENVER, Colo. (NNS) -- Several volunteer humanitarian and support agencies are assisting a multi-service team of military professionals and caregivers to welcome and offer a helping hand to military families who have arrived at Denver International Airport as part of Operation Pacific Passage, March 24.

While Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines at the Joint Reception Coordination Center assisted families who have voluntarily departed Japan with administrative needs, organizations such as USO, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army have set up to provide a variety of critical quality-of-life services.

Hedy Margolis, center manager of the Rocky Mountain USO at Denver International Airport, said her crew of volunteers were well prepared to deliver food, beverages, diapers and pet food. The USO also helped set up 197 beds, a playroom for children, Internet access, and a lounge with televisions and DVDs.

"I love supporting the military and their family members, because everyone is so grateful for the smallest things, whether it's a bottle of water or a can of pop," she said. "People don't expect things and they're delighted to receive what we give them."

Margolis said that a spirit of cooperation multiplies the benefits caregiving organizations can offer military families.

"We work in conjunction with the Salvation Army," she explained. "We sat down prior to the event and discussed what each of us has access to and what we're bringing. Eventually we get everything we need."

Salvation Army volunteers manned several tables alongside the USO, offering snacks, drinks, candy and other refreshments for arriving passengers.

"We work very closely with the military and their families," said Sherry Manson, a public information officer for the Salvation Army's Intermountain Division in Denver. "The Salvation Army has a long history working with the military, back to World War I."

Manson said she finds it personally fulfilling to be a part of Operation Pacific Passage.

"I cannot even fathom what it must be like for military families to be uprooted, facing separation from their loved ones," she explained. "Whatever small part we can do to relieve some stress for them...just offering a kind word and a smile, that's our goal here."

The Joint Reception Coordination Center at Denver International Airport will remain open to assist military families with much needed support as more planes continue to arrive.

For more information on the voluntary authorized departure for eligible DoD family members from designated areas in Japan, read NAVADMIN 093/11 at

All Sailors or family members who are in need of assistance should utilize the NFAAS support site at to ensure the Navy can track and assess support requirements for all parties affected.

Navy Fleet and Family Support Center has a 24-hour hotline available to provide family support information at 866-854-0638.

Gates Reaffirms 'Unshakable' U.S. Support for Israel

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL, March 24, 2011 – Defense issues in the U.S.-Israel relationship and the implications of dramatic Middle East political shifts were among topics considered here as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

“Our bilateral relationship and this dialog is so critical,” Gates said during a joint press conference after the meeting, “because, as Minister Barak once said, Israel lives at the focal point of some of the biggest security challenges facing the free world -- violent extremism, proliferation of nuclear technologies, and dilemmas posed by adversarial and failed states.”

Gates and Barak also discussed new unrest in Syria, a Jerusalem terrorist bombing and rocket attacks in southern Israel, Iran’s nuclear program, the security environment on Israel’s borders, and military operations over Libya.

It is especially important at a time of such dramatic change in the region, the secretary added, “to reaffirm once more America’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Gates joined President Barack Obama in condemning yesterday’s bomb attack in Jerusalem and rockets and mortars fired into Israel from Gaza as recently as today.

“The thoughts and condolences of the American government and the American people are with the victims and their families,” the secretary said.

Israel, like all nations,” he added, “has the right to self defense and to bring justice to the perpetrators of these repugnant acts.”

In addition to his meeting with Barak, Gates also met today with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Tomorrow the secretary will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the U.S.-Israel defense relationship and the prospects for a two-state solution, and then with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

The two-state solution refers to the creation of two separate states in the Western portion of Palestine. Israel would stay a Jewish state and another Arab state would be created to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“I know there may be a temptation during this time of great uncertainty in the region to be more cautious about pursuing the peace process,” Gates said.

But in his meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Gates carried a different message, he said.

“There is a need and an opportunity for bold action to move toward a two-state solution,” the secretary said. “As the parties move forward, the United States stands ready to support them in any way we can.”

Asked about the latest upheaval between protesters and the Syrian government, Gates said that nation faces the same challenge as others in the region.

The secretary described the underlying problem as “the unmet political and economic grievances of their people.”

In countries like Libya, Syria and Iran, he explained, “authoritarian regimes have suppressed their people and been willing to use violence against them.”

What we see, Gates added, “is an opening to the future that’s occurring in virtually all of these countries.”

Some countries deal with the turmoil better than others, he said.

“I’ve just come from Egypt,” Gates said, “where the Egyptian army stood on the sidelines and allowed people to demonstrate, and, in fact, empowered a revolution. The Syrians might take a lesson from that.”

About Syria, where news reports indicate that several protesters have been killed and many more hurt, Barak said, “We prefer the Egyptian model of behavior rather than the Libyan one to be adopted by our neighbors.”

Gates, who arrived in Israel from meetings in Cairo with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, said Egyptian leaders have a strong commitment to their peace treaty with Israel and to continuing regular, high-level talks between Israeli and Egyptian leaders.

Gates said he came away from discussions in Egypt persuaded that those he met with “take the relationship with Israel seriously.”

Thirty-seven years ago, Barak said, he and Tantawi were battalion commanders in the same sector for opposing armies.

“When we crossed the Suez Canal,” Barak said, “he was protecting the eastern bank with his infantry battalion, and I came with my tank battalion.”

When Barak spoke with Tantawi after the field marshal took office, “I told him we have an utmost responsibility to make sure that our younger generation will not find themselves in the same experience.”

Barak said he couldn’t quote Tantawi, “but I have reason to believe that as long as the Egyptian armed forces are in power, they are a major pillar of stability within Egypt and the peace agreement as well as other international commitments will be respected.”

Gates said the United States and Israel are cooperating closely in areas such as missile defense technology, the Joint Strike Fighter, and training exercises such as Juniper Stallion.

Such cooperation and support, he said, “ensures that Israel will continue to maintain its qualitative military edge.”

CFAY Wrapping up Majority of Voluntary Departures

By MC2(SW/AW) John Smolinski, Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- The last large group of Department of Defense dependents departed Fleet Activities Yokosuka, March 24, as authorized by the voluntary military-assisted departure (VMAD).

The U.S. Department of State authorized the voluntary, military-assisted departure for eligible dependents of U.S. service members and Department of Defense (DoD) civilians assigned to installations on the main island of Honshu, Japan, March 16.

The departure was authorized due to the 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami, and the resulting uncertainty surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northern Honshu, March 11.

VMAD should not be confused with the term evacuation, as military and DoD civilians were not directed to leave. Each family had to make the decision based on factors for their unique situation.

"The best thing we have been able to do throughout this whole process is to give people a peace of mind during a very stressful situation," said Ester Franklin, Yokosuka Middle School ASCS counselor, who has volunteered to help with the processing at the fleet recreation center.

Fleet Activities Yokosuka registered and transported more than 1,300 dependents who travelled by government contracted flights from Yokosuka to Seattle, and Travis Air Force Base.

Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) Yokosuka has processed more than 3,100 flight requests through the commercial travel office (CTO) for travel out of Japan since the authorization went into affect.

"We've gone into 24-hour service mode, setting up a three-section rotation, so that we may accept requests for government-funded travel around the clock," said Lt. Cmdr. Jed Espiritu, PSD Yokosuka officer-in-charge. "The commercial travel office here has also put in long hours, coming in on weekends all without a single complaint, something monumentally important in this operation."

Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) hosts 82 tenant commands that support operating forces throughout the Western Pacific, including 11 high-operational-tempo warships forward deployed.

CFAY, PSD Yokosuka, and other commands came together to accomplish a unified, customer-focused mission.

"Throughout this operation, I've seen continuous improvement in the way we process, track, and ticket flights," said Espiritu. "I've watched customers here being kind and considerate to other customers, and our clerks, despite some confusion and anxiety, even dropping off cookies and baked goods. I've seen overwhelming support for Yokosuka dependents from our assigned Chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. Doug Vrieland, the Fleet and Family Support Center, and various other commands that have volunteered to provide comfort and assistance to the family members departing from Japan."

The last volunteer departure requests will be taken today, March 25.

Departed personnel will be provided return travel to Japan when directed by the Under Secretary of Defense.

"CFAY is looking forward to the return of family members who departed voluntarily," said CFAY Command Master Chief (CMDCM) Gregory Vidaurri. "Once authorization is provided for the return of our family members, our goal is reunite our Sailors with their families as soon as possible."

Gates: U.S.-Israeli Defense Relationship Never Stronger

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

TEL AVIV, Israel, March 24, 2011 – Noting that their military relationship has never been stronger, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today that the United States and Israel should stand together “as we contemplate and work with the extraordinary change that is taking place around the region.”

Before a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Gates said the unprecedented number of citizen uprisings in diverse countries brings with it challenges and opportunities. “The key,” he added, “is to minimize the challenges and maximize the opportunities.”

Peres echoed the secretary’s comments. “We are aware there is a window of change in the Middle East,” he said, “and we, very much like you, stand on the side of … freedom, democracy, security and peace.”

While Israel is concerned about the daily problem of defense, Peres said, “we’re not overlooking this historic confrontation.”

Gates expressed American sympathy “for the families of those who were killed and wounded in the terrorist attack in Jerusalem yesterday, and our deep concern about the rocket attacks coming out of Gaza against the people of Israel.”

USNS Safeguard, Additional Salvage Support Reaches Hachinohe

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devon Dow, U.S. Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan Public Affairs

HACHINOHE, Japan (NNS) -- USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), along with personnel and assets from Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 5, and Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 2, arrived at Hachinohe, Japan, March 25, to assist the Japanese Coast Guard as recovery efforts continue in the city.

Safeguard, homeported in Sasebo, Japan, is the Navy's only forward-deployed rescue and salvage ship. It is specifically designed to perform combat salvage, lifting, towing, manned diving operations, and provide emergency repairs to stranded or disabled vessels.

"We are here under a request by the Japanese government to provide support," said Lt. Cmdr. Peterson, 7th Fleet salvage officer and Safeguard coordinator. "Whatever we can do to help them in any way, we are willing to do so. The teamwork with the Japanese has been incredible and we look forward to working with them."

USNS Safeguard was transferred to Military Sealift Command in 2007, and has a crew that consists of civilian contractors and Sailors assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1. The ship and the crew's expertise will play a vital role in clearing waterways of debris and sunken wreckage.

Operating from a dock at FISC Yokosuka Fuel Terminal-Hachinohe, EOD Mobile Unit 5 and UCT 2 are working together to clear wreckage from a local commercial channel. With it cleared, the Japanese ships will be able to transport supplies and fuel to northern Japan.

UCT 2 is providing underwater surveillance imagery with side scan sonar equipment. Once the scanning is complete, the findings are shared with the Japanese Cost Guard. Once the location of wreckage is determined, markers are placed and EOD divers go into the water for a more thorough inspection. From this point, both the Navy and Japanese Coast Guard form a collective plan to remove the wreckage.

EOD Mobile Unit 5's Intelligence Leading Chief Petty Officer Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist James Isham, from Mackville, Ky., said the Japanese have been doing a great job with their salvage efforts.

"It's been very easy working with them and a real honor," Isham said. "It is nice to be able to be helpful and to assist our allies. With this port clear, they will be able to get needed supplies to the people; especially heating fuel."

The Navy is continuing its humanitarian support throughout Japan in support of Operation Tomodachi.

Stephen W. Groves Continues APS Mission

From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/ Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (NNS) -- USS Stephen W. Groves (FFG 29) Sailors, U.S. Naval Forces Africa personnel, Africa Partnership Station (APS) East international staff members and students from Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania, continued training during the second "Hub" as part of APS East, March 24.

Participants received instruction on visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS); combat lifesaver skills; physical security; law enforcement; human rights, and more.

"The best part of APS is the relationships you make," said Kenyan navy Maj. E. Keter, APS East deputy commander. "The training is important but the partnership learned is what makes the most difference."

"The capacity of the students from Mauritius is equal to what we teach in the U.S.," said Chief Master-at-Arms Jeffrey Elwood. "We are glad for this exchange of ideas and techniques to see how we can potentially improve our own policies, with how we teach our own Sailors."

Stephen W. Groves Sailors and U.S. Naval Forces Africa staff members also participated in a community relations (COMREL) project that involved painting and landscaping the La Briquetterie Government School, March 23.

This was the third and final COMREL of Stephen W. Groves' APS deployment, which has included more than 40 crewmembers' participation and more than 700 combined man hours of community service.

"Our guys always show up," said Lt. j.g. Brett Lincoln, Stephen W. Groves COMREL organizer. "It doesn't matter what we throw at them. They want to be there, and they want to help. I am amazed at the response I get every time we do one of these projects, and here at La Briquette they stepped up again."

La Briquetterie Government School is a pre-primary and primary school serving 218 students, ages 5-11. The school, which was founded in 1960, is in one of the poorest districts of Port Louis.

"The children love to play football in the field behind our school, but the grass had grown very quickly after the rain," said Antoine Sauterelle, La Briquetterie Government School headmaster. "This can be a dangerous area for mosquitoes if it isn't taken care of. It is a blessing to have these Sailors come here today."

APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; and is aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

NNSY Repairs USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Catapult Launch System

From Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) personnel completed repairs to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower's catapult launch system during the aircraft carrier's Planned Incremental Availability, March 21.

Shipyard personnel replaced approximately 80 feet of various-sized piping. Forty employees worked around the clock with the support of many others across the various shipyard shops to complete the job.

"It's a critical path to the completion of the availability," said David Bittle, NNSY Piping Production superintendent. "[It is] such a precise job that when they rig [the piping] into place, the joints need to be fitted to within thousandths of an inch."

The job was so integral to the carrier's mission that USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Commanding Officer, Capt. Marcus Hitchcock, personally visited the Pipefitter Shop to examine the job in progress.

As part of NNSY's continuing efforts to foster a workplace culture focused on continuous improvements in organizational competence, the launch system repair team held a "Learning Cell" with the Engineering and Planning Department.

NNSY Engineering and Planning Manager Mike Zydron said outcomes from this Learning Cell were ensuring team makeup remained constant instead of a daily changeout of personnel, and making sure everyone involved had a clear understanding of the job.

"We had a shared vision on the goal of completing the work safely with first-time quality, on time and at cost with an eye toward the customer at all times," said Zydron.

"Norfolk Naval Shipyard immediately began to develop a multi-trade plan to engineer and execute the complex myriad of requirements necessary to successfully execute this work in the limited time available," said Cmdr. Pete Ludwig, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower military deputy superintendent. "From day one on this job, the dedication and craftsmanship displayed by all has been second to none - truly a job well done."

NNSY is one of Naval Sea Systems Command's four public shipyards that play a major role in sustaining America's fleet and provide wartime surge capability to keep the nation's ships ready for combat.

Upcoming Military Projects Identified for Guam

By Don Rochon, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- A programmatic agreement (PA) reached March 14 paves the way for the Navy to proceed with construction projects on Guam in support of Marine Corps relocation efforts from Okinawa.

"The signing of the PA is an important milestone," said Joseph Ludovici, director, Joint Guam Program Office. "We are looking forward to continuing to work with the people of Guam and the business community to deliver the requirements for the relocating Marines."

Seven projects have been identified for 2011. Contracts totaling more than $93 million for the first two projects were awarded in September 2010. Others for this year include the Andersen Air Force Base (AAFB) north ramp parking and AAFB north ramp utilities projects that are expected to be awarded next month, the Apra Harbor medical clinic project that is planned for award this summer, the waterfront headquarters building project that is scheduled to be awarded in December, and phase one of the utilities and site improvement (U&SI) project.

"We are pleased that the Navy can move forward with some of the initial work," said Capt. Peter Lynch, commanding officer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Marianas. "These projects allow mission essential infrastructure for the Guam realignment to proceed with a solid agreement to protect the valuable cultural resources on Guam and Tinian and stimulate economic growth in the region."

This initial work is part of the design phase of the projects, where intrusive digging and boring work on project sites, which was put on hold until the PA was signed, will now begin and help contractors determine the best designs to submit for their construction proposals.

"While design work for the projects is proceeding, construction is not expected to begin immediately," said Capt Don Chandler, NAVFAC Pacific's Guam program management officer. "With the PA now signed, we can let our contractors know that they can complete the final phase of their design work. Once the designs are submitted and approved, the next step will be to tell them to go ahead with construction work."

More than $1 billion in funding provided by the U.S. and the government of Japan has been secured thus far for military construction projects.

The Navy and Marine Corps remain committed to a deliberate approach of procurement actions and will apply adaptive program management to adjust the pace and sequencing of construction projects to a sustainable level so as to not exceed Guam's infrastructure capacities.

As a result, contracts for the projects that have been funded thus far will be awarded throughout the year.

Wars Have Been Catalyst for Army Change, Casey Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2011 – In a recent speech at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the Army has changed the most of all the services.

“There’s no catalyst for change like a war,” said the architect of much of that change, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey will relieve Casey as Army chief of staff next month, when Casey ends four decades of service. During an interview in his Pentagon office, the outgoing chief of staff spoke about the changes that have happened in the Army since he became the service’s highest-ranking officer in 2007.

“We will have done in seven years what normally would take us 20 years to do,” Casey said. “We’ve done it in the middle of a war, and we are a fundamentally different force and a more versatile and experienced force than we were seven years ago. I’m very pleased with the way that turned out.”

In the months before Casey took over, stories about the Army and its future were common in the media, centering on concern about the pace of operations and its effect on the service.

It was the height of the U.S. surge into Iraq, and soldiers were deployed for 15-month tours and often spending less than a year at their homes before deploying again. Worries surfaced that departures of mid-level officers and noncommissioned officers would “hollow out” the service, and that families weary of the repeated deployments would get their soldiers to vote with their feet and leave the Army.

When he first took office, the general and his wife traveled all over the Army to get their own sense of what was going on. “When we got back we thought our way through it, and it was clear to us that the families were the most brittle part of the force,” Casey said. “We needed to do something immediately to demonstrate to the families that we were going to take a load off.”

An immediate move was to hire and pay family readiness advisers. The service put in place the Family Covenant Program, and doubled funding for family readiness programs.

Dealing with deployments was another priority, Casey said.

“The 15-month tours – on top of everything they had already done – that was choking people,” Casey said. “We had to show them that there was daylight, and that daylight was going to come sooner, rather than later.”

Then-President George W. Bush had authorized an increase in the size of the Army by 2012. Casey told about going into auditoriums full of troops in 2007 and telling them relief would come in 2012. “And they would look at me like, “C’mon, General, get real,’” he said.

He met with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and told him that the Army growth had to be sped up to 2010, “and he agreed,” the general said. The Army met its growth goals in 2009.

Casey also was worried about a hollow force, and instinctively concentrated on the mid-level officers and NCOs. “They were the ones carrying the heaviest loads,” he said.

Casey looked to the Army’s Center of Military History for historical research, and the data showed it really was all about the midlevel leaders. “When the people it takes you a decade to grow leave, it takes you a decade to get [that capability] back,” he said.

The service put in place selective retention bonuses for captains and increased the selective re-enlistment bonuses for mid-level NCOs. “I believe it gave a lot of those captains the ability to look at their spouses and say, ‘We’re going to be OK,” he said.

But people were saying the Army already was hollow because of the readiness level of “next-to-deploy” forces. The service had to strip these forces of soldiers for units already in the combat theater. “We started thinking about generating readiness differently and enhancing the Army force-generating model that we had come up with in 2005 to make it more realistic,” Casey said. Follow-on forces now are fully manned and fully trained as a unit before deploying.

Dwell time – the time troops spend at home between deployments – became an important measurement. The goal is for soldiers to spend twice as much time at home as deployed. Casey said the differences are visible in the soldiers themselves.

“I went out with a unit that was home for 18 months,” he said, “and you could see the difference that time at home meant in their faces, and in the preparation they could do.”

The Army also is changing to meet the demands of 21st century operations. Casey continued the process of changing to a modular brigade system. During World War II, the division was the basic unit for the Army. Today, it is the brigade combat team.

“With everything we had going on, if I had made hard turns, it would have derailed the progress,” he said. “I came in and said, ‘Let’s finish it,’ and we kept on going.”

By the end of the year, the Army will have converted all but a handful of the 300-plus brigades to these modular organizations, “and we will have rebalanced 300,000-plus soldiers out of Cold War skills to those more necessary today,” Casey said. “Together, it’s the largest transformation of the Army since World War II.”

The personal costs and effects of combat also pushed Casey.

“I’d been in Iraq,” he said. “I’d seen the effects of combat on folks and what it did to folks, and I recognized that no matter who you are, everyone is affected by combat in one way or another. I set out to try to reduce the stigma associated with getting treatment for behavioral health issues.”

Post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries are the signature wounds of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there may be no outwardly visible signs of the injuries.

“I started getting the word out then to everyone we could that combat is hard, everyone is affected by it -- we’re human beings,” Casey said. “If you’ve got a problem, get some help.”

The general said he wanted to encourage openness, and knew it was going to be a hard slog.

“We went from where 90 percent of the people wouldn’t get help to now, where about half of the people won’t get help,” he said. “That’s still a lot of people, but it’s a start. We still have to crack the company and platoon levels. It’s gradually getting more traction.”

Concurrently, the Army’s suicide rate began rising.

“It struck me how futile it is to be sitting around a company orderly room – like we’ve all done – with the first sergeant saying, ‘Gosh, Smith was a wonderful guy. I should have seen something, I should have known something, I should have done something.’ And you never can,” Casey said. “It occurred to me that maybe we ought to come up with something that gives them skills on the front end before they get to that dark place that would lead them to suicide to begin with.”

The Army introduced Comprehensive Soldier Fitness to unit operations to avoid some of the stigma that some people associate with a medical program.

“The whole idea was to bring mental fitness up to the same plane as physical fitness,” the general said. “The thrust behind it is [that] part of being a good soldier is knowing when you need a break and when you need to get some help. That doesn’t mean you’re a wimp.”

All this is having results. Army surveys show that family satisfaction with the service has increased steadily since 2007, and this continues to trend upward.

But the Army is not out of the woods yet, Casey said. For the next several years, the United States will continue to send 50,000 to 100,000 soldiers to combat. They are going to have to maintain their edge, but so will the thousands of soldiers who won’t be going to combat. At the same time, the Army has to reconstitute after a decade at war.

“What I worry about is you get these guys back in garrison and you go back to the same bull I went through in the 1970s, and these young guys are going to say, ‘I’m outta here,’” Casey said.

The service also has to concentrate on building resilience in soldiers and their families, Casey said. “We’ve just got to keep at it,” he added.

The Army has learned from Iraq and Afghanistan that the next conflict probably won’t look like anything it is fighting today. “We changed our doctrine in 2008 and said that full-spectrum operations are offense, defense and stability operations,” Casey said. “It’s done simultaneously and in different proportions, depending where you are in the spectrum of conflict.”

He said that when he commanded the 1st Armored Division in 2000 and 2001, he believed that if a unit could do conventional war, it could do anything.

“But after 32 months in Iraq, I don’t believe that any more,” he said. “What we realized was its not going to be either conventional or counterinsurgency. The wars in the 21st century are going to be different than the wars I grew up trying to fight. We’re not going to be fighting corps-on-corps operations, except maybe [in] Korea.

“So we’re working scenarios where we have hybrid threats that are a mix of conventional, irregular, criminal [and] terrorist, and we’ve set up the training centers with these types of [opposing forces]. The 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, went through such a hybrid threat scenario.

“We’re training them for full-spectrum operations, and that includes having to deal with uniformed militaries,” he said.

More work needs to be done, Casey said.

“While we’ve talked about this and thought about it,” he added, “until we start putting brigades out there on the ground and have them do it, we’re not going to crack it.”

Casey said he is worried about the Army’s budget. He wants a balanced force in which the manning, training and equipping is in the right proportion. “The kicker is the wheels are falling off the budget,” he said. The Army will remain its current size through at least 2015.

“People are motivated and focused and trying to do the right thing,” the general said.

Casey commanded his first platoon in April 1971 in Mainz, West Germany. He had nine soldiers in a 36-man mortar platoon, and five of them were pending discharge from the Army. Each company had a duty officer, he said, and that officer had to be armed.

“Drugs were pretty bad, and there were tensions,” he said. “I remember … the first time we went to the field it struck me like a ton of bricks that these guys depended on me, and I resolved at that point to never let my subordinates down. I always tried to make the unit I was in as good as it could be.”

It was just the scale that changed.

U.S. Senator, MOH Recipient Visits USS Hawaii

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ronald Gutridge,
COMSUBPAC Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The U.S. Senator for Hawaii, visited Virginia-class submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) March 24 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

World War II combat veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, toured the submarine and spoke with its Sailors.

"It is a great honor for us to have the Senator visiting our submarine," said Cmdr. Steve Mack, commanding officer. "The crew was excited to meet and talk to such a distinguished member of the U.S. Senate and a military icon."

During the tour, the crew of Hawaii explained basic submarine operations starting in the torpedo room where the Senator observed the latest submarine weapons operations. Next was the control room where sonar and visual observation techniques were explained.

Following the tour, the Senator talked with the crew about current events and commended them for their efforts.

"Your presence here in the Pacific, an area of major concern for all of us, is very important. I am extremely pleased and in a way, relieved that you are all here," said Inouye. "I want to congratulate all of you, so on behalf of the United States Senate, we thank you very much."

Inouye, the most senior member of the U.S. Senate and President Pro-Tempore, is known for his distinguished record as a legislative leader. He is the most senior member of the U.S. Senate and the second longest serving Senator in history. He was sworn in as President Pro-Tempore of the U.S. Senate on June 28, 2010 and is now third in line to the Presidency after the Vice-President and the Speaker of the House. He is also a World War II combat veteran with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who earned the nation's highest award for military valor, the Medal of Honor.

Measuring 377 feet long and weighing 7,800 tons when submerged, Hawaii is one of the Navy's newest and most technologically sophisticated submarines.

The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions,including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and strike group operations.

Secretary Meets with Egyptian Counterpart in Cairo

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, March 24, 2011 – In a meeting in Cairo this morning, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates commended his counterpart’s leadership and the Egyptian military’s professionalism during the recent tumultuous events in that country, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said.

Gates met with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to discuss issues that included the evolving government of Egypt, security in the Sinai and fighting in Libya, Morrell said.

In their meeting, Gates told Tantawi -- commander in chief and chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt -- that on the trip from the airport he noticed more Egyptian flags flying around the city than he’d ever seen since he first visited Egypt in 1978, the press secretary added.

“The secretary suggested that there is a new spirit of patriotism or nationalism on display,” he said, “and the field marshal agreed that was the case.”

Gates congratulated Tantawi on a successful March 19 referendum that marked the first in a series of constitutional reforms being implemented in the country, as well as on the impressive turnout of voters who weighed in on the measure.

“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military group that is running the country during this period of transition, convened a set of constitutional scholars and then developed a series of reforms that were put up to a popular vote,” a senior military official said. More than 40 percent of eligible voters turned out, and 77 percent voted in favor of the constitutional amendments, the official added.

Morrell said the secretary and field marshal also discussed Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

“New elements of civil society in Egypt came to the fore during the past two months,” Gates told reporters at a briefing in Cairo yesterday, “and there is a new political space in Egypt.”

It is important to allow enough time to develop political parties and organizations, he added, so those who have become newly active in Egyptian politics “can play the same kind of leading role in Egypt in the future that they played in bringing about this change in the first place.”

Tantawi and Gates discussed security in the Sinai, Morrell said, and Tantawi updated the secretary on military efforts that include countersmuggling, an effort for which the U.S. military has offered technical assistance to the Egyptians.

“They discussed relations with Israel,” Morrell said, “and the field marshal in this conversation, as the Egyptian prime minister did yesterday, took it upon himself to reaffirm Egypt’s commitment to their peace treaty with Israel.”

The secretary noted Tantawi’s new responsibilities as interim leader of the Egyptian government, in addition to his “very large day job, which is running the Egyptian military,” Morrell said.

Gates said the U.S. military wishes to resume a more regular military-to-military relationship with the Egyptians. The U.S. military performs about seven major joint exercises a year with the Egyptians, Morrell said, including Bright Star, a series of combined and joint training exercises led by U.S. and Egyptian forces in Egypt that began in 1981.

The secretary and the field marshal also talked about U.S. military and economic aid to Egypt, the press secretary said.

Despite “serious economic pressures in our own country,” Gates said, the manner in which Tantawi and his military handled this period in Egyptian history “has put them in good stead back at home in America, particularly with the U.S. Congress.” Gates said he is committed to working to ensure military and economic support continues for the struggling nation, where tourism is down by more than 75 percent, Morrell said.

“They need us and others to continue to do what we can to assist them,” Morrell added.

The military leaders also discussed violence in Libya between the government and coalition forces in Operation Odyssey Dawn, Morrell said. Tantawi told Gates that Egypt is concerned about the large numbers of its citizens living in Libya, the press secretary said, and about potential reprisals from Moammar Gadhafi.

Between March 5 and March 17, the U.S. military airlifted 1,100 Egyptians from Djerba off the coast of Tunisia to Cairo, Defense Department spokeswoman Navy Cmdr. Wendy Snyder said.

“[If there is] anything we can do,” Gates told Tantawi as they shook hands after the meeting, “don’t hesitate to call me.”

Navy to Christen Amphibious Transport Dock Ship Arlington

The Navy will christen the newest amphibious transport dock ship, Arlington, Saturday, March 26, 2011, during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss.  The ship is named for the city of Arlington, Va., honoring the 184 victims in the air and on the ground who lost their lives when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the military and civilian employees, emergency, fire and rescue personnel of Arlington County and surrounding communities who provided critical assistance after the attack.

Arlington County Fire Chief James Schwartz, the incident commander coordinating the rescue response efforts on the ground at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11 attack, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address.  Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, is the ship’s sponsor, and in accordance with Navy tradition, will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship.

Designated LPD 24, Arlington is the eighth amphibious transport dock ship in the San Antonio class.  As an element of future expeditionary strike groups, the ship will support the Marine Corps “mobility triad,” which consists of the landing craft air cushion vehicle, amphibious vehicles and the Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.  Arlington will provide improved warfighting capabilities, including an advanced command-and-control suite, increased lift-capability in vehicle and cargo-carrying capacity and advanced ship-survivability features.  The ship is capable of embarking a landing force of up to 800 Marines.

Two previous ships have carried the name Arlington.  The first was a steel-hulled C1-B type cargo ship operating during World War II.  The second USS Arlington was a 14,500-ton Vietnam War era, major communications relay ship, which assisted with communications during a June 1969 conference between U.S. President Nixon and Republic of Vietnam President Thieu.

Cmdr. Darren W. Nelson of Rushville, Neb., is the prospective commanding officer and will lead a crew of 360 officers and enlisted Navy personnel and three Marines.  The 24,900-ton ship is 684 feet in length, has an overall beam of 105 feet, and a navigational draft of 23 feet.

To view the ceremony via live webcast, visit

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342.  For more information, visit .

USS George Washington Sailors Train With PSNS Shipyard Workers

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Juan Manuel Pinalez

AT SEA (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) received specialized training from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) workers at sea March 23.

PSNS workers are underway aboard George Washington following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11.

George Washington left Yokosuka, Japan March 21 as a precautionary measure to ensure sustained readiness in support of Japan.

"As conditions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant deteriorated, it was crucial that we brought the skilled workers along with us to sea," said Capt. Kenneth Reynard, executive officer aboard George Washington.

"Over this maintenance period they have become our extended family and are now assisting us with upkeep and operational readiness while at sea," he said. George Washington's 10-day turnaround from homeport maintenance to underway is an unprecedented accomplishment, Capt. David A. Lausman , George Washington commanding officer.

The combined crew of Sailors and civilians is a golden opportunity, he said.

"These civilian shipyard workers bring to George Washington a lifetime of experience. While we are underway, we're taking full advantage of this unusual situation so our stellar Sailors can be even better at their jobs tomorrow, " said Lausman.

At sea, PSNS workers immediately began putting their years of experience and skills to use.

"I've really enjoyed passing down my knowledge to these young Sailors—they're like sponges. I'm happy to also be learning from them, too," said Jeff Messner, a PSNS machinery foreman.

"We've taught them new ways of using their equipment and some of their tools that'll make their lives easier from now on," he said.

PSNS workers and Sailors are working alongside each other; proving routine maintenance doesn't always have to take place in port.

"The PSNS guys are doing a great job assisting my crew with backed-up jobs that once cleared, would help make this ship a more enjoyable place," said Chief Machinery Repairman Robert Working.

Small Business Expo Offers Networking Opportunity

By Rob Anastasio, Office of Naval Research Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- The Office of Naval Research (ONR) opened gateways to contracting opportunities with the Navy's science and technology provider, at the Small Business/Minority and Women Business Expo in Harrisburg, Pa., March 23.

Co-sponsored by the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and Pennsylvania Departments of General Services and Public Welfare, the event provided federal, state and city agencies with a forum for explaining government programs supporting businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and service-disabled veterans.

Scheduled speakers included NAVSUP Commander Rear Adm. Michael Lyden and Deputy Commander Rear Adm. Sean Crean; U.S. Sen. Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa.; Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett; and Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson.

Brenda Pickett, associate director of ONR's Office of Small Business, said the expo allows the command to expand its outreach and exposure across the country.

"Through this expo and similar events, we hope to expand our reach to find those creative, innovative ideas that will benefit the Navy and Marine Corps' mission," Pickett said.

Through its Office of Small Business, ONR maintains an active outreach program to ensure underrepresented businesses have access to information, so they can compete and participate in the organization's acquisition program—both as prime contractors and subcontractors.

The office provides advice concerning acquisition procedures; information about proposed acquisitions; instructions on preparing proposals, interpretation of standard clauses; certifications and representations; and instructions on obtaining payment and financial assistance within the procurement regulations.

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Chicago Educators, Leaders Visit the Fleet

By Lt. Jeffrey S. Gray, Chief of Naval Personnel-Diversity Directorate Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A group of educators and community leaders from Chicago had an opportunity to tour various Navy commands and get underway aboard a fast attack submarine during an orientation visit in San Diego, March 8–10.

The group was comprised of educators from Chicago Public Schools, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the City Colleges of Chicago, along with influencers from the Chicago Defender Charities, the Chicago Community Trust, and the Society of African-American Professionals.

The visit was a result of a partnership between Navy Recruiting Command and Navy City Outreach designed to give influential educational and civic leaders a glimpse of life in the U.S. Navy so that they can be better prepared to discuss Navy opportunities with youth they come in contact with. The visit also served as a Navy awareness tool, ensuring these leaders see first-hand the training, equipment and facilities available to those in the Navy.

The first leg of the trip afforded the group an opportunity to meet with Capt. Adam Curtis, commanding officer of the Navy Special Warfare Center. At the Special Warfare Center, the group was introduced to the U.S. Navy SEALs by way of a video entitled "Mental Toughness." The video portrayed initial SEAL training as extremely demanding, both mentally and physically, to produce the best maritime warriors.

According to Curtis, with the demand for unconventional warfare to counter terrorist threats, the need to increase the number of Navy SEALs is a high priority. However, he noted the Navy SEALs have traditionally had a high attrition rate in the recruitment and training process.

"We're always on the lookout for the talented athlete and have seen an increase in the number of volunteers wanting to become SEALs, especially due to our partnership with Navy Recruiting Command," said Curtis. "We've been targeting our outreach efforts to identify and encourage the right type of young men to pursue and become a part of our special group. Our outreach efforts have now made it competitive to become a Navy SEAL, both from inside and outside the Navy."

The group also visited the Pacific Beacon, a new resort-style residence hall for single Sailors that opened in 2009. The stop at Pacific Beacon provided the group an opportunity to glimpse into the quality of life young Sailors can experience.

The facility boasts a hotel-style lobby; Sky Terrace with resort-style heated pool and hot tub; and a rooftop lounge with fire pits and barbecues. Other on-site amenities range from three fitness centers totaling 9,000 square feet, retail and dry cleaning services to a Wi-Fi café; recreational and educational facilities, and storage units.

Rounding out the first day, the group toured the Submarine Learning Center. The Center is responsible for all submarine training curriculum, training delivery methodologies, and for developing and maintaining professional development continuums for undersea warfare job specialties. The group had an opportunity to experience what it's like to drive a nuclear submarine. In addition, they observed how submariners train to fight fires and fix leaks aboard ship, especially when thousands of gallons of water pour into various submarine spaces.

On the second day, the group embarked USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) for a day-long underway period. During their brief journey, the group experienced what life is really like on a U.S. Navy fast attack submarine and sampled the culinary fare Sailors eat while at sea.

According to Robert Howard, former president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, the trip gave him an appreciation for the submarine crew.

"The cruise highlighted the complexities of operating a nuclear submarine, the education and training requirements, and the youthfulness of the crew," said Howard. "I now have an even higher level of respect for the Navy and its mission."

On the final day, the group visited and toured the state-of-the-art simulator used to train Sailors for the newest ships in the Navy—Littoral Combat Ships USS Freedom (LCS 1) and USS Independence (LCS 2), and also toured the USS Pinckney (DDG 91). The highlight of the day for many, however, was a visit with Chicago-native Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, commander, Naval Surface Forces.

Curtis provided an overview of the mission and purpose of U.S. Naval Surface Forces, Navy surface forces currently deployment status, and local community outreach efforts.

He also addressed other fleet-wide issues including prioritizing readiness issues with current global issues, Navy support for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs, as well as diversity initiatives, among others.

For many in this group of educators and community leaders, it was the first time they had any direct experience with what the Navy does on a daily basis. The impact of the orientation visit was apparent from the two remarks educators offered of how they gained a new appreciation for the mission of the Navy, the opportunities it presents for young men and women looking for careers after graduation from their respective academic institutions.

"The U.S. Navy is an outstanding career option for major and minority college students providing them solid financial security and a life-long learning environment," said Gerald A. Smith, Associate Director of Minority Affairs, Minority Engineering Recruitment and Retention Program, at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

"The challenge will be communicating the opportunities in a way that makes sense. If I can identity academic and physical excellence in a student, I would want that student to be fully aware of their opportunities. With more than 100,000 diverse students in the City Colleges of Chicago, I feel that we have an opportunity to make an impact," said Mike Davis, Vice Provost for STEM at the City Colleges of Chicago.

The mission of Navy City Outreach is to build strong relationships and social networks with key influencers (educators, civic, government, and business leaders) within targeted cities across the country. The purpose for creating these social networks is to build a community of people who share an interest in the values and mission of the U.S. Navy, and a sincere desire to encourage youth from diverse backgrounds to pursue higher education and undergraduate degrees in the STEM fields.

Enterprise Conducts Underway Replenishment, Remains On Station

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alex R. Forster, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) loaded 128 pallets of mail during an underway replenishment (UNREP) with the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) March 24.

The mail, which totaled more than 35,000 lbs, came on the ship with hundreds of pallets of essential parts and supplies.

"It is sometimes challenging to efficiently navigate a logistics pipeline that spans several continents, but our fantastic team of professionals works feverishly each and every day to ensure that mail from loved ones arrives on this storied warship as quickly as possible," said Cmdr. Patrick O'Connor, USS Enterprise supply officer. "It is extremely rewarding to see the smiles on the faces of our great Sailors and Marines when they receive something from home."

More than 350 Sailors from departments throughout the ship worked for more than five hours to get the mail and supplies on board the ship and stored.

Two MH-60S Knight Hawk helicopters from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, embarked aboard Arctic, flew continuously between the two ships to transport the pallets of mail and supplies, while the bridge teams of both ships maintained proper course, speed and lateral separation to allow the UNREP teams to transfer 584,000 gallons of aviation fuel.

"This is the largest amount of mail I've ever seen in my time here," said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Carl W. Sparks, USS Enterprise post office.

After the mail was brought aboard, each division sent Sailors to help sort the mountain of mail in the hangar bay in order to get it distributed quickly.

"I really enjoy helping sort the mail out," said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Cynthia Cordero, USS Enterprise transfer office. "It's nice to know that once this mail is sorted that it's going to make a bunch of people happy."

Until 1980, each military service and government agency managed its own mail program. In 1980, the Department of Defense designated the secretary of the Army as the single military mail manager. The Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA) was created to perform this task. MPSA is required to adhere to United States Postal Service (USPS) rules, federal laws, and various international laws and agreements for movement of military mail into over 85 countries.

"Working in the post office gives me a firsthand look at how mail can affect the crew," said Sparks. "It makes me feel good when we get to pass out mail."

For the mail to get to the ship, it goes through many stages of long-distance travel and is always secured by federal laws governing movement, safety and costs.

Letters or packages mailed from the U.S travel through the Fleet Post Office in New York City. The bulk of the mail then transfers via AMC flights through Rota, Rome, Naples, Sigonella, Souda Bay, and Bahrain. Once in Bahrain, the mail is either sent to the ship by aircraft or loaded weekly to Arctic for transfer during UNREPs.

"Our mail is being protected and cared for by the skilled hands of the U.S. Postal Service every step of the way," said Scholl during a recent announcement. "Contrary to rumors that have said our mail has been damaged, it is on the way."

For more information about the MPSA or how the USPS supports deployed service members visit or

Enterprise is conducting close-air missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.