Thursday, August 16, 2018

U.S., Argentina Agree to Strengthen Military Relationship

By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- The United States and Argentina are in basic agreement about the security situation in South America, and the countries are looking to increase military-to-military ties, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said today.

Mattis spoke with reporters traveling with him while en route from Buenos Aries, Argentina, to Santiago, Chile.

“We're in agreement, with an appreciation of the security situation in the region,” he said. “There were no disagreements on the situation – the worsening situation – in Venezuela.”

Argentine and U.S. officials want a stronger military-to-military relationship, and the two sides discussed ways to move this process along, Mattis said. The two sides agreed to increase education, and exchanges of information.

“It was mostly about consultation, collaboration and defining … what we need to focus on,” Mattis said. “Now we'll go back and we'll start all the various action meetings and get it all underway.”

Comments on Afghanistan

Earlier in the trip, the secretary discussed the situation in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where Taliban forces attacked Afghan security forces.

“It looks like many of the enemy have run, but some are in the town in homes, fighting from inside homes, with all the danger and the slowness that requires in order to get them out without hurting innocent people,” Mattis said.

He called the Taliban attack a “continuation of their willingness to put innocent people in harm's way; nothing new. It's the usual endangering civilians that's part and parcel of what they've done for the last 20 years.”

NATO forces provided close air support to the Afghan effort.

“Every battlefield is a humanitarian field,” he said. “It is … oftentimes a conventional war, too, but especially so on counterterrorism, when you have people who lack any kind of manhood [who] would fight among innocent people, and use them for protection.”

Face of Defense: Son Follows Father’s Path to the Air Force

By Air Force Staff Sgt. J.D. Strong II, 377th Air Base Wing

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Air Force Airman 1st Class David Mapel is following in the footsteps of his father, Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Mark Mapel, as a CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft special mission aviator.
The senior Mapel is currently the chief enlisted manager for standards and evaluations with the 1st Special Operations Group at Hurlburt Field, Fla., while David is assigned here to the 58th Training Squadron as a CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft special mission aviator student.

Special Mission Aviators

Special mission aviators cover everything from preflight inspections of aircraft systems to the placement and delivery of the aircraft’s cargo.

They have multiple integral roles, monitoring all functions for the aircraft while providing weapon defense-including the former duties of flight engineers, loadmasters and gunners.

David said he went to college and found that it wasn’t for him. He decided to join the Air Force.

“Being with the family, I saw the job, the community, everyone in it and how close everyone was in the squadron, that’s why I wanted to go for special operations,” he said.

Mark said he wanted his son to attend college, get his bachelor’s degree, and then join the Air Force as a commissioned officer. Mark earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees while remaining enlisted.

“One of the main reasons I joined [the Air Force] and chose to do special operations was to try to make a difference in the world. … Hopefully I was able to make a little bit of difference,” Mark said.

Family History of Military Service

Mark said his father was an Army infantryman and his older brother was an Army Ranger. He also had several uncles that served in the Army and Marine Corps.

“Their service definitely impacted my decision to join and carry forward the heritage, pride in our military and pride in our country,” he said.

Mark said he is happy that his son is following in his footsteps.

“I am very proud of him … It’s easy to say it’s the proudest thing [he’s] done to date,” Mark said of his son. “I’m seriously trying to consider if there is anything else [he’s] done that’s more worthy than serving [his] country as special operations in the United States Air Force, and, honestly, in my opinion, I don’t think there is.”

New York, Pennsylvania Guardsmen Assist Flood Response Efforts

By Eric Durr, New York National Guard

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Two hundred New York National Guard soldiers and airmen were placed on state active duty yesterday after nearly seven inches of rain fell on parts of the state’s Finger Lakes region Aug. 14.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the guard response as the state declared a disaster area in 14 counties in the Finger Lakes area and counties in New York’s Southern Tier region, where heavy rains caused streams and lakes to rise. The declaration allows the state to move assets -- including National Guard members -- to assist local governments.

On Aug. 14, 30 airmen from the 174th Attack Wing, based at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, were deployed to Ovid, New York, to assist local governments there in clearing debris. A priority was to clear roads and keep drainage ditches and culverts from clogging and overflowing.

Flood Response

The 204th Engineer Battalion in Binghamton mobilized 25 soldiers with high-axle vehicles for immediate storm response. The Susquehanna River flows past Binghamton, and the river’s water level was 4 feet over flood stage at one point before it subsided later on Aug. 14.

Yesterday, an additional 150 soldiers and vehicles were placed on duty in Auburn, Binghamton, Walton and Horseheads, New York. All elements were equipped with military vehicles capable of negotiating flooded areas. The soldiers came from additional companies of the 204th Engineer Battalion and the 102nd Military Police Battalion in Auburn.

The New York National Guard also placed an additional 50 members of the 369th Sustainment Brigade on standby at Camp Smith Training Area in the Hudson Valley near Peekskill, New York. The New York Army National Guard also has two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with hoist capability standing by at the Rochester International Airport Army Aviation Support Facility.

The Finger Lakes region of New York stretches through the middle of the state and includes 11 lakes, the longest of which is 38 miles long. The region is a major tourism destination and wine industry center.
In Pennsylvania, where National Guard assets have been mobilized for several days because of flooding, aerial rescues took place Aug. 14 in the Benton area north of Bloomsburg, where three helicopters with a group run by the National Guard and the state Fish and Boat Commission performed about 10 rescues, including people plucked from the roofs of their homes, according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.