Official Wire » Defense Department News http://www.officialwire.com You are the news. Mon, 25 Nov 2013 16:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.1 U.S., China Conduct Disaster Management Exchange http://www.officialwire.com/news/u-s-china-conduct-disaster-management-exchange/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=u-s-china-conduct-disaster-management-exchange http://www.officialwire.com/news/u-s-china-conduct-disaster-management-exchange/#respond Mon, 25 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121227 U.S. Army Pacific BELLOWS, Hawaii, Nov. 25, 2013 – Soldiers from U.S. Army Pacific, the Hawaii Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency participated with members of China’s People’s Liberation Army in a disaster management exchange, Nov. 12-14 at Marine Corps Training Area-Bellows […]

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U.S. Army Pacific

BELLOWS, Hawaii, Nov. 25, 2013 – Soldiers from U.S. Army Pacific, the Hawaii Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency participated with members of China’s People’s Liberation Army in a disaster management exchange, Nov. 12-14 at Marine Corps Training Area-Bellows here.

The highlight of the DME was a practical field exchange that occurred Nov. 14. The participants also held expert academic discussions, based on an international humanitarian and disaster relief scenario calling for U.S. and Chinese military cooperation to provide assistance in a fictional third country.

“The expert academic discussions allowed USARPAC, the PLA and others to work through a common HA/DR scenario to share best practices, lessons-learned and strategy for support to a third nation,” USARPAC geographer Jason Pummell said.

“We are headed in a positive direction for future collaboration, which will increase effectiveness and efficiency,” Pummell added.

The U.S.-China exercise included “our first practical, hands-on field event on a mock-up rubble pile to practice saving lives in a collapsed building,” said Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of U.S. Army Pacific.

From such techniques “we learn from each other’s experiences,” the general added.

“I am very pleased with the momentum that is being gained in our U.S.-China military-to-military relations — especially around the framework of disaster response,” Brooks said.

“We want to show that we can work together and cooperate on something important to all of us here in the Pacific disaster management,” said Army Col. John Lee, the strategy and plans officer for USARPAC’s security, cooperation and policy directorate.

“HA/DR exchange … symbolizes a new phase of cooperation between the two militaries … and it is of great significance in bolstering our pragmatic cooperation in nontraditional security areas, fostering our common aspirations and capabilities to cooperate together,” said People’s Republic of China Minister of National Defense Foreign Affairs Office, Rear Adm. Li Ji.

“This event represents a key component to U.S.-China relations. The United States remains steadfastly committed to partnering with China and other Asia-Pacific nations for disaster preparedness, response and recovery because it essentially saves lives,” said USARPAC Deputy Commanding General for the Army National Guard Maj. Gen. Gary M. Hara.

During the practical field exchange U.S. and PLA soldiers demonstrated their HA/DR techniques.

“After each practical field training event we stopped and discussed the procedures we used and why things were done a certain way. For every event, we [U.S. and China] picked up something,” said Army Maj. Bill Flynn, Hawaii National Guard, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Emergency Response Force Package.

The DME is one of the key security cooperation events the United States conducts with the PLA each year. The DME has evolved from basic visits and briefings into an exchange that employs an academic exchange to focus and facilitate cooperation and interaction between the U.S. Army and the PLA.
 

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Wounded Warriors Zing Volleyballs at Pentagon Tourney http://www.officialwire.com/news/wounded-warriors-zing-volleyballs-at-pentagon-tourney/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wounded-warriors-zing-volleyballs-at-pentagon-tourney http://www.officialwire.com/news/wounded-warriors-zing-volleyballs-at-pentagon-tourney/#respond Mon, 25 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121226 By J.D. LeipoldArmy News Service WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2013 – Gung-ho spirits were the norm as wounded warrior athletes from the four services, the U.S. Special Operations Command, and the Department of Veterans Affairs clashed Nov. 21 at the 3rd Annual Joint Services Sitting Volleyball Tournament, in recognition of Warrior Care Month. Before the two […]

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By J.D. Leipold
Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2013 – Gung-ho spirits were the norm as wounded warrior athletes from the four services, the U.S. Special Operations Command, and the Department of Veterans Affairs clashed Nov. 21 at the 3rd Annual Joint Services Sitting Volleyball Tournament, in recognition of Warrior Care Month.

Before the two final games which pitted the Marine Corps against Air Force and Army against Socom, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy Donna Seymour spoke about DOD’s commitment to “building a ready and resilient force,” the theme for this year’s Warrior Care Month.

“Military adaptive sports facilitate stress release and it provides reconditioning and camaraderie between our veterans and our active-duty service members and it improves their overall health and well-being as they adopt an added healthy lifestyle,” she said. “To date in the last year, almost 100,000 recovering service members have participated in daily activities including yoga, wheelchair basketball, cycling, track and field, strength conditioning, swimming and sitting volleyball.”

Seymour added that as confidence is built in one area such as physical competence, confidence in the emotional domain also increases. DOD Warrior Care Policy intends to expand the number of competitive sports and ultimately allow them to be included in the annual Warrior Games. She said her office also wants to increase participation by female athletes as well as service members with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A large crowd of supporters cheered for their services. While it was apparent to them who the amputees were on the courts, other players had wounds, illnesses or injuries that were not so obvious. Irrespective of how they came to be members of their service’s team, one element all players had in common was their own brand of resilience and fortitude.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Melissa Garcia, 27, was deployed to Spain when one day in January she was diagnosed with breast cancer and returned to her home station at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz.

After seeing an oncologist, she opted for surgery, having her lymph nodes removed, coupled with four rounds of chemo and six weeks of radiation every day. So far, Garcia said, she seems to have beaten the cancer, which never got her down.

“There was nothing I could do about it and I’m the type of person who takes things as they come at me,” said Garcia, who serves as a medic. “I have a husband and 7-year-old daughter, and I thought it was important for me to show her that I could be strong even when I was sick.”

Garcia was invited by the Air Force to its three-day adaptive sports camp in Las Vegas, which she jumped at. Taking a three-day break from radiation which upset her doctor, Garcia said she wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity.

“Sports are my passion and playing in this tournament brings a sense of togetherness for all the services, because yes, each branch takes care of their own wounded warriors, but when we come here and play against each other, [there's] real awareness of togetherness,” Garcia said.

On the surface, Army Sgt. 1st Class David Hall appears to be a soldier devoid of physical injuries, but the pain he continued to feel after injuring his lower back and spine in Iraq in 2003 continued to worsen until it was simply unmanageable. He also was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and sent to Walter Reed for psychiatric help and therapy on his back.

So much of soldiering is physical, Hall said, and to have that taken away was tough, especially since he served as a platoon sergeant.

His physical therapist recommended the sitting volleyball team because there’s no jumping — a major rule is that one butt cheek remain on the playing floor at all times — and that’s tough for someone to do who has all their limbs, he said.

“I was able to make the cut and excited to have the opportunity to play alongside some of my brethren who are lower-extremity amputees, but the biggest complication I had was learning to scoop the ball at the floor and to remain on the floor when going for the ball,” Hall said. “Being part of a team is really big to me and being able to stay active is also extremely important and gives me the chance to show my fellow soldiers who are amputees that we’re in this fight together. I’m just glad to be part of the team.”

Army Spc. Samuel Walley lost his right leg and left arm to a remote-controlled improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in June 2012. He said there was never any time to be depressed or sad over his bad fortune, though he did get a little down when he was worried about his buddies.

As a member of the Warrior Transition Unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the 21-year-old Georgia native said when he meets people at Walter Reed, they talk like the patients are depressed and sad, “but if they could hang around for a bit, I think they’d realize we’re just the opposite, we’re basically the same people we were.”

He plans to continue in the Army after he’s through therapy and found fit for duty again. Meanwhile he loves playing on the sitting volleyball team, especially the physical fitness part of it.

“There are a lot of things by having two limbs missing that I can’t do just going to the gym, but this really gives me a good cardio workout. That’s the main portion of it, and also because I’m competitive in nature, so I love getting out here and competing with the other branches,” Walley said.

While Brent Petersen hasn’t served in the military, he’s been coaching the Marine Corps sitting volleyball team for three years and the Marines keep asking him back. He knows all his players’ stories. Recently he was talking to one of his guys who kept resisting doing something productive, but eventually he came around and started volleyball and now he’s surfing and doing all sorts of things that before he didn’t even want to try.

“Adaptive sports re-validates these guys, and rather than a disability, I call it a re-ability because they’re re-enabling their bodies to do something different and it puts them back into a unit, back onto a team and gives them hope for the next day,” Petersen said. “Hopefully it encourages them to encourage others to be ambassadors in helping get guys out of the darkness.”

In the double-elimination battle, the Navy was knocked out of the final competition for the trophy, which the Marine Corps team in red won by defeating Air Force in blue in two of three games. Army in black was upended by Socom in white for third-place honors.

In the end though, the tournament was about showing the strength, togetherness, character and resilience of America’s wounded, ill or injured service members.

November was designated Warrior Care Month by the Defense Department in 2008 to keep service members, their families and communities up-to-date on programs and initiatives being provided through the warrior care system.
 

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Face of Defense: Airman Recalls Horrors of Bosnian Conflict http://www.officialwire.com/news/face-of-defense-airman-recalls-horrors-of-bosnian-conflict/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=face-of-defense-airman-recalls-horrors-of-bosnian-conflict http://www.officialwire.com/news/face-of-defense-airman-recalls-horrors-of-bosnian-conflict/#respond Mon, 25 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121225 By Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal99th Air Base Wing NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev., Nov. 25, 2013 – As a 9-year-old girl growing up in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, now-Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Merima White had everything she needed: friends, family, a wonderful life. Until one day when she lost nearly everything. During the Bosnian conflict, […]

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By Air Force Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal
99th Air Base Wing

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev., Nov. 25, 2013 – As a 9-year-old girl growing up in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, now-Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Merima White had everything she needed: friends, family, a wonderful life. Until one day when she lost nearly everything.

During the Bosnian conflict, Serb forces bombarded the city with heavy artillery and snipers targeted civilians without hesitation, aiming at schools and hospitals inhabited by the young and the elderly.

“One morning I woke up and the city was surrounded,” White said. “There were people shooting at kids and families. I really didn’t understand it. I could never understand why people would do that but it happened. And this once Olympic city that was always a popular destination for travelers was reduced to shambles.”

White described this era in her life as a time when each and every day was filled with uncertainty.

“You just lived in darkness awaiting the next artillery attack and insurgency,” she added.

White was just a young child during the time and didn’t quite know what to make of the situation. She recalls having to travel at great risk to obtain basic life essentials.

“I went from this life of what I considered having everything I wanted as a child to not knowing if I was going to wake up the next day,” White said. “I remember running 10 miles to get water while evading snipers.

We had to wait for the fog to thicken so the snipers wouldn’t pick us off while trying to get food and water,” she continued. “Sometimes you couldn’t afford to wait anymore and you would just have to go out to get food and water for you and your family.”

For White, this time of her life was about surviving and helping others when she could — traits her father showcased on a daily basis. During her father’s heroic acts he was injured twice.

“The first time was when we were in line to receive milk and bread because we had to shuttle food through the city as the resources were all depleted,” White said. “Obviously they would figure out when the lines were forming and they would bomb the lines of kids and families waiting to get food. My father took shrapnel to his legs and was unable to walk for several months.”

Despite the injuries to White’s father, he immediately sought to help the community as soon as he regained his health.

“As soon as he got back on his feet he was trying to deliver water to families that couldn’t get out of the area to get some,” White said. “The truck was bombed and he was ejected, falling onto the railroad tracks resulting in a broken neck. We thought he was going to die in three to five days. Miraculously, he regained sensation in his body and Doctors Without Borders who were in the hospital at the time thought that evacuating him to the USA would give him the opportunity to walk again.”

According to the Doctors Without Borders official website, the DWB is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people in crisis regardless of their race, religion or political affiliation.

White’s family took the recommendation to heart and made preparations to evacuate the city.

“For us to get out of the city we had to go through enemy territory,” White said. “The Air Force at that time was flying in and dropping off humanitarian aid. It was towards the tail end of the war, December 1994, and we had to get to the airport to get out of the city. The only way to do that was to get help from the United Nations.”

Despite the U.N.’s willingness to help, the situation presented dangers.

“We had to sign a paper that stated that if we were pulled over we would be handed over for execution,” White said. “It was a scary thought because we knew that if we did get pulled over it wouldn’t just be an execution. There were concentration camps and all sorts of horrific acts took place there. Thankfully we made it to the airport safe and sound and were able to board a plane.”

In 1994, White and her family traveled from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Germany, Maryland, Texas and finally to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

White remembers her stop in Maryland the most. During one of the scariest times of her life, she experienced kindness of strangers that she had never witnessed before.

“I will never forget the kindness of people,” White said. “There were airmen that stayed and played cards with me. I didn’t speak any English and I was really scared. It was New Year’s Eve and I was still a kid so I was wandering the hallways with airmen who were trying to entertain me. It was the most human kindness from strangers that I had ever seen and it really made an impact on my life.”

The treatment which the airmen provided White upon her family’s arrival was part of the reason she decided to join the Air Force.

“I wanted to give back to the amazing men and women who helped me and my family, and to be a part of something that great is amazing,” White said.

Through her experiences, White formed her own idea of what defines a warrior.

“Living a life of a warrior is working to preserve our way of life,” White said. “We don’t just fight for ourselves but we fight for the freedom that this nation provides. To keep our warriors healthy is to keep our entire nation healthy and safe.”

White now works within the Family Medicine Residency Program at Nellis where she aims to give back to the men and women of the Air Force that helped her and her family nearly two decades ago.
 

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Hagel Issues Statement on East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone http://www.officialwire.com/news/hagel-issues-statement-on-east-china-sea-air-defense-identification-zone/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hagel-issues-statement-on-east-china-sea-air-defense-identification-zone http://www.officialwire.com/news/hagel-issues-statement-on-east-china-sea-air-defense-identification-zone/#respond Sat, 23 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121223 American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued the following statement today on China’s announcement that it is establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea: “The United States is deeply concerned by the People’s Republic of China announcement today that it is establishing an Air […]

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued the following statement today on China’s announcement that it is establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea:

“The United States is deeply concerned by the People’s Republic of China announcement today that it is establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. We view this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region. This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.

“This announcement by the People’s Republic of China will not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region.

“The United States is conveying these concerns to China through diplomatic and military channels, and we are in close consultation with our allies and partners in the region, including Japan.

“We remain steadfast in our commitments to our allies and partners. The United States reaffirms its longstanding policy that Article V of the U.S. Japan Mutual Defense Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands.”

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Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone http://www.officialwire.com/pr/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-chuck-hagel-on-the-east-china-sea-air-defense-identification-zone/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=statement-by-secretary-of-defense-chuck-hagel-on-the-east-china-sea-air-defense-identification-zone http://www.officialwire.com/pr/statement-by-secretary-of-defense-chuck-hagel-on-the-east-china-sea-air-defense-identification-zone/#respond Sat, 23 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=16392 The United States is deeply concerned by the People’s Republic of China announcement today that it is establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. We view this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region. This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations. This […]

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The United States is deeply concerned by the People’s Republic of China announcement today that it is establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea. We view this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region. This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.

This announcement by the People’s Republic of China will not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region.

The United States is conveying these concerns to China through diplomatic and military channels, and we are in close consultation with our allies and partners in the region, including Japan.

We remain steadfast in our commitments to our allies and partners. The United States reaffirms its longstanding policy that Article V of the U.S. Japan Mutual Defense Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands.

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U.S., Canada Sign Asia-Pacific Cooperation Framework http://www.officialwire.com/news/u-s-canada-sign-asia-pacific-cooperation-framework/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=u-s-canada-sign-asia-pacific-cooperation-framework http://www.officialwire.com/news/u-s-canada-sign-asia-pacific-cooperation-framework/#respond Fri, 22 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121215 By Karen ParrishAmerican Forces Press Service HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Nov. 22, 2013 – The United States and Canada will increase their security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, American and Canadian defense leaders announced here today. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson signed the Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Cooperation Framework today as both leaders […]

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By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Nov. 22, 2013 – The United States and Canada will increase their security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, American and Canadian defense leaders announced here today.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson signed the Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Cooperation Framework today as both leaders take part in the Halifax International Security Forum. The forum continues through the weekend, but Hagel will return to Washington late today.

Hagel said that signing the agreement on America’s day of remembrance for President John F. Kennedy reminded him of a speech Kennedy made to the Canadian parliament in 1961.

The secretary quoted from that speech: “The warmth of your hospitality symbolizes more than merely the courtesy which may be accorded to an individual visitor. They symbolize the enduring qualities of amity and honor which have characterized our countries’ relations for so many decades.”

Canada has long been among America’s most valued allies, Hagel said.

“Our bilateral defense relationship — symbolized by NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command], the world’s only true bi-national command — is one of the strongest in the world,” the secretary said.

The new agreement, he said, “is another example of our two nations being able to leverage each other’s strengths in order to help address global challenges.”

Canada and the United States are both Pacific nations, and each can benefit by working together, Hagel said.

“The United States and Canada will establish an annual strategic defense dialogue on the Asia-Pacific within the context of the Canada-U.S. Permanent Joint Board on Defense, which will meet for the 232nd time next month,” the secretary said.

Hagel added that the dialogue will help establish clear parameters for coordination of operations among the United States’ Pacific Command, Canadian Joint Operations Command, and the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

“It will also help foster ties among our respective defense attachés in the region, as well as improve coordination for high-level visits and military-to-military activities where appropriate,” he said.

Hagel noted that an area of particular emphasis for both nations is humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“At a time when both the U.S. and Canadian armed forces are proud to be providing relief to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, implementing this framework will help us coordinate these activities even more effectively going forward,” he said.

In response to a reporter’s question, the secretary reiterated that America’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is based on national interests, alliances and partnerships in the region.

“Our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific is about more than just military-to-military relations,” Hagel said. “It’s economic, it’s trade, it’s social, it’s cultural, it’s education, it’s security, it’s stability — all of these are part of relationships in an interconnected world.”

The Canadian minister said Canada has no greater or closer friend and ally than the United States.

“As the global security environment grows ever more complex, we also continue to seek ways to work together beyond the hemisphere,” he added.

Nicholson said Canada recognizes the importance of maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region to ensure its continued peaceful growth.

“Both Canada and the United States share with our Asian partners an interest in promoting stability,” Nicholson said.

(Follow Karen Parrish on Twitter: @ParrishAFPS)
 

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Rutgers University-based Military Support Program Expands http://www.officialwire.com/news/rutgers-university-based-military-support-program-expands/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rutgers-university-based-military-support-program-expands http://www.officialwire.com/news/rutgers-university-based-military-support-program-expands/#respond Fri, 22 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121214 Rutgers University News Release PISCATAWAY, N.J., Nov. 22, 2013 – Vets4Warriors, a Rutgers University-based 24/7 nationwide peer-to-peer support line for servicemen and women is expanding its services to all active duty military service members and their families, wherever they are located. Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright, who visited the […]

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Rutgers University News Release

PISCATAWAY, N.J., Nov. 22, 2013 – Vets4Warriors, a Rutgers University-based 24/7 nationwide peer-to-peer support line for servicemen and women is expanding its services to all active duty military service members and their families, wherever they are located.

Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright, who visited the Vets4Warriors call center here Nov. 20, said the expansion reflects the demonstrated value of Vets4Warriors.

“The peer support offered by Vets4Warriors is a great benefit to the total force,” Wright said. “I’m impressed with the peer counselors’ commitment, and as veterans themselves, they understand and can really connect with callers.”

Since its inception, the Vets4Warriors support line (toll-free 1-855-838-8255) has received more than 41,000 calls and conducted nearly 1,900 live online chats. The support line is staffed with 30 peers who are veterans representing all branches of service and family members.

All calls to Vets4Warriors are confidential — callers can remain anonymous by request — and the counselors often maintain regular contact with a service member for weeks or months, or until a particular matter is resolved.

The Vets4Warriors peer counselors help increase service members’ life skills, assist in improving their relationships at home or at work and address stress management, adjustment issues, grief and loss, legal and financial issues or other problems. The counselors also reach out proactively to at-risk service members.

Although Vets4Warriors is not a crisis line, its peer counselors are certified to respond to suicidal callers and will “warm transfer” crisis calls to the Military Crisis Line.

“It is indeed a unique privilege to be in a position to help the men and women who defend our country in the ways in which our peer counselors do,” said Christopher Kosseff, president and CEO of University Behavioral Health Care. “We greatly appreciate the confidence the Department of Defense has in our abilities.”

As part of the new agreement with the Department of Defense covering the expansion, Vets4Warriors, in addition to Live Chat, will add more capability and outreach through social media.
 

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Special Report: Travels With Hagel http://www.officialwire.com/news/special-report-travels-with-hagel-4/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=special-report-travels-with-hagel-4 http://www.officialwire.com/news/special-report-travels-with-hagel-4/#respond Fri, 22 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121213 American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is on a two-day trip where he will travel to Canada for an annual security conference after visiting Maine to tour the precommissioning unit for the first of the Navy's Zumwalt class of multimission guided missile destroyers. Follow American Forces Press Service’s […]

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is on a two-day trip where he will travel to Canada for an annual security conference after visiting Maine to tour the precommissioning unit for the first of the Navy's Zumwalt class of multimission guided missile destroyers. Follow American Forces Press Service’s coverage in the Special Report: Travel With Hagel: http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2013/1113_hagel1/.

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President Proclaims JFK Day of Remembrance http://www.officialwire.com/news/president-proclaims-jfk-day-of-remembrance/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=president-proclaims-jfk-day-of-remembrance http://www.officialwire.com/news/president-proclaims-jfk-day-of-remembrance/#respond Fri, 22 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121212 American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – President Barack Obama today called on Americans to honor the memory of President John F. Kennedy and to celebrate Kennedy’s “enduring impact on American history.” Obama’s proclamation also directed that the American flag be flown at half-staff today in honor of Kennedy’s memory. The President’s proclamation […]

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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – President Barack Obama today called on Americans to honor the memory of President John F. Kennedy and to celebrate Kennedy’s “enduring impact on American history.” Obama’s proclamation also directed that the American flag be flown at half-staff today in honor of Kennedy’s memory.

The President’s proclamation reads as follows:

A half century ago, America mourned the loss of an extraordinary public servant. With broad vision and soaring but sober idealism, President John F. Kennedy had called a generation to service and summoned a Nation to greatness. Today, we honor his memory and celebrate his enduring imprint on American history.

In his 3 years as President of the United States, John F. Kennedy weathered some of the most perilous tests of the Cold War and led America to the cusp of a bright new age. His leadership through the Cuban Missile Crisis remains the standard for American diplomacy at its finest. In a divided Berlin, he delivered a stirring defense of freedom that would echo through the ages, yet he also knew that we must advance human rights here at home. During his final year in office, he proposed a civil rights bill that called for an end to segregation in America. And recognizing women’s basic right to earn a living equal to their efforts, he signed the Equal Pay Act into law.

While President Kennedy’s life was tragically cut short, his vision lives on in the generations he inspired — volunteers who serve as ambassadors for peace in distant corners of the globe, scientists and engineers who reach for new heights in the face of impossible odds, innovators who set their sights on the new frontiers of our time. Today and in the decades to come, let us carry his legacy forward. Let us face today’s tests by beckoning the spirit he embodied — that fearless, resilient, uniquely American character that has always driven our Nation to defy the odds, write our own destiny, and make the world anew.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 22, 2013, as a Day of Remembrance for President John F. Kennedy. I call upon all Americans to honor his life and legacy with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. I also call upon Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on the Day of Remembrance for President John F. Kennedy. I further encourage all Americans to display the flag at half-staff from their homes and businesses on that day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA
 

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International Officers Bring New Perspectives to Pacom http://www.officialwire.com/news/international-officers-bring-new-perspectives-to-pacom/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=international-officers-bring-new-perspectives-to-pacom http://www.officialwire.com/news/international-officers-bring-new-perspectives-to-pacom/#respond Fri, 22 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000 http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=121211 By Donna MilesAmerican Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – When Royal Australian Navy Commodore Ian Middleton arrived at the U.S. Pacific Command headquarters this summer, the sea change it represented for the Pacom staff wasn’t immediately clear. As one of six combatant commands with responsibility for geographic regions, Pacom has a long history […]

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By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22, 2013 – When Royal Australian Navy Commodore Ian Middleton arrived at the U.S. Pacific Command headquarters this summer, the sea change it represented for the Pacom staff wasn’t immediately clear.

As one of six combatant commands with responsibility for geographic regions, Pacom has a long history of hosting liaison officers in its Hawaii headquarters. Typically mid-grade officers, they serve as representatives of their home militaries who coordinate bilateral issues and activities with the Pacom staff on a daily basis.

But Middleton represented the first wave of a new initiative that Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, Pacom’s commander, is introducing to integrate senior allied officers into his staff.

The first international senior flag-level officer to arrive at the headquarters, Middleton serves as Pacom’s deputy director in the J5 Planning and Policy Directorate. A member of the Australian senior executive service, Cameron Ashe, arrived soon after to serve as deputy director in the J2 Intelligence Directorate. Another international officer, Canadian Air Force Brig. Gen. William Seymore, came on board as the international operations and engagements Officer in the J3 Operations Directorate.

All three positions previously had always been held by U.S. flag officers.

The international officers work for Locklear and his senior staff rather than their own militaries’ chains of command. Referred to as “embeds,” they serve just as any U.S. flag officer in their positions would — performing the same duties, attending the same meetings and planning sessions and accessing the same intelligence networks.

“They work the theater cooperation plans just like any other officer,” Locklear said. “They travel on my behalf and speak on my behalf.”

But as Locklear noted during an interview here with American Forces Press Service, they also bring an added dimension to the staff in terms of regional insights and experience.

“The way I look at this, this is more about an internationalization of my thinking versus the staff,” he said. “These officers bring perspectives from their countries that enter into the way I and my staff execute our authorities throughout this region.”

Looking across Pacom’s vast area of operations, Locklear said he feels well served by senior U.S. officers who command U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan. A four-star U.S. officer in South Korea — currently Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti — focuses on military issues and operations there and the overall strength of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. A three-star U.S. commander in Japan – Air Force Lt. Gen. Salvatore A. “Sam” Angelella — commands U.S. Forces Japan with a commitment to enhancing the U.S.-Japan alliance.

But particularly as the United States implements a strategy focused heavily on the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Locklear wanted more opportunity to coordinate closely with other allies and key partners in the region.

“The Pacific rebalance underscores the importance of making sure our alliances are as strong as they can be, and that we are coordinating our future alliance activities together the best we can across all our activities,” he said.

“That’s increasingly important in the environment we are in today,” he said, particularly in light of “a regional set of problems that are going to have to be addressed by our allies and partners in a more robust way.”

Increasing the synergy in how regional partners respond to these issues is the precise job Middleton conducts on a daily basis at the Pacom headquarters. Rather than limiting his focus to bilateral U.S.-Australian issues as a liaison officer might, he has taken on the bigger challenge of increasing multinational planning and engagement.

With more than 30 years with the Royal Australian Navy with multiple deployments across Southeast Asia, he recognizes that he brings something to the table that most U.S. officers can’t.

“Having international officers brings a broader international perspective to the staff,” Middleton said.

“The majority of staff planners here at Pacom have been trained through the U.S. military,” he said. “I was trained in a different system and also have had different experiences. So I look at things differently. And I think that diversity of ideas adds to the richness of Pacom’s thinking when it comes to planning operations.”

One of Middleton’s big challenges is to areas where allies and partners can better share the burden and costs involved in promoting regional security and stability. That applies, he said, whether it’s building partner capacity in areas such as maritime domain awareness, teaching regional nations how to police their own economic zones, defending against pandemic threats or conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions like the one underway in the Philippines.

“The bottom line is that the U.S. can’t do it on its own,” Middleton said. “It is just too big an area. So the more we can promote partnership and more coherent planning, the better we are able to spread that burden around.”

With the internationalization initiative only in its initial phase, Locklear said he’s open to the prospect of bringing more international officers on staff in the future.

“Right now, we’re prototyping it to see the benefits, not only to my staff, but also to the nations who send the officers,” he said.

But based on his initial assessment, Locklear said he sees the arrangement as a win-win for everyone involved.

“It gives the officers sent by some of our key allies the ability to help us broaden our view of the theater, and it helps the countries that send them to understand better the U.S. and Pacom positions in the theater,” he said.

Sharing insights from their own militaries’ perspectives, the international officers are helping Pacom “look at where we can partner better, where we might have duplication of efforts and where we can identify efficiencies so we can improve our efforts together,” Locklear said.

In announcing last March Australia’s decision to send two senior officers to Pacom, Australian Chief of the Defense Force Gen. David Hurley recognized the doors the arrangement would open.

“These two embed positions will provide increased opportunities for our personnel to work together on security issues of common interest,” he said. “It will also allow us to deepen our cooperation, particularly through multilateral exercises with a range of allies and partners.”

Middleton said he’s learning every day in his new role at Pacom.

“I work with a very dedicated team of military professionals with different experiences, so I am learning from them and getting new insights into how they do operational planning,” he said.

At the same time, Middleton said his position at Pacom underscores the importance of the longstanding U.S.-Australian alliance.

“Increased engagement with Pacom sends a positive message to the region that stronger partnerships are integral to security and the future peace and prosperity of the region,” he said.

(Follow Donna Miles on Twitter: @MilesAFPS)
 

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