September 29, 2014

Military’s Public-Private Partnerships Yield Benefits

By Nick Simeone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2014 – The military’s many partnerships with the private sector have yielded benefits in everything from responding to world crises, maintaining an advanced technological industrial base, to helping care for wounded warriors, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

hires_080511083146_ADM%20Winnefeld_JamesAdmiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., serves as the ninth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  In this capacity, he is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Nation’s second highest-ranking military officer. 

“We in the military encourage these partnerships, because they lead to innovation and creative thinking … and they allow both sides of the equation to share both risk and reward,” Navy Adm. James. A. Winnefeld Jr. told the Concordia Summit in New York. The summit brings together political and business leaders to address societal challenges and foster public-private collaboration.

The U.S. military has a long history of maintaining partnerships with business and nonprofit groups, Winnefeld said, relationships that are vital to the military’s ability to take on a range of global security issues and establish effective programs.

“The rewards we in the military find range from new technologies that enhance our ability to defend the nation to better ways to help populations in need, to taking better care of our own people,” Winnefeld said, mentioning in particular the medical and technological breakthroughs that have led to advances in prosthetics and new treatments for traumatic brain injury for wounded warriors.

Thousands of partnerships around the world

The military, he said, is involved in thousands of partnerships around the world, with more than 40,000 private organizations supporting veterans and military families alone. “These partnerships increase our ability to both address the challenges veterans face as they transition out of uniform and enable others to leverage their talents and experience by hiring them,” the vice chairman said.

Collaborating with aid organizations is particularly useful when the unique capabilities of the military are called on to provide emergency assistance when disasters strike in remote corners of the world, the admiral noted.

“We’re often postured to get to an area quickly, but other organizations usually have much greater knowledge of local needs and have greater capacity to provide necessary aid. In these situations, partnerships are absolutely vital,” Winnefeld explained, citing as an example the U.S. military’s role in a whole-of-government U.S. response currently underway in Liberia to help contain the outbreak of Ebola.

“Melding their expertise with our logistics capabilities is a powerful addition to the international response to these types of disasters,” he said.

September 27, 2014

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September 26, 2014

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Presentation of the Freedom Award for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Auditorium

Tony [Orlando], thank you, very much.  You can dance, sing, whatever the hell you want to do here.  This is like a show, really, it’s Vegas in the eastern part of the United States.

Tony, I know what you’ve meant to our men and women in uniform over the years and we are grateful for that.  You have been there over many, many years, when it wasn’t always a popular thing, so we are grateful for that.  

To Lieutenant Colonel Smith and all of you who do so much for our troops and their families, thank you.  Whether you’re in the civilian world, part of the employers that we represent with our recognition here this morning, I thank you on behalf of our country.  I saw the President here this week, and he asked me to also convey his gratitude, his best wishes, and his thanks for what you do for our country.

This is, as Tony noted, an important day of recognition.  I understand that, you understand that, but many companies, individuals, and leaders do a little more than just doing their part.   And that’s what this recognition is all about, to note those who go beyond just doing enough they do more, and we appreciate it.

The willingness of American citizens to leave their homes, and their jobs, and their families when called upon to help defend our country has always been a very defining tradition of this country. 

But they would not be able to do it, as we all know, without the support, and the help, and the encouragement of their employers and their communities back home. 

Today we have the opportunity to thank those who help make this selfless service for our men and women who serve our country make it possible.  Over the past year, the Defense Department received almost 3,000 employer nominations from Guardsmen and Reservists from around the country.  The fifteen we honor today represent the very best in employer support to our Guardsmen and Reservists.

Some of today’s honorees are large companies like AT&T, which has given its deployed Guardsmen and Reservists cell phones and iPads so that they can keep in touch with their families.  AT&T also recently announced that they are doubling their goal to hire 10,000 veterans and their family members, which benefits Guardsmen and Reservists because many of them are veterans leaving active duty.  Other large companies like Capital One and PNC Bank actively encourage their civilian employees to support activated Guardsmen and Reservists, and their families. 

Today we are also honoring small businesses.  For them, having an employee leave for multiple weeks a year to serve their country can be a significant burden.  Yet these organizations celebrate their Guardsmen and Reservists for their sacrifices and what they do for their country, and make sure they know how much they are valued.  For J.G. Management Systems, a firm with only 85 employees, that meant stepping up to pay for an employee’s wife and three children to meet him in Italy during his mid-deployment leave.  For the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, it meant making sure a Guardsman’s spouse had the health insurance she needed, and sending Easter baskets to his children.  

These fifteen employers are diverse in size, in focus, and in responsibilities, but what they share in common with all of us is a commitment to doing everything possible to ensure that their people succeed in both the military and in their civilian careers…because no one in the Guard or Reserve should ever have to choose between them. 

More employers should follow the example of Zions National Bank, whose President and CEO personally contacts every employee who gets called up for active duty he does that to make sure they know of the bank’s continued absolute commitment to them and their families.  Zions also has a Military Relations Manager who tracks deployed employees and initiates an employment reintegration process three months before the employee return.   

What all of today’s honorees recognize is that our Guardsmen and Reservists like all military personnel have unique qualifications and proven leadership experience… the same qualities that drive American companies to hire more veterans each year.   Not only because they value service, but also because it’s good business. 

As we salute these fifteen companies and organizations, we also recognize all of the Guardsmen and the Reservists and their families that they support.  Our Guardsmen and Reservists are skilled professionals who make an extraordinary contribution to the mission from Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, to institutions here at home.  We encourage more employers to recognize this reality, and follow the leadership of today’s employer honorees.

On behalf of the Department of Defense, congratulations to all of you, and thank you.  We appreciate everything you do for our National Guardsmen, our Reservists, and their families and I know they appreciate what you do.  You make our country stronger, you make our country better. Thank you all very much.

Thank you.

September 22, 2014

 

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September 19, 2014

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Today is the National POW/MIA Recognition Day. This annual event honors prisoners of war and our missing and their families, and highlights the government’s commitment to account for them.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Will Host the Department of Defense’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will host the Department of Defense’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony today, at 10:15 a.m. EDT at the Pentagon River Terrace Parade Field.

The program will include remarks by Hagel and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr. A musical review by the U.S. Army Band and a pass in review with service honor guard units from the National Capital Region will also take place during the ceremony. The ceremony will conclude with a flyover of the Pentagon with a joint service aerial review.

Journalists without a Pentagon building pass will be picked up at the River Entrance only. Plan to arrive no later than 45 minutes prior to the event; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification. Please call 703-697-5131 for escort into the building.

 

September 18, 2014

Soldier Missing from Korean War Accounted For

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

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Army Pfc. Arthur Richardson, 28, of Fall River, Mass., will be buried Sept. 18 in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C.

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In January 1951, Richardson and elements of Company A, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment (IR), 24th Infantry Division (ID), were deployed northeast of Seoul, South Korea, where they were attacked by enemy forces. During the attempt to delay the enemy forces from advancing, Richardson and his unit were moving towards a more defensible position, when his unit suffered heavy losses. It was during this attack that Richardson was reported missing. When no further information pertaining to Richardson was received and he failed to return to U.S. control during prisoner exchanges, a military review board reviewed his status in 1954, and changed it from missing in action to presumed dead. In 1956, his remains were declared unrecoverable.

Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain more than 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Richardson was believed to have died.

In the identification of Richardson’s remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and Armed Forces DNA Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, to include mitochondrial DNA, which matched his niece and grand-niece.

Today, 7,880 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered from North Korea by American recovery teams.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

 

September 14, 2014

Star-Spangled Banner Waves at Fort McHenry

By Navy Seaman Kameren Guy Hodnett Navy Public Affairs

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A replica of the original Star-Spangled Banner is hoisted during the Dawn’s Early Light Ceremony at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Sept. 14, 2014. The ceremony commemorates the date and time 200 years ago that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words that would become the national anthem. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Pamela J. Boehland

BALTIMORE, Sept. 14, 2014 – Visitors and special guests watched today as members of the U.S. Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), with the help of War of 1812 re-enactors, hoisted a 15-star, 15-stripe, full-size replica Star-Spangled Banner flag over Fort McHenry here at the “By Dawn’s Early Light” flag-raising ceremony.

Star-Spangled Banner replica

At precisely 9 a.m., guns blasted and the crowd of onlookers fell silent as service members raised a 30-foot by 42-foot replica of the flag that 200 years ago inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” which would later become America’s national anthem.

“It is a great pleasure for me to be here at this historic site and historic city of Baltimore as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of our Star-Spangle Banner,” said former Secretary of State and retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, the event’s guest speaker.

The American flag is “a piece of cloth I have loved all my life and have served under for over 40 years,’ Powell added.

Celebrating history

The special ceremony capped a weeklong series of events at the fort for Baltimore’s Star-Spangled Spectacular, a celebration commemorating the bicentennial of the Battle of Baltimore and the national anthem.

The fort played host to a number of special events and activities including commemorative ceremonies, living history demonstrations and interpretive programs during the Star-Spangled Spectacular.

The city’s celebration, which concludes Sept. 16, also includes visits by more than 30 ships from the U.S. and foreign nations, as well as an airshow performance by U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.

September 14, 2014

Dr. Biden Cheers-on Athletes at Invictus Games

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Britain’s Prince Harry flank Team USA athlete Air Force Tech. Sgt. Israel Del Toro Jr. at the 2014 Invictus Games in London, Sept. 13, 2014. Del Toro was injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2005. White House courtesy photo

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2014 – Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, traveled to London to cheer on Team USA athletes as they compete in the 2014 Invictus Games.

More than 400 competitors from 14 nations are participating in the inaugural Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded warriors to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their countries.

Games named after English poet’s work

The games are named after William Earnest Henley’s 1875 poem titled “Invictus,” which he wrote while recovering from an intensive surgery that saved his second leg from being amputated. The games, which are taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Lee Valley Athletics Centre, began Sept. 10 and run through tomorrow.

The United States is one of 14 teams participating, and includes 98 military athletes: 22 from the Army, 20 from the Marine Corps, 22 from the Navy, 22 from the Air Force and 12 from U.S. Special Operations Command. Of the service members, 53 are active duty and 45 are veterans.

Praising athletes’ energy, spirit, resilience

Team USA’s athletes “are incredible,” Dr. Biden told NBC “Today” show host Lester Holt this morning.

She praised the athletes’ “energy, and their positive spirit and their resilience.”

“They make Americans so proud,” she added.

Meeting Prince Harry

Dr. Biden watched some basketball at the Invictus Games today with Britain’s Prince Harry.

After attending the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Prince Harry was inspired to host an international adaptive sports event in the United Kingdom. The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who holds the rank of captain and continues to serve in Britain’s armed forces, announced the 2014 Invictus Games in March.

Dr. Biden commented on Prince Harry’s role in founding the Invictus Games. The prince, she said, “saw our Warrior Games in Colorado, and so now he’s brought it to a global scale, and we have 14 countries and 400 athletes competing and it’s been great.”

Pre-games barbecue for USA athletes

Last week, Dr. Biden and the Vice President hosted a barbecue for Team USA athletes at their Naval Observatory home in Washington, D.C. In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Biden told the athletes that the barbecue “is not just a way to celebrate your achievements in making the U.S. Team; it is also a small way of saying thank you — to our heroes — thank you for your service and your sacrifice.”

“You inspire me … you inspire all Americans,” she added.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden launched the “Joining Forces” initiative that supports U.S. service members, military veterans, and their families.

 

September 11, 2014

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September 11, 2014

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Soldiers from A Company, 3rd Infantry “The Old Guard” — gather the giant garrison flag being lowered from the side of the Pentagon, where it had hung beside the impact site of the 9/11 terrorist attack, Oct. 11, 2001. The flag was ceremonially retired. DoD photo by Jim Garamone

The Story of the Pentagon 9-11 Flag

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2014 – Anyone who saw the American flag unfurled at the Pentagon on Sept. 12, 2001, knows how Francis Scott Key felt two centuries ago when he was inspired to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The day after the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, the scene was still chaotic. Only essential military and civilian workers were required to come to the building. Parking was at Reagan-National Airport, as all U.S. airspace was still closed. As employees got off the Metro train, Pentagon police stood with weapons examining everyone’s badge. Those without a Pentagon ID were told to keep traveling on. The conversation in the building was about friends who remained missing.

At the site, firefighters were putting out the final embers that were burning in the roof. Then word came that President George W. Bush wanted to see the damage to the Pentagon himself.

Garrison flag

No one knows who originally came up with the idea for unfurling the flag to the right of the damaged areas on the building, but Army Maj. Gen. Jim Jackson, then the Military District of Washington commander, made it happen.

He sent over to nearby Fort Myer, Virginia, for the largest flag they could find. The U.S. Army Band had a garrison flag the largest authorized for the military and sent it over.

During Bush’s visit to the impact site, 3rd Infantry Regiment soldiers and Arlington, Virginia, firefighters unveiled the flag and draped it over the side of the building. Then they stood and saluted.

It was a moment that quickened the heart. The United States had been attacked, the Pentagon had been hit, friends were gone, thousands were killed in New York and Pennsylvania, yet the American flag still flew.

That flag signified the unconquerable nature of the American people. Those inside the building already were preparing to take the battle to the attackers and bring them to justice.

The flag flew on the side of the building for the next month. Each night, workers illuminated it with floodlights. Members of A Company of the 3rd Infantry Regiment — “The Old Guard” — took the flag down Oct. 11.

A treasured symbol

The flag is soot-stained and ripped at one spot where it rubbed up against the building. It now is in the care of the Army’s Center of Military History.

It is treasured as the 9/11 generation’s Star-Spangled Banner, because they, like Francis Scott Key during the British attack on Baltimore in 1814, looked to the flag for inspiration and comfort.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

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Soldiers from A Company, 3rd Infantry — “The Old Guard” — prepare Oct. 11, 2001, to lower the garrison flag that draped the side of the Pentagon beside the impact site where terrorists crashed a hijacked airliner Sept. 11, 2001. The flag was ceremonially retired. DoD photo by Jim Garamone

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