Anchors Aweigh!

September 19, 2018
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

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U.S. Sailors sing “Anchors Aweigh” in formation during a Chief Petty Officer pinning ceremony in the Hangar Bay of the USS Ronald Reagan in the Philippine Sea, Sept. 14, 2018. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate

U.S. Pentagon Honors

September 12, 2018
9/11 Observance

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U.S. Pentagon Honors
America’s First Responders and Pentagon Police Officers Salute as an American Flag is unfurled at the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2018, during a ceremony to honor those killed in the 9/11/2001 attack on the U.S. Pentagon. DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vernon Young Jr.

Sept. 11, 2001 Pentagon Memorial Observance Ceremony

September 11, 2018
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Sept. 11, 2001 Pentagon Memorial Observance Ceremony

DoD Press Advisory:

Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva will host Vice President of the United States Mike R. Pence at an observance ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 at the Pentagon Memorial in honor of the 184 people killed in the 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

There will be an open press event from the main press riser in the 9/11 memorial at sunrise (6:47 a.m.) just prior to the ceremony’s start. At that time, the American Flag will be unfurled down the side of the Pentagon.

The Pentagon community ceremony, which is not open to the public, will allow the family members of those lost in the terrorist attack to observe the memory of their loved ones.

Show time for press interested in covering the flag unfurling is 6 a.m. Check in is at the media table in the Pentagon’s south parking lot near the Corridor 3 pedestrian bridge.

Media interested in covering the observance ceremony should arrive by 7 a.m. EDT. There will be a media check-in table in the south parking lot near the Corridor 3 pedestrian bridge. All media must present valid press credentials for escort to the event site. The observance is open to still photographers and journalists, but pooled for TV outlets. Media interested in covering this event must RSVP by noon EDT Monday, Sept. 10 by contacting Tom Masten at Thomas.a.masten2.civ@mail.mil. Parking information will be sent via e-mail to those confirmed on the press list.

 

NATO Names Canadian General to Head Alliance’s Iraq Mission

August 24, 2018

Canadian General bids farewell to

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By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2018 — Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin of the Canadian army will lead the new NATO mission in Iraq.

Alliance heads of state approved the NATO mission during July’s summit in Brussels.

The mission will continue NATO’s efforts to train Iraqi forces as they work to prevent a return of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or similar terror groups, alliance officials said.

“It is an honor and privilege to be designated as the commander of this NATO mission,” Fortin said in a written statement. “I am confident that our contribution will meet the expectations of Canadians, our allies and partners, and especially the population of Iraq as we seek to help their security institutions to ensure long-term peace and stability in Iraq.”

Fortin will take command in the fall.

The noncombat mission will focus on training and bolstering the professionalism of Iraqi forces. It mission will consist of about 600 NATO personnel, with about 250 them from Canada.

‘Training the Trainers’

The NATO mission will advise Iraqi Defense Ministry officials and will train instructors through the “training the trainers” concept at Iraqi military schools and academies. NATO specialists will train personnel to counter improvised explosive devices and will work with Iraqi specialists on civil-military planning. NATO mechanics and logisticians will train Iraqis on armored vehicle maintenance, and NATO medics will work with Iraqi specialists on military medicine.

Fortin is currently the commander of the 1st Canadian Division Headquarters in Kingston, Ontario. His previous assignment was as deputy commanding general for operations at the U.S. 1st Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Picture: Then-Brig. Gen. Dany Fortin of the Canadian army, the outgoing 1st Corps deputy commanding general for operations, addresses the audience during a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., June 13, 2017. Now a major general, Fortin will serve as the commander of the NATO mission Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Youtoy Martin

U. S. Air Force Hero’s Widow Presented America’s Highest Honor; The Medal of Honor

August 23, 2018

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President Presents Medal of Honor to Fallen U. S. Air Force Hero’s Widow

By Secretary of the U. S. Air Force Public Affairs

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2018 — On what would have been their 26th wedding anniversary, Valerie Nessel, the widow of fallen Air Force Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, accepted his Medal of Honor from President Donald J. Trump during a ceremony at the White House yesterday.

“We are gathered together this afternoon to pay tribute to a fallen warrior, a great warrior … and to award him with our nation’s highest and most-revered military honor,” Trump said.

Fighting in the early morning hours through brisk air and deep snow, Chapman sacrificed his own life to preserve the lives of his teammates during the Battle of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan on March 4, 2002.

“[John] would want to recognize the other men who lost their lives,” Valerie said in a previous interview. “Even though he did something he was awarded the Medal of Honor for, he would not want the other guys to be forgotten — they were part of the team together. I think he would say his Medal of Honor was not just for him, but for all of the guys who were lost.”

Chapman was originally awarded the Air Force Cross for his actions; however, following a review of the Air Force Cross and Silver Star recipients directed by then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Deborah James, then-Secretary of the Air Force, recommended Chapman’s Air Force Cross be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

‘John Was Always Selfless’

“John was always selfless — it didn’t just emerge at Takur Ghar — he had always been selfless and highly competent, and thank God for all those qualities,” retired Air Force Col. Ken Rodriguez, Chapman’s commander at the time of the battle, said in a previous interview. “He could have hunkered down in the bunker and waited for the [Quick Reaction Force] and [Combat Search and Rescue] team to come in, but he assessed the situation and selflessly gave his life for them.”

Chapman enlisted in the Air Force on Sept. 27, 1985, as an information systems operator, but felt called to be part of Air Force special operations. In 1989, he cross-trained to become an Air Force combat controller.

According to friends and family, Chapman had a tendency to make the difficult look effortless and consistently sought new challenges. Dating back to his high school days, he made the varsity soccer squad as a freshman. In his high school yearbook, Chapman quoted these words: “Give of yourself before taking of someone else.”

Chapman looked for a new challenge, which he found in combat control. This special operations training is more than two years long and among the most rigorous in the U.S. military; only about one in 10 airmen who start the program graduate. From months of intense training to multiple joint schools — including military SCUBA, Army static-line and freefall, air traffic control, and combat control schools — Chapman is remembered as someone who could overcome any adversity.

“One remembers two types of students — the sharp ones and the really dull ones — and Chapman was in the sharp category,” said Ron Childress, a former Combat Control School instructor. “During one of his first days at Combat Control School, I noticed a slight smirk on his face, like [the training] was too simple for him … and it was.”

Following Combat Control School, Chapman served with the 1721st Combat Control Squadron at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, where he met Valerie in 1992. They had two daughters, who were the center of Chapman’s world even when he was away from home, which was common in special operations.

“He would come home from a long trip and immediately have on his father hat — feeding, bathing, reading and getting his girls ready for bed,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael West, who served with Chapman through Combat Control School, a three-year tour in Okinawa, Japan, and at Pope AFB. “They were his life and he was proud of them. To the Air Force he was a great hero … what I saw was a great father.”

The Battle of Takur Ghar

In conjunction with Operation Anaconda in March 2002, small reconnaissance teams were tasked to establish observation posts in strategic locations in Afghanistan, and when able, direct U.S. airpower to destroy enemy targets. The mountain of Takur Ghar was an ideal spot for such an observation post, with excellent visibility to key locations.

For Chapman and his joint special operations teammates, the mission was to establish a reconnaissance position on Takur Ghar and report al-Qaida movements in the Sahi-Kowt area.

“This was a very high-profile, no-fail job. And, we picked John,” said retired Air Force Col. Ken Rodriguez, Chapman’s commander at the time. “In a very high-caliber career field, with the highest quality of men — even then — John stood out as our guy.”

During the initial insertion onto Afghanistan’s Takur Ghar mountaintop on March 4, the MH-47 Chinook helicopter carrying Chapman and the joint special operations reconnaissance team was ambushed. A rocket-propelled grenade struck the helicopter and bullets ripped through the fuselage. The blast ripped through the left side of the Chinook, throwing Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts off the ramp of the helicopter onto the enemy-infested mountaintop below.

The severely damaged aircraft was unable to return for Roberts, and performed a controlled crash landing a few miles from the mountaintop. Thus began the chain of events that led to unparalleled acts of valor by numerous joint special operations forces, the deaths of seven U.S. servicemen and now, 16 years later, the posthumous award of the Medal of Honor to Chapman.

Alone, against the elements and separated from his team with enemy personnel closing in, Roberts was in desperate need of support. The remaining joint special operations team members, fully aware of his precarious situation, immediately began planning a daring rescue attempt that included returning to the top of Takur Ghar where they had just taken heavy enemy fire.

As the team returned to Roberts’ last-known position, now on a second MH-47, the entrenched enemy forces immediately engaged the approaching helicopter with heavy fire.

The helicopter, although heavily damaged, was able to successfully offload the remaining special operations team members and return to base. Chapman, upon exiting the helicopter, immediately charged uphill through the snow toward enemy positions while under heavy fire from three directions.

Courageous Actions

Once on the ground, the team assessed the situation and moved quickly to the high ground. The most prominent cover and concealment on the hilltop were a large rock and tree. As they approached the tree, Chapman received fire from two enemy personnel in a fortified position. He returned fire, charged the enemy position and took out the enemy combatants within.

Almost immediately, the team encountered machine-gun fire from another fortified enemy position about 40 feet away. Chapman deliberately moved into the open to engage the new enemy position. As he engaged the enemy, he was struck by a burst of gunfire and became critically injured.

Chapman regained his faculties and continued to fight despite his severe wounds. He sustained a violent engagement with multiple enemy fighters for over an hour before paying the ultimate sacrifice. Due to his remarkably heroic actions, Chapman is credited with saving the lives of his teammates.

Picture: Valerie Nessel, the spouse of Tech. Sgt. John Chapman, holds up the Medal of Honor after receiving it from President Donald J. Trump during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., Aug. 22, 2018. Chapman was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for actions on Takur Ghar mountain in Afghanistan on March 4, 2002. His elite special operations team was ambushed by the enemy and came under heavy fire from multiple directions. Chapman immediately charged an enemy bunker through thigh-deep snow and killed all enemy occupants. Courageously moving from cover to assault a second machine gun bunker, he was injured by enemy fire. Despite severe wounds, he fought relentlessly, sustaining a violent engagement with multiple enemy personnel before making the ultimate sacrifice. With his last actions, he saved the lives of his teammates. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rusty Frank

Camp Lemonnier Holds K-9 Casualty Care Training

August 21, 2018

 

Camp Lemonnier holds K-9 casualty care training

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By U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Rullo

Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa

CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti, Aug. 21, 2018 — U.S. Military Veterinarians assigned to Camp Lemonnier and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa conducted Canine Tactical Combat Casualty Care training to joint-service medical and operational personnel deployed here Aug. 18.

The training, which included canine anatomy, primary assessments and CPR, is designed to provide handlers and nonveterinary providers the capability to provide basic first aid until definitive veterinary care is available. 

Base veterinarian Army Capt. (Dr.) Richard Blair facilitated the training to personnel from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force medical and law enforcement fields. Blair said that while the focus of the training was aimed at medically trained personnel, people from other military occupations were welcome to attend.

“In a mass casualty situation where military working dogs may be injured, anyone with this kind of training in their back pocket would be extremely helpful.” Blair said. The training combined classroom and practical hands-on applications. Artificial dogs were used as training aids, and participants simulated CPR, intravenous catheter insertion and tracheal intubation. 

Army Maj. (Dr.) Steven Pelham, veterinarian for Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa civil affairs, said military working dogs are an integral weapon for today’s fighting forces and that combat casualty care training is an important part of readiness.

“These dogs detect explosives that would go undetected. They save people from getting injured or killed,” Pelham said. “The number of lives one dog can save is worth the medical care we can give them to keep them in the fight.”

Valuable Partnership

Navy Cmdr. Mark Thomas, emergency medical facility officer in charge, attended the training and said that the cooperation between medical personnel and the veterinary units is a valuable partnership that can improve the level of care in an emergency.

“Having our people trained in canine combat care as well as utilizing the veterinarians in our facility gives us an interoperability that allows for better coverage for anyone [including military working dogs] who may be injured in a mass casualty situation,” Thomas said.

Camp Lemonnier is one of Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia installations that conducts six lines of operations to support air operations, port operations, safety, security, quality of life, and what is called the core: the fuels, water and power that keep the bases operating. Camp Lemonnier’s mission includes enabling joint warfighters operating forward and to reinforce the U.S.-Djibouti relationship by providing exceptional services and facilities for the tenant commands, transient U.S. assets and service members.

Picture: U.S. Military Veterinarians assigned to Camp Lemonnier and Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa conduct Canine Tactical Combat Casualty Care training to joint-service medical and operational personnel deployed to Djibouti, Aug. 18, 2018. The training is designed to provide interoperability for medical personnel to provide first aid in a mass-casualty scenario involving military working dogs. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Rullo

Clearing Buildings American Style!

August 20, 2018

1-27 IN BN CALFEX

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U.S. Soldiers move forward toward another building as they clear an objective during a combined arms live-fire exercise at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Aug. 6, 2018. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Ryan DeBooy

America’s Best!

July 25, 2018

Cavalry amputeer re-enlists in Afghanistan

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America’s Best!

Col. Todd R. Wood, Commander of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, administers the oath of re-enlistment to Staff Sgt. Brian Beem, a cavalry scout assigned to the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, during a special ceremony at Forward Operating Base Frontenac, Nov. 9. Beem is a single leg amputee who has continued to serve despite his injury. He lost his leg after an improvised explosive device detonated during his 2006 deployment to Iraq.

 

The United States Air Force High Frontier

July 9, 2018

50th NOG changes command

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The United States Air Force High Frontier

The United States Air Force High Frontier Honor Guard performs during the 50th Network Operations Group change-of-command ceremony at Schriever U.S. Air Force Base, Colo., June 29, 2018. U.S. Air Force photo by Dennis Rogers

☆ Happy Independence Day America!

July 4, 2018

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IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

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