Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

🎄Help Support Your Local Military & Their Families This Christmas!

October 9, 2018

OpCFOT-XIII-2018IMG_5714Operation Chrismas For Our Troops 011YRA OCFOT&FV 12-15-08 191IMG_0392The%20Miracle%20of%20Christmas_0

MEDAL OF HONOR Recipient’s Last Stand During WWI Helped Break German Spirits…

September 24, 2018

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

MEDAL OF HONOR Recipient’s Last Stand During WWI Helped Break German Spirits…

By Katie Lange, Department of Defense

This blog is part of a weekly series called “Medal of Honor Monday,” in which we’ll highlight one of the more than 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients who have earned the U.S. military’s highest medal for valor.

This fall marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of St. Quentin Canal, a major World War I battle that helped turn the tide of the war in favor of the Allies. U.S. Army Cpl. James Heriot was part of it, and his actions earned him a Medal of Honor.

Heriot grew up in Providence, South Carolina, at the turn of the century. After high school, he went to Clemson University to study agriculture, then returned home to work on the family farm. Heriot also joined the South Carolina Army National Guard.

When the U.S. entered World War I in June 1917, Heriot was brought up to active duty. About a year later, he found himself stationed in France, assigned to the American Expeditionary Force’s 118th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division.

The 30th ID played a major role in the Battle of St. Quentin Canal, one of two key battles that took place during the war’s 100 Day Offensive. The 30th ID and the U.S. Army’s 27th Infantry Division joined British and Australian troops in a fight to gain a crossing point over the canal, which was part of the heavily defended Hindenburg Line, where Germany had begun its offensive earlier that year.

Heriot’s 118th Infantry Regiment was tasked with leading the charge to break the Hindenburg Line beginning in late September 1918. They were quite often on the front lines of battle, and that’s where Heriot found himself on Oct. 12, 1918.

That day, Heriot and four other soldiers decided to organize a combat group to attack an enemy machinegun nest that had been hitting his company hard. But as they approached, heavy fire came at them from all sides. Two of the four men were killed, so the remaining two had to find shelter.

Heriot didn’t want to stay put, though. Despite the gunfire flying all around, he put his bayonet on his gun and charged the enemy machine gun nest, running about 30 yards through fire to get there. He was able to get the gunners there to surrender.

Heriot suffered several wounds to his arms from the charge, but he continued fighting. Later that day, he charged another machine gun nest – a move that killed him.

The Battle of St. Quentin Canal achieved all its objectives, including the first full breach of the Hindenburg Line, and in a war where battlefield progress was often measured in yards, the fact that the 30th Division penetrated more than 10 miles of territory did the right amount of psychological damage.

The Allies’ success in that campaign convinced the German high command that there was little hope for a victory in its favor. Less than a month later, on Nov. 11, 1918, Germany signed an armistice, ending the war.

Heriot was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1919. His mother accepted it on his behalf. Five other South Carolina Army National Guard soldiers who were part of the 118th Infantry Regiment were awarded the medal, too – the most of any regiment in the American Expeditionary Forces.

May we never forget their sacrifices!

 

WI NATIONAL GUARD Red Arrow Infantry Battalion Deploying to Afghanistan this Winter…

September 24, 2018

180715-Z-ZZ999-1003

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

by Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs

Nearly 400 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry will deploy to Afghanistan this winter in support of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.

The Appleton-headquartered infantry battalion and its subordinate companies, which are all part of the 32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Brigade Combat Team, will deploy as a security element for coalition forces operating in the region, who along with the Afghan security forces, are committed to containing and destroying terrorist safe-havens in Afghanistan and reducing the threat they pose to the world.

U.S. Soldiers from each Company, including Company A in Waupun and Ripon, Company B in Green Bay, Company C from Fond du Lac, Company D, from Marinette, and the Appleton and Clintonville-based headquarters will all deploy as part of the mission.

The 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry has deployed numerous times since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, including multiple tours in Iraq in 2005-06 and 2009-10 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The 127th has a long lineage of service to Wisconsin and the nation dating back to the Civil War and its origins as part of the famed Iron Brigade made up of three Wisconsin infantry regiments and two from Indiana and Michigan. The 127th traces its lineage to the 1st and 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, which earned battle streamers at places like Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville among many others. The same units would later serve in the Spanish-American War before reorganizing at the outset of World War I, when elements of the 1st and 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry were reorganized as the 127th Infantry within the famed 32nd Division.

This year marks the centennial of the 32nd Division, which earned its “Red Arrow” moniker after it pierced every enemy line it encountered in Europe during World War I, including the vaunted Hindenburg Line. The 127th played a starring role in the 32nd’s four major campaigns in World War I and again during World War II, when the 32nd fought in brutal campaigns through the jungles of the Pacific Theater in New Guinea and the Philippines, where it earned the distinction of serving more days in combat – 654 – than any other American division in the war.

In the early 1960s, the 127th and the 32nd Division again mobilized to active duty at the height of the Berlin Crisis before reorganizing into a brigade in 1967. Since that time, the 127th and the rest of the Red Arrow have played pivotal roles in the Global War on Terror and on numerous mobilizations in times of emergency here at home, including in 2017 when the battalion deployed to Florida to assist civil authorities with security, traffic control and humanitarian assistance in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

The 127th’s upcoming deployment to Afghanistan marks the Red Arrow’s first-ever deployment to Afghanistan, opening another significant chapter in the long and distinguished history of the 127th and the rest of the Red Arrow.

The Wisconsin National Guard is planning a send-off ceremony for the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry and will release those details at a later date.

The Wisconsin National Guard continues to maintain a high operational tempo with worldwide deployments in support of its federal mission as the primary combat reserve of the Army and Air Force. More than 350 Soldiers from the Milwaukee-based 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery deployed to the Middle East this summer and more than 25 Soldiers from the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade’s Military Engagement Team deployed to the Middle East in March. Meanwhile, a team of Soldiers from the 112th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment deployed to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in March to provide public affairs support there.

Nearly 30 Soldiers from the West Bend-based 248th General Aviation Support Battalion returned from a deployment to the Middle East earlier this month. Wisconsin Army National Guard aviators from Detachment 5, 641st Aviation returned from Afghanistan earlier this summer, and approximately 85 Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation returned from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in January. Another 35 Soldiers from West Bend’s Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in November 2017. 

Last fall, approximately 270 Airmen from the 115th Fighter Wing returned to Madison from a deployment to Korea, and more than 100 Airmen from the 128th Air Control Squadron at Volk Field returned from Southwest Asia. Approximately 70 Airmen from the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee are in the midst of worldwide deployments.

The Wisconsin National Guard simultaneously stands ready to complete its state mission of assisting civil authorities during times of emergency as the state’s first military responder.

Earlier this month, Black Hawk medevac crews again deployed to North Carolina to assist civil authorities there in the wake of Hurricane Florence.The Wisconsin Guard has also been busy assisting civil authorities here in Wisconsin. Hundreds of Guardsmen assisted with sandbagging efforts after torrential rains soaked southern Wisconsin in late August and early September, and Soldiers responded on multiple occasions to flooding in summer 2017 in Monroe County and Burlington,

In fall 2017, thousands of National Guard troops mobilized in support of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Approximately 650 Soldiers from the 32nd “Red Arrow” Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry and 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry deployed to Florida where they provided humanitarian relief, security, and traffic control support to communities. Black Hawk medevac crews also deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands last fall to transport patients in need of medical care to health care facilities, and Airmen from the Wisconsin Air National Guard deployed to Puerto Rico to assist in re-establishing communications on the island and provide mass feeding capabilities to first responders and civilians.

 

Anchors Aweigh!

September 19, 2018
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

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

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

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
280049-Never-Forget-9_11

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

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

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

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

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

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

YELLOW RIBBON AMERICA NEWS DESK:

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