Anaheim, CA native serves aboard one of the U.S. Navy’s first “Stealth Ships”

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BATH, Maine – A 2010 Colton High School graduate and Anaheim, California, native is serving as part of the Pre-Commissioning Unit for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116).

Fireman David Bernal is assigned to DDG 116 in Bath, Maine. As a fireman Bernal is responsible for maintenance of the ship’s electrical distribution systems. “I enjoy the camaraderie with the sailors in the division that I work in,” said Bernal.

DDG 116 is currently undergoing tests and trials in preparation for delivery to the U.S. Navy from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works. Arleigh Burke class destroyers measure approximately 500 feet long and are powered by four gas turbines that allow the ship to achieve over 30 mph in open seas. Destroyers are tactical multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and ballistic missile defense, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide the required warfighting expertise and operational flexibility to execute a variety of missions.

“Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his element leader, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown,” said Cmdr. Nathan W. Scherry, commanding officer, PCU Thomas Hudner. “On 07 May 2012, Secretary Mabus announced that DDG 116 will be named in Captain Hudner’s honor. Today, as the Navy’s finest 300 Sailors crew the 66th Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer, they do so with a tremendous amount of honor, pride, and sense of duty. We are extremely honored to be able to carry Captain Hudner’s values and legacy forward so that they are never forgotten. We are proud to be able to carry out our missions in defense of our country’s freedom and values, and humbled to be part of the Hudner family.”

Bernal has carried lessons learned from his hometown into his military service.

“Growing up, I learned the values of hard work and taking with you as much as you can from your job so you can move on to the next chapter in your life,” said Bernal.

With a crew of over 300 sailors, each crew member’s job is important to the smooth operation of the ship. The jobs range from weapon handling to navigation.

Bernal has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My older brother served in the Marines for five years and did a tour in Afghanistan,” said Bernal. “I’m proud to carry on his name doing my part serving in the military.”

Bernal’s proudest accomplishment was graduating boot camp.

“We had several dropouts in my division throughout the eight-week course. Completing boot camp gave me the confidence needed to know I can complete anything in life I set my mind to,” added Bernal.

Close living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Navy officials explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest ships, Bernal and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means being a part of something bigger than myself,” said Bernal. “I have a great sense of pride and honor serving my country, and it makes my family proud.”

The construction of the ship is over 98% complete. The ship is scheduled for commissioning in late 2018 in Boston, Mass. For more information about the commissioning, visit usshudnerddg116.org.

By Ricky Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller

Best Places to Travel for Memorial Day

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Memorial Day

Memorial Day is celebrated in remembrance of military service members who have died in the line of duty. It was originally called Decoration Day, as the holiday was centered on decorating the graves of those who had fallen in the Civil War. Even if you don’t attend a Memorial Day ceremony this year, join others around the nation and pause for one minute in an act of national unity to thank fallen service members for our freedom. Set an alarm for 3 pm (your local time) on Monday, May 28th. Everyone in the nation is asked to hold one minute of silence in their respective time zones to remember those who gave their lives for our country.

From Fleet Week to Air and Sea Shows, there is a lot to do and see nationwide on Memorial Day this year.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
✪✪Attend the National Memorial
Day Parade, the largest in the
country.
✪✪Honor our veterans at the
Rolling Thunder Motorcycle
Rally.
✪✪Attend and salute our veterans
at PBS’s National Memorial Day
Concert on May 27, 2018, free of
charge on the West Lawn of the
U.S. Capitol.
✪✪Pay respect at the National Mall
or visit the National World War
II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans
Memorial, Vietnam Women’s
Memorial or the Korean War
Veterans Memorial.
✪✪On Sunday, May 27, a free
National Memorial Day Choral
Festival at the Kennedy Center
features a 300-voice choir
accompanied by the U.S. Air
Force Orchestra. Request tickets
in advance.

MIAMI, FL
✪✪Attend the Air & Sea Show, the
National Salute to America’s
Heroes, May 26–27. The event
showcases men, women,
technology and equipment from
all five branches of the United
States military as well as police,
firefighters and first responder
agencies. See civilian aerobatic
acts, offshore powerboat racing
demonstrations, extreme water
sports and more.

PHOENIX, AZ
✪✪Join the 4th Annual Star
Spangled Celebration! Enjoy
the fireworks display, memorial
candles ceremony, live music,
water play area, bounce houses
and the Arizona Cardinals
football toss.
✪✪Watch the 9th Annual Cave
Creek Balloon Festival on May
26. Find more information at
visitarizona.com.

NEW YORK, NY
✪✪See the Little Neck-Douglaston
Parade in Queens, followed
by Brooklyn’s Memorial Day
Parade (over 150 years old),
or the Manhattan’s Soldiers’
and Sailors’ Memorial Day
Observance, or the Inwood’s,
Staten Island’s and the Bronx’s
Memorial Day Parades.
✪✪Enjoy Fleet Week, now in its
30th year, May 23–29. More
than 2,100 members of the U.S.
Navy, Marines and Coast Guard
to participate this year, with
numerous exhibits, military
band concerts, and aviation
events throughout the week.

CHARLESTON, SC
✪✪The annual Atlantic Cup starts
May 26, kicking off Memorial
Day weekend in Charleston. The
Atlantic cup is a Class 40 sailing
race that starts in Charleston
and ends in Brooklyn, New
York.
✪✪The 2018 Spoleto Festival USA
runs May 25 to June 10. The
yearly festival brings art, music,
theatre, dance, opera, and more.

Yorba Linda native is part of Navy’s “Silent Service”

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Jonathon Rossman

PEARL HARBOR – A Yorba linda, California, native and 2012 Esperanza High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard one of the world’s most advanced nuclear-powered submarines, USS Greeneville .

Petty officer 1st class Jonathon Rossman works as a machinist’s mate (nuclear) serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based submarine, one of 56 fast-attack submarines in the U.S. Navy.

A Navy machinist’s mate (nuclear) is responsible for the maintenance and repair of propulsion related equipment on a submarine.

Jobs are highly varied aboard the submarine. Approximately 130 men and women make up the submarine’s crew, doing everything from handling weapons to maintaining nuclear reactors.

Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

“Our submarine teams are small, elite, and rely heavily on extraordinary individual performance,” said Rear Adm. Daryl L. Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “It is no surprise that our sailors continue to set the standard for excellence, and the country continues to be well served by their service and sacrifice. I couldn’t be more proud to lead this professional fighting force.”

According to Navy officials, because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. Regardless of their specialty, everyone has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.

Rossman also has military ties with family members who have previously served and is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My dad was in the Air Force and was kind of influential in my joining the military,” said Rossman.

Challenging submarine living conditions build strong fellowship among the elite crew, Navy Officials explained. The crews are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions.  It is a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

“Service to country is important to me,” added Rossman. “Being in the Navy accomplishes that for me.”

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Erica R Gardner, Navy Office of Community Outreach.  Photo By Mass Communication Specialist First Class Jesse Hawthorne.

 

WWII Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne Sr. dies in Arizona at 92

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Navajo Code Talker Roy Hawthorne, who used his native language as an uncrackable code during World War II, died Saturday.

At 92, he was one of the last surviving Code Talkers.

Hawthorne was 17 when he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and became part of a famed group of Native Americans who encoded hundreds of messages in the Navajo language to keep them safe from the Japanese. Hawthorne served in the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific Theatre and was promoted to corporal.

The code was never broken.

“The longer we live, the more we realize the importance of what we did, but we’re still not heroes — not in my mind,” Roy Hawthorne said in 2015.

But Hawthorne’s son, Regan Hawthorne, said Monday his father leaves a proud legacy.

“They went in out of a sense of duty and a spirit of responsibility to their country,” Regan Hawthorne said, adding he didn’t know about his father’s military service until he was in his 20s.

“I grew up not knowing my dad was a Code Talker. He never talked about it, didn’t see the need to talk about it,” he said.

The Code Talkers believed they were just doing their job, he said, and shied away from receiving accolades for their service.

“When we read about the effect the Navajo Code had on shortening the war because of its effectiveness, we think about the guys who did that,” Regan Hawthorne said. “(But) they’re simply humble men who performed what they sensed to be a duty to protect all they cherished.”

He said his father and other Code Talkers returned home from the war and “simply came back to work and went back to making a life.”

As of 2016, there were about a dozen Code Talkers still living. The exact number of Code Talkers is unknown because their work was classified for years after the war ended.

Continue onto AZ Central to read the complete article.

Tammie Jo Shults, who landed crippled Southwest plane, was one of first female fighter pilots in U.S. Navy

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tammie jo shults

The pilot who coolly landed a Southwest Airlines plane after one of the jet’s engines failed and torpedoed shrapnel through a window midflight has gone against the odds before.

Identified by The Associated Press as Tammie Jo Shults, she wasted no time steering the plane into a rapid descent toward safety when chaos broke out shortly after takeoff from New York — maintaining her composure even as passengers reported from the cabin that a woman had been partially sucked out of a shattered window.

“We have part of the aircraft missing, so we’re going to need to slow down a bit,” she’s heard calmly telling air traffic controllers in audio transmissions after reporting the aircraft’s engine failure.

“Could you have medical meet us there on the runway as well? We’ve got injured passengers,” Shults then requests.

A air traffic controller asks her if her plane is on fire, to which Shults calmly replies: “No, it’s not on fire, but part of it’s missing. They said there’s a hole, and — uh — someone went out.”

One passenger was killed, and seven others suffered minor injuries, authorities said. But many say the toll on Dallas-bound Flight 1380, which had 149 people aboard, would have been much higher had it not been for Shults’ quick thinking during her emergency landing in Philadelphia.

“Most of us, when that engine blew, I think we were pretty much going, ‘Well, this just might be it,'” said passenger Peggy Phillips, from Brandon, Texas. “To get us down with no hydraulics and a blown engine and land us safely is nothing short of miraculous to me. She’s a hero, for sure.”

A 1983 graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, Shults, 56, received her degree in biology and agribusiness, said Carol Best, a spokeswoman for the university.

Shults then became one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. military, according to the alumni group at her alma mater.

Cindy Foster, a classmate of Shults, told The Kansas City Star that when Shults enlisted in the Navy, she encountered “a lot of resistance” because of her gender. She was passionate about flying and dreamed of being in the Air Force, but went to the Navy instead after the Air Force denied her a chance, Foster added.

“So she knew she had to work harder than everyone else,” Foster told the paper. “She did it for herself and all women fighting for a chance.”

Veteran Opening the Doors of Opportunity for Women-Owned Businesses in Maryland

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Entrepreneurship was never a consideration for Andrea Garris Jackson.  She wanted to be an attorney and hoped to attend college right after high school. However, upon learning her mother didn’t have the money to send her to college, she met with an Army recruiter at her high school who shared information about the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Army College Scholarship Fund.  Without hesitation, Jackson enlisted and landed both funds for college.

After completing her service at Fort Leonard Wood, Jackson enrolled in college at Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.  Upon graduation, she worked for the U.S. House Armed Services Committee in Washington, DC.  Later, she landed a job in the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development.  Jackson was hired as a Staff Assistant and subsequently appointed as the Acting Director for the office. Her assignment was to increase the success rate of minority and women-owned businesses in securing procurement opportunities with the City. During her first year on assignment, Baltimore City spent $44 million with minority and women enterprises and by her fourth year, City spending was up to $105 million annually with these firms.

Several years after leaving city government, in 2008, Jackson launched DPN Group, LLC, a management consulting firm that works with corporations to increase the success rate of small, minority, and women businesses securing contract opportunities in the private and public.  In addition, the firm oversees workforce development initiatives.  Her first client was an organization overseeing the redevelopment of 88- acres of land in East Baltimore.  Jackson’s firm is the third- party program manager and compliance monitor.  To ensure prime contractors reached their women business goals, she developed the Women’s Contractors College at EBDI.  Five cohorts later, its graduates successfully secured over $2 million in bonding for their businesses. As of September 2017, the project has netted over $38.6 million in contracts for women firms.

To further her mission to assist women-owned businesses, she sought the assistance of the Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center and Morgan State University’s Entrepreneurial Development Assistance Center in Baltimore.  The group collaborated and in 2014 held the first Maryland Military and Veteran Women Business Conference.  The conference’s mission is to ignite entrepreneurial synergy in Maryland by bringing together veterans, active duty personnel, military spouses, business owners, emerging entrepreneurs, organizations, government agencies and the private sector to share best practices and provide resources on how to do business together.  To date, the conference has gathered over 545 veteran-owned businesses to provide resources, business development and procurement opportunities.

Tiffany Daniel (right) and her mother at the Maryland Military and Veteran Women Business Conference

The conference draws participants such as Tiffany Daniel, 26- year combat Army veteran who deployed to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  She is the owner of Curves, a women’s fitness facility in Fort Washington, MD.  In 2017, she was selected as the Women Veteran by Conference Board.  During the symposium, Daniel was able to share her entrepreneurial journey while networking with other women and gaining valuable information to enhance her business operations.

While Tiffany had never attended the seminars in previous years, but she was nominated for the award by Dr. JoAnn Fisher, founder of the Women Veterans United Committee, Inc.  Dr. Fisher has been participating in the conference since its inception.  She had this to say, “This conference is an exciting event and is necessary for the recognition of our Women Veterans in the business world.  This organization gives back by recognizing other Women Veteran business owners every year who are leading the way.”

The 5th Annual Maryland Military and Veteran Women Business Conference will be held on Friday, April 27, 2018 at the War Memorial Building, War Memorial Plaza, 101 N. Gay Street, Baltimore MD  21201, 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Participants will learn about grant funding for their business, certification, building an advisory board and using social media to grow their business. The conference is free for active duty military, retirees, veterans, spouses and dependents. All are welcome.

For more information, visit marylandwomenvets.com or call DPN Group LLC, (410) 347-7558.

Military Dogs Receive Top Honors

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Military Dogs Honored

American Humane’s Lois Pope K-9 Medals of Courage

A fearless Black Lab who uncovered IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq; a pound puppy who became a Specialized Search Dog and saved countless lives during his 210 combat missions; a Chocolate Lab who protected our troops and survived deadly ambushes by the Taliban; a four-footed warrior who was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and safeguarded 26,000 U.S. servicemembers; and a brave Explosive Detection Dog who served overseas on the frontlines of the War on Terror and now protects Americans on the home front, have all been chosen as the 2017 recipients of American Humane’s Lois Pope K-9 Medal of Courage. The awards, presented at a Capitol Hill, are the nation’s highest honor for military dogs for extraordinary valor and service to America.

Meet 2017’s medal winners:

Military Working Dog Coffee

Coffee, a Chocolate Lab, started and ended her military career at U.S. Army Sergeant First Class James Bennett’s side. The two became partners almost a decade ago, when Coffee entered training at Lackland Air Force Base in 2006, where she learned to become a specialized explosives-detection dog.

Coffee and SFC Bennett served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, working together to locate lethal bombs and other security threats. Coffee faced full-on attacks and deadly ambushes by the Taliban, but she refused to waver and never failed to bring home all of the soldiers she was sent to protect. Coffee, now 13, retired in December 2016, concluding nine and a half years of military service. SFC Bennett adopted Coffee when she retired.

Explosive Detection Dog Alphie

Alphie worked under some of the most dangerous conditions during his two tours in Afghanistan, entering and clearing villages for IEDs, making vital finds of weapons and communications equipment, and working with our warriors to surprise the Taliban and take out processing plants for illegal narcotics used to finance the war against our troops. Alpine and his handler at the time, Marine Lance Corporal William Herron, served in Helmand Province, one of the most perilous areas in the country, and Alphie had his share of close calls. This heroic Black Lab, now seven years old, retired from military service in 2014. Today, Alphie works as a member of the TSA’s elite Canine Explosives Detection Program with his partner and TSA handler, Lesley Runnels.

Military Working Dog Capa

Now retired 10-year-old Capa has been awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal for meritorious service, was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Japan while serving as an explosives/patrol working dog, and was tasked to provide security for four missions protecting the President of the United States, another protecting the First Lady, and yet another helping safeguard the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Capa protected thousands of American troops during his nine years of Navy service as a highly trained explosives-detection dog. Capa’s lifesaving contributions were essential in providing safety and security for a fleet of a dozen U.S. Naval ships and 26,000 personnel, including his handler, U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms Second Class Megan Wooster.

Military Working Dog Ranger

Ranger saved uncounted lives—and risked his own—in service to our country. The eight-year-old Black Lab bravely served in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he worked as an explosives-detection dog specializing in improvised explosive devices, or IEDS—the leading cause of death of American and allied troops in the War on Terror.

While working, Ranger suffered heat stroke and retired from military service in 2012. Kirk Adams, a retired police sergeant, and his wife adopted Ranger.

Military Working Dog Gabe (in memoriam)

Gabe was a life-saving Specialized Search Dog who served our country by completing more than 210 combat missions with 26 explosive and weapons finds in Iraq, saving countless American soldiers’ lives on the battlefield. He passed away in the arms of his adopted dad, Army SFC Chuck Shuck (Ret.), in February 2013.

Gabe was a pound puppy languishing in a Houston, Texas, animal shelter when he was adopted and trained by the United States Military. Proving that adoption saves lives, Gabe began his service as a Specialized Search Dog for the United States Army in 2006, and after three years of active duty, retired in 2009, having earned more than 40 awards and coins of excellence. He was selected as the American Kennel Club Heroic Military Working Dog in 2008 and won the top title of American Hero Dog at the annual national American Humane Hero Dog Awards ™ in 2012.

Source: American Humane

 

American Veterans (AMVETS) Department of California Services Foundation: Addressing Homeless Veterans with National Partner – Living Spaces

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amvets logo

On a single night in January 2017, 40,056 veterans were experiencing homelessness in the U.S. The recent HUD Point in Time report revealed that 29% of all veterans in the United States live in California this equates to 11,472 veterans. California’s unsheltered veterans (living outside) rate is 67%. By far, California has the largest share of our nation’s homeless veterans.  (Meghan Henry, 2017) According to CalVet, California anticipates an additional 30,000 discharged members of the armed services each year over the next several years.

California has many resources for the burgeoned homeless veteran population, but all are taxed. Public and Private partnerships working together are the best way serve veterans leveraging their housing and supportive service’s needs. The CalVet Coalition and the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans through a Continuum of Care organizations provide job training, life skills, job skills, resume services, etc. Veterans need all these wrap-around services to transition successfully. AMVETS realized its capacity to contribute to the continuum, by utilizing donated resources and creating The Welcome Home Program to increase the VA’s capacity to deliver services directly to the veteran outside of their offices.

AMVETS first partnered with The Veterans Administrations in San Diego and Los Angeles in 2012. Working in unison with VA Case Managers, they closely determine exactly what a veteran needs to transition from homelessness. This public/private partnership has resulted in 4,010 veterans transitioning out of being homeless. We achieve these numbers with the help of public donations. They are critical. Donations are repurposed and delivered directly to veterans. The value of donated items given to veterans since 2012, is $1,937,368!

Corporate partnerships are essential. In December 2017, a new partnership with Living Spaces resulted in the donation of 315 mattresses in 3 sizes to the Welcome Home program (pictured right). Living Spaces representatives, Brett Thornton and Hesham Hebeish (picture below right and 2nd from right) as well Living Spaces team members, helped unload four semi-truck trailers. This donation increased our capacity to serve veterans on our wait list faster.  Living Spaces’ partnership ensures that quality mattresses will be delivered to veterans to improve their health through better sleep.

All 315 mattresses were designated for delivery in San Diego County, Orange County, Long Beach, the Greater Los Angeles (county) and Fresno.

The team also delivers, beds, sheets, pillows, blankets, dressers, night stands, couches, coffee tables, end tables, dining room tables and chairs, refrigerators (*when available), pots and pans, and special request items, such as towels or rugs (*). The team is most proud delivering a way for the veteran to regain their dignity and become social again by making a home out of an empty apartment.

What can you do?  You can come along on a Welcome Home Program delivery. Call 714-396-1872 and schedule a delivery with Karina Guzman, Program Manager. Bring a tissue.  The impact is amazing. Call us to schedule a furniture donation at 1-877-990-8387.  Cash donations can be made online at https://teamamvets.funraise.org/ and checks can be made out to AMVETS and mailed to the address below.

Team AMVETS Department of California Service Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit veteran service organization. We are located at 12345 Euclid Avenue, Garden Grove, California 92840.

EIN: 95-6056761

Works Cited

Meghan Henry, R. W. (2017). The 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

NOBLE Center for Excellence

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The NOBLE Center for Excellence will serve as an official Community Policing Certification e-learning (CEU-POST) state of the art content hub for Law Enforcement Officers from across the globe to enhance building relationships between law enforcement and the community.

To further boost the capacity of the NOBLE Center for Excellence, we have partnered with the Attorney Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute to make course content accessible in multiple platforms through a licensed online self-paced learning Virtual Campus system that is accessible 24/7/365 days a year allowing law enforcement departments or individual officers of the law to take courses through a digital live streaming television channel, mobile app, and a 21st Century Avatar virtual reality simulations that can activate on any mobile device, tablet or personal computer.

NOBLE is very excited and honored to be launching the NOBLE Center for Excellence. This is another step towards providing critical training to the law enforcement community and the nation,” stated Clarence E. Cox, III, NOBLE National President.

The program also includes:

The NOBLE Center for Excellence Institute is open enrollment — click here to begin your selection of a program.

The 21st Century Community Policing POST-CEU online certification program is also open for enrollment – click here to enroll.

Army vice chief of staff: Women vital to ‘strength of our Army’

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History is replete with inspiring examples of female Soldiers who served, said the Army’s vice chief of staff.

“Today, women are a vital part of the strength of our Army,” said Gen. James C. McConville, who spoke Monday on Capitol Hill as part of the 10th Annual U.S. Army Women’s Summit.

The general said a female inspired him very early on in his own career. That woman, Gale O’Sullivan Dwyer, was his classmate during high school in Braintree, Massachusetts. Coincidentally, McConville and Dwyer both entered the same class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, he said.

At the time, McConville acknowledged that he had some challenges going through the academy. It was Dwyer who inspired him to persevere, he said, describing her as a little over five feet tall and about 100 pounds but “tough as nails.”

“She had tremendous character and resilience, was extremely smart and super physically fit,” he said. “She motivated me every day by her presence.”

Dwyer later on wrote a book with the fitting title: “Tough As Nails: One Woman’s Journey Through West Point.”

Throughout his career, McConville said he’s seen “hundreds of formations with women, motivating Soldiers left and right.”

The vice chief of staff provided another account of a female Soldier who inspired him. When he was a brigade commander in the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq in April 2004, he said he got a call from the 1st Armored Division, saying that enemy fighters were on the verge of overrunning a small outpost in Najaf.

Fortunately, McConville said he had a team of Apache helicopters available, led by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Cindy Rozelle, outside of Baghdad. The helicopter team launched, arrived at Najaf in about 35 minutes, and came in shooting, he related.

“I don’t recall any of those Soldiers whose lives were saved talking about her gender,” McConville said. “They were just happy to be alive.”

SOME RECENT MILESTONES

McConville listed some recent achievements made by women in the Army:

— Last year, Simone Askew became the first African-American woman to hold the position of First Captain of the U.S. Military Academy’s Corps of Cadets. Askew was also selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

— Last fall, six women earned Expert Infantry Badges during testing at Fort Bragg.

— By the end of 2017, more than 600 female Soldiers were in infantry, armor and artillery positions that were only recently opened up to women.

— Today, every infantry, armor and artillery battalion in every single active-duty brigade combat team has women assigned — up to hundreds in some BCTs.

Continue onto the Army newsroom to read the complete article.

Engineering Better Body Armor

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Mackie Jordan

By Ashley Calingo, Marine Corps Systems Command

Flora “Mackie” Jordan’s path to becoming an award-winning body armor engineer for the Infantry Combat Equipment team at Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) happened by chance.

“It was kind of accidental but serendipitous,” Jordan said of her introduction to MCSC. “After graduating from college, I applied to the Naval Acquisition Development Program, and they can place you at any one of over 100 locations. I think it was just pure luck that [MCSC] happened to be looking for a body armor engineer.”

After graduating from McGill University in 2011 with a degree in civil engineering and minor in environmental engineering, Jordan had to choose between various job prospects. Ultimately, Jordan—a young woman whose first brush with the military was as a nuclear engineering intern with the Navy—chose to go with the Marines.

“I was torn between my technical passion—environmental engineering—and patriotism and wanting to give back to those who give so much to this country,” Jordan said. “This job just sounded so cool and unlike anything I’ve ever done or thought I could ever do. It sounded like a challenge and was something I just couldn’t turn down.”

In her relatively short tenure at MCSC—Jordan recently celebrated her five-year work anniversary at the command—the 28-year-old has led the team that introduced a lightweight body armor system that is just as effective as, but 45 percent lighter than, the body armor Marines currently use.

The research, data collection, and testing period leading up to the system’s final iteration was a lengthy one, and Jordan sometimes collected data in unconventional—albeit effective—ways. To help fine-tune the requirements, Jordan found herself—dressed in full gear—marching alongside Marines during a field exercise in the southern Californian desert.

“I was in body armor the whole time, I was eating MREs, we were sleeping in tents,” Jordan said of the week-long exercise. “It was a very miserable experience, but it really gave me an understanding of how Marines use the gear, what the issues are, and helped me gather the data we really needed.”

Data collection sessions like these helped Jordan and her team identify specific issues Marines face while wearing body armor. It also helped to put themselves in a Marine’s frame of mind when coming up with solutions to their feedback.

After several iterations, Jordan and her team developed a modular body armor system that was lightweight and more comfortable, gave Marines better mobility, and could be customized to fit Marines of every size and body type. Jordan and her team also made sure the new body armor was compatible with other fielded equipment, like the USMC pack system.

“Marines are at the center of everything we do,” said Jordan. “From a design standpoint, we took into account a lot of human factors and how Marines wear it and move with it on. We looked at its compatibility with packs when Marines are hiking or how well it holds up to different environmental conditions—from flames to extreme cold to maritime.”

Jordan and her team’s hard work did not go unnoticed. Jordan was recently awarded the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America “Promising Innovations Medal” from the Partnership for Public Service for her work on lightweight body armor. Also known as “the Sammies,” the annual awards recognize federal employees who are responsible for noteworthy and inspiring accomplishments, highlighting excellence in the federal workforce.

“When the request for Sammies nominations came out, one person jumped out in my mind, and that was Mackie,” said Nick Pierce, team lead for the individual armor team at MCSC who nominated Jordan for the award. “Mackie’s impressive with the speed at which she moves—she stays focused on making positive changes that would impact Marines the most. Mackie really values the direct feedback she gets from Marines. She’s also a big player within the team and will help with anything.”

In addition to being this year’s youngest honoree, Jordan is also the first civilian Marine to ever win a Sammie in the award’s 16-year history.

In her off time, Jordan is currently pursuing her Master’s in Engineering Management at George Washington University. She also regularly volunteers at Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics events to “let kids know what opportunities are out there and help them understand their capabilities better.” Jordan relishes in the idea of “changing the world for good, or making an impact in the world.”

At MCSC, Jordan says the most rewarding thing about her job is knowing how her work impacts Marines in a positive way.

“Honestly, working with Marines, getting a chance to hear what they have to say and trying to make a difference that makes their lives a little easier—whether it’s by making their body armor lighter, or making it slightly more comfortable so it’s not causing them pain, or even just giving them something that they’re looking for in a system—that’s the biggest reward,” she said.

Photo Credit: Jennifer A Sevier
Source: Marines.mil