These are the first sisters to attain the rank of general, Army says

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Army General Sisters headshots side by side both dressed in Uniform

For the first time in the Army’s history, two sisters have attained the rank of general, the service said. It isn’t surprising that Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, 53, and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi, 51, have climbed some of the highest ranks in the Army, the women’s brother Rus Lodi told USA Today. The sisters, who he dubbed “leadership junkies,” always amazed the family and have been a “great source of pride” for the family, he said.

The Army isn’t surprised by the sisters’ success either.

“Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi represent the best America has to offer,” Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said, according to USA Today. “However, this comes as no surprise to those who have known them and loved them throughout this extraordinary journey. This is a proud moment for their families and for the Army.”

Although there have been cases where fathers and sons, and even a married couple have become generals, the Army doesn’t believe that there is another group of sisters who have pinned on general’s stars.

“The fact that we’re sisters, not brothers, I think it’s a huge illustration of how far we’ve come as a service,” said Lodi, who is now deputy chief of staff for operations in the Army’s Surgeon General’s office.

Barrett was initially interested in joining the Army to help pay for school at Tufts University, and wanted to go on to a career at the State Department. After going through Reserve Officer Training Corps as an undergraduate student, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

But as Barrett advanced as an officer, she realized the Army was a better fit for her.

“When I talk to younger officers, I tell them the reason I joined is not the reason why I stayed,” said Barrett, who is the commanding general of the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM. “Our democratic experiment, even on its most imperfect day, is worth defending.”

Lodi, who The Washington Post reports was promoted to brigadier general in July, also didn’t expect to stay in the Army for as long as she has.

Continue on to Army Times to read the complete article.

Sailor of the Day!

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U.S. Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Lesley Carrasco, from Anaheim, California, poses for a photograph as the Sailor of the Day with Capt. Randy Peck, right, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and Command Master Chief Marc Puco in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 8, 2019. The John C. Stennis is underway conducting routine operations in support of Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

U.S. Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Lesley Carrasco, from Anaheim, California, poses for a photograph as the Sailor of the Day with Capt. Randy Peck, right, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and Command Master Chief Marc Puco in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 8, 2019.

The John C. Stennis is underway conducting routine operations in support of Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic.

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Thomas R. Pittman.

Source: outreach.navy.mil/

About The Navy Office of Community Outreach
The Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) connects Americans with their Navy. With most of the Navy’s personnel and equipment logically concentrated on America’s coasts, NAVCO oversees a number of community outreach programs designed to bring America’s Navy to cities throughout the country which do not enjoy a significant Navy presence.

Jimmy Fallon surprises military veteran with $50K in heartwarming video

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Jimmy Fallon hugs military souse on the Tonight Show

To mark Veteran’s Day, Jimmy Fallon had a couple of announcements in store. The first was that The Tonight Show would be donating $150,000 to Fisher House Foundation, a charity that “provides housing for families of military and veterans while their loved one is receiving treatment.”

The second surprise, meanwhile, was even closer to home.

“Our friends at The Home Depot Foundation started a brand new contest this year called Operation Surprise, where people all across the country get to nominate a U.S. military veteran in need, and the winner gets $25,000 to go towards critical home repairs,” explains Fallon in the clip above.

“It’s a great thing, and I’m happy to say that the winner of this year’s Operation Surprise contest is here with us tonight.”

Just watch the face of the winner — a veteran of the Air Force — as her name is called out.

 

Continue on to Mashable to read the complete article

Sailor uses laser range finder aboard USS John P. Murtha

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Alejandra Murillo users laser USS John P. Murtha

Lt.j.g. Alejandra Murillo, from Huntington Beach, Calif., uses a laser range finder on the forecastle of the amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) as the ship arrives in Okinawa, Japan.

The John P. Murtha is currently on its first deployment and part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) team and is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to support regional stability, reassure partners and allies, and maintain a presence postured to respond to any crisis ranging from humanitarian assistance to contingency operations.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Carlstrom)

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

Meet the U.S. Army Medical Command Equal Opportunity Advisor of the Year

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Sgt. 1st Class Brian Wharton in uniform with U.S. Flag behind him

By Mr. John Ciccarelli (Regional Health Command Pacific)

It was April Fools’ Day when Sgt. 1st Class Brian Wharton received news he couldn’t believe. Through fragmented texts exchanged during a flight across the Pacific Ocean, Wharton discovered that he had been named the Equal Opportunity Advisor (EOA) of the Year for U.S. Army Medical Command.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘No way!'” he said. “It wasn’t until I landed that I received the confirmation letter in my e-mail.”

Wharton assumed duties as an EOA after graduating from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute in 2017. Assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), he immersed himself in building relationships with the staff of more than 4,500 Soldiers and civilians, which earned him widespread admiration and gratitude.

“His drive and determination as EOA have established a positive climate for the command and adherence to higher standards of equality through awareness initiatives, open and focused discussions, and providing sound advice to the commander and staff members,” said Col. Mary V. Krueger, Commander of TAMC.

The EO program is the Army’s way of validating the values we stand for in a visible way, Wharton said.

“Embracing our differences, acknowledging our histories, and showing respect for the plethora of people that make up our military forces shows our Soldiers that we are not separate entities but rather one and the same,” added Wharton.

Wharton has been busy planning, coordinating and executing observances across the Army. The Army Hawaii EO office selected Tripler to lead eight observances in fiscal year 2018, setting the standard for other units.

“As the world is evolving, so are we as individuals,” Wharton said. “We must continue to create a safe place for individuals to talk about differences and create solutions to work well as a multidisciplinary team from various backgrounds. Our ability to do this is what makes us great.”

Wharton was born and raised in Detroit. He enlisted in the Army in 2003 and attended basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he became an Army healthcare specialist.

Wharton said it is important to embrace each opportunity to further the platform of EO to Soldiers, civilian counterparts and the communities in which we serve.

“Creating partnerships that haven’t been created before and soliciting assistance from outside organizations will make for a larger impact and lasting changes throughout the world,” said Wharton.

Source: army.mil

Together We Served: A website to help you find old friends

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Group of U.S. Military pictured in rows wearing military uniforms

The United States military is a brotherhood and sisterhood like no other. Those who serve together form a common sense of purpose and devotion to duty. It’s a level of trust not commonly found in civilian life.

Those military friendships last forever. But as life moves, and when people leave the military, they often lose touch with those friends, some of whom they would have given their life for.

Tracking down old friends, particularly if you have been out of the service many years, is not always easy. But there is one company that can help. Together We Served (TWS) is a Veteran-only website, launched in 2003. It provides Veterans a highly-effective means to reconnect with old service-friends. One simply enters their service history onto their TWS Military Service Page. TWS built an individual website for each branch of service and, with over 1.9 million Veteran members, the chances of finding people you served with is high.

The secret behind TWS’s ability to connect more Veterans is the depth of its databases. Over the past 16 years, TWS has built one of the most comprehensive databases of U.S. Military training and operating units in existence. Its databases span from WW2 to present day.

Military Service Page

By creating your Military Service Page on Together We Served, you can not only find Veterans who went to the same basic training as you, or served in the same units or duty stations, but also those who participated in the same combat or non-combat operations. TWS’s search engine automatically matches the service information you enter on your Military Service Page with the service information on the Military Service Pages of all other TWS members. Those members, whose entries could match yours, get listed on your Service Page. That is what enables you to make contact with those you may know. This powerful feature helps Veterans remember forgotten names.

Finding key people on TWS can be very helpful, especially if you need or can provide witness account to support a potential VA claim.

“We are especially proud of the fact that Together We Served has been able to help hundreds of thousands of Veterans to reconnect with old service friends they would otherwise never see or hear of again. For a combat Veteran, in particular, to be able to re-unite with someone you went through hell and back with, can be a very cathartic experience”. –Brian Foster, President and Founder of Together We Served

Take this opportunity to reconnect with the servicemen and women you shared some of the most important times of your life with. In recognition of your service, Together We Served provides all VA Veterans with a FREE One Year Premium Membership, providing unlimited people searches, when you join TWS via the following link: join.togetherweserved.com/va

Continue on to the VA website to read the complete article.

Anyone Can Register for this MilSpouse Hackathon

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military spouse working on a computer

Have you ever wanted to learn how to code or just improve your skills? Now is your chance! Milspouse Coders, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering military spouses around the globe to find challenging and fulfilling careers in technology, is hosting a live hackathon at the Microsoft Visitors Center in Redmond, Washington, on Nov. 8-9, 2019.

In the annual hackathon, coders, entrepreneurs, UI/UX designers, graphic designers and project managers come together to “hack” a solution or to create the next big app. This year, the Microsoft Military Spouse Technology Academy is sponsoring the event, which will focus on hacking the military life — finding ways to knock down obstacles military families face.

“We have registrations from civilians local to Seattle/Redmond, but we’d really like to fill the seats with more military-affiliated tech lovers,” said MilSpouse Coders Chair Kerri-Leigh Grady in an email. “We want to expose our community to the opportunities available to us in this industry, whether it’s a milspouse hungry for a career of their own, or a transitioning service member curious about the wide range of opportunities in this field.”

Beginners are welcome and will learn to code. If you’re unable to attend the event but are interested in learning more, MilSpouse Coders has 15 chapters around the globe, as well as a virtual chapter. Military spouses of all coding levels are encouraged to participate in their local chapter or online.

“Military spouses are perfectly suited for IT careers,” said Grady in an interview. “IT tends to have a distributed workforce, which offers military spouses the flexibility they need with moves.”

She also said that military spouses should consider a career in IT because of the diversity of positions available, as well as the sheer number of jobs that are open in the industry.

Continue on to Military.com to read the complete article.

Huan Nguyen First Vietnamese American Navy Rear Admiral

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Vice Adm. Thomas J. Moore administers the oath of office to Rear Adm. Huan T. Nguyen during Nguyen's promotion ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Heritage Center, Oct. 10, 2019.

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Huan Nguyen became the first Vietnamese American promoted to the rank of rear admiral during a recent ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Nguyen, 60, will serve as the Deputy Commander for Cyber Engineering at the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) on the Washington Navy Yard. NAVSEA Commander Vice Adm. Tom Moore served as the presiding officer.

“Today we will welcome the first Vietnamese-born U.S. Navy officer to achieve flag rank, and that is a significant event,” Moore said.

Nguyen addressed the audience after being promoted. “It is a great honor to attain the rank of admiral,” Nguyen said. “I am tremendously humbled to become the first Vietnamese American to wear the flag’s rank in the U.S. Navy.

“The honor actually belongs to the Vietnamese American community, which instilled in us a sense of patriotism, duty, honor, courage and commitment to our adopted country, the United States of America,” he added.

“This is our America. A country built on service, kindness and generosity, opportunity–the freedom to hope and dream. These values are what inspired me to serve. And what a great honor and privilege it is to serve our Navy, to serve our country, to support and defend our Constitution,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen was born in Hue, Vietnam, the son of an armor officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. During the 1968 Tet Offensive, Nguyen’s mother and father, along with his five brothers and sister, were killed by Viet Cong communist guerillas in their family home outside Saigon. Nine-year-old Nguyen was shot in the arm and thigh, with another bullet piercing his skull. He stayed with his mother for two hours, until she bled out and died. Amazingly, Nguyen survived and escaped after dark.

Nguyen was taken in by his uncle, a colonel in the Republic of Vietnam Air Force. In 1975, at age 16, they fled Vietnam, seeking refuge in the United States following the fall of Saigon.

Transported through Guam, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel took care of Nguyen and his family. The U.S. 7th Fleet helped to evacuate thousands of Vietnamese refugees and transport them to safety in Guam. Seeing the U.S. Navy take care of his family would later inspire Nguyen to serve in the Navy.

“I was one of those refugees, apprehensive about an uncertain future, yet feeling extremely grateful that I was here at all,” he recalled. “The images that I remember vividly when I arrived at Camp Asan, Guam, now Asan Beach Park, were of American sailors and Marines toiling in the hot sun, setting up tents and chow hall, distributing water and hot food, helping and caring for the people with dignity and respect.

“I thought to myself how lucky I am to be in a place like America. Those sailors inspired me to later serve in the United States Navy,” Nguyen said.

Later that year, U.S. Air Force Colonel Ed Veiluva and his wife Dorothy sponsored his uncle’s family, allowing them to officially come to the United States as political refugees. Nguyen moved with his uncle’s family to Midwest City, Oklahoma, just outside of Tinker Air Force Base.

Nguyen graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Oklahoma State University in 1981. He holds master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, in Engineering (Manufacturing Concentration) from Purdue University, and in Information Technology with Highest Distinction from Carnegie Mellon University. He received a Navy direct commission through the Reserve Engineering Duty Officer program in 1993.

“America is the beacon of hope for all of us. There is no other place in the world where a person can go for such opportunity,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen’s operational tours include a number of waterfront maintenance assignments: Ship Repair Facility Yokosuka as testing officer on USS Kitty Hawk availability; Officer in Charge, Ship Repair Facility, Detachment 113.  Later, he served as Executive Officer/Chief Engineer at the Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (CREW) Field Office in Baghdad supporting Task Force Troy/18th Airborne Corps and V Corps, CREW Engineer at Task Force Paladin and Combined Explosive/Exploitation Cell (CEXC) in Afghanistan.

Staff assignments included duties as Deputy Chief Information Officer, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) from 2017-2019, Director Military Programs, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and Executive Officer, NAVSEA Enlisted Personnel from 2013 – 2017.  He also served as Community Manager, Engineering Duty Officer (Reserve Component). Reserve assignments include multiple command tours with various units at NAVSEA, Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), and Office of Naval Research.

Nguyen’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards) and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards).

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Source: Naval Sea Systems Command.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Laura Lakeway

Brothers Keep Family Tradition of Army Service

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Three Stovell brothers pose for photo at their training site in Saudi Arabia, 26 June 2019. From left to right: Staff Sgt. Daniel Stovell, Staff Sgt. Daryl Stovell, and Sgt.1st Class Davin Stovell. All three work as training instructors for the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command's Military Assistance Group that advises the Saudi Ministry of Interior. Called MOI-MAG, the DoD program teaches Saudi security forces how to defend their country's critical infrastructure sites like ports, airports, bridges, oil pipeline and refineries. (U.S. Army photo by Richard Bumgardner)

By Richard Bumgardner, USASAC

In 2018, when Sgt. 1st Class Davin Stovell saw a job posted on the Army’s Tour of Duty website, he knew it was tailor fit, not only for himself, but also for his two brothers, Staff Sgts. Daryl and Daniel Stovell.Pictured from left, Staff Sgt. Daniel Stovell, Staff Sgt. Daryl Stovell and Sgt. 1st Class Davin Stovell.

“It was like the advertisement was a list of our qualifications and life experiences,” Davin said, who, like his three brothers and two sisters, grew up as military kids.

The three Stovell brothers, full-time members of the Los Angeles Police Department, who were once in the National Guard and now Army Reserve, applied and were soon accepted.

Davin, who enlisted as an active-duty Army infantryman in 1995, and his brothers, who joined post 9/11, follow a proud military family tradition and legacy of service to the Army.

Five generations of the Stovell family tree have worn Army colors, starting with their great-grandfather, the first Stovell to wear an Army uniform. Their grandfather served in Korea, and their father, Donell Sr., did two combat tours to Vietnam.

A fourth older brother is in the Army Reserve, and their older sister is deployed overseas with the Mississippi National Guard. The family has not only served in the Army but has also served in every Army component.

Altogether, the five generations have completed nine combat tours, with more on the way before their duty to country and service in the Army is complete.

Davin, Daryl and Daniel are serving as military training advisers, assigned to Security Assistance Command’s Ministry of Interior-Military Assistance Group, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As a subordinate organization of USASAC, MOI-MAG’s mission is to build partner readiness that ultimately enhances regional security.

Collectively, the three brothers have already given more than 80 years of public service: 53 in the military and 26 as police officers with the LAPD. And they’re not done yet.

The MOI-MAG program is the only program in the world where a U.S. Department of Defense organization has a train-and-advise partnership with another country’s Ministry of Interior. One of the primary missions of MOI-MAG personnel – who are Army reservists – is training the Facilities Security Force that protect the country’s civil structures and facilities, much like what the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security does.

For the Stovell brothers, teaching defensive techniques to a partner force is natural fit. All are trained drill instructors. All have backgrounds in infantry. All have served on deployments in places such as Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, Panama, Germany and Australia. Altogether they have served four combat tours in Iraq.

“Ultimately, it will make the FSF soldiers better at what they do,” Davin said. “We’re trying to give them as much training as we can; training like how to handle a weapon, reflexive fire, clearing a building, establishing a checkpoint, how to do a patrol, conducting vehicle searches at an entry control, and even how to protect themselves if they are physically attacked.”

For Watson, having three brothers, all highly experienced noncommissioned officers, on his team is an interesting story, but he said, “I think what makes it a better story is that the three brothers that I have working for me are fantastic instructors; they are doing an extraordinary job of making FSF soldiers better at what they do.”

Source: army.mil

World’s First Black Fighter Pilot Honored at Museum of Aviation

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Eugene Bullard statue at museum of aviation

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Before the Tuskegee Airmen blazed the trail for black military pilots, there was Columbus, Georgia, native Eugene Bullard.

During World War I, while fighting for France, he became the world’s first black fighter pilot. Last week, on what would have been his 124th birthday, hundreds of people honored him at the Museum of Aviation.

A life-sized bronze statue of Bullard was unveiled. Harriett Bullard White, his cousin, became emotional when she saw it.

She was 11 years old when he died and remembers him well. She has been to France many times to visit places related to his service.

“He was, for us, a giant hero,” she said. “No one ever heard of him outside of our family, it seemed, but he was our hero.”

She was among 22 family members from around the country who came for the ceremony, along with five original Tuskegee Airmen. White said it means a lot to the family.

“This is incredible,” she said. “My heart is just so touched from this recognition. He has left a legacy that’s incredible for us, as a family, and now to have the state love him and cheer him on and present the statue. … My happiness and excitement is so big right now.”

Bullard was born in Columbus in 1865, but racial tensions led him to run away from home at an early age, according to a history presented at the ceremony. He took odd jobs along the East Coast, then stowed away on a freighter to France. He joined the French Army when World War I broke out and was in some of the worst fighting. He was severely wounded.

After his recovery, he couldn’t join the infantry again but was given the chance to be a pilot. He went on to have at least two confirmed kills of enemy aircraft. He was awarded 15 medals. German enemies nicknamed him “The Black Swallow of Death.”

He was denied the chance to fly in the U.S. military because of his race. He also fought briefly for France in World War II and returned to the U.S. after he was injured. He died of cancer in New York in 1961. In 1994, President Bill Clinton posthumously made him a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

Col. Brian Moore, commander of the 78th Air Base Wing at Robins Air Force Base, said Bullard was a hero in many ways.

Continue on to Military.com to read the complete article.

LA’s Only National Cemetery For Vets Is Finally Taking New Applications After More Than 40 Years

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Mebers of the color guard at a military funeral service

For the first time in decades, veterans and local military families have access to a final resting place alongside fellow servicemembers in the city of L.A.

The Los Angeles National Cemetery, closed to new burials since 1978, is once again accepting applications for interment.

“It’s fantastic, and I’m starting to tear up a bit, because I know what it means to the veterans and their family members,” said cemetery director Tom Ruck.

The openings are thanks to a newly expanded columbarium, a series of thick concrete walls with niches to store cremated remains, which opened Oct. 1. As property values climb and space for below-ground burials becomes scarcer, the Department of Veterans Affairs is building more of these high-density memorial structures in cities around the country.

For myriad personal and religious reasons, the columbarium option is not for everyone. Angeleno families who choose a casket burial will still have to drive to Riverside or Bakersfield for the nearest veterans cemetery with room to accommodate new applications.

The L.A. National Cemetery, first put to use in 1889, is home to servicemembers from conflicts dating back to the Civil War. It houses roughly 90,000 graves between Brentwood and Westwood, just east of the 405, north of Wilshire Blvd.

Moviegoers may recognize the solemn white stone markers dotting an immaculate green lawn; film shoots sometimes use the setting as a substitute for Arlington National Cemetery.

The new columbarium niches are behind UCLA’s Jackie Robinson baseball stadium on the West L.A. Veterans Affairs campus, across the freeway from the main cemetery.

The first phase of expansion includes space for about 10,000 veterans, their spouses and qualifying dependent children. The ultimate project should nearly double the capacity of the entire cemetery to 180,000.

Veterans have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for burial in a national cemetery, including being discharged with status other than “dishonorable.” Niche, marker and site upkeep are free of charge, but cremation must be arranged and paid for independently.

Ruck said that applicants can’t reserve specific columbarium niches. “We can’t take reservations,” he said. “We just can’t.”

He expects a bit of a rush from years of pent-up demand. After 40 years of “no vacancies” at the local veterans cemetery, Angelenos who may be holding on to remains in an urn at home can find them a permanent resting place in the new structure.

“I can tell you that there’s a whole lot of people who have mom, or dad or uncle or brother in the closet, just waiting for this to happen,” Ruck said. “We’re going to be able to take care of them with dignity, with honor and with pride.”

Continue on to LA ist to read the complete article.