Tuesday, December 30, 2008

“The mission of the medical ETT (embedded transition team) is to train, coach, and mentor

the ANA (Afghan national army) medical personnel in order for them to develop a self-sustaining medical system in order for the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to achieve security and stability,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ed Fieg, Deputy Team Leader and senior physician mentor of the 205th Corps, Afghan Regional Security Integration Command – South said Dec. 30th. Fieg said, while less than perfect, the ANA medical system are functional and have made remarkable strides over the past year.

Lt. Col. Fieg joined David Tate with the A Battlefield Tourist and Christian Lowe of Military.com for the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Holidays from the 26th MEU

Twas the night before Christmas

"Before 2003, the police were one of several security agencies here in Iraq whose sole purpose was to keep Sadaam Hussein in power ...

Today we're trying to flip that around and elevate the police to a postion of primacy here in the country; where the populace has confidence in them, they trust them. And we're seeing positive trends in that regard in terms of the public's perception of its police," said Maj. Gen. James M. Milano, Deputy Commanding General, Directorate of Interior Affairs, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq. Maj. Gen. Milano talked with Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent, Bill Roggio from The Long War Journal, Chuck Simmons with America's North Shore Journal, Marisa Cochrane from the Institute for the Study of War, Christian Lowe with Military.com, Andrew Lubin of Proceedings, Jarred Fishman with The Air Force Pundit, and Paul McLeary from DTI on a MNSTC-I Bloggers Roundtable.

"We've learned a lot about how to train forces to be full spectrum," said Brig. Gen. Robert A. Abrams, Deputy commanding general,

U.S. Combined Arms Center. "This manual captures a lot of the lessons learned as to the how or the what of training units for full-spectrum operations and codified it in doctrine."

Brig. Gen. Abrams participated in an Army Bloggers Roundtable on Dec. 17 to discuss the release of FM 7-0, "Training for Full Spectrum Operations." FM 7-0 will help to train the force in offensive, defensive and stability operations anywhere along the spectrum of conflict.

Joining us on the call were Andrew Lubin, Naval Institute's Proceedings, Beth Wilson, Spencer Ackerman, Greg Grant, and military.com.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Coming up on the Pentagon Channel

1000 Eastern - Farewell to the Troops: The Commander in Chief Reflects: Commander in Chief George W. Bush discusses his 8 years in office in an exclusive one-on-one interview with The Pentagon Channel's MSgt Rusty Barfield. The President discusses Iraq, Afghanistan and his special moments serving as Commander in Chief. (VoD, 20 min) Encore presentation at 1300hrs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Things you need to read:

Silver Star record for unit in Afghan cliff clash
Green Berets earn Silver Stars for Afghan battle

“There’s a growing confidence that this democracy is going to work,"

said U.S. Army Col. Larry Saunders, senior advisor to the Vice Deputy of Training for the Iraq Ministry of Interior. "There’s a great appreciation amongst those whom actually make the decisions for what the west brings them in terms of furthering democracy,” Saunders told the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with Chuck Simmins of America's North Shore Journal and Jarred Fishman of the Air Force Pundit.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"The region is very important to us; we share so many things

with the region. Whether we're sharing cultures, common interests, values; all of those things are important," said Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command. Rear Adm. Kernan joined the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with Jim Dolbow of the U.S. Naval Institue, Boston Maggie, Andrew Lubin with Proceedings, Chuck Simmins from America's North Shore Journal and Paul McLeary with Defense Technology International to speak about the 4th Fleet, U.S. Navy South, U.S. Southern Command and Continuing Promise '08.

Check this out

In case you missed it, the U.S. Naval Institute is now blogging. Welcome to the Blogosphere.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"And at the end-of-the-day, if we could transform strategically chosen valleys

... I think we could start to transform the environment and turn this fight around," said Col. Jeffrey M. Haynes, USMC, former commanding officer for the Regional Corps Advisory Command - Central, Afghanistan. Col. Haynes joined us today for the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with Andrew Lubin of the USNI Proceedings, Chuck Simmins from America's North Shore Journal, Troy Stewart of Bohammer, and Greg Grant with Nextgov.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Today from Iraq

Heads up on a briefing this morning:

1000 - Iraq Briefing: MG Mark Hertling, Commander of Multinational Division-North and the 1st Armored Division, speaks to reporters at the Pentagon via satellite, providing an update on ongoing security operations in Iraq. (Live, VoD, Podcast)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Department of Defense Launches Wounded Warrior Diaries

Defense Department officials yesterday launched the “Wounded Warrior Diaries,” a multimedia Web tribute in which American servicemembers wounded in combat share stories of their service, including their hard-won battles on the road to recovery and the ups and downs of life in the wake of injury.

The Wounded Warrior Diaries feature videos of servicemembers relaying their stories in their own words. The videos are accompanied by a written account of their experiences. The site launched with four diaries, and a new diary will be added each month.

“The diaries are intended to be sources of strength, encouragement and reassurance for other wounded troops and their families,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt, DoD’s director of new media, said. “They illustrate the ultimate triumph over injury – returning to full and active lives through hard work and the support of loved ones, the community and the military family.”

In addition, the process of creating the diaries is meant to be therapeutic for the servicemembers, DeWalt said, noting that in some cases, their spouses and children take part in the interviews. “Finally,” he added, “the diaries are created to honor the service, sacrifice, courage and determination of all who voluntarily serve in harm’s way."

Featured this month, are four servicemembers from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. The Wounded Warrior Diaries launch in November is part of DoD’s Warrior Care Month.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Miltiary Health System Web Town Hall

The Military Health System will host a Web town hall on Nov. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. EST on Health.mil as part of the ongoing dialogue between senior military leaders and service members and their families about the Defense Department’s medical care programs and services for its wounded, ill and injured troops.
Subject matter experts and service members and families who have been touched by warrior care will be on-hand to answer questions. Specifically, representatives from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Office, TRICARE and other organizations dedicated to military family health care are scheduled to participate in the event.

Service members and families are invited to submit questions in advance.
Webhall URL: http://www.health.mil/WarriorCareWebhall

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Afghan Security Forces Making Positive Strides

“All in all we are making positive strides in fielding professional security forces that are confident, diverse, and capable of providing security to Afghanistan,” U.S. Army Col. John Agoglia, director of the Counterinsurgency Training Center – Afghanistan, of the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan, said during a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. The Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan is responsible for training, developing, fielding, and mentoring the Afghan Security Forces. As for the COIN Center - Afghanistan, “Our focus is to enhance Coalition Forces, Afghan Security Forces, and other Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan agencies capability to reduce the insurgent influence,” Agoglia said.

On the call with us were Greg Grant of NextGov and Jason Sigger of the Armchair Generalist.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate Achieves Operational Capability Under Reforms

"In the last week or so, we’ve reached what we really feel is our full operating capability, as far as new processes and people," Coast Guard Rear Adm. Gary Blore, assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer, said in a bloggers roundtable to discuss the status of the Coast Guard’s acquisition transformation. In 2006, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad W. Allen called for acquisition reforms that have led to organizational consolidation, new policies and processes, and efforts to strengthen the service’s acquisition workforce.

Army Transforming Soldier Rehabilitative Care Programs, General Says

The Army has put a lot of effort into improving rehabilitative care for soldiers since coming under criticism in February 2007 for conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Army Brig. Gen. Gary H. Creek said in a bloggers roundtable to discuss the Defense Department’s Warrior Care Month. "We have really, in many ways, transformed (outpatient care) in terms of the facilities that we use, the services that we provide, and the leadership that we have dedicated to that effort – which includes the medical management folks who help soldiers through that," Creek said. "We want to make the soldier very much a part of and responsible for their rehabilitative program, and we want to work hard to measure…how well we’re doing satisfying soldier’s needs, families’ needs…and then listening to them to continue to refine the program."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


As part of Warrior Care month, the Military Health System launched a short, anonymous questionnaire for wounded, ill or injured service members to provide input about the care they received and what can be improved.

There is a separate questionnaire for families, both available directly here or through the MHS homepage, http://www.health.mil/.

So far, we've received a great deal of response from Soldiers and are now pushing the other services and family members to weigh in.

The deadline is Nov. 28.

Also, MHS will host a Warrior Care Month WebHall on Wed. Nov. 19, where senior military leaders will answer questions from service members and their families about the Defense Department's medical care programs and services for its wounded, ill and injured troops. More details will be available in a few days.

Nobody's invincible. Help us help.

U.S. Army Researching Futuristic Technologies, Official Says

“We’ve decided to showcase a number of very important areas that we believe will give rise to disruptive technology in the future,” Dr. John A. Parmentola, director of research and laboratory management, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology said to bloggers. Parmentola addressed such topics as regenerative medicine, nanotechnology, immersive technology, and molecular electronics when speaking about topics that will be on display at the 26th Army Science Conference. “We’re making Science Fiction into a reality,” Parmentola said.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coalition Forces Continue to Develop Iraqi Ministry of Interior

U.S. Army Col. Bryan Bequette, director of training support for Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, provided an update on the ongoing development of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and its forces. “We’re continuing to develop big numbers of recruits, but at the same time we’re also starting to add professional training,” Bequette said. “We’re adding investigator courses, follow-on leadership courses, and management courses as we start working on the professionalism of the force along with and in parallel of the size [of the force],” he added.

Joining us on the call were D.J. Elliot of the Long War Journal, Jarred A. Fishman of the Air Force Pundit, and Claire Russo of Understanding War.

U.S. Army Looks to Take a Proactive Approach to Human Security

“Human security allows for much more of a proactive type of engagement towards finding solutions before crises become catastrophes and catastrophes become combat,” U.S. Army Maj. Shannon Beebe, senior Africa analyst, Office of United States Army Deputy Chief of Staff said to bloggers. Maj. Beebe is in Africa, working on emerging concepts of human security and their application to defense and security strategies in the 21st Century.

Joining us on the call were Chuck Simmins of the North Shore Journal, Greg Grant of NextGov.com, David Axe of the War is Boring, Chris Albon of War and Health, and Beth Wilson of Homefront in Focus.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

U.S. Army's Flexible Display Technology Not Far From Commercial Production

“Flexible display technology is a new capability that will not only make the things we do now better, but it will enable us to give the soldiers information in ways we cannot do at the moment,” Dr. David Morton, cooperative agreement manager for the Flexible Display Center with the U.S. Army Research Center said. The displays will give soldiers continually updated information in a small, light, rugged and low power screen that could be attached to a uniform or folded in a pocket. “The Army’s motivation is to provide the best situational awareness that we can to save lives.”

Update from Operation Continuing Promise 2008

U.S. Navy Capt. Frank Ponds, the commodore of the USS Kearsarge, gave an update from Operation Continuing Promise 2008, which has been underway in the Caribbean and Central and South America since August. The operation provides humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the region, Ponds said, and has been successful thus far. “Continuing Promise ’08’s primary principles are to establish, reestablish, and reinforce the security, stability, and prosperity within the region,” he explained.

Joining us on the call was Maggie of the donovan.com, Chuck Simmons of Americas North Shore Journal, David Axe of the War is Boring, and Galrahn, a military blogger.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The National Museum of the Marine Corps

Gates Calls Nuke Capability Critical to Deterrence, Reassuring Allies

The more that followed.

And the transcript.

Gates: Oversight, Modernization Critical to U.S. Nuclear Deterrent

By Donna MilesAmerican Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2008 – Calling nuclear weapons one of the world’s "messy realities," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today that as long as other nations that could potentially use them against the U.S. and its interests possess or seek them, it's critical that the United States does as well, and that they be kept safe, secure and reliable.
Gates noted in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that the United States soon will have 75 percent fewer nuclear weapons than at the end of the Cold War.

More coverage to follow.

Gates Reflects on Service as Wartime Defense Secretary

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2008 – Less than three months before the next administration takes office, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he’ll leave his post satisfied he made a difference to ensure warfighters have what they need to succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan, with confidence that their leaders are being held accountable for their actions.

Gates said today he feels “quite a bit of satisfaction” as the driving force behind causes he championed to protect troops in combat, bring them new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, capabilities and care for those wounded on the battlefield.

Read more:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Marine amputee rejoins battalion; returns to combat after near death experience

Article and photos by Sgt. Ray Lewis
Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force

CAMP BARBER, Helmand Province, Afghanistan – There was blood in the water. It was a grim addition to the Iraqi sewage canal usually littered with dead sheep and festering fish.
That’s where the Marines of Company E, 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division found their comrade after the attack.

Just seconds before, Cpl. Garrett S. Jones was patrolling the streets of Iraq with his team when he was suddenly hurled 15 feet into the air by an enemy booby trap.

“It was just a big dust cloud,” said Cpl. Robert C. Pofahl, who stood 10 feet in front of Jones when the bomb detonated. “I ran toward him, and I fell in the canal. The mud was almost up to my knees. It was probably the worst smell you could smell. That’s when I saw the blood in the water.”

When Pofahl saw Jones lying there, he feared his friend’s life was cut short. Barely alive, Jones’ life was about to be changed forever.

Pofahl remembers an explosion, tumbling forward, turning back around and hearing Jones yell at the top of his lungs. He then raced to put a tourniquet on Jones’ mangled bloody left leg.

“It sounded like I was whispering and because of the explosion, I couldn’t catch my breath,” Jones said.

When Pofahl arrived at Jones’ position, he realized he couldn’t lift him out of the canal. The muddy water almost made it impossible for Pofahl to grab a hold of Jones. So, he called two other Marines to help pull Jones out.

“We got him up on the side of the road,” Pofahl said. “That’s when Navy Hospitalman Matthew Beceda took over. He cranked the tourniquet one more time, but it snapped. So he had to put another tourniquet on Jones.”

Jones was stable, but the Marines couldn’t call for help because the radio that Jones was wearing was ruined from the blast. They sent three other Marines from the squad to run 1,200 meters back to their combat outpost for help. A group of Marines stayed with Jones and his squad leader who was also injured by the blast.

The next thing Jones knew, he was on board a helicopter flight headed for the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. He was strapped into a gurney with a military chaplain hovering over him.

“The chaplain asked me if I wanted to pray,” said Jones, a 23-year-old Newberg, Ore., native. “We prayed. Then the doctor told me my left leg would be amputated above the knee.”

Shortly after, Jones was in surgery. He awoke a couple days later, but said he doesn’t recall much after the operation but a phone conversation with his relatives.

“I just remember talking to my family,” he said. “I remember saying, ‘I hear they make really good prosthetics.’”

Upon leaving the hospital in Germany, Jones was once again strapped into a gurney and flown to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where his wounds were cleansed and torn flesh was removed from his body.

“It seemed like forever,” Jones said. “I had a bunch of tubes stuck in me. I was so drugged up I didn’t feel much of anything. I don’t remember much, but I do remember that one of my buddies who was shot by a sniper was also on the same flight. I didn’t know what happened to him, I just saw that he had a bunch of tubes stuck in his chest.”

Military medical officials then transferred Jones to Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) for further treatment. As a result of being restricted to a hospital bed, Jones wound up losing a lot of weight.

“I went from about 160 to 120 lbs.,” Jones said. “I was in the bed almost all the time. The only time I got up was to do stretching and go to the bathroom. If I wasn’t in my bed, I was in a wheelchair.”

During his recovery, Jones had a total of 17 surgeries to clean the infected area in his left leg. He was treated for third-degree burns and shrapnel that peppered his left shoulder and both legs.

On Aug. 20, 2007, Jones was released from NMCSD -- just in time to see his fellow Marines of Echo Company return home from Iraq.

“I was at their homecoming in a wheelchair completely drugged up,” Jones said. “Seeing my guys was emotional for me because we were all so close, and I knew I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. When we all get together, it’s like a family reunion. We’re a tight-knit group.
We had difficulties at times, but what family doesn’t.”

Jones yearned to be back with his Marine family. Although he didn’t say it, he kept in mind that he one day wanted to serve with the Marines who saved his life.

“We all wanted him back,” Pofahl said. “He’s a good guy to have your back. He’d take the shirt off of his back if you need it. At the same time, we were like, ‘How would he be able to do that because of rehab and all.’”

In the meantime, Jones continued his appointments. In November, he finally linked up with a prosthetist who would help him become familiar with the functions of prosthetics. The prosthetist fit Jones for a total of six walking prosthetics and one snowboarding prosthetic.
An avid fan of snowboarding, Jones realized his potential during a snowboarding trip to Breckenridge, Colo., with fellow wounded warriors from NMCSD and his sister, Sara, in early December 2007. Although Jones had only been on his new prosthetic for two weeks, he was eager to go snowboarding -- a passion of his for more than 15 years.

“The first day, I was able to make it down the mountain,” Jones said. “As the days progressed, I got stronger and more confident on my snowboard.”

Surprisingly, all of the snowboarding helped him deaden some of the nerve endings in his left leg. It also helped him become more accustomed to walking on his prosthetic leg.

“Once I knew I could snowboard again, I realized I was going to be able to do a lot more than just snowboard,” Jones said. “I was like, ‘If I could snowboard, who knows what else I can do?’ It kind of opened my mind up to all the other possibilities.”

Meanwhile, Jones continued his daily physical therapy, stretching, and prosthetic appointments at NMCSD.

“I just kept thinking about my next snowboard trip and getting back to 2/7 ASAP,” Jones said.

Later, in February 2008, Jones was visited by Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway. Seizing the moment of this rare opportunity, he asked the Marine commander for orders to return to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center at Twentynine Palms, Calif., so he could once again serve with 2/7.

“I asked to come back to 2/7, and his assistant took my info,” Jones explained. “And, a couple of days later, I had orders back to 2/7. I was so excited I almost didn’t believe it.”

When Jones checked back into his battalion, many of the Marines were awestruck. They couldn’t believe how much progress he had made on a prosthetic leg in less than a year.

“None of us knew how advanced prosthetics were,” Pofahl said. “He’s been called a walking legend, literally. We’re all glad to have him around. He’s a really positive and hard worker; one of those guys who don’t let anything get to him, obviously,” Pofahl said.

Although Jones couldn’t return to the infantry, he was able to serve in other sections within the battalion and was subsequently assigned to the intelligence section where he is relied upon to provide his fellow infantrymen with vital information that can aid in keeping them away from harmful situations.

“At first I didn’t know what I was able to do,” Jones said. “It’s good to be able to do something that will keep Marines safe. Although I can’t be out there with them, I get to directly help them.”
Jones wanted to deploy with his unit when it was ordered to deploy to Afghanistan in April 2008. But, he wasn’t yet ready to undergo the intense Mojave Viper pre-deployment training. Regardless, he would get no handouts despite being a new amputee. Realizing he is still a Marine, he knew he would have to prove himself all over again.

“It wasn’t just a hookup,” Jones said. “I had to do all the training all other Marines do.”
Jones participated in “humvee” scenarios, close quarters combat drills, survival training, machine gun packages, combat life saver courses, and several other pre-deployment courses. Although he had gone through this training before, this was his first time enduring it as an amputee.

“My leg popped off a couple of times in the humvee scenario and once when I was leaving a range,” Jones said. “I thought it was funny because ‘How many guys walk around with combat loads and have a leg fall off?’ I still did it to prove that I could deploy as an amputee.”

Once all physical and administrative requirements were complete, Jones was ready to deploy and help the Marines who once helped him.

“I love being with the guys, the same people. I really do,” Jones said. “If it wasn’t for the guys in this unit, I wouldn’t be here. It’s an honor to serve with them and be in a place where many Marines don’t get a chance to go.”

Recovering in just nine months, Jones has become the fastest recuperating amputee to deploy to a combat zone. Still, many people have doubted his ability to survive a seven-month deployment on a prosthetic limb.

“A lot a people were skeptical of me because I’m a new amputee,” Jones said. “It’s been a little bit of a challenge for me, mentally at first. People were saying, ‘Its going to be hard and I can’t do it.’ So, being out here was a confidence builder.”

Jones still struggles with walking. He said it takes a lot of energy to walk in combat boots for 14 hours a day with all the sweating, straining and refitting inside of his prosthetic leg.
He said he will always feel slight discomfort on his left leg because of nerve and bone growth along the skin line of his amputated leg. But, he considers it a small price to pay when comparing it to losing a life.

“We’re talking about a guy who almost died in battle and came back to a similar fight,” said Sgt. Paul E. Savage, an intelligence specialist and Boston, Mass., native. “The fact that it didn’t scare him to come back to his buddies truly speaks volumes of Cpl. Jones’ character.”

Jones said he wants to stay in the Marine Corps because he enjoys serving in such a loyal organization. The career retention specialist (CRS) has even submitted a permanent limited duty (PLD) package so he can continue his military career.

“Everyone here has been supportive in helping me get this reenlistment package started. The CRS submitted a PLD package for me back in March 2008. We are still waiting on that to be finished,” said a hopeful Jones, expressing how he felt about returning to serve with 2/7. “A lot of people are like family here. I guess that’s partly why I’m so happy to be here.”

Despite his abrupt loss of limb, Jones remains upbeat and always keeps his peers in high spirits.

“He’s always motivated,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael J. Ortiz, battalion intelligence chief and Miami, Fla., native. “His morale is always high. The only time I see him upset is when he sees someone hurt or killed because he takes it personal. But, he always bounces back and visits whoever it is in the hospital to see how they are.”

Jones said he personally meets with new amputees to show them there is “light at the end of the ‘canal.’” He wants them to know just because they are an amputee, it doesn’t mean that they can’t reach their goals.

“I’ve told them to keep their head up,” Jones said. “I want to show them that if I can do it, they can do it. I want to set the example for other amputees. I want to show them that a bad thing might happen, but you can still make good of bad circumstances.”

Jones’ co-workers all feel that his commitment shows he has authentic concern for his Marines. He also has kept in contact with many wounded warriors when they returned home to the U.S.

“He doesn’t know a lot of these Marines, but he doesn’t care. I know he’s made multiple calls to amputees’ doctors to check on how they’re doing. I think it’s awesome that he does that. It shows that he genuinely cares about his Marines,” Ortiz said.

Jones is the first Marine with an above-the-knee amputation to deploy to Afghanistan. There have not been many of these amputees to redeploy to a combat zone to date.

“Ninety percent of the guys in his situation would have likely walked away with their disability and called it a day,” Savage said. “But, he’s still striving to make a point and it’s remarkable.”

Jones continues to push his personal, mental and physical limits. When he returns to the U.S., he wants to train in Utah in early December and represent the Marine Corps in adaptive snowboarding. Competitions will be held in Colorado, Canada, and possibly Italy. He said the competitions will help him prepare to compete in the 2010 Paralympics for snowboarding in Vancouver, Canada.

Corporal Jones wants to continue serving with the 1st Marine Division as an intelligence specialist. He also wants to keep helping fellow amputees continue their service in the Marine Corps. He said he is sending a letter to the commandant entitled, “Back on their Feet and Back in the Fleet.” The letter entails getting PLD packages completed for more wounded Marines in a timelier manner for those who desire to stay in the Marine Corps.

“Just because you have an injury, it doesn’t mean you have to leave the Marine Corps,” Jones said. “You just have to work hard. I want to let those guys know back in the States that there is a place for you. I plan on being one of those examples.”

Corporal Garrett S. Jones, an amputee who was injured in 2007 by an insurgent’s bomb during his unit’s deployment to Iraq, shows his prosthetic leg. Jones is a 23-year-old Newberg, Ore., native.

Corporal Garrett S. Jones, an amputee who was injured in 2007 by an insurgent’s bomb during his unit’s deployment to Iraq, is proud to be back serving with the Marines of 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, which are currently serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Jones is the first Marine with an above-the-knee amputation to deploy to Afghanistan.

Corporal Garrett S. Jones displays one of the seven prosthetic legs he now wears after being injured in 2007 by an insurgent’s bomb during his unit’s deployment to Iraq. Six of his legs are used for walking, and one is for snowboarding.

Soldier earns rare honor for heroic actions in Iraq

Meet U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Waiters.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Coast Guard Budget Expanded for Fiscal Year 2009

The U.S. Coast Guard received a large budget increase for fiscal year 2009, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Keith Taylor said, due in part to the growth of maritime trade and marine transportation. Taylor, who is the Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for resources and chief financial officer, spoke with bloggers about the service’s plans for the budget. “There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of maritime trade over the last 10 years, as well as the use of our marine-transportation system,” Taylor said. “This growth…will allow us to add capacity to meet the requirement that we have and to address the shortfalls we have,” he added.

Joining us on the call was David Axe of The War is Boring.

Afghan National Security Forces Show Progress

U.S. Army Col. Bill Hix, commander of the Afghan Regional Security Command South, spoke with bloggers about the progress and potential of the Afghan National Security Forces. “[The] Afghans – in a relatively short period of time – have taken a big step forward,” Hix said. “When the Afghan army and police forces are the ones taking the fight to the Taliban on a day-to-day basis, the confidence of the people is going to rise, and the concern of the Taliban will rise as well,” he added.

Joining us on the call was Josh Russo from Understanding War and Troy Steward of bouhammer.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today - U.S. Southern Command


25 Years Ago - Beirut


"I am regularly amazed at how quickly they are moving forward in their capabilities and also in their confidence to execute missions

on their own," Col. Christopher Fulton, Chief of Staff, Directorate of Interior Affairs, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, Multi-National Forces - Iraq, said today of the Iraq police forces. "There is a lot of postive effort going on to establish what we all term 'the Rule of Law', because in the end analysis nobody wants the army in the cities, you want police in the cities. You want the army conducting defense of the nation, not defense of the neighborhood."

Col. Fulton joined us today for a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable to discuss the 400% growth of the Iraq Police forces, their developing confidence and capability, their professionalism, and the ethics and human rights training the is currently going on in the country.

On the call with us today was Jarred Fishman of the Air Force Pundit and Claire Russo of the Institute for the Study of War.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Energy Efficiency is ‘Huge Priority’ for the Air Force, Official Says

The United States Air Force, which is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, has made looking for ways to conserve resources a priority, said Kevin Billings, acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics. “We are spending more time looking at the best practices and working with the other services,” he said. “We have to continue with our strategy of reducing demand and increasing [energy] supply within the Air Force.”

Joining us on the call was Chuck Simmins of the North Shore Journal, Jarred A. Fishman of the Air Force Pundit, and Andrew Bochman of the DOD Energy Blog

Monday, October 20, 2008

Department of Defense at Forefront of Energy Conservation, Official Says

The Department of Defense is constantly looking for ways to proactively conserve and reuse energy, Mindy Montgomery, Deputy Director for Investment, Office of the Director for Defense Research and Engineering, told bloggers today. “We’re really leading the nation in looking at energy and considering energy,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do, both from a cost perspective and operationally.”

Joining us on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable were Christian Lowe of Military.com, Paul McLeary of Aviation Week, and Andrew Bochman of the DoD Energy Blog.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Enemy Engagements Decreasing in Afghanistan for 2/7 Marines, Officer Says

The 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment is experiencing a decrease in the number of engagements with al-Qaeda insurgents, the battalion’s commander U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Richard D. Hall said this morning. “We’ve killed or captured a lot of their leaders, and that’s taken a toll on them,” Hall said. Hall also attributed the decrease to the passing of the Muslim religious observance of Ramadan and the start of the winter season.

Joining us on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable this morning were Christopher Radin of the Long War Journal and Troy Steward of Bouhammer.com.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday U.S. Navy!

"It's not a war quite over," Maj. Gen. John F. Kelly, USMC

"... but increasingly everyday really turning it over to the Iraqis. They're working things out amongst themselves, there is still a Sunni/Shia divide, there's a Kurdish divide, but they seem to be getting their arms around that and if Anbar, which was overwhelmingly the most dangerous place on earth a year - 15 months ago; if Anbar can turn and look very much forward to an election I think any problem on this earth is solvable."

Maj. Gen. John F. Kelly, USMC, Commanding General, Multi-National Force - West joined us today for the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable to discuss the progress and give us a look ahead for Al Anbar province, Iraq.

Joining us on the call was Andrew Lubin of Proceedings, and Jarred Fishman from the Air Force Pundit.

TF 2/7 fights with ‘ACE in the hole’

Article and photos by Sgt. Steve Cushman
Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan

CAMP BARBER, Afghanistan – A Marine company engaged in battle against insurgent forces approach a fortified position. Minutes after a radio call is made for more fire support, the Marines hear the sound of rotors. An attack helicopter bursts through the clouds and swoops in to destroy the enemy.
This air support has given the Marines more firepower to seek out and destroy the insurgent threat they face here in Afghanistan.
Until now, rotary wing air support was sporadic at best for the Marines of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan, which deployed to Afghanistan in April to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
The task force was recently augmented by four CH-53E “Super Stallion” and AH-1W “Super Cobra” helicopters. The aviation combat element, which deployed here from Iraq’s Al Anbar Province to provide direct support for TF 2/7, reinforces the battalion with reliable re-supply and close air support that the battalion didn’t have throughout the first half of their deployment.
“Before these helicopter assets were supporting the battalion, there was no direct rotary wing support… we were using joint support from the British,” said Capt. James R. Meyer, air officer and Clarksville, Va., native. “We were competing with all of the other units in the area of operations (AO). There were not enough helicopter assets in the AO, but now we have the air support we need to complete our mission.”
A vital asset to mission success, the aviation combat element proved to be the only thing missing. To assist the Marines in their mission to conduct counterinsurgency operations with a focus on training and mentoring of the Afghan National Police, the task force is supported by various attachments that include such reinforcements as a combat engineers platoon, a shock trauma platoon, a radio battalion unit, reconnaissance Marines, DynCorp civilian contractors, and personnel who specialize in civil military operations.
In addition to providing the Marines close air support to wreak havoc upon the enemy, aviation support is needed to replenish the food and ammunition the Marines expend in combat.
The Super Stallions, which are attached to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar, Calif., provide transportation for the Marines and transport supplies that allow TF 2/7 to carry out its mission to conduct full spectrum operations. Outside of transporting the heaviest of Marine equipment, like the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles the Marines have relied upon for protection against IEDs (improvised explosive devices), these are heavy-lift helicopters that primarily deliver such items as food, water, mail and combat gear.
“The most important cargo the 53’s carry are the Marines. With these helicopters, we’re able to move the Marines between FOBs (forward operating bases) while keeping them off the roads,” Capt. Meyer said. “We also have insert and extract capabilities to areas that are inaccessible by road.”
As the “Heavy Haulers” deliver destructive payloads of bullets, grenades and Marines, the Super Cobras provide direct security. They also serve as an “ACE in the hole” for the Marines, when needed.
“It’s well known among the enemy, with good reason, to never fire at the skinny grey helicopters,” said Maj. Mike M. Richman, Detachment B officer-in-charge of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 (HML/A-269) and North Lake, Wisc., native. “By being on station, we impede the enemy’s sanctuary and freedom of movement. They can’t move into position to fire at the Marines on the ground, because they know if we can see them, we’ll kill them.”
The “Gunrunners,” which are attached to HML/A-269 at MCAS New River, N.C., focus on providing three areas of support for the battalion. In addition to providing close air support for the Marines on the ground, they also escort the Super Stallions into possible or known hostile areas. Because of danger on the roads, the Super Cobras escort convoys on the dangerous treks throughout Afghanistan’s rugged terrain.
“There’s one thing our helicopters are built for, and it’s not to carry things,” Maj. Richman said. “In addition to flying scheduled missions, we wait for 2/7 Marines to get into contact with the enemy; then we take off to destroy the enemy. Even though our squadron name has the word ‘light’ in it, there is nothing light about our attack capabilities.”
The Heavy Haulers and Gunrunners provide 24-hour-a-day support. Maintaining a high level of readiness, the helicopters can be launched in a moment’s notice.
“We have a customer service relationship with the Marines on the deck,” Maj. Richman said. Any Marine should be able to call us on the radio and let us know what kind of support they need. We tailor the services we provide to fit the needs of the situation as best as possible.”

An AH-1W Super Cobra assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 takes off from the Camp Bastion flight line to provide support to the Marines of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan, Sept. 30. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Steve Cushman)

Two CH-53E Super Stallions fly through the skies of Afghanistan, as part of the aviation combat element augmenting the Marines and sailors of Task Force 2/7 currently serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Capt. Andrew S. Roberson)

Air Force Reserve Squadron Combats Insect Infestation in Wake of Hurricanes

U.S. Air Force 757th Airlift Squadron Air Force Lt. Col. John Williams, commander of the 757th Airlift Squadron, along with Air Force Maj. Karl Haagsma and Air Force Senior Master Sgt. John Daniels spoke with bloggers about aerial spray missions and recent support to areas impacted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. “Our aircraft are specially equipped,” Williams said. “We responded to the governor’s request through (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) to spray and control the growing mosquito and fly population in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.”

On the call with us were Chuck Simmins of America's North Shore Journal and Scott Malensek of Flopping Aces.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Col. Wayne Parks - Cognitive Network Theory

October 8, 2008
A month and a half ago I made reference to a “self healing network” in the DoD Blogger’s Roundtable. This blog post explains what I actually meant. While visiting the University of Kansas (KU) and Kansas State University (KSU), I ran across projects associated with cognitive networks or telecommunications. If you had asked the Army what cognitive network theory was, you would likely have been pointed towards a graduate level psychology professor. “Cognitive” drums up visions of hours of lectures on human psychology and words like “dissidence,” “reasoning,” “abnormal” and “processing.” As it turns out “reasoning” and “processing” relate, only instead of human psychology we’re talking about technology; scarily advanced computers and telecommunications, but computers and telecommunications none the less.

Cognitive Network (CN) Theory is the newest addition to the United States Army Computer Network Operations and Electronic Warfare (USACEWP) Information Library. The idea behind it is deceptively simple. You build a technological system using a matrix that is composed of electronic parts, through adaption and reasoning, actively adept to varying computer network conditions and stimuli in order to produce a set of performances and actions. Cognitive networks provide the possibility of pervasive computing, seamless mobility, ad-hoc networks, and dynamic spectrum allocation, among others. Cognitive network design can be applied to any type of fixed or wireless sensor networks. Cognitive computer and telecommunications networks could provide better protection against security attacks and network intruders. Such networks could benefit the service operator as well as the consumer by offering self-governed networks.

The not so simple part is the similarity these networks bear to a truly human system. The scientist building these networks have to take into account a) how each component will pull power and information for its own exclusive use; b) how each will respond to the other components pull for the same power and information; c) how the degree of variables and lack of information will influence each component, and d) finally, how much control each component can exert over the network as a whole at any given time. As I mentioned: scarily advanced computers and telecommunications.

The thing to keep in mind is these are created by human minds. The groups working at KU and KSU are our own Great Plains example, the boys and girls next door proving that homegrown American’s provide an amazing amount of intelligence and initiative for the future. As scary as this technology can be if extrapolated to the degree of say, The Terminator movies, these are still tools. Tools which purpose is to; while not truly think for itself, adapt enough to be trusted in situations where humans would be in danger. In a machine or device run by cognitive networks this means the ability to spill more hydraulic fluid or bits than blood. That’s the truly incredible part. That’s the truly important part.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Our essential tasks are to save lives, mitigate human suffering, and facilitate recovery

operations for our state and local partners," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Robert Cunniff, Future Operations Planner for U.S. Northern Command told us today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. "It is important to understand the Dept. of Defense and more specifically U.S. NorthCom operates in support of a primary agency and success in our Commander's eyes is measured at the state and local level," Cunniff added.

Lt. Col. Cunniff and U.S. Army Col. Lou Vogler, Chief, Future Operations U.S. Army North joined us for a discussion of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive Consequence Management Response Force capability developed for Defense Support to Civil Authorities.

On the call with us was Jason Sigger of the Armchair Generalist, John Donovan from Castle Argghhh!, Toby Nunn of Toby Nunn's Briefing Room, and CJ with A Soldier's Perspective.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"One significant thing that we've seen, up until September of 2007, there were 23 SPSS events that we estimated in a 6-1/2-year

period leading up to September of 2007,but those numbers ballooned in fiscal year '08. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, we went from, as I said, 23 total estimated events in the past 6-1/2 years to 62 total events in only the first three quarters of this fiscal year." U.S.Coast Guard Commander Cameron Naron, Deputy Chief, Coast Guard Office of Law Enforcement told us today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable.

Cmdr. Naron spoke to us about the increasing number of self-propelled semi-submersibles discovered during drug interdiction efforts.

On the call with us today was Eagle 1 from EagleSpeak and David Axe of War is Boring.

"I'd also like to express our profound respect for the 2,218 Retired Reserve soldiers who, since 9/11, have volunteered to come back to active duty."

U.S. Army Col. Wanda Good, Commander of the St. Louis, Mo. branch of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command said on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. "Three-hundred and eighty-four of them served in Iraq, and 122 of them have served in Afghanistan."

Col. Good discussed the process for mobilizing Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) soldiers and the return of volunteers from the Retired Reserve program. “Most soldiers will serve three or more years on active duty and then transfer to reserves,” Good said. “Every IRR soldier knows he has not been discharged from the military. He knows he’s been released from the active component. He also knows that he’s still in the reserves and that he could be mobilized out of this reserve.”

On the call with us was Jonas Hogg of The Ball Gunner.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

“We work very hard to develop the (Afghan) National Army Air Corps to get them into the current fight,” said Maj. Gen. Jay Lindell,

commander of Combined Air Power Transition Force. Lindell, who has been in Afghanistan for 13 months leading a joint team of 170 military, civilian and contractor personnel to initiate an air corps for the Afghan National Army, spoke with bloggers and online journalists during a DoD Live Bloggers Roundtable, Sept. 23.

“Our goal is to develop this air corps to be fully independent and fully operational and capable – linked to security requirements of Afghanistan,”
said Lindell.

Joining us on the call were Christoper Radin, Longwarjournal.com; and Sharon Weinberger, blog.wired.com/defense/.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marines Host ‘Shura’ to Address Afghan Needs

HELMAND PROVINCE, Forward Operating Base Sangin, Afghanistan – At a patrol base near the Sangin District Center here, a group of Marines joined a “shura,” or meeting, held by local village leaders, Sept. 3. By participating in the shura, which is similar to a town hall meeting, the Marines can determine what the villagers’ need and identify the best ways to improve quality of life for local residents.

Maj. Mark DeVito, team leader, 3rd Civil Affairs Group, TF 2/7, talks to local village leaders at Patrol Base Nabi during a shura held Sept. 3. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Steve Cushman)

Since deploying here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, has focused its efforts on bringing peace and prosperity to the Afghan people. Organizing and working with local Afghans on various civil military operations projects is one of many tools used by civil affairs Marines to strengthen relations with local residents.

“The people think highly of the Afghan National Army; they want to support the government, and they want the Taliban out,” said Maj. Mark DeVito, team leader, 3rd Civil Affairs Group, TF 2/7. “As a community, they need to determine what affects the most people. They sometimes have a hard time working on the prioritization for the projects they want completed. Their biggest concerns are improvements to irrigation and the renovation of several mosques.”

While the primary focus of the shura was to meet with Afghan leaders and adult males in the community, civil affairs Marines are also engaging young adult men in separate shuras. CAG Marines have found that trying to influence the young men is important because they feel they are more likely to be negatively influenced by the Taliban.

“We had around 20 young adults show up for the first teenage shura. One of the biggest things they all wanted was jobs. They were all willing to work,” said Cpl. Eric E. Cuevas, a civil affairs NCO (noncommissioned officer).

“When we asked them what they needed to benefit their community, they responded by saying a mosque. No matter how we tried to get around it, they kept saying they wanted more mosques,” Cuevas explained. “They also said they needed a water pump, because they haven’t had power for almost a month. We asked what other things they wanted, and they said they wanted a school.”

Helping the Afghans rebuild their schools is one of the Marines’ top initiatives, as education is very important to the local people. The parents all seem to understand the importance of education, and they want their children to go to school. Likewise, the teens and younger children have also expressed a desire to return to school.

Article by Cpl. Steve Cushman, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division

“We’re going to be moving from (Web) 1.0 to 1.2 to 2.0 to 2.5, and … the challenge and the problem is we shouldn’t take the status quo

as an acceptable position,” Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Thad W. Allen told bloggers and online journalists during a DoD Live Bloggers Roundtable, Sept. 22.

Adm. Allen discussed plans to adopt social-media practices to modernize the Coast Guard and make the organization more transparent, both internally and to the public. “We need to keep improving wherever we can, whether it’s my presence inside or outside the Coast Guard, how we deal with the American public, but more importantly, how we deal with the folks in the Coast Guard.”

Joining us on the call were Jim Dolbow, an Unofficial Coast Guard Blog; Eagle1, www.eaglespeak.blogspot.com; Pentagon Channel; David Axe, www.warisboring.com; Marc Danziger, www.armedliberal.com; Peter Stinson, www.cgblog.com; Daren Lewis, an Unofficial Coast Guard Blog; and Navy Times.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"We're charged with coordinating the potential federal response in the land domain for any domestic operations or disasters, to include CBRNE --

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosive response operations," Col. Lou Vogler, Chief of Future Operations, U.S. Army North explained to us today on the Army Bloggers Roundtable. U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel James Shores, Chief of Plans for Joint Task Force - Civil Support joined Col. Vogler to discuss the Vibrant Response exercise and the Consequence Management Response Force and the training efforts to mitigate a CBRNE incident in the U.S.

On the call with us today was Terri from A Soldier's Mind and Chuck Simmins of America's North Shore Journal.

"There were 35 attacks a week a year ago; now there are two. Sometimes less ....

and they're pretty ineffective. That's because of the increase in the capabilities of the Iraq Security Forces," Col. Dominic Caraccilo told us today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. Col. Caraccilo is the Commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division currently assigned to Mult-National Division-Center.

On the call with us today were Andrew Lubin of Get the Gouge, Grim from Blackfive, John Nagl with the Center for a New American Security, and Claire Russo from the Institute for the Study of War.

Read this:

From Steeljaw Scibe.

Friday, September 5, 2008

“It’s been a busy week for us here at Coast Guard Atlantic, but we’ve got some great people,”

said Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp, Commander, Atlantic Area, U.S. Coast Guard on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable today. Vice Adm. Papp talked with us about the U.S. Coast Guard's planning and preparedness for the multiple storms lining up across the Atlantic during this hurricane season.

Joining us today was Peter Stinson and Jim Dolbow with An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog, Lauren King of the Virginia Pilot, and Jennifer Hlad from jdnews.com.

"The data we collect increases the accuracy of the forecast by 30% for the National Hurricane Center. At a cost of approximately a million

dollars per mile of coastline to evacuate ... (our mission) saves millions of dollars with every flight that we fly," Maj. Chad Gibson, Chief, Public Affairs, said of the work of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron "Hurricane Hunters" of the 403rd Wing of the U.S. Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Maj. Gibson and Lt. Col. Jon Talbot, Chief, Aerial Reconnaissance Weather Officer, joined us today for a DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable.

Joining us today for the call was Grim from Blackfive, Jennifer Hlad of jdnews.com, and Colin Clark of DoD Buzz.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"I am very impressed with the professionalism and the willingness of the Iraqi army to out there and fight and go after the insurgents,

smugglers or other special groups out there. I am very surprised at the proficiency and the sacrifice that the Iraqi security forces are making," said Col. Philip F. Battaglia, Commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, the Long Knife Brigade, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable Sept. 3.

Col. Battaglia spoke with bloggers about the 4-1 mission in Iraq since deploying in mid-June 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Col. Battaglia's brigade is currently partnered with the 10th Iraqi Army Division and other Iraqi security forces in three southern provinces in Iraq. These provinces include Muthanna, Dhi Qar, and Maysan. Col. Battaglia highlighted the sacrifices of the Iraqi security forces and their continuing desire to enlist in both the Iraqi police and the Iraqi Army. "To me, that shows their confidence in their system ... their confidence in Iraq and the future of Iraq," said Battaglia.

Joining us on the call were Jarred Fishman, airforcepundit; Marisa Cochrane, understandingwar.org; and Grim, blackfive.net.

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Dallas received an amazingly warm welcome by the people of Batumi ... " Capt. Robert P. Wagner

Capt. Robert P. Wagner, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, joined us today for the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable from the bridge of his ship in the Black Sea to discuss yesterdays delivery of over 70,000 pounds of humanitarian aid to the the Georgian city of Batumi for Operation Assured Delivery.

On the call with us today was Andrew Lubin of Get the Gouge, Grim from Blackfive, Chuck Simmins of America's North Shore Journal, David Axe of Danger Room, Austin Bay, John Donovan from Castle Argghhh!, and Jim Dolbow and Daren Lewis from An Unofficial Coast Guard Blog.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Those elements are not only where we want to be in the future, but what we have to do in this era of persistent conflict," Maj. Gen. David Halverson

Maj. Gen. David Halverson, Director, U.S. Army Force Development, joined us today for an Army Bloggers Roundtable to discuss the release of the 2008 U.S. Army Modernization Strategy.

On the call with us today was Scott Malensek of Flopping Aces, Jason Sigger with the Armchair Generalist, Greg Grant of NextGov, John Donovan from Castle Argghhh! and U.S. Army Major Bryan Carroll, currently attending the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and blogging at A Major's Perspective.

" Their progress and all these tremendous security gains I just talked about have not been achieved without an incredible sacrifice -

- on the part of the Iraqi people and in particular the Iraqi security forces," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan the deputy commanding general of operations for Multinational Division-Center, the 10th Mountain Division on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable today. Gen. Buchanan discussed with us the growth in both the quantity and quality of the Iraq Security Forces in his area of operation in central Iraq.

On the call today was: D.J. Elliot of the Long War Journal, Scott Malensek with Flopping Aces, Greg Grant of NextGov, Grim with Blackfive, and Jarred Fishman of the Air Force Pundit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

“We want to create a safe and prosperous environment where the people will willingly accept the newly trained and respectable Afghan National Police,”

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Richard Hall, Commander, 2-7 Marines, said today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. Lt. Col. Richard Hall provided an operational update from Afghanistan on the 1st Marine Division’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment’s mission to train and mentor Afghan police forces.

On the call with us today: Andrew Lubin of Get the Gouge, Bruce McQuain of QandO, Christian Lowe with Military.com, and Claire Russo of the Institute for the Study of War.

“The Department of Defense and European Command stand ready to assist as required –

- save lives and alleviate human suffering during this humanitarian crisis," Michael Ritchie, director of interagency engagement for the U.S. European Command, said today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. Mr. Ritchie discussed Operation Assured Delivery, the U.S. government's relief effort for the Republic of Georgia.

On the call with us today was Andrew Lubin with Get the Gouge, Jim Dolbow of the Unofficial Coast Guard Blog, Chuck Simmins of America's North Shore Journal, and Scott Malensek with Flopping Aces.

"I was on the ground here exactly five years ago. I actually got here in April of 2003 to Baghdad when the major hospital that we used

for coalition forces as well as life, limb and eyesight care for for Iraqi military was kind of a hull and a husk of what it is now. Windows were all broken out, a lot of dirt on the floor; it had pretty well been cleaned out and looted of all the necessary pieces and parts to include wiring and light fixtures, everything," U.S. Army Col. John Powell, director of health affairs for Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, said during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable on Aug. 26. "It's now an up-and- coming hospital."

Col. Powell discussed Iraq’s progress over the past five years providing medical care for its military and police forces during the roundtable. The Iraqis have a clear direction for their military health system, said Powell, who works closely with the embattled nation’s surgeon general. However, he said, they still have a tremendous challenge finding qualified individuals to staff the system, with only 160 of 800 available physician positions filled.

Joining us on the call were Chuck Simmons, North Shore Journal; Jarred Fishman, Air Force Pundit; and Grim, Blackfive.net.

Friday, August 22, 2008

CAMP BARBER, Afghanistan – Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway visited with Marines and other service members here assigned to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, Aug. 14.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton W. Kent, respond to questions from Marines and sailors assigned to Company G, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division,
Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, while visiting Forward Operating Base Golestan,
Aug. 14. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Steve Cushman)

Gen. Conway discussed the task force’s extension in country and the possibility of being replaced by another Marine unit. “I probably could have told you that when you came here, you would probably get extended,” Gen. Conway said. “It didn’t come as a surprise at all. We told the Secretary of Defense, ‘we understand what the risk is, and we understand the need for the Marines there.’”

Consistent with comments he’s made in the press, Gen. Conway said that in order to deploy more Marines to Afghanistan in significant numbers, there must be a reduction in the number of Marines in Iraq.

“We’re not big enough to do both Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

After meeting the company and platoon commanders, the commandant and sergeant major then met with junior Marines who conduct daily combat patrols in the face of significant enemy threat.

“You’ve shown what Marines can do,” Gen. Conway said. “When we were getting ready to deploy you, I predicted that ‘commanders are going to fall in love with us. We’re going to do a hell of a job, and we’re going to be asked to extend and asked to replace you with more Marines.’ I predicted that.”

(Article and photos by Cpl. Steve Cushman,Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division)

TF 2/7 provides medical aid to Afghan girl

FARAH PROVINCE, Delaram, AfghanistanU.S. service members serving here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom recently provided medical treatment to an Afghan girl in Afghanistan’s Farah Province.

The team of military medical providers removed an infected abscess from the girl’s upper right neck during a health cooperative, also referred to as a Medical Capabilities (MEDCAP) event.

This was the second such initiative led by the Marines and sailors of 3rd Civil Affairs Group, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, part of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix.

Three-year-old Miriam was brought into the makeshift facility barefoot and dirty by her 10-year-old brother and 1st Lt. Erik M. Lukas, an infantry officer assigned to Weapons Company, TF 2/7.

“When we brought her inside, she had boils and dirt all over her neck. I felt bad for her because I knew that it hurt,” said Lukas, who was mostly devastated by a boil on Miriam’s neck that was one and ½-inch wide and one and ¼-inch thick.

Navy Lt. Junior Grade James L. Armitage, a physician’s assistant, decided that he, his team of health providers and Lukas “had to do something” immediately. If the boil wasn’t removed from the toddler’s body, Armitage said the boil could have potentially become a lingering health threat.

“I’m glad she trusted Americans enough to come here because I don’t know where she would’ve received the proper professional treatment she required. Especially here, the people are poor,” Armitage said.

The medical procedure lasted about 15 minutes, but Lukas said the affects could last a lifetime.

“That’s one of the things we’re here to do, improve their quality of life. Like helping the sick people, we’re also helping the kids. I’m glad the little girl got help. Missions like MEDCAPs improve the atmospherics to allow the ANP (Afghanistan National Police) to do their job better; to learn better,” Lukas said.

Miriam is now recovering from her surgery in her Afghan home, thanks to the service members who continue to support various other civil affairs projects.

(Article and photos by Cpl. Ray Lewis, Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix)

“If a soldier is worried about his family, he cannot perform his job to the best of his abilities,” said military spouse Becky Pillsbury

Pillsbury, who was joined by Army Maj. Gen. John MacDonald, commander, U.S. Army Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, spoke with bloggers during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable, Aug. 21, about the Army Family Action Plan. In its 25th year, the Army Family Action Plan is a grassroots effort to listen to and prioritize Army family issues and soldier issues through a series of meetings and conferences. The program has resolved or reviewed 633 issues over the 25-year period, said MacDonald.

Joining us on the call were Bryan with A Major's Perspective, Kat with www.thedonovan.com, and the National Military Family Association.

"It became obvious to me 18 months to two years ago that with the retreat of the multi-year

polar sea ice, the Coast Guard was going to have to do more than it had in the past to provide maritime safety and security to northern and western Alaska, the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea,” Rear Adm. Arthur Brooks, Commander, 17th Coast Guard District told bloggers in a DoD Bloggers Roundtable Aug. 21.

With the potential for increased vessel traffic in the arctic, Coast Guard operations in Alaska are focusing on how to operate in the harsh environment. “And so we started doing initial planning as much as a year ago, and this summer -- through the spring and summer we've been conducting a test bed for moving various Coast Guard units into the Arctic environment and determining their suitability for service in northern Alaska, conducting all missions,” he added.

Joining us on the call were David Axe, www.warisboring.com, and Peter Stinson, www.cgblog.org.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

“There’s important medical information in those records that can either help a soldier when they get out of the Army for VA benefits, or …

can help their recovery when they get back," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matt Sims, a combat medic wounded three times in the past 12 months, spoke from experience about battlefield-care advances that are saving lives in a DoD Bloggers Roundtable, Aug. 20. Sims added that the Army’s Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4) system allows soldiers’ medical records to be accessed on any computer at any time.

Joining us on the call were Andrew Lubin, www.getthegouge.com, Bryan with A Major's Perspective, and Grim, www.blackfive.net.

"A myriad of fascinating devices are achievable using transformation optics and metamaterials. One of the most exciting applications is an

electromagnetic cloak that can bend light around itself, similar to the flow of water around a stone, making visible both the cloak and an object hidden inside," said Dr. Richard Hammond, a theoretical physicist with the Army Research Office, who discussed the early stages of research looking at “cloaking,” or using advanced fiber optics to make everyday objects invisible during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable on Aug. 20. While this technology is still a long way from being battlefield ready, Hammond said, a 2006 experiment demonstrated the ability to make an object invisible at eye-level.

Joining us on the call were Andrew Lubin, www.getthegouge.com; Grim, www.blackfive.net; Christian Lowe, www.military.com, and David Axe, www.warisboring.com.

Threats like al-Qaeda and related groups, as well as an unspecified "malign Iranian influence," are best dealth with using

whole-of-government approaches that emphasize diplomacy, communication, humanitarian assistance and other civilian-oriented tools as much as military power, U.S. Central Command, Brig. Gen. Robert Holmes told military bloggers during DoD Bloggers Roundtable on Aug. 20. Holmes added, countering violent extreme actors will depend on successful interagency cooperation among the U.S. and foreign governments.

Joining us on the call were Spencer Ackerman, www.washingtonindependent.com; Grim, www.blackfive.net; Andrew Lubin, www.getthegouge.com; Christian Lowe, www.military.com; Scott Malensek, www.floppingaces.net; Jarred Fishman, www.airforcepundit.blogspot.com; and Troy Steward, www.bouhammer.com.

Friday, August 15, 2008

"It's all about balance," - Dr. Thomas Mahnken

reiterating what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said upon releasing the 2008 National Defense Strategy. Dr. Mahnken, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, joined us today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable to discuss the 2008 NDS and its emphasis on balancing planning and resources between traditional warfare and irregular warfare.

On the call with us was Andrew Lubin of Get the Gouge, Jim Dolbow of the Unofficial Coast Guard Blog, Jason Sigger of the Armchair Generalist, Paul McCleary of Ares, Colin Clark with DoD Buzz, and Greg Grant of NextGov.

"Certainly this is historic, ...

it's different, but I think it's very consistent with the long partnership we've had with the United States Navy stretching all the way back to our birth of 218 plus years ago," Rear Adm. Thomas f. Atkin, Commander, Deployable Operations Group, U.S. Coast Guard said today on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable. Rear Adm. Atkin, U.S. Coast Guard Master Chief Darrick L. DeWitt and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Christian Dunbar, Director of Training, U.S. Navy Special Warfare Center joined us to discuss the new program allowing assignment of U.S. Coast Guard personnel to train and serve with the U.S. Navy SEALS.

With us on the call was Andrew Lubin of Get the Gouge, Jonas Hogg of the Ball Gunner, Chuck Simmins of America's North Shore Journal, Jim Dolbow with the Unofficial Coast Guard Blog, Christian Lowe with Military.com, and Bruce McQuain with QandO.

"The population feels secure, and the quality of life is improving," said Col. Tom James

Col. Tom James, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, told military bloggers during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable Aug. 14 about the overall stability gains are compounding in Iraq's Babil province thanks to continuous pushes and improvements on the security, governance and economic fronts, Significant improvements within the Iraqi security forces, including coordination between the Iraqi Army and Police, have led to more effective combined operations with Coaliation troops and trainers, said James.

Joining us on the call were Andrew Lubin, www.getthegouge.com; Jarred Fishman, www.airforcepundit.com; Grim, www.blackfive.net; Bruce McQuain, www.qando.net; and Greg Grant, www.nextgov.com/nextgov/.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"I'm just ready to go there and have fun, and that's what I'm going to do. And, I really can't wait to go out there and represent the

United States, the United States Navy, as well, and the whole military," said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Casey Tibbs, the first active-duty servicemember to compete for the U.S. Paralympic Team, at the Paralympic Games in 2004, will be competing for Gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. Petty Officer 1st Class Tibbs spoke with bloggers today during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable about the upcoming 2008 Paralympic games and the track and field events he will be competing in. These events include: The Pentathlon, 200m, 400m, long jump and the pool for the 4x100m relay team.

Joining us on the call were Grim, www.blackfive.net, and Bryant Jordan, www.military.com.

“My team continues to focus on doing the right things to bring those capabilities – those everyday things that the Iraqis need and want

- starting at the ministerial level and coming down (to the citizens),” said Air Force Col. Karlton Johnson, communications director for Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, told bloggers during a DoD Bloggers Roundtable August 12.

Johnson joined the roundtable to discuss an effort to start bringing the Iraqi people into the 21st century by providing modern technologies in the ministries.

Joining us on the roundtable were Andrew Lubin, www.getthegouge.com, and Jarred Fishman, www.airforcepundit.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Marines search roads for IEDs

FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Cpl. Jose Y. Campos and other Marines assigned to Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, conduct a roadside inspection for improvised explosive devices during a recent trip to a forward operating base.

Campos, a communications Marine assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, is from Houston, Texas. He rode along with the convoy to provide specialized communications support. Serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, TF 2/7 is responsible for training, mentoring and advising the Afghan National Police. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ray Lewis)