National Guard September 2012 : Page 86
STATE ROUNDUP UNDREDS OF PEOPLE gath-ered on a dusty parking lot outside an elementary school in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the site of a temporary health clinic set up to serve the city’s residents. Inside, the halls were ﬁ lled with people, young and old, sitting on benches outside of classrooms that had been transformed into various medi-cal offi ces ranging from pediatric and gynecological care to optometric and neurological services. Children played and cried, while el-derly people sat patiently. The clinic was set up during the Med-ical Humanitarian Civic Action (HCA) Outreach Project, one of the many exer-cises of Khaan Quest 12 in and around Ulaanbaatar, the Asian nation’s capital and largest city, last month. Alaska Na-tional Guardsmen were among those taking part in the exercise. Alaska and the Republic of Mongo-lia are paired in the Guard State Part-nership Program. The exercise attracted attention from the highest levels of U.S. Army leader-ship, and was observed by Army Secre-tary John McHugh. He toured the clin-ic, met with the multinational medical team and greeted the Mongolian people who were there for treatment. “The number of individuals that they get to treat in just eight days is impressive,” McHugh said. In a room for optometric exami-nations, boxes of donated eyeglasses of various prescriptions were stacked against a wall. Patients were given eye examinations and provided with a pair of glasses that matched the prescrip-tion made by the optometric team. In Mongolia, eyeglasses can be well out of the aff ordable range of some peo-ple, explained Maj. Andrew Adamich, the lead optometrist with the Alaska Air Guard’s 176th Medical Group. “There’s nothing more gratifying than giving somebody the gift of sight,” Adamich said. In another room, children were seen by pediatric specialists. A young girl sat with her family, her face thin, H Helping Hands Alaska National Guardsmen and other U.S. troops set up a health clinic for civilians during regional exercise in Mongolia 86 | Na tional Guard
Alaska National Guardsmen and other U.S. troops set up a health clinic for civilians during regional exercise in Mongolia
HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE gathered on a dusty parking lot outside an elementary school in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the site of a temporary health clinic set up to serve the city’s residents.
Inside, the halls were fi lled with people, young and old, sitting on benches outside of classrooms that had been transformed into various medical offi ces ranging from pediatric and gynecological care to optometric and neurological services.
Children played and cried, while elderly people sat patiently.
The clinic was set up during the Medical Humanitarian Civic Action (HCA) Outreach Project, one of the many exercises of Khaan Quest 12 in and around Ulaanbaatar, the Asian nation’s capital and largest city, last month. Alaska National Guardsmen were among those taking part in the exercise.
Alaska and the Republic of Mongolia are paired in the Guard State Partnership Program.
The exercise attracted attention from the highest levels of U.S. Army leadership, and was observed by Army Secretary John McHugh. He toured the clinic, met with the multinational medical team and greeted the Mongolian people who were there for treatment.
“The number of individuals that they get to treat in just eight days is impressive,” McHugh said.
In a room for optometric examinations, boxes of donated eyeglasses of various prescriptions were stacked against a wall. Patients were given eye examinations and provided with a pair of glasses that matched the prescription made by the optometric team.
In Mongolia, eyeglasses can be well out of the aff ordable range of some people, explained Maj. Andrew Adamich, the lead optometrist with the Alaska Air Guard’s 176th Medical Group.
“There’s nothing more gratifying than giving somebody the gift of sight,” Adamich said.
In another room, children were seen by pediatric specialists. A young girl sat with her family, her face thin,Her eyes closed.
She was diagnosed with rickets, a disease often found in developing countries, by Capt. Tori Schmidt, a physician assistant with the Alaska Army Guard’s 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.
Through the interpreter, Schmidt asked the girl why she was not eating.The girl was malnourished and her teeth were showing signs of decay.
Malnutrition often leads to rickets, a softening of the bones in children that is often caused by a vitamin D deficiency.Schmidt explained to the family that they needed to get the girl vitamin D supplements in order to treat the condition.
“Programs such as this one have a positive impact on the communities,” Schmidt explained. “The people get free assistance and leave with what they need, whether it’s advice and treatment or acute care.”
“The community is really happy,” said Lt. Eakhijargal Manjiilaa, a neurologist with the Central Armed Forces Hospital in Ulaanbaatar.
Manjiilaa explained that this partnership between Mongolia and allied forces has helped health care practitioners in her community diagnose and treat illnesses that they previously did not understand.
“I am really thankful for the help with my community,” she said.
Khaan Quest is a regularly scheduled, multinational exercise sponsored by the U.S. Army Pacific and hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces. It is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security.
This exercise marked the 10th anniversary of this regionally significant training event.
The HCA portion of Khaan Quest was designed to provide an exchange of tactics, techniques and procedures, medical services, and community outreach for the U.S. and Mongolian medical teams as they treated underserved communities.
“This has been a critically important opportunity, originally between the Mongolian army and the United States Army, particularly through the Alaska National Guard, to get together to do interoperability training,” McHugh said.
“Over the last several years, the objective has grown. We have many nations here.”
Partnerships such as the one developed through multinational exercises like Khaan Quest help all who participate share information and strengthen the bonds between their nations, McHugh explained.
“You don’t make friends by fighting them,” McHugh said. “You make friends by helping each other.”
—By Sgt. Edward Eagerton
Familiar Territory: New Wildfires Mean Guardsmen Help at Home
With more than 210,000 acres of the state devastated from wildfires by mid-August, California Army and Air National Guardsmen continued to assist other local, state and federal agencies in efforts to extinguish the fires.
According to the National Interagency Coordination Center, a federal agency that oversees all interagency coordination activities nationwide, California had 13 fires burning across the state with varying levels of containment as of Aug. 16.
The California Guard has aviation assets around the state that have performed wildfire missions such as water drops, medical evacuations and infrared mapping.
In addition, a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped C-130 from the 146th Airlift Wing that had deployed elsewhere in the West alongside Air Guard and Reserve MAFFS aircraft and crews from other states was called to assist at home Aug. 14.
“Our pilots and crew have been engaged for more than six weeks now, battling wildfires across nine different western states,” said Col. Paul J. Hargrove, the wing commander. “There are definitely mixed emotions about operating back in our home state now.We hate to see California ablaze, but our airmen are proud to be able to come to the aid of their fellow citizens to protect lives and property.”
Since being activated June 25, the entire Air Guard and Air Force Reserve MAFFS fleet had completed more than 701 drops and released more than 1. 67 million gallons of retardant on fires in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming by Aug. 19.
In California, MAFFS-equipped C- 130s completed 29 drops and released more than 70,000 gallons of fire retardant on the wildfires.
—By Senior Airman Jessica Green
Botswana’s Medical Troops Learn Aeromedical Evacuation
Members of the 145th Airlift Wing worked with the Botswana Defense Force to improve the African nation’s aeromedical evacuation capability during MEDLITE 12 at Thebephatswa Air Base, Botswana.
During the exercise, the North Carolinian Air National Guardsmen provided in-depth, hands-on training to about 30 BDF personnel. The BDF has C-130 Hercules cargo planes, two of which it acquired as a result of its relationship with the Tar Heel State through the Guard’s State Partnership Program.
MEDLITE 12 was a joint exercise between the United States and Botswana aimed at establishing and developing military interoperability, regional partnerships, synchronization of effort and capacity building, and concluded with a mass casualty exercise.
Through classroom instruction and practical applications, the airmen showed the BDF what equipment is needed and what capabilities it will bring to the military and civilian population.
“We have the capabilities. We have the C-130, [but] what we don’t have is the medical equipment that they are using on the [C-130s],” said Capt.Sonny Mashiaksomo, a corps of health services nurse anesthetist for the BDF.“We will need more training on how To operate [in the air] and how to configure the planes and how to manage patients better on the airplane.”
At least one North Carolina Air Guard officer said the BDF was grasping the concepts very quickly.
“These guys are sharp as tacks,” said Maj. Chuck Scronce, a flight nurse from the 156th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. “I have no doubts that if the BDF gets the funding for the [aeromedical] equipment that they will do a phenomenal job.”
—By Tech. Sgt. Chad Thompson
Vibrant Response: Team Trains To Save Lives in a Real Disaster
Members of the 73rd Civil Support Team conducted a decontamination training exercise as part of Vibrant Response 13 at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Ind., early last month.
As chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response specialists, the 73rd CST members were responsible for identifying, assessing, assisting and providing CBRN information to their incident commander as part of Joint Task Force Civil Support.
“The unit completed a lot of collective training events preparing for the Vibrant Response exercise, and it’s all really starting to pay off,” said Lt. Col.Dirk Christian, commander of the civil support team.
During the exercise, Christian’s team was responsible for identifying possible hazardous contaminants in three separate facilities around the training center. Once contaminants were identified, the chemical specialists assessed the situation and helped evacuate civilians in the immediate area.
This was the 73rd’s first rotation and was the second Kansas National Guard unit to participate in the Vibrant Response exercise.
“While we’re downrange conducting operations, 40 minutes that we spend downrange could save 40 people or it could save 40,000 people,” said Christian.
—By Sgt. Terence Ewings
Smooth Operators: Kabul Bases Rely on Guardsmen for Services
The Kabul Base Cluster is a main center of operations for NATO troops in Afghanistan. It’s has all the working parts of a U.S. city and then some, and making sure the municipality runs smoothly is the job of the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.
Responsible for resource management, public works, emergency services, information management, plans, training and mobilization, and logistics for each of its eight camps within the cluster, the Georgia Army National Guard works behind the scenes to provide basic services to assigned personnel.
As part of Task Force Hydra, members of the 648th run the show at places like Camp Black Horse, a coalition support base serving more than 300 Canadian Forces, a slew of coalition forces and U.S. airmen and Marines.
At Camp Black Horse, members of a small support group from Task Force Hydra make sure that meals are available in the dining facility, which on any given day serves around 2,100 people. They also oversee camp security, which is provided by contract security personnel.
“You can get up in the morning and have hot water, and lights,” said Lt. Col. Kevin T. Daniels, the officer in charge of Camp Black Horse. “You have a meal in the [dining facility] and you can go out the gate, and when you come back in there is a hot lunch waiting on you. And in the evening time, we have a [morale, welfare, and recreation] set up for you.”
—By Master Sgt. Janet J. Hill
New Youth Program Intended To Spark Interest in Science
The Washington Air National Guard offi cially opened the Evergreen STARBASE program at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on July 20.
STARBASE is a Defense Department- funded youth program designed to enhance the understanding and appreciation of science, technology, engineering and math. The curriculum is taught by certifi ed instructors who use hands-on activities and state-of-theart technology to educate mainly 5th grade students.
On hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Lowenberg, the Washington adjutant general; Ernie Gonzales, the director of Youth Programs and senior policy/ program analyst for the Offi ce of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Re Serve Affairs; and Lisa Dowling, the Evergreen STARBASE director.
“Evergreen STARBASE will be the spark that ignites a passion for science and technology for many young students in our community,” Lowenberg said. “Our commitment to the young people of our state has become even greater with the opening of this program.”
The first classes conducted in partnership with local school districts are scheduled to begin Sept. 17.
Classes are five days in duration, and integrate dynamic learning experiences with the exploration of STEMrelated careers. Emphasizing the value of education and goal-setting are also key components of the program.
DoD funds 78 STARBASE programs across the country, including several operated by the Guard.
—Washington National Guard report
‘Attainable Goal’: New One-Star Makes Louisiana Guard History
The Louisiana National Guard welcomed its first female general officer during a promotion ceremony at Jackson Barracks in New Orleans July 27.
Col. Joanne F. Sheridan, the assistant adjutant general (Army), was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
“As I was coming up through the ranks, there weren’t many senior female leaders ahead of me,” she said.“So, for fellow Guardsmen now to have someone to identify with … they know that those doors are open to them and that the goal is attainable for females in the military.”
Sheridan, a resident of New Orleans, graduated from Leesville High School and attended Northeast Louisiana University, where she received a bachelor’s degree and her commission through the ROTC program.
She began her military career in the a c t i ve-component Army in 1984 before coming to the Louisiana Army Guard in 1988.
Sheridan deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008. She served as director of the project management office on the Task Force to Improve Business and Stability Operations in Iraq.
“Today is a historic day in the National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, the Louisiana adjutant general.“Joanne has succeeded in all of the Leadership roles she has been given … separating herself from the crowd.”
The Guard currently has 27 female general officers.
—By Staff Sgt. Denis B. Ricou
California, Illinois, Louisiana, South Dakota & Texas
Leaving a Mark: Guard Builders Complete Project in Afghanistan
Work begun nearly a year ago and finished in the spring by National Guard and Reserve engineers is still paying dividends in the effort to fight the insurgency in Afghanistan.
Task Force Mad Dog, which was led by the California Army Guard’s 578th Engineer Battalion, received the mission in November to build bases for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, along an important highway in the country.
Before it finished the job as the snows were melting and the airborne troops were arriving, the 578th would enjoy the help of four other Guard units, two Reserve units, a Navy construction regiment and an Air Force PRIME BEEF squadron.
“Having control of organizations from three separate branches of service was challenging,” said Maj. Christopher Angle, the task force operations officer.
The Guard units were Illinois’ 661st Horizontal Construction Company, Louisiana’s 1022nd Vertical Construction Company, South Dakota’s 842nd Horizontal Construction Company and Texas’ 236th Vertical Construction Company.
The task force was to build five combat outposts and expand three forward operating bases simultaneously through a winter that would be one of the coldest in recent memory. The operation was known as Devil Hammer.
“Engineers quickly became ‘solutioneers’ by adapting to the lack of construction materials, adverse weather and time constraints,” said Capt. Austin Bird, the 236th commander.
Still, they worked quickly to meet the mission.
“In one day,” said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Flatmoe of the 842nd, “we were able to put up 633 linear feet of installation walls. I was impressed, really impressed.”
As the winter snows finally melted and the sound of bulldozers faded into the distance, the paratroopers finally arrived in theater. They quickly spread out into the numerous bases that Task Force Mad Dog had constructed for them and brought the fight to the enemy.
The success of Operation Devil Hammer has significantly degraded the insurgent forces ability to operate in the region.
“Operation Devil Hammer put the enemy on their heels, denied them terrain for offensive operations, and it forced them from an offensive stance to a defensive one,” said Capt. Robert Couture, the Task Force Mad Dog intelligence officer.
—By 1st Lt. Adam Carrington
Aviation ‘Lift’ Unit Experiences Rare Two-for-one Deployment
Most Army National Guard units that have gone downrange in recent years have either deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq.
Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation, will return home soon after serving time in both nations during the same deployment.
The Mississippi Army National Guard unit, currently attached to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), started in Iraq and is finishing its overseas mission in Afghanistan.
“We have had a very dynamic deployment,” said Maj. Jay Germany, the commander. “We are one of the few helicopter units to do an intertheater changeover. We were also the last helicopter unit to fly out of Iraq.”
During the unit’s time in Iraq, it flew approximately 450 missions with more than 3,500 flight hours and moved more than 2 million pounds of cargo. Company B also supported the drawdown in Iraq by moving personnel and equipment from smaller outposts to main bases.
After departing Iraq, the company transitioned to Kuwait where it received a new set of orders to support the 25th CAB in Afghanistan.“I did not expect to get deployed to Afghanistan after we deployed to Iraq the same year,” said Staff Sgt. Greg Webb, a flight engineer. “We train for any mission. Transferring from Iraq to Afghanistan was part of our mission.”
—By Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
Historic Duty: Mining Town Benefits from Guard Training
The 947th Engineer Company (Horizontal) spent much of last month helping improve the quality of life in the tiny town of Cokedale, Colo.
Soldiers installed culverts, cleaned ditches and repaired degraded dirt roads. These repairs, in turn, will update and improve the town’s infrastructure by directing stormwater runoff away from building foundations.
Refurbishing streets and drainage systems means more to the people of Cokedale than just improving their standard of living.
As the only intact coal-mining town in Colorado and one of a few remaining in the country, Cokedale is also a National Historic District. So, the Guardsmen are also helping preserve history, said Kathy Kumm, the Cokedale town clerk.
Cokedale was once considered a model, company-owned mining camp because each home had indoor running water and one light bulb in every room, which was quite rare in 1907.
Mining operations ceased 40 years later, but the structures remained. The mining company eventually sold all the houses for $50 a room and $100 a lot, and Cokedale became an incorporated township in 1947.
This civil-military project is part of the Guard’s Innovative Readiness Training program, which gives Guardsmen training while providing communities with services that might not be provided otherwise.
“For a horizontal engineering company, we couldn’t have asked for a better project,” said 2nd Lt. Tim Barkley, a platoon leader with the company. “It Means a lot to me that our soldiers are getting great training and giving back to the community at the same time.”
—By Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral
Keep’em Up: Team Never Stops In Order to Keep A-10s Airborne
A team of aircraft maintainers, mostly from the 188th Fighter Wing, is working around the clock to make sure that A-10 Thunderbolt fi ghters grounded for comprehensive routine maintenance are quickly back in the air over Afghanistan.
The 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron’s phase inspection team is disassembling, inspecting and reassembling components of an A-10 as part of phase maintenance in as little as a week.
That’s roughly a quarter of the time it takes stateside.
To accomplish it, the inspection teams works 24 hours a day in 12-hour shifts at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.Their nonstop eff ort has a huge impact on the inspection’s completion time.
That kind of effi ciency also requires an ideal combination of management, skilled technicians and a strong sense of teamwork, said Master Sgt. Gary Childers, who manages the workfl ow for the entire phase inspection process.
Phase maintenance and inspection involves 300 separate inspection points covering nearly every inch of the aircraft.
“Everyone knows what they’re doing,” said Staff Sgt. Dustin Ponder, a member of the phase team. “We get a game plan and everyone gets a zone to work on. And we’re here 24/7, so we can get it done fast.”
Aircraft go to phase inspection after every 500 fl ying hours. That number comes around about every two years at a stateside Air National Guard unit, said Childers. In Afghanistan, the aircraft reach 500 hours roughly every few months.
That high operational tempo, said Childers, means that his team benefi ts by the experience airmen gain. He estimated they get what would normally be a year’s worth of training every month.
“You get a sense of pride when you get the plane together, they load it up with bombs, and you know what it’s going out to accomplish,” he said. “You see what your work is accomplishing.At home the mission is training. Out here it’s real.”
—By Tech. Sgt. Shawn McCowan
Guard, Local First Responders React During No-Notice Exercise
The call came in to the 119th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department: A civilian cargo plane had crashed, spewing its contents before bursting into flames.
Firefighters from various agencies responded and once the fire was out, a hazardous-materials team arrived in response to hazardous cargo listed on the flight manifest. In the meantime, officials activated the 81st Civil Support Team (CST) in Bismarck, N.D.
The plane crash, burning wreckage and hazardous cargo weren’t real. They were part of a no-notice exercise at the North Dakota Air Guard’s Regional Training Site in Fargo, N.D., designed to test the skills and interoperability of North Dakota Guardsmen and local civilian first responders.
“We need to know what the civilian hazmat procedures are, what their equipment is, and how it operates,” said Maj.Lila Teunissen, a member of the North Dakota Guard CST. “They need to know what assets we have. We have a lot of commercial, off-the-shelf different types of equipment that will detect things the standard hazmat team cannot.”
As an exercise coordinator, Teunissen knew what would play out in the scenario, but the call came as a surprise to most of the other participants.
“Neither [team] knew the debris field was going to be out there, so it was surprising,” said Joe Svir, a firefighter with the Fargo-Morehead Fire Department.
The exercise took most of the day, giving those involved a chance to get to know each other’s capabilities.
—North Dakota National Guard release
Engineers Work With Serbians To Repair Damaged School
Soldiers from the 1194th Engineer Company and airmen with the 200th RED HORSE joined with Serbian troops to repair a school in Raljevo, Serbia, that was damaged by a 2010 earthquake.
Engineers from the two countries worked side by side to repair roofs, update the electrical wiring and plumbing, replace the gym floor and install new playground equipment. Many of the buildings haven’t been used since the earthquake.
The Ohio National Guardsmen said working with members of the Serbian Armed Forces was a rewarding experience.The two nations are linked in the Guard’s State Partnership Program.
“We have soldiers from the Serbian Army that are available to translate for us,” said 1st Lt. Roger Nienberg, a member of the 200th and the officer in charge. “If a translator is not available, sometimes both sides will use charades to explain what you need or want to accomplish. Everyone understands the overall concept of the project and what needs to be done.”
But construction in a foreign country does have its challenges, said Sgt. Matthew Birkofer, a member of the 1194th.
He explained that one is working with electrical wiring that carries 220 volts as opposed to the 120-volt system in the United States.Still, the partnership was rewarding.
“We are all learning from each other,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thomas Drzik, another member of 1194th.
—Spc. Brian Johnson
Read the full article at http://www.nationalguardmagazine.com/article/State+Roundup/1168925/125298/article.html.