National Guard September 2011 : Page 42

STATE ROUNDUP Good Exercise, Mate Maryland Army Guard infantrymen fi nd more than just great training at exercise in Australia ARYLAND ARMY NATIONAL Guard Staff Sgt. Eric Zubkus and Australian Defence Force Pvt. James Adams couldn’t be seen as they burrowed under a framework of earth, grass and branches to scan the bush. But they could be heard. The American and the Australian were sharing a laugh with other soldiers from Company C (Long Range Surveillance), 1st Battalion, 158th Cavalry Squadron, as they prepared for their part in Exercise Talisman Sabre, a joint exercise at Camp Growl, Australia, July 11 to July 29. The exercise brought together 22,000 troops from M 42 | Na tional Guard

State Roundup

Good Exercise, Mate<br /> <br /> Maryland Army Guard infantrymen find more than just great training at exercise in Australia<br /> <br /> MARYLAND ARMY NATIONAL Guard Staff Sgt. Eric Zubkus and Australian Defence Force Pvt. James Adams couldn't be seen as they burrowed under a framework of earth, grass and branches to scan the bush.<br /> <br /> But they could be heard. <br /> <br /> The American and the Australian were sharing a laugh with other soldiers from Company C (Long Range Surveillance), 1st Battalion, 158th Cavalry Squadron, as they prepared for their part in Exercise Talisman Sabre, a joint exercise at Camp Growl, Australia, July 11 to July 29.<br /> <br /> The exercise brought together 22,000 troops from different branches of the U.S. and Australian militaries in a combined training environment, and brought Zubkus and his unit to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area near the northeast coast of Australia.<br /> <br /> It also brought Adams and Australian Pvt. Neal Cullinan, both scouts in the Australian Defence Force's Pilbarra Regiment, into Zubkus' squad.<br /> <br /> Both the ADF scouts and the Guard squad are reconnaissance troops, trained in the art of infiltrating hostile territory, staying hidden behind enemy lines for as long as the mission demands, and then bringing back what they saw to their higher headquarters.<br /> <br /> For both parties, it was no surprise when the Australians were able to step seamlessly into training administered by the Americans.<br /> <br /> Even more impressive, Zubkus said, was the ease in which the brash, enthusiastic Adams and the soft-spoken Cullinan meshed with his unit.<br /> <br /> "It's great for camaraderie, for espirit de corps, [to] have a couple of guys from completely the other side of the world, two very different guys, come in," Zubkus said. "Within five minutes of being attached to my team, they fit right in as if they were part of my unit their whole careers."<br /> <br /> That everyone spoke English – or a least some form of it – certainly went a long way in bridging the culture gap. To Zubkus' soldiers, the two Aussies were living, breathing dictionaries to consult whenever they wanted to know how to say some word or another in an Australian accent.<br /> <br /> Additionally, both Aussie soldiers said they soon found themselves as the authorities on anything Aussie: Paul Hogan, Vegemite and Australia's poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders and poisonous platypuses.<br /> <br /> "It's all in good fun," Adams said, admitting at times he exaggerates the dangers of Australian wildlife. "It's too bad they've caught on."<br /> <br /> What united the two groups more than anything, however, may simply have been the culture of being a modern warrior.<br /> <br /> "It's pretty easy for us to intermingle," Adams said, "because we're taught the same way, and we're basically looking for the same things: covering your buddy and staying alive."<br /> <br /> For instance, during one training exercise, 10 small military items were hidden in a patch of forest to test the soldiers' surveillance skills. With the aid of their scopes and binoculars, soldiers were supposed to locate all 10 and make a rough map of their location.<br /> <br /> It's a familiar drill for the Aussies, and Adams found almost all the hidden items.<br /> <br /> "I think that's the good thing about doing these exercises; it confirms that if we go to war together, our armies can work pretty seamlessly," Adams said.<br /> <br /> There is one small difference, however.<br /> <br /> Since the Pilberra Regiment, a nondeployable, defense-oriented reserve team, spends more time dealing with smugglers than Zubkus' more infantry-oriented team, Adams was able to share how his unit places items higher in treetops, to encourage them to survey all heights and angles.<br /> <br /> "That's where smugglers hide their caches," Adams explained.<br /> <br /> Not every lesson is applicable between units, Zubkus said.<br /> <br /> But discussing these differences often leads both groups to examine why they follow their practices in the first place.<br /> <br /> Paradoxically, the differences in how they are taught bring the two groups together as they talk shop and swap tactics.<br /> <br /> "A certain team leader who works with the Aussies might find something great about something they do and implement it in their team," Zubkus said, "and then guys, when they switch back and forth between teams, they can bring that cross training to another team."<br /> <br /> In turn, Adams and Cullinan said they enjoy being able to work with the well-traveled Maryland soldiers.<br /> <br /> "It's always better to get information from experienced people who have tried and tested these techniques," Cullinan said.<br /> <br /> – By Spc. JP Lawrence<br /> <br /> Members of 1st Squadron, 158th Cavalry, team with host-nation forces to form a joint surveillance unit during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 in Queensland, Australia, in July.<br /> <br /> ADF Lance Cpl. Mark Doran<br /> <br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> New York<br /> <br /> Galaxies Away: Wing Celebrates Arrival of New Aircraft, New Era<br /> <br /> The 105th Airlift Wing took time out last month to formally welcome its first two C-17 Globemaster III cargo planes.<br /> <br /> The Boeing aircraft arrived in July. Eight C-17s will eventually replace 12 larger but significantly older and less flexible C-5A Galaxy aircraft.<br /> <br /> "Time marches on. The C-5As are 43 years old," said Brig. Gen. Verle Johnston, the wing commander at a rollout ceremony Aug. 5 at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y. [The C-17] will be the perfect airplane and our wing will learn to love it."<br /> <br /> Johnson stood at a podium in front of a crowd of 250 invited dignitaries, more than 1,000 unit members and a C-17 in a spacious hangar on the base.<br /> <br /> The 105th supports intertheater airlift missions, mostly across the Atlantic, transporting troops and equipment to far-flung locations.<br /> <br /> That won't change with the new aircraft, but the C-17 also has intratheater capability. It can carry its payload directly to small airfields in harsh terrain, a tactical reach the C-5 lacks.<br /> <br /> The C-17s "ensure that the 105th Airlift is relevant and ready for the future," said Maj. Gen. Patrick A. Murphy, the New York adjutant general.<br /> <br /> Robert Ciesla, of Boeing's mobility division, said the C-17s are used in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide supplies more quickly and transport ambulatory patients "faster than ever before."<br /> <br /> Gen. Duncan McNabb, the commander of U.S. Transportation Command, told the Guardsmen that they are "unsung heroes, who never pound on your chest. You just get 'er done."<br /> <br /> He added, "The reason you have the C-17, 105th, is because you earned it."<br /> <br /> The arrival of the new aircraft culminated a 12-year odyssey to modernize or replace the wing's C-5As, which the unit has flown since 1985.<br /> <br /> Replacement became the most viable option after the Air Force decided to fully modernize C-5Bs but not C- 5As, which are older. Officials now are looking to retire several C-5As in a cost-cutting move.<br /> <br /> – NGAUS staff report<br /> <br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Alaska<br /> <br /> Troops Train With Mongolians, Bolster Regional Peacekeeping<br /> <br /> About 42 Alaska National Guardsmen participated in Khaan Quest 2011, a multinational training exercise held at the Five Hills Training Area in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, July 25 to Aug. 12.<br /> <br /> Khaan Quest 2011 was designed to strengthen the capabilities of U.S., Mongolian and other international forces in the Pacific region, to enhance peace-support operations and training, and increase interoperability and planning capabilities among the participating nations.<br /> <br /> "This is a great opportunity for all Alaska Guardsmen to come see a foreign culture, operate in an unfamiliar environment and to exercise overcoming the challenges that arise when working with other nations such as language barriers and cultural differences," said 1st Sgt. William Crowley, the Alaska Army National Guard's plans and operations noncommissioned officer.<br /> <br /> The Guardsmen joined efforts with 220 members of the Mongolian armed forces, 100 U.S. military and 180 international military representatives to conduct peacekeeping exercises.<br /> <br /> Since 2003, the Alaska Guard and Mongolia have been forming a relationship, and plan to build on this relationship far into the future through the National Guard's State Partnership Program.<br /> <br /> – By Spc. Michelle Brown<br /> <br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Missouri<br /> <br /> Guard Medics Lend Expertise To Joplin Tornado Recovery<br /> <br /> Missouri National Guard medics have been assigned to the Disaster Recovery Jobs Program in Joplin, Mo., to ensure the safety and health of civilians and troops involved in the tornado recovery effort.<br /> <br /> After the tornado May 22 that devastated Joplin and Duquesne, Mo., officials designated the Guard as the state's point agency on debris removal and clearance.<br /> <br /> Along with the Missouri Department of Workforce Development and the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri, the Guard contingent, known as Task Force Phoenix, has been providing crew-leader assistance to the cities through the program.<br /> <br /> Nearly 500 people have joined the program since it began in July.<br /> <br /> Keeping everyone safe on the job has been an important objective for the Guard, especially as temperatures in southwestern Missouri have been reaching beyond 100 degrees.<br /> <br /> Staff Sgt. Luke McCorkel and Spc. Mark Lopez bring valuable experience, not only from their military training, but also from their civilian jobs. Mc-Corkel is a nursing assistant at Saint Louis University Hospital, while Lopez is a member of the Kansas City Fire Department.<br /> <br /> A special marking system alerts medics to workers that may need extra monitoring. Black and white tape on their hardhats designates those with heat-related injuries. Yellow indicates insect allergies and red denotes preexisting medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.<br /> <br /> "Effectively, it reminds us and their leaders of certain individuals that should be watched more closely throughout the day," McCorkel said. "It also keeps other workers around the job site mindful of their partners as they work."<br /> <br /> – By Tech. Sgt. Robert Ayres<br /> <br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Pennsylvania<br /> <br /> Sherpa Proves Useful Tool For Every Branch of U.S. Military<br /> <br /> In the skies over Someplace, U.S.A., elite members of the Navy jumped July 28 from a perfectly good C-23B Sherpa fl own by members of Detachment 1, Company, D, 126th Aviation.<br /> <br /> "Today we were doing some paradrop operations with the U.S. Navy," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christopher Sager, a C-23B pilot. "We've done extensive training with them over the past couple of years for high-altitude, low-opening training, but we have also done high-altitude, high-opening training with them."<br /> <br /> For Sgt. Frank Kiler, a flight engineer with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard unit, the best part of any mission is the rush he feels when he opens the rear cargo door.<br /> <br /> "I know I'm safe and strapped in, but you almost feel out of control," Kiler said. "It's like you're floating there, and looking down at the earth from that distance really gives you [a sense] of how small you really are."<br /> <br /> Sager said the Sherpa can be very versatile for several mission types.<br /> <br /> "I've deployed with this aircraft before – a lot of cargo and passenger operations and airdrops," he said. "For some of these secondary operations, the aircraft can also be set up for medevac missions."<br /> <br /> In a joint environment, Sager said, the aircraft could be used to meet the needs of almost any unit.<br /> <br /> "When we were initially stood up, we fell under the [Joint Operational Support Airlift Center] . . . so we saw missions from the Air Force, the Marines, the Army, as well as congressional missions," he said.<br /> <br /> Lately, most missions have been Army, but "we're starting to see more and more joint missions," Sager said.<br /> <br /> "Now that some of the Air Force jump units are recognizing us, we're seeing more requests from them. And it's a lot easier to schedule us rather than a C-130," he said. "We are more focused on smaller units and that's pretty much the arena that these folks are looking for."<br /> <br /> – By Sgt. Darron Salzer<br /> <br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Indiana<br /> <br /> Welcome Home, Doggone It: Canines Greet Returning Troops<br /> <br /> Kristi Rush, a dog trainer from Indianapolis, said she wanted to give back to soldiers and share her love of dogs.<br /> <br /> So she started Welcome Home Dogs, a volunteer organization of handlers and dogs that visits Camp Atterbury, Ind., to mingle with soldiers going through the mobilization and demobilization process.<br /> <br /> "Witnessing what our dogs can offer to these soldiers who have just come back from overseas, to see them relax and smile and feel the love, my goal has become to get as many teams on board as possible so that we could reach as many of our soldiers as possible," Rush said during a visit to Camp Atterbury, the Indiana National Guard's training base.<br /> <br /> During her stay, she brought Lugnut, a three-year-old golden retriever, who proved a popular greeter for Michigan Army Guardsmen returning from Afghanistan.<br /> <br /> "Lugnut just came up to me and wanted me to pet him," said Sgt. 1st Class George Hathaway. "I didn't expect to see dogs today. It was a good surprise."<br /> <br /> Rush created Welcome Home Dogs a year ago. She trained a few dogs and handlers and was invited to become part of the Camp Atterbury program for troops coming and going.<br /> <br /> "It can take several months to go from no training at all to a fully certified pet therapy dog," said Rush.<br /> <br /> – By Jill Swank<br /> <br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Louisiana<br /> <br /> Partners: Humanitarian Mission Leads to New State Partnership<br /> <br /> During the two months Louisiana National Guardsmen led Task Force Bon Voizen, or Good Neighbor, in Haiti, a relationship grew that has been formalized in the Guard's State Partnership Program.<br /> <br /> The announcement came after Guardsmen, along with active-component personnel, completed a humanitarian mission to the island nation in June. They were joined in that effort by troops from Belize, Canada and Colombia.<br /> <br /> "The citizens of Louisiana have a special connection with Haiti and its citizens," said Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, the adjutant general. "And it certainly makes [the citizens] feel good to know that the Louisiana National Guard, along with all of our partners, is making a difference and a contribution."<br /> <br /> During their time in Haiti, task force engineers developed a community resource site in the village of Upper Poteau that consisted of a three-room adult vocational school, a four-room medical clinic, a latrine and a soccer field, along with an outdoor covered kitchen.<br /> <br /> At the same time, other engineers built a women's clinic in the village of Bardon Marchan.<br /> <br /> "Participating in his type of engineer training project not only improves the skill set of our Guardsmen, but is a benefit for the Haitian people that will last for generations," said Maj. Larry Benton, the officer in charge of engineer projects. "Our mission as Guardsmen is a powerful representation of good to the world."<br /> <br /> The projects were coordinated by a team from the Louisiana Guard's 225th Engineer Brigade.<br /> <br /> It was the second consecutive year the Louisiana Guard coordinated a humanitarian mission in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, which was devastated by a massive earthquake in January 2010.<br /> <br /> At the closing ceremony for the task force, the commander, Col. Kenneth Donnelly, said of the Guardsmen and others, "They came to give instead of take. They came to act instead of talk."<br /> <br /> – By Sgt. 1st Class Paul Meeker<br /> <br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> Alabama, California & Washington<br /> <br /> Airmen Help Poland, Ukraine Prep for Major Athletic Event<br /> <br /> Air National Guardsmen spent time in Eastern Europe this summer helping two nations prepare to protect their airspace during Euro 2012, the continent's quadrennial soccer championship.<br /> <br /> The appropriately named Safe Skies 2011 featured pilots from Alabama's 187th Fighter Wing and California's 144th Fighter Wing sharing their air sovereignty expertise with Polish and Ukrainian air forces.<br /> <br /> "We learned so much from the events of Sept. 11, 2001," said Lt. Col. Kirk Toomey, Safe Skies operations project officer and the 144th's alert commander.<br /> <br /> "We want to share from our experiences and better enable them to protect their citizens from any terrorist threats," he said. "Protecting the Euro spectators is similar to us protecting the football fans watching the Super Bowl."<br /> <br /> Euro 2012, which is expected to attract tens of thousands of fans from around the world, is scheduled for June 8 to July 1 in cities across Poland and Ukraine.<br /> <br /> During the exercise in July, Ukrainian SU-27 Flankers, MiG-29 Fulcrums and Polish F-16 Fighting Falcons practiced intercepting Guard F-16s portraying distressed or hijacked aircraft.<br /> <br /> On the ground, members of the Washington Air Guard's Western Air Defense Sector worked with Polish and Ukrainian counterparts at Mirgorod Air Base, Ukraine, testing their entire alert-response systems.<br /> <br /> "The collaboration with Poland is also a very important aspect of this event," Toomey said. "[Ukraine] working with Poland is similar to the U.S. working with Canada. Understanding each others' tactics is critical to the collaboration required in air sovereignty missions.<br /> <br /> The California Guard and Ukraine are linked in the Guard State Partnership Program.<br /> <br /> "This state partnership initiative sets the foundation for future training with Ukraine," he said. "The lessons learned during this engagement will provide us with valuable information for deploying Fresno [Calif.] fighter aircraft and personnel in the future."<br /> <br /> – Tech. Sgt. Charles Vaughn<br /> <br /> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br /> North Dakota<br /> <br /> Record Flood, Record Response: Guard Tallies 67,000 Work Days<br /> <br /> The numbers quantifying the National Guard response to flooding in North Dakota this year are nearly as impressive as the record-breaking floods themselves.<br /> <br /> Rising rivers are nearly an annual affair in the state, but this year saw records broken. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded 22 communities that experienced record river crests in 2011.<br /> <br /> Such amounts of flooding required a tremendous response from the Guard.<br /> <br /> In all, 3,047 Guardsmen spent at least one day on flood duty since May 23, according to figures released last month by the North Dakota. The largest single-day flood response saw 1,990 Guardsmen on duty, with 1,212 showing up on a single day in the Bismarck- Mandan area.<br /> <br /> Other figures from the event include 114 calendar days spent on flood duty, 169 aviation missions flown in UH-60 Black Hawk and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters and 328.4 hours spent in the air.<br /> <br /> "Our men and women in uniform have become extremely skilled and proficient at flood fighting in recent years," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, the North Dakota adjutant general. "This year, that experience was needed more than ever."<br /> <br /> – North Dakota National Guard release

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