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U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM)

Ready Group Lands Down Under

Story by Cpl Nicole Zurbrugg on 07/26/2016
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 and other elements of Marine Aircraft Group 12 from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, traveled to Royal Australian Air Force Base Tindal, Australia, July 22, 2016, to participate in Exercise Pitch Black 2016.
U.S. service members assigned to MAG-12 or the Ready Group are spending three weeks in Australia to partake in the host country's multination exercise that also includes participation from Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand.
The flying squadron with the group is VMFA-122 home based out of MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina. They are currently assigned to MAG-12 at MCAS Iwakuni under the Unit Deployment Program.
The squadron is also participating in three additional weeks of unit level training known as Southern Frontier, helping the squadron gain experience and qualifications in low altitude, air-ground, high explosive ordnance delivery at the unit level.
Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, highlighted the importance of a training readiness goal of T-2.0, the desired state of tactical readiness for a flying unit, in his latest Marine Aviation Plan.
"There are not a lot of live ranges where we can fly low altitude training, so Southern Frontier is a great opportunity to achieve that goal," said Lt. Col. Derek M. Brannon, commanding officer of VMFA-122.
Pitch Black begins Aug. 1, 2016, affording Marines with VMFA-122 the opportunity to integrate and increase interoperability with their regional joint and coalition partners while developing operational concepts for conducting sustained combat operations.
"To partake in a large force exercise and integrate over 100 aircraft into a flowing exercise is an amazing opportunity, breeding familiarity between countries," said Maj. Matthew Halbert, operations officer for VMFA-122. "Training in a dynamic and complex air-to-air environment strengthens the collective core mission goals."
The main, multi-national exercise provides the highest level of collective training squadrons and units to exercise air combat assets and procedures.
"I view this as the capstone training exercise for the squadron," said Halbert. "It allows the junior pilots to apply air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements, learned during the UDP at MCAS Iwakuni, to a real world situation with multiple countries in a different environment."
Brannon considers the combination of these two exercises as the squadron's culminating event before heading home to MCAS Beaufort after their 6 month deployment to the Pacific region.
"The squadron arrived with young pilots, but has gained ample experience during the UDP and will return to home base more skilled and prepared to take on anything," said Brannon. read more

Pacaf Plans, Executes Navy Vaq-138 Growler' Air Contingent Operations At Clark Air Base

VAQ-138's presence here is part of a U.S. Air Contingent established by U.S. Pacific Command with the approval of the Government of the Philippines and planned and executed by Headquarters Pacific Air Forces. The detachment is composed of about 120 Sailors from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., with additional Air Contingent security and coordination support provided by U.S. Marines and Airmen.

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U.S. Army, Pacific (USARPAC)

8th Theater Sustainment Command Changes Leadership

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- The Pacific Theater's senior Army logistics unit changed leadership July 8 on Hamilton Field, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

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Sergeant Embraces Role As Army Mentor

"Every class I go through I learn something different," Thy said. "The students don't realize that but I learn how to be a better instructor, a better NCO. I learn how to actually be a public speaker and I go from actually being a terrifying instructor to a counseling, coaching, mentoring instructor. I succeeded when the student has learned something."

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U.S. Marine Forces, Pacific (MARFORPAC)

Danger! Here Be Dragons; Red Dragons Now Dwell Aboard MCB Hawaii

Story by LCpl Jesus Sepulveda Torres on 07/24/2016
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION KANEOHE BAY A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the opening of the newly constructed MV-22 Osprey hangar aboard Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay on July 19, 2016.
This is the first hangar built in base since World War II and it now houses Marine Medium Tiltrotor-268, "Red Dragons," making them the first Osprey squadron to be stationed in Hawaii.
The hangar area will include a taxiway, a path connecting runways, and an apron, an area for parked aircraft, which will help to support the entire MV-22 squadron.
Andy Snow, a speaker at the ceremony and the construction manager overseeing the MV-22 hangar, said the 58 million dollar project required approximately 50 thousand square feet of earth to be moved and took almost two years to finish.
Senior military leaders such as Col. Sean C. Killeen, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, members of Hawaii's Congressional delegation and key community partners attended the event.
Killeen, a Mundelein, Ill., native, welcomed the new MV-22 unit to its new home on MCB Hawaii during the ceremony.
"Marine Medium Tiltrotor-268 is a special unit and although I never had the privilege of being a Red Dragon, I had the honor of flying with them in combat, in Iraq, while they performed the number one cannot-fail mission of casualty evacuation," he said. "The machines have changed, but the spirit and commitment of the Red Dragons remains the same. We welcome VM-268, the newest addition to our Marine Air Ground Task Force here in Hawaii."
Killeen said the hangar completion is important for the base's operational capabilities and it is much more than just a building.
"This hangar represents more than just bricks, mortar and steel," he said. "True, it will be the home to the Red Dragons, but for the men and women who constructed this hangar, it represents quite the accomplishment a legacy that will endure for quite some time."
He stated how the hangars on base have played crucial roles in the decades they have been used, from the attacks on December 7, 1941, to the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This hangar now joins its sisters on the far end of the flight line as she takes her responsibility of sheltering VM-268's Ospreys and the crews that will maintain them," he said. "She will soon be joined by a sister squadron, Marine Medium Tiltrotor-363, the Red Lions,' in a hangar that is currently being constructed near here."
Mazie Hirono, a Senator and Representative for Hawaii, was one of the guests of honor for the ribbon cutting ceremony. She spoke about the significance of the hangar's construction in the Pacific and how much work it took to complete it.
"With nearly half of the world's population, one-third of the global Gross Domestic Revenue and some of the world's most capable militaries, Asia and the Pacific area is one of the world's most political and economic centers of gravity," said Hirono, a Honolulu, native. "Investments like this hangar and strategic force structuring on Hawaii military installations is our visual commitment to the rebalance."
Hirono said the rebalancing in the Pacific is part of the United States' plan to preserve and enhance a stable and diverse relationship with its allied nations through support from U.S. installations, such as the new MV-22 hangar.
"The MV-22s are not here by chance," she said. "The effort to base two MV-22 squadrons here, and complete the necessary preparations took a lot of work by a lot of us. The Marines, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Watts Contrack and our Congressional delegation all worked together to make this happen, and over the past five years, we have been successful in securing over half a billion dollars in military construction funding, which has supported Navy and Marine Corps operations across the Pacific."
Hirono expressed with how proud she was of the newly built hangar and thanked all the military and civilian personnel involved in its construction.
"Our military ohana is a vital part of our island community, closely involved with our lifestyle and culture," Hirono said. "Never forget that service members, whether they are training at home or whether they are serving in combat missions abroad, are putting their lives in harm's way. I extend a heartfelt mahalo to everyone who helped in the hangar construction and who support our collective mission." read more

Coast Guard, Navy Medevac Ill Mariner From Sailing Vessel North Of Oahu

A Navy SH-60 helicopter crew from Kaneohe Bay hoisted the mariner aboard the helicopter and returned to Kaneohe Bay where he was transferred in stable condition to awaiting emergency medical personnel for further transport to Castle Medical Center.

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Navy Region Hawaii

Keeping Food Safe For Servicemembers During Rimpac

Story by TSgt Aaron Oelrich on 07/22/2016
RIMPAC brings an increased level of activity to the agencies of JBPHH, and the Army PHCD-CENPAC food inspection team is no exception.
According to Army Sgt. Lee Jeanpierre, PHCD-CENPAC lead food inspector, the Army team of eight inspectors normally conducts food inspections of four to five Navy and Army vessels a week.
With the increased mission tempo during RIMPAC, the Army and Air Force team carries out food inspections on three to four vessels per day, totaling approximately 50 to 80 pallets of food each week.
"It is wonderful working with the Air Force," said Jeanpierre. "Instead of having someone come [to Hawaii] on temporary duty, we are able to use members from our sister services to assist us. They are from a preventative medicine background, so they know what sanitary conditions look like, which cuts down on training time."
The team inspects food in three phases. First, it inspects the food vendor's warehouse, looking at each item and examining its quality before it's moved to the vessel.
Next, vendors transport food from their warehouses to the JBPHH docks, where food inspectors check vehicle temperature to ensure food remains fresh during transportation.
Finally, culinary specialists from each vessel help food inspectors examine items and check them against inventory to confirm the order is correct and meets strict quality requirements.
"The food inspectors are important for the safety of the crew," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Joan Delfon, aboard USS O'Kane (DDG 77). "They check for expired food, bugs or mold growing on the food to keep the crew members of our vessels safe."
According to Jeanpierre, food inspections provide the first line of defense against foodborne illness. In addition to shipboard inspections, they also conduct food safety inspections for all of JBPHH by inspecting all the food vendors on base.
Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. read more

Thunder Over Georgia Air Show To Include Warbirds

Warbirds acts give younger generations the opportunity to see history live in action.

"Our mission, by way of bringing these warbirds to our air show, is to help the generations born after World War II understand exactly what Americans and their allies can and have achieved when they are called to action with a just cause," said Maj. Rex E. Deloach, assistant air show director.

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Air Force 15th Wing

Keeping Food Safe For Servicemembers During Rimpac

Story by TSgt Aaron Oelrich on 07/22/2016
RIMPAC brings an increased level of activity to the agencies of JBPHH, and the Army PHCD-CENPAC food inspection team is no exception.
According to Army Sgt. Lee Jeanpierre, PHCD-CENPAC lead food inspector, the Army team of eight inspectors normally conducts food inspections of four to five Navy and Army vessels a week.
With the increased mission tempo during RIMPAC, the Army and Air Force team carries out food inspections on three to four vessels per day, totaling approximately 50 to 80 pallets of food each week.
"It is wonderful working with the Air Force," said Jeanpierre. "Instead of having someone come [to Hawaii] on temporary duty, we are able to use members from our sister services to assist us. They are from a preventative medicine background, so they know what sanitary conditions look like, which cuts down on training time."
The team inspects food in three phases. First, it inspects the food vendor's warehouse, looking at each item and examining its quality before it's moved to the vessel.
Next, vendors transport food from their warehouses to the JBPHH docks, where food inspectors check vehicle temperature to ensure food remains fresh during transportation.
Finally, culinary specialists from each vessel help food inspectors examine items and check them against inventory to confirm the order is correct and meets strict quality requirements.
"The food inspectors are important for the safety of the crew," said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Joan Delfon, aboard USS O'Kane (DDG 77). "They check for expired food, bugs or mold growing on the food to keep the crew members of our vessels safe."
According to Jeanpierre, food inspections provide the first line of defense against foodborne illness. In addition to shipboard inspections, they also conduct food safety inspections for all of JBPHH by inspecting all the food vendors on base.
Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. read more

Thunder Over Georgia Air Show To Include Warbirds

Warbirds acts give younger generations the opportunity to see history live in action.

"Our mission, by way of bringing these warbirds to our air show, is to help the generations born after World War II understand exactly what Americans and their allies can and have achieved when they are called to action with a just cause," said Maj. Rex E. Deloach, assistant air show director.

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Coast Guard

Rimpac Dive Decontamination: Bringing New Ideas To The Surface

For the humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) scenario, U.S. Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One, based in Honolulu, Hawaii, requested assistance from U.S. Coast Guard divers who responded with a mixed force from the three Regional Dive Lockers based in Portsmouth, Virginia; San Diego, California; and Honolulu, Hawaii to assist in underwater debris removal and waterway cleanup following a massive earthquake and resulting tsunami.

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Coast Guard, State Agencies Responding To Grounded Vessel Off Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Coast Guard Sector Honolulu watchstanders received notification Sunday morning from a good Samaritan reporting the 65-foot Spirit of Kona, a commercial passenger vessel, aground on the rocks near the Kailua-Kona Lighthouse.

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