Story by Jeremy Beale on 10/30/2017
The vision for the program was established in 1995 by a group of Marine Corps spouses at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia, with the purpose of creating a Marine Corps 101 program.
However, the primary purpose was creating a program. which empowered new Marine spouses with valuable information and necessary tools to successfully navigate their personal and family lives while their Marines served the country.
The intent was not only to provide Marine Corps spouses with valuable information and tools, but to establish an independent, all-volunteer program that could be sustainable across all Marine installations.
As the program quickly rose as a prevailing force among Marine Corps' family services, L.I.N.K.S. became the universally recognized support structure across the Marine Corps, establishing something that was unseen until thena community system that effectively connected the dots between installations.
This road was not a smooth transition as L.I.N.K.S. did not become an official Marine Corps program until after the success of two pilot programs located at Marine Corps Base Quantico and Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Before L.I.N.K.S. held a designated place on each base, spouses donated their homes, furniture, televisions, food, toys and coloring books so that the spouses could meet together and conduct classes. Apart from the monetary possessions, spouses also donated their time and energy into volunteering as mentors, teachers, childcare providers and cooks so this small community could thrive in a welcoming setting.
The founding spouses of the program invested so much to see this dream become a reality until the Marine Corps announced LINKS as an official program in September 1997 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.
Susan Braaten, one of the original founders, who marched up to the convention center in Leesburg, was not surprised at how far the program has come.
"L.I.N.K.S. has always been a program that was centered around community and pride in the Marine Corps," Braaten said. "Where it may incorporate much more than spouses now, it is all a part of what L.I.N.K.S. is about connecting the dots between the family and their Marine."
The program now offers workshops for every segment of the family including parents, legal guardians, children and even Marines themselves.
Participants within the program are afforded the opportunity to learn about Marine Corps history, traditions and values while also learning rank structure and local installation resources, services, benefits and Marine promotion and pay.
However, one of the key things, according to Braaten, is that Marine family members learn how to adapt to the Marine lifestyle.
"A spouse will not have a life that is simpleit can be fast-paced, uncertain and at times chaoticnew homes, new schools, long hours and deployment" Braaten said. "Just as the spouses don't know what it's like to be a Marine, the Marines don't know what it is like to be the spouse of a Marine."
L.I.N.K.S. has addressed a number of issues in regards to the Marine Corps lifestyle, but there is one subject that is the toughest to overcomethe side effects that have come from over 13 years of war.
War has become a reality for nearly two decades and as L.I.N.K.S. often navigates the tough topics of extended separations and deployment, families often come out of the experience proud of their Marine.
"Many who come through L.I.N.K.S. have questions, doubts or insecurities about the lifestyle, often asking themselves whether they are strong enough to endure it," Laura Gutzwiller, veteran L.I.N.K.S. member said. "But, it just so happens these men, women and children are strong enough to endure this challenge. In fact, most coming through the program leave stronger and more proud of their Marines."
Gutzwiller believes community is the most influential part of L.I.N.K.S.
"L.I.N.K.S. offers the ability for Marine family members to come together and ask the tough questions and learn from a community that has experienced the same problems as them," Gutzwiller said. "It is important to come together in a tight-knit group and take care of one anotherthat is what this is all aboutsupport for one another."
Col. Joseph Murray, Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region, Marine Corps Base Quantico spoke to the spouses at The Clubs At Quantico about the effectiveness of the program, he inspired the spouses to find new and innovative ways to continue the progress of the program.
Janel Howell, L.I.N.K.S. founder believes it was important for the new generation of L.I.N.K.S. spouses to remember their roots.
"The program was founded by a tight-knit community working together to make sure that everyone was cared and looked after," Howell said. "The next generation needs to remember what it means to be a small group, mentoring and fellowshipping with one another."
According to Howell, the internet is not a substitute for welcoming another family into your home and sharing with one another.
"People within the program need to gather together regularly, help each other with childcare, support one another in the tough times and celebrate each other in the good," Howell said.
Karina Phillips, another L.I.N.K.S. founder believes there are very few things more important than family.
"L.I.N.K.S. is a program that surrounds the idea of family, unifies it and makes sure every voice is heard and looked after," Phillips said.
According to Phillips when a case study was conducted in 2007 about Marine Corps programs the program headquarters said to leave alone because L.I.N.K.S. is a representation of family.
As the L.I.N.K.S. celebration ended with a cake cutting ceremony, the newest L.I.N.K.S. member accepted a saber from the longest L.I.N.K.S. member as symbol of many more successes to come.
If you have questions or would like to join or volunteer for the L.I.N.K.S. program call 703- 634-2678 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brown, 23, a Tennessee native, served as an 81 mm mortarmen, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force based on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
The purpose of this event was to perform UAS operations using the minimal amount of personnel and equipment after arriving in a new location in order to operate immediately within a short amount of time.
Story by LCpl Isabelo Tabanguil on 09/25/2017
Air traffic controllers (ATC) with Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Kaneohe Bay conducted training and monitored flight operations at the air traffic control tower, MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Sept. 20, 2017.
ATC's work to safely organize and regulate the flow of air traffic, and prevent collisions between aircraft.
"If you look at an airfield and see multiple planes in the sky, they all need to land at some point and typically at the same time," said MSgt. Jason Frisch, the ATC staff noncommissioned officer in charge with MCAS Kaneohe Bay. "It's up to us to make sure that those aircraft are sequenced and separated for safe landing."
Frisch said retaining information is very important for air traffic controllers.
"There's a lot of knowledge you need to obtain, a lot of studying, test taking and information that you always have keep with you," Frisch said. "Not only do you need to be proficient for your own control ability, but once you start to get qualifications, you're going to become an instructor and start teaching the next group of Marines.
Cpl. Corey Tanner, a local control tower supervisor with MCAS Kaneohe Bay, said in air traffic control certain words can change.
"There are little changes that'll happen periodically two to three times a year," Tanner said. "You have to make sure you stay up to date because you could be saying phraseology wrong."
Tanner said ATC's must also always remain vigilant in their job.
"They have to be alert and aware," Tanner said. "People get looked at annually, and they'll just get looked over the shoulder for whatever they're qualified on to make sure they're still operating everything appropriately. We have a whole list of things that we check and the second on the list is awareness. If you can't pay attention or be aware to everything that's going on around you, then you can't do your job."
Lance Cpl. Dustin Hesse, an ATC trainee with MCAS Kaneohe Bay, said multi-tasking is something ATC's have to deal with on a daily basis.
"[The most difficult thing is] probably staying focused, not letting it conflict and take too long," Hesse said. "It's almost like solving a really difficult math problem; you're always looking for a certain solution, but at the same time you're going to have different mathematical equations on the side that you have to handle."
Hesse said air traffic control provides the opportunity for new experiences.
"I like that every day there's something new you get to see," Hesse said. "We have aircraft from all the different branches: Coast Guard, Air Force with the heavy C-17 Globemaster. We even had some F-22 Raptors that did flybys last week.
Hesse said the job is fun but it could be hard to make your planning around new situations.
"These are people's lives in your hands every day," said Hesse. "So you have to make sure everything is flawless and well-coordinated for safe and expeditious flow of air traffic."
Story by Cpl Jesus Sepulveda Torres on 09/20/2017
From the land down under, where kangaroos and koalas call home, MV-22B Osprey aircraft with their crews arrived back in Hawaii from their deployment with Marine Rotational Force, Darwin (MRF-D), Australia.
U.S. Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron VMM 268 nicknamed the "Red Dragons," returned from a 6-month deployment to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Sept. 19, 2017. The "Red Dragons" supported the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as the aviation combat element for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF).
Crossing over 5,300 nautical miles with air refueling, VMM-268 was also the first osprey squadron to complete the journey from Hawaii to Australia and back.
Col. Christopher Patton, the commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 24, said multiple squadrons from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay deployed to Australia to support the ADF and to be part of the aviation combat element of the MAGTF. He also said that this is an annual deployment to help improve the partnership and training between the two nations.
Several elements with MAG-24 deployed to Darwin, which included four MV-22B Osprey aircraft from VMM-268, five AH-1W Super Cobras and four UH-1Y Venom helicopters with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, elements of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 and Marine Wing Support Detachment 24.
Patton said the Trans-Pacific flight of Ospreys is a milestone for the United States and its allies in the Western Pacific.
Lt. Col. Patrick Robinson, the commanding officer of VMM-268, said the 5,300 nautical mile flight was historic for being the very first for Osprey aircraft.
"Not only was it historic, but it showed how this aircraft in Hawaii is operationally relevant to any crisis in the Pacific," he said. "We can go anywhere, and this flight shows the importance of having this aircraft active and here."
Capt. Joseph Raines, a pilot training officer with VMM-268, completed the trans-Pacific flight as one of the Osprey pilots, and also said it was a good training opportunity to support the ADF and show case the squadrons capabilities.
"We flew from Darwin to Guam to Wake Island to here in about 21 hours, which shows the reach of our air assets and the huge distances we can cover in such a short time," he said. "While in Australia, we integrated with the ADF to make us better war fighters and the results of our partnership will show on the battlefield."
Patton said having the capabilities of Ospreys in Hawaii deter enemies and let allies know Marines have the means of reaching greater distances during a time of crisis or conflict.
"This is strategically significant because anyone who wants to be an adversary will find out that the U.S. Marine Corps can now aggregate power anywhere in the Western Pacific in a matter of days," he said. "No shipping required, we just pack up and fly straight there."
Combat Engineers from the 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, worked with Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii Kaneohe Bay.