Military News

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New York Guardsmen Prepare for Flooding



By Eric Durr New York National Guard

MALONE, N.Y., Jan. 23, 2018 — One hundred and twenty-nine New York National Guard soldiers and airmen are on active duty in case rains and warmer weather cause ice jams and flooding on rivers in upstate and northern New York.

The New York National Guardsmen were placed on state active duty Jan. 21 at the request of the New York Division of Homeland and Security and Emergency Services.

Cold Produces Ice Issues

Extremely low temperatures had resulted in ice building up on the rivers that flow into Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in northern New York, as well as the Mohawk River, which runs from Utica, New York, to the Hudson River just north of Albany.

Higher temperatures expected this week will lead to increased river water levels due to melting snow and precipitation falling as rain instead of snow. Ice still remaining on the rivers can cause natural dams and lead to flooding, according to Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Peno, a meteorologist and the chief enlisted advisor to the New York National Guard’s Joint Operations Section.

The most critical period for flooding will be from today to Jan. 25, he said.

New York State emergency officials asked that the National Guard put soldiers and airmen on duty with high-axle trucks and Humvees who were prepared to aid local governments if required. Soldiers and airmen were also directed to be prepared to act as observers to report on river conditions.

Teams Prepare for Emergency Response

On Jan. 21, small teams were assigned to Franklin County and Plattsburgh and emergency response forces were stationed at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse and the Glenville Armed Forces Reserve Center near Schenectady.

One hundred guardsmen are operating in the field, while other guardsmen provide mission command and conduct support operations.

Twenty vehicles are available for missions. Ninety-six Army National Guardsmen were on duty and 33 members of the Air National Guard were placed on state active duty.

The guardsmen were told to prepare to be on duty for seven days.

Face of Defense: Marine Credits Career to Associations During Upbringing



By Marine Corps Sgt. Melissa Martens Marine Forces Reserve

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 23, 2018 — As the clock ticked away on her senior year of college, Brietta Larmon knew she had little time to decide what was next. She needed a pursuit that would fit her outgoing personality and military background.

By the end of her senior year, she found exactly the adventure she was looking for: the thrill of flying.

Growing up, Larmon, now a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps and the assistant chief of staff for administration and personnel for the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing here, was surrounded by military figures. Her father was in the Navy, her oldest brother was in the Air Force, and a second brother was in the Army.

She always knew she would end up in the service, but which one was the question on her mind.

Family Legacy

“I knew a lot about the Navy because of my dad and because I spent a lot of time on Naval Air Station Brunswick in Maine teaching aerobics during college,” Larmon said. “I also worked at a bar in town where some of the pilots from the base would come from time to time. So I heard all their stories, and that’s where not only my interest in the Navy grew larger, but also my interest for becoming a pilot.”

The connection she developed with those pilots opened the door to what would become the adventure of a lifetime.

“The stories the pilots told just captivated me,” Larmon said. “One day, they took me to the flight simulator and I fell in love with it. They gave me the recruiter’s number; I called him and told him I was ready to join the Navy, but the catch was I demanded a flight contract. He made it happen and the rest is history.”

As her career kicked off with the Navy in 1998, Larmon completed officer training and headed for flight school. After just a short period of time, a new interest developed.

“While I was in flight school, I started to notice the camaraderie amongst the Marines,” Larmon said. “It was something I wanted to be a part of. So I went to the senior advisor and asked about switching services. He made some calls, got me the paperwork and after it was all said and done, I joined the Marine Corps after just under two years in the Navy.”

Larmon’s career in the Marine Corps took off. Even while under the microscope for being one of the few female pilots, she held her ground and let her skills flying the CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters do the talking. This came with guidance from one of her mentors, the first female aviator in the Marine Corps.

“The aviation field is heavily male dominated,” Larmon said. “As a female, I went in with thought process of, ‘When I leave the room or operate an aircraft; I want those around me to see a Marine pilot, not a female pilot.’ I had Lt. Col. Sarah Deal Burrow at my first squadron in 2001 to mentor me and show me the ropes. She was a strong female I could look up to and paved the way in aviation for the rest of us to fall in under.”

Experiences

What is unique about Larmon’s experience in the Marine Corps is that she has seen it from all angles. She served on active duty until 2006 then transitioned to the reserve component, where she took full advantage of the opportunities.

“A common misconception of Reserve Marines is that there are not many opportunities to activate and mobilize, and that is not the case,” Larmon said. “In 2009, I deployed to Afghanistan during the troop surge. [I deployed] again in 2012 as a C12 Huron pilot. And then in 2016, I deployed to Honduras with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Southern Command as a CH-53E pilot, where I got to provide humanitarian assistance to areas struck by Hurricane Matthew.”

The Marine Corps Reserve not only provides Marines with great opportunities within the Corps, but the experience can translate to civilian careers.

“I am a production test pilot for Sikorsky Helicopters, which is a helicopter manufacturing company for both civilian and military use,” Larmon said. “I’ve been able to use my knowledge from the Marine Corps in my civilian job and vice versa with my civilian job in the Marine Corps.”

Larmon is currently serving with 4th MAW as an active-reserve Marine. Marines in the AR program serve full-time and receive the same pay and benefits as active duty Marines. This includes change of duty stations, serving additional billets like recruiters or drill instructors and they qualify for active duty retirement benefits.

“I made the decision to join the Reserves because I still wanted the Marine Corps in my life, but also did what was best for my family at the time,” Larmon said. “I had so many opportunities to enhance my resume with different schools and deployments. When the billet with the MAW came up, I was excited to get back to day-to-day interactions with the Marines and being able to watch those Marines grow as I did.”

Just as Larmon had a strong mentor in her career, she hopes that she can encourage and advise the Marines she leads.

“My advice to these junior Marines just entering the gun club is to be as fast and as strong as you can be right out of the gate, in everything you do,” Larmon said. “You might have to train longer and work harder than the person next to you, but that shouldn’t stop you from breaking down barriers. At the end of the day, I don’t want anyone to question whether or not I can carry my load, and that is what I want to instill in these young Marines.”

After several deployments and thousands of flight hours, Larmon considers what will come next as her 20-year milestone approaches. It is evident that wherever she ends up, she hopes to continue to be a role model and mentor to those in the service.

“I love being around Marines,” Larmon said with a smile. “So as long as that remains true and I get to put on this uniform every day, then I don’t have any plans of leaving the Marine Corps anytime soon. This has been a journey for me, and now I want to help others get their adventure started.”

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Shutdown Affects Quality of Life, Family Readiness Programs



DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2018 — The government shutdown that began at midnight will affect the operating status of quality of life and family readiness programs offered by the Defense Department to service members and their families, Pentagon officials said.

Operating hours and status may vary at the local installation level, officials said in a statement, adding that addresses and phone numbers for installation and state resources available to active duty, National Guard and reserve service and family members at the Military Installations website.

“We are working with each of the military services to keep as many doors open as possible during the government shutdown,” Julie Blanks, the acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, said.  “We will be operating within the fiscal guidance passed down from senior Defense Department leadership.”

Guidance on Specific Activities

The list below provides guidance as to what to expect regarding the operating status of these programs while the government is shut down:

-- Military OneSource:  The Military OneSource website and call center will remain fully operational. Military OneSource is a Defense Department-wide program that promotes the quality of life of service members and their families by delivering information, referrals, confidential counseling and other services in person, online and by telephone.  The service is available worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the user and regardless of the service member’s activation status. Visit their website or call 800-342-9647.

-- Child Development Centers: Contact your local CDC or installation for details and guidance.

-- Department of Defense Education Activity:  DODEA schools and district offices worldwide will remain open. Headquarters and regional offices will be affected by the shutdown.

-- The Military and Family Life Counseling program will continue uninterrupted. The MFLCs will perform routine functions.  If an MFLC is unable to access the installation during a shutdown, officials said, they will work offsite until they are able to access the installation.

-- Military exchanges will be open worldwide.

-- Overseas commissaries will remain open, including two stores in Guam and one in Puerto Rico. Commissaries in five remote stateside locations also will remain open: Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport and Fort Irwin in California; Coast Guard Station Kodiak and Fort Greely in Alaska; and Dugway Proving Ground, Utah. The remainder of stateside commissaries will follow an orderly shutdown to reduce the amount of perishables on hand and properly safeguard equipment and facilities. For more details, go to the Defense Commissary Agency website, or its Facebook and Twitter pages.

-- Family Support Centers: Staffing will be determined by installation commanders.

-- Family Advocacy Program: Each service will determine staffing at each installation.

-- MWR: Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, nonappropriated fund activities and other operations necessary to support those activities not affected by a shutdown will continue. Examples of these excepted activities are operation of dining facilities, physical training and child care activities required to support readiness.
-- My Career Advancement Accounts: Financial assistance requests will be continue to be approved. In addition, Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches will continue to be available to provide comprehensive education and career counseling services. Call the SECO Career Center at 800-342-9647 or visit the SECO website and continue to monitor the MyCAA portal for any updates.