By unitedweroll on Oct 7, 2014 | In Military News and Support
"The U.S. military presence in the West African nation is expected to grow to up to 4,000 ... (Gen) Rodriguez said the U.S. military could be deployed to Liberia in significant numbers for up to a year to support efforts led by the U.S. Agency for International Development to stop the spread of the virus."
Rodriguez Pledges Every Effort to Protect Military From Ebola
By Nick Simeone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2014 - U.S. troops deployed to Liberia to help stop the spread of Ebola could come in contact with people who have contracted the virus, but everything possible will be done to mitigate risks to service personnel, their families and the American public, the commander of U.S. Africa Command said today.
There are no plans for the U.S. military to provide direct care to Ebola patients, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez told reporters at the Pentagon. Personnel from the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center will, however, test for Ebola at mobile labs from samples collected from area clinics and health care providers.
Trained to guard against exposure
Rodriguez said the three or four people who will staff each lab will be trained to the highest level and will be prepared to guard against exposure.
"They can operate in a nuclear, biological and chemical environment," he noted. "They are specifically trained to do that, and that's their primary skill set."
Pressed by reporters to explain the risks to Americans operating the mobile labs, Rodriguez strongly discounted the likelihood of contamination. "It's a very, very high standard that these people have operated in all their lives, and this is their primary skill," he emphasized. "This is not just medical guys trained to do this."
National security priority
Seven such labs are expected to be set up in Liberia for Ebola testing. The U.S. military presence in the West African nation is expected to grow to up to 4,000, with personnel establishing a hospital facility and providing logistics and engineering support, as well as training of up to 500 health care workers per week to help treat patients and prevent the spread of the virus, which President Barack Obama yesterday called a national security priority.
Seventeen Ebola treatment facilities are expected to be set up in Liberia by November, Rodriguez said, acknowledging that the pace of operations has been challenging. "Their whole nation is overwhelmed," the general said. "Their health facilities are overwhelmed. That's all broken down, so we have to bring in everything at the same time."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called the Ebola outbreak in West Africa the largest in history, with more than 3,400 deaths reported. Nearly that number of cases alone has been reported in Liberia, where the disease continues to spread.
Ensuring safety of U.S. personnel
About 240 Defense Department personnel are currently in the Liberian capital of Monrovia, and another 108 are in nearby Senegal in support of U.S government efforts to stop the spread of the virus. More personnel are expected to flow into the region in the coming days, and Rodriguez said everything will be done to ensure their safety.
"By providing pre-deployment training, adhering to strict medical protocols while deployed and carrying out carefully planned reintegration measures based on risk and exposure," the general told reporters, "I am confident that we can ensure our service members' safety and the safety of their families and the American people."
Rodriguez said the U.S. military could be deployed to Liberia in significant numbers for up to a year to support efforts led by the U.S. Agency for International Development to stop the spread of the virus.
(Follow Nick Simeone on Twitter: simeone@DoDNews)
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Obama: Countries Must Step Up Aggressively to Ebola Fight
By unitedweroll on Oct 3, 2014 | In Military News and Support
United We Roll World Tour Show
Stardust Radio Network Inc www.stardustradio.com
Saturday 10/04/14 10:00am - 12:15pm Central (Live Show)
*Live Show To Be Followed by Repeat Presentations
through appr 12pm Central on Sunday 10/05/14
Welcome Stardust Listeners! We thank you for joining us on Saturday, Oct 4th of 2014.
This week brings us three new visits with deployed service members who are stationed in lands far from home and families. Our first two visits come from the 386th AEW (Air Expeditionary Wing) which is currently located in Southwest Asia and our third visit comes from Qatar which is the current home to the 379th AEW.
Our first two guests have been a most important part of our Stardust Radio interviews with members from the 386th AEW over the past several months. 1LT Hollie Nelson and SMSgt Allison Day are members of the 386th Public Affairs Office and have been spending their time and efforts recruiting members to visit with us. They then orient each guest on how we conduct the interviews and are close at hand in case the member needs their help during the taping of the interview.
1LT Hollie Nelson has been our main POC (Point of Contact) and has been an absolute joy to work with over these past months, as you will tell during this visit. To say that we build a relationship of respect and friendship during this time period is an understatement. Though it is difficult to say "So Long" we know we will stay in touch and besides, it is wonderful to know that Holli will be joining her family - and in time for the holidays! This is not goodbye as we intend to visit with Holli again at her National Guard unit after she has quality time off from this deployment. Thank You so very much, 1LT Holli Nelson! (#1338)
Senior Master Sergeant Allison Day has also helped us through interviews and has been there to help us reconnect after some of the disconnects that are a part of these very long distance calls. With 27 years of service and a truly beautiful attitude, SMSgt Day has a wealth of experiences and stories to tell about military service and lifestyle. Not many people are based in one state, on deployment in a foreign country and live in yet another country - unless you are military! We have a wonderful visit with SMSgt Day and hope that our paths will cross again. Thank You, SMSgt Allison Day! (1339)
For our third interview, we move to the country of Qatar and the 379th AEW, where we catch up with Capt. David Hook, a B-1 Bomber Pilot and member of the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. Capt Hook is two months into this deployment and has served at this location before, so he is familiar with the facilities. Capt Hook shares some great information with us and helps us to understand service from the cockpit of a B-1 and with mission planning for fellow flight crews. Capt Hook provides us with a very interesting visit and an opportunity to thank him and his squadron for the many lives on the ground they save with their close air support. Godspeed and a safe rest of your deployment! Thank You, Capt David Hook! (1340)
Our live show will run 10am - 12:15pm Central on Saturday morning, which we will also record. Then we will let the copy of the show play for the following 24 hours (until appr 12pm Sunday morning) so that family members will find it easier to hear their loved ones in the interviews. After the broadcast period, an MP3 copy will be made of this show and placed on our Archive site where anyone can listen or download a copy. Please allow about a week before looking for the show on the Archive site at www.stardustradio.info.
We are very honored to bring the voices of these outstanding guests to all of you and to their families. We cannot begin to express our gratitude and our pride for all of our Military Members and Families who do so much every day on behalf of our country and our freedom.
We hope that these visits will also help listeners who are not familiar with our military to understand more about the duties that our Heroes of Freedom perform from their locations around the world and to learn about ways that we can show our support to these members and their loved ones.
Please tune in next Saturday, October 11th, when we will bring you more new visits with deployed members who are serving far from their homes and families.
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10:00am - Introduction / Announcements
386 AEW / The Rock
Interview #1 (appr 10:12am) - 1LT Holli Nelson
386 AEW / PAO
Interview #2 (appr 10:44am) - SMSgt Allison Day
386 AEW / PAO
379 AEW / Grand Slam Wing
Interview #3 (appr 11:22am) - Capt David Hook
9th Exp Bomb Squadron
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By unitedweroll on Oct 3, 2014 | In Military News and Support
DoD May Deploy up to 4,000 Troops to Combat Ebola
By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
FORT MEADE, Md., Oct. 3, 2014 - The Defense Department could deploy up to 4,000 service members to Liberia as part of Operation United Assistance against Ebola, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon today.
There are 205 U.S. service members in Liberia today with another 26 in neighboring Senegal. All service members are supporting the lead federal agency for American participation in the crisis -- the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel "has approved the potential deployment of up to 4,000 [service members]," Kirby said. "But I want to make one thing real clear, that that's a potential deployment. That doesn't mean it is going to get to that number."
Testing labs operational
Operations are moving forward in Liberia. "Over the last 36 hours, two Ebola testing laboratories manned by personnel from the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center are now fully operational," Kirby said.
The labs can process about 100 samples each day.
U.S. personnel are also on track for completing a hospital for infected medical personnel on Oct. 18. "Construction of two treatment centers for other Ebola victims will begin today and should be completed by the end of the month," the admiral said.
Kirby forecast a significant increase in the operations tempo in Liberia and with it an increase in troops.
The U.S. Army announced the units that will deploy to the region beginning in mid-month and running through November. With the previously announced unit deployments, this will bring the total Army commitment to about 3,200 soldiers.
More than 1,800 Fort Campbell, Kentucky-based soldiers will arrive in Liberia sometime late this month. Other soldiers will deploy from the 101st Sustainment Brigade, the 86th Combat Support Hospital of the 44th Medical Brigade, and a Military Police company from the 16th Military Police Brigade.
These units will provide medical and logistic support, as well as site security, to the Joint Task Force. Soldiers will deploy from other bases as well including, Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Stewart, Georgia; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Eustis, Virginia and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
U.S. government response to Ebola threat
"As we continue our support to the broader U.S. government response to the Ebola crisis, I want to emphasize that our operations remain focused on four lines of effort: command and control, logistics support, training, and engineering support," Kirby said.
Troops going to the region will be monitored before, during and after deployment, Kirby said.
"Before they go, they are ... especially going to get trained on Ebola and what the disease is like, what it means, what it does," Kirby said. "Because, as I said, the troops that we're sending down there are not health care professionals. They are not doctors, nurses, corpsmen. They are logisticians and engineers."
Health experts will explain the best way to protect themselves from the disease. They will also explain the symptoms of Ebola.
"While the troops are there, they're going to be constantly monitored on a regular, frequent basis," Kirby said.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @garamoneDoDNews)
By unitedweroll on Oct 3, 2014 | In Military News and Support
621st CRW Airmen, 688 RPOE Soldiers deploy to Liberia in support of Ebola outbreak humanitarian relief operations
Posted 10/2/2014 Updated 10/3/2014
by Staff Sgt. Gustavo Gonzalez
621st Contingency Response Wing Public Affairs
10/2/2014 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- A rapid-response team of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army air and surface mobility specialists deployed to Liberia, Sept. 17, in support of Operation UNITIED ASSISTANCE, a comprehensive U.S. effort to support the World Health Organization and international partners to assist the governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in their efforts to contain the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
Approximately 60 members of the 621st Contingency Response Wing, based at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the 688th Rapid Port Opening Element from Joint Base Langley-Eustis,Virginia, merged as a Joint Task Force-Port Opening and began assessment operations at Roberts International Airport, Monrovia, to evaluate the airfield infrastructure.
"The Airmen and Soldiers of our JTF-PO team train together on a routine basis for missions such as these," said Air Force Lt. Col. Kyle Benwitz, JTF-PO contingency response element commander. "When the call came in, we were ready and able to assist the host nation's residents in their moment of need."
The JTF-PO specializes in rapidly establishing hubs for cargo distribution operations worldwide, to include remote or damaged locations, on short notice. Previous deployments include humanitarian assistance support missions to Haiti, Pakistan and Japan, and contingency deployments in support of military operations in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan and South America.
By unitedweroll on Oct 2, 2014 | In Military News and Support
After running a seven mile trek through the Jungle, 1st LT John kept going to help an injured runner and to help locate other runners who were in the jungle in the night hours.
Airman helps injured runner to safety
by Staff Sgt. Robert Hicks
36th Wing Public Affairs
9/30/2014 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- When echoes of a screaming man filled the jungle, a 734th Air Mobility Squadron lieutenant made it his duty to find his location and carry him to safety.
Approximately 80 people from a running club participated in a seven-mile trek through the jungle Sept. 13, 2014, in the hills of Merizo on the southern side of the island. The run began shortly after 4 p.m., and 1st Lt. Alex John, 734th AMS officer in charge of the airfreight terminal, was one of first to finish at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Instead of going home immediately, John and his friends waited at the rally point until 10:30 p.m. for the remainder of the participants to finish. Eventually several members of the group headed back into the jungle to search for more than 50 additional runners who had not made it to the rally point.
"Upon learning of an injured naval officer, John immediately jumped into action," said Capt. Carson Sprott, 36th Wing area defense council lawyer. "Despite having just completed a seven-mile hike with nearly 2,000 feet in total elevation gain, and the same in descent, he put on his headlamp, shouldered his pack and led a team back up the mountain into the jungle to find the injured officer."
Once back into the jungle, John and a partner heard screams calling out for help in the distance. After searching, they finally pinpointed the location by yelling back and forth to each other.
The injured man had fallen 15 feet onto rocks and had broken one of his ribs. Upon arrival, John could see he was suffering from dehydration, so he provided him water and electrolytes before helping him back to the rally point.
"From the beginning, I understood this was a serious situation," John said. "The other individual and I realized how important it was for us to keep calm and not stress or scare the wounded man."
After finding several more along the way, he guided them out of the jungle, and with no hesitation, he went back in to help look for others.
"I just wanted to make sure everyone was going to make it out safe," John said. "If we couldn't get everyone out, I wanted to make sure they were prepared to spend the night in the jungle and at least provide them with water."
John continued to look for other runners until 3:30 a.m.; all of them made it out of the jungle safely.
"Lieutenant John could have done what many others did when they got off the mountain that night -- rushed for their car to grab a shower and head out for the night, but he didn't," Sprott said. "Because he didn't, someone was saved."
By unitedweroll on Oct 2, 2014 | In Military News and Support
If it takes a certain type of individual to be the spouse of a military member who can accept numerous transfers and living conditions among the many other challenges that come with military life, just imagine the dedicated spouse or parent it takes to change their role to that of a Caregiver. For many, this may become a permanent role. For most, these tragic injuries mean a change in the future for the entire family, including their dreams. This article should be read by every American adult.
From partner to caregiver: Wife’s story of love, perseverance
By Senior Airman Jette Carr, Air Force News Service
Published September 30, 2014
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) -- When a couple talks about how they first met, a phrase commonly heard is, “Well, they just fell into my life.” For one couple, the expression could be taken quite literally. When Jeremiah Means first met Ashley, she was tripping in front of him as she tried to rush through a doorway. He called out to her to make sure she was ok and in that moment, their relationship began.
Now, after eight years of marriage, it is Ashley who is there to catch Jeremiah when he falls. She not only holds the role of wife and companion, but also that of a caretaker to her husband, an Air Force wounded warrior.
It is with Ashley’s dedicated support that Jeremiah is competing in the air-rifle and hand-cycling events during the 2014 Warrior Games here, Sept. 28 – Oct. 4.
The couple’s lives were first turned upside-down in 2009. Jeremiah was a senior airman in the Air Force Reserve working to become a survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialist; however, his plans were derailed after receiving a routine medical shot. He had a rare reaction that resulted in Susac’s Syndrome. The disease attacked his brain and caused personality changes, a loss of mobility, vision impairment, and deafness. Because Susac’s Syndrome is such an uncommon disease, for close to a year Jeremiah went misdiagnosed.
Jeremiah’s initial symptoms manifested themselves as terrible headaches and behavioral outbursts. Ashley said she remembered a day when Jeremiah returned home after working a night shift and began acting strange. She had put their infant son to bed and was relaxing in the living room. Jeremiah was in the bedroom trying to catch up on sleep, but he kept waking up.
“He was going through this weird cycle,” Ashley said. “He’d come out and start yelling and cussing and screaming at me to be quiet. I was reading or something. I wasn’t doing anything, and he’d go back (to sleep) and it’d be completely quiet.”
After Jeremiah returned to the bedroom his confused and worried wife went to check on him and watched as he would go from being sound asleep to waking up, crying and holding his head as he rocked back and forth, all the while complaining about noise.
As his condition worsened, they decided to seek immediate medical attention. By the time they reached the local hospital, Jeremiah no longer recognized Ashley and was combative, irritated, and ultra-sensitive to light and sound. Due to the severity of his reaction, Jeremiah was transferred to a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, where he stayed for more than two months.
During his stay, Ashley said Jeremiah changed. His fine motor skills became impaired and he forgot how to walk. Memories of names and dates would also get jumbled in his head. Due to the still present disease, the man who checked out of that hospital varied from the one who had originally checked in.
“Coming home from the hospital, it was like being married to a stranger,” Ashley said. “He wasn’t anywhere close to the fun outgoing strong guy he had been. I’m not saying he was weak, but mentally, he went back to about a 12-year-old mindset about things, because it attacked his brain. It was like living with a strange teenager.”
With both a baby at home and a husband who needed additional care, Ashely’s position in the family radically altered. The hardest thing about being a caregiver, Ashley said, was trying to figure out how to balance the family role she’d held before Jeremiah got sick, with the one she has now. The main role she had to adapt was between herself and Jeremiah – how to still be a wife and then provide extra support without being overbearing.
“Just that change in somebody who was strong and never needed help, to somebody who is still strong but needs help and doesn’t want to ask for it; and walking that line of not trying to baby or be a nurse, but to assist -- assisting in a way that doesn’t make him feel like I have to help him because he can’t (take care of himself).”
Jeremiah admitted that for the first three years of his illness, he was a hard person to be around. He said Ashely had every opportunity to leave and if she had taken that route, he wouldn’t have felt like she was doing anything wrong.
“I was only worried about me and honestly that’s not the way it should have been,” Jeremiah said. “I couldn’t hear, so I‘d yell when I talked, because if I can’t hear, how do I know you’re hearing me? I just wasn’t the old Jeremiah that I wanted to be and I just didn’t know how to go back to that individual.”
Part of the couple’s healing process began though Jeremiah’s participation in the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program’s adaptive sports events, such as sport camps, the Air Force Trials and now, the Warrior Games. Not only was Jeremiah welcomed as part of a new Air Force team, but at the same time Ashley was also able to connect with others going through the same adversity she had experienced.
“I didn’t have any military support group,” Ashely said. “So this, coming here was the first time I felt like I was recognized as a caregiver. I think it would have helped make life a bit easier, knowing other wives who’ve gone through and are dealing with major changes to their family and husband -- just knowing there are other people out there, because you feel really isolated, or at least I did.”
She added that it has been encouraging to be surrounded by other wounded warrior spouses who are staying committed and weathering the storm, no matter how difficult their situations.
“I’ve had a lot of people say, well you’re just extraordinary that you stayed with him,” Ashley said. “Well, isn’t that what I committed to - for better or for worse? I’m going to stay with him no matter what. No, I’m not doing anything extraordinary. I’m doing what I committed to and sticking to it.”
As Ashley benefited from the new support, so did Jeremiah. During the past year, Jeremiah said it felt like something clicked in him, showing him how he needed to be living his life and supporting his family. Through this epiphany, Ashley said she’s seen her husband start to mentally transform back into the man he was before.
“He doesn’t deal with stress well, but stuff like that I can deal with,” Ashley said. “He loves our son and he tries really hard to be a good dad. He wants to be involved. He’s a lot kinder most of the time, unless he gets upset, but then I think we all have those days. It’s a lot better now because he’s a lot more like himself.”
Jeremiah feels he wouldn’t be here right now if Ashley wasn’t there to support him. In fact, he said she was the one who told him to compete in the first place.
“I told her, ‘Honey, you know if I end up doing this I’m not going to give it 100 percent, I’m going to give it 110 percent, which means I might get on a team, which means there might be bigger and better things down the road,’” Jeremiah said. “She said, ‘I know, that’s why I want you to do it.’”
Today, five years after their ordeal, Ashley and Jeremiah have a new normal, one they feel they can build on for the future. For Ashley, who stumbled through the doorway so many years ago, she is now the one who steadies her family when they falter. She now calls out to make sure they are OK.
Warrior Games Profile - Jeremiah Means