Monday, November 22, 2010

AUSA Recognizes Chamber Leader

Making a special trip this snowy morning, George Coan, (Col., ret., USA), Director, National Security Studies with the Association of the U.S. Army, recognized David Graybill, retiring Pres./CEO of the Chamber.

In the picture are David Graybill (l) accepting an "AUSA" Commemorative watch from George Coan (r).

Coan worked with Graybill for many years through their connections with Fort Lewis-the Pentagon-Washington, D.C. links.  Graybill started the Chamber's annual Washington-to-Washington, D.C. trips where local Tacoma-Pierce County delegations met with Pentagon and Congressional members to discuss local base and defense issues. 

Graybill frequently called on AUSA and George Coan for up-to-the-instant briefings of current doings on Capitol Hill.  Coan prepped the local delegations with "read aheads" covering people-ware, hardware and program issues. 

Through their work together, both the community and the Army benefitted.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Noteworthies With a Local Link

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced today that the President has made the following nomination:

Army Brig. Gen. Lloyd Miles has been nominated for appointment to the rank of major general. Miles is currently serving as deputy commanding general, I Corps and Joint Base Lewis McChord, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

C-17s for ANG

The Air Force announced today its preferred basing decision for eight C-17 aircraft at an Air National Guard location.

The preferred base approved by the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force is: Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y. Along with the C-17 basing action, 12 C-5A aircraft assigned to Stewart will be retired.

"The Air Force has completed its initial analysis of a full range of alternatives and determined that basing the C-17 at Stewart is the preferred alternative," said Kathleen Ferguson, Air Force deputy assistant secretary for installations.

"This is not a final basing decision; it is the alternative we believe will fulfill our mission responsibilities while considering economic, environmental, and technical factors," she said.

Once the environmental impact analysis process is complete then a final decision will be made.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Military Citizen of 2010 Announced

Today, the Chamber presented the 32nd annual John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year award to SMSgt. Michael Lantz.  The award was presented by sponsor George Cargill, TriWest Healthcare Alliance at the Veterans Day meeting of Tacoma Rotary Club #8.

SMSgt. Michael Lantz and George Cargill, TriWest Healthcare Alliance.

The presentation of the John H. Anderson Military Citizen of the Year Award was begun to commemorate the civic contributions by our resident military personnel. It is named for John Anderson, who served as Tacoma’s Mayor, as our Chamber of Commerce Chair of the Board and as a successful businessman.

SMSgt. Lantz is a worthy role model, not only for uniformed personnel, but for all the citizens of our community. Although our many uniformed military personnel give to the community eachday, every day, we bestow this honor on a single person as representative.

SMSgt. Lantz is currently the first sergeant for the 361st Recruiting Squadron, JBLM-McChord Field.

Since arriving with his unit, SMSgt. Lantz became involved with the Seattle gift sharing program, delivering Christmas presents to low income youth centers, foster care groups, elderly centers and at risk youth programs. During the back-to-back snow storms of 2008, SMSgt. Lantz and his fellow volunteers securing four-wheel drive vehicles and worked almost to midnight guaranteeing Christmas to the less fortunate. Over the past three Christmases, SMSgt. Lantz and his volunteers have delivered over 9.000 Christmas presents.

SMSgt. Lantz became involved with the Paint Tacoma Beautify program in the summer of 2008. He volunteers to be a partial crew lead and took on the responsibility of a home identified by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Over five weeks, he and his team prepared, primed and painted the house. Then they weeded the garden and trimmed trees and shrubbery. Next year, SMSgt. Lantz became a member of the Paint Tacoma Beautiful planning committee. Through his efforts, there were 10 military teams, donating over 1,000 hours for 12 newly painted homes.

During the 2008-2009 school year, SMSgt. Lantz was nominated to the Carter Lake Site Council. From this position, he tackled the communications between parents and teachers. After implementing new communications tools, parent volunteerism doubled and complaints drastically reduced. Before the 2009-2010 school year, SMSgt. Lantz suggested a “Clean Up Carter Lake Day.” The resulting over 50 volunteers pressure washed sidewalks, trimmed bushes, dug flower beds, painted hallways and bathrooms, raked leaves and spread two dump trucks of beauty bark.

There is no question that SMSgt. Lantz devotes countless hours and boundless energy to improving and serving his community.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

CDL For Military Training

Beginning November 1, getting a CDL just got easier for military personnel with specialized truck driver training, thanks to the new Military Training Certification Process.

The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) and Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) have joined forces to help veterans.  The Chamber has been a long time advocate for recognizing applicable military training for professional licenses and certifications.

Here’s how it works:

WDVA staff will assess the training a military member or veteran received in the military and verify whether it meets the required minimum commercial motor vehicle driver training requirements in Washington State. Once verification is made, a Commercial Drivers Military Training Certificate is provided.

Military member and veteran applicants must pass the applicable knowledge and skills test, pay all basic license and commercial drivers license fees, and present the Commercial Drivers Military Training Certificate to DOL in order to be issued a CDL.

Veterans have one year following their release from the military to take advantage of this new program.

We often hear of the challenges our men and women in uniform face when they leave the military and try to find jobs that they qualify for,” said WDVA program manager Ric Price. “This is a tremendous step forward in removing a financial barrier to a smoother transition from military to civilian employment.”

In the past, veterans were required to attend additional and often expensive commercial drivers training programs to learn the skills they had used for years in the military. WDVA’s Helmets to Hardhats liaison Todd Mitchell questioned why this training had to be repeated and worked with a number of organizations to develop this new process. Thanks to the hard work of WDVA, DOL, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Army Reserve Employer Relations, Washington Trucking Association, Teamsters Union and the Washington Defense Partnership, the transition from a military job to a civilian one will require one less step.

This new program allows WDVA to verify an individual CDL applicant has the required minimum commercial motor vehicle driver training requirements provided and documented by a military service.

"This is another instance of agencies working together to make things more seamless for Washingtonians,” said DOL director Liz Luce. “This program is important so that our service members can utilize the training they've received and get right to work in the civilian sector."

For additional information about this new program, contact WDVA at 1-800-562-2308 or contact Ric Price.
In addition to Ric Price, other team members who worked to accomplish this first licensing based on military training are Todd Mitchell, DVA, John Patterson, Army Reserve Employer Relations, Olivia Robinson, Washington Military Partnership and Gary Brackett, Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber. Thanks also go to the Washington Truckers Assn. and the Teamsters.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Your Chance to Write 'Em Up

The Department of the Army has published in today’s Federal Register a “Notice of Availability” (NOA) for release of a draft Programmatic EIS for stationing of Army aviation assets.

The addition of the CAB at JBLM was covered earlier in this blog.

Please send written comments on this PEIS to:

Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Environmental Command
Attention:  IMPA–AE
1835 Army Boulevard, Basement (Building 2000)
Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234–2686

The PEIS can be accessed at this website.  Final deadline for comments is 45 days after today's publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Two For One

 Our community is honored to have one of our own recognized for two exemplary honors:  the Association of the U.S. Army's Bainbridge Medal and the USO's Volunteer of the Year.

USO Puget Sound Area (USO PSA) volunteer, Herb Schmeling continuously gives his all to the USO, putting our nation’s service members first. As one of the center’s most committed volunteers, he regularly gives 60-80 hours a month, and is always available at a moment's notice. 

Herb eagerly passes on information about USO PSA to the thousands of troops and their families stationed Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base (now JLM). He represents USO PSA at Combined Federal Campaign events and Family Deployment Fairs, making sure the JBLM military community is aware of USO PSA’s programs and services. He was also instrumental in successful Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives, helping serve holiday meals to more than 400 military families.

Affectionately called the “Godfather of Fort Lewis,” Herb was honored for his exceptional efforts, being selected as Fort Lewis’ Volunteer of the Year for 2008. He also was featured on the front cover of the FOCUS, Fort Lewis’ monthly magazine. USO PSA is extremely thankful for the commitment and enthusiasm that Herb displays on an ongoing basis. He inspires everyone around him and is an excellent pick for the Stateside Volunteer of the Year!

The Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) bestowed its prestigious Bainbridge Medal to CMS (ret.) Schmeling at its Oct. 25th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

As a tribute to the Army NCO Corps, the Association of the United States Army established a Noncommissioned Officer Distinguished Service Medal in the year 2000. This award, named for the fifth Sergeant Major of the Army, William G. Bainbridge, USA, Retired and its first recipient is presented to a noncommissioned officer during the opening ceremony at the AUSA Annual Meeting.

The Bainbridge Award recognizes the special role of the noncommissioned officers in America's Army - their responsibilities, accomplishments and the vital role they play in the defense of our nation. The award also highlights the important contributions that NCOs make to America long after they take off the uniform. It recognizes an NCO who has devoted a lifetime of selfless service to our Army, the NCO Corps and to the local community. The Bainbridge Award is presented to a noncommissioned officer - active, reserve component or retired - whose contributions to the NCO Corps and the local community have been significant.
Schmeling served in the Army for 30 years but, AUSA notes, has continued his devotion to the Army and his compassion for soldiers and their families. He volunteers for a variety of local and national military service and support organizations.
As a long-standing member of the Capt. Meriwether Lewis (formerly Ft. Lewis) Chapter of the AUSA, Schmeling personally bid farewell and welcome home to more than 15,000 troops that deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). 
The Godfather of Ft. Lewis has said, his greatest honor came last year when his picture and bio were place on the Madigan Army Medical Center's NCO Wall of Fame.  Schmeling may be seen at any function serving service members and their families as well as representing their interests and well-being as a forthright spokesman throughout the community.  When you see him, as you will, say "Thank you."

Monday, November 1, 2010

NDTA Rolls On (and Off)

The Puget Sound Chapter, NDTA, coordinated a training event allowing members and guests an opportunity to see roll-on/roll-off ships in person and hear from her crew what they do to support the surge of military support when needed. When not in use the ships are part of the Ready Reserve Fleet managed by the Maritime Administration.

Below is a picture taken at the stern ramp of the CAPE ISLAND currently berthed with her sister ship the CAPE INTREPID at the Sperry Ocean Dock, off Ruston Way.

Pictured from right COL Jim Sagen (G3, JBLM), Stephanie O'Donnell (Global Outreach), Damir Sabanovic (DHL), Mary McGarry (Boeing), Lee Noble and Chris Smith (Global Trans), LTC John Redinger (833d), Christina Cyrus (Global Trans), Claudia Roberts (TOTE), Bob Casey (Independent Dispatch), Michael Dayton (TOTE), William Lynn, Gary Coy (Sperry Ocean Dock), MAJ Jim Anderson (833d), Gary Brackett (Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber) and SGM Rickey Patterson (833d).