Friday, March 28, 2014

Noteworthies with a Local Link

U.S. Pacific Command Commander Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear (who served on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea Commander Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti (CG, I Crops & JBLM in 2010-11) testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on "U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2015 and the Future Years Defense Program." 

New Regulations Likely Cause On-Base Closures

The McDonald’s at Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, will close March 31, reports the Army Times.

Six restaurants located on military installations, including three McDonald’s outlets and two name-brand eateries, have closed recently or are planning to shortly, with new minimum wage requirements for workers on federal contracts believed to have played a role in the decisions.  Washington State already has the highest minimum wage in the U.S. at $9.32/hr.

Last week McDonald’s restaurants closed at Naval Weapons Station Charleston, S.C., and at Naval Support Activity, Bethesda, Md.  An I Love Country, has notified Navy Exchange Service Command that it will close next week at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Two other contractors, a sandwich eatery and a pizza parlor, have asked to terminate their Army and Air Force Exchange Service contracts to operate at two other installations.

These decisions most likely are related to Labor Department rules governing fast food workers on federal contracts, along with a recently signed executive order increasing the minimum wage for employees working on new federal contracts beginning Jan. 1, a source told the publication. Pres. Obama’s executive order established $10.10/hr. as the federal minimum wage for contractors.  The rules also require payment of new, additional “health and welfare” fringe benefits at a rate of $3.81 per hour to those employees.

The Labor Department rules, issued last fall, require federal contractors operating under the Service Contract Act to pay fast food workers a higher minimum wage, as well as additional health and other benefits. It is not yet clear what the impact of President Obama’s executive order will be for contracts on military installations.

Are You Faster than a Zombie?

Captain Meriwether Lewis Zombie Apocalypse 5K Run:   On 31 May 2014, at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood.  See the fun with this video (courtesy of West Coast Publishing).

Come join the Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter for a Zombie Run.  During the run, there will be all kinds of excitement as Zombies chase the runners to the finish line.  If you’re a runner, this one is for you! (Anticipated audience total:  500 people.) To learn how to enroll, simply follow the link here.

Also, AUSA is looking for sponsors. To sponsor the event, please contact Stacy Miller.   AUSA NEEDS YOUR HELP ON THIS ONE, SO PLEASE SIGN UP TODAY! 

You can follow the Zombie Run on Facebook

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sesame Street Helps Military Kids Move

Moving can be challenging, especially for preschool children. Military families move often-the average child moves six to nine times between kindergarten and high school. The Big Moving Adventure mobile application, developed for the Department of Defense in partnership with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind Sesame Street, lets kids create a muppet friend to help through the moving process.

"Moving can be stressful, and kids need to express feelings and say goodbye to people and things," said Dr. Kelly Blasko, psychologist at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology. "The muppet characters in this app help make the move a fun experience."

Children can use the app to help their muppet friend make decisions on a variety of move-related issues like which toys to pack in a box and which to take along in their backpack. Children watch the muppet say goodbye to their house, military base, and classroom and playground friends. Finally, at the new house, children help their muppet unpack, settle into the home, and make new friends.

"Sesame Workshop has always been at the forefront of creating resources for families with young children to help address some of life's most difficult issues," said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for Community and Family Engagement at Sesame Workshop. "The Big Moving Adventure is part of Sesame Workshop's contribution to military families who face the challenge of helping a child cope with this major transition and help our kids reach their highest potential."

Military parents face unique challenges during a move, and the app helps their young children through the experience. A separate parents section contains additional move-related topics and tips.

The Big Moving Adventure mobile app is the newest addition to a portfolio of multi-media resources developed by Sesame Workshop, in collaboration with the Defense Department, to help military families with deployments and life transitions. While developed specifically for military families with children 3 to 5 years old, it is useful for all families with young children experiencing a move.

The mobile app is available for download from the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon for Kindle Fire. Users have downloaded the free app more than 130,000 times since its release in December.

About T2
The National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., serves as the primary Defense Department office for cutting-edge approaches in applying technology to psychological health. T2 is a component center of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, and aligned with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

T2's mission is to lead the innovation of health technology solutions for psychological health and traumatic brain injury, and deliver tested, valued health solutions that improve the lives of our nation's warriors, veterans, and their families.

Telehealth and Technology's advanced health technology solutions are user-friendly, valued by our warriors, and cost-effective. The center also supports the Department of Defense's goals of increasing access to care, establishing best practices and quality standards for health technology and telehealth, and reducing both military suicide rates and the prevalence of stigma associated with seeking behavioral health services. For more information, visit us at

About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the landmark television program that reaches millions of children every day in more than 150 countries. The Workshop's mission is to use the educational power of media to help children everywhere reach their highest potential. Delivered through a variety of platforms, Sesame Workshop develops research-based content - including television programs, books, games, mobile apps, and community engagement initiatives - that supports early childhood learning, helps prepare children for school, and addresses developmental needs. The Workshop's programs are tailored to the needs of specific regions and focus on topics that help young children and families develop critical skills for lifelong learning. For more information, visit us at

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Nominations Open for Annual Citizen-Soldier Award

Our nation continues its reliance on the citizen-soldiers for the many and diverse missions in support of our defense.  These citizens perform a dual role as defenders and civilian contributors to our community.  They are citizens of our community and soldiers of our nation.

The Chamber wishes to recognize, with the 33rd annual presentation, the Howard O. Scott Citizen-Soldier of the Year.  Your nominee is desired.  Nominees may currently be called to active duty.

Guidelines are:  
1.    A Reservist or National Guard member, any service;
2.    A resident of Tacoma or Pierce County;
3.    Professional in both military and civilian occupations;
4.    An exemplary volunteer in the community.
5.    Additional consideration will be given if the nominee is an employee of a Chamber member or owns a business that is a Chamber member.

Nominations should be no longer than two pages, no photos.  While military professionalism is important, this is usually a given standard.  It is recommended that the nomination focus on the nominee's volunteerism in the community.  You are referenced to the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, which has been added to the list of awards and decorations that earn promotion points.

Selection of the honoree will be made by the Military Affairs Committee of the Chamber.  Presentation of the Award will be at the April 15, 2014 meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Tacoma.  You will be informed of the ceremonies if you submit a nomination.

Submit nominees to the Chamber, Gary Brackett.  Include:  Nominee’s name, unit and contact info as well as the reasons for nomination.  The deadline for submitting nominees is April 4, 2014.

Thank you for your cooperation and acknowledgement of the importance of our citizen-soldiers.

Noteworthies with a Local Link

The chief of staff, Army announced today the assignment of Col. Willard M. Burleson III, selected for the rank of brigadier general, deputy commander, 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., to deputy director, J-5, U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Noteworthies with a Local Link

Lt. Gen. Darren W. McDew, has been nominated for appointment to the rank of general and for assignment as commander, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.  McDew is currently serving as commander, Eighteenth Air Force, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Lt. Gen. McDew is a former 62nd Ops Group CO.

Lt. Gen. McDew would replace Gen. Paul Selva, who has been tapped to lead US Transportation Command.  Gen. Selva has led AMC since November 2012.  Gen. Selva is a former 62nd AW Commander.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lincoln HS Seeks to Honor USMC Alumna

Lincoln High School is raising funds for the Greg (Pappy) Boyington Memorial that will be placed on the school grounds. Boyington was a highly decorated US Marine Corps combat pilot and Medal of Honor recipient who graduated from Lincoln HS.

(Click on Image for a Larger and Complete View)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DoD Releases Fiscal 2015 Budget Proposal and 2014 QDR

The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), is being released today in conjunction with the proposed defense budget of $495.6 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund base defense programs in fiscal year 2015.

The 2014 QDR builds upon and updates the strategy submitted in January 2012, "Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," preparing for the future by rebalancing our defense efforts in a period of fiscal challenges.

The QDR advances a broader strategic framework emphasizing three pillars - protect the homeland, to deter and defeat threats to the United States and to mitigate the effects of potential attacks and natural disasters; build security globally, to preserve regional stability, deter adversaries, support allies and partners, and cooperate with others to address common security challenges; and project power and win decisively, to defeat aggression, disrupt and destroy terrorist networks, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The QDR highlights the imperative for institutional reform to implement this strategy.  Controlling cost growth and generating greater efficiencies will allow the DoD to maximize its readiness and combat power over the long term.

"This QDR defines the historic transition unfolding throughout our defense enterprise.  As we move off the longest continuous war footing in our nation's history, this QDR explains how we will adapt, reshape, and rebalance our military for the challenges and opportunities of the future," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

"Today's world requires a strategy that is neither budget driven nor budget blind.  We need a strategy that can be implemented with a realistic level of resources, and that is what this QDR provides," said Hagel.

The DoD budget request reflects a balance between readiness, capacity, and capability.  It seeks efficiencies, including another round of base realignment and closure, and slower growth in military compensation in order to free up funds to minimize cuts in force size and readiness. 

Even with these initiatives, the force gets smaller and modernization programs are streamlined under this budget with changes made in a manner that reflects the new QDR.  The net result is a military force that can fulfill the defense strategy, but with some increased levels of risk.  The department can manage these risks under the President's 2015 Budget plan, but risks would grow significantly if as current law requires sequester-level cuts return in 2016, if proposed reforms are not accepted, or if uncertainty over budget levels continues, asserts the press release.

Commenting on the DoD request for FY 2015, Hagel said, "This is a budget that recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges, the dangerous world we live in, and the American military's unique and indispensable role in this country and in today's volatile world."                 

For Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) operations in FY 2015, the budget only includes a placeholder of $79 billion, an amount equal to the request for FY 2014.  Once conditions permit a decision about the scope of the enduring U.S. presence in Afghanistan, a formal budget amendment will be proposed to specify and fund OCO needs in FY 2015.

The request is $0.4 billion less than the enacted FY 2014 appropriation and is consistent with the current budget caps.  The Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative -- a government-wide initiative -- requests an additional $26 billion in FY 2015 to address significant readiness and modernization challenges. In the years from FY 2016 to FY 2019, the Department of Defense (DoD) is asking for funding that exceeds the current budget caps by a total of approximately $115 billion in order to meet defense requirements.

Noteworthies With a Local Link

The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert announced today that Rear Adm. Babette Bolivar will be assigned as commander, U.S. Pacific Command Representative, Guam.  Bolivar is currently serving as commander, Navy Region Northwest, Silverdale, Wash.

Monday, March 3, 2014

WA Honors Medal of Honor Recipeints

Washington will recognize its Medal of Honor Recipients at this upcoming event at the Medal of Honor Monument in Olympia.

(Click on Image for a Larger and Complete View)

UPDATE:  11 MAR 2014
A public ceremony to honor the most recent three Washington state Medal of Honor recipients from Operation Enduring Freedom will be held at the Capitol Rotunda on April 2, 2014 at 11:00 am.

SFC Leroy A. Petry, SSG Ty M. Carter and CPT William D. Swenson all reside in this State and will be joined by at least two of the four Medal of Honor recipients also calling Washington home: COL Joe Jackson, Vietnam; MAJ Bruce Crandall, Vietnam; PFC Thomas Kinsman, Vietnam and PFC Wilburn Ross, World War II.

Governor Jay Inslee will be joined by MG Terry Ferrell, commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, JBLM as keynote speakers.

The I Corps Army Band brass quintet and the I Corps Honor Guard will be participating, and the event’s Master of Ceremonies will be the director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Lourdes E. Alvarado-Ramos.

The names of Petry, Carter and Swenson will be unveiled at the Washington state Medal of Honor Monument on the Capitol campus following the indoor ceremony, bringing the total of MOH names on the monument to 91 and the total of living recipients in our State to seven. See links below to read their Medal of Honor citations.

The last name added to the State’s Medal of Honor Monument was that of Major Bruce P. Crandall on April 16, 2007. 

As of this release there are only six living Medal of Honor recipients from Operation Enduring Freedom in the United States.
For directions and parking options: