Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Prospective Leaders Complete Underway Portion of Training

By Steve Vanderwerff, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- More than 30 prospective commanding officers (PCOs) and prospective executive officers (PXOs) attending the Senior Officer Ship Material Readiness Course (SOSMRC) completed the ship ride portion of the course Oct 22.

The afloat training followed the classroom section taught at Naval Education and Training Command's Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) in Newport, R.I.

The class of 36 officers traveled to Norfolk, Va., San Diego, and Mayport, Fla. to get underway for a week on ships corresponding to their ultimate assignment.

They rode aboard guided-missile destroyers and frigates, amphibious ships, mine countermeasures ships and coastal patrol craft.

The week provided the future commanding officers time to go to sea in ships similar to the ones they will command, in order to hone their readiness assessment skills.

While on board, the engineering and material readiness curriculum taught at SWOS was re-enforced by SOSMRC instructors by having the students practically apply what they learned in the classroom.

"During ship ride week the students are provided opportunities to see ship spaces and systems whose operations were previously taught during the classroom phase," said Capt. Randy Lovell, SOSMRC deputy director. "The instructor-led ship ride included observing routine procedures such as pre-underway checks, equipment startup and operations, maintenance and system testing, material assessments, interaction with the ship's company, and a host of other evolutions and training events.

"The particular events will vary from ship to ship since each host ship will be executing different phases of the deployment cycle. Many PCOs will have been away from the fleet for several years prior to returning to take command of their ship. And while they have had previous at sea experience in other roles on board a ship, each PCO needs to prepare to assume their most important role at sea," said Lovell.

SOSMRC is five weeks long, divided into roughly three phases. The first phase is a common core, addressing topics applicable to all ship classes.

The second is a specialty phase where specific systems and ship operations for the particular ship type are covered. During the specialty phase guest speakers cover current fleet material readiness issues, along with a two-day fleet maintenance process course. The students are instructed on systems and equipment that are identical to the ship type they will command.

The capstone event occurs the last week of class. Ship ride week is coordinated between the east and west coast and, where possible, all prospective commanding officers are assigned a ship ride on a ship identical to the one they will eventually command.

There are occasional exceptions, where a student is assigned to command a ship in class that does not have sufficient numbers, such as either the new littoral combat ship design or an older steam design.

In those cases, the student is assigned to a ship as near as possible to make the training as meaningful as possible. The ship board experience is supervised by SWOS instructors who have previously served as a commanding officer, executive officer or chief engineer.

"The curriculum is approximately seventy percent classroom instruction and thirty percent hands-on training," said Lovell. "During the classroom phase students also have sessions in the engineering plant simulators, along with several static displays used during classroom training. The majority of hands-on training occurs during the week of ship ride.

"We revised several lessons based on student feedback and desires. Feedback from type commanders and squadron commanders has also led to some changes as we endeavor to improve instruction in those areas where the fleet needs improvement.

"For example, valve maintenance and repair had been a recent challenge in several ship material assessments, so we revised our lectures on valves and piping to address these issues," said Lovell.

SOSMRC provides an opportunity for the PCO to sharpen their skills in operation, maintenance and assessment prior to returning to sea and taking command.

According the SWOS leadership, it is one of the enablers to assist PCOs in being successful during their sea command tours, and ensure the ships they will command are always ready to sail into harms way.

"Our national and naval strategy for self defense of our country depends on maintaining a capable and flexible naval fleet," said Capt. Jefferey Davis, SWOS executive officer. "These naval vessels are composed of technologically advanced systems to meet our current defense needs. A capable ship is a valuable capital asset which requires sustained material readiness if the ship hull, engineering and weapons systems are to last the expected lifetime of the given ship.

Davis said that without a well-funded and properly executed program for maintaining a ship's material readiness, the life of a ship would be shortened and never meet its expected service life.

"Our Navy must, on average, get thirty or more service years out of all new ships," said Davis. "This life cycle expectation requires each ship's crew, along with supporting shore establishments, to maintain superior material readiness."

SOSMRC is an updated version of a 13-week course that was offered in the 1980s and 90s. The reduction in maintenance sustainment and upkeep several years ago resulted in the early decommissioning of some naval assets.

Their material condition had reached a point where it was not cost effective to restore them to as-built conditions. Some of these ships were at approximately twenty years of service.

"SOSMRC is just a small part of restoring a sustained approach to maintaining fleet material readiness," Davis said. "The ability of a ship's force to assess their material readiness, maintain what equipment is within their ability to maintain, and to understand how to work with the maintenance community to execute a minimum thirty-year program, is critical to achieving the Navy's goal of 313 ships."

Davis said that without superior material readiness ships will not be able to execute the nation's tasking up to and past thirty plus years of service.

He said without proper material readiness, life expectancy drops quickly.

The first SOSMRC Class convened earlier this year in January. SOSMRC hosts approximately 140 students a year.

"This course is having a positive impact on the material readiness and quality of operations in the fleet," Lovell said. "While this is only the fourth SOSMRC class, ships are beginning to be led by individuals who attended the training. The course provides a refresher on some key engineering and maintenance principles while providing a much needed boost for those officers whose previous ship assignments did not afford them the opportunities to develop material assessment and maintenance skills required at the XO and CO level."

Lovell said each prospective commanding officer and executive officer directly benefits from the course.

"On a larger scale, the fleet is the ultimate benefactor since future commanding officers are better able to maintain the fleet asset entrusted to their care," said Lovell. "Over thirty years there will be at least 15 different commanding officers. It is important to the long term interest of the fleet that each commanding officer is able to do his part in maintaining his assigned ship's material condition."

To attend the course, students have to have earned their surface warfare office pin, completed at-sea department head tours and command qualifications, and have been screened for command.

Following their ship ride week, they return to SWOS to complete their Prospective Commanding Officer course.

Guardian of the Week – CDR Matthew Meilstrup

Written by: LT Connie Braesch

“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Our Guardian of the Week is this year’s Captain David H. Jarvis Inspirational Leadership Award winner. As the Executive Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis at the time of the award, CDR Matt Meilstrup truly embodied the spirit of Captain Jarvis – a Revenue Cutter Service pioneer for whom the CGC Jarvis is named and whose enduring leadership is kept alive by Coast Guardsmen like Meilstrup.

Receiving a nomination for a prestigious service award is a proud moment in anyone’s career, but receiving the nomination from those you lead – rather than from those that lead you – is a true honor and a tribute to Meilstrup’s ability to inspire others.

Being second in command at any Coast Guard unit is not an easy or popular job, particularly on one of the largest cutters in the fleet – a 378-foot High Endurance Cutter. In two years as the XO, Meilstrup made unparalleled advances in both the cutter’s operational performance and the quality of life onboard the ship.

Spending nearly 270 days underway in just one year meant Jarvis was not only a place to work but also a place to live. Meilstrup judiciously managed the ship’s budget and reallocated resources to complete projects and improve shipboard life for the crew including revitalizing berthing and remodeling the gym.

“CDR Meilstrup had tremendous respect for all of us,” said LT Heather Bacon-Shone, operations officer on Jarvis. “I think that’s because he first saw us as people, and secondly as shipmates, and only thirdly as cooks, Chiefs, junior officers, boatswains’ mates or firemen.”

Understanding the value of getting the crew involved, Meilstrup engaged the officer’s wardroom and the Chief’s Mess. He built camaraderie throughout the ship empowering all levels of leadership to make a difference. His efforts helped more than 170 crewmembers attend formal service and college courses. Another 100 members took advancement exams, 90 earned advancements and several junior officers qualified to command their own cutters.

“One of his signature trademarks was the nightly ‘Fireside Chat’ delivered as the last pipe of the day,” said Bacon-Shone. “In it, CDR Meilstrup would review highlights of the day’s events, giving shout-outs to often unsung hard workers whom he’d observed during his walks about the ship, and then alert us to the next day’s events.”

“I have always believed in looking out for my colleagues, building a cohesive team without barriers, challenging people to advance their professional knowledge and giving maximum effort on whatever task one is given,” said Meilstrup.

In fact, Meilstrup was recognized in 2010 by the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard as an Honorary Chief Petty Officer for his outstanding impact on the Chiefs’ Mess and enlisted members.

“I was glad to have been part of that process and was exceptionally happy for him since he takes great pride in this achievement,” said LCDR Guy Morrow, engineering officer on Jarvis. “He made me a better writer, supervisor, and friend by being all those himself.”

“CDR Meilstrup is a truly extraordinary officer and we were all very lucky to have the opportunity to work with him and call him a shipmate,” said Bacon-Shone.

As the current commanding officer for the CGC Confidence, Meilstrup continues his dynamic and engaging leadership style.

“I’m exceptionally proud to be a Cutterman,” said Meilstrup. “There’s a special bond between shipmates that doesn’t exist elsewhere; that camaraderie is why I keep going back to sea, why I strive to be the best shipmate I can be.”

Friday, October 29, 2010

Face of Defense: Airman Shares Fitness Success Story

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Armando A. Schwier-Morales
22nd Air Refueling Wing

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan., Oct. 29, 2010 – Deployed airmen face many challenges, but Air Force Staff Sgt. Michelle Rose transformed her mental and physical obstacles into a fitness success story.

Rose, noncommissioned officer in charge of 22nd Operations Support Squadron aviation resource management, began her battle to improve her fitness in September 2009. Her physical fitness test score was 76 points, one point from failing, and it affected many parts of her life.

"I weighed 175 pounds and was completely unhappy with myself," she said. "My self-esteem was low; therefore, I never wanted to go out when friends asked me."

Rose’s transformation began when she deployed to Southwest Asia.

"The day after I got to my deployed location, I went to the gym in the coalition compound," she said. "I asked for a workout plan, and a civilian employee offered to train me."

With the help of friends, Rose continued her regimen during her deployment and dropped 45 pounds.

"I trained six days a week for 114 days, and cardio and weightlifting was the key to my success," she said.

Rose returned here in December 2009 with a changed mind set and a new lifestyle. She scored 94.9 points on her physical training test.

"The changes have made her healthier and have given her a more positive outlook on life and the future," said Air Force Master Sgt. Clayton Raub, the squadron’s chief of host aviation resource management. The changes in Rose’s personal life led to improvements in her professional life, Raub added.

"She is able to supervise and lead better, because now she can come from the standpoint [of] 'I am doing this, and there is no reason you can't,'" he explained.

Rose has been leading and encouraging others in her squadron during their physical training.

"When we PT, she is leading it and putting her energy out on other people, … and they take it well," Raub said. "How can you not take it from someone that actually went from where she was to where she is now?"

Down to 117 pounds and striving for a perfect score, Rose said she will continue to improve her health every day by improving on all aspects of her life.

"I will continue to always be physically fit -- and the happiness that it has brought me is more than words can describe," she said.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Greatest Hunting Stories Ever Told: Twenty-Nine Unforgettable Tales

If the captivating smile of a young Hemingway crouched over a lion isn't enough to pull you inside the covers of The Greatest Hunting Stories Ever Told, the remarkable prose you'll find throughout its pages will. Its target is serious writing, and it bags some powerful literary prey. Lamar Underwood, long an editor at Sports Afield and Outdoors, has assembled a stellar collection from the pens of Hemingway (naturally), Faulkner, Turgenev, Thomas McGuane, Vance Bourjaily, Patrick O'Brian, Robert Ruark, and Teddy Roosevelt, all of whose prose hunts for big answers as well as big game.

While clearly addressed to the fraternity of hunters, the essays and stories in this collection transcend the boundaries of the field. McGuane, writing passionately about how the hunt for food defines who we are in "The Heart of the Game," observes, as Sitting Bull did before him, "when the buffalo are gone, we will hunt mice, for we are hunters and we want our freedom." Hemingway, in "Remembering Shooting-Flying," an Esquire column from 1935, keeps world affairs in perspective when he wonders "how the snipe fly in Russia now and whether shooting pheasants is counter-revolutionary." "The Forest and the Steppe" is one of Turgenev's evocative "Hunter's Sketches"; evocative also defines "Mister Howard Was a Real Gent," one of Ruark's marvelous "Old Man and the Boy" contributions to Field & Stream.

Given the overall subject, there is plenty of sporting drama throughout, but also plenty of thoughtful reflection, and absolutely magnificent storytelling, which is as it should be. When you set your sights on the greatest, your aim needs to be true. --Jeff Silverman

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Guardian of the Week – BM1 John Costabile

Written by: Dan Bender

Our Guardian of the Week is a stellar shipmate aboard the CGC Campbell, where the crew, from the captain down, admire him for his leadership and expertise.  BM1 John Costabile has proven his worth there time and time again.

“BM1 Costabile is not only the most seasoned coxswain aboard Campbell, he may also be one of the most talented in the Coast Guard,” said Cmdr. Scott Clendenin, the Campbell’s skipper.  ”His natural gift for seamanship, and his keen judgment skills combine to make him the most gifted tactical coxswain I have seen over the span of five sea tours.”

While his shipmates admire him, drug runners might be more apt to call him the bogeyman.  In 2009 Costabile led 10 high-speed, close-quarter pursuits with go-fast suspect boats, often requiring speeds in excess of 40-knots with challenging weather and in unfamiliar and poorly-charted waters, said Clendenin.

“His operational savy disrupted 10 drug smuggling attempts, led to the arrest of five suspected narco-traffickers, the seizure of 2,000 pounds of cocaine worth over $28 million and the seizure of a stolen U.S. flagged vessel,” said Clendenin.

It’s not only his abilities as an operator that are impressive but also his judgment.  During one of these chases, Costabile was authorized to use warning shots and disabling fire to stop a go-fast.  When warning shots did not compel the suspected smuggler to stop Costabile relied on his experience and training when he decided not to take out their engines.

 “He elected not to utilize disabling fire due to safety concerns for the suspected smugglers demonstrating the highest levels of professionalism,” said Clendenin.

Costabile has earned the commands trust to such an extent that he is qualified as an underway officer of the deck, responsible for the entire ship while on watch,a duty usually reserved for officers well above him in paygrade on a cutter the size of Campbell.

“From my observation his value is at least consistent with the Coast Guard’s highest performing junior officers,” said Clendenin.

He works diligently, both on- and off-duty, to help his shipmates.  Costabile can often be found during his off-hours to conduct training on boardings, seamanship or navigation.

“BM1 Costabile is simply a charismatic leader who the entire crew enjoys being around,” said Clendenin.

For his efforts Costabile was awarded the 2009 Douglas A. Munro Inspirational Leadership Award, an honor that comes with an automatic merit promotion.

Congratulations, chief!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Coast Guardsmen earn prestigious service awards

Written by: LT Connie Braesch
Post Written by Public Affairs Specialist 3rd Class Cynthia Beckert

Two of the Coast Guard’s most outstanding Shipmates, who have demonstrated uncommonly high standards of leadership and commitment to their service, will be recognized with the Coast Guard’s most prominent awards, the Douglas A. Munro and Captain David H. Jarvis Awards.

Petty Officer 1st Class John F. Costabile, a boatswain’s mate stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell, homeported in Portsmouth, N.H., is this year’s recipient of the Dougals A. Munro Award and upon acceptance will earn an automatic merit promotion to Chief Petty Officer, a rare and prestigious honor.

Cmdr. Matthew T. Meilstrup, commanding officer, Coast Guard Cutter Confidence, homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla., will be recognized and presented the Captain David H. Jarvis Award for his above average devotion to his crew while serving as executive officer, coincidentally, aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis.

Together, in addition to countless other examples of their leadership values, the two Coast Guard recipients have served as mentors for their shipmates – building moral and devoting personal time and resources to help 146 of their shipmates receive qualifications or advancements. Thanks to the enthusiasm of these two exceptionally hard-working Coast Guardsmen, both units are more healthy, happy and operationally prepared.

The awards will be presented today at the Navy League of the United States’ 2010 National Convention being held in Jacksonville, Fla.

BM1 Costabile will be our Guardian of the Week today and LCDR Meilstrup will be honored as Guardian of the Week next Friday, so stay tuned to learn more about these two terrific Coast Guardsmen’s careers and to see photos from today’s ceremony.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Face of Defense: Officer Uses Teaching Skills in Iraq

By Army Pfc. Emily Knitter
U.S. Division Center

BAGHDAD, Oct. 15, 2010Army 1st Lt. Rachel Adair sits on a weathered, wooden picnic table here, shrouded in yellow light from a dust-covered lamp mounted overhead. Soldiers walk by through the dark, combat boots crunching on the gravel as they carry on with their evening.

Adair is a former middle school and high school teacher-turned Army transportation officer. Today, she serves in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division as executive officer for Company G, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade.

Adair recalled how she decided to join the Army.

“When I finished high school, I wasn’t too sure about anything,” Adair, a Bonner Springs, Kan., native, said. “The stories of military life always fascinated me. My 12th-grade government teacher was a retired lieutenant colonel, and he used to tell the absolute best stories.

“All his stories really fascinated [the class],” she continued. “And it made you want to be in the military -- even just for a short time to say that you did it. I was definitely interested, but I wanted that college degree.”

Adair applied to the University of Kansas to pursue a career in teaching.

“I enjoyed working with kids, so it just seemed a natural fit,” she said.

While pursuing her education degree, Adair again ended up in class listening to a teacher tell stories of the military.

“The professor that we spent the most time with had great stories too,” she said. “He was never in the military, but when he spoke about World War II and Vietnam, there was always such passion behind him. When people do look at our military, [they see] the history behind our whole country.”

Even though she was still fascinated by the stories, Adair said, she never had any serious intent to join the military at that time. While completing her graduate studies, Adair taught seventh-grade geography and 12th-grade government, just like her own teacher years before.

“That last year I was teaching, I had my 12th-graders who were ready to go out into the world,” she said. “At 18 years old, they are kind of in that transition where some of them kind of know what they want to do, but they are still full of energy and they want to get out there and do something. A lot of them were joining the military.”

And then, Adair realized she still wanted to be part of the military.

“I figured that was a good time [to join the military] because I didn’t have a family yet and I could travel,” she said.

The Army was an easy choice when deciding which service to join, Adair said.

“I never really looked at the Marines,” she said. “At the time, I didn’t think Air Force, and I’m from Kansas so I definitely didn’t think Navy or Coast Guard. The way I looked at it, the Army is the military, just because it is so versatile and [it offers] the most opportunity. I could have done a whole slew of things in the Army.”

So in late spring of 2007, Adair officially became a U.S. Army officer.

“I am a transportation officer,” she said. “I was the distribution platoon leader for 22 months, and I got my chance while we were here in Iraq to be out on the road a lot with my guys, which was a natural fit.”

Adair said she quickly discovered she was even more suited for the military lifestyle than she expected.

“At the end of the day, being a teacher and being in the military is about the same amount of work, which is kind of scary,” she said with a laugh. “It [says a lot about] how hard teachers actually work.”

Adair said her training as a teacher helps every day, even when she may not notice it.

“The younger soldiers, I know what they are interested in and I can kind of relate to them,” she said. “Because all the conversations and all the classroom discussions I have had in the past, I know what they are going through at that age. With the added deployment, I can also relate to them as a soldier.”

Adair said the rewards of being in the military are even greater when she works with soldiers in a deployed setting.

“The soldiers here are relied on to do an awful lot,” she said. “It is kind of that same pride that a teacher would feel when their kids finally get that diploma. Except we get that on a much bigger scale over here because there is much more at stake.”

Among all the experiences Adair has had since joining the military, one will always stick out for her.

“I think the biggest and best memory I am going to have of this deployment is being out on the road with my soldiers,” she said. “After all the planning and all the days of training and load up, once you actually get into the truck and you leave the [base], that is the best feeling in the world. The mission is not even over yet, but you feel good because all that planning has already paid off.”

But there are downsides to every adventure, and for Adair, that’s being away from home.

“The challenge is, when you look at your military career as opposed to your personal life, there isn’t a whole lot of time for your personal life,” she said. “That has been a pretty big challenge for me, especially as a female in the Army, because you want to be a soldier, you want to be a leader. But at the same time, you also want the family stuff.”

However, Adair uses the examples set by her mentors in the military as inspiration.

“There are enough female leaders I have seen who have managed to juggle both, so that is my goal,” she said.

Adair said while having a family is a goal of hers, for now, she embraces each moment she gets to spend with her soldiers.

“The time you do get to hang out with the soldiers and talk to them is usually the best part of any officer’s day,” she said.

Adair said she plans to return to teaching eventually.

“I don’t know if it’ll be three years from now, or 15,” she said. “I think the Army is the life I want to stick with for right now.”

When Adair does go back to teaching, she said, she’ll have even more in common with her old high school teacher.

“[The Iraq War] is the stuff we taught, and now I have firsthand knowledge of it,” she said. “So one day when I do go back to teaching, the stories are going to be that much better.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Leading the Way with "Team River Runner"

With the rush of the rapids and spray of cool river water on his face, Robert Wake hadn't had this much fun in years. In fact, his Colorado kayaking trip last June was the first thrilling adventure he'd experienced since he was injured in Iraq five years ago.

Wake is one of many Veterans across the country participating in Team River Runner (TRR), an organization that uses kayaking and other paddle sports as physical therapy for wounded Veterans. Paddling sports allow recovering Vets the opportunity to get out of the hospital and replace the adrenaline of combat with the adrenaline of water sports. The volunteer organization provides outdoor activities ranging from white water rafting to wilderness fishing trips, catering to the desires of participants and their type of injury.

"We can adapt to any disability-including quadriplegics," states Joe Mirnini, executive director of Team River Runner.

A new opportunity for Veterans is a TRR training program where top paddlers from around the country are invited to attend a leadership clinic in Colorado or Montana to learn leadership tools for paddling trips in their local chapters.

"It's often the first vocational role they've had since disability," says Mirnini. "The course prepares Veterans to be certified with the American Canoe Association."

Robert Wake, whose kayaking experience was limited to a swimming pool at the St. Louis VA Medical Center, was asked to join both leadership clinics this year. He headed out west and took his first plunge into the river as a kayaker.

"It was an unbelievable experience-it's a difference between daylight and dark. When you're on the water it just feels like all of your cares take a back seat, and for me, the extremes of the river was something else," describes Wake.

Wake's recreational therapist, Jean Ferguson, attended the Colorado trip with him. Prior to the trip she taught him how to swim, then how to kayak. "Our goal is to help Veterans with skill development so it gives them a chance to get out in the water." She considers Team River Runner a valuable program that continues to grow. "It's a team bonding experience, like in the military where you depend on each other. If you flip over in your kayak, the others will help you out."

Ben Brown was selected for the Montana Training Clinic in July. Prior to the trip, he was an active member of Team River Runner in Lexington, KY for one year. Like Wake, Brown had not tried a recreational sport since his injury; he was thrilled to find a sport where his paralysis did not affect his performance.

"Personally, it's an opportunity to become active again in boating and on the water. The water for a paraplegic-just being in the water, you're at zero gravity. It's a totally safe sport. If you wipe out, you float in the water."

The TRR leadership program is geared to incorporate the skills that Veterans have learned in the military. The course covers planning, executing, and analyzing safety and technique while in the water. Recent clinics hosted 10 to 15 Veterans plus their family members and volunteers.

Both Brown and Wake plan to continue in leadership roles within their respective TRR chapters. Wake's goal is to start a chapter in his hometown in southeastern Missouri. Brown continues as an active participant of the Lexington chapter and takes biweekly trips to various kayaking spots. He is also an avid white water rafter, and recently competed in the National White Water Rafting Championship in Maryland.

By Megan Tyson, VA Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Guardian of the Week – Mr. David Condino

Written by: LTJG Stephanie Young
Co-authored by LCDR Kevin Lynn

When David Condino started working with the U.S. Coast Guard in 2007, he had little idea that he would soon tackle some of the most important maritime environmental issues in the world.

Condino, a civilian employee and member of the Facility Safety Branch at the Coast Guard’s Headquarters in Washington, D.C., has been involved in advancing the Coast Guard’s marine environment protection mission by providing guidance and oversight in key international policies.

A Master Mariner, Condino holds a license of unlimited tonnage and has sailed the world’s oceans thus creating a deep connection to all things maritime. Through his global travels, he has gained a firsthand perspective of how garbage thrown overboard affects the maritime environment.

Although regulations require ports and terminals to provide some waste reception facilities so garbage and other shipboard generated wastes can be disposed of properly, under certain circumstances, the disposal of garbage such as cardboard, paper, metal, and other operational wastes may be discharged while a ship is underway.

When the opportunity to help protect the marine environment with more stringent regulation of shipboard garbage arose, Condino couldn’t help but get involved, landing him at the forefront of international action.

Over the past several years, Condino was the Coast Guard lead, spearheading the United States’ effort to engage the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reform regulations to improve the marine habitat. He worked closely with other agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of State and Navy.

The IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations based in London that develops international regulations for maritime shipping. As a governing body, the IMO plays a critical role in crafting marine environmental protection protocols, with one such protocol being the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. This policy is followed globally and is more commonly referred to as the MARPOL Convention.

In July of 1991, the wider Caribbean region, which includes the Gulf of Mexico, was designated as a special area. Because of this designation, new, stricter rules for discharging garbage from ships, would be in effect.

But, before these rules could be enforced, the United States and other wider Caribbean region countries would have to prove to the IMO that adequate reception facilities were available to handle the increase in garbage disposed in port.

Condino launched an aggressive effort to ensure the United States had accurate details on the capabilities of reception facilities and that they were indeed prepared to handle the increase in the disposal of shore side waste.

Armed with this information, the United States along with 25 other nations certified to the IMO that they were ready for the new rules governing the wider Caribbean region area to come into effect. The IMO accepted this certification in March 2010 and as a result, on May 1, 2011, the Gulf of Mexico will become a cleaner maritime habitat.

Mr. Jeffrey G. Lantz, Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards indicated “As the US lead agency to the IMO, the Coast Guard and its members such as Dave are a critical component in coordinating US interagency support for safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans. Dave’s efforts on reporting adequate reception facilities are immeasurable to ensuring the protection of the marine environment in the Caribbean area.”

Protecting the marine environment from the effects of pollution such as shipboard waste is an ongoing process, and one that will require continued efforts by people like Condino. Cleaning up our oceans and maritime environment is a long journey, but if you walk by Condino’s desk you will see his a simple statement posted on his wall that remains his constant motivation…"Let’s talk some trash."

Monday, October 18, 2010

CPPD Rolls Out Leadership Modules Five and Six This Fall

By Susan Lawson, Center for Personal and Professional Development Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) will roll out modules five and six of the Leadership Core Continuum (LCC) November 2010.

These are the final modules in the LCC, which are now available for download from Navy Knowledge Online (NKO). Modules five and six will also be distributed to commands in the form of a CD starting November 29.

"The only change commands can expect with this distribution of LCC is the packaging," said Chief Gas Turbine System (Electrical) James Scarnati, LCC course manager. "Modules five and six are the last two courses in this LCC series, so we have repackaged all six modules on one CD, which we will distribute to commands this fall, and also make available for download on NKO."

LCC training is designed to meet the continuing process of training and developing enlisted leaders in pay grades E4 through E6.

"LCC is the foundational link in the Navy's enlisted leadership continuum and is designed to enhance the leadership training our junior enlisted Sailors receive between promotion cycles," said CPPD's Commanding Officer, Capt. Chuck Hollingsworth.

The core competencies of LCC include accomplishing missions, leading change, working with people and resource stewardship; all of which are essential in the process of engaging our Sailors and capitalizing on previous lessons learned through command-delivered courses.

LCC content is reality-based, taught in an operational environment, and appropriate to its target audiences. The training contained in these six modules, and the various petty officer selectee command-delivered training courses, will provide all E4 through E6 Sailors with knowledge and tools needed to sustain and continually improve upon their leadership skills.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Face of Defense: Deployed NCO Hones Managerial Skills

By Army Sgt. Mary S. Katzenberger
U.S. Division Center

BAGHDAD, Oct. 14, 2010 – Army Staff Sgt. Michael Garutti is no stranger to wearing multiple hats. When stateside, the infantryman wears the hats of noncommissioned officer, squad leader, husband and father.

However, when Garutti deployed here in late 2009, he had no idea he would be handed two additional hats -- those of joint security station mayor and contracting officer representative. He wore the hats first at Joint Security Station Istiqlal in northeast Baghdad, and later, at Joint Security Station al Rashid in the city’s al Rashid district, while deployed with the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 69th Armor Regiment, 3rd Battalion.

“Being an infantry squad leader, [this] definitely wasn’t what I expected to be doing over here,” Garutti said. “A lot of people skills and managerial skills come into play.”

For the past nine months, Garutti, a Merritt Island, Fla., native, has juggled mayoral duties -- managing daily operations and life support for the bases -- as well as contracting officer representative duties. As a COR, Garutti has served as the “eyes on site” at both joint security stations to ensure U.S. government contractors deliver the services they’ve been contracted to provide. Garutti said the two positions are “a totally different animal.”

A typical day for Garutti involves inspecting the work performed by Iraqi contractors, monitoring fuel usage and water consumption, issuing supplies, and occasionally learning a new trade.

“I came here and had to build quite a few things just out of necessity,” Garutti said. “I’ve learned carpentry by Google and trial-and-error.”

Since moving to JSS al Rashid in May, Garutti has constructed a flight of wooden stairs and a containment area for petroleum- and oil-based products. He also has partitioned off a room to provide more billeting space.

The most challenging aspect of being a mayor and a COR, Garutti said, has been learning how to work through cultural differences with the Iraqi laborers and business owners.

“You have to know how to work with people,” he said.

Garutti said he always maintains a sense of pride in what he accomplishes.

“I’ve shown my command that I can get the job done,” he said. “I’ve got people that count on me to do the work I need to do. If I fail at that, they don’t get what they need.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Face of Defense: Air Force Officer Pursues NBA Dream

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
Defense Media Activity

SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 13, 2010 – A U.S. Air Force Academy graduate continues to pursue his childhood dream of playing in the National Basketball Association.

Air Force Capt. Antoine Hood, a reservist with the 919th Special Operations Wing who divides his time between Hurlburt and Duke fields in Northwest Florida, is the only Air Force Falcon to play in the NBA, and he’s on his way to realizing his dream once more.

Hood got a glimpse of the NBA again when he was able to practice with the Miami Heat during the team’s preseason training camp at Hurlburt Field.

However, Hood’s journey hasn't been without hiccups.

"In high school, I didn't really get any playing time until my senior year, so I rode the bench from freshman to junior year," he recalled.

Yet, Hood became a starter during his senior year and his high school basketball team gained the No. 1 ranking in the state of Texas.

“It turned out to be a good year and I blossomed into a player, and from there the dream became a reality," Hood said.

During that breakout year, a college recruiter offered Hood a full scholarship to play basketball for the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo. At the urging of his parents, he accepted the scholarship. Although the academy’s basketball program wasn’t highly rated at the time, Hood said he wasn’t discouraged.

"I wasn’t a stranger to adversity, so that didn’t intimidate me to say the least," Hood said. "My parents always told me: ‘It’s not where you are or where you go; it’s what you do when you get there.’”

However, the academy’s basketball team won just 12 games during Hood’s freshmen year on the squad, he recalled.

“I kept that near and dear to my heart and I realized my freshman year, after we won only 12 games, which was still the most in school history since the 1960s, that that had to change," he said.

Hood decided it was time to step up his game, and after consulting with the academy’s basketball coaching staff on what he needed to do to improve as a player, he began to work even harder.

"Antoine was a privilege to both play with and coach, and I have seen very few people grow as much as he did in such a short time," said A.J. Kuhle, the academy’s basketball team military assistant from 2005 through 2007. "As a player, he always pushed himself and those around him to reach for the highest degree of excellence. He demanded and worked toward perfection each day on and off the court."

"I started putting in some hard work and focused as much as possible," Hood recalled. "It took hours in the gym. I used to break into the gym after hours. I would sneak in through the hockey door, through the girls’ basketball locker room, whatever I had to do. I was determined [that any] spare time I had, I would be in the gym."

Hood knew he couldn’t change the direction of the team alone. Just as in the Air Force, it would take everyone doing their part to accomplish the mission.

"My teammates would see me in the gym, and I would encourage them to come down more," Hood said. "I would send out an e-mail [saying], ‘Let’s go get some shots up,’ and just created an environment that we needed to be doing something extra. In everything we go through at the academy −- all the anger, all the yelling −- on a daily basis, we should have a chip on our shoulder and we should take it out on our opponent. And we kind of harvested as a mentality and protected our home court, and it became a lot more serious and it showed up in our game."

The team’s record began to improve and the Falcons’ basketball team began getting national attention. That attention, in part, led to Hood being offered a spot on the Denver Nuggets as a guard. He signed with the Nuggets for a year.

As a Denver Nugget, Hood said he shared the court with players he had admired as a young basketball player. He had finally stepped out of his dream and into the reality of it.

"It was a surreal feeling having a locker next to Carmelo [Anthony], and these are guys [I] used to watch coming up," he said.

After the year with the Nuggets was up, Hood returned to the active-duty Air Force as a commissioned officer. As an academy graduate, Hood was obligated to fulfill his service commitment in return for the investment the Air Force had made in his education and career.

"I understood, and I definitely never ran away from any commitment that I’ve had in life," Hood said. "No one made me go to the academy and I knew what I was getting into from the jump. With the amount of time, money and education invested into me as an academy grad, I can completely understand giving back my commitment to my service and my country."

Not being able to re-sign with an NBA team may have been a detour, but it definitely wasn't the end of the road for Hood.

In previous years, Hood said, there had been policies in place that allowed Air Force athletes who were selected to compete at the professional level to be released after fulfilling a portion of their service commitment. During the time Hood was deemed eligible to enter the NBA, he said, the policy wasn’t in place. Now that he is a reservist, he is able to sign with an organization at any time.

"I’m ready to reinvent myself and ready to hit the ground running," he said.

On the road toward his dream, Hood said he has gained leadership skills from being in the Air Force and the NBA.

"[There’s] a direct parallel [between the two]," he said. "If everyone is doing their job on the team and taking care of their area, mastering their skills, the sky is the limit on how great a team you can be and the same is true with the Air Force.

"The hardest part of leadership in both arenas is delegating," Hood continued. "If I’m a point guard, I have to delegate responsibility to the center, and the day I tell a point guard how to do his job is the day I’m in trouble. You only want to step in when you have to step in, and that’s when you know someone isn’t performing to the standard you know they can or their outside lifestyle is affecting their performance at the job."

Hood said the lessons he has learned from the Air Force have shaped him as an officer, a basketball player and a person.

"As cliché as it sounds, integrity, service [before self] and excellence, are still great molding qualities that a person of success should attain somewhere along their journey," Hood said.

(Editor’s Note: Samuel King of the 919th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs Office contributed to this story.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HouseLogic.Com and The National Association of REALTORS® Unveil New Effort to “Help Heroes Keep Their Homes” to Aid US Military Families Impacted by the Foreclosure Crisis New HouseLogic Facebook Causes Campaign Launches to Increase Awareness, Rally Support and Raise Funding For USA Cares

RADCLIFF, KYOctober 11, 2010—The National Association of REALTORS®' HouseLogic.com, a comprehensive consumer website about homeownership for homeowners, has launched Operation Home Relief. Operation Home Relief is a new Facebook Causes campaign to increase awareness, rally support and raise funding for USA Cares, a non-profit that provides foreclosure assistance in the form of financial support to post 9/11 active duty U.S. military service personnel, veterans and their families. Unveiled late last week, HouseLogic’s Operation Home Relief will “Help Heroes Keep Their Homes” by donating $1 to USA Cares every time someone "likes" the Cause page, and will match donations made to the Cause, up to $20,000. The HouseLogic/USA Cares Facebook Cause page can be found by visiting: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/operationhomerelief.

As an additional form of advocacy, HouseLogic is offering an intimate look at American homeowners in need. HouseLogic examines the heart-felt, personal stories behind several military and civilian families facing foreclosure. ”Who are the people facing foreclosure?” will be published weekly within the HouseLogic.com Foreclosure Guide and can be found here: www.houselogic.com/foreclosureguidepersonalstories.

"U.S. military service members bravely face danger around the world every day on behalf of all Americans. Yet, some military service members and their families also face financial dangers and hardships at home," said William H. Nelson, Executive Director, USA Cares. "USA Cares' sole mission is to help these service members and their families in their time of financial need. To that end, we're excited to have the support of HouseLogic and the National Association of REALTORS®.

Their new Facebook Causes campaign highlights the work USA Cares is doing, reminding Americans of the financial setbacks and possible foreclosures faced by U.S. military service members and their families, and generates support via Facebook for the help that we're offering every day." “With HouseLogic.com’s myriad articles, tools, and resources to help homeowners, it makes perfect sense for HouseLogic to support a cause that impacts all Americans - helping U.S. military service members experiencing financial setbacks or possible foreclosures. With the launch of Operation Home Relief, we hope to tap into the widely used social network to rally support for USA Cares' mission," said National Association of REALTORS® President Vicki Cox Golder, owner of Vicki L. Cox & Associates in Tucson, Ariz. "HouseLogic was launched last November to offer American homeowners a comprehensive guide to homeownership, including tools and resources to help them protect and increase the value of their homes. Additionally, HouseLogic’s Foreclosure Guide is available to help avoid the pitfalls of foreclosure and offer tips and solutions for staying in your home. The Guide can be found here: www.houselogic.com/guides/finances-insurance/home-finance/foreclosure-guide/

About USA Cares: USA Cares is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that helps post-9/11 military and their families with basic needs, assists veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their families and works to prevent private military home foreclosures and evictions. In seven years, USA Cares has received over 24,000 requests and responded with more than $7 million in grants. Military families anywhere in America can apply for assistance through the USA Cares web site, http://www.usacares.org/ or by calling 1-800-773-0387. About National Association of REALTORS® The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Face of Defense: ‘Team Mom’ Supports Soldiers

By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command

NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla., Oct. 12, 2010 – Debra Rogers found a bit of golden respite in her battle against cancer: a week in the warm Florida sun, watching her son and his friends - all soldiers - play softball against other U.S. servicemembers.

"My doctor told me that I shouldn't come, but I told him that I needed to go," said Rogers, who underwent a double mastectomy April 30 and began chemotherapy treatments in June.

"We talked about it, and he then agreed with me, knowing that I was going anyway," she added with a laugh. "He said that maybe Dann would be the best medicine."

Her son, 31-year-old Staff Sgt. Dann Rogers of Camp Walker, Korea, played second base for the All-Army team at the 2010 Armed Forces Softball Championships held here Sept. 19-23.

Debra served as the unofficial "team mom" for both the All-Army men's and women's squads as they competed against members of the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

"It's like little kids playing on the softball field, and you blink, and they're grown men," she said. "You know what I mean? They enjoy the game, they play very well, and to come together for a couple of weeks as a group to play like this, it's just outstanding. But that's what I thought: a group of little boys, and I blink my eyes, and they're men."

It was 40 degrees when Debra left home in Marinette, Wis., Sept. 18. Despite temperatures in the 90s at Naval Air Station Pensacola, she attended all 17 of the All-Army men's and women's games.

"Physically, yes, at times the pain from the chemotherapy goes into your joints. The headaches are severe, and there's cramping," she said. "The sun actually did feel good, but right before I got overheated, I would go sit in the shade. And the people were very, very kind."

All-Army women's softball coach Sgt. 1st Class Rob Bailey was kind enough to give his gold medal to Debra.

"I see someone who is a gold-medal fan and most definitely a gold-medal mother," Bailey said as he presented his medal to Debra. "I want you to have this on behalf of Danny and the team and All-Army."

With eyes welling with tears, the All-Army players then lined up for hugs with their newfound mom.

"I'm so proud of each and every one of you," she told the group. "You've made a memory for me that on the worst day I'm going to have, I'm going to pull it out. Thank you."

Debra proudly displayed the gold medal to fellow passengers on her flight to Atlanta the next day. She was even more proud of the way her son played.

Rogers, who batted .556 and had 13 RBIs, earned both All-Tournament and All-Armed Forces honors as one of nine Armed Forces rookies on the All-Army men's squad.

"I know he is a good player because he plays from the heart," Debra said. "He has soul for this game, and he enjoys himself. I'm proud of him no matter what, but it is an honor for him to have come and played well and he is still going on."

Rogers, who has deployed five times to Iraq and Afghanistan, also competed Sept. 30-Oct. 4 with the U.S. All-Armed Forces Team at the 2010 Amateur Softball Association National Championships in Oklahoma City.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Football Legend Roger Staubach Lectures at Naval Postgraduate School

By Mass Communication Specialist First Class Grant P. Ammon, Naval Postgraduate School Public Affairs

MONTEREY, Calif. (NNS) -- A former naval officer and National Football League (NFL) quarterback shared life experiences and leadership lessons with Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) students, faculty and staff Oct. 5 as part of the Secretary of the Navy's Guest Lecture Series (SECNAV GLS) aboard the campus.

NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, discussed everything from serving as a naval officer during the Vietnam War, to succeeding at international business ventures. During his lecture he noted one specific attribute of successful individuals on and off the gridiron.

"I learned about the value of teamwork while studying and playing football at the Naval Academy," said Staubach. "When you have the right people in the right places working together as team, miracles will happen."

Students listened as Staubach spun comical yarns about days spent in championship huddles and multi-million dollar business deals. The NFL veteran wove anecdotes with bits of advice gained from a lifetime of experience in the military, professional athletics and the business world.

"In this life you have to maintain a certain balance to succeed," he said. "It's easy to go through life always thinking about yourself, but the real challenge is trying to put yourself in other people's shoes. It's the balance between giving and taking that sets winners apart."

The assembly of professors and military members were also reminded of the value of commitment, a strong work ethic, and were challenged to go the extra mile in all endeavors.

"I've learned there are never any traffics jams on the extra mile," Staubach said. "Those in life that really put forth the extra effort, and are tenacious in all their affairs will succeed. How you deal with adversity, reveals true genius. How you deal with prosperity conceals it."

Pulling from his Vietnam War experience, Staubach spoke to an audience comprised primarily of U.S. and foreign military officers, of the grave responsibilities and importance of service in the military.

"I have the distinct honor of speaking to students that are in the midst of doing great things for this country," said Staubach. "While serving in the military I learned a lot of things; most importantly the fact that you, as military officers, are in roles that [put] other people's lives at stake."

Staubach also noted the caliber of students and education provided at NPS.

"It's a real privilege for me to speak here at NPS," he said. "The amount of responsibility that rests in this room is enormous, and the research that goes on here is going to save lives.

One student attending the conference found common ground with the hall-of-famer, and drew particular significance from his words.

"Mr. Staubach's presentation was very interesting," said Marine Corps Capt. Robert Spall, NPS national security studies student. "It's always nice to hear a fellow Naval Academy alumnus speak. It was good how he tied teamwork in with both the military and real-life."

In the business world and professional athletics, Staubach achieved unparalleled success, and in his closing remarks at NPS, he shared another piece of advice with the crowd.

"Life is a series of mortar attacks, and you just have to deal with it," he said. "The sooner you learn how to face adversity as part of a team, the sooner you will be on the track to success both on and off the field."

The lecture concluded with a light-hearted demonstration of skills as Staubach tossed three autographed footballs to select students in the crowd.

As well as being an NFL legend, Staubach started and owned a multi-billion dollar real estate company, and is the recipient of many humanitarian awards.

SECNAV GLS is an on-going series of professional presentations to help students and faculty link their study, teaching and research efforts to the defense needs of the nation.

The lectures are scheduled at regular intervals throughout the year and are designed to expose the Naval Postgraduate School community to some of the nation's top leaders and high-level authorities in a variety of fields and disciplines.

NPS' emphasis is on education and research programs that are relevant to the Navy, defense, and national and international security interests. NPS provides a continuum of learning opportunities, including graduate degree programs, continuous learning opportunities, refresher and transition education. These programs are under the auspices of the four graduate schools.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.

Supporting Our Shipmates

Written by: CDR Glynn Smith

For over 40 years, the non-profit Coast Guard Foundation has been supporting Coast Guard men and women with its generosity and sponsorship. Its good-will has never been more evident than today.

“There is so much energy right now among Foundation supporters,” said Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, vice commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, who recently attended the Foundation’s Annual Board of Trustees Meeting in New London, CT. “It is truly inspiring.”

Vice Adm. Brice O’Hara is the Coast Guard’s principle liaison to the Coast Guard Foundation; in this capacity she helps ensure that the Foundation’s donations and support are applied to programs that best benefit the Coast Guard’s people.

“It’s not a difficult task,” said Brice-O’Hara, adding, “The Foundation has always been interested in programs that enhance the well being and quality of life of our people and their families.”

Originally created in 1969 as the Coast Guard Academy Foundation, the organization later widened its interest and impact to the entire Coast Guard, changing its name in 1986 to the Coast Guard Foundation. Since then, the Foundation has donated millions of dollars through scholarships, recreational and educational construction initiatives, and other award, recognition, and gift programs.

Recently, the Foundation gifted $200,000 to the Coast Guard Foundation Shipmate Fund, a campaign which targets individual Coast Guard units around the country. Immensely popular among Coast Guard personnel, the Foundation Shipmate Fund augments morale, recreational and health-promotion activities at Coast Guard stations, aboard ships, and at larger installations. Many Coast Guard units receive exercise gear from the Shipmate Fund. For small, outlying Coast Guard units especially, the gifts make a huge splash in the crew’s morale.

“For many young Coast Guard men and women, the Coast Guard Foundation Shipmate Fund is their first encounter with their generous Shipmates who make up the Coast Guard Foundation,” said Brice-O’Hara.

This article was sponsored by Police Books.