Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Academy Grads Look to Future of Service

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 27, 2011 – Thomas Yuhaniak knew when he was just 5 years old what he wanted in life: to become a pilot, then ultimately, an astronaut. But it was when he was in fourth grade, and his family visited the U.S. Naval Academy here during a vacation to Washington, D.C., that Yuhaniak laid eyes on the Freedom 7 space capsule at the academy’s visitor center and sealed his decision to go Navy.

Today, Yahaniak moved a step closer to his dream as he joined 1,005 other Naval Academy graduates who received commissions in the Navy and Marine Corps. As a new Navy ensign, Yahaniak is among 225 graduates headed to Naval Flight School at Pensacola, Fla. “This is always what I have wanted to do,” he said as he prepared to march onto the field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to receive his commission and degree in aerospace engineering. Now, he said, his task is to build on the education and leadership experience gained during four years at Annapolis.

“I am going to take it to the fleet and be the best officer I can,” he said.

Nicholas Hanson of Monmouth, N.J., is among 260 members of the Class of 2011 commissioned today into the Marine Corps. It’s a decision Hanson said came easily; his brother is an Army Ranger deployed to Afghanistan’s Logar province, and Hanson hopes to follow his example as a Marine Corps officer.

It’s a calling he said he’s been preparing for, academically as well as mentally. He majored in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies and studied Arabic for the past four years at the Naval Academy. Now, he plans to continue those language studies in Morocco under a State Department scholarship program before deploying to the combat theater.

The biggest lesson Hanson said he learned at the Naval Academy, and that he plans to take to the Corps, is the importance of the unit over self. Individual achievements -- being first in his high school graduating class and its football team’s most valuable player, among them -- fade in importance at the academy, he said.

“After graduation, nobody cares about you as an individual,” he said. “It’s not about you. It never is and never will be about you. It is about those above you and under you and around you.”

Joe Kurtenbach of Nevada, Iowa, is among 30 academy graduates destined for the elite Navy Special Warfare field. And although the SEAL community has received a lot of attention, particularly since the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Kurtenbach said he always knew he wanted to be a SEAL.

Attracted by the caliber of the men in the Special Warfare community and the challenges their mission entails, he said, he started intensive preparations after his junior year. While at the academy, he got the opportunity to train with a SEAL team during a summer cruise at Little Creek, Va.

“I had high expectations going in, but that exceeded everything,” Kurtenbach said.

Already an overachiever, Kurtenbach attended graduate school at Georgetown University while at the Naval Academy and undergoing SEAL preparation training. After receiving his master’s degree in national security studies in December, he will head to Coronado, Calif., to begin his Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training.

Today, Kurtenbach savored the accomplishments made so far as his brother, Army Capt. Dan Kurtenbach, a 2007 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, administered the oath of office.

“This is just a beginning,” he said of his graduation and commissioning. “I feel honored to be here, and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

Community Idea Stations 2010 Recipient of the FBI’s Director’s Community Leadership Award

Earlier in the month, the Community Idea Stations (CIS) in Richmond was presented with the FBI Richmond Division’s 2010 Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA).

One of the criteria for awarding the DCLA is the support of educational initiatives within the community; and the CIS has been a strong supporter of law enforcement and the FBI’s Safe Online Surfing (FBI-SOS) program for the past several years. With the support of the Richmond Division of the FBI and the drive of the CIS, a single-page FBI-SOS handout was developed and many joint presentations have been conducted throughout the area.

This partnership between the Richmond Division of the FBI and the CIS was designed to utilize both organizations resources to facilitate the FBI-SOS program in a way that would ultimately migrate across the nation, resulting in like partnerships with other FBI offices and Public Broadcasting Studios.

The Richmond Division looks forward to continuing their partnership with CIS in support of the FBI-SOS program and future endeavors of mutual interest. Inquiries of CIS’ support and ideas for advancement of this program may be directed to Ms. Cynthia Charlton-Matejka at 804/560-8139.

For further information about the FBI-SOS, please visit www.FBI-SOS.org.

We encourage all Virginia Superintendents, Administrators, schools, teachers, parents, and students to learn more about this FREE initiative; especially in a day and age where Internet safety should be of the utmost concern to everyone.

Gates Offers Leadership Lessons to Naval Academy Grads

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 27, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates delivered his last commencement speech as defense secretary today, calling on graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy to become the best leaders possible, setting the leadership example and putting their people and organizations above their own interests.

Gates thanked the 1,006 graduates assembled on the field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium here for choosing to serve their country and fellow citizens in uniform.

“In everything you did here, … you have grown together as a team,” he said. “But there has also been something bigger uniting you: your willingness to take on a difficult and dangerous path in the service of others.”

The secretary noted that the midshipmen entered the academy at the height of the Iraq war, when casualties were at an all-time high and “prospects of success uncertain at best.” Meanwhile, the Taliban were making a comeback in Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden, “history’s most notorious terrorist,” was still at large.

“As a result of the skill and sacrifice of countless young warriors and patriots -- many of them graduates of this institution -- I am proud to say that we face a different set of circumstances today,” he said. “Iraq has a real chance at a peaceful and democratic future. In Afghanistan, the Taliban momentum has been halted and reversed. And Osama bin Laden is finally where he belongs” -- a statement that sent the entire stadium into wild applause.

“While many people witness history, those who step forward to serve in a time of crisis have a place in history,” Gates told the graduating class. “As of today, you join the long line of patriots in a noble calling. By your service, you will have a chance to leave your mark on history.”

Citing President Theodore Roosevelt’s recognition that leaders must live up to the highest standards to raise the level for everyone around them, Gates said the Class of 2011 members can never be content to simply be “good citizens.”

“You must be great citizens,” he said. “In everything you do, you must always make sure that you live up to the highest personal and professional standards of duty, service and honor -- the values of the Navy, the values of the American armed forces, the values of the best traditions of America.”

Gates urged the graduates, when called on as leaders to defend the United States in faraway lands, to “hold your values and your honor close to your heart.”

Gates cited his own public service experience in the Air Force, CIA, White House and Pentagon, and said he’s had the opportunity to observe many great leaders along the way.
“From this I learned that real leadership is a rare and precious commodity,” he said, sharing some of the qualities he said make true leaders.

“Great leaders must have vision,” he said, “the ability to get your eyes off your shoelaces at every level of rank and responsibility and see beyond the day-to-day tasks and problems.”

Leaders must be able “to look beyond tomorrow and discern a world of possibilities and potential” as they take their organization to a higher level of excellence, he said.

Leaders must be driven by a deep sense of conviction, Gates said. “It is a strength of purpose and belief that reaches out to others, touches their hearts and makes them eager to follow,” he said.

Leaders must have self-confidence -- but not “the chest-thumping, strutting egotism we see and read about all the time,” Gates added. Instead, true leaders must possess a quiet self-assurance that enables them “to give others both real responsibility and real credit for success [and] the ability to stand in the shadow and let others receive attention and accolades,” he said.

“A leader is able to make decisions, but then delegate and trust others to make things happen” while holding them accountable, Gates continued. “The bottom line: a self-confident leader doesn’t cast such a large shadow that no one else can grow,” he said.

Leaders also must possess courage -- moral as well as physical, the secretary said. He called on the new officers to have the courage to chart a new course, do what is right and not just what is popular, to be willing to stand alone and act and, as military officers, to “speak truth to power.”

Among the greatest challenges they will face, Gates said, will be those times when they must stand alone and call out a wrong or disagree with popular opinion. “Don’t kid yourself,” the secretary warned, “that takes courage.”

An essential quality of real leadership is integrity, a characteristic Gates said is too often seen as outdated or not applicable. “For a real leader, personal virtues -- self-reliance, self control, honor, truthfulness, morality -- are absolute,” he told the graduates. “These are the building blocks of character, of integrity -- and only on that foundation can real leadership be built.”

Gates urged the graduates to exercise what he called a true measure of leadership: common decency in treating others, regardless of their station. He challenged them to threat others with fairness and respect, and to use their authority to protect and champion those under their charge and their families.

“Common decency builds respect and, in a democratic society, respect is what prompts people to give their all for a leader, even at great personal sacrifice,” he said.

The qualities of leadership don’t emerge overnight or after assuming important responsibilities, Gates told the graduates. “These qualities have their roots in the small decisions you have made here at the academy and will make early in your career,” he said. “And [they] must be strengthened all along the way to allow you to resist the temptation of self before service.”

Gates warned that the real measure of leadership comes when one is confronted with life’s inevitable failures or disappointments.

“If at those times you hold true to your standards, then you will always succeed, if only in knowing you stayed true and honorable,” he said. “In the final analysis, what really matters are not the failures and disappointments themselves, but how you respond.”

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus joined Gates in congratulating the new graduates and welcoming them to military service. Citing the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ busy operational tempos, Mabus told the class, “you will need all the training you have gotten here.”

Throughout their service, the young officers will be held to a higher standard and called on more frequently to sacrifice than their civilian peers, he said. “That is who you are,” he said. “That is why you are sitting here today.”

Mabus called on the graduates to take their academy lessons with them as they continue growing as leaders in the fleet and Corps.

Leadership has to be earned “day after hard day,” Mabus told the class.

“Go earn it,” he said. “Earn the respect of your sailors and Marines. Earn it by leading from the front. Earn it by the way you treat those you lead and the way you treat their families. Earn it by listening and not just to those above you. Earn it.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mullen: New Army Officers Should be Soldiers, Statesmen

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WEST POINT, N.Y., May 21, 2011 – The newly commissioned officers of the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 2011 should strive to be soldiers as well as statesmen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the academy’s commencement here today.

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told the 1,031 graduating cadets they will be members of a team that has helped to bring about success in Iraq, progress in Afghanistan, and the support the United States and its allies are providing over Libya as it works to ensure security around the globe.

“You’re going to be expected to support and to encourage and to lead that team almost from Day One,” Mullen said. “That’s a tall order, and hard enough all by itself, but today I’m going to give you another assignment.”

That assignment, he explained, is to understand their responsibilities extend beyond their purely military duties.

“I’m going to ask you to be statesmen as well as soldiers,” Mullen said. “I’m going to ask you to remember that you are citizens, first and foremost.”

Among the cadets who received commissions as second lieutenants today, joining “the Long Gray Line” of academy graduates -- are 310 minorities, 225 women, 10 international cadets and 20 combat veterans who served in Afghanistan, Iraq or both. Since its founding in 1802, West Point’s 67,000 graduates have included Gens. Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton, H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. and David H. Petraeus.

As a Navy admiral addressing future Army officers, Mullen said getting to know the men and women of the Army has been one of the great privileges of his tenure as chairman.

“In this current job, we have become very close to the Army as we have worked hard to understand our soldiers and the demands placed on them and their families,” he said.

“It’s an Army tempered by 10 years of combat, an expeditionary force that has literally rewritten just about every rule and every scrap of doctrine it follows to adapt to the reality it now faces,” he added.

Though not much bigger than it was on 9/11, the admiral noted, the Army now is organized around brigade combat teams instead of divisions, deploys more modular and flexible capabilities than ever, and “can kill the enemy swiftly and silently one day and then help build a school or dig a well the next.”

Today’s Army has surged to the fore of national consciousness, Mullen said, “not by being a bulwark, but rather by being an agent of change.”

The Constitution stipulates that through their elected representatives the people will raise an Army and maintain a Navy, Mullen told the cadets. The American people, he added, “will determine the course the military steers, the skills we perfect, the wars we fight. … We therefore must remain a neutral instrument of the state, accountable to our civilian leadership.”

Because it is obliged to preserve the institutions that preserve it as a fighting force, the chairman said, it is not enough to deploy or fight or serve “unless we serve also the greater cause of American self-government and everything that underpins it.”
Such service, Mullen said, also obliges Army officers to help the nation’s citizens comprehend the full weight of the burden they carry and the price they pay when they return from battle.

“This is important,” the admiral said, “because a people uninformed about what they are asking the military to endure is a people inevitably unable to fully grasp the scope of the responsibilities our Constitution levies upon them.”

As a soldier and a citizen, a military officer’s constitutional responsibility is to “promote the general welfare in addition to providing for the common defense,” Mullen said.

Mullen quoted Gen. of the Army Omar N. Bradley, the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to illustrate that point: “Battles are won by the infantry, the armor, the artillery and air teams. … But wars are won by the great strength of a nation -– the soldier and the civilian working together,” he said.

“It’s not enough that you graduate from here and learn your skill and lead your troops,” Mullen told the Class of 2011. “You must also help lead your nation, even as second lieutenants.”

Soldiers will win wars around the world, he said, by working alongside civilians and with other government departments, with international forces, and with contractors and nongovernmental agencies.

At home, he added, soldiers will win wars by “staying in touch with those of your troops who leave the service, by making sure the families of the fallen are cared for and thought of and supported, by communicating often and much with the American people to the degree you can.”

Mullen reminded the cadets that service members also are the American people as voters, Little League coaches and crossing guards.

“We are grateful for who you are and all that you will do for the Army and shoulder to shoulder with your fellow citizens, the chairman said, “for the nation and the world.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mullen Honors Past, Present VMI Graduates

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2011 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today paid tribute to past and present graduates of Virginia Military Institute, telling the Class of 2011 that a grateful nation is cheering them on for all they will accomplish.

At VMI’s commencement in Lexington, Va., Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told the Class of 2011 that the “ghosts of greatness” of the storied institute will live on in them through their moral courage and selflessness.

The chairman spoke of Gen. George C. Marshall, VMI Class of 1901, who was Army chief of staff during World War II and received the Nobel Peace Prize for his post-war work in restoring Europe. Mullen told the graduates to be ambitious, as Marshall was, but not to put their personal desires above the greater good.

“If there is ever a choice between personal advancement and what is best for the institution,” the admiral said, “you are expected to – you must – choose against your own self-interest.”

Though the Army was facing its most austere times in modern history, Mullen said, Marshall kept faith in it, even as his own advancement through the ranks was slow. Marshall knew he was in line to lead the allied effort against Nazi Germany, the chairman noted. But knowing he was most needed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s side, Mullen said, he allowed the younger Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to have that opportunity.

“By giving up what he most desired, General Marshall served where his nation benefitted most,” Mullen said. He quoted then-Defense Secretary Charles Stimson as telling Marshall after the war, “No one who is thinking of himself can rise to true heights. You have never thought of yourself.”

The chairman said he believes Marshall would be proud of the service of so many Americans today who “worked silently and selflessly to support our operations.”

“They embody a culture of persistence, of working together, and remembering that when it comes to serving our nation, it can’t be about you,” he said.

Mullen reflected on the 1,500 VMI graduates who already have given of themselves in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including 13 who “rendered the ultimate sacrifice.” Just two weeks ago, the chairman and his wife, Deborah, witnessed the return of Air Force Capt. Charles Ransom, VMI Class of 2001, who was one of nine Americans killed in a shooting at Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan, he said.

“His story reminds us that this generation has been profoundly tested, and that VMI has risen to the challenge,” the chairman said. Despite the risks, he added, 150 VMI graduates – the highest rate in 20 years – were commissioned in the military services yesterday.

In the image of Marshall, Mullen said, young leaders should have the moral courage to offer and welcome loyal dissent. In World War I, he noted, Marshall was the only major who would stand up to Army Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing.

“Few things are more vital to an organization than a leader who has the moral courage to question the direction in which the organization is headed, and the strength of character to support whatever final decisions are made,” he said. “That’s real loyalty. And it only gets more important the higher you rise in the ranks.”

Mullen also told the graduates it is important for the United States to stay engaged around the world, no matter how difficult that may be.

“As challenging as engaging others with different views may be, the alternative of abandoning these partners and these regions is far worse,” he said, noting that he has been to Pakistan 24 times as the top U.S. military leader. “We’ve gone down that road before, and it is one that leads to isolation and resentment, ultimately making our nation less secure as we deceive ourselves into believing that ignoring these challenges will somehow make them go away.”

Mullen encouraged the graduates to carry on in the spirit of those VMI graduates who have come before them.

“The ghosts of greatness, so ever-present here in Lexington, now look down upon you, the Class of 2011, and all of us are counting on you, cheering you on, and eternally grateful for who you are, and all that you will do in service to our nation,” he said.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

‘You, Too, Can Shape History,’ Gates Tells Graduates

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2011 – Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates took his message of public service to graduates of North Dakota State University today and the University of Oklahoma yesterday, urging young people to “consider a life of service.”

“I say to each of you, as someone who started out just another kid from the plains, that you, too, can shape history,” Gates said in prepared remarks to the Oklahoma graduates. The secretary, a Kansas native, has announced he will retire this summer, ending four decades of public service.

“I’ve served eight presidents and been around the world more times than I can count,” he said. “Most recently, I’ve held the great trust, my greatest honor since entering public service, of guiding and looking out for those who defend us. They fight to protect the freedoms and opportunities that all Americans enjoy -- freedoms and opportunities that can take any one of you wherever you choose to go.”

Quoting from President Barack Obama, Gates said in his prepared statement that graduates can go wherever they choose, but only “if you have the courage to put your foot firmly into the course of history.”

Gates said he was honored to commission graduating ROTC cadets -- 10 in Oklahoma, nine in North Dakota -- into the Army, Navy and Air Force. “You join an American military that has been fighting multiple wars at an incredible tempo over the past decade,” he said. “This is the true patriotism of the deed.”

The secretary urged the graduates to “keep the faith” of the ideals and beliefs America was founded on. “I see that faith every day in the faces of the young men and women of the military who have volunteered to serve this great nation,” he said. “Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of young Americans in uniform have volunteered to put their lives on the line to defend us -- to set aside their dreams so you can fulfill your dreams.”

Gates also told them to not be afraid to pursue their own idealism, something best done through public service. “If you scratch deeply enough, you will find that those who serve -- no matter how outwardly tough or jaded or egotistical -- are, in their heart of hearts, romantics and idealists. And optimists. We actually believe we can make a difference, that we can improve the lives of others, that we can better the future of this country and of the world.”

The secretary warned against some public sentiments that the United States should scale back its global leadership role in light of record deficits and 10 years of war. “The lessons of history tell us we must not allow our frustrations to cause us to withdraw from the world or diminish our ability or our determination to deal with the threats and challenges on the horizon,” he said.

Gates quoted President Theodore Roosevelt in saying that a nation that absolves itself from duties around the world forfeits its place “among the peoples that shape the destiny of mankind.”

“Are we, as a nation, willing to forfeit our place to shape not only our own future, but the future of this world with which we all are so intrinsically linked?” the secretary said. “It falls on us as Americans to lead, to shape the course of world events, to face challenges, to make the necessary sacrifices and take the necessary risks to defend our values and our interests.”

For America to continue to be a force for good in the world, “the most able and idealistic of its young people -- of you -- must step forward and accept the burden and the duty of public service,” Gates said.

New Report Helps Commands Track Leadership Training

From Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The Fleet Training Management and Planning System (FLTMPS) added new reporting functionality to assist commands in tracking their leadership development training, May 2.

Responding to fleet requests for assistance in tracking Command-Delivered Enlisted Leadership Training (CDELT), the Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) requested the FLTMPS staff develop a standard report of leadership training for the use of all commands.

"CPPD developed CDELT, and while our instructors do not deliver it, it is an important product line for which we are responsible," said Capt. Chuck Hollingsworth, commanding officer of CPPD. "CPPD has been making a concerted effort to ensure that the fleet documentation requirements and methods required by the training are understood by all units. This report greatly simplifies the process for every unit to check and see who has received the training and who still needs to complete it."

CPPD created CDELT Training following the release of Naval Administration (NAVADMIN) message 272/08, which redesigned first and second class petty officer training to transition it to delivery by the fleet. The courses are comprised of 20 modules including: responsibility, accountability and authority, leadership, professionalism, loyalty, heritage, command climate, teamwork, planning, communication, conflict management, delegation, motivation, stress, diversity, job performance, deckplate leadership, written communications, oral communications, understanding resources, and ethical standards.

The new report has been moved into production and is currently available for all commands to use. The report structure allows users to pull everything from an All-Navy percentage status down to an individual by-name report for a Unit Identification Code (UIC). The structure also allows type commanders, battle groups, major commands, and other special groups to view and export consolidated reports for their units. The reports have drill-down features which allow users to start with high-level reports, and drill down through subordinate levels, all the way to the status of individual Sailors.

"The FLTMPS reports are pretty straight-forward to use, but CPPD is building a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) describing how to access them," said Kevin Ramey, CPPD's requirements manager, who was instrumental in requesting the new report. "We will be forwarding this users' guide to instructors, education counselors, and fleet customers via every means at our disposal to make sure everyone knows how to use this great new resource."

All command training officers who have FLTMPS accounts should be able to access these new reports. Those needing guidance on how to document leadership training completion for Sailors can download instructions from any of the Enlisted Leadership Course pages on NKO. In order to document unit leadership training, training officers will need access to a module known as the Learning Event Completion Form (LECF) and can forward requests for this access to the FLTMPS point of contact.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Face of Defense: Airman Ranger Leads the Way

By Air Force Airman 1st Class Brigitte N. Brantley-Sisk
23rd Wing Public Affairs

FORT BENNING, Ga., May 11, 2011 – The course began with 404 students. After 61 days of fast-paced, stressful situations that pushed the students’ physical and mental limits, only 191 remained and just one graduate would be an airman.

Airman 1st Class Matthew Garner, a member of the 823rd Base Defense Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., is one of the fewer than 300 Air Force members to have completed Army Ranger School training conducted here and to earn the coveted Ranger’s tab since the school opened in the 1950s.

"I wanted to become a Ranger to find out what my limits were," said Garner, who graduated Ranger School April 29. "Completing the course helped me realize there were no limits. The course is designed to help you find out who you really are. You're tired and hungry, and surrounded by chaos and confusion in the worst of conditions, but you still have to overcome adversity and get the job done."

Garner was chosen to fill one of just six slots allocated to the Air Force each year for the Ranger School course.

The students were isolated during the nine weeks of the course as they learned the necessary combat skills to qualify for the Ranger tab.

"We were allowed [to receive] mail during most parts of the course, and that was definitely a morale booster," Garner said. "What really helped each person get through the training was their team. It takes a lot of individual effort, but nobody earns the Ranger tab on their own. If someone was having a particularly rough day, the teammates would help support them."

To bolster the team concept, he said, none of the students wore rank insignia.

The Ranger School provides instruction in demolitions, mountaineering, leading a platoon-sized patrol, combat arms proficiency, land navigation, and water survival.

Ranger training is conducted in different environments, including mountains and a coastal swamp. Each phase tests the students' commitment and stamina as they endure severe weather, hunger, and mental, physical and emotional stress.

"Because I went through the Air Force pre-Ranger course, I felt like I had really been set up for success," Garner said. "Overall, I put about 10 months of intense training into earning my Ranger tab."

Garner said he credits two people with helping him the most during the preparation process: his father, Don Garner, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Seth Hunter.

"We're very proud of him for serving his country and accomplishing something like this," Garner’s father said. "Even as a young man, he was always into exercising and doing things that weren't expected of him.”

"My father helped me develop the mental fortitude to drive forward and never quit," Garner said. "He was like a personal coach and gave me some memorable 'don't quit' talking sessions. During the Ranger course, the temptation to quit is always there, so that really helped."

Garner also credited Hunter for his success, noting Hunter, too, is a Ranger School graduate.

"I graduated from Ranger school in October 2010 and then helped assess Airman Garner during his pre-Ranger course late last year," said Hunter, who possesses sharpshooter and sniper skills. "We spent a lot of time training and preparing for this, and I'm super proud of him.

Only 30 percent of Ranger School students make it through the entire course without being recycled, Hunter said.

"His graduation is an outstanding accomplishment, especially for someone his age,” Hunter said. “The leadership and combat skills he's gained during Ranger School will be very beneficial to his unit."

The graduation included a Ranger skills demonstration, which showcases rappelling, demolitions, extraction by helicopter and hand-to-hand combat abilities.

Garner is scheduled to attend the U.S. Army Airborne School this month to become an Airborne Ranger.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Gates Urges Graduates to Consider Public Service

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2011 – U.S. public servants are the most dedicated, capable and honest in the world, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today during a commencement ceremony at Washington State University, in Pullman, Wash.

The secretary, on the eve of his own retirement, used the podium to urge the graduates to consider dedicating at least part of their careers to some type of public service.

Gates choked up briefly when recalling his most recent tenure as defense secretary, saying he will be forever thankful for the opportunity to lead today's military.

And he was still visibly emotional in his closing as he issued a challenge to the 2,350 graduates.

"And so I ask you ... will the wise and the honest among you come help us serve the American people?" Gates asked.

Gates’ plea came in contrast to earlier jokes about life within the Washington, D.C., beltway, as he often does in his speeches.

"It's a special pleasure to be with you here today, especially since it gives me an excuse to get about as far away from the other Washington as one can get within the continental Unites States," Gates joked.

Gates also joked about parents who will continue to shell out money even after their children graduate. And he acknowledged that he was the only obstacle between the graduates and their graduation parties.

So Gates kept his promise to keep his speech short.

But he packed the 15 minutes he spoke, with praise for the sacrifices of those who serve their country in and out of uniform.

He quoted billionaires and film directors, an opera star and an actress, presidents and their parents.

It was in his own words, however, based on a lifetime of leadership public service, that the seriousness of the message crept. Now, more than ever, the United States needs the talents of its best and brightest, he said.

"You are graduating in challenging times, of that there is no question," Gates said, citing a decade of war, a period of wrenching economic turbulence and a huge budget deficit and national debt.

Gates said it is no surprise that recent polls show a souring of the public mood, with many Americans pessimistic about the trajectory of our country. But, Gates said, he has lived through times when such pessimism was as prevalent.

In 1957, when Gates was a freshman in high school, the Soviet Union launched its Sputnik 1 into space, and Americans feared being left behind in the space race. Even more cause for worry was being left behind in the missile race, he said.

In the 1970s the nation went through another period of questioning its place in the world, brought about by the angst over the Vietnam War and the OPEC oil embargo, followed by sky-high inflation and equally high interest rates, he said.

And in the late 1980s America's growing fiscal and trade deficits left many worried that we would soon be taken over by Japan, Gates added.

"I lived through each of these periods of declinism when many were convinced America was stuck in a downward spiral," Gates said. "And yet, after meeting the many challenges we faced head on, our nation emerged from each of these periods stronger than before, and I am convinced we will do so again.

"Indeed today, as throughout our history, this country remains the world's most powerful force for good. The U.S. will, I am convinced, remain the indispensable nation, and our country will be able to adapt and overcome once again as it has in the past," he said.

However, especially in times of fiscal constraint, the United States must come up with innovative solutions to the challenges it faces.

"It is precisely during these trying times that America needs its best and brightest young people from all walks of life to step forward and bring their talents and fresh perspectives to bear on the challenges facing this country," Gates said.

"Because while the obligations of citizenship in any democracy are considerable, they're even more profound and more demanding as citizens of a nation with America's global challenges and responsibilities, and America's values and aspirations," he said.

Gates encouraged the graduates to find out what drives them, to find their passion and to pursue it with all of their energy and commitment. But he asked that they consider spending at least part of their careers in public service.

"You will have a chance to give back to the community, the state, or to the country that has already given you so much," he said.

Gates said that he understands that with today's political rhetoric, public service may not be appealing.

"I understand that it can be disheartening to hear today's often rancorous and even tawdry political discourse," he said. "Too often those who chose public service are dismissed as bureaucrats or worse. And in many cases politicians run for office running down the very government they hope to lead."

"Cynicism about the people and the institutions that govern and protect our country can be corrosive," he said.

The secretary said he worries that too many of brightest young Americans, normally engaged in volunteerism, turn aside careers in public service.

"There is another aspect of public service about which Americans hear very little," he said. "The idealism, the joy, the satisfaction and fulfillment."

Gates, who served under eight U.S. presidents, said he has worked with political appointees and career civil servants of the highest quality, acting with steadfast integrity and love of country and what it stands for.

The secretary applauded the efforts of today's all-volunteer military, saying that "over this past decade doing one’s duty has taken on a whole new meaning and required a whole new level of risk and sacrifice."

But, he added, "to serve our country you don't need to deploy to a war zone or a Third World country or be buried in a windowless cube in gothic structure by the Potomac River.

"You don't have to be a CIA spy, or an analyst, a Navy SEAL who tracked down and brought down the most notorious terrorist in the world," he said.

"Whatever the job, working in the public sector at some level offers the chance to serve your fellow citizens as well as learn the inner workings of our government and build skills that will stand you in good stead in facing other challenges in your career and in your life," he said.

Gates said the graduates live in a time of "great necessities" when the America cannot avoid the challenges of addressing its domestic problems, or the burdens of global leadership.

"The stakes are unimaginably high," Gates said. "If, in the 21st Century, America is to continue to be a force for good in the world, for freedom, justice, rule of law, and the inherent value of each person, then the most able and idealistic of our young people -- of you -- must step forward and accept the burden and the duty of public service.

"I promise you that you will find joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment," he said.

Gates’ wife, Becky, is a Washington State University graduate and member of the College of Liberal Arts Advisory Council. Their son, Brad, is a 2003 graduate of the university. Gates has plans to retire in the state.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Pack Mentality and the Leadership Lessons of Ike

According to the book description of The Pack Mentality and the Leadership Lessons of Ike, “In the world of Law Enforcement we are the protectors, the defenders, the warriors against the evils of the world. We are the pack of Sheepdogs, searching out what goes bump in the night and confronting the wolf. We must identify with the Alpha Dog if we are to lead this group of dedicated warriors in the pure and honorable fight.

Corey D Roberts has dedicated his life to being a Sheepdog and has served in leadership roles in the US Army, in Law Enforcement, and in the private sector. Ike was a border collie, a constant presence during Corey’s formative years and a great example of leadership for us all. Ike was the Sheepdog, he was the Alpha Dog.

The Pack Mentality and the Leadership Lessons of Ike takes the lessons of the Border Collie and his dedicated pack of sheepdogs and applies them in a practical way to the leaders of our brave men and women in Law Enforcement. These practical and often hard learned lessons can direct you to the path of a true leader, an Alpha Dog.”

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sailor Receives USO Woman of the Year Military Leadership Award

From Navy Safe Harbor Public Affairs

NEW YORK (NNS) -- Culinary Specialist Seaman Judith Mae Boyce was presented a Military Leadership Award during the 45th Annual USO Woman of the Year Luncheon hosted by the USO of Metropolitan New York April 26.

Boyce was one of five female service members – one from each branch of the armed forces – who received the award in commemoration of their dedication, achievements, and service to the country.

"I was completely shocked and incredibly honored to be recognized by the USO," said Boyce, who currently is recovering from surgery and recently celebrated her birthday. "I love New York. I grew up nearby, and I was so happy to have an opportunity to visit the city for my birthday rather than spending it in the hospital."

Boyce has been diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease, a rare, progressive cerebrovascular disorder. Though the treatment process has been intense and sometimes very difficult – she has undergone a series of brain surgeries since 2009 – Boyce remains committed to pursuing her passions: culinary arts and the Navy. She also is a strident supporter of adaptive athletics programs for wounded warriors, as well as a fierce competitor in the annual Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style athletic event for ill and injured service members.

The Military Leadership Awards were presented by television journalist and best-selling author Rita Cosby, as well as Oliver Mendell, chairman emeritus of the USO, Rear Adm. Michelle Howard Navy, and Miss USA Rima Fakih.

"Never one to be stopped by obstacles in her path, Seaman Boyce was the first Sailor to express interest in the inaugural Warrior Games – this woman is a die-hard," said Cosby. "Seaman Boyce credits training for the Warrior Games with providing her an outlet to challenge herself and reaffirm that she – and not her disease – controls her destiny."

Since her diagnosis in 2008, Boyce has been enrolled in Navy Safe Harbor, which offers non-medical care to seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and their families. The program has provided Boyce personalized and dedicated assistance during all phases of her treatment process and will continue to do so throughout her life.

"Judith is a leader among Navy wounded warriors, and we are incredibly honored to support her," said Capt. Bernie E. Carter, director, Navy Safe Harbor. "She helps shine a spotlight on a less visible segment of our enrollment population – Sailors and Coast Guardsmen who grapple with serious illnesses. In her daily fight with her disease, she personifies courage and strength."

In addition to Boyce, the USO of Metropolitan New York presented Military Leadership Awards to Army Staff Sgt. Tannia Carter, Marine Corps Sgt. Sara Bryant, Air Force Capt. Wendy Sue Buckingham, and Coast Guard Petty Officer Bonnie Lynne Wysocki. Also, Linda Parker Hudson, president and CEO of BAE Systems, Inc., and Howard, received 2011 Woman of the Year Distinguished Service Awards.

"The other women recognized during today's ceremony were amazing," said Boyce, who had an opportunity to meet some of them during an intimate dinner hosted by the USO. "It was pretty incredible to listen to each of their stories, and to hear about everything they have overcome and accomplished."

The event also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the USO's founding in 1941. In addition, it helped raised funds for the organization's newest initiative, Operation Enduring Care, a $100 million comprehensive, long-term program to support America's wounded warriors.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Donald E. Oswald Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Minneapolis Division

Director Robert S. Mueller, III appointed Donald E. Oswald the special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Division. In this role, he will oversee the FBI’s operations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. He most recently served as the chief inspector in the Office of Inspections.

Mr. Oswald entered on duty as a special agent in May 1992. He served in the Los Angeles Division and investigated bank robberies and street gang activities and also served as a division legal advisor. In 1994, he transferred to the New York Division, where he investigated complex multi-agency public corruption matters. Mr. Oswald also served for more than three years as associate division counsel in the New York Division.

Mr. Oswald was promoted in February 2000 to supervisory special agent in the Office of the General Counsel at FBI Headquarters and was assigned to the Investigative Law Unit. There, he provided advice and counsel concerning investigative operations and proposed undercover operations. Mr. Oswald’s tour at FBI Headquarters also included an assignment as assistant inspector in the Office of Inspections.

In July 2003, Mr. Oswald was transferred to the Miami Division as a field supervisor for the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force squad, which was responsible for investigating matters related to state sponsors of terrorism. He also served as the division’s international terrorism program coordinator and was responsible for assisting with evaluating resource utilization and progress toward the goals and objectives of seven counterterrorism squads.

Mr. Oswald was promoted in December 2005 to assistant special agent in charge of the Miami Division’s Field Intelligence Group, which included oversight of surveillance operations. Mr. Oswald also served as the chairman of the Southeast Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force’s investigations and intelligence committee and is distinguished as the first federal official to serve in such a capacity in the state of Florida.

During 2008, Mr. Oswald served on the FBI’s Strategic Execution Team (SET), developing plans for the phased implementation of the intelligence operations portion of the SET mission, for which he received a Director’s Award for excellence in intelligence analysis and leadership.

In December 2008, Mr. Oswald was promoted into the FBI’s senior executive service in the Inspection Division.

Mr. Oswald was born in Brick Township, New Jersey. He served in the U.S. Air Force and New Jersey Air National Guard and received his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Trenton State College in New Jersey. Later, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Nova University Law School and became a member of the Florida bar.

Before joining the FBI, he served as a police officer and detective in Brick Township and as a deputy sheriff and detective in Broward County, Florida. After graduating from law school, he practiced law and was appointed as a traffic magistrate for Broward County, where he presided in traffic court.