Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DOD Announces Transfer of 3 Guantanamo Detainees

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2013 – The Department of Defense today announced the transfer of Yusef Abbas, Saidullah Khalik and Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the government of Slovakia, according to a DOD news release.

These three detainees are the last ethnic Uighur Chinese nationals to be transferred from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the release said. These detainees, the release said, were subject to release from Guantanamo as a result of a court order issued on Oct. 7, 2008, by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and are voluntarily resettling in Slovakia.

As directed by the president's Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of these cases, the release said. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these individuals were designated for transfer by unanimous consent among all six agencies on the task force, the release said.

In accordance with statutory reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these individuals, the release said.

The United States is grateful to the government of Slovakia for this humanitarian gesture and its willingness to support U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, the release said. The United States coordinated with the government of Slovakia to ensure the transfer took place in accordance with appropriate security and humane treatment measures, the release said.

This transfer and resettlement constitutes a significant milestone in our effort to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, the release said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel remains grateful to the Defense Department's Special Envoy Paul Lewis, and Department of State Special Envoy Cliff Sloan, for their and their respective teams' many efforts that facilitated this successful transfer, the release said.

Today, 155 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay, according to the release.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Air Force Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Capt. David I. Lyon, 28, of Sandpoint, Idaho, died Dec. 27, 2013, from wounds suffered when his vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

For more information, media may contact the 21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office during duty hours at 719-556-5185 and after duty hours at 719-556-4555.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dunford Visits Afghanistan-deployed Troops on Christmas

By Army Sgt. Anthony Lee
International Security Assistance Force Regional Command South

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Dec. 26, 2013 – Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, made a Christmas Day trip to the southern part of the country to visit with coalition troops and thank them for their service and sacrifices.

Dunford began his trip by departing Kandahar Airfield and flying to Forward Operating Base Apache in Zabul province to meet with U.S. soldiers of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and Romanian service members.

Army Maj. Gen. Paul J. LaCamera, Regional Command South and 4th Infantry Division commanding general, and Army Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Clark, RC-South and 4th Infantry Division command sergeant major, accompanied Dunford on his trip through southern Afghanistan.

Romanian service members who were celebrating Christmas in their chapel at FOB Apache sang a few Christmas songs -- including Jingle Bells, in English -- upon Dunford’s arrival.

Dunford addressed them and wished them a Merry Christmas before moving to another chapel at FOB Apache, where he met with more service members and shook their hands.

“Not only do I wish you a Merry Christmas but I just ask that you tell your families that I stopped by and that I said thanks to them as well,” Dunford said.

Some service members were away from their families during the holidays for the first time. Others had served on previous deployments and were used to being away from families in December, although it didn’t make it any easier.

“I don’t want you to forget the fact that we came here in the first place to protect the American people,” Dunford told the troops. “We came here to protect our European coalition partners.”

Dunford continued, “The sacrifices we’ve made over the last few years, over the last decade, the pressure we have put on al-Qaeda, the pressure we have put on the network that supports al-Qaeda, is the reason why your families back home today can have a day [when] they don’t even think about anything other than just enjoying the day, enjoying their way of life. And that’s what you’ve delivered to them. I very much appreciate it.”

He also spoke about the role Afghan forces have had in taking responsibility for their country’s security.

“You all are doing a superb job in getting them out there now in the front,” Dunford said. “They’ve had a good summer. They have provided security to the Afghan people.”

The general then flew to FOB Walton in Kandahar province, where he visited and walked around the dining facility, sitting down at tables to talk to service members.

Dunford then made his way back to Kandahar Airfield, where he visited U.S. service members with the 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Cavalry Regiment and the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing.

Service members expressed their appreciation that Dunford visited them on Christmas.

“It was good to see that the leadership cares, to see how the soldiers are doing on Christmas,” said Army Sgt. Natasha Elusme, a door gunner with Alpha Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division “You want to be home with family, but we do have our A Company family.”

Army Spc. Rodney Dunbar, another door gunner with 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, said he was stationed in South Korea two Christmases ago, but this is his first combat deployment. After briefly speaking with Dunford as the general made his way through the airfield, Dunbar described what the Christmas visit meant to him and his fellow service members.

“It shows that he cares about how the troops are doing and how they’re handling the deployment and how they’re handling being away from family during this holiday season,” Dunbar said.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Marine Corps Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Sgt. Daniel M. Vasselian, 27, of Abington, Mass., died Dec. 23, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For more information, media may contact the 2nd Marine Division Public Affairs Office during duty hours at 910-450-6575 and after duty hours at  910-372-2736.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat

The January 4, 2014, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation retired Command Sergeant Major Bart E. Womack, USA, and the author of Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat.

Program Date:  January 4, 2014
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat

About the Guest
Command Sergeant Major Bart E. Womack, USA (ret.) “is the recipient of two Bronze Stars, one for Valor. He has served the United States Army with distinction for nearly three decades as a professional soldier who is truly a tactical and technical expert, combined with the dedication and discipline associated with only the finest America has to offer. His maturity, expertise, and personal dedication to excellence have contributed immeasurably to the readiness of the United States Army and the security of our Great Nation.

Since his retirement, Womack has worked in the entertainment industry, both as an actor and a Military Technical Advisor for feature films and television. He spent 18 months in Afghanistan training the Afghanistan National Army, as well as time in Nigeria, as part of the African Contingency Operation training that country's Army. He works with returning Veterans in the Saddles for Soldiers program that uses horses to help Veterans and their families better cope with the trauma and stressors that often come with returning from combat and readjusting to civilian life. He now proudly adds the title of 'Author' to his resume. Command Sergeant Major Bart E. Womack is the author of Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat.

According to the book description of Embedded Enemy: The Insider Threat, “Shortly after deploying for the war in Iraq, an unprecedented attack was about to take place; the first of it's kind in U.S. military history. Embedded Enemy is the true story of the deadly attack against the men and women of Headquarters and Headquarters Company First Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. The Bastogne Brigade was staged at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait where they prepared for combat. During the early morning hours of 23 March 2003, a fellow American soldier, Sergeant Hasan Akbar, executed the unthinkable by throwing hand grenades into his Chain of Command's tents. He then followed up with small-arms fire while his Commanding Officers slept in preparation for war.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.
About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA