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Archive for the ‘Profession of Arms’ Category

First US Navy Warrant Officer 1 Grads in Decades Hailed at LDO/CWO Academy

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

NEWPORT, R.I. (Nov. 1, 2019) (NNS) — The first eight Navy warrant officer 1 (WO1) Sailors in decades graduated from the Limited Duty Officer/Chief Warrant Officer (LDO/CWO) Academy at Officer Training Command, Newport (OTCN), Nov. 1.

The new warrant officers are Benjamin Nichols, Jonathon Wynn, Brent Gray, Ryan Snyder, Devan Sorenson, Nicholas Drenning, Kevin Koller, and Brian Ruzin.

“I’m enthusiastic for this new program because we can pave the way for the future of the Navy’s cyberwarfare efforts,” said Warrant Officer Devan T. Sorenson, from Bozeman, Montana. “The unique world of this career field is modeled like a meritocracy where it is a collaborative environment to be effective. The evolution of technology outpaces the training so it is important to stay current.”

“Our expertise comes from the enlisted ranks and we can better assist officers to make those necessary decisions through our experience,” said Warrant Officer Ryan C. Snyder, from Hollis, New Hampshire. “It is essential to be innovative and always strive to be the subject matter experts in this fast-paced field of cyberwarfare.”

The LDO/CWO Academy is a four-week course designed to prepare these prior enlisted Sailors for their new roles in the wardroom per the Navy’s Officer Professional Core Competencies. The class officers at the schoolhouse develop these newly commissioned officers morally, mentally, and physically, and imbue them with the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment in order to prepare them for the Fleet. Additionally, the academy will prepare these officers to become effective leaders by developing fundamental skills in leadership, written and oral communication, career management and administration.

“The new WO1 program opens up more advancement and designator opportunities,” said Cmdr. Zeverick L. Butts, the Director of the LDO/CWO Academy. “These new students bring unique skillsets and perspectives, increasing the dynamic interaction in the classroom for problem solving.”

The eight WO1s along with the 45 LDOs and CWOs of class 20010 graduated during a ceremony on Nov. 1, 2019. Graduates of this academy, nicknamed “Mustang University,” will join the LDO/CWO community to support the war-fighting capability and readiness of Naval Forces through leadership, technical proficiency and experience.

NAVADMIN 140/18 announced the implementation of the WO1 pay grade (W-1) for cyber warrant officers, and solicited applications for the FY-19 and FY-20 WO1 Cyber Warrant Selection Boards, the first since 1975. The rank was reinstated through the Cyber Warrant Officer In-Service Procurement Selection Board as the result of increasing threat of cyberwarfare on the modern battlefield. To be eligible, E5 and above applicants must be in the Cryptologic Technician Networks (CTN) rating, possess at least one of the following Interactive On-Net (ION) Operator naval enlisted classifications (NEC): H13A, H14A, H15A, or H16A, and meet time-in-service requirements.

Officers appointed as cyber WO1 incur a six-year service obligation from the date of appointment, shall serve a minimum time in grade of 3 years and must complete a minimum of 12 years of time in service prior to promotion and commissioning to Chief Warrant Officer 2.

The distinctive insignia worn on the WO1 cover of two cross-fouled anchors makes them easily recognizable in place of the traditional officer badge worn by other Naval Officers.

Headquartered in Newport, Rhode Island, OTCN oversees Officer Candidate School, Officer Development School and Limited Duty Officer/Chief Warrant Officer Academy.

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For more news from Naval Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes

Story by Lt Cdr Frederick Martin, Naval Service Training Command Public Affairs

Photo by Darwin Lam

Hawaii-based Sailors Test Changes During Physical Fitness Assessment Study

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) — Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of the year again: physical fitness assessment season. As we’re surrounded by the unwavering dedication of command fitness leaders and the Sailors within each command, one can’t help but get in to the fitness spirit. On May 29, the former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson visited Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and announced the addition of the 2-kilometer row cardio option and forearm plank that will replace the curl-up. On Oct. 7, Sailors gathered in the fitness center on base to commence the testing of the new workout metrics.

The study consisted of three different days of exercise. Day one focused on introducing Sailors to the 2-kilometer row, practicing the correct rowing technique. On day two, the Sailors performed pushups, the forearm plank and the 12-minute bike assessment. Day three focused on pushups, the forearm plank and the second trial of the 2-kilometer row. A big focus during this study was how Sailors perform the new plank as opposed to the curl-ups.

“The plank allows you to build that core strength,” said Lt. Cmdr. Melissa Laird, the work sponsor of the study from the 21st Century Sailor office. “It’s really a better test and better modality to assess that core strength than the curl-up is. It works on giving you good posture and it also has less chance of aggravating low back injuries which you can see with the curl-up.”

Laird also said that adopting a new form of cardio within the PFA allows Sailors an alternative to the standard 1.5-mile run. The rower uses approximately 70 percent of the body’s musculature so it provides a good cardiovascular workout that is low impact.

Sailors representing multiple commands volunteered to be the test subjects for this study. A seamless transition into adopting these two modalities for the PFA in the year 2020 is the end goal according to Laird.

Mr. Jay Heaney, a research physiologist from the Naval Health Research Center and the principle investigator for the study, explained the process of gathering the information from the Sailors’ performance and how it will be applied to the new PFA.

“We try to get as many people as we can within the age groups by gender,” said Heaney. “Then we look for what the norms are; what the high, medium and low scores are. From that, we will develop what the scoring metrics are for the different categories of the PFA.”

Heaney said that the Navy is trying to put a bigger emphasis on physical fitness as ship-based Sailors are required to climb ladder ways and do a lot of heavy lifting throughout their workday.

“I volunteered because I wanted to see what the new PFA would look like,” said Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 3rd Class Amanda Zwiebel. “Not only to prepare myself but to prepare my peers and my command.”

According to Heaney, at the end of the day, it is important that our service members have complete physical readiness. The addition of two new workouts to the PFA helps the U.S. Navy move in the right direction.


By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Aja Bleu Jackson, NPASE West det. Hawaii Public Affairs

US Air Force Announces Criteria for New Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal

Monday, October 28th, 2019

US Air Force Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal

Air Force officials announced nomination criteria for the new Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal following the official establishment of the decoration May 22.

The new medal, established by then-Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, is part of a continuing effort to recognize U.S. Air Force military members in a non-deployed status who directly participated in a Department of Defense combat operation from a remote location.

“Our remote operations community makes vital contributions to our national security and the security of our allies,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “These Airmen play a crucial role in every campaign we undertake, and this medal is for them.”

The RCECM will be awarded to Airmen serving in remotely piloted aircraft, cyber, space and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance career fields, who create direct combat effects from remote locations and lead to strategic outcomes or the delivery of lethal force. In some circumstances, Airmen from other career fields may be considered for the RCECM, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Service members may be awarded the RCECM for actions completed on or after Sept. 11, 2001, while also serving under the following conditions:
1) Was assigned or attached to a unit directly in support of a DoD combat operation as approved by the chief of staff of the Air Force (listed below)
2) Was serving in a remotely piloted aircraft; cyber; space or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance career field
3) Personally provided hands-on employment of a weapon system that has direct and immediate impact on combat operations
4) Was not physically exposed to hostile actions or at risk of exposure to hostile action

Qualifying DoD combat operations:
• Enduring Freedom, Sept. 11, 2001 – to be determined
• Iraqi Freedom, March 29, 2003 – Aug. 31, 2010
• New Dawn, Sept. 1, 2010 – Dec. 31, 2011
• Nomad Shadow, Nov. 5, 2007 – TBD
• Freedom’s Sentinel, Jan. 1, 2015 – TBD
• Inherent Resolve, June 15, 2014 – TBD
• Odyssey Lightning, Aug. 1, 2016 – Dec. 19, 2016
• Pacific Eagle – Philippines, Oct. 5, 2017 – TBD

Airmen who have received a DoD or Air Force campaign or expeditionary medal or ribbon for the same period of service are not eligible to receive the RCECM.

For more information and full eligibility criteria or submission procedures, visit myPers at mypers.af.mil and enter “RCECM” in the search window. A fact sheet and graphic is also available on the Air Force’s Personnel Center website.

Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

TacJobs – Navy Information Warfare

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

First Soldiers Awarded Expert Soldier Badge

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

WASHINGTON — Eleven top-performing Soldiers from around the Army came together Tuesday to receive the Army’s first-ever Expert Soldier Badges.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. James C. McConville made the presentation during the Eisenhower Luncheon at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.

“I’m really proud of what these Soldiers have accomplished,” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston said. “At the time, the [ESB] was a new challenge not only for them but for the Army. These 11 individuals can now proudly wear a badge that firmly recognizes them as experts in their profession, something all Soldiers should strive to be.”

Announced on the Army’s 244th birthday in June, the ESB is a proficiency badge designed to recognize a Soldier’s lethality outside of the infantry, by measuring their “mastery of physical fitness, marksmanship, and other critical Soldering skills necessary for combat readiness,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Moore, the badge’s noncommissioned officer in charge at the Army Center for Initial Military Training.

“[The ESB] recognizes the next generation of competent, committed leaders who thrive in chaos, adapt, and win in a complex world,” said Master Sgt. Norbert Neumeyer, a U.S. Forces Command master gunner who oversaw the first ESB test.

In April 2017, 56 Soldiers were selected from FORSCOM units across the Army during the pilot phase of testing. Of those who tested, 12 passed, making the pass-fail rate on par with the Expert Infantryman Badge and Expert Field Medical Badge.

Spc. Mahrubius Ledford, released from active duty March 2019 , was unable to attend Tuesday’s ceremony.

For Staff Sgt. Tyler Lewis, a field artillery firefinder radar operator out of Fort Bliss, Texas, earning the ESB “represents all aspects of being a Soldier,” he said.

“Being a Soldier means being a tactical and technical expert from the level of basic Soldiering skills to the advanced levels of your [military occupational specialty],” he said. “A Soldier learns to be adaptable, disciplined, and master and steward of his or her profession in every situation.”


For Sgt. Michael Ostrander, armament shop noncommissioned officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, he said he had to touch up his land navigation skills in order to earn his ESB.

The small arms repairmen said he relied on the Soldering skills he learned during basic combat training and throughout his military career during the test. He also suggested Soldiers planning to test for the badge “brush up on things they’re rusty on.”

For many Soldiers, the ESB tasks may seem like “common ones that have been taught before,” Lewis said. But, “[Soldiers] need to ensure that their knowledge is accurate to each standard tested. Practicing each skill until it becomes second nature is the key to success.”

Staff Sgt. Mike Mata, joint fire support specialist at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, echoed his fellow recipients when he credited “hands-on training and mock repetitions” to earning the ESB.

“It’s important to remember that testing is intended to be rigorous, mission-focused, and conducted under realistic conditions,” Neumeyer said.

The new skill badge is an equivalent of the EIB and the EFMB. It’s nearly a spitting image of the Combat Action Badge, minus the wreath. The badge displays the same M9 bayonet knife and M67 frag grenade inlaid against a solid, gray rectangular bar.

The test includes various commander-selected tasks essential to their respective units, like how to respond to an improvised explosive device attack, forging fighting positions, finding Soldiers in a tactical environment, and how to mark chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear-contaminated areas. Other tasks include a day and night land navigation test, a 12-mile ruck march, and a series of individual assessments.

The test also contains a variety of events, sharing roughly 80% of the tasks in the EIB and EFMB, and takes five days for Soldiers to complete. Standards for the test will not be adjusted based on age, gender, or any other criteria.

“The [ESB] will increase overall readiness and lethality, and the first recipients are among the top-qualified Soldiers in the Army,” Moore said.

To qualify, Soldiers must first pass the new Army Combat Fitness Test, slated to be the official fitness test for the Army by October 2020. Soldiers must also qualify as expert on the M16 or M4 and be recommended by their chain of command.

“The ESB gives units a baseline and ability to measure their Soldiers’ physical fitness,” Neumeyer said. “It also ensures Soldiers perform to standard all the critical tasks they’re supposed to have knowledge of, and measures their abilities to an expert level.”

Grinston said today’s awards are only the beginning for the Expert Soldier Badge, adding it will increase readiness and Soldier lethality across the force.

“We have ESB testing that will be underway later this month at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and next month at Fort Eustis,” Grinston said. “I look forward to seeing the results. This is a truly challenging badge to earn with training along the way that will help better prepare our Soldiers for combat.”

The first-ever recipients of the ESB include:

Staff Sgt. Joseph Alcorn, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

Staff Sgt. Freeman Harris, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Harvey, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

Staff Sgt. Thomas Jacobsen, U.S. Army Recruiting Office, Gretna, Louisiana

Staff Sgt. Tyler Lewis, Fort Bliss, Texas

Staff Sgt. Anthony Lodiong, Fort Bliss, Texas

Staff Sgt. Julio Macias, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

Staff Sgt. Mike Mata, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Staff Sgt. Evan Neilson, Fort Jackson, South Carolina

Sgt. Michael Ostrander, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

Staff Sgt. Bradley Sherman, Fort Benning, Georgia

Spc. Mahrubius Ledford, released from active duty March 2019

By Thomas Brading, Army News Service

1st Special Forces Group Soldier Receives Army Expert Soldier Badge

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — To earn any coveted badge in the U.S. Army, be it the Expert Infantryman’s Badge (EIB) or Expert Field Medic Badge (EFMB), is to be among America’s most proficient Soldiers.

Sgt. Michael Ostrander, a small arms and towed artillery repairer assigned to 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and native of Casnovia, Michigan, is one of the first Soldiers in the Army to earn the new Expert Soldier Badge (ESB).

“To hear that the ESB was actually going to be a thing, I was surprised,” Ostrander said. “Knowing I was one of the first Soldiers to earn it, I was excited to be a part of a great thing and honored to bring this great organization the credit it deserves,” he added.

Ostrander is one of the first 11 Soldiers to be awarded the ESB during the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting, October 15, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The standards set to earn the Army’s new Expert Soldier Badge (ESB) are as challenging as the requirements to earn an EIB or EFMB.

Command Sgt. Maj. Edward W. Mitchell, senior enlisted leader at the Center for Initial Military Training, says like the EIB and EFMB, testing for the ESB consists of an Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), day and night land navigation, weapons, medical and more than 30 other individual tasks.

“We wanted every Soldier to make sure they understand that they are experts in their field,” Mitchell said. “Achieving the new badge … requires a much higher standard, just like its cousins, which are the EIB and the EFMB” Mitchell added.

Prior to the start of testing, participants underwent a week of intense training to prepare for the challenges they would face during the ESB qualification.

“There was a week of training before the week testing and it was pretty intense and there was also a big book of study material to go along with it,” Ostrander noted. “I learned a lot of medical stuff that I didn’t know before,” he added.

As with any competition, participants have one or more favorite parts.

“My favorite part of this was learning and solidifying the basic Soldier skills that I have forgotten or just never learned,” Ostrander said. “I learned that I’m a lot more capable than I thought.”

Since the ESB can be earned by any Soldier outside of the infantry, medical and special operations career fields, Ostrander suggests that Soldiers “brush up on things they’re rusty on” to be successful during testing.


By SGT Larry Barnhill, USASOC Public Affairs

Hey US Army, Get The Lead Out

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

I’ve got switched on NCOs asking me how to get a copy.

Answers to Top Questions about Army Combat Fitness Test Equipment Fielding

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

WASHINGTON — As Army Soldiers start preparing for the new Army Combat Fitness Test, behind the scenes Army logisticians are also preparing to distribute more than 36,000 equipment sets to conduct the new test.

At a recent Facebook Live event, watched by more than 150,000 viewers, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston encouraged all Soldiers across each component to begin training now. The Army released a training guide with exercises from the Field Manual to help Soldiers successfully prepare with or without the equipment (training guide: www.army.mil/e2/downloads/rv7/acft/acft_training_guide_final).

Equipment will begin arriving to Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard units in January 2020, with issue of the equipment complete by May 2020 — at least five months before the test is slated to become the Army’s official physical evaluation.

During the Facebook Live event, viewers posted more than 2,700 questions and comments — many concerning equipment. Here are answers to the top six questions that were posed related to fielding the ACFT equipment:

Q1. What pieces of equipment are required to conduct the new test?

A1: A complete set of ACFT equipment includes deadlift hex bars with weights and collars, nylon drag sleds with straps and plates (each weighted with two, 45-pound plates), one 10-pound medicine ball, and two 40-pound kettle bells. Units also will need a location to do leg tucks and a 2-mile run.

Q2. Who will get the equipment first?

A2: The Army has established a regional approach. The first units to receive AFCT equipment will be in the southeast region of the United States. This will be followed by units in the Southwest, OCONUS, Northeast, Midwest, and Northwest.

Q3. Will Reserve and Guard units, or Active units in remote locations, have to wait longer for their equipment?

A3: No. Distribution is based on geography, not by component. In fact, seven Reserve battalions, seven Guard units, one recruiting battalion, and one ROTC battalion were part of the initial 63-battalion pilot test to evaluate and solve logistical challenges involved with remote locations. The Army has several remote locations across all components to include more than 1,500 recruiting stations, overseas assignments, Reserve and Guard unit locations, fellowships and training assignments that take Soldiers far from normal military base support. Additionally, training programs and equipping strategies are being developed in close coordination with all components.

Q4. Who is responsible for fielding the equipment?

A4. The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) will serve as the lead to distribute equipment. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), with the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training (USACIMT), have worked hard to develop the program. Army G-4 is providing policy and program guidance.

Q5. What resources will be provided until the equipment arrives?

A5. Soldiers do not need to wait for the equipment to start training to improve their flexibility, mobility, agility, and core strength. The Army released a training guide with exercises from the Field Manual to help Soldiers successfully prepare with or without the equipment (training guide: www.army.mil/e2/downloads/rv7/acft/acft_training_guide_final). The Army has also established Mobile Training Teams that will conduct site visits and provide training to units across the Army. In addition, the Army has produced training videos and online resources, which can be found at www.army.mil/ACFT.

Q6. Can a unit use equipment we previously purchased for training and testing?

A6. Units can use equipment they have on hand for training, but not for testing. Standardization is important, particularly on items like the sled, hex bar, and 10-pound medicine ball. For example, if the ball the unit has is bigger than the standard ball, it may be too large for Soldiers to grip and impact the test. Once the equipment is fielded, units will be able to order replacement parts through GCSS-Army.

By Ms. Ilene S Zeldin (G4)