On Patrol

Until every one comes home | The Magazine of the USO

Belize Swim

July 23, 2014, 7:37PM

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brent Draper, foreground, and other divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, dive with Belize coast guard members at Belize's Blue Hole in the Caribbean Sea. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brett CoteU.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brent Draper, foreground, and other divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2, dive with Belize coast guard members at Belize's Blue Hole in the Caribbean Sea. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brett Cote

Storm the Beach

July 18, 2014, 1:30PM

U.S. Marines and Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers run as they emerge from the water while practicing small-unit techniques as part of the Japan Observer Exchange Program at Kin Blue Beach, Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Henry AntenorU.S. Marines and Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers run as they emerge from the water while practicing small-unit techniques as part of the Japan Observer Exchange Program at Kin Blue Beach, Okinawa, Japan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Henry Antenor

Scanning from the Sky

July 16, 2014, 1:46PM

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Kenneth Morris scans the area for any suspicious activity on the ground during a mission over Helmand province, Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances JohnsonU.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Kenneth Morris scans the area for any suspicious activity on the ground during a mission over Helmand province, Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Frances Johnson

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is working to develop wireless, implantable brain prostheses for service members and veterans who suffer memory loss from traumatic brain injury.

Called neuroprotheses, the implant would help declarative memory, which consciously recalls basic knowledge such as events, times and places, DARPA officials said.

To overcome such memory deficits, "these neuroprosthetics will be designed to bridge the gaps in the injured brain to help restore that memory function," said Dr. Justin Sanchez, DARPA Restoring Active Memory Program manager. "Our vision is to develop neuroprosthetics for memory recovery in patients living with brain injury and dysfunction," he said.

The neuroprosthetics developed and tested over the next four years would be as a wireless, fully implantable neural-interface medical device for human clinical use, Sanchez explained.

Each year in the United States, traumatic brain injury affects about 270,000 service members and another 1.7 million civilians, he said.

"The traumatic brain injury is really a very devastating injury," said Dr. Geoffrey Ling, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who worked in both war zones studying TBI for former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Navy Adm. Mike Mullen.

"One of the biggest consequences of [TBI memory loss] is the ability to do normal functions," Ling said. "How is somebody going to have their livelihood if they can't remember how to do simple tasks?"

DARPA's neuroprostheses development is expected to yield "remarkable" benefits for service members and for civilians throughout the world, Ling noted. "But right now our focus here is on those injured service members."

While development of the implant encompasses four years, Sanchez said, one of the goals is to start phasing in some early prototype devices the first year and to collect preliminary data to help guide more complex parts later in the project.

"This is a truly remarkable period of time," Sanchez said. "To think about how we are going to learn about memory in the human brain, to think about the potential for developing those next generation medical neuroprosthetic devices that can provide new options for our injured military personnel, is truly remarkable."

Getting Loose in the Open Field

July 14, 2014, 6:24PM

U.S. Marines sprint across a field to load onto a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan U.S. Marines sprint across a field to load onto a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan

Dust Below

July 11, 2014, 1:38PM

A Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush takes off after a joint fire exercise with Army AH-64 Apaches and Air Force joint terminal attack controllers near Camp Buehring, Kuwait. New York Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Harley Jeli A Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush takes off after a joint fire exercise with Army AH-64 Apaches and Air Force joint terminal attack controllers near Camp Buehring, Kuwait. New York Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Harley Jeli

Hot Topics for July 11

July 11, 2014, 9:24AM |

Marines open infantry training to hundreds more female officers (Marine Corps Times)

Afghan interpreters who served U.S. are in limbo as State Department runs out of visas (Washington Post

It's Hellfire missiles - not F-16s - that Iraq is ready to use now (Washington Post) 

How to Stop Burn Pits From Becoming the Next Agent Orange (National Journal) 

Pentagon spurs new work on a brain implant to aid memory problems (Los Angeles Times)

Bradley commander is 1st Cav's first female 'Top Gun' (Army Times)

Balance Buddies

July 9, 2014, 6:34PM

U.S. Navy Lt. Diane Kruse, left, and Lt. Alyse Dason practice yoga poses on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Margaret KeithU.S. Navy Lt. Diane Kruse, left, and Lt. Alyse Dason practice yoga poses on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Margaret Keith

Getting a Lift

July 8, 2014, 3:42PM

Army Sgt. Michael Severin guides the hoist from inside a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to bring up Army Sgt. 1st Class Greg Holland during the fourth annual Great Plains Zone Interagency Helicopter Medevac training near Pactola Reservoir, S.D. National Guard photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Theanne TangenArmy Sgt. Michael Severin guides the hoist from inside a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to bring up Army Sgt. 1st Class Greg Holland during the fourth annual Great Plains Zone Interagency Helicopter Medevac training near Pactola Reservoir, S.D. National Guard photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Theanne Tangen

Incoming

July 2, 2014, 1:44PM

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brooks Graham, left, directs a landing craft air cushion into the well deck of the USS Peleliu following a training exercise in the Pacific Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Will GaskillU.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brooks Graham, left, directs a landing craft air cushion into the well deck of the USS Peleliu following a training exercise in the Pacific Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Will Gaskill

Old Glory

July 2, 2014, 7:20AM |

When he was a child, George Washington and all the children of his generation saluted the flag of England. 

When their colony became the United States of America, the 1777 Constitutional Congress decided a new flag should be saluted, “representing a new constellation.”

A resolution signed on June 14 of that year established Old Glory as the emblem of freedom. For the past 237 seven years under this flag, the struggles for independence were carried on and battles were won and lost.

A U.S. Marine by the name of Howard Schnauber, orphaned at an early age, fought in both World War II and the Korean War and received four Purple Hearts. Upon his return from World War II, he wrote the poem “My Name Is Old Glory” as a way to help children appreciate and learn respect for the flag.

The first time I heard the poem I could barely hold back my emotion. The powerful verse was recited at a military retirement ceremony while the folded flag was ceremoniously presented to the honored veteran. The sentiment of this poem’s words had a striking effect on everyone in the audience. After witnessing this reaction, I was determined to find out who wrote this mighty tribute.

My friend and co-author Trish Marx joined me in creating a tribute to this poem and the American flag. We are pleased and honored to share the power and presence of “My Name Is Old Glory” with you. The American flag is an expression of what unites us as Americans. As Howard Schnauber realized years ago, our flag is also a beacon for the world – it stands for freedom.

“My Name Is Old Glory” celebrates the spirit of the United States of America and the true love Americans have for their country. This book highlights historical events that unfold from the War of 1812, when the “Star Spangled Banner” was written, to the present day, with moving and inspiring photographs of our flag, our people and our nation celebrating and honoring our country.

The story of our flag, our people and our nation is not finished – nor is the power of the enduring American spirit embodied by Old Glory. 

“My Name is Old Glory” is a beautiful celebration of the American Flag the whole family as well as guests can enjoy. With every purchase, a portion of the proceeds will go to assist service members and their families through the USO.

Schnauber’s poem, now called “I Am the Flag,” can be read here.

—Martha LaGuardia-Kotite is the co-author of “My Name Is Old Glory: A Celebration of the Star-Spangled Banner" which can be purchased at all major booksellers.

Sending Signals

July 1, 2014, 5:31PM

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Darin Kent signals to pilots in an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter as it picks up supplies from the flight deck during a vertical replenishment aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez IIU.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Darin Kent signals to pilots in an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter as it picks up supplies from the flight deck during a vertical replenishment aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II

Michelle Janine Howard today became the first woman to attain the rank of four-star admiral in the Navy’s 238-year history during a ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus presided over the ceremony and administered the oath of office.

"Michelle Howard's promotion to the rank of admiral is the result of a brilliant naval career, one I fully expect to continue when she assumes her new role as vice chief of naval operations, but also it is an historic first, an event to be celebrated as she becomes the first female to achieve this position," Mabus said. "Her accomplishment is a direct example of a Navy that now, more than ever, reflects the nation it serves -- a nation where success is not born of race, gender or religion, but of skill and ability."

Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations, noted Howard’s success through more than decades of service. "Michelle's many trailblazing accomplishments in her 32 years of naval service are evidence of both her fortitude and commitment to excellence and integrity," he said. "I look forward to many great things to come from the Navy's newest four-star admiral."

Howard, who most recently has served as the deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy, will relieve Navy Adm. Mark E. Ferguson III as the 38th vice chief of naval operations later today.

Howard is a 1978 graduate of Gateway High School in Aurora, Colorado. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army's Command and General Staff College in 1998 with a master’s degree in military arts and sciences.

Driven by determination and trained in arctic survival, five paratroopers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, along with one soldier from the Army's Northern Warfare Training Center and two soldiers from the Vermont Army National Guard, scaled the highest point in North America last month.

The 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division makes its way across Summit Ridge on Alaska's Mount McKinley on June 15. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Campbell The 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division makes its way across Summit Ridge on Alaska's Mount McKinley on June 15. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Campbell Mount McKinley, in Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve, rises to an elevation of 20,237 feet above sea level. It has an 18,000-foot base-to-peak rise in elevation -- the highest in the world in that category.

Athabaskan Alaska Natives' name for the mountain is Denali -- "The High One."

Weather conditions on the mountain are often extreme. Bitter cold, blinding sunlight, and high winds create very difficult climbing conditions.

Dangerous crevasses concealed by snow bridges present treacherous obstacles for climbers.

This climbing season has been particularly difficult. The 4/25 IBCT's climb team leader, Army Capt. Matthew Hickey, said he'd seen fewer than 30 percent of climbers reach the summit so far.

Hickey credits the discipline, training and equipment he and his team employed on their way up as key to their success. He said the team's mountaineering skills, cold-weather operations training, teamwork, and conditioning allowed them to keep their momentum as they pressed forward.

The other soldiers who made up the eight-member climbing team included Staff Sgt. John Harris, Sgt. Lucanus Fechter, Spc. Matthew Tucker, and Spc. Tyler Campbell. They joined forces with 1st Sgt. Nathan Chipman and Staff Sgt. Taylor Ward, from the Army's Mountain Warfare School in Jericho, Vt., and Staff Sgt. Stephon Flynn from the Northern Warfare Training Center in Black Rapids, Alaska. 

Read more here.

Perfect Shot

June 30, 2014, 4:35PM

U.S. Navy Seaman Daniel Stelletell, left, fires a shot line during replenishment-at-sea with the USNS Big Horn aboard the USS Mesa Verde in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon M. SmithU.S. Navy Seaman Daniel Stelletell, left, fires a shot line during replenishment-at-sea with the USNS Big Horn aboard the USS Mesa Verde in the Persian Gulf. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Shannon M. Smith