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Until every one comes home | The Magazine of the USO

Hawkeye Takeoff

January 30, 2015, 1:30PM

An E-2C Hawkeye from the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as the ship conducts flight operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman D’Andre L. RodenAn E-2C Hawkeye from the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as the ship conducts flight operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman D’Andre L. Roden

Hawkeye Takeoff

January 30, 2015, 1:30PM

An E-2C Hawkeye from the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as the ship conducts flight operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman D’Andre L. RodenAn E-2C Hawkeye from the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 116 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson as the ship conducts flight operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman D’Andre L. Roden

Marines assigned to the service’s expeditionary units serve as the first responders to crises around the world -- and the units’ success would not be possible without exceptional leadership.  

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Clyde Harris, the warehouse supply chief for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, poses for a photo at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Harris said he employs his experiences as a former drill instructor when leading his Marines. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Steve H. LopezMarine Corps Staff Sgt. Clyde Harris, the warehouse supply chief for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, poses for a photo at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Harris said he employs his experiences as a former drill instructor when leading his Marines. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Steve H. Lopez

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Clyde Harris, the warehouse supply chief with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit here, knows about hard work, long hours and leadership. Harris, 33, who hails from Richmond, Virginia, said his experiences have carved him into the Marine he is today.

Joining the Marine Corps

Harris said he joined the Marine Corps on Sept. 21, 1999.

“The reason I came into the Marine Corps was pretty much I had nothing else planned,” he said. Going to college, he added, wasn’t in the cards.

“Actually,” he said, “one of my football coaches, when I played recreational ball, was a recruiter and it all started from there.”

Harris said he developed a “laid-back” leadership style.

“I like to observe before I react to anything,” he explained. “I like to learn; I don’t like to do what everybody else does. I take the good and I take the bad.”

He added, “I take the bad leadership and turn it into good, and I take the good leadership and make it better.”

Taking Care of Marines’ Welfare

Taking care of Marines and challenging them to do better are important components of successful leadership, Harris said.

“Know your Marines and look out for their welfare,” he explained. “The reason why, is because I make sure I push my Marines and know how far I can push them and that’s exactly what it means.

“It’s not just about taking care of them if they’re sick or want time off,” Harris continued. “It means to push them to their limit, and that’s what I do. I push them to their limit -- that way I know how much I can give them.”

Harris described himself as an unselfish type of leader.

“I’m not one to say I did this or I did that. I’ll give credit to the Marines before I give it to myself, and I make sure if someone needs something I do whatever I can to do it,” he explained. “I wouldn’t be like, ‘No, I can’t do it.’ I’ll use my resources and I’ll help them out regardless of who it is.”

Drill Instructor Duty

Harris said his time as a drill instructor was a career highlight because of the duty’s inherent challenges.

“It makes you push yourself and also shows you how to lead,” he explained. Leading others, he added, “puts you in a position where you have to take care of more than just yourself.

“You have to worry about drill instructors then you have to worry about recruits, too,” he continued. “I always wanted to be a drill instructor, even when I was in boot camp.”

Harris said a past incident in which he resolved some personal differences between two other NCOs was one of the most difficult leadership challenges he’s experienced.

“Having a sergeant come to you that has a problem with another sergeant, but we all hang out together and work together” was tough, he said.

“I think that was the hardest [thing]: breaking it down to them the best way to compromise because both of you are working together, because it was difficult,” Harris added. “The way I got through to them was I just sat down and talked to them and said, ‘Look, this is what needs to get done even though he might be senior to you or the other way around. You’re both sergeants. You’ll have to work together despite the differences you guys have.’”

Guardsmen vs. Northeastern Storm

January 29, 2015, 10:00AM

Air National Guardsmen operate heavy plows to clear the snow off from the flightline during winter Storm Juno on Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y.. New York National Guard photo by Air National Guard Master Sgt. Cheran CambridgeAir National Guardsmen operate heavy plows to clear the snow off from the flightline during winter Storm Juno on Stewart Air National Guard Base, N.Y.. New York National Guard photo by Air National Guard Master Sgt. Cheran Cambridge

Slingload Training

January 28, 2015, 9:45AM

Soldiers prepare a CH-47F Chinook helicopter to slingload a high mobility multi-wheeled vehicle during training at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on Fort Drum, N.Y. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Peter SmedbergSoldiers prepare a CH-47F Chinook helicopter to slingload a high mobility multi-wheeled vehicle during training at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on Fort Drum, N.Y. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Peter Smedberg

Taming a Hornet

January 27, 2015, 11:28AM

Navy Chief Edward Zapanta directs an F/A-18F Super Hornet on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 24. Navy photo by Seaman Christopher FrostNavy Chief Edward Zapanta directs an F/A-18F Super Hornet on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Pacific Ocean on Jan. 24. Navy photo by Seaman Christopher Frost

With the National Football League’s all-star game in the rear-view mirror, anticipation for the league’s championship -- the final pro football game of the year -- begins.

The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, the teams preparing to square off Feb. 1 in Super Bowl XLIX, shared their appreciation for U.S. service members serving overseas during media availabilities here yesterday.

Pete Carroll, head coach of the defending champion Seahawks, assured troops the team understands the sacrifice they are making.

“We want to make sure that you understand that the Seahawks know the work that you’re doing,” he said. “We just want to be more like you guys -- we herald the work that you do and the attitude that you bring. I know that the Super Bowl is really exciting to watch. It’s extremely exciting for us too, but if we could be a little bit more like you guys, we have a chance to win this thing.”

Carroll promised his team’s best effort. “So enjoy the heck out of it, and we’ll be thinking about you, and I hope you guys really enjoy the game,” he said.

Several players from both Super Bowl teams also joined in expressing their appreciation.

Kam Chancellor, a defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, talks to members of the media during Super Bowl Week in Glendale, Arizona on Jan. 26. DOD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. Kam Chancellor, a defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, talks to members of the media during Super Bowl Week in Glendale, Arizona on Jan. 26. DOD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.

Kam Chancellor, a strong safety for the defending champs, offered not only his thanks, but also the gratitude of the team’s fans, who have a moniker that reflects their contribution to the efforts of the 11 Seahawks who are on the field at any given time.

“All the love from the Seahawks, [and] from the [12th man],” he said. “Kam Chancellor right here, man, wishing you the best.”

K.J. Wright, a Seahawks linebacker, said the team plans to “come out there Sunday and put on a good performance for you guys. Stay safe out there.”

His teammate, defensive end Cliff Avril, offered a “big” shoutout on behalf of the team and said the Seahawks hope to put on a show for the troops during the Super Bowl in appreciation of everything they do.

Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty also said his team hopes to put on a good show and thanked service members for everything they do. Matthew Slater, a wide receiver and special teams player for the American Football Conference champions, shared his gratitude for being able to play football for a living.

“Just want to give you guys a big hello,” he said. “And [we] appreciate all that you do for us, allowing us the freedom to play this great game of football that we love so much. You guys are the real heroes; we tip our hats to you. God bless you guys, and stay safe over there.”

Vince Wilfork, a Patriots defensive tackle, said U.S. troops are the “true patriots.”

“Thank you for everything you guys do for us,” he said. “You guys are the true patriots. You are everything we want [to be], so thank you for all the service you guys provide for us.”

Warriors Trials

January 26, 2015, 10:30AM

A recovering service member participates in the Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports and Reconditioning Camp at Judson Aquatic Center in Universal City, Texas. More than 80 recovering Air Force service members from around the nation participated in the weeklong event. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. DeAndre CurtissA recovering service member participates in the Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports and Reconditioning Camp at Judson Aquatic Center in Universal City, Texas. More than 80 recovering Air Force service members from around the nation participated in the weeklong event. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. DeAndre Curtiss

Snow Dogs

January 23, 2015, 2:30AM

Maj. Roger Lee practices with his sled dogs for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. Lee hopes to qualify for this year's race of more than 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Lee is a 60th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bio-environmental engineering operations officer. (Courtesy photo)Maj. Roger Lee practices with his sled dogs for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. Lee hopes to qualify for this year's race of more than 1,000 miles from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Lee is a 60th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bio-environmental engineering operations officer. (Courtesy photo)

Go, go, go: Air commandos jump at 10,000

January 21, 2015, 10:45AM

Special Tactics Airmen from the 24th Special Operations Wing jump out of an MC-130H Talon II. The 24th SOW’s mission is to provide Special Tactics forces for rapid global employment to enable airpower success. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)Special Tactics Airmen from the 24th Special Operations Wing jump out of an MC-130H Talon II. The 24th SOW’s mission is to provide Special Tactics forces for rapid global employment to enable airpower success. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Callaway)

Practice

January 16, 2015, 1:00PM

Marines and sailors of Golf Company spent time on the range getting acquainted with various weapons systems and cross-training one another in their respective areas of expertise. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carson A. Gramley/Released)Marines and sailors of Golf Company spent time on the range getting acquainted with various weapons systems and cross-training one another in their respective areas of expertise. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carson A. Gramley/Released)

Replenishment

January 15, 2015, 10:00AM

U.S. sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt participate in a replenishment at sea with the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Anthony HopkinsU.S. sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt participate in a replenishment at sea with the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Anthony Hopkins

“Brothers in arms” is a common expression among military members, but rarely do actual siblings directly complement each other's contributions to the mission. Brothers Air Force 1st Lt. Sean Rush, a pilot in the 421st Fighter Squadron, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Rush of the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are both assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. U.S. Air Force photo Brothers Air Force 1st Lt. Sean Rush, a pilot in the 421st Fighter Squadron, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Rush of the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are both assigned to the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. U.S. Air Force photo

At the 388th Fighter Wing here, Air Force 1st Lt. Sean Rush, a pilot in the 421st Fighter Squadron, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon Rush from the 388th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron are doing exactly that.

When it comes to the relationship between aircraft maintainers and pilots, Lieutenant Rush said, it’s important to maintain a close, professional relationship with the crew chief, because his life depends on the work done by the maintenance team every day he steps into a jet.

A Playful Rivalry

"We definitely joke about pilot versus maintenance," he added. "It is a playful rivalry, but we both realize that we 100 percent rely on each other."

Sergeant Rush has served in the Air Force for more than 10 years and was assigned to Hill AFB in January 2010. As a child, he said, he developed an interest in working with his hands, so when he was asked to build his list of job preferences, he filled all five slots with positions that fell into the mechanical career field.

"The opportunity just kind of fell into my lap," he said. "My grandpa was also in the Air Force, so it has always been in our blood."

Lieutenant Rush also followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, who also was a fighter pilot. While studying at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, he simultaneously worked toward a commission through the ROTC program at the University of Utah through a crosstown agreement.

First Salute Upon Commissioning

"With Brandon going to the Air Force, a lot of things came together that definitely made me want to fly," he said. "My brother actually gave me my first salute when I commissioned three years ago, so that was pretty cool."

After completing their training, Air Force pilots get a list of available bases to choose from, based on their respective aircraft training.

"There was one slot to Hill, and everyone knew I wanted it," Lieutenant Rush said. "I really like Salt Lake City, and my wife wanted to go to school at the University of Utah, which she is doing now. With Brandon being here, it was definitely an added bonus."

A Rewarding Tour of Duty

Sergeant Rush's tour at Hill AFB is coming to a close, as he recently received orders to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. But the brothers agree their time spent here together has been rewarding.

"My brother went out to help me launch my first flight here at Hill," the lieutenant said. "I am proud of him and what he has done. Having him be there made it more special for me than your average sortie. For him to launch me and give the salute -- that was pretty special."

Training

January 13, 2015, 2:30PM

Army National Guard aircrews and their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters are secured on the flight line as the sun begins to set at the end of the training day on McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, S.C. South Carolina National Guard photo by Army National Guard Sgt. Brian CalhounArmy National Guard aircrews and their UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters are secured on the flight line as the sun begins to set at the end of the training day on McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover, S.C. South Carolina National Guard photo by Army National Guard Sgt. Brian Calhoun

Hot Topics for January 13

January 13, 2015, 6:22AM

West Struggles to Halt Flow of Citizens to War Zones (New York Times) 

The Very Real Future of Iron Man Suits for the Navy (DefenseOne)

Lockheed Martin Eyes Commercial, Civil UAS Market (National Defense)

IBM's cognitive computer Watson could use skills to help treat veterans with PTSD (Baltimore Sun)