Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Face of Defense:Twins Serve Together in Afghanistan

By Army Sgt. Robert Yarbrough
4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, May 29, 2013 - Army 1st Lts. Joseph and Joshua Mouré, twin brothers from Covington, Ga., are both deployed to Forward Operating Base Shank here with the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

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Army 1st Lts. Joshua, right, and Joseph Mouré pose for a photo May 24, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Shanks in Afghanistan's Logar province. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Robert Yarbrough
Joseph, about two minutes older than Joshua, is the fires support officer with the brigade's Company C, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, and Joshua is the liaison officer for the brigade's 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment."It was nice always having someone there to hang out with," Joshua said, about growing up with a twin.
"We always were on the same football team, baseball team, things like that," added Joseph.
"We grew up playing war and stuff like that, so we decided, I guess, we'll make it a career," Joshua said.
Their parents, Joseph and Tammy Mouré, both served in the Army's Signal Corps, and the lieutenants said that was a factor in their decision to join.
The twins joined the Georgia National Guard in 2006, attended the Georgia Military College, and were commissioned in 2008. They finished their degrees at North Georgia College and State University, where they met their wives, Abby and Ashley, who were roommates at the time.
Joseph attended the field artillery basic officers leadership course at Fort Sill, Okla., and Joshua attended the infantry basic officers leadership course at Fort Benning, Ga. After their training, they were assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division's 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also known as the Vanguard Brigade.
"Since Josh was going to be infantry, I figured he needed somebody to protect him," Joseph joked. "It's good being the fires support officer so I can call in air assets, artillery, and mortar fire to help out the guys. It's pretty interesting de-conflicting and controlling those assets while the infantry are maneuvering around."
As a liaison officer, Joshua is responsible for keeping the communication and information networks flowing between his battalion and the brigade. "I see what goes on at the brigade side, and I can help to translate down to the battalion, and vice-versa, so there's a clearer picture," he explained.
The Mouré twins said being misidentified can be a challenge.
"People come up and start talking to you, and you have no idea what they're talking about," Joseph said.
"It gets old fast," Joshua added. 
Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force

Friday, May 10, 2013

First Lady Hosts

05/09/2013 10:40 PM CDT                                                    Fri, May 10, 2013 at 9:06 AM
Military Mother's Day Tea at White House
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 - First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, hosted 170 military mothers and their children at the White House today for a formal Mother's Day tea.
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First Lady Michelle Obama, center, Dr. Jill Biden, right, and Britain's Prince Harry applaud military families, May 9, 2013, in the East Room of the White House at the Joining Forces Mother's Day Tea. DOD photo by Terri Moon Cronk.
The event was part of the Joining Forces campaign, which provides support and opportunities for military families. It brought military moms, their mothers and kids from around the country to the White HOuse, Obama said.The guest list also included Lilibet Hagel, wife of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel; Patty Shinseki, wife of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki;the first lady'smother, Marian Robinson; and the military spouses of the year from each of the services, the National Guard and the Coast Guard. In addition, Britain's Prince Harry also made a surprise visit.
"Today we have some of the most extraordinary moms here with us -- active-duty troops and military spouses from all across the country," Obama said.
"You help our country soar. When somebody needs you – your family, community or your country -- ... you answer the call every time," she said.
Following the first lady's remarks, while mothers remained in the East Room drinking tea made from chamomile grown in the White House garden, the children went to the State Dining Room where they made cards and crafts for Mother's Day.
The 50 children, ranging in age from 6 to 13 years, made their gifts with help from the first lady, Biden, Prince Harry, military personnel and White House staff, among others.
When the youths re-entered the East Room bearing their gifts, Prince Harry emerged with them, bringing the crowd to cheers and applause.
Following two deployments to Afghanistan, Prince Harry has since "focused on honoring the sacrifices and service of veterans and military families," especially as the war there is drawing down, Obama said.
"[Prince Harry] has spent a lot of time supporting wounded warriors and families of the fallen," she said. The prince will also attend the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., where injured service members will compete in a variety of sports at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and Air Force Academy as part of his U.S. trip.
"When he heard about this tea and all of you, he wanted to be here to personally thank you for your service," Obama said.
In support of service members, their families and veterans, Obama told the audience that the Joining Forces initiative is a "forever proposition" that will continue with succeeding presidents. Obama and Biden established Joining Forces in June 2011 to mobilize backing from every sector of society to help these individuals find work and other resources.
"I hope you know how much your country appreciates you," the first lady told the audience. "People across America have your backs ... from everyone here at the White House and the Department of Defense ... to doctors, college professors, community and faith leaders. It's because of you and what you've given this country."
Related Sites:
Joining Forces

Monday, May 06, 2013

California Air National Guard Battles Raging Wildfires

05/06/2013 09:16 AM CDT                                                       Mon, May 6, 2013 at 7:02 PM
From a National Guard Bureau News Release
PORT HUENEME, Calif., May 6, 2013 - The California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing is providing two specialized firefighting C-130J aircraft and crews to assist with wildfires raging across the state.
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A C-130J from the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing is prepared for possible use against wildfires. The aircraft from the California Air National Guard is equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, or MAFFS, and can drop up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant. Courtesy photo
Acting on a request for support from state emergency agencies, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. directed Army Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, California's adjutant general, to provide the support.Baldwin also authorized air tanker base operations to be staged out of Channel Islands Air National Guard Station here, where the C-130Js are stationed, allowing shorter response times for all civilian and military aircraft working the fires in Ventura County. The air tankers will land and reload with fire retardant at the Guard station, which is within five miles of the fires.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection members are working with Air National Guard airmen to get the tanker operations up and running.
"Wildfire season is upon us, and our Guardsmen are in the fight," Baldwin said. "When the lives and property of our fellow Californians hang in the balance, our tireless training and coordination with [the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection] pay great dividends."
The 146th Airlift Wing has responded to numerous state and federal firefighting missions in the past, but this is the first time the wing's flightline will be used as a tanker base.
"California is no stranger to wildfires," said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "Our well-exercised and long-standing relationship with the California National Guard allows for rapid, effective deployment of these additional resources during times of elevated fire activity."
The California Air National Guard's C-130J aircraft are equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System II, which is capable of dropping up to 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant. The system slides into the back of an aircraft, and water or retardant is released through a nozzle on the rear left side of the plane.
MAFFS equipment and aircraft are activated to supplement U.S. Forest Service and civilian air tankers during periods of high wildfire activity throughout the nation.
"The activation of California Air National Guard aircraft equipped with MAFFS strengthens our firefighting arsenal as needed and is a timely addition to current resources considering the extended heat and wind conditions we anticipate through the weekend," said Mark Ghilarducci, secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency, which is responsible for overall coordination of the state's response to major emergencies. 
Related Sites:
California Air National Guard