FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Jun. 29, 2012) – In a precedent setting ceremony for the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, Chief Warrant Officer 5 David F. Cooper relinquished Command Chief Warrant Officer responsibility to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert D. Witzler. The Army is implementing CCWO positions in all Combat Aviation Brigades, so numerous warrant officers were on hand to witness the sequence of events. The CCWO serves as a technical expert in the command group and acts as a mentor to unit members.
The ceremony included elements from traditional change of command and change of responsibility ceremonies, which Cooper said was to honor their traditions. The warrant officers also passed the guidon, which Cooper explained showed the commander’s trust in the senior warrant officer. “Passing the colors makes a subtle yet powerful statement that this position is fully integrated into the command. The CCWO passing the colors serves to enhance the rich traditions of this ceremonial act.”
Col. Clayton M. Hutmacher, USASOAC Commanding Officer, presided over the ceremony on Meadows Field at the USASOC headquarters. Members of the 82nd Division band performed music at the ceremony. Warrant Officers on the field represented the USASOAC units.
Cooper became the first CCWO of USASOAC when the unit provisionally activated in March 2011. Of the position, Cooper said, “the CCWO is the senior warrant officer advisor to the commander, providing the utmost leadership and mentorship for all warrant officers in the command, giving sound advice to the command’s officers and showing care and compassion for all Soldiers and their families.” Later in the day, the Distinguished Service Cross recipient and member of the Army Aviation Association Hall of Fame retired after 27 years of service.
Witzler assumed responsibility following an assignment as Regimental Warrant Officer of the 160th Special Operations Regiment (Airborne), Fort Campbell, Ky. Witzler’s time as RWO prepared him well for this new position, as he said, “the culture of the 160th begins with the fundamental assertion that the customer comes first, and ends with sincere personal pride in the products we provide. Here at ARSOAC, our customers are all the units providing world class aviation support to Special Operations Forces, and that same ethos will continue to guide my service.”
- 5th Special Forces Group Legionnaires’ achievement recognized (clarksvilleonline.com)
- 16th CAB aviator receives Order of Saint Michael (dvidshub.net)
- First female Chief Warrant Officer 5 in the state of Kansas retires (dvidshub.net)
by Capt. Frank Hartnett
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
6/20/2012 – KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) — A small group of Air Guardsmen were joined by senior leaders June 18 to celebrate the completion of their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and to honor the deactivation of the 702nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron here.
During this rotation, the majority of the Airmen from 702nd EAS were from the Maryland Air National Guard. This deployment marked their third rotation to Afghanistan in five years.
The squadron deactivated after flying 3,200 missions, moving 1,400 tons of cargo, transporting 25,000 passengers and executing 71 airdrops, officials said. The achievements are even more impressive since the squadron operated only two aircraft.
“Persistent powerful presence-that’s the mission of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing, and the 702nd (EAS) has lived up to that statement in every respect,” said Col. Robert Kiebler, the 451st Expeditionary Operations Group commander.
As the 702nd EAS becomes a part of history, the support provided to time-critical tactical airlift will not go with it.
“We will continue to provide world-class tactical airlift in support of operations in Regional Command – South,” said Kiebler.
The U.S. Army 25th Combat Aviation Brigade served as the link for the 702nd EAS to the Army while it conducted operations in Afghanistan. The squadron flew missions that were directed and scheduled by the brigade.
The 25th CAB commander praised the departing Air Guardsmen for adopting his unit’s motto, “We fly for the troops,” during the deactivation ceremony.
“It emphasizes to every Soldier, and now every Airman, that has been in our formation that it’s not about us,” said Army Col. Frank W. Tate, the 25th CAB commander. “It’s not about what is convenient for us. It is about what we can do to take care of that Soldier, Marine, Airman or Sailor on the ground. They are the ones who carry that heavy burden; they are the ones with the most significant challenges.”
Supporting the warfighter was a constant focus of the squadron in its 10 months of operation. The squadron prided itself in providing rapid response in support of the mission.
“We had folks bring in boxes of blood (to the squadron), with crews already at the plane,” said Lt. Col Michael Lunt, the 702nd EAS commander. “We walked it out to the aircraft, and it went out the door to Tarin Kowt.
“You can’t find a better mission than tactical airlift,” Lunt said.
A clear sense of accomplishment prevailed among the unit and leadership.
“This rotation has been for me, and the men and women of the Maryland, Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, North Dakota and Arkansas Air National Guard, a very challenging, but, in many ways for us, the most rewarding rotation we’ve been on,” Lunt said.
“We feel like we’ve made a difference for the young troops on the tip of the spear.”
- Corps of Engineers hosted birthday 5k at Kandahar Airfield (dvidshub.net)
- In Afghanistan, resupply ops bring critical supplies, boost morale (EndtheLie.com)
WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling of Phoenix was buried June 15 at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. There will be a group burial honoring Walling and fellow crew member, Maj. Aado Kommendant of Lakewood, N.J., at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 8 — the 46th anniversary of the crash that took their lives.
On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant were flying an F-4C aircraft that crashed while on a close air support mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam. Other Americans in the area reported seeing the aircraft crash and no parachutes were deployed. Search and rescue efforts were not successful in the days following the crash.
In 1992, a joint United States-Socialist Republic of Vietnam team investigated the crash site and interviewed a local Vietnamese citizen who had recovered aircraft pieces from the site. In 1994, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team excavated the site and recovered a metal identification tag, bearing Walling’s name, and other military equipment. In 2010, the site was excavated again. Human remains and additional evidence were recovered.
Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used circumstantial and material evidence along with forensic identification tools, including mitochondrial DNA that matched Walling’s living sister, in the identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.
OAKLAND, Calif. — The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been activated by request from the City of Oakland to investigate a fire at the
. On June 14, at approximately 1:30 a.m., a fire destroyed the Red Star Senior Apartments, a 119 unit apartment complex under construction located at Seventh Street and Mandela Parkway. Preliminary estimate of property damage is $25 million. Participating agencies include the Oakland Fire and Police Departments.
The fire occurred next to the West Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station and caused all BART lines between San Francisco and Oakland to be shut down. In addition, track insulators, communication cables, electrical cables and other trackside equipment were damaged. The damage estimates do not include damage caused to the BART station.
ATF is investigating this fire jointly with the Oakland Fire Department and Oakland Police Department. We will coordinate our efforts and provide our expertise and resources to determine the origin and cause of this fire, stated Jeffery E. Vind, ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Division. This is the ninth activation of the NRT in Fiscal Year 2012 and number 730 since the inception of the team in 1978. The NRT will include 22 team members and is expected to be on scene today.
ATF’s activation of its National Response Team speaks to the seriousness of the fire that occurred in West Oakland, and the impact it had on thousands of Bay Area residents who were affected by the BART station closure, stated Teresa Deloach Reed, Oakland Fire Chief.
It is our responsibility to do all we can to identify the cause of this fire, and bring the individuals who may be responsible to justice.
Other local activations of the NRT in the area include the Roseville Galleria Mall fire in 2010, a commercial building that housed Walgreens and Subway sandwich shop in Palo Alto in July 2007, a large commercial warehouse in Sacramento in September 2006, and Wine Central fire in Vallejo in October 2005.
In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to investigate in partnership with Federal, State and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents. The NRT consists of four teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to work jointly with State and local law enforcement/fire service personnel in onsite investigations.
In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire scenes, the NRT has also been activated to scenes such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing and the 9/11 Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.
The teams are each composed of veteran special agents who have post blast and fire origin–and–cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines; explosives detection canines; intelligence support; computer forensic support and forensic audit support. The teams work alongside State and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to bombing/arson incidents.
Further complementing the team’s efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. Moreover, a fleet of fully–equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States are available to provide logistical support.
ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.
- SFgate.comInvestigators probe fire; BART back to normal (sfgate.com)
- Investigation continues into West Oakland fire that disrupted service to BART (mercurynews.com)
- Update: West Oakland Fire Shuts Down Transbay BART Service (kron4.com)
- ATF offers $10K reward in ‘flashlight bomber’ case (azfamily.com)
- ATF Agent Shoots Man During Arrest In Baltimore (baltimore.cbslocal.com)
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today commended House and Senate negotiators for agreeing on legislation to control 26 synthetic drugs under the Controlled Substances Act. These drugs include those commonly found in products marketed as “K2” and “Spice.”
The addition of these chemicals to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act will be included as part of S. 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. Schedule I substances are those with a high potential for abuse; have no medical use in treatment in the United States; and lack an accepted safety for use of the drug.
In addition to scheduling the 26 drugs, the new law would double the length of time a substance may be temporarily placed in schedule I (from 18 to 36 months). In addition to explicitly naming 26 substances, the legislation creates a new definition for “cannabamimetic agents,” creating criteria by which similar chemical compounds are controlled.
In recent years, a growing number of dangerous products have been introduced into the U.S. marketplace. Products labeled as “herbal incense” have become especially popular, especially among teens and young adults. These products consist of plant material laced with synthetic cannabinoids which, when smoked, mimic the delirious effects of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, more than 100 such substances have been synthesized and identified to date. DEA has used its emergency scheduling authority to place in schedule I several of these harmful chemicals.
Newly developed drugs, particularly from the “2C family” (dimethoxyphenethylamines), are generally referred to as synthetic psychedelic/hallucinogens. 2C-E caused the recent death of a 19 year-old in Minnesota.
The substances added to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act also include 9 different 2C chemicals, and 15 different synthetic cannabanoids.
- State enacts emergency rule to ban synthetic pot (ajc.com)
- DEA targets synthetic marijuana (upi.com)
- Authorities making new strides in war on synthetic marijuana (wwltv.com)
- Imitation Cannabis Has Local Law’s Attention (blogs.lawyers.com)
MINA SALMON PIER, Bahrain (NNS) — Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 (counter-piracy) held a a change of command ceremony aboard British Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria, June 18.
Rear Adm. Anho Chung, Republic of Korea navy, relieved Rear Adm. Tanin Likitawong, royal Thai navy, as commander.
The ceremony concluded the royal Thai Navy’s first command of CTF 151, which consisted of a multinational staff embarked aboard Fort Victoria.
The royal Thai navy has had considerable counter-piracy experience in the region over the last two years. They previously deployed ships to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-piracy mission, with a further deployment scheduled for later in 2012. This was confirmed by the Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who expressed her continued commitment to CMF when she visited the headquarters in May for an update on current operations and the royal Thai navy contribution.
The three month operation further strengthened ties with other counter-piracy naval forces and operations in the region, as well as developed communication and collaboration within the merchant shipping community. By focusing on international cooperation and coordination, response times to incidents has been reduced.
“The success of counter-piracy mission is based on the strength of the multinational staff and the support which RFA Fort Victoria was able to give as my flagship,” said Litikawong.
Litikawong welcomed Chung and said he has the right talent, mindset and leadership to continue the mission.
“The support from CMF has made my team 100 percent ready for this mission,” Chung said.
CTF 151 is one of three task forces under control of Combined Maritime Forces, based in Bahrain. CTF 151 was established in 2009 to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protect maritime vessels of any nationality and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all. CTF 151’s area of operation encompasses 1.1 million square miles in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin.
- U.S. Efforts To Fight Piracy (shippingtribune.com)
- HMS Westminster Destroys Pirate Boats in Indian Ocean (worldmaritimenews.com)
- Indian Ocean piracy impacting on the real economy (shippingtribune.com)
TSA Pre✓™ Begins at Boston’s Logan International Airport
BOSTON – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today announced the start of TSA Pre✓™ operations at Logan International Airport (BOS). At BOS, select Delta Air Lines frequent flyers and members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler programs are now eligible to participate in the initiative and may receive expedited screening benefits when traveling domestically.
TSA Pre✓™ – a passenger prescreening initiative – is part of the agency’s larger risk-based security effort that enhances security by focusing resources on travelers considered higher risk or about whom the agency knows less. To date, more than 1.4 million passengers have experienced TSA Pre✓™. The program is now available at 16 airports for eligible Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines frequent flyers.
“This screening concept enhances security by enabling TSA to make risk assessments on passengers who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying,” said TSA Associate Administrator Doug Hofsass. “As a more intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to passenger screening, TSA Pre✓™ helps us move away from the one-size-fits-all model and allows us to optimize our resources at the checkpoint while improving the passenger experience.”
Eligible passengers include U.S. citizens flying domestically on participating airlines, as well as those who are members of CBP Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS. BOS has a CBP Enrollment Center in Terminal E. Individuals interested in applying for a CBP Trusted Traveler program should visit www.globalentry.gov.
If TSA determines a passenger is eligible for expedited screening through the TSA Pre✓™ prescreening process, information is embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. TSA reads the barcode at the designated checkpoint and passengers may be referred to the TSA Pre✓™ lane where they will undergo expedited screening, which could include being able to leave on shoes, light outerwear and belts, allowing them to keep their laptop in their cases and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bags in their carry-ons.
TSA has expanded TSA Pre✓™ benefits to U.S. military active duty members traveling through Ronald Reagan Washington National and Seattle-Tacoma International airports. In addition to TSA Pre✓™, TSA has implemented other risk-based security measures including modified screening procedures for passengers 12 and younger and 75 and older.
TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening. TSA’s multi-layered approach to security also includes behavior detection officers, explosives-detection systems, canine teams, and federal air marshals, among other measures, both seen and unseen.
For more information about TSA’s risk-based security initiative, visit www.tsa.gov.
- Woman Allegedly Groped TSA Agent (huffingtonpost.com)
- Fly safe: sorting out the new TSA screening options (orbitz.com)
- Sen. Rand Paul Introduces Bills to Dramatically Rein in TSA (openmarket.org)
- 5 TSA Workers Fired, 38 Suspended, for Not Doing Their Jobs; No Added Risk to Travelers Says TSA (reason.com)
- More Than 1 Million Passengers Screened by TSA Pre✓™ (tsa.gov)
SAN DIEGO (NNS) — The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) cyber security inspection support team assisted USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) June 11-15 as the ship prepares for its upcoming shipboard cyber security inspection scheduled for early August.
A CNO-directed three-stage enterprise program, the Cyber Security Inspection and Certification Program (CSICP) ensures the health and security of Navy networks and connected combat systems and formalizes a process for continuing oversight and accountability.
The SPAWAR team provides Sailors assistance with their shipboard information technology and cyber capabilities.
During each stage of the process, SPAWAR observes and provides liaison support to the fleet while Navy Cyber Forces and U.S. Fleet Cyber Command conduct their assist and inspection respectively.
“We are familiar with the inspection process, so we’re there to let the ships know what the lynch pins are and how they can address those issues,” said Steven Modregon, a SPAWAR project engineer and information assurance specialist. “In some cases, the issues are site based and caused by things the ships have implemented on their own that they just didn’t know and understand.”
A good example would be changing a system’s registry setting.
“The ship may have changed something in their registry that had a negative impact to the network and now poses a security risk,” Modregon explained. “After all the results are tallied, we can provide the ship with resolutions for what has been fixed, the status of those things that have not been fixed and, if necessary, help determine any false findings.”
SPAWAR is an observer to the cyber security inspection program under U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, which is a three-stage inspection process and involves running automated and manual scans to a ship’s on-board networked systems. It is the formal process for inspecting a ship’s information assurance posture based on Department of Defense, Department of Navy, Defense Information Systems Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology standards.
By analyzing findings uncovered during the inspection process, a determination can be made as to what must be addressed and fixed. During observation, Modregon helps the ship determine the appropriate solutions, making sure onboard personnel have all available tools and resources and how best to use and employ them.
“More often than not, we find that there is simply a lack of knowledge,” said Modregon. “Or we’ll find that the ship isn’t running available program maintenance decks or that there are patches they are not aware of.”
SPAWAR provided support to USS Lake Erie (CG 70) in March as Sailors prepared for their inspection. During that observation, the team discovered a revised program of maintenance procedure that was developed for the current installed network system. However, the ship was never made aware the revision was available.
“They thought they were doing all the right things,” said Modregon. “But some of the things they were doing resulted in security red flags. We showed them how they could get specific procedures for the problems they were having using SAILOR 2.1.”
SAILOR 2.1 enables ships to search for a preventive maintenance system for any SPAWAR system, or find solutions for other systems, and helps determine which patches and security updates are available for those specific systems. It not only shows how to patch and monitor for patches, but how to find out if any processes have changed and, if so, why the message traffic never got through to the ship.
By working closely with Lake Erie’s leadership, the SPAWAR team familiarized ship personnel with their host based security system preventative maintenance procedures. The team also helped them identify and resolve SPAWAR system information assurance vulnerability management system findings through the understanding of fleet advisory messages, mandatory security updates and software version description documents. SPAWAR provided technical guidance about the system status for specific security findings and also provided Sailors with navigation techniques they could use when researching complex systems.
According to Modregon, this kind of support is vital to the fleet.
“In the case of Lake Erie, they had a system that pushed their patches, but they didn’t know nor understand which ones were released and should have been pushed to them,” said Modregon. “We were able to sort through all the data and, in doing so, found that patches had indeed been pushed but were missed.”
Lake Erie is one of about 20 ships that have patch notification systems. Most ships will eventually be equipped with this type of shipboard patch notification system in the future.
In the meantime, they rely on the kind of proactive support provided by SPAWAR.
“We go out to the ships and show them available fixes and we get them their inspection reports,” said Modregon. “We provide them with a summary of the inspection results and let them know what is system based, what is site based, and, for those that are site based, what the fix is and how to get to it. More often than not, it’s a matter of pointing them to a message that was released that tells them where the fixes can be located.”
On a monthly basis, the Navy’s cyber forces assess the readiness and capabilities of afloat and ashore commands. The review starts with an assessment of a command’s readiness and continues with a review of all the resource pillars, such as personnel, equipment, supply, training, ordnance and facilities. Any identified shortfalls are addressed and mitigated.
Issues that need mitigation and involve a SPAWAR system go through the command’s Fleet Readiness Directorate (FRD), which was created to address these types of fleet issues. FRD gets the call when a trouble action comes through from a ship. In most cases, the ship will send a casualty report (CASREP) with an identified security issue.
However, SPAWAR’s FRD does not wait for a CASREP.
“FRD is very proactive and very involved in the process, because they are the ones that take action when the fleet has problems,” said Modregon. “Instead of waiting for the question to come to us, we are on top of it. We take our information dominance expertise and help the ships out. We ensure they get their answers and get their replies so they can make their deadlines.”
As the Navy’s Information Dominance systems command, SPAWAR designs, develops and deploys advanced communications and information capabilities to the fleet. The organization is at the forefront of research, engineering, acquisition and support services that provide vital decision superiority to Navy forces. SPAWAR has more than 8,900 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet.
- #SAAM: SPAWAR Holds 5K Walk/Run for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (dvidshub.net)
- Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command solar system (solarworld-usa.com)
( Washington D.C.) Director Robert S. Mueller, III yesterday announced executive appointments at FBI Headquarters in the Cyber and International Operations Divisions.
Joseph M. Demarest, assistant director for International Operations, will move to the Cyber Division as assistant director. Deputy Assistant Director Michael S. Welch of the Cyber Division will become assistant director of the International Operations Division.
Mr. Demarest entered on duty as a special agent in 1988 and served in the Anchorage and New York Field Offices. During that time, he gained a wide range of experience investigating white-collar crime, violent crime, counterintelligence, and drug cases. He was assigned to the Counterterrorism Division in 2002, where he was promoted to unit chief and later acting section chief in the International Terrorism Operations Section. Mr. Demarest returned to New York in 2005, where he held management roles in the International Terrorism Branch, ultimately becoming special agent in charge for counterterrorism. In 2008, he was appointed assistant director in charge of that office. During that time, he created the New York Field Office’s Cyber Branch. He was named assistant director of the International Operations Division in 2010.
“Joe brings a mix of management expertise, operational experience, and vision to the cyber program,” said Director Mueller. “I am confident that under his leadership, the Cyber Division will continue to sharpen its strategic focus and strengthen its operational impact at home and abroad.”
Before joining the Cyber Division, Mr. Welch served as special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office and as section chief in the Office of International Operations. He also has been assigned to the Criminal Investigative Division, as well as the Kansas City, Miami, and Washington Field Offices. Mr. Welch entered on duty as a special agent in 1988.
“In his role as assistant director, Mike will be responsible for hundreds of employees at Headquarters and in 78 locations around the world. His experience in criminal matters and his prior leadership role in International Operations make him the right person for this job,” Director Mueller said.
Additionally, Cyber Division Section Chief James C. Burrell has been appointed deputy assistant director of the Cyber Division. Mr. Burrell entered on duty as a special agent in 1991. He was assigned to the National Infrastructure Protection Center—the precursor to the Cyber Division—in 1998 and later was promoted to unit chief of the Cyber Division’s International Investigative Support Unit. For more than five years, he was a delegate to the G-8 Senior Experts Subgroup on High-Technology Crime. Mr. Burrell also supervised the Computer Intrusion, Cyber Crime, and Computer Analysis Response Team programs in the Boston Field Office and later served as Boston’s assistant special agent in charge with responsibility for the cyber program.
Frontline Faith answers call to provide spiritual nourishment to U.S. troops
AUSTIN, Texas, June 18, 2012 – More than two-thirds of America’s active-duty service men and women are Christian, and FRONTLINE FAITH has an MP3 player loaded with prayers and inspiration for every one of them. The organization honors every request it receives for an MP3 player, providing them free of charge to soldiers of all Christian faiths.
“I want every military person to know how grateful Americans are for our troops and the place they hold in our hearts,” said FRONTLINE FAITH Founder and Director Cheri Lomonte. “Thank you for defending our religious liberty and all that we hold dear.”
FRONTLINE FAITH produces MP3 players packed with prayers and inspirational material for Catholics and Protestants. Each programming package includes features exclusive to its target audience (Catholic or Protestant) and common features that include letters from children and inspirational music. Catholics will find a full Mass recorded at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.; Rosary meditations; and a variety of prayers. Protestants will find faith-filled commentaries and messages from pastors, chaplains and troops.
With America on the cusp of July 4, our Independence Day set aside to honor and celebrate the precious freedom U.S. troops defend 24/7 and around the world, FRONTLINE FAITH continues to work tirelessly to produce and distribute thousands of MP3 players. And while the impact has been significant, Lomonte knows there is still much to do.
“Our troops tell me they are STARVING for spiritual support,” she said. “We must feed those who protect our country and our gift of liberty. The MP3 players are food for the souls of our military. I want to put a player in the hands of all those who protect us.”
The task is daunting. Consider the following numbers from the Department of Defense, reflecting active-duty troops through Jan. 31, 2012:
• More than 272,000 identify as Roman Catholic
• More than 322,000 identify as Christians without a denomination preference
• More than 151,000 identify as members of a Baptist church
“Those are among the largest numbers in the DOD report,” Lomonte said, “and they alone represent more than half of all active-duty military. “When we add all of the numbers together, the total Christian base represents more than two-thirds of our military forces.
“When I receive emails from our military thanking us for the players we send to them, and what the players mean to them, I am humbled and blessed and I feel very small compared to what they are doing for me and our country,” she added.
Lomonte incorporated FRONTLINE FAITH as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2009 after learning that a large number of American soldiers deployed overseas sometimes go extraordinary amounts of time without access to a chaplain or religious services.
“We are all in this together,” Lomonte said. “So when one of us hurts, we all hurt. Our troops need our spiritual support. It is our duty to help our troops with prayer and players.”
That duty – helping – can take a variety of forms:
• Donating as little as $24 to produce and distribute a FRONTLINE FAITH MP3 player;
• Sharing news of the project in church communities to help spread the word about FRONTLINE FAITH;
• Sharing personal stories from the front, or those of family members deployed
• Connecting FRONTLINE FAITH to online social communities:
o Like and share the FRONTLINE FAITH Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-FRONTLINE-FAITH-Project/135818756434815;
o Follow FRONTLINE FAITH on Twitter – @FrontlineFaith.
For more information, or to request a sample MP3 player and/or an interview with Founder Cheri Lomonte and other spokespersons, please contact Alexis Walkenstein (561-445-5409 or AWalkenstein@MaximusMG.com), Tim Lilley (TLilley@MaximusMG.com) or Kelly Kracht (651-470-3854 or KKracht@MaximusMG.com) of The Maximus Group.
- Suicides Surge Among U.S. Troops (abcnews.go.com)
- IRD: On Memorial Day Stand with U.S. Military Chaplains in Defense of Religious Liberty (faithinspires.wordpress.com)