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Sunday, August 14, 2005
Jalalabad, where Marines and sailors from Kaneohe Bay are stationed, is experiencing a heat wave with the average temperatures last month exceeding 115 degrees. Adapting to the weather in Afghanistan is challenging.
The daytime temperatures are so high that water must be left in the shade, or it becomes too hot to drink. The water for the shower is solar heated, and Marines and sailors find that during the middle of the day when many would like to shower for some relief from the heat, finding that relief is impossible because the water is so hot it hurts. "The showers can't be used during the day; it's crazy because you'll actually be sweating in the shower it is so hot," Hooee said.
The outside temperature is monitored and rated by a system of flag colors. Every hour of every day is recorded so that battalion leaders can adjust workloads to prevent heat casualties. "We haven't had a day in Afghanistan that hasn't been black flag, which is the highest level of daytime temperatures. The leadership in this battalion, officers, staff non-commissioned officers, and non-commissioned officers, are doing a good job of making sure the Marines and sailors aren't overworked and that they stay hydrated," said Chief Petty Officer Joseph R. Burds, senior medical department representative, from El Paso, Texas. "We would know if they weren't."
Adm. Gary Roughead, who assumed the command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, will be the keynote speaker Sept. 2 at the ceremony on the Battleship Missouri Memorial commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. The ceremony will begin at 8:45 a.m. and is free and open to the public, with priority seating being given to the World War II veterans.
Other guest speakers will be retired Army Col. Ben Skardon, who was a Japanese prisoner of war following the fall of Bataan. Skardon also served in the Korean War; retired Lt. Cmdr. James Starnes who was the navigator and the officer of the deck at the surrender ceremony; and Murray Yudelowitz, who served from 1944 to 1946 as a gunner's mate. Yudelowitz witnessed the Missouri's christening 61 years ago, served as the captain's driver at the time of Japan's surrender, and witnessed the formal surrender ceremonies.
The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Santa Fe departed from its homeport of Pearl Harbor Aug. 9. Santa Fe, commanded by Cmdr. Steve Perry, is the Navy's 52nd Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine. It is 362 feet long, displaces 6,900 tons submerged and features 12 vertical launch tubes for Tomahawk cruise missile strikes.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. E. P. Smith, who commanded U.S. Army Pacific from 1998-2002, is the new president of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies at Fort DeRussy. Smith served in the Army for 35 years and also was the operations directorate at U.S. Pacific Command.