In the Military
Gregg K. Kakesako

30 Air Guardsmen
to be honored

Maj. Gen. Bob Lee, who commands Hawaii's Army and Air National Guard elements, said yesterday he will approve the awarding of the Army's new combat action badge to the 30 airmen from the Hawaii Air Guard's 154th Wing and the 201st Combat Communications Group for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lee said the new badge may be awarded to any military personnel performing assigned duties in an area where hostile-fire pay or imminent-danger pay is authorized, and who is personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily.

In the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan "there are no clear separation where combat begins and ends," he said. "What happens is that everyone is seeing action."


Albert Konetzni: New Pentagon analysis could harm national security, he says in a letter

Retired three-star Vice Adm. Albert "Big Al" Konetzni, who served as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet's Submarine Force at Pearl Harbor from 1998 to 2001, believes the current "reverse-engineered" analysis that Pentagon planners are now using to evaluate the Navy's sub force "threatens to damage national security."

Writing in the July 5 edition of the New York Post to protest the proposed closing of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine and the Naval Submarine Base in Connecticut, Konetzni writes that the submarine force has been studied 14 times in the past 12 years.

"Repeatedly, the submarine force has been able to show a solid case -- both in real-world 'peacetime' operations and in speculative wartime usage -- that provides a firm basis for the American taxpayer to be comfortable that the money is not wasted."

But Konetzni said the most recent Pentagon studies for its May 13 base closure recommendations are different. "The pragmatic and balanced approach favored in the past -- one that understood the need to maintain a force ready for war -- seems to have been replaced by a 'reverse-engineered' analysis that starts with a fixed dollar amount, then finds and attempts to design a force structure that fits the budget."

That approach has set a need for 37 to 41 submarines, while past studies proposed 55 to 75 submarines. He said the closure of Portsmouth will mean there will be only one public shipyard -- Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia -- while the Navy's aging Los Angeles-class and Trident nuclear submarines will require extra maintenance and modernization

News from Schofield Barracks: Brig. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, director for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, will be an assistant 25th Infantry Division commander in charge of its support operations. The Pennsylvania Time Tribune reported last week that fellow childhood friend Brig. Gen. Michael Terry also has been promoted to a one-star general. Terry's first post as a junior officer was at Schofield Barracks. He is now commanding general of the 13th Corps Support Command.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge Gutierrez, after serving three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, finally returned to Wheeler Army Air Field last week where his family resides. His first combat tour to Iraq was in 2003 as command sergeant major of the 37th Engineer Battalion from Fort Bragg's 101st Airborne Division. He deployed with the 25th Division to Afghanistan in March 2004 with the 65th Engineer Battalion. His last assignment was is in Iraq as command sergeant major for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division.

Two West Point graduates and who were recently married, Capts. Elizabeth Olivia Young and John Jude McNally, have been assigned to Schofield Barracks. He is a Black Hawk helicopter pilot at Fort Rucker in Alabama and served in Iraq from May 2003 to April 2004. She received a master's degree in philosophy from Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar and was an M.P. in Baghdad.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other
sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for
the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He can be reached can be reached by phone
at 294-4075 or by e-mail at gkakesako@starbulletin.com.

| | |
E-mail to City Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com