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01-31-06, 12:43 PM
February 06, 2006

Marine News Briefs

Learning to laugh

When the stress of the war on terrorism becomes too severe, the Pentagon has a suggestion for military families: Learn to laugh.

With help from the Pentagon’s chief laughter instructor, families are learning to walk like a penguin, laugh like a lion and blurt “ha, ha, hee, hee and ho, ho.”

No joke.

“I laugh every chance I get,” said the instructor, retired Army Col. James “Scotty” Scott. “That’s why I’m blessed to be at the Pentagon, where we definitely need a lot of laughter in our lives.”

Scott, 57, is certified as a laughter training specialist by the World Laughter Tour, which promotes mirth as medicine.

The program was Scott’s idea. It costs the military virtually nothing, because he already travels to states as a director of military family support policy.

As foolish as students might feel, Scott said he’s lost only one participant: a Marine sergeant major who fled the room with a bad case of the giggles.

Lejeune’s first female CO

Camp Lejeune, N.C., has a female commander for the first time in its history, a Marine Corps news release said.

Col. Adele Hodges assumed command Jan. 23. Her predecessor, Maj. Gen. Robert Dickerson, was recently appointed commander of Marine Corps Installations-East during a base structure realignment, the release said.

Hodges enlisted in the Corps in 1978 and worked as a supply administrative clerk before she was commissioned.

According to the release, this is Hodges’ fourth time getting orders to Lejeune. She said she never thought she’d assume command of the base one day.

“My only aspiration when I first joined the Corps was to be the best Marine I could be for four years,” she said. “Even after I was commissioned, the thought of commanding Camp Lejeune, or any other installation, was something I thought could never happen to me.”

Hodges previously served as the chief of the Joint Training Division at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Joint Headquarters North in Stavanger, Norway.

How your pay stacks up

Think the size of your military paycheck doesn’t match your expertise or responsibilities? Ever wonder what you could make in civilian life for what you’ve learned while in uniform?

Each year, Marine Corps Times publishes a special report called “How Your Pay Stacks Up” that aims to answer those questions by comparing the earnings of active-duty service members in various military skills and their private-sector counterparts with similar levels of experience.

The 2006 edition of this special section is slated to run in our May 9 issue, and we’re looking for volunteers. You must be on full-time active duty, either regular military or mobilized National Guardsman or reservist, to be considered.

If you’d like to take part, visit www.marinecorpstimes.com and fill out a brief questionnaire. If you are selected, a member of our staff will contact you for a more thorough interview that will cover the details of what you do, how much you earn, and how you feel about your job and military pay. You will also be asked to provide a high-quality, head-and-shoulders photograph of yourself. Digital images are preferred, but prints are acceptable.

Is the grass really greener on the outside? This is your chance to find out.

Barracks brings back bugle

Marines at the service’s oldest post have brought back a piece of the old Corps.

According to a Marine Corps news release, leathernecks at Marine Barracks Washington are using the valveless bugle.

Sgt. Clint Owens, a soprano bugler, played morning colors Jan. 19 with the horn, which the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps had not used since the 1950s.

According to Owens, the instrument’s sound is determined completely by lip movement and air speed.

“We’ve reinstated these straight bugles for the same reason we still fly the 1801 flag at evening parades,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian Dix, director of the Drum and Bugle Corps. “This is our heritage, and it represents where we have come from.”

Future vision?

Service members don’t have superpowers, but defense officials hope to give them supervision.

PixelOptics of Roanoke, Va., will receive $3.5 million from the Defense Department to develop “SuperVision,” a Jan. 17 report from Windsofchange.net said. The firm’s technology could improve the vision of service members beyond 20/20 via electro-active prescription lenses, the report said.

According to the report, the technology uses sensors and electro-active transparent material to alter the index of refraction of the lens dynamically, without any moving parts. This allows the wearer to instantly achieve optimal vision no matter where he looks.

The lenses could also significantly reduce momentary blurring caused by head tilt and movement, the report said.

Base access for salesmen

In February, the Pentagon is scheduled to release new rules governing insurance agents’ access to bases, Stars and Stripes reported.

Defense officials have already posted the names of more than 20 agents who have been banned from conducting business on military installations because of abusive practices, the report said.

That list is available at www.commanderspage.dod.mil, under the Personal Commercial Solicitation Report.

In November, the Government Accountability Office reported that at least six insurance companies operating in 40 states have for years been targeting junior service members with confusing and questionable insurance policies, but little has been done to stop the practice.

Officials said they would not implement an outright ban on salesmen accessing bases.

“You don’t want to put [troops] at risk, but you don’t want to suppress the marketplace, either,” said John Molino, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. “You want them to be able to make objective and independent decisions.”

Molino said officials will monitor the changes to see if they address the problem and said the department is looking for more ways to work with state officials in identifying abuse.

01-31-06, 12:44 PM
February 06, 2006 <br />
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01-31-06, 12:45 PM
February 06, 2006

Around the Corps

Compiled from military and other public sources.


MEU Marines land for urban training

Elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Special Purpose Force and members of the III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group from Okinawa, Japan, landed at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on Jan. 23 to participate in the Training in an Urban Environment Exercise 06-1, a Marine Corps news release said.

According to the release, TRUEX offers the MEU a realistic urban setting not typically available.

The training was scheduled to end Feb. 13.


Marines help deliver earthquake supplies

Leathernecks with Landing Support Company, 3rd Transportation Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, based on Okinawa, Japan, have helped deliver more than 6.5 million pounds of supplies to Northern Pakistan since Nov. 16, a Jan. 24 Corps news release said.

According to the release, Pakistan’s Oct. 8 earthquake wiped out supply routes throughout the country, so the Army has used CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters to drop supplies into mountainous or less-populated areas.

The Marine landing support specialists connect supply loads to the helicopters, according to Staff Sgt. Victor Robinson, the sling-load chief for the helicopter support team with Combined Medical Relief Team 3. Robinson said supply drops are important because helicopters cannot land in many places.

“We came here unsure of exactly what we were going to do,” said Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Radcliff, a landing support specialist with the company, “but we will leave knowing that we supplied millions of pounds of food to people in need.”

North Carolina

‘Banshees’ return from deployment

Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 1 was scheduled to return from Iraq to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., on Jan. 28, a Jan. 26 Corps press release said.

The VMAQ-1 “Banshees” were assigned to Marine Forces Central Command during their six-month deployment, the release said.

The squadron operated in Ramadi and Fallujah and supported the Dec. 15 Iraqi national elections.

South Carolina

Beaufort Marines return from Japan

About 110 members of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 returned Jan. 25 to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., from a six-month deployment to Iwakuni, Japan, a Marine Corps press release said.

The squadron trained with Japanese forces on air-to-air and air-to-ground tactics and deployed to Osan, South Korea, the release said.


Squadrons conduct air support exercise

Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons 115 and 122, All-Weather squadrons 224 and 533, and elements of the 20th Fighter Wing from Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C., trained in Wadley, Ga., from Jan. 10-12, a Corps news release said.

The Wadley Urban Close Air Support and Convoy Escort Exercise focused on urban close-air support and convoy escort, the release said.

According to Lt. Col. Michael Huff, the large force exercise coordinator for Marine Aircraft Group 31, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 and MAG-31 worked together in combat-based scenarios in preparation for upcoming deployments.

The exercise included a convoy of MWSS-273 vehicles driving down country roads in simulated combat conditions while in constant contact with air support, the release said.