Marines, sailors successfully complete USS Arlington’s first NEO training mission

Sgt. Austin Long II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune Globe

Marines with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and sailors with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group aboard the USS Arlington (LPD 24) trained for receiving non-combatant evacuees aboard the USS Arlington (LPD 24) during a mock Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation July 23 in the Atlantic Ocean.

“The NEO mission is the ability for the U.S. government to protect its citizens overseas,” said Capt. Thomas McKavitt, operations and logistics officer with Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. “Anytime there is a crisis in a nation where host nation security forces cannot protect American facilities or citizens, the country’s ambassador will ask the U.S. military to assist American citizens in departing the area.”

A Marine with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit waves a hand held metal detector over a Marine role-playing as a non-combatant evacuee during a mock Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation. (United States Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Austin Long/ Released)

A Marine with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit waves a hand held metal detector over a Marine role-playing as a non-combatant evacuee during a mock Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation. (United States Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Austin Long/ Released)

The responsibility to assist the evacuation rests with the MEU while forward deployed because it is best prepared with organic air assets, security assets and combat logistic battalion assets, said McKavitt.

This is one of the many scenerio-based exercises completed by Marines and sailors while participating in a Composite Training Unit Exercise in preparation for their deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility this fall.

“The COMPTUEX is great, because we are able to test the integration of sailors and Marines coming together in order to accomplish the mission,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Raul Rodriguez, combat cargo officer with the USS Arlington (LPD 24). “This is the first time the ship has done something like this and it was definitely the first time for some of the Marines and sailors that participated to do this type of mission. They did great, but we still have areas we can improve on.” Read More »

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Papal visit 9/11 lottery details

Pope Francis will visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum as part of his first trip to the United States on Friday, September 25, 2015.  Pope Francis will pay tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 terror attacks.  The New York Archdiocese will then host a multireligious meeting for peace inside the Museum, led by the Pope with representatives of world religions.

Space for guests on the Memorial and in the Museum during the Pope’s visit will be limited for security reasons. To that end, the 9/11 Memorial is holding a lottery to offer members of the 9/11 community an opportunity to be on the Memorial plaza for the Pope’s historic arrival, as well as for a very limited number of seats for the service hosted by the New York Archdiocese in the Museum.

Participation in the lottery is limited to members of the 9/11 community, including 9/11 and 1993 family members, 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, active-duty first responders, 9/11 survivors, and lower Manhattan residents and business owners.   The winners of the lottery will be selected at random and closes on Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 9:00am.  The 9/11 Memorial will notify you if you have been selected by Friday, August 21, 2015.

The 9/11 Memorial’s dedicated webpage for the papal visit. The dedicated phone line is 212-857-0155. Questions for the 9/11 Memorial may be directed via email to

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Waco research facility takes aim at PTSD in first responders, veterans

 By Grant Hermes News 25

Doctors at the Warrior Research Institute (WRI) said they’ve seen a clear link between traumatic situations experienced by first responders and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), similar to the way veterans develop the disorder.

According to the institute’s director, Dr. Suzy Bird Gulliver, between nine and 13 percent of firefighters experience some form of PTSD on the job. Gulliver focuses primarily on veterans and firefighters, although said the research at WRI, in partnership with Baylor Scott and White healthcare, has begun to expand to police officers and paramedics.

Gulliver has worked with dozens of groups of veterans ranging from World War II to the most recent campaigns in the Middle East. She said the need for the research among firefighters was born out of working with firefighters that responded to Ground Zero during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Her work with the military alerted her to the similarities, and differences, among first responders and veterans. Read More »

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