Ohio National Guard deploys more troops to hurricane ravaged Caribbean

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 1:02 PM


            Air Force Reserve firefighters board a Wright-Patterson based C-17 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., on Sept. 12, 2017, as they head to south Florida for Hurricane Irma relief efforts. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
Air Force Reserve firefighters board a Wright-Patterson based C-17 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., on Sept. 12, 2017, as they head to south Florida for Hurricane Irma relief efforts. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

The Ohio National Guard has sent more than 100 airmen and soldiers to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in a growing U.S. troop presence that has reached 11,000, according to the Defense Department.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm Sept.19 with winds up to 155 mph, knocking out power and causing widespread destruction. That followed a glancing blow from powerful Hurricane Irma less than two weeks before Maria unleashed havoc in the Caribbean.

Some leaders in Puerto Rico have urged a faster U.S. response because of the dire situation many on the island of 3.5 million U.S. residents face without food, water, medicine and power. U.S. authorities have pledged to deliver whatever aid is necessary.

This week, the Ohio Air and Army National Guard sent 80 troops to the U.S. territory.

RELATED: Wright-Patt C-17 hurricane relief efforts expected to fly for weeks

Thirty Ohio guardsmen flew to the island Tuesday to prepare for the arrival of other troops and assess logistical demands, according to spokeswoman Stephanie Beougher, a Guard spokeswoman in Columbus.

Twenty Air National Guardsmen from both the 178th Wing in Springfield and the 179th Airlift Wing in Mansfield, which flies C-130 cargo planes, transported a mobile kitchen trailer to the U.S. territory on Wednesday.

On Thursday, 30 Guardsmen with the Columbus-based 285th Area Support Medical Co. left for Puerto Rico to offer medical assistance

In the Virgin Islands, Ohio troops included six Air National Guardsmen with the 269th Combat Communications Squadron in Springfield who deployed a month ago.

RELATED: Wright-Patt C-17 flies Indiana rescuers to Puerto Rico after hurricane

Twenty troops with the Port Clinton-based 200th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operation Repair Squadron (RED HORSE) were sent to the Virgin Islands on Sept. 13.

The Air Force Reserve 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has flown more than 650 passengers and transported more than 1.3 million pounds of relief supplies since late August to Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The C-17 wing transported the aid to disaster zones after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria struck within three weeks. The unit has sent 13 reservists to Florida and Georgia to support hurricane relief work, also, according to Lt. Col. Cynthia Harris, a wing spokeswoman.

Wright-Patterson Medical Center deployed three, three-member medical teams to Puerto Rico, one of which remains on the island, according to Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer.

Through Thursday, the U.S. military reported it’s delivered to Puerto Rico 7.3 million meals, 5.3 million liters of water, 22,000 cots, 11,000 tarps, 278 generators and more than 100 field trucks and drivers.

RELATED: When hurricanes strike, Wright-Patt crews have taken to the air

The U.S. naval hospital ship Comfort with 250-patient beds arrived at the island Tuesday, according to the Pentagon.

Defense Department leaders have said the demand for humanitarian assistance is significant and slowed the deployment of U.S. troops to overseas missions.

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Book chronicles heroism of war correspondents like OSU’s Cecil Brown

Published: Friday, February 16, 2018 @ 4:49 PM

As he scanned the names of the past winners of the Peabody award for broadcast journalism, Reed Smith, a professor of journalism at Georgia Southern University, came across the name Cecil Brown of CBS and admitted he “had never heard of him before.”

It began a four-year effort by Smith that culminated last November in the release of his book, “Cecil Brown: The Murrow Boy Who Became Broadcasting’s Crusader for Truth.” It’s the story of an Ohio State University student from 1929 who reached the pinnacle of broadcast journalism during World War II and the era of Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s.

Smith became fascinated with Brown’s story and it is easy to see why. As a CBS Radio broadcaster in Singapore in December 1941 he nearly lost his life when Japanese torpedo bombers sank the British battlecruiser Repulse in the South China Sea. Brown was a correspondent on the Repulse.

His gripping minute-by-minute account of the disaster for CBS, which also included the destruction of the British battleship Prince of Wales, earned him the Peabody award and transformed him into one of the best-known correspondents of World War II.

“There were upwards of a thousand sailors who died during that attack,” Smith said. “He was not wounded during attack and fortunately was able to get off the ship. A British sailor reached out in the water off a Carley Float and grabbed him. Cecil thought he had just about had it. It was pretty miraculous.”

Brown also was known for his legendary battles with Italian and British censors in World II as they tried to block or alter his broadcasts, prompting Smith to describe Brown as “very feisty. He was a big First Amendment guy and he became quite exasperated when anybody tried to curtail his freedom of the press.”

RELATED: Cecil Brown’s obituary

For Smith, 68, it was a case of one Ohio man meeting another. Smith, a graduate of Ohio University who earned an M.A. from Bowling Green and then a Ph.D from Ohio University, grew up in New Concord. Brown, who died in 1987, was raised in Warren, married a woman from Columbus who is still alive in Los Angeles at age 104.

He left Ohio State nine hours short of a degree in 1929 and worked as a reporter for a number of years before Edward R. Murrow hired him at CBS Radio in 1940 and assigned him to cover the war from Rome.

Brown reported in an entirely different era than today when journalists are under relentless attacks from President Donald Trump and many conservatives.

“It tells us the public view of journalism has changed drastically over the past 70 years,” Smith said. “Murrow and Cecil were seen as heroes. They were brave men in the war zone telling the truth for what was going on and continuing to get in trouble for telling the truth.”

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Work to start next month on $10.5 million Wright-Patt gateway

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 5:30 PM


            Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Gate 16A, a commercial truck screening checkpoint, will be consolidated with a new Gate 26A in 2019 in a $10.5 million construction project. JIM WITMER | 2011 STAFF FILE PHOTO
            Jim Witmer
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Gate 16A, a commercial truck screening checkpoint, will be consolidated with a new Gate 26A in 2019 in a $10.5 million construction project. JIM WITMER | 2011 STAFF FILE PHOTO(Jim Witmer)

A new $10.5 million gateway that will consolidate two Wright-Patterson entrances into one is set to begin construction next month, a base spokesman says.

A new Gate 26A, a few hundred yards from the current one, would replace a commercial delivery entrance at Gate 16A off Ohio 444, and the existing Gate 26A off Ohio 235 near the entrance to the 445th Airlift Wing headquarters.

The new entrance way off Ohio 235 will be sited between Sandhill Road and Circle Drive, according to Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer.

Work was scheduled for completion at the end of next year, the base said.

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Top Gun pilot to speak at film screening

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 6:04 PM


            The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

A real-life Top Gun is scheduled to be at a screening of Top Gun 3D at the Air Force Museum Theatre.

Retired Navy Capt. Ken Ginader, a former Top Gun instructor and F-14 pilot, was set to speak at the screening of film, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Ginader is the first speaker in the 2018 Living History Film Series at the museum.

Tickets cost $12 for audience members, or $10 for members of Friends of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

For more information, click onto http://www.afmuseum.com/livinghistory .

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AF museum opens, Wright-Patt workers head to work as shutdown ends

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 9:20 AM


            The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base BARRIE BARBER/STAFF

President Donald Trump has signed a two-year budget deal Friday that ended a government shutdown overnight Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

Wright-Patterson employees were told to report to work Friday despite a possible shutdown and had been in a holding pattern waiting for additional word until the president signed the legislation.

RELATED: Wright-Patt workers told to report to work Friday despite shutdown

Base spokesman Daryl Mayer said no orders had been issued to send civil service employees home and the base was awaiting official word the shutdown — which lasted less than nine hours — was over.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which closed after opening for four hours on the first day of a three-day shutdown last month, opened Friday morning as scheduled, according to spokeswoman Diana Bachert.

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park locations at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center in Dayton and Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center near Wright-Patterson also were open.

RELATED: Threat of government shutdown wearing on workers

The partial federal government shutdown was the second in less than three weeks, the last occurring Jan.20-22.

Wright-Patterson sent home 8,600 Wright-Patterson civil service workers on a one-day work week furlough Monday, Jan. 22.

Overnight Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took the floor of the Senate to decry the increase in debt spending, which delayed a vote on the two-year deal until after the midnight shutdown deadline.

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