March 1, 2010 Bolt one on for the troops today!„¢ Yes, today! The new North Carolina Support Our Troops! license plate is out and selling hot at all DMV offices statewide and online at the DMV's fantastic website www.ncdot.gov/dmv. Don't wait for your renewal month to get into this great plate! You can swap out early! The troops didn't wait. They went half way around for the world for us; let's all do this simple thing for them! It's a perfect way to show them you care.
[caption id="attachment_4138" align="alignleft" width="300"] Army Spc. Joseph Sirovy works on a satellite dish at Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistanâ€™s Logar province, Jan. 16, 2011. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Ashley Allen[/caption] LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan â€“ Operating in a country with rugged, mountainous terrain can present many communications challenges, but Army Spc. Joseph Sirovy is keeping his units connected.
Sirovy, a multichannel transmissions systems operator from Knox, Ind., assigned to the 10th Mountain Divisionâ€™s Company C, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, ensures his units throughout Wardak and Logar provinces in eastern Afghanistan can communicate. â€œI am trying to make a difference at the company and platoon levels for soldiers to be able to communicate to their command,â€Â he said. As the technical expert for a team that assesses and repairs communications equipment, Sirovy provides communication analysis throughout the brigadeâ€™s area of operations. This support allows Task Force Patriot to communicate in a clear and timely manner, even at the lowest levels, so the soldiers can conduct effective military operations and, more importantly, keep ahead of insurgents and the Taliban, said Army Capt. Craig Starn, Company C commander, from Grafton, W.Va. Afghanistan has limited fixed-line telephone service, ranking 139th in the world, according to the CIA's World Fact Book website. Terrain is the biggest obstacle for establishing communications within Task Force Patriotâ€™s operating area of Afghanistan, Sirovy said, and communications leaders are using commercial equipment to push network services to companies and platoons that arenâ€™t located on larger forward operating bases. Signal site assessments play a significant role in maintaining reliable tactical communications down to the lowest levels, said Army Maj. Keith Dawson, Task Force Patriot brigade communications and automations officer in charge from Hammond, La. Sirovy said he enjoys conducting assessments throughout Logar and Wardak provinces because he leaves the forward operating base and gets to fix and prevent communication problems. Dawson said Sirovy and the assessment team are vital to maintaining communications within the task force because the host nation has very limited landlines, forcing the brigade to rely mainly on its own signal equipment, such as satellite communication. And because Task Force Patriotâ€™s communication network is four times the size of an average brigadeâ€™s, he added, an active assessment team is especially important. Sirovy said he has learned to assess and maintain satellite communications equipment and computer networking systems, and that his training and experience would be valuable in the civilian sector, thanks to the latest technology the Army is using. However, Sirovy added, he is not necessarily thinking of leaving the Army any time soon. While he joined the Signal Corps to learn about the signal and communications field, he said, he also enlisted for three reasons: to serve his country, to make something of himself and to provide for his child. Sirovy and Starn travel to different locations weekly to complete surveys. Sirovy inspects all of the signal equipment for each unit to make sure itâ€™s functioning properly. He fixes issues on the spot and determines whether parts need to be ordered or repaired. That work is critical, Starn said, because the units must have uninterrupted communications to their higher authority during combat operations. Army 1st Sgt. Adrian Borel of Lafayette, La., Company Câ€™s first sergeant, explained why Sirovy was chosen for his position on the assessment team and why he is so successful. â€œSpecialist Sirovy is dedicated to mission accomplishment and will not accept failure,â€Â he said. â€œHe continuously seeks to expand his knowledge base of signal equipment and its capability pertaining to each unitâ€™s primary mission focus.â€Â Feb. 14, 2011: By Army 1st Lt. Ashley Allen and Army 1st Lt. Jose Perez Task Force Dagger
[caption id="attachment_3608" align="alignleft" width="250"] Army Sgt. 1st Class Gary Williard, left, and his son, Army Sgt. Joshua Williard, pose with a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Neil Gussman[/caption] CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraqâ€“ Any parent whose child follows him into his profession will feel pride.
A Pennsylvania National Guard soldier here can be doubly proud, then, as one son has followed in his military footsteps while another is pursuing his civilian career.Army Sgt. 1st Class Gary Williard of Company D, Task Force Diablo, is a retired police officer and an Army National Guard aircraft maintenance platoon sergeant.His older son, Gary Jr., joined the Tower City Police Force in Pennsylvania, where his father retired in 2006 as chief of police. Williardâ€™s younger son, Army Sgt. Joshua Williard of 628th Aviation Support Battalionâ€™s Company B, worked in the next hangar over from his dad during much of their recent deployment here and is now completing his deployment with final processing in the United States. â€œI pinned on Joshuaâ€™s sergeant stripes when he got promoted here on Aug. 27,â€Â Williad said. â€œThat was quite a moment for me.â€Â Williard began his military career in 1976 as a propeller and rotor mechanic for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. After a break in service from 1982 to 1990, he returned to the Guard and has worked in maintenance on many aircraft. His younger son said he plans on a career in aviation maintenance with the Army National Guard. Gary Jr. worked for his father for five years in the Tower City Police Department before moving to the Pennsylvania State Police, where he has worked for seven years. Williard and his wife, Dina, ran an automotive repair business together. Now they own rental apartments. â€œDina runs the apartments while I am away,â€Â Williard said. â€œWith Joshua and I deployed and Gary Jr. busy with work, sheâ€™ll be very happy for us to come home.â€Â Williard deployed from 2003 to 2004 to Kuwait in both aviation maintenance and security roles. â€œEven on deployment, I was still a cop,â€Â he said. Jan. 7, 2010: By Army Sgt. Neil Gussman-Special to American Forces Press Service (Army Sgt. Neil Gussman serves with Task Force Diablo.) ***SOT***
[caption id="attachment_3623" align="alignleft" width="250"] Air Force Maj. William Reynolds demonstrates how to evacuate the liquid nitrogen from a fire suppression bottle for the Mi-17 helicopter, Dec. 27, 2009, at Camp Taji, Iraq. Reynolds and Air Force Master Sgt. Jayme Hakenson created a process that will save the Iraqi air force tens of thousands of dollars. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Trish Bunting[/caption] CAMP TAJI, Iraq â€“ Two U.S. airmen with 721st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron here improvised a device to recharge fire suppression bottles for a Russian-made helicopter to save the Iraqi air force tens of thousands of dollars.
Maj. William Reynolds and Master Sgt. Jayme Hakenson worked together to design and modify a flightline fire extinguisher for the Mi-17 Hip helicopter that will allow Iraqis to fill fire suppression bottles themselves with the chemical Chladon 114B2."Chladon is a fire retardant," said Reynolds, a squadron maintenance officer deployed from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. "When released, it removes all the oxygen from the air and squelches the fire."Each aircraft has two fire suppression bottles installed on board in case of multiple fires."The problem weâ€™re facing is, itâ€™s very hot in Iraq and the bottles are located near the engine," said Hakenson, a production supervisor adviser deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla. "When the bottle over-pressurizes, they vent overboard as a safety measure. Several bottles blew inadvertently during flights and without the safety bottles, the aircraft canâ€™t fly." The fire bottles have a 24-month service period. Once the 24 months pass, they have to be removed from the aircraft and checked by a servicing facility. However, the closest facility to fill the bottles is in neighboring Jordan. "Because of infrequent trips to Jordan, it took nearly 18 months to obtain the bottles," said Reynolds, of Oakridge, Tenn. "Every time one of them dies, it really hurts us because we donâ€™t have the spares to replace them." This motivated Reynolds and Hakenson to come up with a solution before they were completely out of supplies. Hakenson, a native of Wheatland, Calif., came up with the idea to use an empty flightline fire extinguisher. They determined if they drilled a hole through the bottom and welded on a piece of one-quarter-inch stainless steel tubing, they could maximize output. Army officials assisted by creating parts and giving pieces to help with the project. To understand how the fire suppression bottle worked, the airmen cut one in half and Reynolds figured out what he needed to do through trial and error. "Because the helicopter is Russian, the bottles required tools we just donâ€™t have, such as a flaring to create a 37-degree bevel," Reynolds said. "The Army's 1st Calvary Brigade helped create adapters that go from Russian specifications to U.S. specifications. They also gave us a piece of tubing that could withstand 9,000 pounds per square inch. "I put a 90-degree elbow on a piece of quarter-inch stainless steel tubing and placed it into the fire suppression bottle," he continued. "Then I connected the hose from the fire extinguisher bottle to the tubing and filled the bottle with five kilograms of Chladon." In addition to filling the bottles, they also discovered how to save some of the Chladon. "Before, there was no way to discharge the bottles. It wasnâ€™t safe to just open it up and vent it into the atmosphere because it pulls the oxygen out of the air," Reynolds said. "But with this recovery tank, we can actually discharge the bottles safely and recover the Chladon, allowing us to reuse it." The device is simple, inexpensive to manufacture and effective. After the Iraqi defense ministry gives approval, the Iraqi air force can begin recharging the bottles themselves. Because of the airmenâ€™s ingenuity, the Iraqis can save time and money and the Mi-17s will continue to fly for years to come. Jan. 6, 2010: By Air Force Senior Airman Jarrod R. Chavana Special to American Forces Press Service (Senior Airman Jarrod R. Chavana serves with U.S. Air Forces Central public affairs.) ***SOT***