FALLEN HEROES – Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, 28

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Staff Sgt. Matthew V. Thompson, 28, of Irvine, California, died Aug. 23 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, of injuries caused by an improvised explosive device that detonated near his patrol while conducting dismounted operations. The incident is under investigation.

Thompson was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Release No: NR-302-16
Aug. 24, 2016

Command Senior Enlisted Leader Assignment

The Office of the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced today the following assignment:

Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Harold L. Hutchison, currently assigned to Pacific Air Forces Headquarters, Hickam Field, Hawaii, has been selected as the command senior enlisted leader for North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

Release No: NR-303-16
Aug. 24, 2016

Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on U.S. Casualties in Afghanistan

I was deeply saddened to learn one of our service members was killed today and another wounded while engaged in our mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces. Six Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the IED blast. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of the service member killed and all those injured. This tragic event in Helmand province reminds us that Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and there is difficult work ahead even as Afghan forces continue to make progress in securing their own country. We will continue to work closely with the government of Afghanistan and our NATO partners to bolster the capabilities of the ANDSF so they can provide the people of Afghanistan the peace they deserve.

Release No: NR-301-16
Aug. 23, 2016

Commissaries to Enhance Their Method of Calculating Savings

The Defense Commissary Agency is forming a new approach to calculating savings, aligning it more closely with private sector practice.  This better reflects what patrons experience daily with the products they routinely buy in the geographic regions in which they routinely shop, agency officials said.

 

“We hear from our military families that they sometimes find lower prices on selected items outside the gate,” said Joseph H. Jeu, DeCA’s director and CEO. “For the first time through this new approach, we will compare our prices with local grocers on a more frequent basis to better inform our customers of potential cost savings over stores in their nearby community.”

 

“Our approach to calculating savings will not impact the prices our customers pay or the dollar benefit that they receive,” he added. “There will be no change to their out-of-pocket expense.”

 

Through this improved process, DeCA will calculate and monitor patron savings more frequently than the current practice. Prices will be compared with actual prices at local competitors surrounding each commissary, as well, using a market basket of products that reflect what patrons normally purchase.

 

For more information on DeCA’s new approach to calculating patron savings, go to detailed Transformation FAQs posted under the “Customer Service” tab on www.commissaries.com.

Release No: NR-299-16
Aug. 19, 2016

Secretary Mabus Names Destroyer for Medal of Honor Recipient

Today, in a ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that Arleigh-Burke class destroyer, DDG 122, will be named John Basilone in honor of the United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. He was the only enlisted Marine to receive both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross in World War II.

This is the second ship to be named for John Basilone. The first USS Basilone (DD/DDE-824) was a Gearing-class destroyer, decommissioned in 1977.

“It is a great honor to name this ship in recognition of John Basilone,” said Mabus. “I have no doubt that all who serve aboard her will carry on the legacy of service and commitment exemplified by this Marine Corps hero.”

This is the seventh ship that Secretary Mabus has named honoring a Medal of Honor recipient. Others have included Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) John Finn (DDG 113), Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), and Woody Williams (T-ESB 4).

Arleigh-Burke class destroyers conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis response to sea control and power projection. DDG 122 will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously, and will contain a combination of offensive and defensive weapon systems designed to support maritime warfare, including integrated air and missile defense and vertical launch capabilities.

The ship will be constructed at Bath Iron Works, a division of General Dynamics in Maine and is expected to enter the Navy fleet in 2022. The ship will be 509 feet long, have a beam length of 59 feet and be capable of operating at speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Additional information about the Arleigh-Burke class destroyers is available online at http://www.navy.mil/local/DDG/.

Release No: NR-293-16
Aug. 16, 2016

Detainee Transfers Announced

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of 15 detainees: Abd al-Muhsin Abd al-Rab Salih al-Busi, Abd al-Rahman Sulayman, Mohammed Nasir Yahi Khussrof Kazaz, Abdul Muhammad Ahmad Nassar al-Muhajari, Muhammad Ahmad Said al-Adahi, Abdel Qadir al-Mudafari, Mahmud Abd Al Aziz al-Mujahid, Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh, Mohammed Kamin, Zahar Omar Hamis bin Hamdoun, Hamid al-Razak (aka Haji Hamidullah), Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed, Ayub Murshid Ali Salih, Obaidullah, and Bashir Nasir Ali al-Marwalah from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of the United Arab Emirates.

As directed by the president’s Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of these cases. As a result of those reviews, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, 6 of the 15: al-Busi, Sulayman, Kazaz, al-Muhajari, al-Adahi, and al-Mudafari were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.

Periodic Review Boards consisting of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined continued law of war detention of 9 of the 15: al-Mujahid, Jarabh, Kamin, bin Hamdoun, al-Razak (aka Haji Hamidullah), Ahmed, Salih, Obaidullah, and al-Marwalah does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. As a result of those reviews, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, al-Mujahid, Jarabh, Kamin, bin Hamdoun, al-Razak (aka Haji Hamidullah), Ahmed, Salih, Obaidullah, and al-Marwalah were recommended for transfer by consensus of the six departments and agencies comprising the Periodic Review Board. The Periodic Review Board process was established by the president’s March 7, 2011 Executive Order 13567.

Name     Date of Periodic Review Board final determination
Mahmud Abd Al Aziz al-Mujahid    Jan. 7, 2014
Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh Mar. 5, 2015
Mohammed Kamin   Sept. 28, 2015
Zahar Omar Hamis bin Hamdoun     Jan. 12, 2016
Hamid al-Razak (aka Haji Hamidullah)     Feb. 11, 2016
Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed  Feb. 18, 2016
Ayub Murshid Ali Salih   Mar. 23, 2016
Obaidullah       May 19, 2016
Bashir Nasir Ali al-Marwalah     May 31, 2016

In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States’ intent to transfer these individuals and of the secretary’s determination that these transfers meet the statutory standard.

The United States is grateful to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of the United Arab Emirates to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.

Today, 61 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.

Release No: NR-298-16
Aug. 15, 2016

Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on the Liberation of Manbij

“I want to congratulate the people of Manbij, the Manbij Military Council, the Syrian Arab Coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces for their success in liberating Manbij city from ISIL’s hateful rule.  Their success, enabled by critical Coalition support, is another significant milestone in the campaign to deal ISIL a lasting defeat.  Manbij city was a key transit point for ISIL fighters going into both Syria and Iraq, and for its external operators plotting attacks against our allies, our partners, and our homeland.  The success in Manbij city will also help reinforce the growing isolation of Raqqa and enable us to achieve the next objective of our campaign in Syria – collapsing ISIL’s control over that city.  I also want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Turkish government for their support to this critical operation.  For the people of Manbij city, now begins the difficult job of rebuilding their homes and communities, and I call on all of our coalition partners to help them with that task.  For its part, the military coalition will continue to work with capable and motivated local forces to defeat ISIL and ensure it remains defeated.”

Release No: NR-297-16
Aug. 15, 2016