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9th ESB Marines become M240B experts

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan — Marines with 9th Engineer Support Battalion trained with M240B medium machine guns at Gun Point 201, a live-fire range here, Aug. 18.

The 9th ESB Marines with 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, fired the weapons from bipods, tripods and turret mounts atop a Humvee in preparation for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

The training increased junior Marines’ confidence with the weapon systems, explained Gunnery Sgt. Ryan M. Pieraccini, assistant operations chief, 9th ESB.

New capabilities enhance Guard response to Hurricane Irene

About 7,675 National Guard troops from 18 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico responded over the weekend to civil authorities tackling Hurricane Irene and its aftermath.

Three capabilities enhanced the National Guard's contribution: the new National Guard Coordination Center, dual-status commanders and the deployment of strategically placed force packages ahead of the storm.

Pacific Unity concludes in Vietnam

In an effort to foster friendship and improved relationships between the U.S. and Vietnam, more than 60 military civil engineers, construction workers and volunteers from both countries came together Aug. 9-29 to renovate three medical clinics in Ha Tinh Province.

USS Blue Ridge Concludes Summer Patrol

More than 1,200 Sailors and Marines from USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), embarked 7th Fleet staff, and Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team Pacific (FASTPAC) returned to the ship's forward-deployed port of Yokosuka, Japan on Aug. 29, completing a two and a half-month deployment throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Blue Ridge kicked off the patrol with a three-day visit to Noumea, New Caledonia to strengthen ties between the United States and New Caledonia through shipboard tours and community service projects (COMSERV).

Japan-based units end Southern Frontier 2011

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE TOWNSVILLE, Queensland, Australia — Japan-based Marine units brought their portion of Exercise Southern Frontier 2011 to an end here Aug. 15.

Southern Frontier is an annual bilateral exercise designed to test and enhance the Marine aerial units’ ability to provide close-air support to integrated Marine and Australian ground units. Participating Marine units are also given the opportunity to conduct intensive unit-level training during the yearly exercise.

Sailors, Planning Keep Enterprise Safe from Irene

Aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), weathered Hurricane Irene Aug. 28, armed with only a skeleton crew and robust safety information.

While many Navy ships homeported in Norfolk got underway to avoid the storm, Enterprise was moved to Norfolk Naval Shipyard because the location was deemed safer for ships unable to get underway.

Last enlisted Army draftee says farewell

The mood was bitter sweet at the U.S. Army Materiel Command during a change of responsibility ceremony and farewell to a relic in Army history.

Jeffrey J. Mellinger, AMC's outgoing command sergeant major, turned over responsibility to Command Sergeant Major Ronald T. Riling, incoming command sergeant major.

Mellinger's final assignment as AMC's command sergeant major is culminated his nearly 40 year career, which began in 1972 during the Vietnam War. He is the last continuously serving draftee on active duty.

Marines train in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Kingdom of Cambodia — Marines from Okinawa traveled to Cambodia to refresh their skills and increase combined-joint interoperability by providing support for a U.S. Army jumpmaster course here Aug. 14-21.

Marines with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted training, while providing support to soldiers with 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), during the course.

20th EBS Airmen assume continuous bomber presence in Guam

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- More than 300 Airmen assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., arrived here recently to replace the 96th EBS in support of U.S. Pacific Command's continuous bomber presence.

The rotation of bomber aircraft is specifically designed to enhance regional security and demonstrate the U.S.'s commitment to stability in the Asia-Pacific region.