Soldier in finals at Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Palm Springs

Team USA's Dennis Bowsher, who is an Army Spc. and 2012 Olympian, had the lead of his group going into the combined 3km cross-country race and shooting event and finished second for the group during the men's qualifier at the 2013 World Cup of Modern Pentathlon in Palm Springs, Calif. on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. During the qualifier, athletes compete in four events including epee fencing, 200mm freestyle swim, and the combined run and shoot. During the finals, show jumping will be added. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

A Fort Carson, Colorado soldier is in the men’s final of the Modern Pentathlon World Cup today in Palm Springs.

Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher, is the only American to advance to today’s finals. He’ll be competing against 2012 Olympic gold medalist David Svoboda of Czech Republic and and bronze medalist Adam Marosi of Hungary. Also in the field is world #1 ranked Aleksender Lesun of Russia.

Team USA's Dennis Bowsher nears the finish line in the combined 3km cross-country race and shooting event to qualify for the finals at the 2013 World Cup of Modern Pentathlon in Palm Springs, Calif. on Wednesday. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

During Wednesday’s men’s qualifying round, Bowsher started the final event — a combined run and shoot — in the lead for Qualification Group C. He scored a personal best 1032 in fencing, and 1264 in swimming with a time of 2:08.16. He finished the combined event second with a time of 12:12.85 after only Christopher Patte of France who came in at 12:07.17.

Another service member, Air Force Reserve Maj. Eli Bremer, was the top American in Qualification Group A. He finished 14th for the group, but did not make the cut for today’s final.

Bowsher is part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) which provides soldiers with elite-level athletic qualifications to represent the Army while they train and compete. Though Bowsher travels on the competition circuit, he is a soldier first and had to apply for the WCAP after basic combat training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and advanced individual training (AIT) where he became an 88M Motor Transport Operator.

A 2012 London Olympics veteran, Bowsher told The Desert Sun sports reporter Patti Myers he is focused on Rio de Janiero in 2016. “Rio is gonna’ be our main focus and the main push for everything leading up that point,” he said. “Everything I learn from here it’s gonna be something I put in my bag for Rio.”

He and the rest of the finals field started the morning with fencing. The other four events will follow with swimming at 12:25 p.m., horse jumping at 2:35 p.m., and the combined 3km run with shooting between laps tonight at 5:25 p.m. The event’s presentation is scheduled at 5:55 p.m. All events are within walking distance of each other at Palm Springs Stadium and Sunrise Park in Palm Springs.

Two servicemen competing in Modern Pentathlon World Cup

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Herbert Temple, Jr. meets with service members and Team USA pentathletes and Olympians Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher (left) and Air Force Reserve Maj. Eli Bremer (right) after the opening ceremony of the 2013 World Cup of Modern Pentathlon in Palm Springs, Calif. on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

A pair of servicemen, both Olympians, are competing in this week’s World Cup of Modern Pentathlon, currently underway in Palm Springs.

Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher and Air Force Reserve Maj. Eli Bremer are set to compete in this week’s event.

They carry on a legacy of service member pentathletes in a list that includes Gen. George S. Patton, who competed in modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Helen Patton, the general’s granddaughter, offered the keynote address at Tuesday’s opening ceremony.

After the opening ceremonies, both Bowsher and Bremer were greeted by retired Army Lt. Gen. Herbert Temple, Jr. who also spoke at the competition’s kickoff. During his speech, Temple challenged all the athletes to “be audacious.”

Throughout the week athletes will compete in five events including epee fencing, 200mm freestyle swim, show jumping, laser shooting, and a 3km cross-country race.

Bowsher, who is stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado, competed for Team USA in London at the 2012 Olympic games and placed 32nd overall with a point total of 5324. He is training for the next 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Bowsher completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and is trained as an Army 88M Motor Transport Operator for his occupational specialty.

He applied for and is now part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) which offers elite-level athletic training to soldier-athletes in Olympic sports. Soldiers are selected from active duty, Army Reserve, and the National Guard. On the Army WCAP website, the program is described as “A program that provides outstanding Soldier-athletes the support and training to compete and succeed in national and international competitions leading to Olympic and Paralympic Games, while maintaining a professional military career and promoting the U.S. Army to the world.” The program falls under the Army’s Recruiting Command and is an outreach tool to promote a positive image of the Army.

Bremer competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and comes to the Palm Springs event from Colorado Springs. According to his website, Bremer is a 2000 Air Force Academy graduate and competed for the Academy in swimming and fencing. After graduating, he was part of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program, which is similar to the Army’s WCAP detailed above. He earned an MBA from University of Colorado in 2006 and co-founded a corporate motivational training company, 5Ring Insight, in 2008. He continues to serve as a reservist and reports to Robins Air Force Base in Georgia when not in Colorado Springs.

Both athletes will compete in the Men’s Qualifying Round on Wednesday at venues located at Sunrise Park in Palm Springs. During the qualifiers, athletes compete in four out of five events with equestrian show jumping left for the finals and mixed relay days only.

Military deaths: December 5, 2012 – February 14, 2013

The following is a listing of military deaths between December 5, 2012 – Feb. 6th. The Debrief‘s last casualty post was December 5. This post is broken into sections including Operation Enduring Freedom deaths as well as other military deaths due to on and off duty mishaps.


Department of Defense announced the following military casualties which occurred during deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

No OEF deaths have been reported by the DoD thus far in February.

20 Jan. 2013: Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38, of Plainwell, Mich. died Jan. 20, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device on Dec. 15, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 32nd Transportation Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

16 Jan. 2013: Sgt. David J. Chambers, 25, of Hampton, Va., died Jan. 16, in Panjwai District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised explosive device while on dismounted patrol.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

10 Jan. 2013: Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, of Chester, Va., died Jan. 10, in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when he was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade while on mounted patrol.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

29 Dec 2012: Army Pfc. Markie T. Sims, 20, of Citra, Fla., died Dec. 29 in Panjwal, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

• 24 Dec. 2012: Army Sgt. Enrique Mondragon, 23, of The Colony, Texas, died Dec. 24, in Baraki Barak, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by small arms fire while on dismounted patrol. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany.

• 22 Dec. 2012: Navy Cdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa., died Dec. 22 of a non-combat related injury while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Price was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit in Virginia Beach, Va.

14 Dec. 2012: Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin E. Lipari, 39, of Baldwin, N.Y., died Dec. 14 in Logar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to HHC 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany. This incident is under investigation.

14 Dec. 2012: Marine Corps Sgt. Michael J. Guillory, 28, of Pearl River, La., died Dec. 14 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif. This incident is under investigation. The Naval Safety Center posted a mishap summary involving a Marine killed during an ATV rollover in Afghanistan on the same day and with the same rank (E-5).

13 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid, 26, of Rochester, N.Y., died Dec. 13 in Landstuhl, Germany from wounds suffered on Dec. 9, in Sperwan Village, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 53rd Ordnance Company (EOD), 3rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

13 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Nelson D. Trent, 37, of Austin, Texas, died Dec. 13 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Fort Worth, Texas.

10 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Wesley R. Williams, 25, of New Carlisle, Ohio, died Dec. 10 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

8 Dec. 2012: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa., died of combat related injuries suffered Dec. 8, while supporting operations near Kabul, Afghanistan. Checque was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit. Checque was a Navy SEAL and died during a mission to rescue Dr. Dilip Joseph, who was abducted by Taliban insurgents, CNN Reports.

As of 10 a.m. EST, Thursday, Feb. 14, U.S. casualties during Operation Enduring Freedom totaled 2,168 including 2,047 in Afghanistan, 118 in other locations, and 3 DoD civilians. 18,255 military personnel have been wounded in action which is an increase of 146 WIA from statistics cited in The Debrief’s previous casualties post last on Wednesday, December 5.


The following on-duty non-OEF related military deaths have been reported for December – present.

15 Jan 2013: (FLORIDA) An Army National Guard Soldier died Jan. 15, from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash. The 20-year-old Soldier was driving a HMMWV on a Florida highway when he lost control of the vehicle while attempting to change lanes and the vehicle overturned. HMMWV is the acronym for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, also known as a “Humvee” tactical vehicle. According to police, the soldier was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. He was air evacuated from the crash but died following the medical transport at the hospital.

14 Jan 2013: (MacDill AFB, FL) Air Force Staff Sgt. Emily Elizabeth Clayburn, 29, of Palatine Bridge, N.Y., died in an industrial area accident. She was assigned to 6th Logistic Readiness Squadron, 6th Air Mobility Wing,

09 Jan 2013: (Abilene, TX) Marine Corps E-7 died on 18 Jan from injuries sustained in a multi-vehicle mishap. He was driving a government vehicle.

09 Dec 2012: (Camp Pendleton, CA) Navy E-4 was killed after he was ejected during a HMMWV rollover. HMMWV is the acronym for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, also known as a “Humvee” tactical vehicle.


The following off-duty military deaths have been reported for December – present. This list includes all deaths and mishap investigations The Debrief has access to, but does not include all PLRs posted by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness / Safety Center.

06 Feb 2013: (Camp Pendleton, CA) Marine Corps E-3 died in a single-vehicle mishap.

05 Feb 2013: (Meridian, MS) Navy E-5 passenger died on 07 Feb from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle mishap.

24 Jan 2013: (Naples, Italy) Navy E-4 died in a multi-vehicle mishap.

20 Jan 2013: (St. Lucie County, FL) Navy E-6 died in an automobile mishap.

20 Jan 2013: (Hawaii) Army soldier Trevor McGurran, 23, of Wahiawa, Hawaii died in a motorcycle accident. He was assigned to 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

20 Jan 2013: (Houston, TX) A 38-year-old Soldier died Jan. 20 from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash while on leave in Houston, Texas. The Soldier was driving his vehicle at a high rate of speed through a construction zone when he lost control, struck a curb, and slammed into a concrete pillar. He was evacuated to a local medical center where he was pronounced deceased.

19 Jan 2013: (Georgia) A 47-year-old Army officer died Jan. 19 from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash in Georgia. He was driving his vehicle when he lost control in a curve. The vehicle exited the roadway and struck a tree. Seatbelt use has not been reported but initial reports indicate he was ejected from his vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

13 Jan 2013: (Jacksonville, FL) Navy E-5 found deceased in hotel hot tub.

06 Jan 2013: (San Diego, CA) Navy E-4 died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle mishap.

03 Jan 2013: (Newport News, VA) Navy E-5 killed in motorcycle accident involving a tractor-trailer.

27 Dec 2012: (Beaufort, SC) Marine Corps E-4 died in a motorcycle mishap when he was struck head on by another vehicle.

27 Dec 2012: (Wichita, KS) Marine Corps E-3 passenger died in a single-vehicle mishap after the vehicle hit a ditch, went airborne and overturned.

24 Dec 2012: (Pagat Caves, Guam) Navy E-3 drowned while swimming.

19 Dec 2012: (Escondido, CA) Marine Corps E-5 motorcyclist died in a multi-vehicle mishap.

01 Dec 2012: (Mission Bay, CA) Marine Corps E-3 died in a recreational diving mishap.


Sources: Department of Defense, Naval Safety Center, Air Force Safety Center, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.

Expanded role of women in combat: complete DoD statement

Pfc. Samone Molock, a Soldier with the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion, listens to Afghan women and children during a women's meeting at the Spin Boldak District Center, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Dec. 7, 2012. The meeting, led by female Afghan leaders from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, non-government organizations and other local professional women, was held in conjunction with the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign which runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10. Women discussed topics such women's rights, education, access to medical care and hygiene. This week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced approval for expanded roles of women in combat. Photo by 1st Lt. Veronica Aguila, 117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (Hawaii) / Released

Below is the full text of the Department of Defense statement released this morning regarding approval to expand the role of women in combat.

At the end of the release is a direct link to the Joint Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Women in Service Review Memorandum signed today by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Also linked is the Chairman’s Women in Service Review Memorandum, which was written to Panetta by Dempsey on January 9, 2013 and outlines implementation plans.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 037-13
January 24, 2013
Defense Department Rescinds Direct Combat Exclusion Rule; Services to Expand Integration of Women into Previously Restricted Occupations and Units

Today, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey announced the rescission the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women and that the Department of Defense plans to remove gender-based barriers to service.

“Women have shown great courage and sacrifice on and off the battlefield, contributed in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission and proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles,” Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said. “The Department’s goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender.”

Today, women make up approximately 15 percent, or nearly 202,400, of the U.S. military’s 1.4 million active personnel.  Over the course of the past decade, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today’s announcement follows an extensive review by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who unanimously concluded that now is the time to move forward with the full intent to integrate women into occupational fields to the maximum extent possible.  It builds on a February 2012 decision to open more than 14,000 additional positions to women by rescinding the co-location restriction and allowing women to be assigned to select positions in ground combat units at the battalion level.

“The Joint Chiefs share common cause on the need to start doing this now and to doing this right.  We are committed to a purposeful and principled approach,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

The Department of Defense is determined to successfully integrate women into the remaining restricted occupational fields within our military, while adhering to the following guiding principles developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

  • Ensuring the success of our nation’s warfighting forces by preserving unit readiness, cohesion, and morale.
  • Ensuring all service men and women are given the opportunity to succeed and are set up for success with viable career paths.
  • Retaining the trust and confidence of the American people to defend this nation by promoting policies that maintain the best quality and most qualified people.
  • Validating occupational performance standards, both physical and mental, for all military occupational specialties (MOS), specifically those that remain closed to women.  Eligibility for training and development within designated occupational fields should consist of qualitative and quantifiable standards reflecting the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for each occupation.  For occupational specialties open to women, the occupational performance standards must be gender-neutral as required by Public Law 103-160, Section 542 (1993).
  • Ensuring that a sufficient cadre of midgrade/senior women enlisted and officers are assigned to commands at the point of introduction to ensure success in the long run.  This may require an adjustment to recruiting efforts, assignment processes, and personnel policies.  Assimilation of women into heretofore “closed units” will be informed by continual in-stride assessments and pilot efforts.

Using these guiding principles, positions will be opened to women following service reviews and the congressional notification procedures established by law.  Secretary Panetta directed the military departments to submit detailed plans by May 15, 2013, for the implementation of this change, and to move ahead expeditiously to integrate women into previously closed positions.  The secretary’s direction is for this process to be complete by Jan. 1, 2016.

The Joint Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Women in Service Review Memorandum can be viewed at:  http://www.defense.gov/news/WISRJointMemo.pdf 

The Chairman’s Women in Service Review Memorandum can be viewed at: http://www.defense.gov/news/WISRImplementationPlanMemo.pdf


–end of release–

 

‘Health Matters’ in the Army, too

Soldiers in basic combat training with 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment eat breakfast in a dining facility at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri on Sept. 26, 2012. Red, yellow, and green labels indicating a food's nutritional value are posted over menu items in the dining facility serving lines at Army installations where new soldiers are trained. Photo by Crystal Chatham

Healthy eating and good food choices were the orders of the day at the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters 2013 conference today in La Quinta.

While food prepared for service members was not on the conference agenda, it is worth taking a look at since dining hall chow has gotten a makeover in the last two years.

In February 2011, the U.S. Army launched the Soldier Fueling Initiative with dining facility (DFAC) menu makeovers and visual cues targeted at new recruits.

As the Army’s newest soldiers methodically and quickly move through the serving lines they have several meal options to put on their plates.

Now, those options are color coded.

Yellow and red labels show which breakfast choices are somewhat nutritious or performance limiting along an Army breakfast chow line at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri on Sept. 26, 2012. Photo by Crystal Chatham

Called the “Go for Green” program, small rectangular labels in red, yellow, and green are positioned on the glass over entrees, side dishes, and vegetables. Each color indicates how beneficial the food is for the body.

Coded just like a stop light, yellow labels mean caution: somewhat healthy foods ahead and red ones warn a soldier of an impending unhealthy choice. Green labels are reserved for healthy foods only and tagged as high performance foods.

After a test run at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the program launched at the Army’s four other posts which host Basic Combat Training for brand new soldiers. Those posts include Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Sill in Oklahoma, and Fort Knox in Kentucky.

During three days eating side-by-side with new soldiers in various dining facilities at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri last fall, I found my own habits evolve meal after meal. The first meal or two I reached for comfort food taking no notice of the labels. After asking what the colored labels were all about, I saw myself looking for more “green” foods – and, truth be told, I’m generally a fast food journalist and red-label junkie. The red-yellow-green system was user friendly, easy to understand, and required no culinary expertise to master.

Color-coding food choices in the dining facilities is just one aspect of a multi-pronged approach the Army is taking to build healthier soldiers. A new Sports Performance Nutrition block of training is now included in soldiers’ basic combat training curriculum.

The program is reaching more of the Army now, too. In a December 27, 2012 story by the Army News Service, Lt. Col. Sonya J. Cable, chief, Human Dimensions Division, Military Training Center of Excellence, cited that the Soldier Fueling Initiative is now implemented across 60% of Army posts, including many overseas.

Military deaths: November 28 – December 5, 2012

The Department of Defense announced the following military casualties from November 28 – December 5, 2012. All were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

• Sgt. 1st Class. Darren M. Linde, 41, of Sidney, Mont. and Spc. Tyler J. Orgaard, 20, of Bismarck, N.D. died Monday, Dec. 3, in Lashkar Gah City, Helmand province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.  They were assigned to the 818th Engineer Company, 164th Engineer Battalion, Williston, N.D. as part of the North Dakota National Guard.

• Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Denier, 26, of Mechanicville, N.Y., died Sunday, Dec. 2, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  Denier was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

As of 10 a.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 5, U.S. casualties during Operation Enduring Freedom totaled 2,156 including 2,035 in Afghanistan, 118 in other locations, and 3 DoD civilians. 18,109 military personnel have been wounded in action which is an increase of 38 WIA from statistics cited in The Debrief’s previous casualties post last on Wednesday, November 28.

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A Coast Guard member was killed in action this week off the coast of California. The Coast Guard is one of the five U.S. Armed Services, but falls under the primary jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security rather than the Department of Defense.

• Coast Guard Chief Boatswains Mate Terrell Horne III, 34, of Redondo Beach, CA., died Dec. 2, during a counter-drug operation near Santa Cruz Island, Calif. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said in a statement Monday, “BMC Horne and his fellow crew members of the USCG Cutter Halibut were engaged in an at-sea interdiction when they came under threat by a small vessel that rammed their small boat.  This tragedy reminds us of the dangers our men and women in uniform face every day, and the great risks they willingly take, as they protect our nation.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of BMC Horne and all of our Coast Guard personnel at this difficult time.”

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A memorial service was held Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 at Fort Leonard Wood, MO., for Tygo, a bomb-sniffing military working dog, who was killed Nov. 10 in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device. Tygo was trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and then transferred to Fort Leonard Wood before deployment to Afghanistan. His handler spoke at the service.