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Joint Base Journal Vol. 5, No. 23

June 13, 2014

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J OINT B ASE A NACOSTIA-B OLLING

www.cnic.navy.mil/jbab

In memoriam to Fire Department Battalion Chief John McDonald - “Dedicated 2 Excellence”

Hundreds turn out to honor hero fallen firefighter, Navy veteran, avid motorcyclist BY JOSEPH P. CIRONE JOINT BASE ANACOSTIABOLLING PUBLIC AFFAIRS

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY LT. CMDR. JIM REMINGTON

Navy Capt. Monte L. Ulmer, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Washington, presents the American Flag to the daughter of Naval District Washington Fire and Emergency Services Battalion Chief John (“Johnny Mac”) McDonald at a memorial service held at the Quantico National Cemetery on June 6.

QUANTICO, Va. – Hundreds of firefighters from multiple states were joined by military members, police and the public honoring a fallen, lifesaving firefighter, Navy veteran and avid motorcyclist during a memorial service on June 5 and 6. Navy, Air Force and Army service members, joined firefighters from the District of Columbia (D.C.), Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina in honoring Fire Department BattalionChief John (“Johnny Mac”) McDonald. Naval District Washington (NDW) Commandant, Rear Adm. Markham K. Rich, Naval Support Activity Washington Commanding Officer, Capt. Monte L. Ulmer, Joint Base AnacostiaBolling (JBAB) Individual Mobilization Augmentee, Air Force Col. Monique Minnick, Senior Chaplain (and Navy Cmdr.) Wesley Sloat and JBAB Operations Officer, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Rickett, were among the military members present. Members of the public lined streets, some saluting or holding their hand over their heart, as the long

funeral procession, consisting of many dozens of fire trucks, made its way from the church service in Stafford, Virginia to Quantico National Cemetery, where military honors and McDonald’s internment concluded the two-day memorial service. A large motorcycle escort, consisting of Department of Defense police, as well as police from Stafford County and Prince William County, Virginia, and members of the Fire and Iron Motorcycle Club led the procession. McDonald served as vice president of the Northern Virginia chapter of the motorcycle club, which consists of firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics who are also motorcyclists. His motorcycle, club vest and helmet were on display at his viewing. McDonald, 54, passed away while on duty at the JBAB-based NDW Fire and Emergency Services Central Battalion in the early morning on May 30. Before becoming a paid firefighter with NDW in July

See FUNERAL, Page 3

Airmen ushered into “brotherhood of the Air Force Honor Guard” BY ROBERT W. MITCHELL JOINT BASE ANACOSTIABOLLING PUBLIC AFFAIRS

The Air Force welcomed its newest members to its Honor Guard in a graduation ceremony held at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB). Thirteen Airmen received their certificates and coins from Air Force Lt. Col. Timothy Thurston and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Meshelle Dyer. Speaking before a crowd of military families and friends, Thurston, who is the honor guard commander, said the Airmen of Class 2014-C endured a long and

hard journey on their way to graduation day. He said most of the students came to the eightweek honor guard technical training program immediately after completing eight and a half weeks of basic training. He applauded their endurance and commitment and welcomed them to “the brotherhood of the United States Air Force Honor Guard.” Airman 1st Class Shawn Skeete-Foster, a Spanaway, Wash.-native, was excited to have made it to graduation. “I feel great about graduating. I went through two [honor guard technical training] classes because, I guess I wasn’t perfect,” he

said. “This is really a boost to my morale and my confidence.” Skeete-Foster, who had been selected for the honor guard right after basic training, said the discipline and demands of the course is comparatively tougher than what he had experienced in basic. “I wish basic was more like this. This [training] involves more physical fitness, more attention-to-detail, more of a sense of urgency in everything you do,” he said. Airman 1st Class Oleg Lysenko, a native of Bartlett, Ill.,

See HONOR, Page 2

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY ROBERT W. MITCHELL

Air Force Honor Guard graduates at the June 4 commencement ceremony at the Honor Guard Ceremonial Hall at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.


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Bittersweet departure for public works department officer at Joint Base BY ROBERT W. MITCHELL JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING PUBLIC AFFAIRS

With sights set on taking her military career up to the highest levels of the federal government, Public Works Officer Air Force Lt. Col. Kristen Bakotic expressed appreciation and gratitude for the professional and dedicated people team she worked with during her tenure at Joint Base AnacostiaBolling (JBAB). Bakotic, who has been recently selected to work at the White House, shared her thoughts with Public Works Department (PWD) employees and military and civilian leaders at the PWD annual picnic/mixer. “It’s been an honor and privilege to be the public works officer and to work and serve with each and every one of you,” she said gesturing toward the crowd seated at the pavilion. One of the best features about being the public works officer at JBAB, Bakotic says, is having the opportunity to not only work with enthusiastic people who take pride in their work, but also getting to know them on a personal level. “Working with folks like you each and every day, and getting to know folks’ families and seeing people working hard every day, serving their country in such a professional manner, I am going to miss that, terribly,” she continued. Joint Base Commander Navy Capt. Frank Mays thanked Bakotic for her service and overall contributions to the installation. “Thank you, Lt. Col. Bakotic, for all of your efforts over the last 10

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had a similar view of the training he received over the past several weeks. “It was harder than basic, I think. It had more discipline and everything had to be near perfect. There was no room for error and everything was held to a higher standard,” he said. Lysenko said the physical fitness seemed to be a never-ending training event. “It was constant physical training. It felt like basic was easier than this,” he said. Fourteen days into the course, the students ran an eight-mile course that involved running past several historic landmarks in Washington, D.C., according to Skeete-Foster. “We have a monument run in the second week. We run from the Pentagon parking lot across the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial and then to the Washington Monument. After we reach the monument, we turn around and run back to the Pentagon parking lot along the same route,” he said. At the graduation ceremony, four Airmen of Class 2014-C were recognized for their exemplary performance.

A banner bids farewell to outgoing Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) Public Works Department Officer Air Force Lt. Col. Kristen Bakotic. months. I know that your relief is right around the corner. We wish you could stick around longer, but the Air Force and the U.S. Government has bigger and better plans for you. Thanks for all of your efforts,” Mays said. The PWD deputy director Andy Holland also recognized the impact Bakotic’s leadership has had within the department since she began working at the department last year. “She has been one of the best bosses that I have had in my 20-plus-years career, and we are all going to miss her,” Holland said. Bakotic is set to start her new position later this month. And while she is looking forward to taking her vast experience in military leadership to the executive branch of government,

Airman 1st Class Damon Nin, a native of Clearwater, Fla., and Lysenko both received the Top Gun award for the highest drill evaluation scores. Airman Nicholas Ballesteros, a native of Kalispell, Mont. received the Honor Graduate Award for being the overall best honor guardsmen, and Airman 1st Class Korban Bradshaw, a native of New Milford, Conn. received the Physical Fitness Excellence award for consistently attaining high scores in all of his physical fitness evaluations. “I was really excited about winning the best drill award,” Nin said. The drill evaluations, according to Nin, were based on the precision and crispness of the movements through a combination of stationary and basic drill movements using the M-14 rifle. According to Thurston, the mission of the honor guard is to represent Airmen to the American public and to the world. The training conducted during the course ensures a legacy of Airmen will continue to promote the mission, protect the standards, perfect the image and promote the heritage of the honor guard, he said. The ceremony was held on the 70th anniversary of Operation Overlord also known as D-Day, the largest amphibious military operation in history, Thurston

she did, however, express a deep appreciation for the military and civilian personnel she has come to know during her tenure at JBAB. “It is kind of bittersweet leaving JBAB. Having a position where I can really focus on folks around me, that’s what drives me. It has really been a great opportunity to be a public works officer and to be the department head and have so many great folks working for you,” Bakotic said. Influential people that have affected Bakotic’s leadership extend beyond JBAB, she explained. “I have learned a lot and working with my other colleagues at the Washington Navy Yard. I have made some friends there and I hope they will be friends for life,” she said. Bakotic appreciated the opportunity to glean professional insight

U.S. NAVY PHOTOS BY ROBERT W. MITCHELL

Outgoing Public Works Department (PWD) Officer Air Force Lt. Col. Kristen Bakotic recognized for her work at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB). from another military branch due to her unique position. “Serving the Navy as an Air Force public works department head has been very eye-opening. I have had some great Skippers that have taught me a lot. They’ve taught me not only about the Navy,

but about leadership and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them,” Bakotic said. The JBAB public works officer position is primarily an “engineering job,” according to Bakotic. “In any job, you have the opportunity to learn,” she said.

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY ROBERT W. MITCHELL

Air Force Honor Guard Commander Lt. Col. Timothy Thurston II delivers remarks at the graduation ceremony of Class 2014-C held at the Honor Guard Ceremonial Hall at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. pointed out. He said June 6, 1944 is an important day in history recognized to remember the cost of freedom and to remember the sacrifices that are necessary to preserve the American way of life.

The ceremony’s guest speaker, Air Force Brig. Gen. James E. McClain, commander of the Air Force Medical Support Agency applauded the graduates and encouraged the Airmen to find

meaningful purpose in all they do. He said purpose will provide the Airmen with the push they need to press on when faced with the challenges of life.


Joint Base Journal

Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling

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1984, McDonald began his firefighting career in 1974, while still a teenager, as a volunteer with the Stafford Volunteer Fire Department (SVFD) in Stafford, Virginia. McDonald is credited with the saving of at least seven lives during his career and mentored many rookie firefighters. McDonald served four years in the U.S. Navy as a boatswain’s mate, most of which was aboard the destroyer USS Caron (DD970), during which time he earned a sea service deployment award. He is survived by a wife and two children.

Friend, mentor, hero, servant of God

During the service, members of the two fire departments, friends and family, eulogized McDonald. NDW Fire Chief Charles P. Miedzinski, told the audience about the lives of people that McDonald and the crew of JBABbased Tower Ladder 21 saved from a burning apartment building in Oxon Hill, Maryland, a community located just outside of the nation’s capital, as just one example of McDonald’s lifesaving efforts. SVFD Fire Chief Dave Luckett, related how McDonald served as a mentor to many rookie firefighters and helped them in many ways, professionally and personally. “He took me under his wing when I joined the fire department at age 15. He taught me and even helped me get a firefighting job at the Quantico Marine Corps Base,” Luckett said. Miedzinski added, “He was not just a Battalion Chief, he was a friend to all firefighters – at work and at home. He always took good care of his firefighters.” Luckett recalled, “He made us feel good as soon as he walked into a room. He took the time to teach us the right way to do things and pushed us to always be the best.” While McDonald was the fire chief at SVFD, which is also known as Stafford County Fire and Rescue Company 2, the department’s motto, “Committed 2 Excellence” was coined, according to firefighter and SVFD president, Curt Avis. As a lasting tribute to McDon-

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY JOSEPH P. CIRONE

A group of teens salute the funeral procession of Fire Department Battalion Chief John (“Johnny Mac”) McDonald. Hundreds of firefighters from multiple states were joined by military members, police and the public honoring McDonald, 54, a Navy veteran and a life member, volunteer firefighter and former fire chief of the Stafford (Virginia) Volunteer Fire Department, a volunteer Battalion Chief with the Stafford County (Virginia) Fire and Rescue Department and a paid firefighter and Battalion Chief with the Naval District Washington Fire and Emergency Services. McDonald passed while on duty at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB), where he served as a Fire Battalion Chief at the JBAB-based Central Battalion, on May 30. ald, his name and chief’s title was painted on the passenger doors of fire engines at JBAB and the adjacent Naval Research Laboratory, for all firefighters entering the trucks to see, each and every time they enter to perform their duties. With his volunteerism, lifesaving and his endless quest to help others in need, McDonald was a hero to many people, but most of all to his family. “During snowstorms, we’d go out in his four wheeled drive truck, looking for people stuck in the snow, to help them in a goodwill, genuine, heartfelt gesture,” McDonald’s daughter, Ashley, said. His giving and helping nature will live on, Ashley reported. The donation of his bones and tissue will continue his legacy of helping others in need, she said. While helping others was his passion; leading and helping his family was his love. NDW Acting Deputy Fire Chief Mike Murray, read a letter from one of McDonald’s close friends. The friend called McDonald, “Hard working and hard playing.” The friend’s letter emphasized McDonald’s love for his family. “His accomplishments were his

Joint Base Journal JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING WASHINGTON, D.C. PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE: PHONE: 202-767-4781 EMAIL: JOSEPH.CIRONE@NAVY.MIL This commercial enterprise Navy newspaper is an authorized publication for members of the U.S. military services, retirees, DoD civilians and their family members. Contents of Joint Base Journal do not necessarily reflect the official views of the U.S. government, Department of Defense, U.S. Navy or U.S. Air Force and does not imply endorsement thereof. The appearance of advertising in this publication, including inserts or supplements, does not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense, the Navy, Air Force, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling or Comprint

family,” the friend wrote. “There was nothing dad wouldn’t do for our family,” McDonald’s daughter, Katie, remembered. He was also a God-loving man, dedicating his life along with his family to Jesus Christ, she said. A slide show, featuring many photos, spanning much of McDonald’s life and set to county and western music, including the Garth Brooks’ song, “Friends in low places,” brought both smiles to faces and tears to eyes as fellow firefighters, friends and family viewed and recalled many of the scenes. Miedzinski and Luckett presented McDonald’s family with the folded and cased flags of both fire departments. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) awarded McDonald its Line of Duty Death medal. McDonald is the 2,294thIAFF member to fall in the line of duty. Closing the church service, a firefighter played out the longtime firefighting tradition of striking a fire bell with the traditional code and bell pattern of 5-5-5; three separate batches of five strikes of the bell, signifying the last alarm for McDonald.

Following the church service, McDonald’s remains, contained in an urn, were driven to the cemetery on NDW Tower Ladder 21, by the same firefighter that drove McDonald on a fire truck, after McDonald was promoted to serve as the fire captain of that fire company, before being promoted to battalion chief.

Internment

Upon arrival at the cemetery, Luckett and Miedzinski carried McDonald’s remains and a U.S. Flag from the fire truck and turned them over to a lead petty officer from the JBAB-based U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, following an exchange of salutes between the fire chiefs and the Sailors. The handoff signified the transition between the full honors fire department funeral to the execution of a precision military funeral and internment at a national cemetery for Veterans. A Navy Band bugler played Taps and Navy Ceremonial Guardsmen rendered honors, including a gun salute, before presenting a U.S. Flag, folded by the Sailors, to the family. Miedzinski presented the family with McDonald’s Battalion

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Chief’s fire helmet, well scarred by the many fires the he helped fight during his time as a chief. During the ceremonies, hundreds of firefighters stood at attention, saluted and looked like a sea of blue, just as they had during the church service, earlier. The words of a pastor, uttered during the church service, remained fresh in the minds of those at the cemetery. “Johnny is not dead, he’s been promoted to paradise. This is a time to celebrate that he lived, not that he died. This is not the end, but rather, a new beginning.” “Johnny Mac lived well; loved well and laughed well. He is not dead, for the best is yet to come,” the pastor stated. Likewise, the words contained in the friend’s letter read by Murray, included, “You can shed tears because he is gone or you can smile because he lived.” Similarly, a letter read on behalf of McDonald’s oldest brother, Rod, encouraged the crowd to “Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms.” A Stafford County Fire and Rescue dispatcher transmitted a last call voice alarm over the fire department radio in honor of McDonald and concluded the dispatch with the statement, “He will be missed.” D.C. Fire Department’s Pipe Band played Amazing Grace as the memorial service came to an end. “Remember the good times, his smiles; and remember him often,” daughter Ashley suggested. She continued, “I hope you will take the lessons of my dad’s life; what he taught you, and do as he did, helping others in any way that you can. Let his legacy live forever,” “Do for others as he did for you. Teach others as he taught you,” daughter Katie concluded. “He was a valuable asset at JBAB. His loss will certainly impact all of us. We will not soon forget his long and dedicated service and fellowship,” JBAB Commander Navy Capt. Frank Mays said earlier. Mays’ statements reflect those of hundreds of other people who knew, personally interacted or worked with, were taught by or benefitted from McDonald’s volunteerism, professionalism, integrity, love, friendship or generosity.

Capt. Frank Mays, USN

Col. Michael E. Saunders, USAF

Joseph P. Cirone

CMSgt Richard J. Simonsen Jr., USAF

Commander

Public Affairs Officer 202-404-7206

Vice Commander

Senior Enlisted Leader

Lt. Cmdr. Jim Remington, USN Public Affairs Projects

JOINT BASE JOURNAL Robert W. Mitchell Photojournalist

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COMPRINT MILITARY PUBLICATIONS Maxine Minar President John Rives Publisher Deirdre Parry Copy/Layout Editor


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John “Johnny Mac” McDonald (Aug. 31, 1959 -May 30, 2014)

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U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY LT. CMDR. JIM REMINGTON

Naval District Washington Fire and Emergency Service Chief Charles P. Miedzinski presents Fire Department Battalion Chief John (“Johnny Mac”) McDonald’s fire helmet to his wife while their daughter provides comfort.

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY LT. CMDR. JIM REMINGTON

U.S. NAVY PHOTOS BY JOSEPH P. CIRONE

U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard members stand ready to fire a gun salute at the memorial service in honor of Fire Department Battalion Chief John (“Johnny Mac”) McDonald.

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY LT. CMDR. JIM REMINGTON

A firefighter comforts a co-worker during the memorial service for Fire Department Battalion Chief John (“Johnny Mac”) McDonald.

U.S. NAVY PHOTOS BY JOSEPH P. CIRONE


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Fair winds and following seas, Shipmate - You will be missed!

Firefighters salute at the memorial service held in honor of Fire Department Battalion Chief John (“Johnny Mac”) McDonald at a memorial service.

Rockville

T6618000

1042349

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY LT. CMDR. JIM REMINGTON


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