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Friday, August 3, 2001

Ontiveros receives award in Dallas

The American Heart Association, Texas Affiliate, honored Pecos resident Nancy Ontiveros at its recent annual meeting in Dallas.

Ontiveros received the Lillian A. Lamon Women and Minorities Volunteer Award. This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership in promoting and enhancing the relationship between the American Heart Association and the minority community.

Ontiveros has been a volunteer with the Association since 1991. She has served as President of the organization's Reeves Division and continues to serve on its board. She has led the Hispanic Initiatives Task Force for the Texas Affiliate and regularly helps with Spanish translations of their materials.

The American Heart Association spent about $337 million during fiscal year 1999-2000 on research support, public and professional education, and community programs. Nationwide, the organization has grown to include more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters who carry out its mission in communities across the country.

The association is the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, which annually kill about 950,000 Americans.

Pecos sailor participates in exercise

Fifty-nine years ago, a Japanese naval tasked group grabbed a foothold in the Coral Sea in an attempt to conquer Australia. They failed and Australia remained independent. What if another power was to attempt such an invasion? If so, the United States and Australia would be ready.

Every two years, U.S. and allied Australian and Canadian forces gather to rehearse this type of scenario in a joint military exercise called "Tandem Thrust." This year's exercise involved more than 15,000 U.S. soldiers, Sailors, airmen, Marines and 12,200 Australian personnel and 750 Canadian sailors and airmen. Among those participating was Pecos' Navy Petty Officer 3 rd Jason S. Chabarria, the 22-year-old son of Robert and Linda Chabarria of Pecos.

The exercise was designed to train the staff of Commander, U.S. 7 th Fleet located in Yokosuka, Japan, to act as a designated Pacific Command Joint Task Force headquarters. The staff of Headquarters Australian Theater the deployable Joint Force Headquarters received training in crisis action planning and the execution of emergency response operations.

The aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), along with other surface combatants and a three-ship amphibious ready group (ARG), participated in Tandem Thrust, which ran from May 10-29.

A three-year Navy veteran, Chabarria, who is a pay clerk, is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of crewmembers' Navy pay matters aboard the Kitty Hawk. This carrier's participation in a multilateral exercise was very important not just for the overall effectiveness of the mission, but also for Sailors to understand the importance role they play in a mission like this.

"I think Tandem Thrust was important because we needed to learn how to work with our allied counterparts. In this day and age, you never know when a crisis will arise where we will need to work together to accomplish the same mission," said Chabarria, a 1997 graduate of Pecos High School.

The ARG, consisting of approximately 2,100 Marines in addition to ship's company, was tasked to land Marine forces on the shores of Shoalwater Bay, which is located approximately 900 miles north of Sidney, Australia. During this operation, air squadrons provided overhead coverage and protection throughout the insertion.

The surface ships also had plenty of activities and training to keep them busy throughout the exercise.

Tandem Thrust also provided the unique opportunity for American Sailors to see how the Australians operate and for some Australian sailors to experience life on American warships.

"It's my first time on a carrier," said Australian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Peter Kelly, from Maritime Headquarters in Sydney, Australia. "One of the things that really impressed me was watching the flight deck teams and seeing how hard and long they work," he said.

Kelly, a resident of Sydney, joined Kitty Hawk in Guam and rode the ship throughout the exercise. He stood his watches in Kitty Hawk's combat information center.

This type of international cooperation is the whole idea behind these exercises. Each military force learns how other nations conduct operations, and they all learn how to work together. If a crisis should erupt in that part of the world, all three allies would be ready.

With Kitty Hawk's role in the exercise completed, Chabarria and his fellow Sailors turned south and headed for Sydney to enjoy some time off.

Alzheimer's group plans meet

Greater West Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association plans a Pecos Daytime Support Group meeting at 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Reeves County Hospital Classroom.

Topic for this meeting is "Dealing with Difficult Behavior."

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