Military News

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Military Books

Military-Writers.com is pleased to announce the addition of these servicemembers to the website:

Colonel Russell O. Fudge, USA (ret.).
Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Stockdell, USAF (ret.)
Major Robert V. Thompson, USAF (ret.)
Major Raymond C. Heimbuch, USAF (ret.)
Colonel R. L. Upchurch, USMC (ret.)
Major Robert Taubert, USMC (ret.)
Captain William Burgett, USN (ret.)
Captain A. Jay Cristol, USN (ret.)
Commander Michael K. Bohn, USN (ret.)
Colonel Robert G. Certain, USAF (ret.)
Colonel William A. Verkest, USAF (ret.)
Lt. Colonel Henry Krawiec, USAF (ret.)
Lt. Colonel Hugo W. Matson, USA (ret.)
Colonel Harold B. Birch, USA (ret.)
Brigadier General Michael Wayne Hall, USA (ret.)

MORE INFORMATION
Military Books

Friday, November 28, 2008

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 28, 2008

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY CONTRACT AWARD

Raytheon Technical Services Co., LLC, Mass., is being awarded a $13,907,542 modification to continue the effort to transition the Wide-body Airborne Sensor Platform from Initial Operating Capability to Full Operating Capability. Work will be performed at the contractor's facility and its subcontractor, Aeroframe Services LLC facility in Lake Charles, La. The contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This is a sole source contract modification. The Missile Defense Agency, Washington, D.C. is the contracting activity (HQ0006-08-C-0009). The period of performance is from November 2008 through December 2009. The contract will be incrementally funded with $1,550,000 at time of award. Both FY08 and FY09 research, development, test and evaluation funds will be used.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

East Coast Fruit Co.*, Savannah, Ga., is being awarded a maximum $7,200,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, total set aside contract for full-line fresh fruit and vegetable support. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. This proposal was originally Web solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is May 29, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM300-08-D-P003).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nominations Open for Outstanding Employers of Guardsmen, Reservists

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve has opened nominations for its 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. National Guardsmen, reservists and their families have until Jan. 19 to nominate employers they believe have gone above and beyond requirements in their support of
military employees.

"In the past, recipients of the Freedom Award have provided full salary, continuation of benefits, or care packages -- even family support -- to employees fulfilling their
military obligation," said Beth Sherman, an ESGR spokeswoman.

Sherman noted that while some past Freedom Award winners have been large corporations, even small companies have proven to be especially supportive of their reserve-component employees.

"This year for example, we had Robinson Transport, ... a small, family-owned business out of Utah," she said. "They had, out of their 150 employees, five deployed."

The company purchased each of the deployed employees a laptop
computer for use while they were gone and contributed $5,000 so they could upgrade their Internet connections at home. They even provided $1,000 a month to supplement their deployed employees' household incomes for the duration of their deployments.

"They also provided full life, health, and dental insurance benefits and kept everything going for them to be able to go out and do their job without having to worry about their family or their bills back home," Sherman said. "That's kind of above and beyond ... what is required by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act."

Robinson Transport was one of 2,199 employers nominated for the 2008 awards. That number represents a 97 percent increase over the number of nominations in 2007, Sherman said. Since nominations for the 2009 awards opened Nov. 3, 628 nominations have come in, putting ESGR on track to surpass last year's record number.

Recipients of the 2009 award will be announced in the spring and honored during the 14th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony Sept. 17 in Washington.

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award was established in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support.

ESGR, a Defense Department agency, was established in 1972 with a mission of gaining and maintaining support for Guardsmen and reservists by recognizing outstanding support, increasing the awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through media.

More information about the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, as well as nomination forms, can be found at http://www.FreedomAward.mil.

National Resource Directory Helps Wounded Warriors

By Jamie Findlater
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - A Web-based network of support for wounded warriors, veterans and their families, as well as the families of the fallen, has sprung from a collaborative effort by the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs. The National Resource Directory will include information on care coordinators, health care providers and support partners, Dr. Linda Davis, deputy undersecretary of defense for
military community and family policy, said during an "ASY Live" interview today on BlogTalkRadio.com.

"Working with wounded ill and injured servicemembers and their families, there [are] many resources and individuals available to help them," Davis said. "We needed one source that can tell us where everyone in the country is who wants to help our wounded warriors and their families."

The directory is part of a larger effort by the departments to improve wounded warrior care. Davis said research showed that in the
military hospital alone, servicemembers received offers from 35 people for 38 types of support.

"While the families did appreciate that, they also found it confusing," she said. "They didn't know who to call at the right time in the right place for the right service. The family oftentimes becomes the primary caregiver 24/7/365, and that is extremely stressful, both physically and emotionally."

To help them navigate the system, servicemembers and their families are assigned a care coordinator who ensures the recovery team works together jointly and collaboratively. Each recovering servicemember has an individualized recovery plan with personal and professional goals.

Previously, Davis said, emphasis had been placed on recovery in the hospital. These plans focus more on what happens after they leave, she explained.

"Our challenge was to get people to not only survive, but to thrive in their new conditions that will be facing them for the rest of their lives," she said. "We wanted to focus more on community reintegration, and to do that, we needed even more partners to be engaged."

To facilitate the coordination of these plans and ensure a smooth community reintegration, the directory is inter-linked to these personalized online plans to facilitate accessibility to available resources.

"Say you are populating the plan and the servicemember is talking about returning to Aurora, Kan., and needs housing adaptation and special tutoring for their autistic special needs child," Davis said. "You can go into the directory and contact both the governmental and nongovernmental organizations in and around Aurora and line up appointments and personnel to be of support way before the servicemember goes back to Aurora."

Davis noted that while the federal government has a lot of benefits and services available to servicemembers, it also is important to take state, county and locality benefits into consideration.

"If you are choosing where to relocate your family, you may be interested to know that a certain township has a benefit for veterans," she said.

The relevance of information in the National Resource Directory goes far beyond solely wounded illness, injury, and recovery services, Davis said. Many of the sections are very useful to any servicemember and their family, she noted.

"We have already had several other programs wanting to connect and use the directory, especially in the area of benefits and compensation," Davis said. "Here, you will find not only what's available through the DoD Disability Evaluation System and the VA disability compensation programs, but things like Social Security benefits, life insurance and video libraries. ... We have sections on how to file claims, on unemployment benefits, and benefits for retirees."

In addition to the directory's Web site -- http://www.nationalresourcedirectory.org -- a toll-free phone number, 800-342-9647, is available.

The Web site is expanding, Davis said, and visitors can suggest additional programs by clicking on "Suggest a Resource."

Launched Nov. 17, the site already has received a lot of positive feedback, she said.

"We had a very enthusiastic response in San Diego when we started the site," Davis said. "We found that a lot of organizations feel the need for this, and they have been trying to develop one on their own. In fact, we were excited today to find that there was a story of the directory being covered in the Netherlands.

"We have servicemembers throughout the nation and around the world and we hope that this directory can serve as a global tool for anyone supporting wounded servicemembers and their families."

(Jamie Findlater works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Department of Defense Information Assurance Leader Wins Prestigious Executive Alliance Award

On Nov. 17, 2008, the Executive Alliance awarded Robert Lentz, deputy assistant secretary of defense for information and identity assurance (DASD-IIA) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Networks and Information Integration /Chief Information Office, its "Government Information Security Executive of the Year" award for North America. In addition, the DoD Data At Rest Tiger Team (DARTT), an intergovernmental program management office within the Defense-wide Information Assurance Program, that reports to the DASD-IIA, was one of three finalists for the "Government Information Security Project of the Year" award for North America. The winner in the government category was the Office of Management and Budget.

"I am honored to receive this prestigious award," said Lentz. "The competition was intense and included many of the community's most senior and highly qualified information assurance and computer network defense professionals. I am particularly proud of the DASD-IIA organization and the DARTT and appreciate the attention Executive Alliance pays to information security programs, initiatives and leaders across government, commercial and academic organizations."

More than 50 industry and government leaders and project teams were honored in the areas of academic, government and commercial for their achievements in information security. The Information Security Executive and Project of the Year awards are given to deserving candidates for making positive contributions to their organizations through risk management, data asset protection, regulatory compliance, privacy and information security, according to the Executive Alliance. The Executive Alliance is a worldwide organization recognized for creating leadership recognition forums that honor and celebrate outstanding achievements of executives in different industries.

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 26, 2008

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a $500,000,000 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00019-05-C-0030) to provide additional funds for engineering development efforts in support of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) of the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (28 percent); Owego, N.Y. (26 percent); Yeovil, United Kingdom (20 percent); Cascina Costa, Italy (15 percent); Rolling Meadows, Ill. (3 percent); Lynn, Mass (3 percent); Clifton, N.J. (2 percent);
Denton, Texas (1 percent); Grand Rapids, Mich. (1 percent); and Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.

BREMCOR (a joint venture), Arlington, Va., is being awarded a $15,054,841 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N62470-06-D-4611) to exercise Option 2 for Base Support Services at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $154,335,744. Work will be performed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and this option period is expected to be completed by November 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Impact Technologies LLC*, Rochester, N.Y., is being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract not-to-exceed $9,960,000, for a Phase III Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) effort under Topic N02-167 entitled "Intelligent Embedded Diagnostic System for Future Avionic Systems." The objective of the project is for the continued development of a "System of Systems" approach to effectively provide a continuous and active systems engineering feedback loop capability by integrating a diagnostic capability at the second or off-aircraft level of repair [(e.g. Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS)/Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD)]. Work will be performed Rochester, N.Y. (96 percent); Patuxent River, Md. (1 percent); San Diego, Calif. (1 percent); Norfolk, Va. (1 percent); and Jacksonville, Fla. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $1,257,361will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using SBIR program solicitation under Topic N02-167 and 20 offers were received. The Naval Air Systems Command, Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-09-D-0001).

BAE Systems Technologies, Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $10,803,087 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-07-C-0019) to exercise an option for engineering and technical products and services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems. The estimated level of effort for this option is 130,000 man-hours. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md. (80 percent), San Diego, Calif. (10 percent), and various shipboard locations (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $750,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $9,330,592 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, time and materials contract for an estimated 90,720 man-hours of engineering technical services for the maintenance of the E-2C airframe, the EA-6B airframe, and the Common Automated Test Equipment system, as required by the Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Service Command (NATEC), San Diego, Calif. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Wash. (28 percent); NAS Point Mugu, Calif. (28 percent); Naval Air Facility (NAF) Washington, D.C. (21percent);
Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, N.C. (16 percent); and NAS Norfolk, Va. (7 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-D-0003).

Red Tail Hawk Corp.*, Ithaca, N. Y., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $9,300,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for a Phase III Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program under Topic N05-095, entitled "Talk Through Audio Technologies for
Navy Hearing Protection Devices." The contractor will provide research and development for a hearing protection system for the Department of Defense. This system will be used in high noise environments, such as on flight decks, and will provide the user with increased face-to-face communication intelligibility, improved situational awareness, and a system that will monitor daily noise exposure levels. Work will be performed in Ithaca, N.Y. and is expected to be completed in December 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $496,572 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using SBIR Program Solicitation under Topic N05-095 and 20 offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J. is the contracting activity (N68335-09-D-0005).

Coffman Specialties, Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $7,325,000 for firm-fixed price task order #0008 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N68711-04-D-3036) for repair of the Section 300 Ramp, Phases 9 and 11, at Travis
Air Force Base. Work will be performed in Fairfield, Calif., and is expected to be completed by November 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Resident Officer in Charge of Construction, Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, Calif., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Qatar Fuel (WOQOD), Doha, Qatar, is being awarded a maximum $405,688,867 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for gasoline and diesel fuel. Other locations of performance same. Using service is
Air Force. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-1033).

Bethel Industries, Inc.*,
Jersey City, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $21,467,505 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity contract for Navy Task Force Working/Utility Uniform blouse and trousers. Other locations of performance are in New Jersey, Mississippi and Florida. Using service is Navy. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 15 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising first option period. The date of performance completion is November 29, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa.
(SPM1C1-08-D-1028).

Crowley Marine Services, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, is being awarded a maximum $15,617,903 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel delivery. Other location of performance is Alaska. Using services are Army,
Air Force and Federal Civilian Agencies. There are an unknown number of proposals originally solicited with six responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2011. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-08-D-1009).

SNC Telecommunication, LLC**, Comerio, Puerto Rico, is being awarded a maximum $14,968,000 firm fixed price, total set aside contract for duffel bags. Other location of performance is Cidra, Puerto Rico. Using services are Army,
Navy and Marine Corps. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is November 26, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-09-D-0014).

Golden Manufacturing Company, Inc.*, Golden, Miss., is being awarded a maximum $12,625,755 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity contract for
Navy Task Force Working/Utility Uniform blouse and trousers. Other locations of performance are in Mississippi and Florida. Using service is Navy. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 17 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 3, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-D-1030).

Q.U.I.C.K., Inc.*, Florala, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $7,095,889 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity contract for
Navy Task Force Working/Utility Uniform blouse and trousers. Other location of performance is in Taylorsville, Miss. Using service is Navy. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 17 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 3, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-08-D-1030).

Campbellsville Apparel Co. L.L.C.*, Campbellsville, Ky., is being awarded a maximum $5,700,000 firm fixed price, total set aside contract for men's navy blue undershirts. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is
Navy. This proposal was originally Gateway solicited with six responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is November 25, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-D-1026).

TXU Energy, Irving, Texas is being awarded a maximum $28,176,983 firm fixed price contract for electrical services. Other locations of performance NASA Johnson Space Center, Texas. Using services are Federal Civilian Agencies. There were originally 100 proposals solicited with nine responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is January 31, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-8010).

Air Force

The
Air Force is awarding a firm-fixed contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation, Ft. Worth, Texas for an estimated amount, Not-to-Exceed $180,000,000. This action will provide for Advance Buy for four (4) Lot 10 F-22 Aircraft with an option for Advance Buy for 16 additional Lot 1- F-22 Aircraft. At this time, $49,000,000 has been obligated. 478 AESW/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8611-09-C-2900).

The
Air Force is awarding a Firm-Fixed-Price Contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, San Diego, Calif. Not-to-Exceed $115,158,656. This effort is for 16 Global War on Terror, MQ-9 Reaper, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. At this time $52,927,284 has been obligated. 703 AESG/SYK, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028).

The
Air Force is modifying a Cost-Plus Award Fee contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif. for $70,086,735. This contract modification will provide a one-year contract extension for on-orbit operations and support to the Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System. At this time, $9,409,096 has been obligated. MILSATCOM Joint Program Contracting Office, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8808-94-C-0012, Modification P00069).

The
Air Force is modifying a Cost-Plus Incentive Fee, Firm Fixed Price contract with Thales-Raytheon Systems Company, Fullerton, Calif. for $58,809,301. This contract will complete development of The Battle Control System Increment 3. At this time $10,369,997 has been obligated. ESC/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. is the contracting activity (FA8722-05-C-0003, Modification P00029).

The Air Force is awarding a firm-fixed price contract to United Technologies Corporation, Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford, Conn. for an amount not to exceed $7,000,000. This action will provide for Advance Buy for eight Lot 10 F119-PW-100 engines. At this time, $1,000,000 has been obligated. 478 AESW/PK, Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8611-09-C-2901).

Staying Power: Marine Corps' Call Center Contacts, Assists Wounded Warriors

y Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - Wounded warriors who call into the Marine Wounded Warrior Call Center near Quantico, Va., find truth in the motto, "once a Marine, always a Marine." That's because their calls are answered by people like Alfredo Soto, who fondly remembers the camaraderie he experienced during his service in the
Marine Corps.

"We were always being told to look out for and take care of your buddy," Soto, 36, said. He is one of several veterans and military family members who work the phones at the call center in Dumfries, Va.

"I know I'm out of the
Marine Corps, but it doesn't matter; once a Marine always a Marine," said Soto, who hails from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

After he reached sergeant's rank, a bad knee persuaded Soto to obtain an honorable discharge in 2007 after serving more than eight years in the Corps. Soto has worked at the call center for about a year. His fluency in Spanish, he said, helps him connect with veterans with Hispanic roots.

The center's mission is to seek out and assist discharged Marines and sailors injured during service in the global war on terrorism, said director John Chavis, who retired in 2005 as a Marine Corps first sergeant with 24 years of service.

The center has helped more than 9,400 former Marines and sailors since it opened on Nov. 19, 2007, Chavis said. It is a component of the Wounded Warrior Regiment established in April 2007 at the
Marine Corps Base at Quantico. The center recently relocated into more spacious quarters just down the street from its original site.

The outreach program, Chavis said, assures discharged Marines and sailors "that the Marine Corps is still with them."

A Proactive Approach to Help

The center's proactive approach pays dividends, especially since Marines tend to be independent-minded, Chavis said. Some former Marines, he said, might be "less apt to ask for help" and would rather try to work out their issues on their own.

The center's customer care representatives make their phone calls from a list of servicemembers known to have been wounded and separated from the military, Chavis said. The representatives also consult a checklist, he said, that contains contact information about available medical care, counseling and other services. The center also provides information to veterans who may want to appeal their service disability ratings, he said, and to help them with job searches.

"Once we make contact with them, if we give them information or something to do, we do a three-day follow-up call," Chavis said. The center also contacts agencies that the veterans have been referred to, he said, to ensure they're being provided the services they've requested.

Many people contacted by the center have suffered significant war-related wounds, Chavis said, including severe burns and brain trauma, as well as injuries that resulted in amputations. Other veterans bear less-visible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.

Call center employees pride themselves on "ensuring that when we find an issue with an injured Marine [or sailor], we resolve his issue," Chavis said. "Our success rate, I'd say, is about 100 percent."

Injured Marines and sailors still on active duty are assisted by two wounded warrior battalions, one at Camp Lejuene, N.C., and the other at Camp Pendleton, Calif., he said.

Mary Duplechain, 36, who has worked as a customer service representative at the center for a year, knows the military's workings and its jargon. Duplechain's Marine husband is a senior noncommissioned officer. Her father, she said, retired from the
Navy after 23 years of service.

The call center can help
Marine Corps and Navy veterans secure appointments at Veterans Affairs hospitals and other facilities, Duplechain said.

"We have points of contacts, we have numbers [and] names" for available veterans' services and programs, she said.

The center also makes use of the Defense Department's America Supports You Web site, Duplechain said, which lists more than 300 nonprofit groups that assist veterans and servicemembers. The Military OneSource Web site is another good resource tool, she said.

Most veterans are grateful for the help, she added.

"That's the kind of feedback that motivates me to keep on," Duplechain said. "They are grateful and happy; they know that somebody is out there, wanting to listen to what's going on with them."

Jarrett Mattingly, 28, works as one of the call center's four shift supervisors. Like Duplechain, she is married to a Marine, a commissioned officer.

Mattingly is proud of her work in helping former Marines and sailors obtain benefits they've earned through their military service. "I feel that I'm doing something really good," she said. "It's a rewarding thing for the people who work here, and hopefully, we're providing the outcomes that that the people we're trying to help need."

The call center is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, except for federal holidays. Its toll-free phone number is 877-487-6299.

Warrior Care: Army Chief Partners with Civilian Medical Community

By D. Myles Cullen
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - As part of November's Defense Department focus on warrior care,
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and key members of his medical team met this week with independent experts in psychology, mental health and resiliency training. The experts included former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, former President of the American Psychological Association Dr. Marty Seligman, U.S. Military Academy professor Dr. Michael Matthews, and Dr. Larry Dewey, chief of psychiatry at the Boise, Idaho, Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Casey told the panel that he invited them to Washington to discuss innovative approaches in support of resilience and comprehensive fitness training for an
Army stretched and stressed by the increasing demands of an era of persistent conflict.

Carmona echoed Casey's sense of urgency about health care system sustainability, noting that "it is an unprecedented time, ... and we need to transform."

"If we don't," he said, "the [percentage of our gross national product spent on health care] is going to be as high as 20 percent."

After sharing some of their research findings, the experts engaged the Army team on ways they could work together to complement current approaches to caring for soldiers and their families. Among the ideas discussed was the role of character development in enhancing soldiers' resiliency in the face of adversity.

"We can train our soldiers to be resilient from adversity," said Seligman, who is recognized as a world leader in positive psychology.

The panel also talked about ways to help returning warriors see that they can thrive in civilian life, and they discussed the important role that local communities and individual Americans play in the lives of soldiers and their families.

"I very much appreciated the conversation, and I hope we can continue the dialogue," Casey said, adding that continued engagement with outside experts will broaden the
Army's perspective and enable it to build a better warrior health care program that might eventually serve as a model for other institutions.

(D. Myles Cullen works in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the
Army.)

DoD Joins With VA to Resolve Gulf War Veterans' Health Issues

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - The Defense Department continues to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to resolve veterans' health issues, including maladies associated with the Gulf War, a senior DoD official said here today. "We work very closely with the VA for those who've separated" from
military service, Dr. Michael E. Kilpatrick, deputy director of health affairs for force health protection and readiness, told American Forces Press Service and Pentagon Channel reporters.

"We find that the No. 1 disability that veterans have is problems with muscles, bones and joints, ankles, knees and lower back," Kilpatrick said. These types of ailments, he said, also surface as the top health issues cited by active-duty troops at sick call.

"So, there's a relationship between service and those kinds of wear-and-tear joint problems," Kilpatrick said.

Of the nearly 700,000 U.S.
military members involved in the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Kilpatrick said, about 120,000 servicemembers returning from deployment in the Middle East reported a multitude of symptoms, including depression, tiredness, muscle and joint aches and pains, memory loss, headaches, and rashes. Servicemembers suffering from one or a combination of these maladies would later be said to have "Gulf War Illness."

While 80 percent of those 120,000 veterans received a medical assessment and treatment for their ailments, about 24,000 veterans with Gulf War Illness-related symptoms remain undiagnosed, said Kilpatrick, a former Navy physician who commanded an Army/Navy infectious disease research unit during the
Gulf War.

A congressionally-mandated report titled "Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans" was released Nov. 17 and presented to Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. James Peake. The 400-plus-page report says
Gulf War Illness is a genuine medical condition. The report also notes that pyridostigmine bromide pills taken by some servicemembers in theater as a prophylactic against nerve agents and the use of pesticides to ward off desert insects are possible causes of Gulf War Illness.

Kilpatrick said he disagrees with the report's findings regarding causes of Gulf War Illness, especially the alleged role played by anti-nerve agent pills and pesticides. Previous tests had determined that the pills were safe for consumption by servicemembers, he said, and there's no medical evidence that pesticide use was responsible for Gulf War Illness-related maladies.

Other reports conducted on
Gulf War Illness over the years, he noted, failed to substantiate its existence or couldn't provide medical evidence of possible causes.

Unlike today, the U.S.
military did not conduct pre-deployment medical screenings of servicemembers during the Gulf War, Kilpatrick said. He suggested that some individuals reporting Gulf War Illness-related symptoms may have had pre-existing medical conditions before they deployed to the Gulf.

"I think if you take a look at chronic fatigue syndrome, where people are extremely tired even after a good night's sleep; they're lethargic, they may have some short-term memory loss, some muscle pain in joints," Kilpatrick said. "That's part of that syndrome."

Gulf War Illness isn't a mystery, Kilpatrick said, but it is "something we don't understand, and we need to do more work."

Defense Department Plans Travel Charge Card Switchover Nov. 30

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - The government-issued Bank of America official travel charge card that's been used for years by Defense Department
military and civilian employees will be deactivated effective Nov. 30, Defense Travel Management Office officials said. Citibank has the new contract, and eligible defense military and civilian travelers should have received their new Citibank travel charge cards in August or September. The switchover to Citibank is slated to occur at midnight the morning of Nov. 30.

"The way the new Citi card will be used is exactly the same as the current Bank of America card," Nina Richman-Loo, DTMO's chief of special programs and outreach, said during a July 10 interview. "The cardholder agreement is the same cardholder agreement that our travelers read and signed when they got their Bank of America card."

Bank of America had held DoD's official travel charge card contract for a decade.

Travelers are required to call and verify receipt of their new Citibank cards, and personal identification numbers for the new Citibank cards should have arrived on or around Nov. 1.

The Citibank card will offer some of the same features Bank of America cardholders are accustomed to, including an online payment option.

Current Bank of America government travel card holders are required to pay off any outstanding balances by Nov. 29.

Travelers with questions about the new Citibank travel charge card can ask their agency travel program managers or access DTMO's Web site for answers.

Program Plans Suicide-Prevention 'Webinar' for Grief Counselors

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - As part of an effort to educate civilian and
military health care providers about grief counseling, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, is planning a "webinar" featuring a leading expert in suicide prevention. "There are a lot of emotions that emerge during a time of grief," Jill Harrington LaMorie, TAPS education training manager, said in an "ASY Live" interview on BlogTalkRadio.com. "Sometimes, casualty assistance is very much on-the-job training, and it's important to know, 'What is grief? What is trauma? What are the emotions that a family goes through when a military death happens?'"

The webinar with Dr. David A Jobbs, co-clinical director at Catholic University, is the first in a series of professional continuing education training courses that TAPS is offering. It's scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. EST on Dec. 4.

"In the
military, deaths tend to be young and tend to be traumatic in nature and unexpected," LaMorie said. "We want to raise the understanding of those who interface with our family members as well as community health professionals. Additionally, a lot of our military members may turn to civilian outlets, and we want our community health providers to know that there are special needs encountered by our military members."

The webinar is free for active duty military members and employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs. For civilians seeking continuing education credit, a registration fee of $25 applies.

LaMorie explained that the seminars will be held during lunch time, so anyone with a computer and a telephone can access it. "Anyone who works with our
military and military surviving family members can benefit," she said, "including command leaders and military chaplains."

As a result of their participation, one continuing education credit will be granted for those who seek it. "We will also provide certificates of participation for those who need them," LaMorie added.

The webinar can be accessed at www.taps.org/professionaleducation.

"One of the key things we will address in the webinar is working with the surviving families to understand what they are facing," said Bonnie Carroll, the program's founder, who also was interviewed on ASY Live. "There is a need to understand when a certain individual needs professional attention."

TAPS is looking to continue to provide educational courses like this in the future, she said, planning for one every quarter.

TAPS is specifically geared toward providing ongoing emotional health hope and healing to all those who are grieving the loss of a loved one in
military service to America, she said. By calling a toll-free number, 800-959-TAPS (800-959-8277), grieving family members can connect to peer-based emotional support, crisis care, casualty casework assistance, and grief and trauma resources and information in local communities across the nation, Carroll said.

(Jamie Findlater works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Gates Offers Gratitude to Troops, Families in Thanksgiving Message

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates expressed his gratitude to the nation's servicemembers and their families in his annual Thanksgiving Day message.

Here is the text of the secretary's message:

"In this season of hope, I want to say how uplifting it has been to get to know so many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines during the last 24 months.

"Many of you are far from home, and I'm sure there's no place you would rather be than with your loved ones. But know that they, and all Americans, are free and secure because of what the men and women of the U.S.
military are doing all over the world – from Fort Lewis to Fort Drum, from Korea to Kosovo, from Bagram to Baghdad.

"The holidays are a time to reflect on the kind of nation we are: a nation whose character and decency are embodied in our armed forces. Those who risk life and limb every time they set foot "outside the wire." The medical personnel, engineers, and
civil affairs teams who improve the lives of thousands. And all are volunteers.

"To the families of our forces: thank you for sharing your loved ones to defend us all. To our troops: we admire your selflessness and pray for your success and safe return home. And to all: happy holidays."

Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense

Maryland Guard Takes Part in Africa Command Exercise

By Army Capt. Rick Breitenfeldt
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - For the first time since U.S. Africa Command stood up Oct. 1, the National Guard has deployed citizen-soldiers to an African nation to provide desperately needed medical care. The two-week deployment to Senegal of 18
Maryland National Guard doctors, dentists and other medical professionals was in support of a 14-nation exercise known as Flintlock 09, which concluded Nov. 20.

The
Maryland Guard medical team based at Camp Fretterd in Reisterstown, Md., was led by Army Col. (Dr.) John V. Gladden, the state surgeon, who said this type of training mission is exactly what the Guard needs to be doing.

"It teaches us how to do things outside our specialty [and] how to work together," Gladden said about his team, which treated nearly 1,600 Senegalese who visited the makeshift clinic with a variety of medical and dental issues.

Gladden, who has worked in eight previous medical exercises in his career, said the working and living conditions in Africa were the most austere he had ever seen, but that his fellow citizen-soldiers were professionals under the toughest of circumstances.

"Nobody got flustered," he said. "We knew there were limitations on what we could do to treat some of these patients, but nobody dwelled on this being a less-than-perfect outcome."

The two-week exercise was developed as a joint multinational exercise to improve information sharing at the operational and tactical levels across the Saharan region while fostering increased collaboration and coordination.

"This was a perfect fit," said
Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth McGill, the operations sergeant for the Maryland Guard medical detachment who organized the training mission.
"We had the professional talent, and they had everything we needed to do the job. This was the opportunity to take a portion of our staff [and] send them to a faraway land to do wonderful things and get more medical experience. Having an opportunity like this, even in the civilian world, is rare."

More than 200 people participated in Flintlock, a part of Africom's Operation Enduring Freedom Trans Sahara, which provides military support to State Department programs that aim to enhance regional security in Africa by also addressing economic and social development, disaster preparedness, medical emergencies and other issues.

Although this was the first such mission for the National Guard to an African country, the Guard has a long-standing State Partnership Program that was designed to build relationships with emerging democracies by pairing states and U.S. territories with more than 59 countries around the world.

"This is a terrific opportunity for our soldiers to take their military and civilian skills and apply them in a real-world training environment, while at the same time helping the people of the republic of Senegal," said
Army Brig. Gen. Alberto Jimenez, commander of the Maryland Army National Guard. "This exercise is a continuation of the ongoing efforts by the Maryland National Guard in support of emerging democracies in countries like Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, and now, Senegal."

Former Maryland assistant adjutant general
Army Maj. Gen. Edward Leacock, now deputy director of Africom's intelligence and knowledge development division, said the exercise "set a strong precedent for future U.S. Africa Command engagements where the U.S. military will actively seek the partnership of stakeholders to meet common challenges."

McGill said Gladden and his medical team's mission didn't end when the last patient left the clinic. The Guard team left behind all excess medical supplies and equipment for future use by the Senegalese government.

(
Army Capt. Rick Breitenfeldt serves with the Maryland National Guard.)

Bush Lauds Wounded Warrior for Serving Other Troops, Families

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - President George W. Bush presented a prestigious award today to a severely wounded warrior at Fort Campbell, Ky., who mentors other wounded troops and their families and volunteers at the post's Fisher House. Bush presented the President's Volunteer Service award to
Army Staff Sgt. Josh Forbess, praising him for serving his nation in uniform, and going the extra measure to serve others in need.

The president lauded Forbess during a pre-Thanksgiving Day visit to the Fort Campbell, noting that he'll greatly miss the opportunities he's had as commander in chief to spend time with those who serve the country in uniform.

Forbess is one of just five 101st Airborne Division soldiers who survived a fiery Black Hawk helicopter collision over Mosul, Iraq, in November 2003. Then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petreaus, who commanded the "Screaming Eagles" at the time, called the crash that killed 17 of his soldiers a gut-wrenching low point for the entire division.

"The loss of 17 soldiers in one night when two helicopters collided over Mosul was just a blow beyond belief," he told American Forces Press Service after the division had redeployed in March 2004. "It's like losing 17 children. It's almost beyond comprehension -- a terrible, terrible blow to the organization and the individuals in it."

Forbess, who didn't wake up from the incident until eight weeks later, lost an ear and half of his nose and received broken bones, extensive burns and smoke inhalation injuries.

The accident launched his long, painful and heroic return to recovery as he struggled to return to duty and help his fellow wounded soldiers.

As he recovered, the 29-year-old Decatur, Ill., native called the opportunity to return to active duty the driving force that kept him motivated. "I love my job. I love training soldiers," he told American Forces Press Service as he was undergoing treatment at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. "There's nothing else I could do that I would enjoy as much as that."

He expressed no doubt that he'd achieve his goal. "As long as you have heart, there's nothing to stop you," he said. The driving force behind his efforts to recover fully and return to full duty in the military is "all in here," he said, tapping his chest.

Today, Forbess is back on duty as senior noncommissioned officer at Fort Campbell's Soldier and Family Assistance Center. He's also been a volunteer at the post Fisher House since it opened in 2006, leading wounded warrior meetings and providing an example of what's possible for other wounded troops.

On hearing of the honor he would receive, Forbess told a local reporter "just to be nominated is great." He said he expected to be speechless when he received the award.

Bush created the President's Volunteer Service Award in 2002 to recognize Americans who make a difference through volunteer service. He has presented more than 650 of the awards.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Defense Department Navigates Language Roadmap

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - The Defense Department has completed more than 90 percent of the tasks it set out to accomplish in a language plan that launched four years ago. Known as the Defense Language Transformation Roadmap, this broad strategy aims to address national shortfalls in foreign language skills in the United States. Current efforts are helping to equip the department and the military with improved language and cultural proficiency skills to better meet today's diverse security demands.

"We believe the department, with help from the Congress, has transformed the way it values, develops, employs and deploys foreign language capability and regional expertise," states a Defense Department news release.

One of the key challenges identified was the need to have more DoD personnel who are proficient or possess some language skills in the strategic languages needed today and in the future. The department responded by creating a culture of learning with greater emphasis on building and sustaining language skills. Efforts focus primarily on pre-accession education, meaning academics undertaken before becoming a
military servicemember, and in-service training, according to the department release.

All three service academies, for example, now feature more robust strategic language and cultural program offerings. As a result, more cadets and midshipmen are studying languages of strategic importance to DoD. ROTC programs also reap the benefits, with students enjoying a wider array of destinations for study abroad.

The department has established centers of excellence in each
military service to oversee and standardize training and impart essential and mission-targeted cultural training. It also increased the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center's funding from a fiscal 2001 budget of $77 million to $270 million this fiscal year. DLIFLC, located in Monterey, Calif., is the department's premiere language and cultural training center.

Meanwhile, DoD is reaching out to the nation's heritage communities and informing them of opportunities to serve. On the civilian side of this effort, National Language Flagship Program initiatives allow students to progress from elementary school through high school with more advanced levels of language proficiency in strategic languages such as Arabic, Hindi and Urdu.

On the
military side, the Army last month activated its first company of native linguists-turned-soldiers, which represent the service's newest job: 09L, referred to as "09 Limas." This new military occupation employs heritage speakers as interpreters and translators, representing a new phase in the service's reinvigorated approach to foreign language.

"We've found it's easier to train a linguist to be a soldier than to train a soldier to be a linguist," Army Brig. Gen. Richard C. Longo, director of training in the Army's Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Training, said at a Pentagon roundtable last month.

In addition to adding key personnel in areas where language shortfalls exist, DoD is taking a closer look at its own stock. The department has taken steps to identify its current capabilities, a kind of self-assessment to determine and catalog the skills the forces already possess.

The department also has established quarterly reporting of language and cultural requirements. Currently, there are about 141,000 language requirements across the roughly 60 different languages and dialects deemed strategically important, according to the department release.

To ensure that the language transformation occurs smoothly and successfully, the department has appointed senior language authorities in each of the
military services and agencies to conduct oversight, execution and planning. It also created the Defense Language Office to monitor and carry out the tenets of the Language Transformation Roadmap, and to institutionalize the department's commitment to these critical competencies.

"The bottom line [is that] we are creating a framework that will allow us to build a globalized force with the right combination of skills, in the right numbers, that is equipped with the language and cultural proficiency skills to meet the diverse operational demands of the 21st century," the release reads. "This is the beginning of a journey."

Family Liaisons on Frontlines of Wounded Airmen Care

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - When an airman is seriously injured in combat it is not only their life, but also their family's, that is suddenly turned upside down. While the airman is whisked away for critical medical care, it is the family that must juggle the housing, child care and financial arrangements necessary to be by the airman's bedside during recovery. For many, the experience is at best chaotic, and at its worst, a nightmare.

More than 440 airmen have been wounded in combat since the start of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Of those, about 80 are considered seriously injured. For them and their families, family liaison officers with the
Air Force Survivor Assistance Program are on the front line of wounded warrior care.

"The family liaisons are the key to taking care of the family. That is very critical, especially when the person is first wounded," said John Beckett, the Air Force Survivor Assistance Program manager. "They are the link between the family and the
Air Force."

For example, one airman, deployed to Afghanistan, was badly burned and evacuated to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. But his distraught wife could not get to his bedside.

She was afraid of being deported.

The airman's wife was not a U.S. citizen, and was living in Mexico at the time of his injury.

She had submitted paperwork for entry into the country to be with her husband, but it got lost somewhere in the bureaucracy. Further complicating matters, she didn't speak English, couldn't drive, and had a three-year-old child to care for.

At that point,
Air Force family liaison officers stepped in, found her documents and reunited her with her husband. The liaisons also found her a place to stay, enrolled her in English classes and arranged for child care. Then, they took her to driving school, where she earned her license.

Beckett's office, located near the Pentagon, is the first to begin overwatch of the care of seriously wounded airmen. Airmen and their families fall under the care of the Survivor Assistance Program as soon as they are injured and remain in the program until they are either returned to duty or discharged.


"If You Need to Call Me, Call Me"

Beckett is himself a 20-year veteran of the Air Force. A former senior enlisted man, he is still taking care of airmen nearly two decades after his retirement.

Beckett meets each seriously wounded warrior in the hospital and encourages them to call his cell phone any time. While his office has a toll-free number, Beckett tells them to call him directly.

"I think it's important that they can get a hold of me instantly. I just like them to know that," Beckett said. "I'm not kidding. If you need to call me, call me."

But while Beckett's office oversees the
Air Force's efforts, the practical application of care for the airmen and their families is the result of a nationwide network of commanders, family liaison officers, Airman and Family Readiness Centers and Wounded Warrior Program consultants.

Liaison officers are not full-time staff assigned to an official wounded warrior office. Instead, they come from the ranks of those who are injured, often from the same units and same jobs as those of the injured airmen.

When a liaison officer is needed, commanders simply ask for volunteers who then commit to spending the next several months helping airmen and their families navigate through a bureaucratic and confusing medical and disability system.

A liaison officer is assigned to the family as soon as the airman is evacuated from combat, Beckett said. The officer works on every issue from housing and transportation, to child care, benefits and pay. The first few weeks are intense. But for the liaisons, it's fulfilling work, Beckett said.

"It's a way for them to give back to the
Air Force and to show support for fellow airmen," Beckett said. "It's a sense of duty. It's like being a good wing man for a fellow airman."

Unlike the Army and Marine Corps, which have entire units dedicated solely to the care of wounded servicemembers, airmen remain assigned to the units from which they deployed. And, the Air Force tries as soon as possible to return wounded airmen to the unit's base, or a nearby facility, rather than relocate entire families, which can cause other problems.

For example, one airman owned a home near his base in Arizona. He was hurt by a bomb while deployed and sent to recover at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. His wife quit her job to be with him during his recovery, even though they relied on her income to pay the mortgage.

She was the airman's primary caregiver, cooking and caring for him and helping him to keep medical appointments.

"There was no place she would rather be," Beckett said. But, the couple faced losing their home.

With the help of the liaison and the Wounded Warrior Program, the Air Force Aid Society stepped up to help with the mortgage payment. A private donor also pitched in alongside several others in the community of Randolph Air Force Base, near where he was recovering. The bills were paid and the house saved.

Returning the wounded to their units and communities also keeps support systems in place for the airmen and families, Beckett said. Most transitional support comes from the local Airman and Family Readiness Center on base.

At the centers, airmen and their families are educated on veterans' benefits, job opportunities and other transitional assistance. Representatives from Veterans Affairs, the Labor Department, Social Security, Tricare and others occupy space at the centers and serve as a one-stop shop.

"There's a lot to be said if you can keep your people assigned to their own units because they still have that connection," Beckett said. "To a lot of airmen, that unit they belong to -- that's their family. That's their
Air Force family."

Planning for the Future

As their initial needs are met and wounded airmen begin working through recovery, liaisons and representatives from readiness centers begin educating them on what happens next in their recovery process and careers.

Air Force
leadership has promised to retain airmen, if possible, and to place them in jobs that accommodate their permanent disabilities. So far, about 60 of the 440 seriously wounded airmen have requested and been allowed to stay on active duty.

Most airmen initially want to stay on active duty, Beckett said.

"Every wounded person I've met, when you ask them, first off, 'What do you see for your future?' they will always tell you, 'I want to stay in. I want to be back with my unit,'" Beckett said.

As time moves on, some have to take a harder look at their options. That's when a wounded warrior representative steps in and "paints a picture" of the airman's work and financial options, Beckett said. Depending on their disability rating and type of discharge, the airmen must weigh the advantages of staying in the service or getting out and getting a job, or going back to school.

"A lot of times, it's more financially advantageous in the short-term and the long-term to take that option (of getting out)," Beckett said.

Wounded warrior representatives do not try to persuade the airmen in any particular direction, Beckett said. They want the airmen and families to have as much information as soon as possible so that, as they heal, they can sort through the details and work toward a decision that best suits their needs.

"We engage early," Beckett said. "If you wait until the person is going through the [board], that's a little late to be giving them information. We want to have them very well educated before that process starts."

The physical evaluation board process begins with a liaison assigned to help the airman through that process.

If an airman decides to separate from the service, or is deemed unfit to return to duty, the case is transferred to the Wounded Warrior Program based out of the Airman, Family and Community Operations Branch at the
Air Force Personnel Center, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. The program, launched in 2005, was originally named Palace HART, or Helping Airmen Recover Together.

Through the program, the airmen and families gain the support of a wounded warrior consultant who is a toll-free phone call away, in addition to their command and readiness centers already in their support chain.

The four wounded warrior consultants on staff are there to ensure that the airmen and families receive all of their benefits, briefings and other transitional assistance. The consultants ensure Veterans Administration claims are filed before the servicemember's separation and begin helping them find a job, school or other training program.

To assist in the transition, the Labor Department and many civic and private groups partner with the Air Force to provide jobs for those injured and separating from service. Also, the Air Force works with airmen who want to enter the federal civil service, finding them jobs for which they are qualified and helping them through the application and hiring process.

Rebuilding After Service

One of the most critical pieces of the program's oversight comes after the separation from service when the airman's pay and benefits move from active-duty military to Veterans Affairs and they begin their lives as civilians.

The consultants keep in contact with the airmen and families for at least another five years, ensuring that benefits stay in place and helping out when needed. The program now tracks about 300 servicemembers, most of whom have separated.

Problems sometimes arise, usually with pay and benefits, when servicemembers transition into civilian life, said Yvonne Duker, chief of family operations for the Airman, Family and Community Operations Branch at Randolph, who supervises program consultants.

One airman's disability claim was delayed and he subsequently missed making his house payment for a few months, Duker said. His claim was eventually processed and he made up the missed payments. But by then, the mortgage company had moved the home into foreclosure. When the airman contacted the mortgage company, he was told it was too late.

He called his Wounded Warrior Program consultant, who called the mortgage company and explained the problem, and explain that the airman was combat wounded. The mortgage representative called the airman and said, "'We can work this out,'" Duker said.

Most times, once an agency or business learns that the servicemember is a combat veteran, it is eager to work out any problems, Duker said. Often, it's a matter of the servicemember simply not knowing whom to call, she said.

"We don't stop until we make it happen -- until we make that connection," Duker said. "As far as muscle, we're it. We advocate. We're like dogs with a bone -- we don't let go."

Most of the 300 wounded that still are in the program are called monthly, but depending on their needs, they may be called daily or only quarterly, Duker said.

"We just like to follow up to see how their plans are going," Beckett said. "We just want to make sure that they are taking advantage of the services that the country has available to them, and that if we detect a need somewhere ... that we can intercede on their behalf."

For example, one airman was out of the service for four years when the VA denied his claim for handicap modifications to his house. The program consultants contacted the VA and found an alternative program that the airman was eligible for that would fund the modifications.

"Let's face it, the Veterans Administration can be an unwieldy thing for a person to navigate through once they get out," Beckett said.

Sometimes it's not just claims problems that crop up years later. The symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder can take years to manifest, and as many as 70 percent of those tracked by the program show signs of the disorder, Duker said.

"The member goes out thinking 'I'm doing fine. I'm great,'" Duker said. "Then, all of a sudden, they're having nightmares; they feel like they can't handle their job. Then they call our office and say 'I need some help. What are my options?'"

Beckett called his job working with the
Air Force's wounded the most rewarding that he's had, and said that he has never had a bad day – at least not for long.

"If I ever think I'm having a bad day, I think of what some of these folks have gone through," Beckett said.

He said he is inspired by how they confront their adversities.

"When I see somebody who has lost their vision and lost an arm, and who talks about how they can give back to the
Air Force -- that's inspirational," Beckett said. "Look at what he's already given up. And yet he talks to me about wanting to give back to the Air Force. It is amazing that somebody would have that kind of outlook.

"They focus on what they can do. They don't focus on what they can't do. That makes a world of difference in how they approach their recovery."

(Editor's note: This is the latest in a serious of articles about seriously wounded warriors who are returning to active duty).

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 25, 2008

Army

Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif., was awarded on Nov. 25, 2008 a, $97,957,600 firm fixed price contract. This requirement is for the procurement of fifty Militarized Mobile Gamma-Ray Imaging Systems for non-intrusive inspection of vehicles and cargo as well as maintenance of these systems. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 24, 2010. Number of Offers Solicited via N/A and two bids were received. US
Army Research Development and Engineering Command Acquisition Center, Aberdeen Proving, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-09-F-0003).

Aardvark
Tactical, Inc, Azusa, Calif., was awarded on Nov. 24, 2008, a $46,500,000 firm fixed price contract for Nonlethal Capabilities Set Mission Modules. Maximum quantities are tied to the maximum total dollar value of the contract. Work will be performed in Azusa, Calif., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 24, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. Army Contracting Command, Joint Munitions & Lethality Contracting Center, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-07-D-0016).

Air Force

The
Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price, cost plus fixed fee contract to McDonnel Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Miss. for $96,000,000. This action will provide Small Diameter Bomb Aircraft Weapon Systems on various objective aircraft. At this time no money has been obligated. 681 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. is the contracting activity (FA8681-09-D-0062).

The
Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to a variety of contractors for $3 Billion. This contract is primarily for environmental requirements that include completion of a conceptual design, construction, implementation, demolition, repair, and operation and maintenance of installed systems prior to delivery to the government. At this time $60,000 has been obligated. AFCEE/ACV, Brooks City-Base Texas is the contracting activity (FA8903-08-R-8348).

The
Air Force is modifying a requirements contract with Mykotronz, Inc. Torrance, Calif. for $9,981,750. This contract provides for the purchase of a variety of electronic communications security equipment. At his time no money has been obligated. HQ Cryptologic Systems Group, San Antonio, Texas is the contracting activity (FA8309-08-D-0001, Modification P00002).

The
Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Raytheon Co., Missile Systems Tucson, Ariz. for $6,037,264. This contract will upgrade two guided weapons test Set to AIM-120D Capability, spares, and additional GPS. At this time, all the money has been obligated. 695ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida is the contracting activity (FA8675-07-C-0055, Modification P00019).

Navy

Raytheon Missile Systems Co., D/B/A Raytheon Systems Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $33,934,143 order against a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00019-07-D-0001) for full recertification of up to 165 All-Up-Round (AUR) Tomahawk Missiles for the U. S.
Navy (133) and for the Government of the United Kingdom (32). The order also provides for Systems Engineering Integration Agent support and fixed support for Encanisterization/Decanisterization of MK-14 AUR missiles. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($27,688,543; 82 percent) and the United Kingdom ($6,245,600; 18 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz. (80 percent) and Camden, Ark. (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in April 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $27,688,543 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, Burlington, Vt., is being awarded a $15,952,000 modification to a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00421-05-C-0110) to exercise an option for the procurement of 64 M61A2 20 mm lightweight Gatling Gun System for the F/A-18E/F aircraft for the U.S.
Navy (36) and the Government of Australia (28). Work will be performed in Burlington, Vt. (50 percent) and Saco, Maine (50 percent), and is expected to be completed in May 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($8,973,000; 56 percent) and the Government of Australia ($6,979,000; 44 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

UNITED STATES TRANSPORTATION COMMAND

Anvicom, Inc. of Vienna, Va., 22182-4043, is being awarded a $5,910,317.90 fixed price contract for Integrated Booking System (IBS) Software Engineering Services and Support. Work will be performed at Vienna, Va., and is expected to be completed September 2013. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Eleven bids were solicited and two were received. The contracting activity is United States Transportation Command, Directorate of Acquisition, Scott
Air Force Base, Ill., 62225 (HTC711-09-F-0011).

Defense Department Prepares to Implement Reserve Changes

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday charged his department to develop plans to take action on 64 of the 95 recommendations for changes to the U.S.
military reserves made by a congressionally mandated commission earlier this year. The department already has acted on 18 of the recommendations made in January by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, which was convened in 2004 to review and recommend changes needed to move the reserve-component force from a Cold War-era strategic reserve to an operational reserve fully integrated with its active-duty counterparts.

In all, the department is working to implement 82 of the 95 recommendations. Gates referred two of the recommendations to other Cabinet departments, and he chose not to act on 11 of the recommendations.

"The Congress, the commission and the department all recognized that the National Guard and Reserves are integral to the total force and have assumed a greater operational role in today's force," Gates wrote in a memorandum he signed yesterday. "The department greatly appreciates the support of Congress and the diligence of the commission for its comprehensive review and recommendations for improving the National Guard and Reserve."

After the release of the commission's report in January, Gates convened a senior-level working group to review the recommendations and render its findings. These proposed actions come from the recommendations of that group, officials said.

The onus now falls mostly on mostly the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the service secretaries, the undersecretaries of defense for policy and for personnel and readiness, the chief of the National Guard Bureau and other senior leaders to develop plans to implement the recommendations. Gates has given them 25 days to come up with their plans.

"I would characterize the timelines as very aggressive, and certainly the secretary wants to turn this over to the next administration with all of the actions in place and moving," Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, said in an interview at the Pentagon last week.

Key actions that will come from the plans will be further clarification of the reserve components' role in homeland defense and civil support, the institutionalization of their operational role in future combat, improved personnel management and enhanced support for Guardsmen and reservists, their families and their employers.

"The Guard and reserve will continue to have their civil defense missions and this is a recognition of the importance of these missions," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters today.

Whitman pointed out that since the global war on terror started, 200 provisions in law have affected the reserve components. "The commission's recommendations are largely in line with what the department broadly was doing on a couple of pretty important fronts," he said. "The commission's report basically validates the direction in which the department has been headed for a number of years."

The first front is changing the reserve components from a strategic reserve to an operational force. "As a result, we have greatly increased funding for the reserve components, and we've rebalanced the Guard and reserves." During the Cold War, for example, there were a large number of artillery battalions in the National Guard. Those soldiers have been shifted into more critical units, such as civil affairs and military
police.

"As part of making the reserves part of the operational force, we've instituted the one-year mobilization with a minimum 90-day notification [of deployment]," Whitman said. In fact, the average notification now is 270 days.

With regard to funding the reserves as an operational force, Gates drew attention to commission recommendations 29 and 43 in his memorandum. Recommendation 29 called for the services to budget for, and Congress to authorize funding for, readiness requirements for both reserve homeland defense and overseas missions. Gates has called on the service chiefs to develop plans for funding reserve component operational readiness requirements not already included in their budgets to be considered in the fiscal 2012 budget review.

Recommendation 43 called for DoD accounting of reserve-component procurement and funding and the ability to track the delivery of equipment to reserve units. Gates said no consensus has been reached on how to add this to the DoD system. He has called on the service chiefs as well as the Defense Department's acquisition, technology and logistics office, the comptroller's office and other senior officials to develop a plan for accounting and tracking reserve-component equipment.

To improve personnel management, the commission recommended that DoD implement a combined pay and personnel system. From the start of its heavy deployments in both wars, the National Guard, especially, has found itself foundering with pay problems and personnel glitches as guardsmen moved from a state-based pay system to the federal pay system and then back.

The department is now in the process of launching the Defense Integrated
military Human Resources System, which promises an integrated, multi-component personnel and pay system. The Army is slated to implement the program in March, followed by the Air Force in October. The date for the Navy transition to DIMHRS has not been set, and the Marine Corps already has an integrated pay and personnel system.

Officials said they hope the system will provide a seamless transition between active-duty and reserve status. Once on line, the Web-based system can be accessed anywhere and will have all personnel data loaded electronically, they said.

To ease those pay problems, the commission proposed slashing the 29 duty status codes reserve forces use to calculate pay and benefits to just two: on or off duty. But, because pay and benefits for reservists are tied to the different status codes, reducing them to only two could cause a pay hardship, officials said.

Streamlining the pay codes has fallen to the Defense Department's office of personnel and readiness, along with the service secretaries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Guard Bureau chief and other top leaders to resolve. Hall estimated that they likely will be narrowed down to about eight status codes that will not affect pay or benefits for reservists.

"Will we ever get to two – on duty and off-duty? Probably not," Whitman said today. "But certainly, we would like to simplify and make this continuum of service not so complicated."

In health care reform, the secretary has ordered a comprehensive review of customer service and availability of the Defense Department's Tricare health care program, especially the services provided to those who do not live near a major
military hospital. Many reservists live in outlying areas, sometimes hundreds of miles from the nearest military facility. Hall said more local doctors, clinics and hospitals need to accept Tricare as a provider.

Gates also called for the department's personnel and readiness office to assess the feasibility of allowing both active and reserve servicemembers and their families who do not live near a
military hospital the option of enrolling in the Federal Employee Health Benefits plan used by the department's civilian employees. DoD officials also are looking at possibly paying a stipend to the reservist who does not elect to use Tricare as a provider. It likely would not be greater than the cost of providing Tricare access, they noted.

Also, the commission called for, and Gates supported, additional funding for reserve-component family support programs, extended transition assistance, and a standardized reintegration process for all servicemembers returning from deployments.

The two recommendations the Defense Department referred to other departments were 57 and 78. The commission recommended freezing the funds in reservists' flexible spending accounts in the year they are activated through their deployment. Gates said the department supports the recommendation, but referred it to the Treasury Department. The commission also recommended that reservists should have one year to apply for dental care through the Department of Veterans Affairs following a deployment. Again, Gates said, the department supports the recommendation but referred it to VA for action.

The 11 recommendations that Gates did not support dealt primarily with personnel management and accounting.

Hall, who led the DoD working group, called its efforts "exhaustive" as it examined the recommendations that affected reserve component funding, equipping and organizing.

"I'm very pleased with the process," he said. "It was all-encompassing. We took everybody's view and produced a document that is remarkable for its consensus."

Hall said the implementation of these recommendations brings the traditional reserve role of the "weekend warrior" to an end and moves the U.S.
military closer to a true total force.

"It means transition from a strategic reserve to an operational reserve -- mission almost complete," Hall said. "I say it's almost complete because this is a major milestone in that transition."

Hall called the past seven years a historical time for the military, and said more than 200 provisions in the law that affect the reserve components have changed.

"We have truly made our Guard and reserve operational forces working with the active duty. We simply cannot meet the mission of our nation without that 46 percent in the Guard and reserve. They perform magnificently," he said.

The chairman of the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, retired Marine Maj. Gen. Arnold L. Punaro, praised the decisions by Gates in statement released yesterday.

"The winners today are the men and women in uniform, their families, their employers, and the citizens of the United States," Punaro said. "All will benefit from Secretary Gates' landmark decisions."