Military News

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

America Supports You: Soldier Finds Ties to Past Support in Story

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2008 - In 1967, Robert Hutchinson was a young soldier serving in the jungles of
Vietnam. He was concerned that the men in his unit weren't getting enough mail from home. Sgt. Joe Artavia's letter home to his sister, Linda Patterson, asking her to find a city to adopt his unit made a huge difference to Hutchinson and his comrades, Hutchinson said.

"The adoption of our company by the city of San Mateo (Calif.) and your personal dedication to our unit is a matter of great pride to me as well as to many of my brothers-in-arms," Hutchinson wrote in a recent letter to Patterson.

Though Artavia was killed March 24, 1968, he did learn that his request had been fulfilled.

After a March 17 American Forces Press Service story highlighted both the city and Patterson's 40-plus years of troop support, others are following Hutchinson's lead and are contacting Patterson.

Though she is hearing from veterans, she's also hearing from current servicemembers regarding her organization, "America Supporting Americans," which works to have communities across the country adopt
military units.

"We are hearing (of) a lot of units registering with (America Supporting Americans). Even Navy Seabees have contacted us," Patterson said. "Hopefully some cities will start trickling in soon."

Patterson also said she's excited about other opportunities to share the history of San Mateo's relationship with Company A, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.

Currently, a display at the San Mateo Public Library conveys the story. "There is talk about circulating a moving wall of this history across the country hopefully to inspire others to join (America Supporting Americans') Adopt a Unit program," she said.
In addition, Patterson said she hopes to take a small contingent of representatives from her organization to visit adopted units in Iraq. The trip would be similar to the then-unprecedented trip she made to Vietnam nearly four decades ago.

America Supporting Americans is also a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Face of Defense: Air Force Recruit Drops 128 Pounds to Enlist

By Kendahl Johnson
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2008 - When Will Sims entered basic training yesterday as one of the
Air Force's newest recruits, it culminated an effort to overcome an obstacle that might keep others with less determination and resolve out of the military. When Sims first met with Air Force Tech. Sgt. Damon Andrews, a recruiter attached to the 367th Recruiting Group here, he weighed 128 pounds more than the Air Force's maximum allowable weight for a man of his height. Eight months later, he swore to serve the country as a member of the U.S. Air Force.

"I was told if you dream it, it will happen. Well, I dreamed it, and it happened," Sims said. "It was hard, but I did it."

The first thing Sims did was cut his calories to around 1,000 per day. Next, he started exercising at least 20 minutes per day. He gradually increased the duration of his exercises and cut even more calories from his diet.

"I was doing anything to get my heart rate up, but mainly I was running," he said. "I'd do sit-ups and push-ups to keep my strength up, but the majority of my exercise was running."

Sims found motivation in various places. First, there was Airman 1st Class James Robinson, a friend who had joined the
Air Force months earlier. The two had been in the ROTC program together at Warner Robins High School.

"I knew I was overweight, but James encouraged me to talk to a recruiter anyway," Sims said. "He told me if I really wanted it, I could do it."

So he visited Andrews, who put him on him on a scale. Although Sims weighed in at 303 pounds, Andrews saw a highly motivated individual and recognized his potential to the
Air Force. He began bringing Sims to the recruiting office regularly for encouragement and to measure his progress.

"Being overweight is not a showstopper," Andrews said. "If the
Air Force is something you are considering and you are willing to put forth the effort, you can serve. Will has shown that."

Sims also got encouragement at home from his mother, June Sims, a small-arms program manager in 575th Combat Sustainment Squadron here. But, she said, it was his love for the
Air Force that was his true motivation.

"He has always loved the
Air Force, so he just decided he was going to get the weight off and join. For someone to lose that amount of weight in that amount of time is truly remarkable," she said. "We were really amazed by his efforts and his dedication and perseverance. We are really proud of him."

Sims went from 44-inch pants and XXXL shirts to 32-inch pants and medium shirts. He said he has been enjoying the change.

"Everybody who sees me says, 'Is that really Will?' And the girls sort of give me a little look now, which is nice," he said.

Sims will begin his career in aviation resource management, but has aspirations of getting his bachelor's degree and becoming an officer. He said he is excited for the opportunity and knows his achievements prove that anything is possible.

"Stuff isn't given to you; you have to work for it," he said. "But if you have a goal and you want to achieve something in life, then go for it. Don't let anyone tell you it's not possible."

(Kendahl Johnson works in the 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office.)

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Taunton, Mass., is being awarded a ceiling $375,000,000 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the
Tactical Data Network Data Distribution System – Modular (TDN DDS-M). Delivery of the production quantities of TDN DDS-M is expected to begin in Sep. 2008. Work will be performed in Taunton, Mass., and work is expected to be completed Mar. 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $692,327 will expire at the end of the fiscal year. This contract was competitively awarded under a full and open, best value competition, with four offers provided. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-D-7036.

Bell Boeing Tiltrotor Team, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded $26,681,500 for three ceiling-priced delivery orders (#0255 - $14,286,500, #0256 - $5,305,000, and #0257 - $7,090,000) under a previously awarded contract (N00383-03-G-001B) for spare components of the V-22 aircraft. Work will be performed in Hurst, Texas, and work is expected to be completed Jun. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

DCK Pacific, LLC, Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded a $24,588,717 firm-fixed-price contract for phase 1 of potable water system recapitalization at Naval Base Guam. The work to be performed provides for replacement of existing water lines with larger sized lines, including miscellaneous water mains and line connections, provide new emergency generator and new concrete building for the
Navy Lake Pump Station, installation of zone water meters for various areas, replacement of vertical pumps with 500 horsepower horizontal pumps with variable frequency drives for the Navy Lake Pump Station, construct an air conditioned addition to the existing pump station building for the new pumps, replace gate valves with butterfly valves at the reservoirs, replace the altitude valves at the reservoirs and installation of pressure reducing valves for water lines feeding the Sasa Valley, X-Ray Wharf and Polaris Point. Work will be performed in Guam, and work is expected to be completed by Apr. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with 23 proposals solicited and six offers received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (N62742-08-C-1307).

Raytheon Missile Systems,
Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $17,292,804 cost contract for applied research and advanced technology demonstration of an advanced Multi-Mode Sensor Suite to support vertical take-off and landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting missions in the littoral combat environment. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed in Sep. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under a Broad Agency Announcement; five offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-08-C-0034).

Virtexco Corporation, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded $14,109,989 for firm-fixed-price task order #0004 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award construction contract (N40085-06-D-4010) for construction of Military Operations Urban Terrain (MOUT) enhancements at
Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. The work to be performed provides for construction of an urban combat training area of approximately 75 buildings and training structures. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, N.C., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

U.S. Regains Missile Parts; Gates Orders Investigation

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 25, 2008 - The U.S.
military has regained control of four non-nuclear nose cone assemblies for a Minuteman missile mistakenly sent to Taiwan in 2006, Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne said during a news conference here today. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates learned of the situation on March 21 and immediately ordered that the United States regain "positive control" of the systems, Wynne said. He also notified the president of the situation.

It was the second incident with a strategic weapon in the past year. In August, an
Air Force B-52 flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., carrying atomic weapons. The crew did not realize they were carrying nuclear weapons until they landed.

Today, Gates signed a memorandum directing Adm. Kirkland Donald, director of
Navy Nuclear Propulsion, to conduct a comprehensive investigation "to determine the facts into how this error occurred and who is accountable throughout the chain of command," said Christopher R. "Ryan" Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy.

The admiral will work with the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics and the
Naval Criminal Investigation Service. The intelligence community also will help with the investigation.

Henry said the secretary feels very strongly about this error.

"In an organization as large as DoD ... there will be mistakes, but they cannot be tolerated in the arena of strategic systems -- whether nuclear or only associated equipment," he said during the news conference.

DoD has notified the appropriate congressional committees and the Peoples' Republic of China, he said.

The nose cone assemblies and associated electrical parts are proximity fuses for the missiles. While not technically "triggers," a nuclear warhead atop a Minuteman would not detonate without the signal from these devices.

Preliminary information indicates that a shipment took place in response to a foreign
military sales order from Taiwan for helicopter batteries, Wynne said. The Defense Logistics Agency depot at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, mistakenly shipped the fuses -- a classified system -- rather than the batteries.

The Taiwanese receiving the shipment placed it in storage upon receipt, Wynne said. "The investigation will determine the integrity of the shipping containers and their contents during the (foreign military sales) process."

The department has initiated a complete physical inventory of all of these devices, Henry said.

"The secretary is further directing the secretaries of the
Air Force and Navy to conduct a comprehensive review of all the policies, procedures as well as a physical site inventory of all nuclear and nuclear-associated materiel and equipment across their respective programs," he said.

The original helicopter battery order was consistent with the U.S. "One-China" policy, the three joint U.S.-China communiqu├ęs and the Taiwan Relations Act.

"Our policy on Taiwan arms sales has not changed," Henry said. "This specific incident was an error in process only and is not indicative of our policies, which remain unchanged."

Henry said it's unclear whether the erroneous shipment violated the Missile
Technology Control Regime -- an informal, voluntary association of countries seeking to stop proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- or other treaties.