Military News

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

No. 88 to Accelerate Careers of 88 Future Sailors

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 6, 2008 - The U.S.
Navy is using NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s star appeal to attract future sailors. In August, the Navy and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will form the "Dale Jr." Division, an 88-person boot camp division at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Ill. Earnhardt drives the 88 car for Hendrick Motorsports on the NASCAR circuit.

Navy Capt. Jack Hanzlik, spokesman for the chief of naval personnel, told online journalists and "bloggers" in a teleconference yesterday that during a national advertising and marketing campaign, Navy officials will assess the impact that NASCAR and Earnhardt have on young men and women ages 18 to 25, the service's recurring demographic."

But while it's launching the National Dale Jr. Recruiting Program, Hanzlik said, the
Navy's recruiting effort already is on track, meeting its goals year after year.

"We have continued to meet, month after month, our recruiting goals. We are now in month 79 -- over six years straight -- of meeting our recruiting goals, and we have done that without dropping our recruiting standards," he said.

The call for recruits to join the No. 88 class is expected to kick off during Memorial Day weekend. The 88 recruits will begin boot camp in August and will wear special ball caps during their
training to signify they are the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Division. Earnhardt is expected to meet the recruits before and during their eight-week training. He also will attend the recruits' graduation ceremony, Hanzlik said.

He added that the
Navy NASCAR program is not just about recruiting new sailors, but also is a great way to reward sailors who have performed well at a particular event.

"We bring young men and women who are sailors out in the fleet, doing great work, and it's kind of a reward where we choose one of our commands to be honored at each race," Hanzlik explained. "And a lot of times, it may tie to something unique that happened in the real world also."

He added that sailors from the USS Lake Erie, one of the recent commands selected to participate in the Fleet Honoree Program by enjoying race day at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama in late April.

"At Talladega, we brought the folks off of USS Lake Erie, who about a month and a half ago was the cruiser that shot down the spy satellite," Hanzlik said.

The sailors got an up-close and personal tour on race day.

"We bring them right down to the pits, and they spend the day in the garage at the pit with the team throughout the day, and they get a chance to meet those folks that are really running the programs for the drivers," he said. "And they get a chance to sort of share their respective experiences and see men and women like themselves that are doing different jobs."

He said that many sailors who get the chance to meet the pit crew and No. 88 racing team walk away from the experience realizing that they share many similarities.

"You step into high op-tempo, where the car comes into the pit, and you have a team that is trying to change tires, clean a windshield, fuel the car, get the driver a quick drink of water and ask whatever things need to be tweaked in a matter of 15 seconds," Hanzlik said. "They mastered the communication aspect of doing the work they have to do."

He compared the NASCAR experience to his days as a naval aviator.

"[During] my time on the flight deck of a carrier, I watched men and women who were very competent in what they did, they had to master their skills to move those aircraft around the flight deck, launch them from the flight deck," he said. "The
teamwork all of that goes into it is the same; I found great similarities in that -- technology, skilled development, competence in the communications aspect of it."

(
Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg is assigned to the New Media branch of American Forces Information Services.)

U.S. Navy Ready to Help Burmese Cyclone Victims

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

May 6, 2008 - The U.S.
Navy is ready to help in Burma, where a cyclone has caused a humanitarian disaster, but the orders won't be given unless Burma's ruling military leaders make an official request of the U.S. government, President Bush said today. "The United States has made an initial aid contribution, but we want to do a lot more," Bush said. "We're prepared to move U.S. Navy assets to help find those who've lost their lives, to help find the missing, to help stabilize the situation. But in order to do so, the military junta must allow our disaster assessment teams into the country."

Bush made the comments after signing a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal, in abstentia, to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and pro-democracy
leader in Burma, also known as Myanmar. The United States has allocated $3.2 million to help with the disaster relief.

Lack of outreach from the Burmese ruling
military committee, or junta, reflects increasingly strained relations between it and the United States due to the junta's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, such as Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since 2003, according to the U.S. State Department. The United States has responded with sanctions.

On May 2 and 3, a cyclone dubbed Nargis ripped through the tiny, impoverished country. At least 20,000 people are estimated dead, and many villages are "decimated," a State Department report says.

The U.S.
military has helped out in many natural disasters, including a massive tsunami that struck Indonesia in December 2005, and Pentagon officials said they are ready to help again – if requested.

"We have any number of resources and are prepared to move naval assets, but we operate on orders," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. "This is not new to the U.S.
military. We have the capability to provide assistance and we have on numerous occasions. And we're willing to do so again."

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell also addressed the issue during a Pentagon news briefing today. "The
military has vast resources and experience in dealing with this type of situation, unfortunately," he said. "And we stand ready to provide that expertise and those resources to the Burmese people, hopefully, when their government sees fit to ask us to provide them."

The
Navy has three ships in the Gulf of Thailand, including the USS Essex, which has 23 helicopters, 1,800 Marines and five amphibious landing craft, Pentagon Morrell said. The USS Harper's Ferry and the USS Juneau also are in the area, he said.

Bush made clear that the United States wants to help the Burmese people. "Our message to the
military rulers is: Let the United States come to help you help the people," Bush said. "Our hearts go out to the people of Burma. We want to help them deal with this terrible disaster. At the same time, of course, we want them to live in a free society."

Young Patriot Receives Defense Medal for Public Service

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 6, 2008 - A 13-year-old patriot from
New Jersey received the Defense Department's top award for public service at a Pentagon ceremony today. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Robert T. Hastings presented Joey Rizzolo, of Paramus, N.J., with the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service. Rizzolo was recognized for his contributions in support of the men and women of the armed forces.

The seventh grade student is a participant in America Supports You, a nationwide Defense Department program that showcases Americans' support for men and women in the armed services and their families, Hastings noted. Last year, Rizzolo organized the first Freedom Walk in his community and also wrote a book, titled "20 Steps to a Freedom Walk," that urges students nationwide to stage their own walks. Rizzolo is donating the proceeds from his book to his community's ASY-affiliated project Operation Goody Bag, which sends candy and other gifts to first responders and overseas-deployed servicemembers.

"Joey, what a fabulous resume you've got already," Hastings said during the ceremony, citing Rizzolo's efforts to organize Freedom Walks, as well as his volunteer work with Operation Goody Bag.

Rizzolo also was among the top five youth volunteers in the national Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Hastings emphasized that Rizzolo has realized "a fantastic set of accomplishments for a fine American" in support of America's servicemembers.

Rizzolo said the award ceremony came as a shock, noting he thought the purpose of his journey to the Pentagon was to take a tour.

"It totally surprised me," Rizzolo remarked at the ceremony. "It is a great honor to be given the highest award a civilian can get from the Pentagon."

Rizzolo said he believes that supporting America's servicemembers is of paramount importance.

"I just want people to know that they should never forget what happened on Sept. 11," Rizzolo emphasized. "It's important to support the troops because you want them to know that someone's there for them while they're overseas."

Joey's father, Joseph Rizzolo, wore a wide smile as his son received the medal.

"He is just a very passionate kid, and he's got a drive that you wouldn't believe," the senior Rizzolo said. "He feels something for these soldiers ... and everybody who died" during 9/11.

"Today's a great day at the Department of Defense because we get to recognize somebody like Joey Rizzolo, who is making a difference in his community, which makes a difference in the lives of our men and women in the
military," said Allison Barber, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for public liaison and internal communications.

Rizzolo's efforts and the work of other young people on behalf of America's servicemembers is inspiring and "good for the long-term success of our country, for patriotism, and for our men and women in the
military specifically," Barber said.

Rizzolo was interviewed at the Pentagon by Scholastic Kids Press Corps reporter Maddie Hartke-Weber, whose father, Rick Weber, works with Inside Washington Publishers.

"What stuck out was all of the work Joey had to do and (also) that he wrote a children's book," said Hartke-Weber, a 12-year-old resident of Washington, D.C. Rizzolo's Pentagon and Prudential awards also are impressive, she added.

"This is amazing," said Jane Cosco, director of Operation Goody Bag and Rizzolo's former
computer teacher. "We did not expect this event to take place today."

Last month, Operation Goody Bag shipped its 80,000th bag since the program began in 2003, Cosco said.

Bush, Gates Honor Military Spouses at White House Ceremony

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 6, 2008 - President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates paid tribute today to about 1,100
military spouses who gathered for a Military Spouse Day celebration at the White House, where Bush promised to continue pushing for more benefits for military families. Following a tradition President Ronald Reagan established when he declared the first Military Spouses Day in 1984, Bush said he believes "we need to recognize military spouses every day."

"One way we can repay the service of our spouses is by making the burdens of
military life a little easier," he told the group, who enjoyed breakfast at red-and-white-checkered tables dotting the White House's South Lawn.

Bush noted that he signed a change to the Family and Medical Leave Act into law this year, drawing applause from the group. The law allows a spouse, parent, child or next of kin to take up to 26 weeks of leave from work to care for a seriously injured or ill servicemember undergoing therapy or treatment.

Referring to last week's revelations of poor housing conditions at Fort Bragg, N.C., Bush promised to do better. "When we find substandard housing, we'll take care of it," he told the spouses.

Bush said he's hoping Congress moves quickly to pass legislation he sent to Capitol Hill to ease some of the burdens
military families face. These initiatives, announced during Bush's State of the Union address in January, would expand access to child care, create new authorities to appoint qualified spouses into civil service jobs, and provide educational opportunities and job training for our military spouses.

But the initiative that drew the most cheers from the crowd would amend the Montgomery GI Bill to allow troops to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or children.

"This legislation is moving. I hope to be able to sign it as quickly as possible," the president told the spouses. "It is the absolute right thing to do. It should send a clear message that we care for you, we respect you, and we love you."

Bush thanked
military spouses who stand behind their loved ones serving the country during wartime. "Whether you signed up for military life at the recruiting station or at the altar rail, each person -- each person's a volunteer," he said. "And when you married your soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or Coast Guardsman, you became more than just part of a family. You became part of our nation's military family."

The life of a
military family is no easy calling, the president said. It involves frequent moves, living far from extended families, and saying goodbye to a spouse who goes off to serve on the front lines in the battle to secure the United States and spread freedom.

"Being left behind when a loved one goes to war has got to be one of the hardest jobs in the
United States military," Bush said, noting the challenges of holding down the home front while praying for a loved one's safe return.

"In carrying out the burdens, you're serving our country, and it's noble service, and it's necessary service," he said. "The United States of America owes you a huge debt of gratitude. And so, on behalf of our people, thank you for what you're doing."

Bush said he's impressed during his visits to military bases to see how military families take care of each other.

"What I found is that there's always a close-knit community, people who are sharing a special bond and people who take time to look out after people," he said. "It's been an amazing experience to see the fabric of our
military communities firsthand."

Gates said he makes it a point during his visits to
military facilities to meet with families of deployed troops, most recently last week at Fort Bliss, Texas. "I'm always tremendously impressed by your sacrifice, resilience and fortitude," he said.

The secretary said he first heard of the idea of expanding the Montgomery GI Bill to benefit military families while meeting with
Army spouses at Fort Hood, Texas, and that Bush quickly announced the proposal.

"That's how much we respect what you have to say," Gates told the group. He praised
military families as the "power behind the power" who serve along with their loved ones and help them be successful.

"While our men and women in uniform may be called to pay the highest price, their families, and particularly their spouses, make a considerable sacrifice as well," he told the group. "Thank you for all you do to make their service possible."

Amanda Villiers, wife of
Army Staff Sgt. Stan Villiers, called Bush's and Gates' messages to the spouses particularly meaningful after enduring her husband's two deployments to Iraq.

"It's nice to be here and see that we are a part of something bigger," she said. "Our husbands are out there fighting, but we are holding down the home fronts. ... It's nice to have that recognized, ... and to have the commander in chief say a personal 'thank you' to you."

Alex Loudon, wife of
Navy Command Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Dyer, said she was impressed by Bush's sincerity and believes he has military families' interests at heart. "I feel he genuinely cares about military families," she said.

After just over three years as a
Navy wife, Loudon said, she's been "amazed at the way military families are able to stand, and stand strongly," particularly during deployments.

"It's much harder than I ever thought it would be," she said. "The servicemember supports the family, but the family supports the servicemember, too. It's a two-way commitment."

Argero Straub, whose husband,
Marine Corps 2nd Lt. John Straub, is attending his Officer Basic School at Quantico Marine Corps Base, Va., said it felt good having the nation's leaders recognize military spouses.

"We do a lot supporting our husbands and what they do," she said. "It's nice to have someone take notice and know we are contributing, too."

Laura Battle, wife of
Marine Sgt. Christopher Battle, and Joann Quick, wife of Marine Staff Sgt. Timothy Quick, both well into their pregnancies, joined their friend Crystal Ottinger, wife of Marine Staff Sgt. James Ottinger, to reflect on the president's message.

"It means a lot to see how he appreciates the families, as well as the men who are serving," Battle said.

"And all the support the wives give, and how they support each other," Quick added.

"All the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform could not be possible without the families," agreed Janet Devinney, whose husband,
Navy Cmdr. Edward Devinney, is slated to take command of USS Cole later this year. "Families are the unsung heroes. We don't get the recognition or the medals or the awards. But what we do is important."

Heather Lalor, wife of
Coast Guard Lt. Michael Lalor, called it "very humbling" to be recognized at the White House and to be part of America's extended military family.

"I'm thoroughly excited and quite honored," she said. "It's neat to be a part of it."

Pentagon Expects War Funding by Memorial Day

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

May 6, 2008 - U.S. lawmakers have informed Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that they expect to pass the remaining $108 billion of the fiscal 2008 budget by their Memorial Day recess on May 24, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said at a Pentagon news conference today. Gates sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday to say he was "encouraged" to hear that Congress intends to pass the remainder of the current fiscal year's budget. But he added that
military officials will continue to plan for contingencies if the money isn't appropriated.

If the bill isn't approved or if President Bush won't sign it, the
military will be forced to "reprogram" money from the Air Force and Navy to pay soldiers, because the Army can sustain its payroll only through June 15, Morrell told reporters.

But the reprogramming measures aren't a cure-all, Morrell noted. "None of those efforts buy us much time -- we're talking about a few weeks," he said. After that, he said, the department faces the possibility of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan not getting paid.

The $108 billion is "urgently needed" to finance the global
war on terror through the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, Morrell said. "We here at the Pentagon have been financing those wars by borrowing from our payroll accounts," he said, "but those accounts are about to run dry."

If the funding isn't approved, the department may issue civilian furlough notices after June 1.

"We're getting down to crunch time," Morrell said. He added that Gates is "taking the leaders at their word that this will be done by Memorial Day."

The White House requested an additional, or "supplemental," $70 billion last week to serve as a bridge in funding into fiscal 2009, which begins Oct. 1 of this year.

In other topics at the briefing, Morrell defended the
military's mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles after a reporter asked how two soldiers were killed in an MRAP vehicle in April. Morrell declined to give the cause of death of the soldiers, saying such specific information amounts to "aiding and abetting the enemy."

"People question the survivability of these vehicles," Morrell said. "But I can tell you that nobody in this building and nobody downrange is at all questioning the enhanced survivability that MRAPs provide. There have been over 100 attacks on MRAP vehicles, and a relatively small number of injuries related to those attacks -- and far fewer deaths -- associated with them.

"We are facing an agile and deadly enemy in Iraq who is constantly adjusting to meet our new and improved vehicles that we put in the field," Morrell said. "There is no vehicle that we can produce that will completely protect our troops. There is no hull that we can build that is impenetrable. These MRAPs are as good as can be made today. That is why commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan are requesting more of them and raving about their increased protection."

The Defense Department met its goal of delivering more than 1,500 MRAPs in theater by the end of 2007. Since then, the total delivery has reached more than 5,500.

Also at the briefing, Morrell dismissed suggestions that Marines may be redirected from Iraq to Afghanistan this year. "We've made a commitment to our troops and their families for a 12-month 'dwell time,'" Morrell said, referring to a Pentagon directive that troops will have at least a year at home before being deployed again.

While the administration and commanders in Afghanistan are interested in increasing troop strength there, military
leaders won't consider additions beyond what has already been approved until troop strength in Iraq is fewer than 15 brigade-size combat units, Morrell said. Such a transfer of troops "is not seriously being considered in this building," he said.

Magazine Honors Military Spouse of the Year

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

May 6, 2008 -
Military Spouse magazine honored Michelle McIntyre-Brewer as the 2008 Military Spouse of the Year here today. The wife of an Army second lieutenant, McIntyre-Brewer somehow finds time to volunteer at the United Service Organizations, Soldier's List, American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and March of Dimes, all while raising two young children, including a daughter born with a heart defect.

During the award ceremony today, McIntyre-Brewer, 29, said the award represents the idealized
military spouse, one who supports the mission of an American military that aims to improve conditions in parts of the world less fortunate than the United States.

"As
military spouses, we have a responsibility that we are humanitarians, that we are not war mongers. We are people who want to be able to bring and instill peace around the world," she said receiving the first-ever award. "We want to show people that our hearts are made of gold."

McIntyre-Brewer, who has been described as an "alpha mom," told the audience she feels obligated to empower other
military family members to make change the world for the better.

"It is my responsibility to give back and give forward, and to make sure that everybody else who's risking the loss of their children, or their husbands or their community, are able to make a difference in this world," she said.

Army Second Lt. Stephen Brewer said his wife wanted to accept the award, not to celebrate her own virtue, but for the honor it bestows on all military spouses.

"I think it's time that the spouses and families are more recognized for the hard work and effort they put in," he said. "As
military people, we volunteer, but our families don't, and yet they put forth so much effort with very little recognition. They like to give us medals and ribbons, but very rarely is a spouse given his or hers."

The
Army officer, who is pictured with "Chelle" on the cover of Military Spouse Magazine, said he generally avoids the limelight. "But to be on there with her is definitely something special," he said.

Babette Maxwell,
Military Spouse magazine co-founder and executive editor, called McIntyre-Brewer an inspiration.

"Chelle is a reminder that inside each of us is the same passionate and committed spirit that puts others before themselves, sees the need and fills it, and follows dreams," Maxwell said. "Chelle's relentless dedication to her family and others in need make her a most deserving candidate for military spouse of the year."

Dave McIntyre, the president and chief executive officer of TriWest Healthcare Alliance -- which sponsored today's ceremony -- donated a check to a non-profit group that is fulfilling Chelle's call to action.

Thanks USA is a non-partisan charitable effort to mobilize Americans of all ages to thank the men and women of the United States armed forces by providing college, technical and vocational school scholarships for their children and spouses.

Accepting the donation on the group's behalf was Robert Okun, who helped his daughters develop the Thanks USA concept in August 2005. To date, the program has awarded 1,350 scholarships, totaling almost $4 million.

"We, as a civilian family, wanted to do more to thank the troops, and the way we thanked the troops was by giving the gift of education to their families, and their families includes both their dependents as well as their spouses," Okun said. "In terms of what the troops do every day and what the families do, particularly the
military spouses, thank you so very much."

In a video message to the audience, first lady Laura Bush said the award presented was a chance to pay tribute to the hard work and dedication of
military spouses, as embodied by McIntyre-Brewer.

"I offer her my heartfelt congratulations on receiving this award," Bush said of McIntyre-Brewer. "Chelle, you're an inspiration. To all the
military spouses: President Bush and I are proud of your service, and the American people are grateful to your sacrifice."

Meanwhile, the president today addressed 1,100
military spouses who gathered for a Military Spouse Day celebration at the White House.

"Whether you signed up for
military life at the recruiting station or at the altar rail, each person's a volunteer," he said. "And when you married your soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or Coast Guardsman, you became more than just part of a family; you became part of our nation's military family."

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 6, 2008

AIR FORCE

Helicopter Tech., Inc., of King of Prussia, Penn.; Logistics Specialties, Inc., of Layton, Utah; ES3 Prime Logistics Group, Inc., of San Diego, Calif.; and Eagle Tool and Machine Co., Inc., of Springfield, Ohio, are being awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for $1,500,000,000. This action will provide support and source for competitive
Air Force and DLA land gear (709 Air Force, and 371 DLA items). At this time $8,000,000 has been obligated. Hill AFB, Utah, is the contracting activity (FA8203-08-D-0001, FA8203-08-D-0002, FA8203-08-D-0003, FA8203-08-D-0004).

ARMY

AM General, LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on May 2, 2008, a $522,399,722 firm-fixed price contract for adding 3,216 EA High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles to contract. Work will be performed in Mishawaka, Ind., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Mar. 17, 2006. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-01-C-S001).

Alliant Lake City Small Caliber Ammunition Co., LLC, Independence, Mo., was awarded on May 5, 2008, a $49,757,522 firm-fixed price contract for small caliber ammunition. Work will be performed in Independence, Mo., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Jan. 2, 2008. U.S.
Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAA09-99-D-0016).

Straub Construction, Inc., Bonsall, Calif., was awarded on May 2, 2008, a $10,058,017 firm-fixed price contract for construction of a combat search and rescue C-130 maintenance hanger. Work will be performed at Davis-Monthan
Air Force Base, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 8, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Dec. 10, 2007, and nine bids were received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Los Angeles, Calif., is the contracting activity (W912PL-08-C-0010).

NAVY

A BRDC Joint Venture, Clairton, Pa.; Islands Mechanical Contractor, Inc.,
Jacksonville, Fla.; Ratcliff Construction, Inc., Orange Park, Fla.; and Toltest, Inc., Maumee, Ohio, are each being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award design-build construction contract for general building type projects at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay. The work to be performed is for general building type projects (new construction, renovation, alteration, and repair of facilities and infrastructure, roofing, demolition, and routine renovation) including but not limited to: 1) aviation and aircraft facilities, 2) marine facilities, 3) barracks and personnel housing facilities, 4) administrative facilities, 5) warehouses and supply facilities, 6) training facilities, 7) personnel support and service facilities, 8) security level facilities, 9) abatement and handling of hazardous/regulated materials. Each contract consists of a base year and four option years for a maximum of 60 months or a maximum value of $50,000,000 for all contracts, whichever comes first with a guaranteed minimum of $10,000 for each contract. The aggregate of $50,000,000 will potentially be shared among all four contractors. A BRDC Joint Venture is being awarded the initial task order in the amount of $19,836 (including the minimum guarantee) for the design and construction of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant shower enclosures at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. Work for this task order is expected to be completed by Oct. 2008. The remaining three contractors are being awarded the minimum guarantee of $10,000. Work will be performed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The term of the contract is not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of May 2009, (May 2013, with options exercised). Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The basic contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website with five proposals received. These four contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (contract numbers N69450-08-D-1274/1275/1276/1277).

Special
Tactical Services, LLC (STS)*, Va., Beach, Va., is being awarded a $6,437,479 not-to-exceed modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N61339-07-D-0016) to exercise an option for course instructors for various crew-served weapons courses in support of the Center for Security Forces, Little Creek, Va. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., (46 percent); Norfolk, Va., (40 percent); and Camp Lejuene, N.C., (14 percent), and work is expected to be completed in Apr. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity.

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

Honeywell International of
Phoenix, Az., is being awarded a maximum of $48,945,029, Firm-Fixed price Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for Engine and Maintenance Support for the T55-GA-714A Engines and Components used on the MH-47G Helicopters. The work will primarily be performed at Greer, S.C., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was awarded as a sole source. The contract number is H92241-08-D-0006.

Unionvale Coal Co., Ligonier, Pa.*, is being awarded a maximum $7,917,000 firm fixed price contract for bituminous coal. Other location of performance is in West Va. Using service is
Navy. There were originally 160 proposals solicited with 1 response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is May 31, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-0655).

England Cites U.S., Australia, New Zealand Security Partnership

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 6, 2008 - The deputy defense secretary praised the nations of
Australia and New Zealand for their long-time friendship and security partnership with the United States during a Pentagon ceremony here today. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England, accompanied by Australian Ambassador to the United States Dennis Richardson and New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Roy Ferguson, hosted the opening of the refurbished Australia, New Zealand and United States, or ANZUS, corridor exhibit that's located in the Pentagon's "A" ring hallway between the eighth and ninth corridors.

The exhibit features artwork, statuary, weaponry, uniforms and other items that signify the three countries' security partnership throughout the decades.

The display "does reflect the historic bonds of friendship and respect between
Australia, New Zealand and the United States," England said. The exhibit includes the contributions of American, Australian and New Zealand artisans and craftspeople, the deputy defense secretary observed.

The alliance among the United States, Australia and New Zealand predates the war on
terrorism, England said. President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 dispatched a squadron of U.S. Navy vessels to circumnavigate the world as a display of U.S. maritime flexibility, he noted. The white-painted flotilla, later nicknamed the Great White Fleet, paid nearly a dozen friendly ports-of-call visits to nations worldwide, including visits to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand, in 1908.

"Behind me is a panorama of the Great White Fleet when it visited in Auckland and Sydney harbors," England said, indicating one of the displays. "But, while the harbors look different today,
Australia, New Zealand and the United States still share close bonds of friendship and that is because we share common values -- freedom, liberty, justice and human dignity."

Those values are preserved today in all three nations, thanks to the efforts and selfless service of their
military members, England said.

"We thank all who serve today and all those who have served for this great gift of freedom," he said.

On Sept. 1, 1951,
Australia, New Zealand and the United States signed the ANZUS mutual security agreement. That treaty was invoked for the first time following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

The refurbished exhibit "is testimony to the enduring bonds between our two countries and people, especially those bonds forged in battle," Australian Ambassador Richardson remarked, noting U.S. and Australian troops fought together for the first time on July 4, 1918, during the Battle of Hamel Wood in France during World War I.

"This corridor tells the story of that battle; it tells the story of the other conflicts in which we have been joined," Richardson said.

The Pentagon display commemorates the friendship and security partnership among New Zealand,
Australia and the United States during times of war and peace over the past century, New Zealand Ambassador Ferguson remarked.

"This is an occasion to reflect on our history, celebrate our successes and, above all, to remember the service and sacrifice of our respective armed forces," Ferguson said.

The militaries of New Zealand,
Australia and the United States, Ferguson observed, have fought "steadfastly, together" as friends and allies for decades during conflicts to preserve freedom and the rule of law.

"New Zealand places great value on the important role the United States continues to play in supporting
security and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, and we are very grateful for that role," Ferguson said.

Military Spouses Earn Presidential Volunteer Service Award

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 6, 2008 - President Bush presented six
military spouses the Presidential Volunteer Service Award today for exceptional support to their communities and the nation. Bush made the presentation as 1,100 military spouses gathered for a Military Spouse Recognition Day celebration on the White House South Lawn.

This year's awardees were: Colleen Saffron, an
Army wife; Ramona Vazquez, a Coast Guard wife; Bob Davidson, an Air Force husband; Ellen Patton, a Navy wife; Dawnle Scheetz, an Army Reserve wife; and Kaprece James, a Marine Corps wife.

"The six individuals we honor here today have earned the respect of our nation. They represent thousands of other
military spouses that make significant contributions to our country," Bush said. "So we honor six, but we say thanks to millions. Our country appreciates the service and devotion."

Bush shared the award-winning spouses' accomplishments and the "little extra" they have done to serve their communities and the nation.

Colleen Saffron founded "Operation Life Transformed" after her husband, Terry, was injured in May 2004 serving in Iraq. The nonprofit group trains families of wounded troops so they can work from home while caring for their loved ones.

"To date, Operation Life Transformed has helped more than 30 spouses and caregivers get the funding and support they need for new and flexible careers," Bush said. "And so Colleen, America can't thank you enough [for helping] our wounded troops and their families."

Ramona Vazquez founded "Nate's Open Door Baby Pantry" in honor of a Coast Guardsman she had befriended who died in Iraq, becoming the first Coast Guardsman killed in military action since the
Vietnam War. The program provides diapers, formula, clothing, toys and furniture to military members and civilians at no charge.

"Ramona, America's proud of you. I'm proud of you," Bush said. "I have a feeling that Nate is looking down on great pride today as well."

Bob Davison has made a difference everywhere his wife Lisa's
Air Force career has taken her during the past 12 years, Bush said, rattling off examples. While stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, Davison raised $10,000 for the local Fisher House. At Lakenheath, England, he raised nearly $120,000 for short-term food aid for military families facing tough times. At Scott Air Force Base, Ill., he was a volunteer with Operation Home Front, a national nonprofit group that helps needy military families. Most recently, he works with Operation Home Front at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., where he's raised more than $350,000 in donations, including more than 1 million phone card minutes for deployed servicemembers.

"Lisa Davison is a
leader in the United States Air Force," Bush said. "Bob Davison is a leader in America's armies of compassion."

Ellen Patton's husband, Mark, is a Navy captain, and her son, Eric, a cadet at the U.S.
Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. "She loves her military, she loves her boys, and she loves to sew," Bush said. "So she put these ... loves together and began to volunteer with Quilts of Valor Foundation."

The group provides wartime quilts to every single servicemember wounded during the war, and Patton personally has made 80 quilts for wounded troops and veterans, Bush noted. She also tracked down many of the sailors injured during the 2000 attack on USS Cole.

"Ellen says that when she sees troops coming home with terrible wounds, she wants to provide them with some healing in knowing that they are appreciated," the president said. "So, Ellen, we thank you for what you do to wrap our soldiers in quilts made with such loving hands."

Dawnle Scheetz learned of terrible conditions young Iraqi children endured when her husband,
Army Reserve Maj. Larry Scheetz, deployed in 2006. In response, she started Operation Schoolhouse, a project to collect school supplies and clothing and toys for poor children in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over an eight-month period, Scheetz collected 5 tons of supplies, all packaged and shipped to the front lines and distributed by U.S. troops.

"Here's something even more impressive: She's doing it while fighting breast cancer," Bush told the group. "So Dawnle, your service has changed young lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Your service has inspired the whole nation. We all pray for a speedy recovery, and we honor you here at the White House."

Kaprece James has been "a force of nature" since arriving at the
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., with her husband, 2nd Lt. Rodney James, Bush said. She immediately volunteered for the American Red Cross and has sent more than 100 emergency messages to deployed servicemembers.

She developed the first year-round youth
leadership program to teach professional leadership and interviewing skills. She raised money so young people could assemble 500 disaster kits for enlisted Marine families and founded a newsletter for deployed Marines' families. All the while, she was a cheerleading coach for children on base.

"Phew!" Bush said, drawing laughter before he turned serious.

"Kaprece, we honor you," he said. "We honor your enthusiasm, we admire your dedication to the corps, and we thank you for the example you've set."

Bush conceded that
military spouses' contributions don't always get the attention they deserve. "But I can tell you that every one of your efforts matters," he said. "You do not do this only for your loved ones who are serving and sacrificing in distant lands, but for your entire community and for our country.

"Your dedication, compassion and selflessness play a vital role in uplifting spirits," he said, "and our nation is deeply in your debt."

Miss Utah Credits Military Service With Her Civilian Success

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 5, 2008 - As the reigning Miss
Utah and as a combat medic who has deployed to Afghanistan with her National Guard unit, Sgt. Jill Stevens said her experiences as a soldier have helped her in her civilian life. In an interview on the "ASY Live" program on BlogTalkRadio.com, Stevens said her experience from November 2003 to April 2005 taking care of up to 40 patients on any given day at the Bagram Air Base medical aid station gave her the determination and adaptability that are paramount to her success in other aspects of her life.

"Being a solider, you are really trained to adapt to any situation," she said, "and it has really prepared me for civilian life."

Stevens, who serves in the
Utah National Guard's 1st Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, joined the National Guard in 2001. She said her military life and her civilian life aren't as different as some people might think.

"A lot of people think these paths are so different and that I live a dichotomy, but there's a reason I am involved in both organizations," she said. "Both the
military and the Miss America Association promote education [and] teach you to be a leader, think on your feet and stay in shape and, above all, to serve your country," she said.

During her service in Afghanistan, Stevens said, she developed a great deal of pride for her country, particularly for the women who serve in the
military. During her deployment, she competed in the inaugural marathon race at Bagram and was the first woman to finish. Stevens now has completed 14 marathons, and she said the one in Afghanistan "was one of the toughest."

"Here I was a woman, running in a country where women were mistreated, defiled and oppressed. ... I was angered as I was running, but at the same time proud -- proud to be not only an American woman but an American soldier fighting for their worth," she said.

She said she thought of Afghanistan's women every step of the way, and it carried her to the finish line.

"We are making a difference," she said. "I know these women are realizing their worth, and some are taking a stand to determine their place in the world."

During her deployment, Stevens said, it was important to keep morale high for the continued strength of the force.

"I was there to take care of the physical injuries," she said, "but I also really saw the emotional side. I saw firsthand that keeping the morale high really helps our soldiers perform better."

"ASY Live" on
BlogTalkRadio.com is part of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad. Stevens recalled the touches from home that helped her most during her deployment.

"Thoughtful gifts meant a lot to me -- favorite foods or an encouraging e-mail was great, [because] it meant so much that they took time to think about me," she explained. She took the importance of boosting morale a step further with her own personal cause to encourage her fellow servicemembers.

"Since we had electricity over there, I was like, 'Mom, send me a bread machine!' she said. "Whenever I heard they were having a rough day, I baked bread for the soldiers ... just to boost their spirits."

Another important memory of her deployment, Stevens said, was the opportunity to interact with local children despite the language barrier.

"You speak different languages; you've grown up in really different cultures," she said. "We would communicate with the kids by smiling and making funny faces."

Back in the United States after her deployment, Stevens acknowledged, she had the wrong idea about pageants before she got involved in that aspect of her life.

"All I thought these girls did was just wave their hand and look pretty, and that was not something I wanted to be associated with," she said.

That was before she learned that pageant titleholders can make a difference by their ability to serve as spokeswomen and form organizations. "I love to serve, I love to give back," she said. "That's why I am a soldier and a nurse."

The realization that a pageant title could help her make a difference, Stevens said, is when she "learned how to put on make-up instead of camouflage paint."

Stevens said she was impressed by the support she received from other soldiers when she decided to pursue the Miss America title.

"I have brothers and sisters around the world that are so supportive, and I know that whatever it is, they've got your back," she said.

During her pageant, she recalled, 100 soldiers were in the audience, cheering her on. "I didn't know half of them," she said, "but they came to support another soldier.

This continued support from her "family" of servicemembers is now an important part of who she is and will help keep her focused toward her next goal, said Stevens, who will hold her Miss
Utah title until July.

"There is so much negative publicity on the news today, and optimism is important," she said. Looking forward, Stevens said, she will rely on her
military experience and connection to maintain her optimism and carry her into her next endeavor.

"Wherever you go, if you wear the uniform or sport the
military ID card, you connect with people immediately," she said. "I know that will always be a part of me."

(Jamie Findlater works in the New Media branch of American Forces Information Service.)