Military News

Thursday, May 15, 2008

U.S. Flights Continue to Deliver Supplies to Burma

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - A total of eight
Air Force C-130s have delivered supplies to Burma as part of the U.S. relief effort following Cyclone Nargis, a senior military official said yesterday. Five C-130 Hercules transports delivered water, blankets, rations, mosquito netting and plastic sheeting yesterday. "We have to have permission every time we go in," the official, speaking on background, said. "U.S. officials have a verbal OK to bring in five more planeloads of relief supplies today, he added.

Military planners said they want the Burmese to accept six CH-53 helicopters to speed delivery of the supplies to those hardest hit by the cyclone deep in the Irrawaddy River delta. Burma has only a handful of helicopters, and military officials doubt the nation has the capability to deliver the supplies to those most in need.

The U.S. effort currently is limited to deliveries to the international airfield at Rangoon. The Hercules airlifters land, offload the supplies and then depart, the
military official said. No Americans are on the ground to assist in assessing what the cyclone victims need and how best to get the supplies to them. U.S. military airfield specialists are standing by for the OK to help the Burmese manage the supplies that are flowing in.

Cyclone Nargis hit an area with 2 million people. A Burmese government spokesman said more than 35,000 people are dead and more than 30,000 are missing. United Nations estimates said the number killed could be more than 100,000.

The U.S.
military is looking at options for setting up a helicopter forward operating base outside Burma, the official said. The base ideally would put U.S. choppers within easy range to deliver supplies to the southern Irrawaddy River delta. Officials said many areas in the delta are still under water and that there are no roads to many affected towns and villages. The helicopters would allow supplies to reach those people.

In addition, the USS Essex Expeditionary Strike Group is off the coast of Burma. Clean water is the biggest need now, and the Essex group has 14,000 5-gallon water bladders ready to deliver. The ship also has pallets of other supplies the crew could deliver quickly. "The capacity on those ships is incredible," the official said.

The U.S. ships are only part of a flotilla rushing to provide aid the Burmese government is reluctant to accept. British, French and Australian ships are converging on the area, the official said.

But delivering fresh water and other supplies is only the first piece of the relief effort the Burmese people need, the official said. As terrible as the loss of life already has been, "the disease and all the second- and third-order effects remain," he noted.

Face of Defense: Mother, Son Prepare to Deploy to Kosovo Together


By Army Spc. Lindsey M. Frazier
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - Many mothers sit at home and wonder what their deployed son or daughter is doing, hoping everything is all right and waiting for the next phone call. Some might see a mother deploying with her son as a great thing, but what onlookers might not think about is what is left back home.
Army National Guard Spc. Roschell Eaton of 3175th Military Police Company from Warrenton, Mo., knows this scenario all too well.

Eaton's younger son, Devlin, a high school senior, is staying with his grandmother while she deploys with her elder son, Spc. Jason Hutchins, also an MP in the 3175th.

The mother-son National Guard duo from Troy, Mo., is in mobilization training here for their upcoming deployment as part of Kosovo Force 10, Multinational Task Force East. KFOR 10 is the 16th rotation in an ongoing peacekeeping operation to provide a safe and secure environment for all of Kosovo.

Eaton and her sons have never been apart; it has always been the three of them. She has raised the boys on her own since Jason was a toddler.

"We're best friends," Eaton said with a sigh. "But sometimes you have to leave the ones you love to do what you love."

Eaton served eight years in the
Navy before joining the Missouri Army National Guard. She began missing the camaraderie that she had in the military when she would watch Jason come home in his uniform, and in 2006, after a 12-year break from the military, she decided it was her time to get back in.

"While I was in advanced individual training, my mom called me and told me she joined the Guard," Hutchins said. "She talked about joining, but I didn't think she really would."

In addition to being military
police in the same company, mother and son were in the same platoon before the deployment started. And they're not the only military members of their close-knit family. Devlin, the younger brother, joined the Army National Guard last year and completed basic training the summer before his senior year. He will continue on to AIT for military intelligence as soon as he graduates from high school this month.

"It's really cool having my mom in my unit; it made us even closer than we were before," Hutchins said. "The part that is hard is leaving my brother behind."

The hard part, Eaton said, is that she won't be home to be Mom. She said she has always been a mother first, but being a mother has to come second, since the
Army is now first, she acknowledged.

As she expressed her pride in being a mother, she paused, turned her head to the side and looked away. Taking deep breaths was all she could do to keep the tears from falling. The moment hit her as she thought of not being there for the special moments in her younger son's life.

"He graduates high school this year, and there's prom," she said softly. "I want to be there for the big things and the little things. Devlin says he understands. He said that I was there for his basic training graduation, and that meant more to him than anything."

Eaton smiled as she regained her composure. With a big grin, she said, "My boys and me are a tight trio."

Knowing both of her sons are safe, and not sitting on the couch wondering about them, is the best thing she could ask for, she said.

(
Army Spc. Lindsey Frazier serves in public affairs at Camp Atterbury, Ind.)

DoD Announces Grant Awards for The 2008 ROTC Language and Culture Project

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today the award of eight major grants totaling $3.07 million dollars, as part of the 2008 Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Language and Culture Project, sponsored by the National Security Education Program, on behalf of the Defense Language Office. This year's recipients include Arizona State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Louisiana State University, North Georgia College and State University, Texas A&M University, The University of South Florida, The University of Utah, and The Virginia Military Institute.

The ROTC Language and Culture Project provides opportunities for ROTC Cadets and Midshipmen to study the languages and cultures of world regions critical to U.S. national
security, and prepares them to respond to the global challenges of the 21st century. Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S. C. Chu emphasized that "increasing the number of less commonly taught languages in college curricula remains a challenge in which we are actively engaged. This is another program that will ensure our forces have language and cultural capabilities necessary for today's global operations."

Each university will offer something unique to the two-year-old program.

Arizona State University's Critical Languages Institute offers students Tadjik, Uzbek, Tatar, or Russian, and allows participants to travel to the region for cultural immersion.

Georgia Institute of
Technology will use grant funds to develop semester and year-long study abroad opportunities in Korea and the Middle East for students pursuing technical degrees.

Louisiana State University offers Arabic and Chinese through their Global Studies Residential Hall with residential advisors who will also serve as language tutors, and will fully fund study abroad experiences for participants.

North Georgia College and State University will develop a creative recruiting strategy to attract cadets and midshipmen from across the state to study Chinese.

Texas A&M University offers study abroad scholarships and other opportunities for students to study Arabic and Chinese.

The University of South Florida was selected to receive a planning award which will cover costs associated with aiding and building critical language programs.

The University of Utah will offer participating ROTC students the option to choose from strategic languages including Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Persian, Hindu-Urdi and Pashto.

The Virginia
Military Institute plans to develop and staff supplementary writing, reading, and oral/aural centers to help their students gain proficiency in Arabic, and provide summer scholarship support for selected students with allotments targeted to science and engineering majors.

Each program will also benefit from association with the National
Security Education Program–National Flagship Language Program and have access to successfully proven practices in language curriculum development. Last year a total of two million dollars was awarded to Indiana University, San Diego State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Texas-Austin.

America Supports You: Anheuser-Busch Offers Free Theme Park Admission

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - For the rest of this year, sitting in Shamu the killer whale's "splash zone" or talking turkey with a big yellow bird are just two activities servicemembers and their families can enjoy for free at Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks. Through its "Here's to the
Heroes" program, which began in 2005, the brewing company is offering free tickets to its theme parks for servicemembers and up to three family members to thank them for all they do in service to the country.

"It's important to us for all the reasons you can probably predict," said Fred Jacobs, vice president of communications for Anheuser-Busch. "[This] is a great way for them to reconnect, particularly if they've been separated."

Jacobs knows the program is living up to the company's goals when he sees letters like one an airman wrote.

Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Huffman said in his letter that he didn't join the service for applause or to become a hero, but is simply serving his country as his father and grandfather did.

In his 26 years of service, Huffman said, he's seen the pendulum of public support swing from the more negative end of the spectrum to where it is today.

"I see the people express their support, and while I do appreciate it, I never really gave it much thought ... until I sat through the opening video of the whale show at Sea World," he said in the letter to Anheuser-Busch. "There before [everyone] was your CEO expressing his gratitude to me. Sure, it wasn't directed solely at me, ... [but] I felt a pride in serving that I had forgotten was in me. I had become so complacent.

"For that alone, I owe you thanks," Huffman added. "The free admission and opportunity to enjoy some high-quality family time was icing on the cake."

Active-duty servicemembers, activated or drilling reservists from all five branches of service, and National Guardsmen are eligible for the program.

All servicemembers need do is register online, print and sign the form and bring it with them. If the form can't be printed, it can be filled out upon arrival at the park. Every person over 10 participating in this program must present valid active-duty
military or service identification.

Each pass is valid for a one-day admission per person per year to five of Anheuser-Busch's seven theme park brands. Visitors may choose Sea World Orlando, San Diego or
San Antonio; Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Williamsburg; Pennsylvania's Sesame Place; Florida's Adventure Island; or Virginia's Water Country USA. Discovery Cove and Aquatica parks are not included in this offer.

Anheuser-Bush is a corporate supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Pentagon Endorses Transfer of GI Bill Benefits to Spouses, Children

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - The Pentagon provided proposed legislation to Congress to make it easier for servicemembers to transfer GI Bill
education benefits to their spouses or children and to increase the tuition ceiling amount paid by the program, a senior Defense Department official said here today. The proposal was sent to Capitol Hill on April 21. It reflects departmental desire to improve education and job opportunities for servicemembers and military spouses that President Bush cited in his Jan. 28 State of the Union speech.

The ability for servicemembers to transfer their Montgomery GI Bill
education benefits to spouses exists now, but it's an either/or re-enlistment option, with most servicemembers choosing bonuses when they sign up for another "hitch," Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said during a conference call with military analysts. Army spouses routinely say that obtaining education benefits is one of their top concerns, Carr noted.

"The law (allows transferability in limited circumstances," Carr explained. "Specifically, you must have six years of service completed and agree to [serve] four more.

"But, that's not what limited it," he continued. "What limited it was that it was presented as an option along with other incentives."

The Pentagon's proposal, he noted, removes the limiting requirement for re-enlistment of at least four years.

Another proposed bill before Congress, Carr said, recommends that servicemembers and veterans receive
education benefits similar to those included within the initial GI Bill that was used by nearly 8 million veterans after World War Two. President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the GI Bill in 1944, which provided full tuition as well as a monthly living allowance for military veterans who opted to go to school after receiving honorable discharges.

But today is a different time and circumstance, Carr said. The rationale for the original GI Bill, he explained, was that the end of the war would release millions of veterans into a job market that couldn't absorb them. When war erupted in Europe in 1939, the United States had a 17-percent unemployment rate; its economy was still gripped by the Great Depression that had begun a decade earlier.

The current Pentagon-endorsed proposal on Capitol Hill recommends increasing the GI Bill tuition ceiling from about $1,100 a month to about $1,600, Carr said. That figure, he said, dovetails with current average college tuition costs.

According to recent studies of
military manning requirements, the re-introduction of original GI Bill-type education benefits would scramble the Army's personnel system, Carr said, and cause an exodus from the ranks. The Army would lose 8,000 soldiers a year, he said, and it would have to invest an additional $100 million annually for retention incentives. Recruiting would have to be ramped up to make up for the anticipated shortfall, he added.

Re-introducing the old GI Bill "would have a sharp effect on retention and be a shock to the system," Carr emphasized, adding it would hurt
Army re-enlistment rates, now at about 50 percent, when the Army is working to add 65,000 additional soldiers to the force.

The initial GI Bill was used when America had a conscripted
military force that had many more members and a much-higher attrition rate, Carr pointed out. With today's volunteer force, it is necessary that "we should provide a fair education benefit and be attentive to retention," Carr said, noting extreme care should be taken to retain the noncommissioned officers who form the backbone of the military.

"If we provide the average national [college tuition cost] and then leave it to the veterans to make their choices, that's not unreasonable, given that we have a competing concern about sustaining seasoned NCOs to lead a larger military," Carr said.

Before
World War Two, college and home ownership were mostly unreachable for the average American. Because of the GI Bill, millions of veterans earned college degrees, thus preventing a flood of the post-war job market. Millions of World War Two veterans also used their GI Bill benefits to buy houses with federally guaranteed mortgage loans.

By 1947, veterans accounted for nearly half of college admissions. By the time the original GI Bill ended in 1956, 7.8 million of 16 million
World War Two veterans had participated in an education or training program.

The Defense Department enrolls servicemembers to receive Montgomery GI Bill benefits, but the Department of Veterans Affairs implements and manages the program. The VA pays the tuition bills.

About 97 percent of today's servicemembers enroll for GI Bill benefits, and slightly more than 70 percent actually use them. That's the highest usage rate of any GI Bill in history.

"If we retain well, then we have a seasoned force, Carr observed, noting just one in eight servicemembers re-enlisted after their first hitch during the draft era. Today, nearly 50 percent of servicemembers re-enlist after their initial term of service, he noted.

"That matters, because that produces the experience profile that produces the experienced NCOs," Carr said. "And, with the weapon systems that we've bought, that's all that's going to work in keeping them maintained and operating."

In short, providing original-style GI Bill benefits for today's all-volunteer force would create "an exodus" of servicemembers and "a performance concern" across the
military, Carr said.

Gates Lauds Moves to Bolster Civilian Agencies

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - Calling civilian government agencies a "combat multiplier," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said last night that he's encouraged by moves to bolster the support agencies can provide to fight the
war on terror. Speaking at the Academy of American Diplomats here, the secretary said there is bipartisan support on Capitol Hill to devote more resources to the State Department and other civilian agencies.

Since the
war on terror began, President Bush, defense officials and military officers have stressed that all parts of the federal government must work together to combat extremists -- that the military can put in place conditions for security, but civilian agencies are the repositories of expertise on governance, economics, agriculture and so on. Countries like Iraq and Afghanistan need these skills to cement progress in place.

"There is a need for a much greater integration of our efforts," Gates said. "There is clearly a need for a better way to organize interagency collaboration."

Defense personnel have always worked in the State Department, but now State Department personnel are assigned to DoD, especially with the combatant commands. The newly formed U.S. Africa Command, for example, has a large number of State Department personnel assigned to the organization. U.S. Southern Command also has a large number of personnel from civilian agencies as integral members of the command.

The civilian expertise is especially needed "when we're being out-communicated by a guy in a cave," Gates said.

The problem with the civilian agencies providing the personnel has not been a lack of will, but a lack of capabilities, Gates said. The State Department has about 6,600 Foreign Service officers. To put it in perspective, that's barely enough to crew one carrier battle group in the
Navy, the secretary said.

The upshot is that when civilian agencies cannot deploy personnel, servicemembers step in to take up the slack. The provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan and Iraq are primary examples of this, Gates said. The teams, which have slots for officials from the departments of agriculture, commerce, treasury,
justice and so on, were staffed by military personnel so they effort could get up and running quickly.

"There aren't deployable people in agriculture and commerce and treasury and so on that are prepared to go overseas," Gates said.

And these skills are desperately needed, he emphasized. "My view is we are not properly structured to deal with the challenges of the 21st century, which are very complex and have to do not only with
security issues but economic development, rule of law, governance and so on," Gates said.

The State Department has asked for a further 1,000 Foreign Service officers and a significant increase in budget for fiscal 2009. Legislation on Capitol Hill would establish a Civilian Reserve Corps. The proposal is in three parts: a couple of hundred full-time people ready to respond at a moment's notice, a cadre of civilians in agencies around the federal government who could be called up to serve anywhere in the world, and civilians in private life who could -- like the National Guard -- serve when "federalized."

"The
military calls it a force multiplier when they get these civilians on the ground," Gates said.

The national
security organization is essentially unchanged since it was enacted in 1947. DoD has let a contract to see what a new National Security Act would look like if it were enacted this year, the secretary said.

"I, frankly, don't have the answers," he said. "We've got a contract out ... to some academic institutions and think tanks to see if we can't come up with some ideas."

He said he hopes the results from the study will give the new administration some options to pursue in the challenging
security environment.

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 15, 2008

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Graybar Electric Inc., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a maximum $74,000,000.00 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for Maintenance, Repair and Operations supplies. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Federal Civilian Agencies. This contract is exercising option year three. This proposal was originally Web solicited with seven responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is May 18, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM500-04-D-BP07).

ARMY

Allied Mechanical, Greenville, Wisc., was awarded on May 14, 2008 a $12,486,732.00 firm-fixed price contract for BDU-50C/B practice bomb assembly, cast ductile iron. Work is to be performed at Greenville, Wisc., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2011. Bids were solicited via the web with one bid received.
Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity. (W52P1J-08-D-0052).

NAVY

Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $38,031,795 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to the previously awarded contract (N00024-96-C-2100) for the execution of the USS Hawaii (SSN 776) Post Shakedown Availability (PSA) to include the maintenance, repair, alterations, testing, and other work. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., (99 percent); Quonset Point, R. I., (1 percent), and work is expected to be completed by Mar. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Supervisor of Shipbuilding Conversion and Repair, Groton, Conn., is the contracting activity.

Scientific Research Corp.,
Atlanta, Ga., is being awarded a $28,442,422 indefinite-delivery-indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee (with an option to issue cost-plus-incentive-fee and fixed priced orders), performance based contract for engineering, technical, logistical, sustainment and administrative requirements on software defined radio systems/equipment. The work required under the contract will be performed over a number of current and future systems and architectures for a variety of different sponsors. This contract includes four one-year options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $164,997,475. The work for the contract will be performed in Charleston, S.C., (90 percent) and San Diego, Calif., (10 percent) and is expected to be completed by May 2009. If all options are exercised, work could continue until May 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured under full and open competition. The Request for Proposal was posted on the SPAWAR Systems Center E-Commerce website and one offer was received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston, is the contracting activity (N65236-08-D-5803).

Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $18,553,362 five year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for highly specialized, critical and essential subject matter expertise to perform studies, analysis, tradeoffs, requirements analysis, design, development, test certification and documentation and/or enhance existing combat system interface simulation, and test and analysis systems associated with combat system development and life-cycle engineering support. In addition, the contractor shall install and checkout simulators, and test equipment at various AEGIS Land Based Test Sites (LBTSs) and/or shipyards. Work will be performed in Dahlgren, Va., (90 percent); Moorestown, N.J., (5 percent); Wallops Island, Va., (3 percent); and San Diego, Calif., (2 percent), and work is expected to be completed by May 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with one proposal solicited and one offer received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Va., is the contracting activity (N00178-08-D-2003).

Students Help DoD Fill Jobs Through Marketing, Recruiting

By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - Web-based social-networking and video-sharing sites such as "
MySpace" and "YouTube" may be the best place to turn to entice the nation's best and brightest young people to work for the Defense Department. That is among the conclusions of college business students who entered a contest to help the department increase its applicant pool for critical civilian jobs that require foreign-language abilities. The students, undergraduates at five U.S.-based colleges and universities, were recognized at a Pentagon ceremony today for their recruiting and marketing plans.

"Sometimes we get down on young people," Patricia Bradshaw, DoD's deputy undersecretary for civilian personnel policy, told the students. "But my faith is restored when I meet with people like you. Thank you for all that you do and for being a future leader of this nation. I'm looking forward to getting resumes!"

The department will not implement all of the recommendations, but will use the best analysis, strategies and practical suggestions, Bradshaw said. "They have given us tremendous insights and 'a-ha moments,'" she said of the plans. "This has given us tremendous faith in the education that is out there and in the generation behind us."

The ceremony today concluded five months of work for the college undergraduate teams who entered the first-ever competition, sponsored by the Civilian Personnel Management Service and its contractor, EdVenture Partners. The students were charged in January with developing a comprehensive recruiting and marketing plan to identify U.S. citizens with foreign-language skills who qualify to fill the department's mission-critical skills in areas such as medical, engineering, science, transportation, acquisitions, finance and security. Targeted languages include Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Korean, Russian and Farsi.

"I am so proud of this group," said University of Illinois-Chicago Marketing Professor Dave Koehler, whose team won first place for its "D-Day" plan for the Defense Department. "They have so much energy, and they worked so hard. They will remember this day for the rest of their lives."

Koehler's all-female team, three of five of whom are multilingual, posted an advertising excerpt of its plan on www.youtube.com. Amid video of sensational celebrity sightings, animal antics and extreme occurrences, comes a black screen and an announcer's solemn voice: "D-Day is coming. Your life changes here." Then, with only the department's blue and gold seal on the screen, the deep, male voice challenges, "Do you think you have what it takes?" Interested viewers are then directed to the department's recruiting site at www.godefense.com. Five resumes were posted almost immediately, Koehler said.

Marketing DoD has its challenges, said UIC team leader and marketing student Svetlana Shiper. "There are misperceptions about the department, mostly tied to the war," she said. "A lot of people are really negative about the war, and we wanted to let them know that they will be civilians and that the DoD is much greater than just this war."

As the YouTube commercial notes, there are about 700,000 Defense Department jobs in more than 2,000 defense agencies. Of those jobs, the department fills about 80,000 per year, Bradshaw said.

Shiper said many young people jump at the chance to work for the department. "People are interested in the prestige of working for the Defense Department, and they're really interested in making a difference," she said.

Other winners in the contest are University of
Colorado in second place and Cascade College, based in Portland, Ore., in third place.

Another idea Bradshaw said the department is interested in is Cascade's suggestion to use alternate-reality gaming, or ARG, to attract young people. ARG is an Internet-based, interactive narrative that uses multimedia and gaming in a real-world platform to tell a story -- in this case, the "story" of being a Defense civilian.

Cascade's student team
leader, John "Wes" Scott, said the department also has to appeal to young people's desire for non-traditional work arrangements. "Our generation is looking for job freedom and flexibility," he said. "We can go on the Internet and see the whole world before us. We're not looking so much for a career as for opportunities."

That doesn't mean young people are opposed to becoming civil servants, Scott said. To the contrary, "DoD has so many options and regional assignments. I would work for an employer for 30 years if I could move around and grow. Nobody wants to work in a cubicle doing the same job forever."

The department has many qualities that make it an easy sell, Koehler said. "Right now, our graduates really just want a job. DoD salaries are competitive. You have career tracks. You don't find that in the private sector. And our team [of all women] was really excited to see so many women here in high positions," he said of the Pentagon.

Five More Flights Deliver Relief to Burma

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - The United States sent another five
military aircraft loaded with relief supplies to Burma today, and looks forward to the opportunity to send more, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today. "We have seen an increase in the number of flights day to day that the Burmese government is permitting," Morrell said during a Pentagon news conference. Thirteen flights to date have carried 313,000 pounds of water, blankets, hygiene kits, plastic sheeting, mosquito netting and food, he reported.

"So we are certainly encouraging the Burmese government to continue to let those flights come in and, if possible, increase the number of flights that are coming in," he said.

United Nations and nongovernmental organizations operating in Burma report that the Burmese
military is transporting relief supplies to the stricken areas, Morrell said. "So far, the initial reports are that (the aid) is getting to those who need it," he said.

Morrell reiterated Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' frustrations about the situation, noting that the secretary said it "would be a tragedy if the Burmese government were not to take advantage of the incredible generosity of the American people and the incredible capabilities of the U.S.
military in providing relief to their storm-stricken people."

Morrell called U.S. Pacific Command commander
Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating's May 12 trip to Burma with the first relief flight a success that "opened the door to at least limited numbers of aid flights into Burma."

Keating spelled out for Burmese
leaders the extent of additional U.S. military support ready to step in to help when given the green light.

"There is absolutely more we could do, if only the Burmese government would permit us to do it," Morrell said today. "We have more than enough resources nearby, ready and standing by to provide even more help than we have provided to date."

That's why, Morrell said, the U.S. government has been working with other governments to persuade the Burmese
leaders "to put their pride aside and let our troops come in with the aid that their people so desperately need."

Morrell said it is "out of the question" that the United States would unilaterally airdrop additional supplies without the government's go-ahead.

Gates, Senate Committee Discuss Nominations, Defense Issues

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today urged the Senate Armed Services Committee to act quickly on several key
military nominations, including Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' appointment as chief of U.S. Central Command, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today. The committee will hold confirmation hearings May 22 for Petraeus, as well as for Army Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, who has been nominated for his fourth star and to take over Petraeus' command at Multinational Force Iraq, Morrell said.

The committee was slated to meet today with
Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, nominated to direct the Joint Staff, and Navy Rear Adm. William McRaven, who has been named to succeed McChrystal at Joint Special Operations Command.

"The secretary believes the quick confirmation of all four men is necessary to maintain continuity and focus in the global
war on terror," Morrell said.

While on Capitol Hill today, Gates thanked the Senate committee for its work on the fiscal 2009 National Defense Authorization Act. "He is particularly pleased that it includes full funding for a missile defense site in Europe and increased funding for programs dedicated to the training and equipping of foreign forces," Morrell said.

Gates also discussed the importance of the
Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act that enables the U.S. judicial system to exercise jurisdictional control over U.S. civilians on foreign soil. Gates discussed with the senators "the need to clarify jurisdiction over all contractors working for the U.S. government in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas where our military operates," Morrell said.

The secretary also talked with the senators about proposed changes to the Montgomery GI Bill.

"Secretary Gates reiterated his strong support for an enhanced GI Bill that allows troops to transfer their unused education benefits to family members while not undercutting retention in our all-volunteer force," Morrell said.

Officials Extend Spouse Career Advancement Initiative

By Barbara A. Goodno
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - Career and training opportunities for
military spouses just got better, as the Defense and Labor departments' career advancement demonstration project has been expanded to include all active-duty military spouses, along with four additional career fields. "In the first days of the demonstration project, we began hearing from spouses who -- based on the ranks of their spouses -- were ineligible," said Leslye A. Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy. "They explained quite articulately that all spouses have an overwhelming need for the program."

The career advancement demonstration project, announced in November, helps
military spouses at 18 installations in eight states get the education and other credentials needed to pursue careers in high-demand, high-growth occupations.

The expansion, made in late April, came at the right time for Sonya Martinez, 36. When she and her husband,
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Donovan Martinez, were married 16 and a half years ago, she was a student with an interest in a career in bio-chemical research. She knew she needed a transportable career and focused on clinical lab work. It's been a career path she said she's enjoyed.

Today, she's enrolled in the rigorous clinical lab scientist training program, and she's within one year of receiving her license as a clinical lab scientist. While pursuing this credential, she also works full time as a clinical lab specialist, where she performs laboratory work to identify, diagnose and treat diseases.

Last month, she said, a
Navy wife told her about the career advancement opportunity; she checked into the program and was accepted right away.

Participating in the program will be a tremendous step toward her career goal, she noted, as the licensure will allow her to specialize in blood banking for critically ill children and supervise the lab.

Because education always has been a priority for the then, she and her husband put many other desires on hold, she said. The career advancement account and the financial assistance it offers has given them valuable stability and will enable them to fulfill another long-standing wish. "They made it possible for us to buy a house and go to school at the same time," she said.

Arsht said most
military spouses -- 87 percent according to recent surveys -- would like to further their education and develop a portable career, but see the cost of education as a roadblock to further education or training. This was true for Tangeray Mayhorn, 27, of Fort Carson, Colo. She has one year left in social work studies and is preparing for a career in hospital social work. Her husband, Glenn, is an Army staff sergeant.

"I've always wanted to be a hospital social worker, but didn't know how I was going to make this last year money-wise," Mayhorn said. "I heard about the program from a friend and applied right away. I was approved on the spot."

Mayhorn will attend courses this summer and in the fall. She said the financial support for books and tuition will go a long way. She encourages other
military spouses to look into career development options.

"Your career can travel with you and will relieve the stress that comes with a move," she said. "You won't have to worry about what your next job will be."

Micaela Ayala, 33, at Fort Lewis, Wash., agrees. Her husband,
Army Spc. Edgar Ayala, enlisted in the last year. At the time, she said, she didn't realize it would mean a positive career move for her, too. She said she's always wanted to work in the field of medicine, but for financial reasons it was never an option before.

"We just couldn't afford it," Ayala said. "There's just no way I'd be able to go to school. I'm really grateful for this opportunity."

Now, she's enrolled in a certified nursing program and is excited about the upcoming coursework. She started a phlebotomy course last week.

All three spouses say enrolling in the program was much easier than they expected.

"I heard about the program on the news and went to the joint briefing to get more information," Ayala said. "I talked to a counselor, set an appointment and then completed the paperwork. The whole process was really quite smooth."

The career advancement demonstration project is available to spouses at
military installations in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, North Carolina and Washington. Military spouses can receive grants of up to $6,000 for education, training and licenses or credentials costs over a two-year period. The grants cover the costs for tuition, fees, books, equipment, and credentialing and licensing fees.

In addition to careers in education, health care, information
technology, construction trades, financial services, the demonstration project now includes specific in-demand occupations within human resources, business and management, hospitality management and homeland security.

Since the program began in January, more than 1,000
military spouses have enrolled in career development programs. Arsht said she wants to be sure that other military spouses are aware of -- and are able to use -- this new resource.

"Military spouses are a large, untapped talent pool. They are motivated, dedicated and high-energy -- just what the work force needs," she said. "Their career aspirations, too often, are put on hold because the
military lifestyle simply gets in the way. We want to change that. These education and training opportunities are a strong step in the right direction."

To be eligible for the program, The
military spouse's sponsor must be on active duty and have at least one year remaining at his or her current duty station. The spouse must have a high school diploma, GED or some post-secondary education. Training must be completed within two years and lead to a license, certificate or degree. Prerequisites and remedial coursework can also be included.

The career advancement demonstration project is available at the following installations:

-- In
California: San Diego Metro and Camp Pendleton;

-- In Colorado: Fort Carson and Peterson
Air Force Base;

-- In Florida: Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Eglin
Air Force Base, and Hurlburt Field;

-- In Georgia: Fort Benning;

-- In Hawaii: Hickam Air Force Base, Naval Base Pearl Harbor, Schofield Barracks, and U.S.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii;

-- In Maine: Naval Air Station Brunswick;

-- In
North Carolina: Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base; and

-- In Washington: Fort Lewis, McChord
Air Force Base, and Naval Station Kitsap

Information is available in person at installation education centers, by telephone and online. Career counseling for
military spouses is available through Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, or online at militaryonesource.com and www.caa.milspouse.org.

(Barbara A. Goodno is a senior program analyst in the Defense Department's Office of Family Policy and Office of Children and Youth.)

Berlin Airlift Dispensed Food, Delivered Blow to Communism

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - Almost 60 years ago, the U.S.
Air Force launched an operation that relieved some 2.5 million beleaguered Berlin residents and stretched the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain at its seams. U.S. and German officials will pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of this effort at the Joint Service Open House this weekend at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

In the largest humanitarian mission in
Air Force history, "Operation Vittles," also known as the Berlin Airlift, delivered more than 2.3 million tons of food, fuel and other supplies to residents of the German capital.

This massive aerial effort, jointly carried out by U.S. and British air forces from June 1948 through September 1949, was born of post-
World War Two tensions between the allied powers and the Soviet Union.

At the war's conclusion, the victors divided Germany into four occupation zones: the American, British, and French zones in the west, and a Soviet zone in the east. Within the Soviet zone lay Berlin, which also was divided into four sectors, each administered by one of the wartime allies, according to the
Air Force History Web site.

Displeased with the terms of post-war restructuring, the Soviet Union, which controlled roads and railways leading into Berlin's allied sectors, blocked the Western powers' ground access to the western portion of the German capital on June 24, 1948. Many historians agree that Joseph Stalin, then the
leader of the Soviet Union, imposed the aggressive restrictions in an attempt to extend Russia's communist sphere in Europe and exploit the allies' vulnerabilities.

"Despite its monopoly of atomic weapons, the United States had few options. Berlin lay deep inside Soviet-controlled Germany, and the United States maintained approximately two divisions in Europe," said
Air Force historian Maj. Harry R. Borowski in an essay on the Air and Space Power Journal Web site. "In ground strength, Joseph Stalin held the trump cards."

Meanwhile, appeals for relief emanated from West Berlin, where residents, isolated from the outside world, faced starvation and a dearth of vital materials. In the early stages of the relief operation, West Berlin's Mayor Ernst Reuter, before a crowd of some 300,000, delivered a now-famous speech that captured the zeitgeist of desperation.

"People of this world, look upon this city and see that you should not and cannot abandon this city and its people!" Reuter implored, the burned-out Reichstag building formerly used by Germany's Parliament standing as a precarious backdrop. The audience heard his plea, and so did the allied powers.

With too few ground forces to breach the blockade, and the survival of the 2.5 million West Berliners in the balance, Western allies looked to the sky for an answer. Operation Vittles began June 26, 1948 -- two days after the blockade -- when C-47 Dakota
military transport aircraft took off for the German capital.

On the first day of the operation, C-47s made 32 flights into West Berlin's allied sectors carrying 80 tons of cargo, mainly powdered milk, flour and medicine, according to the
Air Force History Office Web site. It became clear to American officials in the first month of the operation that a massive airlift of indefinite duration afforded the only alternative to war or withdrawal, the site noted.

In what is regarded as one of the first maneuvers in the chess-like Cold War that would define U.S.-Soviet relations for the next four decades, the humanitarian and ideological mission helped define the players involved.

"The Berlin Airlift was a watershed event in the Cold War in that it proved the determination of the United States to do whatever was necessary to support the freedom of the people of Berlin, and, by extension, the free people of Europe," said retired
Navy Adm. Charles S. "Steve" Abbot, a former deputy commander of U.S. European Command. "History has shown that we made good on that commitment."

During the 10-month mission, more than 500 American and British airlifters conducted 277,569 flights, eventually averaging one flight per every 90 seconds. They delivered 2,325,509.6 tons of food, coal, and other commodities to Berlin. Airlifters also transported 227,655 passengers in and out of the city, according to the
Air Force History Web site. On the busiest day, they delivered 13,000 tons, roughly equivalent to the amount of tonnage delivered on the ground before the blockade.

The airlift was the largest humanitarian operation ever undertaken by the U.S.
Air Force, which had only been an independent military branch for nine months before the operation. By comparison, the airlift to war-torn Sarajevo between 1992 and 1997 brought in 179,910 tons -- less than the amount flown into Berlin in one month alone, American historian Pamela Feltus noted in an essay.

"For the city of Berlin, destroyed by war and occupation, it was the beginning of civic pride and integrity," Feltus wrote on the U.S. Centennial of Flight Web site. "Having feared that the West would abandon them to starvation, their gratitude still survives."

Abbot said the airlift cemented the U.S. relationship with Berliners, West Germans and Europe's free and open societies.

"I think it is hard to overstate the importance of the Berlin Airlift," he said. "It will undoubtedly retain its importance in the history of the free world."

'Candy Bomber' Showed Berlin Kids Affection Through Confection

American Forces Press Service

May 15, 2008 - While members of the allied air forces delivered millions of tons of food, fuel and vital staples in the Berlin Airlift almost 60 years ago, one American pilot stood out as a favorite of the sweet-toothed children in the German capital. Now 87 years old, retired
Air Force Col. Gail S. Halvorsen, known as the "Candy Bomber," gained popularity among West Berlin's young residents by tossing candy from his C-54 Skymaster aircraft as he approached a runway, showering the sky with sugary treats.

Halvorsen is expected to be on hand at Andrews
Air Force Base, Md., May 17 as U.S. and German officials honor the Berlin Airlift as part of the base's annual Joint Service Open House.

The idea grew out of a chance meeting with a group of hungry German school children gathered near Tempelhof Airport in Berlin to watch the giant airplanes land and unload, Halvorsen recalled in a February 2007 interview with
Air Force Public Affairs. "They were just grateful that we were bringing in the supplies," he said.

"They had been through Hitler, and were going through Stalin," he continued. "After a while, I realized I had talked to these kids for an hour and they hadn't asked for anything. I found out there hadn't been any candy in months."

Halvorsen gave the two pieces of gum in his possession to the kids, half expecting them to fight over the rare treat. Instead, he recalled, the children split the sticks into miniature morsels, and those who didn't get any gum were given small strips torn from the foil wrappers so they could smell the confection's sweet residue.

The pilot promised to bring the children more gum and candy on his next flight into the airport. Though the decision could have earned him a court-martial for breaking flying regulations, Halvorsen vowed to drop the goodies as he passed over them before landing.

So they'd know which of the huge airplanes was his, Halvorsen said he told the children he would "wiggle" his wings as he approached their position.

When he returned to his quarters at Rhein-Main, Germany, then-lieutenant Halvorsen requested his fellow pilots donate their candy rations to disburse to the children. His
Air Force comrades warned him of the consequences of throwing unauthorized objects from an aircraft in flight, but he refused to be swayed from delivering on his promise.

After attaching makeshift parachutes of handkerchiefs and string to each chocolate bar, Halvorsen brought the airworthy goodies onboard and kept his oath to the children during his missions over the following three weeks.

Upon returning to Rhein-Main after a flight into Berlin one day, Halvorsen found a message waiting for him. He was to report to the colonel's office, post-haste.

In the midst of chewing out the young lieutenant for what felt like an eternity, Halvorsen recalled, the colonel produced a German newspaper with a feature article about "Uncle Wiggly Wings," a nickname the children of West Berlin had given Halvorsen.

"It turns out that the general had seen the article before the colonel," the maverick pilot said. "He called the colonel into his office asking which of his pilots had been dropping parachutes into Berlin and the colonel said none of us were.

"The general then told him, 'You'd better wake up, Colonel, because one of your pilots is dropping parachutes,'" Halvorsen recalled. "I think the colonel was more upset that the general found out before he did than he was at what I did."

Local newspapers picked up the story, and Halvorsen's fame started to spread. At his home base, Halvorsen began receiving mail from other pilots who wanted to help. Donors sent candy, volunteers made handkerchief parachutes and the tiny parcels began to fall all over Berlin.

On a brief trip back to the United States, an interviewer asked Halvorsen what he needed to continue his popular "Candy Bomber" operation. He jokingly remarked, "Boxcars full of candy!" Sure enough, shortly after his return to Germany, a train car loaded with 3,000 pounds of chocolate bars arrived for "Uncle Wiggly Wings."

Sixty years after the Berlin Airlift, or "Operation Vittles" -- the largest humanitarian effort in
Air Force history -- the mission is remembered for relieving some 2.5 million beleaguered West Berlin residents and striking a blow against the communist Soviet government depriving them of essential goods.

Many also remember the American aircraft that dropped more than 23 tons of candy to the children of West Berlin during the Candy Bomber operation, later renamed "Operation Little Vittles."

For performing an act of valor and self-sacrifice in a humanitarian interest, Halvorsen received the prestigious Cheney Award in 1948, named for 1st Lt. William Cheney, who was killed in an air collision over Italy in 1918. Established in 1927, it's awarded to an airman for an act of valor, extreme fortitude or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian interest, performed in connection with aircraft, but not necessarily of a
military nature.

"It's called service before self," Halvorsen told schoolchildren during a February 2006 appearance at an elementary school assembly. "Look at me. I've had a lot of great things happen and met a lot of people, but really it's all because of two sticks of gum."

(Compiled from articles by
Air Force Tech Sgt. Ben Gonzales and Ed Drohan published on the U.S. Air Force Web site.)