Military News

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pentagon Improves Services for Transitioning Servicemembers, Families

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 19, 2008 - The Defense Department recently merged two
military support programs into one as part of efforts to better address departing servicemembers' financial and transition needs, a senior Pentagon official told U.S. legislators May 16. The previously separate Financial Readiness and Transition Assistance programs were combined in March to form the new Office of Personal Finance and Transition, Jane Burke, principal director for military community and family policy, said in testimony before members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Veterans Affairs subcommittee on economic opportunity.

"Returning to private life after serving in the
military is a very complex undertaking," Burke told legislators. "To assist them in doing so, we must empower our servicemembers with the tools and information they need to develop individual solutions to the challenges they may face as they return to civilian life."

The merger of the financial and transition assistance programs was made in recognition "that financial readiness,
military and veterans benefits, and transition assistance are closely linked to one another and must be addressed as a whole," Burke explained. This, she said, is an example of the Pentagon's desire to improve programs that assist transitioning servicemembers and their families.

Whether having served on active duty or in the reserve components, transitioning servicemembers' and families' primary goals "are finding a job, changing careers, enrolling in higher education, and ultimately improving their economic quality of life," Burke said.

The Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Labor departments have partnered over the past decade to assist servicemembers' return to civilian life, Burke observed.

All three organizations, Burke said, share responsibility for the transition assistance program's four key components:

-- Mandatory preseparation counseling for departing active-duty, National Guard or reserve members, is performed by servicemembers' individual service branch. Servicemembers are introduced to information about employment opportunities and how to go about finding a job. Members looking for jobs or a career change are encouraged to visit and register with the One-Stop Career Center nearest their residence once they return home.

-- Attendance at Department of Labor-sponsored transition assistance program employment workshops is voluntary for active-duty servicemembers and spouses, except for mandatory participation by
Marine Corps members. Servicemembers receive information about labor market conditions, individual skills assessment, how to write effective resumes, proper interviewing techniques, and methods of searching for jobs.

-- Veterans Affairs benefits briefings are voluntary for active-duty servicemembers. These briefings address education and training, healthcare, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, disability benefits, burial benefits, and dependents' and survivors' benefits. Demobilizing National Guard and reserve-component members receive a VA briefing that includes information on the Disabled Transition Assistance Program.

-- Participation in the Disabled Transition Assistance Program managed by Veterans Affairs is voluntary for active-duty members. This program is for servicemembers and veterans who have or suspect they have a service-connected disability or an injury or illness that was aggravated by
military service. DTAP addresses re-employment, rapid access to employment, employment through long-term services, independent living services, and self employment. DTAP also addresses other issues such as medical, dental, optical, mental health treatment, special adapted housing, veterans centers, vocational/educational counseling, and special hiring authorities for federal employment.

The Defense Department has established a goal to have 85 percent of separating active-duty, National Guard and reserve members attend transition assistance program and disabled transition program seminars, Burke said.

"To meet this goal, we have tasked the services to allow servicemembers to attend these sessions so they have access to the employment resources they need to help them transition into the workforce or into an educational institution," Burke explained.

When the transition assistance program was first developed in 1990, it was not designed with the needs of the National Guard and reserves in mind, Burke said. The 2007 launch of the www.TurboTAP.org Web portal addressed those concerns, she said.

TurboTAP "allows each servicemember, regardless of component, to obtain a lifelong account and a tailored individual transition plan based on their transition needs, which can also connect them to information on military and veterans benefits, many of which have significant cash value," Burke explained. Examples of such programs include the Montgomery GI Bill, the Thrift Savings Plan and the Savings Deposit Program, she said.

TurboTAP better meets the needs of National Guard, reserve and active-component servicemembers and their families "because the Web site gives them the tools to connect and access the information to meet their needs when they are ready -- present or future," Burke said. Military OneSource and
Military Home Front, she noted, are two other Defense Department-endorsed Web sites that, along with TurboTAP, contain important transitional, financial and benefits information for separating servicemembers.

Servicemembers and their families have sacrificed much in support of the global war on terror, Burke said. Therefore, she said, it is the department's duty "to provide our troops with the decision-making tools they need to help them with the key financial and transition decision points" to assist them in making career and economic security plans.

The new office of personal finance and transition in partnership with other federal and private agencies "will get us there," Burke said.

U.S. to Provide China Satellite Images of Quake-Stricken Region

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

May 19, 2008 - The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is expected to provide satellite images to China as soon as today to assist in damage assessments in earthquake-stricken Sichuan province, a senior defense official said today. The People's Republic of China specifically requested imagery of dams, reservoirs, roads and bridges, said Bryan Whitman, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. Weather permitting and if cloud cover doesn't hamper the effort, the first images are expected to be delivered today, he said.

The imagery-support request follows two C-17 Globemaster aircraft deliveries of supplies to China yesterday. The loads, delivered to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, carried food, water containers, blankets, lanterns, generators and hand tools from U.S. military relief stocks in Hawaii and Guam.

While no additional flights are scheduled, the U.S. military remains ready to deliver more assistance, Whitman said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Pacific Command continued humanitarian flights today to cyclone-stricken Burma, Whitman reported. Five C-130 aircraft delivered more relief supplies today, following 10 flights during the weekend. To date, 31 airlifts have delivered more than 727,000 pounds of water, food, mosquito netting, shelters, medical supplies, hygiene supplies and other relief.

"We have no further scheduled flights, but we anticipate that the government is going to permit a similar number of flights, probably tomorrow, as they have in the past several days now," Whitman said.

Humanitarian aid organizations operating in Burma report that the relief supplies are reaching the affected areas. But without any U.S. military presence on the ground, Whitman said, it's impossible to verify all aid is getting where it's needed.

Burma's military junta has not authorized four U.S. ships on standby in the Bay of Bengal to join in the relief effort. USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry, USS Mustin and USS Juneau are equipped with 14 heavy-lift and medium-lift helicopters. "Right now, the only thing we have been granted permission for is the C-130 flights," Whitman said.

He expressed hope that Burma will tap into all the support ready to help. "There is still a good deal of suffering that is taking place in Burma. We are hopeful that we will be able to continue to provide some of that badly needed assistance," he said.

"So we are going to continue to monitor the situation, work through this problem and, as always, encourage the government to accept outside assistance so we can provide it to those that most need it right now."

MILITARY CONTRACTS May 19, 2008

ARMY

Machining Technologies, Inc., (MaTech), Salisbury, Md., was awarded on May 15, 2008 a $11,352,260.11 firm-fixed price contract for 60mm and 81mm lightweight mortar bipods. Work is to be performed in Salisbury, Md., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2012. Bids were solicited via the web with two bids received. U.S.
Army Joint Munitions & Lethality Life Cycle Management Command, Acquisition Center Picatinny, N.J., is the contracting activity. (W15QKN-08-C-0455)

Norfolk Dredging Co., Chesapeake, Va., was awarded on May 15, 2008 a $5,664,500 firm-fixed price construction contract. The work consists of maintenance dredging in Charleston harbor, lower reaches, and Wando River. Work is to be performed in Charleston County, S.C., with an estimated completion date of 31 Oct., 2008. Bids were solicited via the web with three bids received. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers/Charleston District/Contracting Division, Charleston, S.C., is the contracting activity. (W912HN-08-C-0024)

AM General, LLC, South Bend, Ind., was awarded on May 15, 2008, a $206,794,684 firm-fixed price contract to add 1,578 High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) to contract. Work is to be completed in Mishawaka, Ind., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2009. One bid was solicited with one bid received. Tank and Automotive Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity. (DAAE07-01-C-S001)

Mike Hooks, Inc., Westlake, La., was awarded on May 15, 2008, a $9,356,500.00 firm-fixed price contract for Calcasieu River and pass, maintenance dredging, approx. mile 17.0 to mile 23, with optional dredging of the main channel between miles 23 and 26.5 and between miles 26.5 and 29.3, optional dredging of Devil's Elbow, optional dredging of Clooney Island loop, and optional dredging of Coon Island channel, Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes, La. Work is to be performed at Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes, La., with an estimated completion date of Feb. 20, 2009. Bids were solicited via the web with three bids received. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity. (W912P8-08-C-0059)

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Science Application International Corp.,
Fairfield, N.J. is being awarded a maximum $60,000,000 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-BP08).

Carter Industries, Inc., Olive Hill, Ky.*, is being awarded a maximum $15,843,200 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for coveralls. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Navy and Air Force. This proposal was originally Gateway-solicited with 13 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is Oct. 31, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-08-D-1074).

James River Solutions, Ashland, Va.*, is being awarded a maximum $8,367,496.35 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for ultra-low sulfur diesel. Other locations of performance are Ark., Fla., Miss., and S.C. Using services are
Army, Navy and federal civilian agencies. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 30 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is Sept. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va. (SPO600-08-D-8505)

NAVY

Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, Wis., is being awarded $33,100,000 under a previously awarded firm-fixed contract (N00025-03-C-0002) for the acquisition of four causeway ferrys available to be built under options two and three of the Improved
Navy Lighterage System. This award also includes all ten modules constituting a Roll On/Roll-Off discharge facility procured as separate modules under the rotable pool in option four. Altogether, 22 separate watercraft are included: three modules for each of the four causeway ferrys, plus ten modules making up the RR/DF. After exercise of these items, the total cumulative contract amount will be $377,428,339. Work will be performed at the Marinette, Wis. (94 percent) and Yonges Island, S.C., (6 percent), and work is expected to be complete May 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $13,144,392 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Headquarters, Wash., D.C., is the contracting activity.

Thermasource Inc.,
Santa Rosa, Calif., is being awarded a $6,403,175 firm-fixed-price contract to provide geophysical data logs, data tapes, and log analysis to assist in determining the nature of subsurface geological and physical conditions at the Naval Air Facility, El Centro, Calif., and at the Hawthorne Army Ammunition Depot, Hawthorne, Nev. This effort is part of a greater study on the subject of geothermal heating applicability. Work will be performed in El Centro, Calif., (60 percent) and in Hawthorne, Nev., (40 percent) and work is expected to be completed in Sept. 2008. Contract funds in the amount of $5,940,736 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via a Request for Proposal, with two offers received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-08-D-0019).

Secrets of Marine Corps Leadership

May 19, 2008, 2008 (San Dimas, CA) The Conversations with Cops at the Watering Hole May 21, 2008 will be discussing the secrets of Marine Corps Leadership with Wally Adamchik.

Program Date: May 21, 2008
Program Time: 2100 hours, Pacific
Topic: Secrets of
Marine Corps Leadership
Listen Live: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement

About the Guest
As an Officer of Marines,
Adamchik Wally deployed throughout the world as an armor officer and as a pilot of AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters. Always seeking a new challenge, Wally Adamchik entered the hyper-competitive private sector. He was recognized for superior performance and award-winning leadership at two national restaurant companies. At the same time he earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Today,
Wally Adamchik serves as a consultant, speaker, and author. He works with firms to improve their leadership capability and organizational effectiveness. He understands the Fortune 500 firm as well as he does the family business and is able to tailor his approach to make an impact in both. He is a regular contributor to national business and trade publications and is a sought after leadership speaker.

His book, NO YELLING: The Nine Secrets of Marine Corps Leadership You MUST Know To WIN In Business, was selected by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the best reads for summer 2007.
Wally Adamchik also serves as a Non-Resident Fellow with Marine Corps University working with the Marines to improve leadership.

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life. Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the
Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant. He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University. He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership. Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One. He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.
Listen, call, join us at the Watering Hole.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LawEnforcement

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
editor@police-writers.com
909.599.7530

Face of Defense: Soldier Fights to Deploy Despite Medical Condition


By Army Sgt. 1st Class Chris Seaton
Special to American Forces Press Service

May 19, 2008 - "Chief, what the heck are you doing?"
Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christian Smith, a maintenance technician who had just tripped and fallen to the ground, looked up at his confused motor sergeant. Smith, who hails from Villa Grove, Ill., but was on a deployment to Iraq, had fallen a lot lately. Something was wrong with his left leg, and he didn't know what. All he knew was that it made him fall.

"I don't know," Smith replied. "I just fell. It happens all the time."

"Well next time, yell 'Incoming,' and I'll go down with you," the sergeant said.

The year was 2003, and Smith was deployed with a
military police brigade. Over the course of the deployment, he noticed his muscles growing alarmingly weaker.

"It was very humbling, to say the least," he said. "There wasn't much I could do about it then, but I knew that once I got back from [Iraq], I was going to have to go see a doctor and find out what was going on."

In February 2005, after multiple visits to doctors, Smith underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back to help relieve pressure on what his doctor thought was a pinched nerve. It didn't help. By this time, he couldn't move the toes of his left foot, and he continued to grow weaker.

Still more visits to more doctors led him to a neurologist. Late in September 2005, he was diagnosed with multifocal motor neuropathy.

"It's a condition where my body thinks there's something wrong with the nerves," Smith explained. "It's attacking my nerves, and it doesn't allow good conduction for the signals that tell the muscles to move. But there's treatment for it."

Every three weeks, he underwent an intravenous immunoglobulin treatment at a local hospital. By this time, Smith's unit was on mobilization orders for deployment, but he was scheduled to stay with the rear detachment.

"Within four or five days, I started noticing a lot more strength, and by 10 days after that, I could wiggle my toes and keep my left foot up," he said. "I went back to the unit and told them the treatment was working. At that point, it was a matter of how the
Army medical system was going to handle this."

The unit deployed. Despite his objections, Smith stayed at Fort Hood, Texas.

"The doc said when he diagnosed me that this is a legitimate medical condition that would definitely keep me from deploying," he said. "He asked me why I'd want to deploy if I didn't have to.

"It's one of those things where, having grown up playing sports, you spend all that time practicing with a team; and, all of a sudden, they go to an away game, out of town, and you're stuck at home," he added. "It's not a good feeling."

A year and a half later, Smith found himself facing the same situation, this time with a new team. He was newly assigned to Troop R, 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, once again on orders for Iraq.

The treatments were working, and Smith said he was determined not to be left behind again. He began what he called a very frustrating process to make himself deployable.

Once again, the doctors said no. A chain of e-mails revealed one medical professional after another who believed he had no business deploying. They cited the risk for contamination, with possible secondary effects of anaphylaxis or renal failure. They said his understanding of the condition was "oversimplified."

"My response to those e-mails was rather lengthy," he said. "They thought I was oversimplifying the condition, and I thought they were over-exaggerating it."

In his response, he said he outlined his own research -- discussing the shelf life of the medication and the plan that he and squadron surgeon Maj. (Dr.) Sean Hollonbeck, had come up with to administer the treatments.

"The
Army is attempting and perfecting new things in the theater of operation every day," he wrote. "Why not this?"

"I didn't think he'd get to go based on seeing the e-mail traffic from the doctors in theater," said Capt. Jeffery Hernandez, his troop commander. "I never tried to talk him out of it, though. He had such a desire to be with the troops and support the mission."

"You have to understand Chief," 1st Lt. Larry Burney, the squadron maintenance officer, said. "He's the type of person who doesn't take no for an answer when it comes to anything."

"I guess I just felt like I'm in the
Army to do a job," Smith said. "Having been left back once, I told my wife, 'If I can't deploy and go do what I've trained to do, then I shouldn't be doing this any more.'"

The fight for Smith to deploy became personal for Troop R. In a situation where some would look for excuses not to go, he was fighting for a chance to serve.

"A lot of people try to get out of deployments for one reason or another, and here he is doing everything he can to go when he had his ticket out," Burney said. "Of course, that had an impact on the troops. Some people flat-out said, 'If Chief doesn't go, I don't want to go either.'"

After a successful month at Fort Irwin, Calif., at the National Training Center, during which an enlisted combat medic administered the treatment, the
Army finally relented. Smith deployed to Multinational Division Baghdad as part of Task Force 12 in November 2007.

"Army doctrine is to train in times of peace and to win at war," Smith said. "I see a lot of value in what I did as a rear detachment soldier, but if the
Army's at war, I want to go."

"I know it motivates me," Sgt. Nelson Dawson, a soldier in Smith's troop, said. "Even though he has this condition and could have stayed home with his family, he chose to come here and be with his soldiers. He said, 'You know what? ... I can still do my job. Why can't I go?'"

He continues his treatments every third week at the aviation clinic here. So far, he said, everything has gone as planned.

"Other than his treatment days, I don't think he's taken a day off since he's been here," his commander said.

"At one point during the process, I had a doctor ask me what I wanted to get from all this," Smith recalled. "I said, 'I want to be able to run and play basketball and do all the things I could do before.' He said, 'You mean you plan on staying in the
military?'

"I said, 'Well yeah, if I can do all those other things, of course I want to stay in the military,'" he went on. "If I wanted to get out, I would have done it a long time ago, but that's just not me."

(
Army Sgt. 1st Class Chris Seaton serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the Task Force 12 Public Affairs Office.)

More Humanitarian Flights Arrive in Burma

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 18, 2008 - More American aircraft delivered desperately needed supplies to Burmese affected by Cyclone Nargis, but the aid is a fraction of what's needed, Defense and State department officials said today. Yesterday, four
Air Force C-130 relief flights landed in Rangoon, and today five C-130s made the trip.

The aircraft delivered water, plastic sheeting, mosquito netting, hygiene kits, rice, rations, blankets and clean water containers, officials said.

To date, the Burmese
military junta has allowed 26 American flights into the country, carrying more than 615,000 pounds of supplies.

The official Cyclone Nargis death toll now stands at 78,000, with another 56,000 Burmese missing. United Nations officials put the number of those affected at 2.5 million, including 1 million children.

Officials around the world worry that if the Burmese junta does not allow more aid to reach the Irrawaddy River delta, deaths from secondary effects – starvation, exposure, water-borne diseases – will skyrocket.

The United Nations sent John Holmes, its humanitarian affairs chief, to Burma in an effort to open the country up to more aid.

The United States is slated to send more aircraft into Rangoon tomorrow. U.S. ships remain off the coast of Burma, waiting for permission to go ashore. The USS Essex group, alone, carries 41,000 five-gallon containers of water and hundreds of pallets of supplies. The group also has the ability to land the supplies where they are needed most, DoD officials said.

U.S. Sends Relief Supplies to China

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 18, 2008 - The U.S.
military has responded to Chinese requests, delivering critically needed relief supplies to the earthquake-stricken Sichuan province. More than 32,000 people are known dead from the 7.9 quake that hit May 12. About 250,000 are hurt, according to Chinese government releases. Thousands remain missing and are feared dead under the rubble.

U.S.
Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft from Elemendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii have delivered tents, food, blankets, lanterns, generators and other supplies directly to the airport at Chengdu, the largest city in Sichuan, officials reported.

Senior members of the People's Liberation
Army met the aircrews when they arrived.

The People's Republic of China sent more than $5 million in aid to the United States following Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

"The members of U.S. Pacific Command offer our sincere condolences to the citizens of the People's Republic of China who have been affected by this recent earthquake," said Navy Adm. Timothy Keating, the command if U.S. Pacific Command. "We will continue to provide any assistance we can to minimize their suffering and loss of life."

The Chinese relief missions are taking place as PACOM delivers desperately needed humanitarian aid to Burma following a deadly cyclone.