Military News

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Relief Flights Reach Burma; U.S. Assets Stand By

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

May 27, 2008 - The
Air Force has flown 70 humanitarian missions to Burma in support of the relief effort for Cyclone Nargis victims, Defense officials said here today. Over Memorial Day weekend, five C-130 flights per day arrived at Rangoon International Airport and delivered supplies.

To date,
Air Force relief flights have delivered 409 pallets containing water, blankets, hygiene kits, mosquito netting, plastic sheeting for shelter, food, rice, plywood and medical supplies. The total weight is 637.27 metric tons.

Burma's ruling
military junta decided last week to allow international aid workers into the nation, and news reports indicate these workers are now reaching the Irrawaddy River delta -- the hardest hit area of the nation. Burmese authorities said the toll from the cyclone, which struck May 3, is 77,738 deaths and 55,917 missing. U.S. Air Force flights began flying into the stricken country May 12, but American officials must receive clearance for each flight that lands in Rangoon.

The United States has about a dozen cargo aircraft and a dozen heavy-lift and medium-lift helicopters in neighboring Thailand. The USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry, USS Mustin and USS Juneau remain on hold in the Bay of Bengal. The
Navy ships have 14 helicopters aboard. The ships could deliver relief supplies to millions of people, but Burmese authorities refuse to let them in, U.S. officials said.

"For now, U.S. personnel and equipment will remain in Thailand as well as on U.S. naval assets located about 50 nautical miles off the coast of Burma," officials said.


Thinking of you
Each night and day

Whilst I'm gone
From your loving arms

I sit a moment
In this tent

Appreciating the memories
Of all you've done for me.




Tetra Tech NUS, Inc., Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $125,000,000 cost reimbursement plus award fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for comprehensive long-term environmental action services on
Navy and Marine Corps installations at various Department of Defense sites. The work to be performed is intended primarily to provide architect/engineer services in support of the Navy's Environmental Program. Work will be performed primarily in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, and Northwest Regions predominantly in Maine, (15 percent), R.I., (15 percent), Mass., (14 percent), Ind., (9 percent), N.J., (8 percent), Fla., (6 percent), Texas, (6 percent), S.C., (6 percent), Penn., (5 percent), N.Y., (4 percent), Ill., (3 percent), Puerto Rico and Guantanamo Bay (1.2 percent), Conn., (1 percent), Ga., (1 percent), La., (1 percent), Minn., (1 percent), Miss., (1 percent), Wash., (1 percent), Ala., (.1 percent), Alaska, (.1 percent), Del., (.1 percent), Idaho, (.1 percent), Mont., (.1 percent), N.H., (.1 percent), Ore., (.1 percent), Vt., (.1 percent), Ohio, (.5 percent), and also in Tenn., (.5 percent), and work is expected to be completed May 2009 (May 2013 with options exercised). Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively negotiated via the Naval Facilities Engineering Command e-solicitation website with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N62470-08-D-1001).

CH2M Hill, Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., is being awarded a $125,000,000, cost reimbursement plus award fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for comprehensive long-term environmental action services on
Navy and Marine Corps installations at various Department of Defense sites. The work to be performed is intended primarily to provide architect/engineer services in support of the Navy's Environmental Program. Work will be performed primarily in the Mid-Atlantic Region predominately in Va., (30 percent), N.C., (25 percent), Md., (10 percent), W.V., (5 percent), D.C., (5 percent), and some other overseas locations in Africa, Europe, Southwest, Asia, Bahrain, and Vieques, (25 percent), and work is expected to be completed May 2009 (May 2013 with options exercised). Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively negotiated via the Naval Facilities Engineering Command e-solicitation website with two proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N62470-08-D-1000).

BAE Systems
Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $21,716,356 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee term, level of effort contract (N00421-06-C-0085) to exercise an option for maintenance, logistics, and life cycle services in support of communication-electronic equipment/systems and subsystems for various Navy, Army, Air Force, Special Operations Forces and other Federal Agencies. These services are in support of the Special Communications Requirements Division of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division. Work will be performed in Chesapeake, Va., (32 percent); Fayetteville, N.C., (28 percent); California, Md., (22 percent); San Diego, Calif., (6 percent); Fort Bliss, Texas, (4 percent); Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., (2 percent); Panzer Kaserne, Germany, (2 percent); Homestead, Fla., (2 percent); Tampa, Fla., (1 percent), and the District of Columbia, (1 percent), and work is expected to be completed in Jun. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co.,
Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $14,299,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5437) to provide additional incremental funding for engineering and technical services in support of the MK15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon System. Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) is a fast reaction terminal defense against low and high flying, high-speed maneuvering anti-ship missile threats that have penetrated all other ships' defenses. The CIWS is an integral element of the Fleet Defense In-Depth concept and the Ship Self-Defense Program. Operating either autonomously or integrated with a combat system, it is an automatic terminal defense weapon system designed to detect, track, engage, and destroy anti-ship missile threats penetrating other defense envelopes. Phalanx CIWS is currently installed on approximately 187 USN ships and is in use in 20 foreign navies. The current exercised value of the contract is $57,580,977. This combines purchases for the U.S. Army (45 percent); U.S. Navy (42 percent) and the Government of Pakistan, (13 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and work is expected to be completed by Sept. 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Progeny Systems Corp.,* Manassas, Va., is being awarded a $13,119,809 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide for the continued hardware/software development, systems engineering, procurement of Commercial Off-The-Shelf products and hardware/software integration to provide a common solution for automation and reduced manning systems in support of USS Virginia Class Submarines and other submarine/ surface ship systems. This effort is being awarded under a program for Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and is titled Topic No. N03-049, "Automation and Work Flow Advances Using
Technology Infusions for Manning Reduction." The concept for this SBIR is for a Navy-wide implementation of portal technology for internal and external information sharing requirements. This procurement will use the prototype products, processes and methodologies developed by Progeny Systems Corp., under the SBIR Phase I and II efforts. The processes and prototype products developed will apply to Submarines, Surface Ships, Surveillance and Air Platforms. Progeny will also design, prototype and demonstrate a common technical architecture for a Non-Tactical Data Processing Sub-System (NTDPS) Information Automation and Reduced Manning System or Engineering Development Models as needed. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $65,573,613. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va., and work is expected to be completed by Apr. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-08-C-6278).


Science Applications International Corp.,
Fairfield, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $50,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, prime vendor contract for Maintenance, Repair, and Operation services. Other location of performance is Hawaii. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Federal Civilian Agencies. This proposal was originally Web solicited with six responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is May 30, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM500-04-D-BP06).

Rolling Thunder Storms Into Nation's Capital

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

May 25, 2008 - A chain of about 750,000 motorcycles ridden by Vietnam veterans and
military supporters blazed through the nation's capital today as part of the 21st annual Rolling Thunder rally. In addition to offering vets a chance to reconnect with their brothers-in-arms and honor fallen comrades, the ride aims to raise awareness about issues concerning prisoners of war, troops missing in action and veterans' benefits.

President Bush this afternoon arranged for Rolling Thunder founder Artie Muller to be delivered by helicopter to the White House, where the two discussed topics at the heart of Muller's nonprofit group.

"I am just so honored to welcome you back," Bush told Muller at a news conference on the White House's South Lawn after their meeting. "I want to thank you and all your comrades for being so patriotic and loving our country as much as you do.

"Our troops appreciate you, the veterans appreciate you and your president appreciates you," added Bush, calling it a pleasure of his presidency to get to know the
leaders of the motorcycle rally.

The parade circuit whizzed riders past national landmarks such as the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Wall, the U.S. Capitol building and the Lincoln Memorial, where group organizers held a ceremony as riders continued to speed past along nearby Constitution Avenue.

Addressing the crowd gathered at the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial just beyond the sun-drenched reflecting pool, Muller said he urged the president to help advance legislation that will bolster the Rolling Thunder effort.

"And I just want to say, 'Thank you very much,' because you are America, you are the true patriots of this country, you come here year after year, put up with the rain the heat," he told the crowd. "And you stuck by [the group's mission], and we're getting something done."

Afterward, veterans activist and actor John Amos, star of television series "Men in Trees" and former co-star of the program "Good Times," spoke to the audience.

"I'm here for the same reason you are all here," said Amos, a former member of the New Jersey National Guard and an honorary Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S.
Coast Guard. "I'm here for my brothers who still wear the uniform. I'm here for my sisters. I'm here for my surrogate moms who lost their sons.

"I'm here to be one of many voices that speak up for all those who will not come home," he continued. "And I'm here to keep the spirit alive that Rolling Thunder has infused in me, and in all of us who believe in what Rolling Thunder is doing."

Meanwhile, servicemembers past and present, plus family members and other spectators cheered riders on as the convoy roared from the Pentagon parking lot to the National Mall here ahead of tomorrow's Memorial Day observance.

Army Spc. James Yorke, a veteran of the Vietnam War, said he rode here from Richmond, Va., to participate in his fourth Rolling Thunder ride as a way to connect troops with the civilians they serve.

"Americans should think about the people who gave it all," Yorke said, referring to those fallen
military members who he said should be remembered over Memorial Day. "They were asked to do a job just so we could live in this country -- that's all they were asked to do."

Also on hand for the holiday were brothers Gary and Jeffrey Elker, who rode their hogs more than 200 miles here from Middlesex, N.J. Gary is a retired
Marine corporal who enlisted after the Vietnam War. Jeffrey didn't wear the uniform, but he said he has buddies whose names are listed on the memorial wall among the more than 58,000 killed in Vietnam.

"It's a weekend away to honor our fallen veterans," said Jeffrey Elker when asked to describe the meaning Rolling Thunder holds for him.

Gary Elder, on his 17th ride today, said he also makes the annual trek to show support for
military veterans. He added that there's a common thread between past and present servicemembers.

"They're willing to sacrifice for everybody else," he said. "They believe in honor, integrity, and what's going on in this country, and they're willing to fight for it; I was."

George Leiter, a former
Marine sergeant who served from 1972-76, motored from Manchester, Pa., for his fourth ride. Over this Memorial Day weekend, as both of his sons wear the Army uniform, Leiter said he hopes his fellow citizens remember the people who answered the nation's call.

"It's important for Americans to consider all the veterans, whichever war they were in, whether they were in a combat zone or not," he said. "I think they've just got to think of their freedoms, and what they have, and how important it is to have a strong
military, and to support your military."

President Bush, Defense Leaders Commemorate Memorial Day

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

May 26, 2008 - Under sunny skies and before a multitude gathered at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Arlington National Cemetery here, President Bush today honored the sacrifices of American men and women in uniform who gave their lives in the service of their country. Hundreds packed into the amphitheater near the tomb nestled among green, rolling hills dotted with white crosses and headstones. Some waved miniature flags, others donned patriotic garb. All came on this Memorial Day to pay tribute to servicemembers who have fought and died.

Just before his remarks, the president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

"Today, we gather to honor those who gave everything to preserve our way of life. The men and women we honor here served for liberty. They sacrificed for liberty. And in countless acts of courage, they died for liberty," Bush said.

"From faraway lands, they were returned to cemeteries like this one, where broken hearts received their broken bodies -- they found peace beneath the white headstones in the land they fought to defend," he said.

Bush said that the fresh headstones in the cemetery are a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom that is paid by those "who serve a cause greater than themselves."

"Today we mourn and remember all who have given their lives in the line of duty. Today we lift up our hearts especially those who've fallen in the past year," he said.

In his address, the president highlighted the service of
Army Spc. Ronald Tucker of Fountain, Colo., and Chief Petty Officers Nathan Hardy of Durham, N.H., and Michael Koch of State College, Penn.

Bush called Tucker "a dutiful son who called his mother every day" from Iraq. Less than a month ago, Tucker and other members of his unit built a soccer field for Iraqi children. As he drove back to his base, he was killed by an enemy bomb.

Hardy and Koch were
Navy SEALs and close friends who shared a battlefield tradition of going on missions with American flags underneath the shirts of their uniforms. They died in Iraq Feb. 4 after being ambushed by terrorists. Hardy and Koch are buried next to each other in Arlington National Cemetery.

"The men and women of American armed forces perform extraordinary acts of heroism every single day. Like the nation they serve, they do not glory in the devastation of war. They also do not flinch from combat when liberty and
justice are embattled," Bush said.

"We will forever honor their memories. We will forever search for their comrades .... And ... we offer a solemn pledge to persevere and to provide the security for our citizens and secure the peace for which they fought," he said.

Bush received two standing ovations during the speech. He got the he first one when he took the stage, and he got the second when he spoke about his feelings for those who serve in the

"On this Memorial Day, I stand before you as the commander-in-chief and try to tell you how proud I am at the sacrifice and service of the men and women who wear our uniform. They're an awesome bunch of people and the United States is blessed to have such citizens," he said.

The president was introduced by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who also made remarks. He said that those who died still remain near.

"We hold them to us, every day, and especially on this day. We gather to remember," Gates said.

Gates said the nation's war dead come from every part of America and from every generation, and that we owed our liberty to those who have fought and died.

"We have our liberty because of what they did. Liberty has come to other peoples because of what they did, and are doing, in Afghanistan, Iraq, and in other places around the world," he said.

"Mourning the war dead calls forth many emotions: remorse that they suffered; awe at how they bore that suffering; pride in the fine people they were; gratitude for their willingness to be the guarantors of our freedom," Gates said. "Their sacrifice is a reminder that we must go on, and be worthy of them, and finish their work."

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also spoke briefly at the service. He called the freedoms earned by those who died precious but fragile.

"The precious gift of freedom they have given us is fragile and has to be safeguarded, worked for, fought for, and ... even died for," he said.

The chairman said every headstone in the cemetery represents a promise, a commitment, and a willingness of every one buried there to give their lives to preserve our way of life.

Military Women Remember Fallen Comrades

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

May 26, 2008 - A group of past and present
military women gathered at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery here today to commemorate fallen comrades and celebrate women's contributions to the nation's defense. WIMSA's annual Memorial Day observance highlights the selfless duty and sacrifice provided by all of America's servicemembers, said retired Army Reserve Command Sgt. Maj. Sue Anne Pierce, the event's keynote speaker.

"As I stand here with you today, I think of our soldiers, Marines,
Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard members, who willingly serve this country – women and men – ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for this nation, because they love this country, and they are compelled to keep us free," Pierce said.

"As we continue to celebrate Memorial Day please help me and my foundation keep their memory alive; and let's not forget their families, who serve as well," added Pierce, who serves as the president of the U.S.
Army Women's Foundation.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, WIMSA foundation president, said that during the women's memorial groundbreaking ceremony in June 1995, "we began a tradition of having a servicewoman or veteran from each of the five services speak at our ceremonies, because Memorial Day pays tribute – individually or collectively – to all the women who have ever served or served today."

"Who better to speak for them, than one of them?" Vaught noted. Two years later, she said, the memorial started an annual Memorial Day tribute to comrades who had died over the past year by dropping rose petals into the memorial's reflecting pool.

The guest service speakers at this year's Memorial Day ceremony were
Army Col. Carolyn Jones, Marine Sgt. Danielle Holladay, retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Anna Der-Vartanian, Air National Guard Master Sgt. Karen Marshall, and Coast Guard Lt. Aja Kirksey.

Der-Vartanian joined the
Navy in 1943. About 16 years later she became the Navy's first master chief petty officer, the highest enlisted grade.

"I'm here to represent and remember all of the women and men of the Navy who have served our wonderful country so proudly and so well," Der-Vartanianian said. "I place these rose petals in tribute and in memory to all of them."

Marshall spoke of her desire to "reflect and remember our past and present servicemembers and their legacy of sacrificial service, for they truly understand this statement: Freedom is not free."

Navy Capt. Elizabeth S. Niemyer, who has been selected for promotion to rear admiral lower half, noted that May 13 marked the 100th anniversary of the Navy Nurse Corps.

"Today, the (Navy) Nurse Corps, totaling 4,100 strong, knows first-hand the injuries and illnesses borne from war," Niemyer said. "We serve around the globe, in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the front lines of the war and on the home front of America.

"Thanks to the generations of
Navy nurses who have moved us forward through other wars, we have a solid formation in which to meet the challenges of tomorrow," Niemyer said.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeanne Holm, the author of the 1982 book, "Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution," was on hand to meet with other military women veterans and those serving in the present-day.

"The revolution is over," Holm said at the conclusion of the ceremony. America's military women, she pointed out, "It's over; the women are now totally integrated into the armed forces. There are hardly any restrictions of any kind, anymore."

military women "are able to do their part and serve their country in a way that they can best serve it," Holm said.