Military News

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Troops, Families Rack Up College Credits During Deployment

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 17, 2008 - While 3rd Infantry Division was serving its third deployment to Iraq within five years, its soldiers set records amassing college credits during precious downtime between missions. "Rock of the Marne" soldiers took more than 15,000 college classes during fiscal 2007 while deployed to Iraq as part of the surge force, reported Pam King, post education officer. That trend continued as the soldiers began returning to Fort Stewart in March. They've racked up an additional 11,000 college classes during the first two quarters of this fiscal year, King said.

Robin Ellert, chief of the post's online education program, pointed to the unmistakable trend in college enrollments, from 4,600 in fiscal 2003 to more than three times that level today.

"Our numbers have consistently jumped. There's a clear upward trend in the number of enrollments we're seeing," she said.

"There's a clear recognition that college is a way to get promoted -- both in the
military and outside the military," she said.

And contrary to what some may expect, King said, many soldiers are finding deployments, when they're away from their families and home, to be the best opportunity to take classes.

"Education is a wonderful distraction, in a positive sense," she said. "Soldiers are able to -- for a minute -- escape where they are while doing something very positive for themselves, both mentally and for their career."

Thanks to the GoArmyEd.com portal that went online in April 2006, educational services are just a few mouse clicks away. Soldiers at even the most remote outposts can log into the system, tap into the $4,500 in tuition assistance the
Army offers every soldier every year, and work toward a degree at one of about 180 colleges, universities and technical schools represented.

Army Sgt. Anthony Wilfong, a platoon sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, spent much of his downtime during his past deploying taking Army correspondence courses. All but four of his soldiers were signed up for some kind of classes during their 15 months in Iraq. "It beats the time you waste seeing the same movies over and over," he said.

Wilfong and his soldiers have been back at Fort Stewart for about three months and still are awaiting their vehicles' return. Meanwhile, they're squeezing in all the classes they can.

"I've got 12 years to go to
retirement, and each credit course is worth one and a half promotion points," Wilfong said as he reviewed the offerings at Central Texas College. "I figure everything I take will help me in the long run."

Meanwhile, many
military families pass time during their loved ones' deployments enrolled in college programs, too. Officials estimate close to 4,000 family members at Fort Stewart and nearby Hunter Army Airfield took classes through Army Continuing Education Services during fiscal 2007.

Many attend one of the five colleges represented at Fort Stewart: Savannah Technical College, Central Texas College, Columbia College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Webster University.

"It gives them a great mental diversion," King said. "Whether you're talking about soldiers or their families, you know when you're taking courses that you're bettering yourself and bettering your career opportunities."

The $10 million Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith Education Center, which opened its doors in December 2004 just outside the post's front gate, sends an unmistakable message that Fort Stewart values education, King said.

Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the 3rd Infantry Division commander and a big fan of educational services, promoted the new center based on the "Field of Dreams" concept, King explained. "The way he saw it, 'If you build it, they will come.'"

And to ensure soldiers do come, the
Army Continuing Education Services staff distributes oversized paper checks at the start of every fiscal year for $4,500 to ensure soldiers don't forget about their annual tuition assistance benefit. "If you don't use it, you lose it," King said. "We want to make sure soldiers know it's available to them and encourage them to take advantage of it."

As they build their credentials, King said, soldiers enrolled in educational programs also are building their combat readiness and adaptability for unpredictable environments like Iraq.

"You train for certainty, but you educate for uncertainty," she said. "And regardless of what capabilities you have, the fact is, the brain is ultimately the most important battlefield weapon."

Face of Defense: Soldier Continues Family's Martial Arts Tradition

By Army Spc. Sophia R. Lopez
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 17, 2008 - While growing up in
Phoenix, Army Staff Sgt. Dimas Estrada learned the sport of taekwondo from his father, a black belt. Continuing the family tradition, Estrada is passing on the ancient martial arts technique to his own children.

Estrada earned his black belt in 2006 in Afghanistan. Prior to his deployment, Estrada, an air and missile defense operations sergeant, enrolled his children in classes in Watertown, N.Y., to keep them busy while he was gone.

Now Estrada uses taekwondo to keep himself and other soldiers busy, teaching classes in the sport five days a week at the Paul R. Smith Fitness Center here.

Practicing the sport here helps connect him to his kids back home, even though they are thousands of miles away, Estrada said.

"This sport really brings my family together," he said. "The taekwondo school where my kids attend is almost like a family readiness group. Most of the students there are
military family members, and the instructor told me that my children [would] be in good hands."

He said the sport is a good way for his children or anyone else to make friends, increase their flexibility, relieve stress and stay in shape.

Estrada's children already are winners in the sport, having collected more than a dozen trophies. His 7-year-old son, Christian, is now a red belt, and his 6-year-old daughter, Christianna, recently earned a blue belt.

"I'm really proud of my children, not just because they are following in my footsteps, but because they really enjoy the sport," Estrada said. "Regardless of how many tournaments they compete in or how many trophies they win, I will always be proud of them."

Estrada understands first-hand the risks involved in the sport. He was unable to compete for several years due to injuries and a knee surgery.

"I was cautious at first of [my children] getting hurt, but now I have confidence in them," he said.

When he redeploys from Iraq, he said, another family member can help him train: His wife, Deanna, has recently taken up the sport.

Taekwondo, which uses only the hands and feet to strike, is regarded as the world's most popular form of martial arts, having the most practitioners.

(
Army Spc. Sophia R. Lopez serves in the Multinational Division Center Public Affairs Office.)

America Supports You: Group Offers Free Mental Health Counseling

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

June 17, 2008 - Mental Health practitioners nationwide are donating their time and services to provide free, confidential counseling to
military people and their families. "Combat affects everyone in one way or another," explained Dr. Barbara Romberg in an "ASY Live" interview on BlogTalkRadio. "Most people react when exposed to a situation where there are extreme or horrific events; it is a human reaction to abnormal situations."

ASY Live is part of the Defense Department's America Supports You program, which connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

Romberg, founder and president of "Give an Hour," said she started her nonprofit organization to educate servicemembers and their families about the seriousness of
post-traumatic stress disorder and the importance of taking steps to combat it.

"When we set up the organization a few years ago, the concept was very simple, she said. "We asked mental health professionals across the country to give an hour of their time."

When one of the program's providers was asked why she joined, Romberg said, her answer was equally simple. "How could I not? It's so little that they are asking of me to give," the practitioner said.

Romberg said a broad spectrum of mental health practitioners participated in Give an Hour. "We have mental health professionals of all kinds -- psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, licensed marriage and family counselors, substance abuse counselors and pastors," she explained. "One size doesn't fit all; people need different things."

Raising awareness about PTSD is as important to the group as providing help to people who need it, she said.

"We are really launching a public education campaign to make sure our entire country understands post-traumatic stress -- what it is and why it's so important to address," she said. "Post-traumatic stress is a condition that will affect most people."

Romberg said there are important signs that a family member can identify that may be an indication that professional help may be a necessary part of the recovery process.

"Anyone might be withdrawn or irritable for awhile, but if those symptoms persist past six or eight weeks, then you need to take action," she said. "If the family member seems to be uninterested in activities that they used to be interested in before, uninterested in relationships with spouses or children, or engaging in persistent drinking or substance abuse as a way of escaping, that's a warning sign," she explained.

Nightmares, anxiety attacks and rage can lead to very serious symptoms if left untreated, she added, "but it doesn't have to become a chronic mental illness at all."

For that reason, Romberg explained, it is important that family members work to recognize symptoms and seek counseling as quickly as possible. Most people want to feel as if they can handle these issues, she said. And in fact, they can, but sometimes they need assistance, she added. That's where Give an Hour comes in.

Give an Hour provides counseling not only for servicemembers, but also for affected family members, whom Romberg defines as "anyone who loves someone who is serving."

"When someone we love is deeply affected, the consequences are usually fairly far-reaching," she explained. "Spouses and children are, of course, an immediate concern, ... but grandparents, aunts and uncles are just as affected by this situation.

"If you, as a family member, feel like you have resources," she continued, "you can put together a plan and you have ... someone else to help you think through it, and eventually encourage [your] loved one to come with [you]."

It is also important, she noted, to keep a close eye on children.

"Spouses that are focused on their husband or wife, it might be really difficult to also be concerned with their children," she said. "We see things such as regression -- a young child that's maybe 3 was potty-trained and all of a sudden starts wetting the bed or isn't eating or sleeping well."

The services offered by Give an Hour are free and ongoing, and providers stay in the network a minimum of a year, Romberg said.

"If their provider has to leave, we provide a replacement," she noted. "They are never told, 'You've used up your services here.' By building such a hard network, it's not a hardship to give an hour. And [the practitioners] are happy and eager to give."

To receive support or to register to become part of this support network, people can visit the organization's Web site, www.giveanhour.org. People seeking help can search for the nearest participating provider by entering their ZIP code.

"It can be an educational conversation or it can be setting up an appointment to meet face to face," Romberg said. "If they don't know what type of assistance they need, they can also click on the 'Contact Us' button, ... and we will help locate a provider.

"It's all about partnering, networking, reaching out, connecting -- helping them to get what they need," she said.

(Jamie Findlater, host of "ASY Live" on
BlogTalkRadio, works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 17, 2008

Navy

Walsh Construction,
Chicago, Ill., is being awarded a $71,566,848 firm-fixed price contract for the construction of a four-story addition to the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, North Chicago, Ill., the first joint Veterans Affairs (VA)/ Navy care facility. The work also provides for some demolition and renovation work for tie-in connections to the VA Medical Center, North Chicago. Work will be performed in North Chicago, Ill., and is expected to be completed by July 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Midwest, Great Lakes, Ill., is the contracting activity (N40083-08-C-0059).

Northrup Grumman Corp Integrated Systems,
El Segundo, Calif., is being awarded a $48,288,640 firm-fixed-price contract for 20 center barrels, 6 nacelles; 5 for the U.S. Navy and 1 for the Government of Finland’s F/A-18 A/B/C/D aircraft. In addition, this contract provides for loose and miscellaneous parts. This contract combines purchases for the United States Navy ($47,233,536; 98 percent), and Government of Finland ($1,055,104; 2 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in El Segundo, Calif. (85 percent); and St. Augustine, Fla. (15 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $2,508,499 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity (N00019-08-C-0052).

Northrop Grumman Corporation, Linthicum Heights, Md., is being awarded a $28,216,207 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee contract. The modification is to extend the schedule by eight and one-half months and increase the level of effort for the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) system development and demonstration. At this time, no additional funds are being obligated. Work will be performed in Linthicum Heights, Md. (75 percent) and East Syracuse, N.Y. (25 percent) and is expected to be completed December 2016 (if all options are exercised). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-07-C-2072).

Oshkosh Corporation is being awarded a $9,928,694 delivery order #0056 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-04-D-5016) for the installation of reducible height armor kits on Medium
Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) variants. Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Fla. (94 percent) and Oshkosh, Wis. (6 percent), and work is expected to be completed by June 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.



DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Seminole Energy Services, LLC*,
Tulsa, Okla., is being awarded a maximum $62,306,346.00 fixed-price with economic price adjustment contract for direct supply natural gas. Other locations of performance are Missouri, Colorado, Kansas and Arkansas. Using services are Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, federal civilian agencies and Haskell University Indian Nation. The original proposal was Web solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Sept. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC) Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-7515).

ARMY

CACI-WGI, Inc., Chantilly, Va., was awarded on June 13, 2008, a $15,620,733 time and material contract for operational support services to the Joint Improvised Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) Joint Expeditionary Team. Work will be performed in Iraq and Afghanistan and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four bids were solicited on May 7, 2008, and one bid was received. U.S.
Army Research, Development & Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-08-D-0027).

Head, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, was awarded on June 16, 2008, an $8,513,719 fixed price construction contract for an extension to the runway and an additional parking apron. Work will be performed in Martinsburg, W.V., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 1, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on April 11, 2008, and two bids were received. National Guard Bureau, United States Property and Fiscal Office, Buckhannon, W.V., is the contracting activity (W912L8-08-C-0008).

MILITARY CONTRACTS June 17, 2008

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Hesco Bastion Ltd., Great Britain, is being awarded a maximum $800,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for facilities maintenance. Using services are
Army and Marine Corps. The original proposal was Web solicited with 2 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is June 12, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM8E6-08-D-0252).

Navy

Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., is being awarded an $80,252,703 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-2100) for Naval Nuclear Propulsion Components. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, Pa. (99 percent) and Schenectady, N.Y. (1 percent). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. No completion date or additional information is provided on Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program contracts. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington
Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

FLIR Systems, Inc., North Billerica, Mass., is being awarded a $25,478,400 firm-fixed price, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract for procurement of Special Operations Visual Augmentation Systems (SOVAS) Hand-Held Imager-Medium Range (HHI-MR) and associated data. The SOVAS HHI-MRs are hand-held thermal image binoculars that will be used by Special Operations Forces for surveillance and reconnaissance. Work will be performed in North Billerica, Mass., and is expected to be completed by June 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $1,240,000will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities website, with four offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-08-D-JQ04).

Northrop Grumman Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., is being awarded a $9,079,652 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N00019-08-C-0007) for hardware and services required to operate and maintain AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT Block-2 Pods in support of the Government of Finland’s F/A-18 Foreign
Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Ill., and is expected to be completed in December 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Southwest Research Institute,
San Antonio, Texas, is being awarded a $5,552,387 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to evolve the integrated Network Enhanced Telemetry (iNET) Architecture for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force to develop standards based on the framework of established architecture, as well as to perform laboratory simulations to validate the standards for the test and the evaluation community to meet emerging needs. Work will be performed in San Antonio, Texas, and is expected to be completed in June 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00421-08-C-0052).

ARMY

BBN Technologies Corp., Cambridge, Mass., was awarded on June 12, 2008, a $73,845,000 firm fixed price contract for the procurement of 8,131 Boomerang Systems, spares and training services. Work will be performed in Cambridge, Mass., with an estimated completion date of June 10, 2009. One bid was solicited with one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-08-C-S202).

Bancroft Construction Co., Wilmington, Del., was awarded on June 13, 2008, a $13,292,350 firm fixed price contract for construction of Joint Personal Effects Depot, Dover
Air Force Base, Dover, Del. Work will be performed at Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Del., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 31, 2010. Fifty bids were solicited with six bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (W912BU-08-C-0019).

General Dynamics Ordnance and
Tactical Systems, Inc., St. Petersburg, Fla., was awarded on June 13, 2008, a $7,354,630 Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) with firm fixed price delivery orders, delivery orders from FY07 on have a copper Economic Price Adjustment. This contract is for the production of 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and Caliber .50 small arms ammunition. Work will be performed in St. Petersburg, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Aug. 23, 2010. Bids were solicited on the Web with two bids received. HQ, U.S. Army Field Support Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-05-G-0002).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded on June 13, 2008, a $5,477,618.86 cost plus award fee contract for Black Hawk Helicopters
Army UH-60M sustainment stock parts. Work will be performed at Stratford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of December 31, 2008. One bid was solicited with one bid received. USA Aviation & Missile Command, AMSAM-AC-BH-A, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (DAAH2301C0053).

AIR FORCE

The
Air Force is modifying a cost plus incentive fee contract with InDyne Incorporation of Reston, Va., for $25,744,032. Item and quantity to be procured: Initial Contract Award. The services called for under the Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance Services contract support mission requirements for vehicle launches, range operations and the overall 45th Space Wing Mission. Locations of service include Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and locations to include limited services at Patrick Air Force Base, the Florida Annexes, Antigua Air Station, Ascension Auxiliary Airfield and Kennedy Space Center. These services include program management, financial management, customer support services, architectural and engineering services, infrastructure and facilities maintenance and repair, physical plant operations, property management, utilities support, environmental management and other similar services to accomplish the 45 Space Wings mission safely and effectively, while maintaining environmental compliance. The contractor shall plan and execute all preventive maintenance, maintenance engineering and configuration management for facilities, systems equipment and utilities. The contractor shall provide guidance and coordination for base civil engineer functions to ensure effective and economical operation of all activities. Some of the various agencies the contractor may be required to support include; the United States Air Force, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Naval Ordnance Test Unit, the Department of the Army, the National Reconnaissance Office and other military and civil agencies as directed. A summary of work to be performed at each location are as follow: Operations and Maintenance Services: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Jonathan Dickinson Missile Tracking Annex; Tower Maintenance Services: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Patrick Air Force Base, and the Florida Annexes; Xenon Searchlight Services: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy Space Center, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Trans-Atlantic Landing Sites; Spare Parts support for searchlights at White Sands and Edwards Air Force Base; and Power System Analysis Services: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Antigua Air Station, and Ascension Auxiliary Airfield. At this time $500,000 has been obligated. 45th Contracting Squadron (45 CONS/LGCZC), Patrick AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA2521-08-C-0006).

The
Air Force is modifying an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus award fee, and cost reimbursement contract with Jacobs Technology, Inc. of Tullahoma, Tenn., for $21,008,524.72. This action will provide Technical, Engineering and Acquisition Support (TEAS) V) at Eglin AFB, Florida and various other tenant organizations. This is to increase work requirement. At this time no funds have been obligated. AAC/PKES, Eglin AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA9200-07-C-0006, P00011).

Woodward FST of Zeeland, Mich., is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for an estimated $13,955,406. This action will provide repair/overhaul sprayrings, applicable to F100-PW-Engine, F16 and F15 aircraft. This action is for the exercise of option period II. At this time no funds have been obligated. 448 SCMG/PKB, Tinker AFB, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8104-06-D-0019).