Military News

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Guard Unit Fights Fires One Day, Conducts Rescue at Sea the Next

By Air Force Capt. Alyson Teeter
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 18, 2008 - Air National Guardsmen from 129th Rescue Wing launched a search-and rescue-mission from here the afternoon of July 16 to save a fisherman experiencing a medical emergency aboard a Canadian fishing boat off the coast of
California. Responding to a call from the Coast Guard District 11 Alameda, an MC-130P Combat Shadow tanker met the 85-foot Ocean Marauder fishing boat about 500 miles from Eureka, Calif.

During this initial phase of the rescue operation, four specially trained pararescuemen parachuted from the MC-130P to provide emergency medical treatment to stabilize the patient. The four pararescuemen remained with the patient overnight, while the MC-130P returned to Moffett.

At 10 a.m. yesterday, the 129th launched the second phase of the rescue operation. Two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and two MC-130P tankers departed here to pick up the patient and pararescuemen from the Ocean Marauder. After locating the fishing boat, the HH-60Gs hovered over the vessel to allow the pararescuemen and patient to be hoisted safely into the helicopters.

The two HH-60G helicopters and crews were recalled yesterday from firefighting operations in Chico and Ukiah. The 129th maintainers worked diligently to convert the aircraft from firefighting to rescue-ready.

While also being on search-and-rescue alert, helicopter crews performed water-bucket suppression operations in Northern
California, dropping more than 150,000 gallons of water since July 3. The 129th Rescue Wing is the only rescue unit in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard qualified to fight fires.

"The 129th is the 'go-to' unit due to its specialized capabilities in a wide range of environments, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, combat, and civilian search and rescue," said
Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Butow, 129th Operations Group deputy commander. "Seamlessly transitioning from firefighting duty yesterday to the search-and-rescue mission today demonstrates our keen ability to adapt, respond and save lives."

The rescue helicopter landed at the Regional Medical Center of San Jose's heliport at about 5:20 p.m. yesterday. The 129th personnel then transferred the patient to awaiting hospital staff.

This rescue brings the total number of people saved by 129th Rescue Wing to 560.

The unit's primary mission is to train and be prepared to perform its federal mission of combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. In addition, the unit also works closely with the
Coast Guard and various civil agencies on state missions.

"The crews of the 129th Rescue Wing have done an outstanding job," said Rear Adm. Craig Bone, commander of 11th
Coast Guard District in Alameda.

"When our rescue coordination center asked them to fly this mission, the response was immediate and, as usual, effective. Amid an already busy operational tempo supporting wildfire fighting and other operations the 129th mounted a complex rescue operation extending hundreds of miles offshore."

(
Air Force Capt. Alyson Teeter serves with the California National Guard.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 18, 2008

Navy

The Boeing Co.,
Huntington Beach, Calif., is being awarded a $153,511,595 cost-plus-fixed fee completion contract for High Integrity GPS (Global Positioning System) Technology Concept demonstration. The GPS is a local GPS enhancement that leverages the Iridium Low Earth Orbit satellite, constellation which offers significantly improved performance over stand alone GPS today. The program will investigate technologies and design solutions for objective performance of short time to first fix under dynamic user equipment conditions. Work will be performed in Huntington Beach, Calif. (34.3 percent); Philadelphia, Pa. (17.3 percent); St. Louis, Mo. (1.5 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (12.6 percent); Cedar Raids, IA (12.3 percent); Bethesda, Md. (15.3 percent); Washington, D.C. (5.4 percent); Ithaca, N.Y. (.5 percent); Chicago, Ill. (.3 percent) Burlingame, Calif. (.5 percent), and work is expected to be completed January 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $27,778,538 will expire at end of current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under Naval Research Laboratory Broad Agency Announcement 68-07-01. The Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N000173-08-C-2074).

Suntiva, LLC,* Falls Church, Va., is being awarded a $51,918,053 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract to provide pre-award acquisition planning, document preparation, contract administration, contract close-out, procurement tracking and policy and analysis support. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in July 2012. This contract was competitively procured under 8(a), with 17 offers received. The
Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-D-0521).

Davis-Paige Management Systems, LLC,* Springfield, Va., is being awarded a $49,691,858 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract to provide pre-award acquisition planning, document preparation, contract administration, contract close-out, procurement tracking and policy and analysis support. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in July 2012. This contract was competitively procured under 8(a), with 17 offers received. The
Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-D-0520).

Stratecon LLC,* Washington, D.C., is being awarded a $45,559,951 firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award contract to provide pre-award acquisition planning, document preparation, contract administration, contract close-out, procurement tracking and policy and analysis support. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in July 2012. This contract was competitively procured under 8(a), with 17 offers received. The
Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-D-0500).

American Bridge Co.,
Tampa, Fla., is being awarded a $19,328,600 firm-fixed-price contract for repairs to wharf delta bulkhead at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. The work demolishes portions of the existing steel sheet pile bulkhead, tie-back wale system, concrete pile cap, asphalt/concrete pavement and removes the pneumatic fender system and mooring hardware. Project constructs a new bulkhead with new concrete pile encapsulation and cathodic protection system, backfills behind the new bulkhead, provides new asphalt and concrete wharf pavement and reinstalls the pneumatic fender system and mooring hardware. Work will be performed in Mayport, Fla., and is expected to be completed by February 2011. 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 nine offers received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-08-C-1258; Project number RM001-06).

AOC Support Services LLC*, Chantilly, Va., is being awarded a $8,902,895 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity contract for base operating support services at the Naval Air Facility, El Centro. The contract contains options, which if exercised, will bring the not-to-exceed total contract value to $105,986,469. Work will be performed in El Centro, Calif., and work is expected to be completed September 2009 (September 2018 with options exercised). Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured as a set-aside for small business concerns via the Naval Facilities Engineering Command e-solicitation website with four proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, Public Works, El Centro, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-08-D-2307).

Aero Thermo
Technology Inc., Huntsville, Ala., is being awarded a $5,898,712 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide technical, analytical, and program research and development services to support the TRIDENT I and TRIDENT II Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) program and the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) guidance system requirement. This contract contains options, which if exercised, will bring the total contract value to $32,500,000. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Ala. (59 percent); Nashville, Tenn. (20 percent); Honolulu, Hawaii (18 percent); Colorado Springs, Colo. (3 percent), and work is expected to be completed December 2008 (December 2012 with options). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00030-08-C-0030).

Army

General Construction Co., Poulsbo, Wash., was awarded on July 16, 2008, a $45,356,900 firm-fixed price construction contract for the construction of a bay spill-wall at the Dailies Dam. Work will be performed in Dallesport, Wash., and is expected to be completed by March 20, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on April 30, 2008, and four bids were received. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Portland, Ore., is the contracting activity (W9127N-08-C-0016).

Jacobs-Tetra Tech EC was awarded on July 17, 2008, a $16,438,169 cost-reimbursable contract for mobilization, demobilization, dredging, treatment and transportation and disposal at Pierce Mill Cove. Work will be performed in New Bedford, Mass., and is expected to be completed by May 26, 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Aug. 29, 2002, and five bids were received. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Concord, Mass., is the contracting activity (DACW33-03-D-0006).

Alliant Techsystems, Inc.,
Minneapolis, Minn., was awarded on July 17, 2008, a $7,608,465 firm-fixed price contract for production of the M1028 canister cartridge. Work will be performed primarily in Jonesborough, Tenn., as well as other locations across the United States. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Feb. 21, 2008, and two bids were received. The Joint Munitions and Lethality LCMC, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-08-C-0473).

CNI Administration Service, LLC, Albuquerque, N.M., was awarded on July 16, 2008, a $7,470,448 firm-fixed price contract for the design and construction of the Arnold Data Center expansion. Work will be performed in Arnold, Mo., and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on April 14, 2008, and bids were received on April 14, 2008. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Arnold, Mo., is the contracting activity (HM1575-07-C-0001).

Weeks Marine, Inc., Covington, La., was awarded on July 16, 2008, a $6,802,000 firm-fixed price construction contract for the maintenance dredging of Manteo Bay Oregon Inlet Bridge vicinity. Work will be performed in Dare County, N.C., and is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Fourteen bids were solicited on June 3, 2008, and three bids were received. Savannah Regional Contracting Center,
Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington, N.C., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-C-0037).

I.L. Fleming, Midway, Ga., was awarded on July 16, 2008, a $6,728,000 firm-fixed price contract for a 30,000 square-foot permanent centralized intermediate repair facility for maintenance of jet engines as required in Base Realignment and Closure directed bed-down of 48 assigned A-10 fighter aircraft. Work will be performed at Moody
Air Force Base, Ga., and is expected to be completed by Jan. 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One hundred bids were solicited on April 8, 2008, and six bids were received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-08-C-0038).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Constellation New Energy Gas Division, Louisville, Ky., is being awarded a maximum $18,655,843.34 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for direct supply natural gas delivery. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are federal civilian agencies in the central regions of the United States. There were originally 166 proposals solicited with 37 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance is September 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-7518).

Colorado Jet Center Inc., Colorado Springs, Colo.* is being awarded a maximum $7,690,249.69 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in Colorado. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, federal civilian agencies and National Guard. There were originally 3 proposals solicited with 3 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance is September 30, 2012. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-0019).

Air Force

The
Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract with Northrop Grumman System Corp., of San Diego, Calif., for $5,619,379. This action will provide communication systems upgrades for the Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial System. At this time $5,331,503.57 has been obligated. 303 AESG/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (F33657-01-C-4600, P00260).

National Guard Unveils New Lakota Helicopters at Fort Indiantown Gap

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

July 18, 2008 - Officials at the National Guard's Eastern Aviation Training Site here yesterday unveiled the new UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter, for which they will become the
military's sole trainers. This central Pennsylvania post will be the only Army training site for the military's newest light utility helicopter, which entered service in 2006 for homeland security and other non-combat missions, said Army Spc. Matt Jones, a full-time National Guard employee at the site.

Ultimately, the Lakota will replace UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to be transferred for operational missions, as well as the last of the Vietnam-vintage UH-1 Huey helicopters that remain in the
military arsenal, Jones said.

The Lakota is the
military version of the Eurocopter EC-145 commercial aircraft, designed to fly light general support operations such as civil search and rescue, personnel recovery, evacuation, counter-drug and limited civil command and control operations for the Department of Homeland Security. It carries up to 11 people.

Pilots who fly the twin-turbine aircraft reported it's a powerful aircraft that handles well in all weather conditions, including storms that most aviators avoid. The Lakota also burns significantly less fuel than the Black Hawk or other similar aircraft, Jones said.

But unlike the Black Hawk, the Lakota is not designed to operate in combat environments and is considered non-deployable, Jones said.

Army Gen. Richard A. Cody, Army vice chief of staff, accepted the Army's first Lakota helicopter during a December 2006 ceremony in Columbus, Miss. Cody said the Lakota "is not only serving as a catalyst for change across the Army, it is also accelerating the speed of Army aviation modernization and integration with other services and government agencies."

The
Army National Guard is slated to receive most of the 322 Lakota aircraft to enter the inventory.

The Fort Indiantown Gap training site received its first Lakota aircraft last month and its second about two weeks ago.
Army Col. Timothy Hilty, who commands the site, said two more Lakotas are due by the year's end, with another four arriving by 2012.

Instructors from the
Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., and Fort Indiantown Gap are already leading the first training course. A high-tech simulator at the training site and a cockpit trainer with a wrap-around screen provide realistic training conditions, Jones said.

Pennsylvania's Adjutant General, Army Maj. Gen. Jessica L. Wright, said the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site has a history of providing excellent training and promised those trained here will receive "the best training possible."

The aircraft will also be available to respond to emergencies, as needed, she said.

America Supports You: Group Makes Job Hunt Easier for Disabled Vets

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

July 18, 2008 - The hunt for a fulfilling job can be frustrating, but disabled veterans have a new online tool available to help them tackle that task. Job Opportunities for Disabled American Veterans is a nationally based online recruitment application geared specifically to assist disabled veterans find employment.

"Our goal here is simple, to connect disabled American veterans with employers who are proactive in hiring them," said Nicholas Corso, project director of disABLEDperson Inc., Job Opportunities for Disabled American Veterans' parent organization. "This is a free service to the DAV community."

Employers listing job openings on the site will pay a nominal fee to help maintain the site, he added.

The organization's site offers resume writing tips as well as pointers on how to give a good interview. Those wishing to search the job listings, however, must register with the site.

Disabled veterans also can take advantage of "recruitABILITY," an application DisABLEDperson Inc., offers to the wider disabled community. "Many state and federal agencies, along with 1,200 employers nationally, have been and are using recruitABILITY as a recruitment tool to find skilled workers with disabilities," Corso said.

The organization also holds job fairs for disabled students who are finishing college and getting ready to transition into the workforce. For those interested in taking classes, disABLEDperson Inc., holds two scholarship competitions annually.

DisABLEDperson Inc. is a new supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

"We at disABLEDperson Inc., believe that our [affiliation] with America Supports You will give us great exposure to a targeted group of individuals, disabled American veterans, who may not have heard of our efforts," Corso said. "It simply adds to our credibility as we move forward with our different initiatives."

The organization will participate in the National Combined Federal Campaign beginning in September, he added.

Face of Defense: Commo Specialist 'Lives Dream' on Iraq Deployment


By Army Sgt. 1st Class Kerensa Hardy
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 18, 2008 -
Army Sgt. Jason Ruckman had a desire to be part of something that would make a difference. Six years ago, he joined the Army to whet his appetite for adventure, and he has never looked back. "Since I was in middle school, I've always wanted to wear a uniform; I thought they were cool-looking," the Orlando, Fla., native said.

It helped to have a family
military history that dated back to World War I, in which his great-grandfather fought. Ruckman's grandfather served in World War Two, and his father in Vietnam. "They always seemed kind of proud about it, so I wanted to do something right for my family," he said. "This was the best thing I could think of."

A 2002 graduate of William R. Boone High School in
Orlando, Ruckman joined the Army later that year. He graduated advanced individual training in 2003 as a signal support systems specialist.

Now, "I've got the uniform covered; it's fun to put on. I wanted to do 'hooah,' high-speed stuff," he said. "(The recruiter) told me my (job) would put me alongside some sort of a commander, running around with a radio doing high-speed stuff. ... That never happened."

Well, it happened; just a little later than he expected.

Ruckman served as his battalion commander's radio-telephone operator during his first deployment to Iraq in 2005. His recruiter's promise came to fruition as he traveled with his commander around the battlefield. He said he felt more at home out there than working communications issues on the base.

"I like going out on missions and being in the thick of things. I felt more like I was serving a purpose if I were outside the wire," said the 26-year-old, who is now assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

He said he doesn't look down upon those whose jobs don't require them to leave the operating base. "Every (job) in the
Army is vital in some way, shape or form, [but] I feel like I have more of a purpose outside the wire than inside the wire.

"I don't feel like my full potential will be utilized by staying on the [base]," he added.

Staying put is not something Ruckman has to worry about these days. As a brigade commander's driver, he travels the roads of Iraq on an almost-daily basis. He doesn't take that lightly.

With two Purple Hearts under his belt, Ruckman knows well the potential dangers of duty in a combat zone. He reluctantly recounted the circumstances surrounding his injuries.

The first, in December 2003, was a result of a suicide car bomber in Tal Afar. The would-be assassin attempted to breach the entry control point of the battalion's compound with 1,000 pounds of explosives in his vehicle. No one was killed, but 67 were injured.

"It was a real mess," Ruckman remembered, shaking his head as though willing the memory to go away. He walked away with wounds to the face and hands from shards of flying glass.

His second Purple Heart came after an improvised explosive device detonated at a city council building north of Beiji in October 2005. This time he had shrapnel wounds and a broken hand.

Ruckman said the fact that things could have been much worse doesn't escape him. "I'm thankful (things) turned out the way they did," he said. "It's kind of tough to talk about the Purple Hearts because I look at some guys ... whose physical appearance and capabilities have been impaired for the rest of their lives, and I just got a few scars on me.

"So I don't like to make a big deal about it because there are those who got Purple Hearts ... whose lives were changed and affected by it a lot more than mine."

He said his close calls have given him a definite respect for the dangers soldiers face. He said he's not afraid to face those dangers head-on in the course of performing his duty, but some fear is healthy.

"If you're not fearful in some way, ... I think there's something wrong," he said matter-of-factly. "I think a little dose of fear or nervousness is normal. I go out knowing that I have to [go out], and I can see the bigger picture."

The "bigger picture" as far as Ruckman is concerned is making sure elements of the command group get where they need to go safely and without incident. This deployment has been relatively uneventful for the adventure seeker, and that's okay with him.

Uncertain as to whether he'll go for a fourth deployment to Iraq or look for a job as an instructor, Ruckman said he's leaving his options open right now. "I'm not sure what's next; there are so many possibilities out there," he said. "I really enjoy teaching younger soldiers how to tap into their full capabilities, to watch them rise up and become leaders."

With a family bursting at its seams with pride, Ruckman said he has a wonderful support system on which he can depend. "My dad ... is really proud of what I do; my sister loves it, she is both proud and petrified," he said with a laugh. "She shows me off ... when I go home. I'm like one of her heroes because of what I do."

His mom is somewhat torn, too, because of the dangers he faces in Iraq. But he said his mom is beside herself with pride. "She always calls me an honorable man," he said.

His older brother is a heavy-wheel mechanic in the
Army Reserves, so the tradition continues.

Ruckman initially joined the
Army for four years, but he has re-enlisted for five additional years. He said he's having fun now -- "living the dream," as so many soldiers like to say.

"For a commo guy to be able to go on numerous cordon and knocks, air-assault missions, and patrols is just my dream come true," he said, looking like a kid at Christmas. "I like being able to do a lot of what the infantry guys do."

Not yet willing to commit to being a "lifer" in the
Army, Ruckman admitted he can't think of himself in another profession. "I'm almost afraid of getting out because I wouldn't know what to do," he said with a shrug. "It probably will end up being my career."

(
Army Sgt. 1st Class Kerensa Hardy is assigned to the public Affairs Office of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.)

Future Military Docs Hone Field Medicine Skills

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

July 18, 2008 - Medical students at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences are getting a healthy dose of the challenges in providing battlefield medicine during two concurrent field exercises under way here. About 360 medical, public health and graduate-level nursing students from the Defense Department's only medical school are here at this central Pennsylvania training post, experiencing the rigors of caring for patients in a simulated combat environment.

Operation Bushmaster is exposing fourth-year students to the challenges of delivering medical care in support of warfighting, peacekeeping and humanitarian-assistance operations. Meanwhile, Operation Kerkesner is giving many students who just completed their first year of medical school their first
tactical training in a field environment.

Both exercises began earlier this week and continue through July 24. The training will wrap up with a convoy coming under a simulated attack during a nighttime operation, resulting in mass casualties. As they triage, treat and evacuate patients, the students will come to recognize that part of being a
military medical officer is the ability "to make order out of chaos," said Navy Capt. Trueman Sharp, chairman of the university's Military and Emergency Medicine Department and exercise director.

Sharp called the annual exercises the capstone of the Uniformed Services University curriculum.

"The field training aspect is essential for our students because we are more than a civilian medical school or graduate school of nursing," Sharp explained. "We produce a physician, but we are also producing a
military medical officer. That requires a lot of additional knowledge and skills that you wouldn't get in a civilian medical school."

Operations Bushmaster and Kerkesner merge students' classroom training, with nearly 800 hours dedicated to military-unique subjects, in a field setting with realistic scenarios like those they'll encounter as
Army, Navy and Air Force doctors.

This year's scenarios involve a United Nations force called in to conduct peacekeeping and stabilization operations in the fictitious Middle Eastern country of Pandakar in the throes of unrest. The doctors "deployed" as part of the force and were tasked to set up battalion aid stations and an expeditionary medical support station with surgical capabilities until a combat support hospital arrives.

Casualties started arriving before they finished setting up their operations. The wounded "patients" -- actually first-year students with realistic-looking simulated war wounds like those being seen in Iraq and Afghanistan -- put the students to the test.

Increased emphasis on treating patients as quickly and as far forward as possible presents challenges traditional medical students aren't likely to encounter, from treating patients while under fire to working with far less equipment than they'd find in fixed medical facilities.

First-year students role playing patients got a glimpse at the type of challenges they'll face later in their training. But Sharp said they also get to see firsthand what it feels like to be a wounded patient in the hands of a
military doctor.

"What's going on here is pretty amazing," said
Army 2nd Lt. John Francis, a first-year student at his first field exercise. Role-playing a patient with asthma earlier in the day and now with "shrapnel wounds" on his face, Francis said the exercise reinforced what he's learned so far at the university. "This brings it all together," he said. "I'm really excited about what we're getting out of this."

"This makes it real," said
Navy Ensign Danielle Robins, a former Marine Corps captain now with a year at Uniformed Services University under her belt. "This training defines the uniqueness of what a military medical school means."

Across the post, other first-year students were getting a better understanding of that as many got their first experience firing a weapon, navigating an orienteering course, and wearing chemical protective gear after a mock attack. Many also were learning how to live and operate in the field for the first time.

Noncommissioned officers are leading the training, with
Army Sgt. 1st Class Franklin Abram overseeing the training, which he said helps develop warrior skills in medical officers likely to serve on the front lines. "The bottom line is that we need doctors who can perform in the combat zone as well as the clinic," he said. "Don't think for one minute that because you are a doctor, that (enemy forces) are not going to shoot at you."

Air Force Maj. Glenn Burns, Operation Kerkesner course director, said the exercise teaches not only basic survival skills, but also leadership principles. "This is not a test of infantry skills, and we are not trying to develop them as infantry officers," Burns said. "But as we teach them the basics, what we expect to challenge them with is leadership."

Fourth-year students were facing those
leadership challenges as they treated patients while rotating through a variety of roles they'll play as medical officers, from litter bearers to logistics officers to unit commanders.

The exercise reinforces the fact that doctors are just one part of a vast medical care network, Sharp said, while underscoring their broad responsibilities as
military medical officers.

"Being a medical officer isn't just being a doctor," he said. "It's about
leadership. It's about planning and organization. It's about communication. It's about situational awareness. It's about learning to prioritize because you never have enough resources or people, and you never have enough evacuation (capability)."

Navy Ensign Art Ambrosio got a taste of what it means to balance those challenges when casualties started arriving as he was serving as commander, overseeing the assembly of the expeditionary medical support unit.

A fourth-year student, Ambrosio had to resist the urge to drop everything and rush to the patients' needs rather than allowing his staff to do that. "As a medical person, when you see someone hurt, you want to run, and you want to play doctor," he said.

"But as the commander, you need to focus on what those responsibilities are," he said. "Your job is to keep the whole machine running: the medical, the transportation, the security, the communications, the logistics. You have to manage people, but do it without micromanaging."

For some of the students, the exercises offer a return to principles they learned during prior service in the
Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, but with a new focus.

Among them is
Army 2nd Lt. Gabriel Pavey, who spent 12 years in the Marine Corps before enrolling in Uniformed Services University. Pavey was a Marine staff sergeant working in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, and remembers the frustration of not being much help to the medics scurrying to help the wounded. He said it led to a major life decision.

Now an
Army second lieutenant about to enter his second year of medical school, Pavey said he's ready for the rigors of field medicine in a combat environment. "It's my brothers and sisters (in the force) who really do the hard part," he said. "We're here to support them. The folks here all have the same call to duty."

Army 2nd Lt. Barrett Campbell said the training he's receiving at the Uniformed Services University is providing a great foundation for what he hopes will be a 20-year career as a military medical officer.

"I want to be a
military doctor first and foremost, and this is the place to prepare for that," he said. "I chose this school because of the military medical aspect. I wanted to be in a program that trained me for that, and that's what I'm getting here."

Robins said the exercise reinforces the connection she feels to her fellow Uniformed Services University students, but especially to the servicemembers she will treat as a
Navy doctor. "We have a like-mindedness," she said. "They are taking care of me, and I am taking care of them. They are amazing people, and they deserve great care."