Military News

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Face of Defense: Soldier Continues Jujitsu Training in Iraq

By Army Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2008 - A tour of duty in Iraq isn't stopping a noncommissioned officer here from continuing to pursue his passion.
Army Sgt. Scott Sperling has been fighting in Brazilian jujitsu since 2005, and now he trains with fellow servicemembers in the basement of the Multinational Division Center headquarters.

Sperling, a "lightweight" from
Rochester, N.Y., said he keeps training for a simple reason.

"I like competition. It's kind of a release as well when you've been in the office all day, and then you get to go work out," Sperling said. "When I'm rolling full speed, I try not to think of anything. I just let it happen."

In the past three years, Sperling -- an intelligence analyst -- has competed in various
Army fighting tournaments and in-house gym tournaments, was a top-10 finalist in his weight class at the Pan American Championships, earned a bronze medal at the American National Championships and a silver medal at the Jujitsu U.S. Open, and finished in third place at the North Eastern Grappling Championship No-Gi Tournament.

Sperling first got into jujitsu while stationed in Yongsan, South Korea. He advanced his training from 2006 to 2007 while studying Arabic at the Defense Language Institute, in
Monterey, Calif.

Sperling earned his blue belt in December, shortly before moving to Fort Drum, N.Y., and subsequently deploying to Iraq. Sperling fills in as the instructor when his group trains, though he always welcomes everyone to bring new techniques to the mat -- whether practicing wrestling, grappling or submissions.

Training in jujitsu can be an intensive and rigorous commitment, especially if training for a tournament, he said. To prepare for a tournament, he trains five to seven times a week, lifting weights in the morning and practicing Jujitsu in the evening. Running to maintain cardiovascular fitness also is important for stamina.

"In jujitsu, there are a lot of different aspects to the game as far as strength and speed [are concerned]," he said.

Jujitsu was developed by Samurai as early as the 14th century. The word literally means the "art of softness." This fighting style consists of grappling and striking techniques that use an attacker's energy against him, rather than directly opposing it. Today, jujitsu is practiced both in its original form and in a modified form for sport practice.

Brazilian jujitsu combines elements of Kodokan judo in its fighting style. The moves can be complex, often requiring several steps just to assume control over the opponent. The
Army uses Brazilian jujitsu as a standard for teaching soldiers combative training.

"It's definitely more technical [than other fighting styles]. ... You have to train the movements over and over and over," Sperling said. "Everyone can throw a punch, but not everyone knows how to wrap someone up and put him in an arm bar. ... In jujitsu, you also have to think at the same time. It's almost like a chess match."

For Sperling, one of the biggest challenges was overcoming his nervousness during big fights. One must be mentally sound to out-think an opponent, he said. The sport is less about explosiveness and more about versatility.

A clear mind also allows him to hear his coaches during competitions. Good training partners who can coach and shout out moves from outside the ring during a fight are very important too, he said.

"You have to be able to listen to their voices when they're coaching you," Sperling said. "A lot of times you get tunnel vision during the fight. So you have to practice [listening to them] in the gym before you go out there."

Sperling said some of his greatest memories in fighting range from body-slamming his opponent to standing inside a ring surrounded by the sheer energy of a crowd.

"You would not believe the intensity. You would not believe," he said. "I've had some friends go to tournaments who never went before – couldn't take their eyes off the mat. Screaming. They left there with no voice."

One factor Sperling said he found intimidating was seeing championship-fighting celebrities such as Ronaldo de Souza, Mike Fowler or Marcello Garcia watching him from the crowd.

"I learned from them, trying to take things from their instructional [videos] and put it in my game, and then I'll see them in the stands watching me," he added. "You know, it's crazy."

Sperling said he hopes to one day earn his black belt. For now, though, he continues to train while deployed to Iraq and takes the opportunity to teach others what he knows.

"It's my life now," he said. "I've been doing it for three years, and I want to continue to progress."

(
Army Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret serves in Multinational Division Center.)

Army Wrestler Earns Greco-Roman Berth in Beijing Olympics

By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2008 -
Army Staff Sgt. Dremiel Byers secured an Olympic berth by defeating U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program teammate Spc. Timothy Taylor in the Greco-Roman heavyweight finals of the U.S. Olympic team trials for wrestling June 15.
Three other soldiers reached the finals of their respective weight classes but fell short of earning spots on the U.S. Olympic Team during the three-day tournament at the University of Nevada
Las Vegas' Thomas and Mack Center.

Byers, the 2002 Greco-Roman heavyweight world champion, defeated Taylor in their first match, 1-1, 4-0, but lost the second bout of their best-of-three series, 2-5, 2-1, 1-1.

"Taylor is pretty good at being a wall when he wants to," said Byers, 33, a native of Kings Mountain, N.C., who is stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., where he trains daily with Taylor. "I really don't have any tricks for him. He knows what I'm going to do every time.

"He's a fast learner, a quick study, and his body's coming together," Byers said of Taylor, a 2007 armed forces champion who finished second in the U.S. nationals and third in the U.S. World Team trials last year. "That first match, I saw it. And in that second match, I really saw it – this guy is coming, and he's defending hard. I knew it was time to take it up a notch and do what I'm supposed to do."

In the decisive third match, Byers dominated the first period, 4-0. In the second period, he scored five points with a high-amplitude throw of Taylor that ended the match and tournament in dramatic fashion.

"I just felt that if I worked my under hooks it would pay off, and right there in a clutch moment, it paid off – just like I had hoped," said Byers, who was interviewed by his former training partner and archrival, MSNBC wrestling analyst Rulon Gardner, who struck Olympic gold at the 2000 Sydney Games and bronze in the 2004 Athens Games.

"It's been a long road. It's been a real long road," said Byers, who thanked a long list of supporters -- including All-
Army coach Staff Sgt. Shon Lewis -- who helped him along the way. "Some of it was luck, and a lot of it was hard work. I'm very fortunate to be here right now. I think life starts now."

Byers said he plans to fulfill the promise of winning an Olympic medal for his late grandfather, Theodore, in Beijing in August.

"He probably would have asked me why I lost that one match," said Byers, who won his spot on the Olympic team on Father's Day. "Coming out that tunnel, and every time I looked up, I said, 'I know you're watching. I know you're watching.' I wish he could be here."

Taylor made sure soldiers would be represented on the U.S. Olympic Team by reaching the 264.5-pound finals against Byers with a 3-0, 0-3, 1-1 victory over Russ Davie of
New York Athletic Club.

"I knew whoever won the first period was winning the match, regardless of what happened," said Taylor, 25. "I had to get the first period -- got the first period. Tried to stand up in the second period and he kept me down, so I just stopped moving. Third period, same situation: if I don't get turned, I win.

"Coach has been always saying that you have to have heart with 30 seconds left to win the match," said Taylor, a proud, new father of 3-month-old Makyla Aleece Taylor. "Being Father's Day, I was thinking about her. Reached down, thought about her, stood up -- and once I stood up, there was no way he was getting a point."

Several other soldiers competed gamely in the Olympic Trials.

The World Class Athlete Program's Spc. Aaron Sieracki wrestled through longtime nemesis Jacob Clark, a former
Marine, and WCAP teammate Sgt. Brad Ahearn, who grappled with a broken hand, before losing 6-0, 3-0 in the 84-kilogram Greco-Roman finals to New York Athletic Club's Brad Vering, a two-time Olympian and four-time World Team member.

"I wrestled well, overall -- just wish I had stepped it up a little more for the finals," Sieracki said. "I just made a couple of mistakes, and if you make a mistake here, it's going to cost you."

Nothing stung Sieracki, however, quite like seeing his older brother, Keith, leave his boots on the mat, signaling the end of a brilliant
Army wrestling career.

"Wow, that's tough to talk about," said Aaron, who buried his head in his sweatshirt to absorb the tears of disbelief. "He's the one who drove me. He's why I'm where I'm at. I can't believe he's retiring. It just won't be the same without him."

Staff Sgt. Keith Sieracki, an Olympic Trials winner in 2000 and 2004, lost to
New York Athletic Club's Cheney Haight in the 74-kilogram Greco finale of the challenge tournament. Walking off the mat for the final time gave Sieracki a bittersweet sense of relief.

"I was hoping to do it at the Olympics, but I knew this was my last go-around," Keith said. "If you don't have the fire, mentally, it's hard -- you're on auto-pilot. I gave it everything I had. I just didn't have anything left. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to make the Olympic team, but when it's all said and done, I've been in the top two [in the United States] for the last 13 years.

"The
Army has given me the opportunity to wrestle this long. I can't say enough good things about the Army. I never in my life thought I would get such a privilege. I get to be a soldier and I get to wrestle for the Army and honor these guys. It's amazing."

Sieracki lost his 2000 Olympic spot in a legal battle with Matt Lindland, whom Keith defeated on the mat in the U.S. Olympic Trials at Reunion Arena in
Dallas. He also made the 2004 team that failed to qualify the weight class for the Athens Games.

"Yep, I'm [the answer to] a trivia question," said Sieracki, 36, an 18-year
Army veteran who will be remembered as a two-time U.S. Olympic Team member who never graced a mat in the Games. "But now the pressure is gone. I'm so tired of carrying that weight on my shoulders, of hearing, 'This is your year.'"

World Class Athlete Staff Sgt. Glenn Garrison made it to the 60-kilogram Greco-Roman finals, but lost back-to-back matches to
New York Athletic Club's Joe Betterman.

"I feel like I wrestled good in my last match -- thought I took it to him," said Garrison, 34, a five-time armed forces champion from
Portland, Ore. "In my first match, I made a couple of mistakes that really cost me. I just didn't come out hard enough."
WCAP's Pfc. Jeremiah Davis finished third in the same weight class with a 6-4, 6-0 consolation victory over C.C. Fisher.

WCAP's Spc. Faruk Sahin, 32, a two-time Turkish national champion, lost 2-3, 7-5, 3-0 to Minnesota Storm's Jake Deitchler in the 66-kilogram Greco finals. Sahin was leading 5-0 in the second period before the bottom fell out.

"I guess I wasn't pumped up enough to win, but that was a great match," Sahin said. "He just goes, goes, goes, goes -- that's his advantage -- but I did my best. I'm happy with my performance. Now, I'll get ready for the CISM World Championships." The International
Military Sports Council is known by its French acronym, CISM.

En route to his Olympic Trials finale, Sahin eliminated 2004 Olympian and All-
Army teammate Sgt. Oscar Wood from the challenge tournament semifinals.

"He is the epitome of a warrior," Lewis said of Wood, who defeated Deitchler, 8-0, 8-0, earlier this year at the Sunkist Invitational. "He just leaves it all on the mat. We have a little saying that some people wrestle to the death and some people are scared to death. He's definitely a wrestle-to-the-death kind of guy. Every single time, he brings it, and I don't know what it is about the Olympic Trials, but he wrestled his butt off. I was getting excited for him to be a back-to-back finalist in the Olympic Trials."

WCAP's Staff Sgt. Marcel Cooper, 37, also left his boots on the mat after losing to Gator Wrestling Club's Harry Lester in a Greco-Roman 66-kilo consolation bout. This was Cooper's second retirement from the sport.

"I left my shoes out there four years ago at this same tournament," said Cooper, who then was wrestling for the Marines. "I just have too many injuries. My body can't hold up any more. I've been doing this for a long time. Guys are just younger and stronger. I just can't compete at that level no more. That's not the way I wanted to go out, but I have no excuses. I had a good career.

"It's time to let it go," added Cooper, who began wrestling at age 5. "I have a bunch of surgeries I've got to get. My body was really telling me four years ago to let it go. But I have no complaints. I'd do it all over again. I gave it my best, but I want to be able to walk after all this is over."

Lewis, a 13-time armed forces champion on the mat, paid Cooper an ultimate compliment.

"We went at it several times, and I always had utmost respect for him because he was one of the only guys I knew in the United States who could stop my gut wrench," Lewis said.

Three soldiers competed in the women's freestyle tournament.

Sunkist Kids' 17-year-old Tatiana Padilla pinned WCAP's 1st Lt. Leigh Jaynes with 14 seconds remaining in a 55-kilogram freestyle semifinal.

"I just made a technical error," Jaynes said. "You need to be on your game at all times, and she stuck me in the last 20 seconds. It's heartbreaking, but she's a fighter, and I knew better to tie up with somebody who didn't have anything to lose at that point."

In the same weight class, 2nd Lt. Tina George, a two-time world silver medalist and seven-time U.S. World Team member, lost to Gator Wrestling Club's Sally Roberts in the semifinals before wrestling back to take third place with a consolation victory over GWC's Sharon Jacobson.

WCAP's Sgt. Iris Smith, a 2005 world champion and four-time U.S. Nationals champ, lost 1-0, 0-2, 3-0 in the women's 72-kilo challenge tournament semis to NYAC's Kristie Marano, a two-time world champ and nine-time world medalist, the most among U.S. women. Marano prevailed with a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the match.

"Iris definitely had the momentum going, and Kristie was tired," Lewis said. "That takedown really was a tough one for me. I expect my world champions to get it done, but when you lose, you can't say anything but we've got to get better."

Lewis said he realizes the end is near for a few more All-
Army wrestlers.

"The gladiators are going to get moved out by the younger gladiators one day, and that's really what's happening," he said. "Over my 20-plus-year career in wrestling, I have never seen so many people retire at the same tournament. It's a changing of the guard, and that's the way it's supposed to be."

(Tim Hipps works in the U.S.
Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command Public Affairs Office.)

America Supports You: Group Helps Wounded Vets Secure Adaptive Housing

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2008 - Wounded veterans have a new source to turn to when looking for housing to meet their individual challenges after the expansion of a successful pilot program in
Texas. "Helping a Hero" has been working for the past year to provide adaptive homes to wounded veterans of the war on terrorism, said Meredith Iler, chairman of the organization's Wounded Hero Home Program.

"Our principal activity is to provide specially adapted homes for qualifying servicemembers as well as engaging the community to provide services and resources for our wounded heroes and their families," she said. "We have awarded 13 homes and have plans to award another 100 homes in the next 12 months."

All the houses the group provides are part of planned communities, she said. The developers donate a lot, and one of the builders in the community matches the amount of the donated land in construction costs.

The homes range from $200,000 to $300,000 in value, with an average of $250,000. Recipients of the homes are required to sign a contract prohibiting them from borrowing against the equity in the house for 10 years, however. That policy is non-negotiable; even if the loan were for a worthy cause like starting a business, it's too risky, Iler explained. If the business were to fail, the veteran and his or her family could lose the home.

"We're trying to establish stability in their lives," Iler said.

To that end, Helping a
Hero doesn't just get veterans into homes and wish them well. The group also offers ongoing workshops to help them reintegrate into the community and works to connect them with community service organizations such as the Rotary Club.

These connections not only provide support and a sense of community, but also could lead to employment, Iler said.

Helping a
Hero 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. The group's hope is that this affiliation will help spread the word to qualified veterans, Iler said.

"Our goal is to provide a home to every single severely wounded
Hero in the next 10 years," she added.

Full details on how to apply for an adaptive home through Helping a Hero are available on the organization's Web site.

Soldiers With Enlistment Waivers Find Success

By Army Sgt. Susan Wilt
Special to American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2008 - When
Army Staff Sgt. Clarence Masiwemai greets someone, it's with a large grin and firm handshake. Beneath his smile, his chest and arm are covered in badges and awards that showcase his Army accomplishments, including the Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge and the esteemed Ranger tab. At 23, Masiwemai is a decorated combat veteran who's led paratroopers in Iraq. In many ways, he seems like the prototype of a paratrooper on an Army recruiting poster.

But Masiwemai wasn't always so picture-perfect. Before he joined the Army, he had an anger problem; if someone looked at him funny, he was ready to fight. In fact, he had so many brushes with the law because of his brawling that he needed a waiver to be allowed to join.

"If [someone] tried to make a joke and it was in reference to our friends, family or where we came from, we'd respond back with fists," said Masiwemai, the land and ammunition noncommissioned officer for Headquarters Troop, 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, in reference to how he and his friends were. "Now I'm the one making the jokes."

According to
Army Recruiting Command statistics, the past three years have seen a 65 percent increase in the number of recruits who needed conduct waivers to join the Army. Today, about one in eight new armed services recruits are let in on these waivers. Media outlets have reported on this with a tone of concern for the quality of today's soldiers.

But Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for
military personnel policy, stresses that waivers don't mean the military relaxes its standards, and that each waiver decision is based on "solid judgment calls."

"Last year's [waivered enlistees] proved to perform; they retained as well as the non-waivered counterparts, and they wouldn't be retaining if they weren't performing," he told online journalists and bloggers in an April 25 conference call. "They are doing as well as the non-waiver crowd. Therefore, we are making correct bets on the risks that we take for someone that has done something that was that much of an aberration against what we expect of our teenagers."

In fact, a study by the
Army's Human Resource Center showed that soldiers who enter the Army on a conduct waiver are more likely to re-enlist, are promoted quicker than their peers, and even win more awards and badges.

Like Masiwemai, Sgt. John Adkerson, a squad
leader from the 82nd Airborne Division's Company A, 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, was allowed to join the Army on a conduct waiver.

"Really, I joined because I wanted to -- I needed to -- keep myself out of trouble," said Adkerson, an Alpharetta, Ga., native.

Adkerson has done more than that. He's in charge of seven soldiers, has led paratroopers in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and received a Purple Heart after being wounded by shrapnel from a mortar.

"He leads from the front,"
Army 1st Lt. Travis Pride, Adkerson's former platoon leader, said. "He's a good role model."

Adkerson will give advice to his soldiers even if they don't know they need it, Pride explained.

When he was a private first class, Adkerson passed Ranger School, an intense combat
leadership course, paving the way for a speedy promotion to sergeant in a little over two years. The average soldier takes 4.2 years. Masiwemai -- "Masi" for short -- also took two years to be promoted to sergeant; it took him five and a half to make staff sergeant.

Masiwemai, an Island of Yap, Micronesia, native, said that as soon as he finished basic training, he started to notice a change in himself as well as a few of his comrades who also came in on conduct waivers.

"Right when they finished basic training was when they realized, 'Hey, this is helping me out. I'm changing. I'm becoming a better person than I once was,'" Masiwemai explained. He said he believes soldiers who required a waiver to enlist end up doing well because they strive to improve themselves.

"They try harder to stay in the
military by having an outstanding performance, by learning their job and knowing that the military is a great place to change yourself," he explained.

Adkerson said he believes that granting waivers to
Army hopefuls with a questionable past helps get them off the streets and out of trouble.

"Waivers are the right thing to do," Adkerson said. "Instead of keeping people out of the Army, it's going to help the kids and make them a better person to society. ... People say you join a gang to get a family. The
Army's a tighter family than you'd ever have."

(
Army Sgt. Susan Wilt serves in the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)

Military Tracks Hurricane Dolly, Readies Relief Support

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2008 - "Hurricane Hunters" from the
Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew through Hurricane Dolly last night and this morning as it headed toward the Texas coast, relaying critical data to National Weather Service forecasters in Miami. Six-person crews from the squadron have been tracking the storm since July 16, when it was a tropical disturbance over St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, reported Air Force 1st Lt. Douglas Gautrau, a squadron aerial reconnaissance weather officer aboard last night's mission.

Since then, the squadron has been flying its C-130J aircraft 24/7 out of its base at Keesler
Air Force Base, Miss., delivering near-real-time data to the National Weather Service.

Gautrau and his fellow crewmembers took off from Keesler at about 7 last night for a 10-hour mission, crisscrossing Dolly in what Gautrau described as an "alpha pattern." They used sophisticated onboard instruments and small "dropsonde" canisters dropped by parachute to collect the most accurate measurements of the hurricane's location and intensity. The canisters relay details about barometric pressure, wind speed and direction and other measurements to the aircraft during their descent until they hit the water, Gautrau explained.

After a quick quality-control check on the data collected, the crew forwarded it every 10 minutes to the National Hurricane Center.

The aircrews, which consist of an aircraft commander and copilot, flight engineer, navigator, weather officer and dropsonde operator, fly through rough turbulence and heavy rains during the missions. The heaviest turbulence occurs in the "eye wall," the circular area directly around the hurricane's eye.

Gautrau described last night's turbulence as "moderate," but "nothing too bad" as the aircraft encountered 75-knot wind speeds. "It can get pretty bumpy," he said.

Toward the end of the mission, Hurricane Dolly had strengthened, and its leading edge was approaching the Gulf Coast near the Texas-Mexico border. Heavy rain and sustained 95 mph winds pounded the coast as Dolly's eye headed toward Brownsville, Texas.

For Gautrau, last night's flight through Hurricane Dolly was a rite of passage: his first hurricane mission without the benefit of an instructor watching over his shoulder.

"At some points, I'd think, 'Holy cow. I'm in a hurricane,'" he said. "Other times, I'd think, 'Holy cow. I still have to do my job.'"

But with that mission now complete, Gautrau said, he's thrilled to have "the best weather job out there." A native of
New Orleans, he said he understands the impact of severe weather and knows he and his fellow crewmembers are giving the National Weather Service the best data possible so it can make accurate forecasts.

"I get a lot of joy out of this job, and I feel that what we are doing is a great benefit to the public," he said.

As the Hurricane Hunters continued their missions, some 600 Texas National Guard members were on the ground, preparing to offer assistance after Hurricane Dolly makes landfall, reported
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Gregory Ripps, a Texas Guard spokesman.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry authorized the call for up to 1,200 Texas Guardsmen, to assist civilian emergency responders preparing for the first storm to threaten the United States this hurricane season.

Troops were fanning out across the region, poised to provide search-and-rescue support and emergency relief as required, Ripps said. Shelter management teams were standing by in Brownsville and McAllen, and the Guardsmen set up distribution points in the towns of Alice and Weslaco.

Meanwhile, the Texas Guard's Joint Operations Center is maintaining contact with the State Operations Center, as both monitor the hurricane.

Officials predict rain accumulations of four to eight inches, with isolated deluges of 15 inches, over much of southern Texas during the next few days. Coastal flooding of four to six feet above normal tide levels, with dangerous battering waves, was predicted north of the storm's landfall.

MILITARY CONTRACTS July 23, 2008

Navy

Dimensions Construction, Inc.,*
San Diego, Calif.; Allen Engineering Contractor, Inc.*, San Bernardino, Calif.; RMA Land Construction, Inc.*, Brea, Calif.; Candalaria JV LLC.*, Glendale, Ariz.; Marcon Engineering, Inc.*, Escondido, Calif.; RQ-Brady JV 01 * San Diego, Cailf.; I.E.-Pacific, Inc.*, San Diego, Calif.; Patricia I. Romero Inc., dba Pacific West Builders*, San Diego, Calif., and Hal Hay Construction, Inc.* Riverside, Calif., are each being awarded a not to exceed $100,000,000 8(a) set-aside firm-fixed-price multiple award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multiple award construction contract for new construction and renovation of general building construction at various locations within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest area of responsibility including but not limited to Southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The $100,000,000 (with guaranteed minimum of $5,000) is for all contracts combined - base period and four option years. The work is for the design, construction, supervision, equipment, materials, labor, and all means necessary to provide complete and usable facilities at various locations. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps installations within the NAVFAC Southwest Area of Responsibility including, but not limited to Calif., (82 percent), Ariz., (16 percent), and N.M., (two percent). The terms of the contracts are not to exceed 60 months, with an expected completion date of Jul. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured as a set-aside for eight (a) Small Businesses via the NAVFAC e-solicitation website, with 77 proposals solicited, and 28 offers received. These nine contractors listed may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (contract numbers N63473-08-D-8650, N63473-08-D-8642, N62473-08-D-8643, N62473-08-D-8644, N62473-08-R-8645, N62473-08-R-8646, N62473-08-R-8647, N62473-08-R-8648, and N63473-08-D-8649 respectively).

Western Branch Diesel, Inc., Portsmouth, Va., is being awarded a $10,158,500 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity requirements contract for the procurement of maintenance services (engine overhaul) and repair of the MK V Special Operations Craft MTU 12V396TE94 diesel engines. Work will be performed in Portsmouth, Va., (80 percent) and Norfolk, Va., (20 percent), and is expected to be completed by Mar. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via
Navy Electronic Commerce Online and Federal Business Opportunities websites, with three offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61331-08-D-0018).

Army

Archer Western Contractors,
Atlanta, Ga., was awarded on Jul. 21, 2008, a $45,079,000 firm-fixed price contract for the design and construction of unaccompanied personnel housing. Work will be performed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and is expected to be completed by Nov. 21, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four bids were solicited on Mar. 27, 2008, and three bids were received. U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-07-D-0051).

Park Construction Co., Hampton, Minn., was awarded on Jul. 22, 2008, a $12,939,650 firm-fixed price contract for a flood protection project. Work will be performed in Lincoln, Ne., and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Apr.15, 2008, and four bids were received. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha, Ne., is the contracting activity (W9128F-08-C-0014).

Alliant Lake City Small Caliber Ammunition Co., LLC, Independence, Mo., was awarded on Jul. 22, 2008, a $10,635,417 contract for small caliber ammunition. Work will be performed in Independence, Mo., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on Jan. 2, 2008. U.S.
Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAA09-99-D-0016).

Barr Incorporated, Putnam, Conn., was awarded on Jul. 18, 2008, a $6,128,000 firm-fixed price contract for the construction of an addition to a fire crash rescue station. Work will be performed at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Westfield, Mass., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 15, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Web bids were solicited on Apr. 14, 2008, and ten bids were received. National Guard Bureau, Milford, Mass., is the contracting activity (W912SV-08-C-0008).

Chugach Government Services, Inc., Anchorage, Ala., was awarded on Jul. 22, 2008, a $6,494,099 firm-fixed price contract for the construction of a substation and natural gas generators. Work will be performed in Redstone Arsenal, Ala., and is expected to be completed by Jul. 24, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. One bid was solicited on May 2, 2008. U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-08-C-0044).

Air Force

Associates for International Research Inc., Engineering Services LLC, of Annapolis, Md.; Boeing Support Systems of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; DRS Technical Services of Herndon, Va. and Calverton, Md.; L-3 Communications TCS (3 Com) of Warner Robins, Ga.; Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems of Warner Robins, Ga.; MacAulay-Brown, Inc., of Dayton, Ohio; MTC Technologies (now BAE Systems Science and
Technology, Inc.) of Dayton, Ohio; Northrop Grumman Technical Services Inc., of Herndon, Va.; Raytheon Technical Service Co., Customized Engineering Depot Support, of Indianapolis, Ind.; Science Applications International Corp., of San Diego, Calif.; Scientific Research Corporation of Atlanta, Ga.; Support Systems Associates, Inc., of Melbourne, Fla., are being awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for a maximum of $6.9 billion. This action will provide for potential requirements to include modifications, development, repairs, and limited, critical or contingency spares for all Air Force managed weapons systems. At this time a minimum of $5,000 for each contractor has been obligated. WR-ALC/PKE, Robins AFB, Ga., is the contracting activity (ARINC – FA8530-08-D-0001; Astronautics –FA8530-08-D-0002; BAE IESI – FA8530-08-D-0003; Boeing – FA8530-08-D-0004; DRS – FA8530-08-D-0005; General Dynamics – FA8530-08-D-0006; L-3 Comm – FA8530-08-D-0007; LMIS – FA8530-08-D-0008; MacB – FA8530-08-D-0009; MTC – FA8530-08-D-0010; Northrop Grumman – FA8530-08-D-0011; Raytheon – FA8530-08-D-0012; SAIC – FA8530-08-D-0013; SRC – FA8530-08-D-0014; SSAI – FA8530-08-D-0015).

E.J. Mlynarczyk and Co., Inc., DBA: EJM Aerospace Services of Crestview, Fla., is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for $14,553,548.57. This requirement is for the additional production kits and storage containers for the Improved Ballistic Armor Suppression Sub-System in support of the HH-60G helicopter. At this time all funds have been obligated. Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, WR-ALC/580th ACSG, GFKAB, Special Operations Forces Contracting Division, Robins AFB, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8509-05-D-0004-0020).

Truman's Military Desegregation Order Reflects American Values, Gates Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2008 - President Harry S. Truman's 1948 executive order that desegregated the U.S.
military was a definitive statement of equality that declared all servicemembers must be judged by individual merit instead of their racial background, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here today. "No aspect of black Americans' quest for justice and equality under the law has been nobler than what has been called, "the fight for the right to fight," Gates said at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the integration of the armed forces held in the Capitol Rotunda.

"Our commemoration today of the racial integration of the armed forces makes us reflect on how far we have come toward living up to our founding ideals and yet how much remains to be done," Gates said.

The Defense Department began breaking down the barriers of race at the conclusion of
World War Two in 1945, Gates said. As in past wars, African-American troops had served in World War Two with honor and distinction, he noted. However, African-American troops had to fight and live separately from all-white units.

America's sons and daughters fought in
World War Two to preserve freedom and human dignity for the world's people, Gates said. Yet, African-Americans who'd served with distinction in that war, he noted, "returned to face segregation and harassment at home," as so-called Jim Crow segregation laws in place across the South relegated African-Americans to second-class-citizen status.

Truman's Executive Order 9981, signed July 26, 1948, was an important statement and an important step, Gates said. However, he said, Truman's directive "had to overcome stiff institutional resistance, as deeply entrenched attitudes were hard to change."

For example, "segregated units remained the norm and integrated units the exception," Gates noted, for several years after the integration order was issued.

The start of the
Korean War in June 1950 prompted the need to put hundreds of thousands of Americans into uniform after the U.S. military had demobilized following the end of World War Two.

"With the sudden outbreak of war in Korea, the urgent demands of the battlefield trumped the old habit of Jim Crow," Gates said.

Before the start of the
Korean War, he said, 50 percent of African-Americans in the Marine Corps -- about 750 men -- served as stewards. At the end of the Korean War in 1953, Gates said, there were 17,000 African-American Marines, and only 3 percent served as stewards.

"By 1954, the
Korean War was over, the last of the segregated units were dissolved, and the momentum for equality and civil rights was carrying over into American society as a whole," Gates said.

In the ensuing decades after Truman's directive took effect, "black and white Americans trained, served, and fought together with honor and distinction," Gates said.

Today's integrated U.S.
military continues to "put merit and integrity above all," Gates said, noting there's still more to achieve.

"My hope and expectation is that, in the years ahead, more African-Americans will staff the armed forces at the highest levels," Gates said. "We must make sure the American
military continues to be a great engine of progress and equality -- all the better to defend our people and our values against adversaries around the globe."

Defense Leaders Promise Improved Contracting Oversight

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

July 23, 2008 - The U.S.
military depends heavily on the support contractors provide in Iraq and Afghanistan and is stepping up efforts to ensure dollars dedicated to their activities are spent appropriately, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England told Congress today.

England joined
Army Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin, commander of U.S. Army Materiel Command; acting Defense Department Inspector General Gordon S. Heddell; and Shay Assad, DoD's director for defense procurement and acquisition policy, during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on contractor accountability.

The Defense Department takes its contract accountability and oversight responsibilities "very seriously," England told the lawmakers. He noted that multiple department agencies have conducted "literally thousands of aggressive reviews, audits and oversight."

In doing so, "they have indeed uncovered incidences of fraud and abuse," he said.
The Defense Department takes meaningful corrective actions and makes structural organizational changes where appropriate, England said. Meanwhile, it holds people accountable for their actions.

Heddell, who became acting DoD inspector general last week, noted that the department is completing or conducting audit oversight efforts that cover about $158.9 billion related to Defense Department efforts in Iraq alone.

As of June 30, the Defense
criminal Investigative Service had 124 ongoing investigations related to Southwest Asia that involve 286 subjects, he told the committee. Thirty-two of these investigations have been adjudicated, resulting in 22 federal criminal indictments and 32 felony convictions, he reported. It also resulted in 32 federal "criminal informations" -- essentially, cases where defendants agreed that evidence against them was so strong that they agreed to forego trial proceedings and accept sentencing, Heddell said.

The adjudications have resulted in 54 years of confinement, 44 years of probation, debarment of 10 people and four companies, and suspension of 28 people, Heddell said.
In addition, the U.S. government accepted three settlement agreements, received $13.5 million in restitution, levied more than $374,000 in fines and penalties, received $1.76 million in forfeitures and seized another $2.65 million in assets, he reported.
With $71 billion obligated to 98,000 contracting activities since January 2003, the department has struggled to provide full oversight for this huge volume of contracts, England conceded. Complicating the process, he said, is the fact that 98,000 expeditionary contract actions have occurred since 2003, with much of the work performed in a dangerous and difficult environment.

The department "will continue to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our contracting across the entire enterprise," but recognizes that it will take time, England said. He noted that the defense contracting force was cut dramatically during the 1990s, and that bringing replacements up to speed won't happen overnight. "It will likely take a few more years before all of these critical skills are fully replenished," he said.
Meanwhile, England pointed to yesterday's swearing-in of retired
Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Arnie Fields as special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction as a positive step forward.

"I'm confident Arnie Fields will help to do in Afghanistan for the departments of Defense and State what [special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction] Stu Bowen has been able to accomplish over the past several years in Iraq as part of his special investigative status," England said.

Griffin told the senators the
military knows it has improvements to make in its contracting systems and oversight.

"I will state up front that we are not where we want to be today in terms of contracting," he said. "But we have made significant progress. We are committed to improve our ability and capability, to provide not only first-class expeditionary contracting, but also to implement improvements across the entire contracting system."

While vowing to improve oversight of contractor activities, England told the lawmakers the
military depends on contractors who work as partners with servicemembers in harm's way. "I ... want to thank the people who deployed and who are deployed today who do this contracting work for America," he said.