Military News

Monday, August 11, 2008

America Supports You: Troops Offered Chance to Gain Civilian Work Experience

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 11, 2008 - A
California group is offering active-duty servicemembers the chance to secure a key component to finding a job before they reenter civilian life: experience. The group, Military Civilian Experience, created by active-duty servicemembers for their fellow troops, was partly inspired by the Military's practice of thoroughly training servicemembers before sending them to the battlefield, according to the organization's Web site. The group's officials feel it shouldn't stop there, and they're working to give servicemembers a head start on finding their civilian careers.

"In our spare time since 2006, we have helped 96 servicemembers obtain civilian career experience or some kind of civilian career counseling," said Navy Cmdr. Calvin Hill, the organization's chief executive officer. "Once active-duty members sign up at MilCivEx.org, we match them with a local civilian company according to the information that is given in the application."

Conversely, the organization is always seeking civilian companies offering on-the-job training, internships or volunteer opportunities, he said.

The organization also has decided to turn its fundraiser into a reality TV series. Members of each branch of
Military service would compete for the honor of being chosen as top man and woman of each service earning the title of being called Mr. or Mrs. Army, for instance.

"The best thing about it is that America's votes will determine the winners," Hill said.

Military Civilian Experience 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.

"I believe our group will benefit from any networking, exposure, and credibility that [America Supports You] will bring our way," Hill said. "All of it will be greatly appreciated."

Native American Tribe Supports Troops, Families

By Sara Moore
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 11, 2008 - During World War I, the Choctaw Nation began a long tradition of service to the country when a group of Choctaws volunteered as "code talkers," sending messages for the
military in a code derived from their own language to confuse German spies. Today, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma continues that tradition of service, extending it to include support of its members and employees who serve in the National Guard and reserves and families of military members. The organization is being recognized for its efforts with the 2008 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

Serving in the military and supporting others who serve come naturally for the people of the Choctaw Nation because they have strong ties to the country and are passionate about protecting their families and homes, said Gregory Pyle, chief of the Choctaw Nation of
Oklahoma.

"There's a basic principle we have here that you always support your
military," Pyle said. "They're literally fighting for our freedom, and many lose their lives, so it's the least we can do."

The Choctaw Nation is sovereign, and therefore exempt from legal requirements to support its employees in the National Guard and reserves, but it voluntarily complies with those laws. The Choctaw Nation provides full pay and benefits for its Guard and reserve members and provides emergency assistance for their families while military members are on deployment.

The Choctaw Nation also supports its members who have served in the
military with its veterans advocacy program, and it supports local military units. Last year during the holiday season, the Choctaw Nation chartered 14 buses to provide free round-trip transportation for Oklahoma National Guard members training at Fort Bliss, Texas, so they could spend time with their families.

It's this kind of support that motivated Anton Pavlovsky, Pyle's son-in-law, to nominate the Choctaw Nation for the Freedom Award. Pavlovsky served in the
Army Reserve and was deployed to Iraq in 2003. During his deployment, the Choctaw Nation sent him many care packages, he said, and even sent crucial equipment for his unit. Pavlovsky was a truck driver whose unit transported heavy equipment, and in the searing desert temperatures, he and his colleagues found their gloves wearing out very quickly. When Pyle heard about their situation, he coordinated an effort to send over six cases of gloves.

The Choctaw Nation also has sent to Iraq walkie-talkies to help units communicate in the thick dust and an ultrasound machine to help troops in the field detect shrapnel. The Choctaw Nation also provides mailing service, complete with paid postage, for anyone who wants to send a care package to troops serving overseas.

"Chief Pyle and the people of the Choctaw Nation are amazing patriots," Pavlovsky said. "They have done so much throughout the course of this conflict."

Pavlovsky said that, as a family member, he has seen firsthand the willingness of the Choctaw Nation to support not only its members, but also family members and friends who serve in the
military. He specifically praised Pyle for his dedication to the troops.

"He truly is a person who wakes up in the morning and goes to bed at night thinking about the soldiers serving our country," Pavlovsky said of the chief.

For his part, Pyle said that he and the rest of the Choctaw Nation are just doing what they feel is their duty, and they were very surprised to be recognized for their efforts. "It's a huge honor; ... it was overwhelming for many of our tribal members," he said. "It's nice for the Indian people that have fought for so many years to be recognized."

Pavlovsky said he was thrilled to hear the Choctaw Nation would receive the Freedom Award. When he heard the news, he had a "grin from ear to ear," he said.

"I think it's amazing," Pavlovsky said. "They truly are doing wonderful things for
military members and veterans in Oklahoma and in the area."

The Choctaw Nation will continue to do what it can to support military members and their families, Pyle said. "Whatever comes up, we're happy to help," he said.

The Choctaw Nation will be honored along with 14 other companies receiving the Freedom Award in a ceremony Sept. 18 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center here. The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional support from the employer community.

MILITARY CONTRACTS August 11, 2008

Army

Mantech Telecommunications and Information Systems Corp., Chantilly, Va., was awarded on July 31, 2008, a $106,000,000 time & materials contract for one lot of route clearance equipment contractor logistics support services. Work will be performed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one bid solicited on Mar. 15, 2008, and one bid was received. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0516).

Harris Corp.,
Rochester, N.Y., was awarded on Aug. 7, 2008, a $77,919,400 firm fixed price contract for vehicular installation kits, for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Work will be performed in Rochester, N.Y., and is expected to be completed by Jan. 18, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one bid solicited on Aug. 1, 2008, and one bid was received. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-08-C-0611).

Garco Construction,
Spokane, Wash., was awarded on Aug. 7, 2008, a $44,560,000 firm-fixed price construction contract for replacement of family housing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Work will be performed in Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., and is expected to be completed by Jul. 16, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two bids were received on May 16, 2008. US Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle, Wash., is the contracting activity (W912DW-08-C-0014).

General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Aug. 8, 2008, a $20,995,000 cost plus fixed fee contract for systems technical support for the Abrams Tank program. Work will be performed in Sterling Heights, Mich., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one bids solicited on Jun. 8, 2006, and one bid was received. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-07-C-0046).

Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc., Virginia Beach, Va., was awarded on Aug. 8, 2008, a $20,405,064 firm fixed price , contract for hand held thermal Imagers. Work will be performed in Londonderry, N.H., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Seven bids were received on July 7, 2008. U.S.
Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-08-F-0073).

DTC Engineers & Constructors, LLC, North Haven, Conn., was awarded on Aug. 4, 2008, a $12,164,809 Firm fixed price for Construction, contract for an Air Sovereignty Alert Complex. Work will be performed in Barnes
Army National Guard Bureau, Westfield, Mass., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 15, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Eight bids were received on Apr. 14, 2008. National Guard Bureau, Westfield, Mass., is the contracting activity (W912SV-08-C-0009).

Raytheon Co., Bedford, Mass., was awarded on Aug. 7, 2008, a $7,511,135 cost plus fixed fee, level-of-effort, contract for fy08 PATRIOT engineering services contract option award. Work will be performed in Burlington, Mass., and across the continental United States, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one bid solicited on Aug. 26, 2003 and one bid was received. US
Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-04-C-0020).

US Divers Co., Inc., Vista, Calif., was awarded on Aug. 8, 2008, a $5,478,180 firm fixed price indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract, contract for purchase of portable helicopter oxygen delivery systems. Work will be performed in Vista, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one bid solicited on Sept. 20, 2007, and one bid was received. US
Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-08-D-0048).

Navy

Watts-Healy Tibbitts, (joint venture), Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded an $84,842,140 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a submarine drive-in magnetic silencing facility at Beckoning Point, Naval Station, Pearl Harbor. The contract is incrementally funded with the first increment of $42,421,000 being allocated at the time of award. The second increment will be funded in FY 09 at $35,850,220. An additional third increment will be funded in FY 10 at $6,570,920. The contract also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $86,062,140. Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with 41 offers solicited and four proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (N62742-08-C-1311).

The Harris Corp.,
Rochester, N.Y., is being awarded a $62,110,538 modification to a previously awarded contract (N66001-07-D-0054). The modification (#P00003) will include additional contract line items for maritime single-channel, handheld radios and maritime handheld and vehicular components and accessories for the U.S. military. The Harris Corp., software-definable radio supports interoperability in joint operations of the U.S. military as well as among other government personnel. This modification brings the cumulative value of this contract to $4,447,504,598. Work will be performed in Rochester, N.Y., and work is expected to be completed Jun. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification was negotiated as a supplemental agreement on a sole source basis in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), Only One Responsible Source (FAR Subpart 6.302-1). The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Thales Communications, Inc., Clarksburg, Md., is being awarded a $56,602,845 modification to a previously awarded contract (N66001-07-D-0107). The modification (#P00003) will include additional contract line items for maritime single-channel, handheld radios and maritime handheld and vehicular components and accessories for the U.S.
military. Thales Communications Inc.'s software-definable radio supports interoperability in joint operations of the U.S. military as well as among other government personnel. This modification brings the cumulative value of this contract to $5,685,055,263. Work will be performed in Clarksburg, Md., and work is expected to be completed Jun. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification was negotiated as a supplemental agreement on a sole source basis in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), Only One Responsible Source (FAR Subpart 6.302-1). The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Cubic Applications, Inc., Lacey, Wash., a member of the Cubic Corp., family of companies, is being awarded a $31,711,289 firm-fixed-price contract. The Security Cooperation Education and Training Center (SCETC) provide the Training and Education Command oversight of the
Marine Corps advisor pre-deployment Training Program for military advisor transition teams and also for training of other security cooperation teams. SCETC is also responsible for ensuring security cooperation teams deployed to various countries throughout the world who receive customized pre-deployment training. Work will be performed at Camp Pendleton, Calif; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Twenty Nine Palms, Calif., and work is expected to be completed Dec. 2012. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This effort was competed as a full and open competition procurement, with seven offers received to the solicitation. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Orlando, Fla., is the contracting activity (M67854-08-C-8006).

Dell Federal Systems L.P., Round Rock, Texas, is being awarded $13,969,235 for delivery order MU66 under previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity
Army contract (W91QUZ-06-D-0002) for Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) to provide Marine Corps hardware suite support for the MCSC program manager for training systems (PMTRASYS), in essence providing PMTRASYS high performance laptop configuration hardware suite for the MCSC environment utilizing the MCHS delivery processes. Delivery of Laptops will be performed as follows: Minimum of 500 laptops delivered every 30 days with initial delivery of 500 each 30 days from award. Work will be performed in Round Rock, Texas, and is expected to be completed Nov. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad Co.*, Elma, Wash., is being awarded $12,599,763 for modification P00022 under a previously awarded firm-fixed price contract (N44255-01-C-1002) for Shelton-Bangor-Bremerton
Navy railroad repairs at Navy Region Northwest, West Sound area. The work to be performed provides for all labor, materials, equipment, management and administration, public safety, supply, housing, facilities support, utilities, support vehicles, environmental services, and other incidental work required to perform simultaneous low complexity, minor construction, repair, and alteration. The current total contract value after award of this modification will be $16,262,721. Work will be performed on the Bangor-Shelton-Bremerton Navy Railroad, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Northwest, Silverdale, Wash., is the contracting activity.

Teza Design*,
San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a maximum $7,500,000 (base and options - with a guaranteed minimum of $5,000) firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity architect/engineering contract for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest area of responsibility (AOR). The work to be performed provides for engineering studies and reports, site investigation reports, preparation of requests for proposals for design-build projects, preparation of fully designed plans and specifications for invitation for bid projects, cost estimates, evaluations and construction support services. Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to Calif., (87 percent), Ariz., (5 percent), Nev., (5 percent), Colo., (1 percent), N.M., (1 percent) and Utah, (1 percent), and work is expected to be completed Aug. 2009 (Mar. 2013 with options exercised). Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured as an 8(a) Small Business set-aside via the NAVFAC e-solicitation website,with six proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N62473-08-D-8605).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Wolverine World Wide, Rockford, Mich., is being awarded a maximum $11,887,628 fixed price with economic adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for hot and temperate weather boots. Using service is
Marine Corps. Other locations of performance are Jonesboro, Ark., and Big Rapids and Howard City, Mich. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 11 responses. The date of performance completion is Aug. 11, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-D-1099).

Belleville Shoe Manufacturing, Co., Belleville, Ill., is being awarded a maximum $11,387,660 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for hot weather boots. Using service is
Marine Corps. Other location of performance is Dewitt, Ark. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 11 responses. The date of performance completion is Aug. 11, 2009. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-D-1098).

Ram Dis Ticaret A.S., Istanbul, Turkey, is being awarded a maximum $25,165,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for unleaded gasoline. Other locations of performance are in Iraq. Using service is
Army. This proposal was originally Web solicited with eight responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Feb. 28, 2011. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SPO600-08-D-1022).

Travel Regulation Change Protects Renters Whose Landlords Default

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 11, 2008 - A new change to the Joint Federal Travel Regulations authorizes the
military to pay to move servicemembers and their families whose landlords default on property the military members are renting. Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy and chairman of the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee, approved the change Aug. 8, said Eileen Lainez, a Defense Department spokeswoman.

The change is retroactive to July 30, the date President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. That law strengthened regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac government-backed mortgage companies and created a new program to help about 400,000 families save their homes from foreclosure.

The federal regulation change is designed to help
military servicemembers forced to relocate locally when landlords default on their mortgages, Lainez said. It does not apply to military members who own their own homes and default on their loans.

Army Lt. Col. Les Melnyk, a Pentagon spokesman, said the change will come as welcome news to the high percentage of servicemembers who rent rather than buy their homes due to frequent moves. While more than 65 percent of Americans own their homes, only about 25 percent of servicemembers are homeowners, he said.

Because they rent their residences at disproportionately high numbers, servicemembers haven't been impacted as heavily by the foreclosure crisis facing many communities, he said. But anecdotal evidence indicates that a growing number experience the second-hand effects of the crisis when their landlords default and they are forced to quickly find new housing nearby.

"When that happens, the servicemember should not have to incur the cost of the move," Melnyk said. "This change in the Joint Federal Travel Regulation ensures that they are financially protected when this happens and shows that we as a department care about our troops and their welfare."

Melnyk encouraged servicemembers who believe the new JFTR change may help them to contact their housing or administrative officers. In addition, he urged all servicemembers to take advantage of free legal and financial counseling offered at all
military installations and through the Military OneSource Web site.

Stress Management Important Throughout Military Careers

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 11, 2008 - The Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control is teaching sailors and Marines how to deal with everyday and combat-related stress starting at the beginning of their
military careers, a senior Navy official said. The center recently was established at Naval Medical Center San Diego to address the issues of psychological health by improving care for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, but also how to effectively teach sailors and Marines to recognize the signs of stress.

"The idea of the center is ... not only to help sailors and Marines in distress, but to promote good
stress management and promote psychological health so it starts when ... people come into boot camp and [lasts] all of the way until they graduate from war college," Navy Capt. (Dr.) Paul Hammer, the center's director, said Aug. 7 in an interview on Dot-Mil-Docs radio show hosted on BlogTalkRadio.com.

"The idea is that we get past the concept of just dealing with things when they are in crisis and hopefully promote a system of addressing stress and addressing our ability to cope with it so we rarely get into a crisis mode," Hammer said.

He added that the routine stressors that sailors and Marines undergo on a routine basis, not looking at when they are in a combat zone, are extremely dangerous at times and require that leaders manage their
stress well.

One of the center's missions is to determine where officials might have the most impact to help educate sailors and Marines, for example in the curriculum they are taught in
military training, Hammer said.

"One of the things that I like to look at, when people are training and they go through drills is, 'How can we incorporate stress training into that so that they are more aware of when they are dealing with
stress?'" Hammer said.

The center is the first of its kind in the
Navy to incorporate stress training during both pre- and post-deployment periods. With more than 14,000 sailors and Marines currently serving as individual augmentees around the world in combat areas, learning how to recognize operational stress is important for everyone's' well-being.

"When we talk about operational stress, we're talking about that unique set of circumstances that people have when they are deployed or when they are in the jobs that they do," Hammer said. "For example, somebody who works on the deck of an aircraft carrier has a much different level of stress than someone who is a civilian and works in an office building downtown."

According to the
Navy Bureau of Medicine's Combat/Operational Stress Cell, the signs of operational stress can be sudden or build up over time. Combat stress can happen suddenly when a sailor or Marine encounters immediate danger or it can build up from things such as lack of adequate sleep, loud or constant noise, extreme heat or cold -- things that make life in combat stressful. Stress can have harmful effects on a sailors' or Marines' bodies, minds and actions, he said. It also can directly affect how sailors or Marines deal with others—friends or enemies.

"Combat
stress, of course, is the stress that occurs when you are in combat -- the extreme set of circumstances when your life is in danger and when you have to [make] life and death ... decisions quickly ... and when you are under extreme pressure," Hammer said.

Some common signs of combat
stress can include extreme restlessness, staring into the distance, shallow breathing, trembling or sweaty hands, and feeling detached from others or even feeling sick or nauseated.

Dealing with both routine and operational stress is handled by the center's four major divisions to address how to recognize stress and look at methods to improve treatment. "The center has four major divisions: knowledge management, programs, research facilitation, and strategic communications," Hammer said.

Knowledge management looks at what is currently known about PTSD and TBI; programs looks at ways to improve the level of care provided to servicemembers; research facilitation is designed to examine causes of
stress; and strategic communications focuses on ways to communicate and educate servicemembers about these issues, he explained.

(
Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media Directorate for the Defense Media Activity)

U.S. to Complete Redeployment of Georgian Forces from Iraq

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 11, 2008 - The U.S.-assisted redeployment of Georgian troops from Iraq to their home country should be completed today, a Pentagon spokesman said. American
military aircraft began shuttling the brigade of Georgian forces yesterday, as clashes with Russian forces intensified since fighting broke out last week in the breakaway region of South Ossetia in Georgia, a former Soviet republic.

The U.S.-provided transport of the 2,000-strong contingent adheres to an agreement that U.S. and Georgian government officials arranged before Russian tanks and troops crossed Georgia's border on Aug. 8, Pentagon Spokesman Bryan Whitman said today.

"We are fulfilling our agreement with the Georgian government that in an emergency we would assist them in redeploying their troops," Whitman said. "We are honoring that commitment and we are following through with that."

At the same time, U.S.
military commanders in Iraq are adapting to the departure of Georgian troops, which primarily occupied infantry roles and represented the third-largest foreign contingent in Iraq.

"Commanders on the ground are making necessary adjustments to mitigate any of the impact of the loss of Georgian forces," said Whitman, who declined to specify where Georgian troops were landing, but added that the contingent is not being sent directly into combat against Russia.

Army Maj. Gen. Mark Hertling, the commander of Multinational Division North and 1st Armored Division, said the redeployment of Georgian forces will affect some U.S. commands more than others.

"Quite frankly, these were good soldiers, but we've been able to adapt at the battle space to account for their loss," he told Pentagon reporters today via video teleconference from Forward Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq.

With roughly 80 Georgian troops departing from his contingency, Hertling said their absence will not have as significant an impact on his unit as it will in areas of operation like Multinational Division Central, where the foreign troops were split across several U.S. brigades.

Meanwhile, some 130 U.S.
military personnel serving as trainers to national forces in Georgia will remain in the war-torn country, Whitman said. He added that all U.S. trainers there are safe and accounted for, and that presently there are no plans to remove them from Georgia.

Georgia declared its independence from the then-Soviet Union in 1991. However, many South Ossetia residents continue to profess Russian allegiance.

The situation was already tense when Russian tanks and troops crossed the border into South Ossetia, where they were aided by regional separatists. Fighting escalated a day later in and around Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital, as Russian aircraft were reported to have bombed that city, as well as parts of Georgia.

President Bush and other world leaders have called for a peaceful resolution to end the fighting, which has broadened beyond the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, according to media reports today.

In Beijing to view the start of the Summer Olympic Games hosted by China, President Bush today denounced fighting in Georgia.

"I said this violence is unacceptable," Bush said during an interview with NBC. "I not only said it to [Russian Prime Minister] Vladimir Putin, I've said it to the president of the country, Dmitriy Medvedev.

"I expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn bombing outside of South Ossetia," he said.

The Bush administration has been engaged with both sides of the conflict in attempts to broker a ceasefire that would return forces to pre-invasion levels, the president said.

"Hopefully this will get resolved peacefully," he said, adding: "There needs to be an international mediation there for the South Ossetia issue."

Face of Defense: Sergeant Improves Process, Saves Time

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Arredondo
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 11, 2008 - An airman with the 437th Maintenance Squadron wheel and tire shop has helped save man-hours with a better way of cleaning C-17 Globemaster III nose-wheel bolts that need to be inspected.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eddie Melendez, an aircraft maintenance craftsman, realized airmen in the shop were spending too many hours cleaning and preparing the nose bolts to be inspected by airmen in the unit's "non-destructive inspection" shop.

Airmen in the wheel and tire shop typically have more than 450 bolts a week to be inspected by non-destructive inspection. To get them ready for inspection, anti-seize graphite has to be removed from the bolts. Anti-seize graphite is a compound that keeps the bolts from seizing up when nuts are screwed on to a bolt.

Before the new process was introduced, the bolts would have to soak in a parts-cleaning tank for 60 minutes. After that, 10 minutes would be spent manually cleaning one set, consisting of 12 bolts, with a wire brush to remove remaining anti-seize from the threads.

In total, the airmen manually clean about 1,260 bolts, spending more than 200 hours a year cleaning and more than 105 hours waiting for the bolts to be cleaned in the parts washers.

"Our objective was to increase the efficiency of cleaning the bolts," Melendez said.

To add to the time spent on cleaning the bolts, if the bolts were not entirely cleaned after being sent to non-destructive inspection, they could be sent back to the wheel and tire shop for additional cleaning, which would add to the time spent on a set of bolts.

To help decrease the time spent on cleaning a set of bolts, Melendez devised a way of speeding up the process by using a powered cleaning device to clean the bolts more efficiently.

Melendez decided the best way to create such an item was to use materials readily available and fabricate tools that could help with the process. A power drill was purchased along with a bolt cleaner that is cylindrical with soft bristles in the middle. He also asked the 437th Maintenance Squadron fabrication shop to make a jig, or small platform, with 12 holes and sockets to safely secure the bolts for cleaning.

With items purchased and made, the airmen now just need to brush off the anti-seize with the bolt cleaner without having to deal with the parts cleaner, and taking less time to do it.

With the new tool and jig, it now takes one minute, 15 seconds to clean a set of bolts. Because of the thorough cleaning the bolts now receive, the process also has cut back on the number of bolts that are returned from non-destructive inspection due to not be clean enough.

"We set out with one goal in mind: take one task that was both difficult and time-consuming and improve it," Melendez said. "What we found was a better way of doing the same job in less time and more efficiently."

Because of the introduction of the new process for cleaning the nose-wheel bolts, one airman said he thinks the new process is a great improvement.

"The old process just took so long, and it required more than one person to get the bolts cleaned in a reasonable time," said Airman 1st Class Quinton Valentine, 437th Maintenance Squadron wheel and tire shop crew chief. "With the new process, it has cut down the time dramatically. We don't have to use wire brushes, and there is no solvent that has to be used."

Because of the change in the way the bolts are prepared for inspection and the affects it has had on airmen, Tech. Sgt. Lamont Butler, 437th Maintenance Squadron wheel and tire shop section chief, also sees how the improvement has affected the way airmen are now looking at other areas for improvement.

"This trend has proven to be contagious," Butler said. "The airmen now actually see tangible results from thinking smarter. They are now looking at each shop-related task and brainstorming on how to improve it."

(
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Arredondo is assigned to 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs.)