Military News

Monday, October 06, 2008

California Guard Assists in Fossett Recovery

By Army Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - When the wreckage of multi-millionaire Steve Fossett's plane was found near Mammoth Lakes, Calif., last week, it ended the year-long search for the missing adventurer. Fossett vanished in September 2007 during what was supposed to be a short pleasure flight.

There are still many unanswered questions, and the
California Army National Guard began helping to find answers on Oct. 2.

Using a single UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter,
California Army National Guard pilots completed several missions in support of the Madera County sheriff's office, flying in supplies, search dogs and personnel, said Jonathan Guibord, a California Guard spokesman.

The
California Guard normally would not take part in a mission like this, he said, but state officials asked for help with the recovery operations.

"Due to the dangerous terrain and high altitude, [the Office of Emergency Services] has determined that the California National Guard's specialized aircrew and aircraft were required," Guibord said.

The pilots supported insertion and extraction missions into the area on Oct. 2, but snowfall ended the search in the Sierra Nevada on Oct. 3.

California officials told the Associated Press that recovery efforts around the site may not resume until summer. Authorities said they completed most of what they needed to do on Oct. 3, when they found three more bone fragments that scientists will test to determine whether they came from Fossett.

(
Army Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

New Marine Test Reflects Broad Military Emphasis on Combat Fitness

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - Ask Marines deployed aboard USS Iwo Jima what they think of a new
Marine Corps test to assess their combat fitness, and one might be surprised by the lack of complaining. After two deployments to Iraq, Sgt. Richard Williams said he's seen firsthand the importance of both strength and stamina that the new combat fitness test will assess. Williams, a machine gunner with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, remembers running across danger areas in Fallujah, Iraq, loaded to the hilt with combat gear and ammunition.

"If you can't keep up, you're dead weight to that squad," he told American Forces Press Service as he and the rest of the Iwo Jima strike group transited toward the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. "You've got to be fit, because it's not just for you. It's for the team."

Williams' sentiment echoed loudly throughout the 26th MEU as the Marines geared up for the new combat fitness test being phased in throughout the Corps. The test was to be fully implemented by Sept. 30 as a supplement to the standard physical fitness test.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway ordered the new test to replicate more closely the demands Marines are likely to face downrange. They'll run a timed 800-yard run, repeatedly lift a 30-pound ammunition can for two minutes, then maneuver through a 300-yard course that requires them to conduct a combat crawl, ammunition resupply, body drag, casualty carry and grenade throw.

The entire test will be conducted in combat boots and utility uniforms.

Col. Mark Desens, the 26th MEU commander, said the test represents heavy emphasis being put on fitness for all ground troops – not just those performing infantry and other highly physical missions. A truck driver running a convoy route, for example, needs to be as ready as the infantrymen he's supporting to respond to an attack and, if necessary, to drag a buddy to safety.

"This combat fitness test is a result of those exact experiences and ensuring that regardless of their jobs, all Marines are physically able to handle themselves in combat," he said.

But Desens said physical fitness is just half of what the new test will deliver. "It's also about the mental piece, and the confidence that comes with it," he said. A Marine who goes into combat knowing he's well-trained, well-equipped and fit for the mission – and that his buddy is equally prepared and can get him to safety or medical help if necessary – is better able to focus on the mission, he said.

"You fight harder and you fight more confidently and you are focused on defeating the enemy, not on [wondering], 'Is today the day that a bad letter is going to go back home?'" Desens said. "So it is mental as much as physical."

Staff Sgt. Vedel Poindexter, a black-belt martial arts instructor with the 26th MEU, said he likes the idea of a test that assesses Marines' combat fitness.

"It's a lot more realistic and geared toward the things Marines would actually do in combat," he said. "You're sprinting. You're manipulating your buddy. You're doing a combat drag. And we're going to be tested the way we fight -- in uniform."

Staff Sgt. William Korth, platoon sergeant for Fox Company's 3rd Platoon, said he has no delusions that the new test is going to be easy. "It's definitely going to be tough," he said, noting that performing well requires speed and strength, as well as endurance. "I think this is going to weed out the weak."

After two combat deployments, Staff Sgt. Angel Alejandre, Golf Company's machine gun section
leader, said the test will measure the exact capabilities Marines need in combat.

"You never know when you are going to have to sprint 500 meters with combat gear to chase an insurgent or support someone else," he said. "This test ensures we train the way we fight. Overall, I think it will be good for the
Marine Corps."

The
Army, too, is putting increased emphasis on fitness to ensure soldiers' combat readiness.

"Fitness has gone beyond just passing the PT test,"
Army Col. Timothy Touzinsky, chief of staff for the Joint Multinational Training Command, said in Grafenwoehr, Germany. The command ensures U.S. European Command's 45,000 soldiers remain combat-ready.

"It's how to survive the rigors of the combat zone: the extreme heat, the gear we wear, the weapons we carry, the [body armor] we wear, the long hours and the stress," he said. "It all takes a toll on soldiers, and the more fit they are going into a combat zone, the better they are going to be able to sustain themselves there."

As a result, the
Army has integrated fitness training into soldiers' regular training schedules.

"The reality of the [operational tempo] and the reality on soldiers now is that physical fitness and nutrition is integral into their day. They do PT every day," Touzinsky said. "Staying fit is a mission. We have got to be ready ... for that next deployment."

Meanwhile, new approaches are maximizing the benefits of the training offered, he said. Mass formation runs have become a thing of the past, except for rare ceremonial events. Soldiers now train in small groups based on ability that push troops to capacity or beyond. Meanwhile, more training has moved indoors, taking advantage of high-tech weight-training and aerobic equipment.

"No longer do you just do push-ups, sit-ups and a three-mile run," Touzinsky said. "These guys are going at it smart. They are training for strength. They are training for stamina. They are training aerobically, [and] they are training anaerobically so they can do it all."

Military Olympians Visit Pentagon, Express Thanks for Support

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 -
Military Olympians and Paralympians visited the Pentagon today and expressed their gratitude for the Defense Department's support and partnership. "There's been a long history of Military involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic games," Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics in Colorado Springs, Col., said.

More than 25
Military athletes in this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing were involved in the armed forces, either on active duty or as veterans, Huebner said. They earned seven gold medals, one silver medal and three bronze medals.

Retired
Army 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell, a Paralympic swimmer, is the first Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran to participate in the Paralympic games. Stockwell lost most of her left leg in April 2004 when her convoy was struck by a roadside bomb. Her strength and determination should serve as an inspirational example for other wounded warriors, Huebner said.

Huebner said Stockwell, better than anybody, can walk the halls of Walter Reed
Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

"One of the biggest things [
Military Paralympians] can do is assume roles as mentors for other wounded servicemembers," he said. "Being able to go and spend time with other wounded warriors is critically important, and I can think of none better than those who've been wounded in war [and] then became Olympians."

As chief of Paralympics, one of Huebner's objectives is developing athletic and community programs for wounded veterans. The programs assist the newly injured and their families in letting them know that their lives are not over, he said.

"We just want to let wounded [veterans] know that they can still be physically active, they can still pursue education, and if they want, they can represent their country again at the Paralympic games," he said.

Stockwell expressed her appreciation for the Defense Department's support of returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and wounded warrior programs, citing how sports and competition are important to rehabilitating servicemembers.

"Sports have played a huge role for all of us here," Stockwell said, "and just getting back out there in life and enjoying the things that we used to do and the new things we try is something we have to do. These programs do give hope."

Petreaus, Crocker Receive State Department's Highest Honor

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - The State Department today conferred its highest award on the U.S. commander and diplomat who oversaw a dramatic drop in violence in Iraq and forged a model for future
military-civilian partnership. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented the Distinguished Service Award to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker, saying that no two public servants are more deserving of the honor.

"May you accept this award as but a small down payment on the vast and enduring gratitude that our entire nation owes to each of you, and may you depart your post in Iraq ... confident in knowledge that you have made an immeasurable contribution to the success of Iraq and to the security of our beloved country," she said.

During his nearly 20-month tenure, Petraeus commanded Multinational Force Iraq amid a surge of 33,000 U.S. troops, overseeing the quelling of fighting in the contentious Anbar province and an ensuing 80-percent drop in overall violence in Iraq. Rice also credited Petraeus with reviving the "lost art" of counterinsurgency.

"Under General Petraeus's
leadership, U.S. and coalition troops have not only taken the fight to the enemies of Iraq. They have focused on securing the people of Iraq," Rice said. "They have turned adversaries into allies, and they have provided the new Iraqi Army with the training and support it needs to emerge as an increasingly capable and self-sufficient force."

Rice praised
military servicemembers and their families for bearing "the most awful burdens of this fight."

"[They are people] who do everything that is asked of them and more, and who do it all with grace and grit and the silent confidence of true bravery," she said. "America's servicemen and women, both the living and the departed, are heroes for all time, and words do no justice to the debt that we owe them."

Petraeus, who later this month takes the reins of U.S. Central Command, accepted his award today on behalf of the
military personnel he served with in Iraq and the families who endured their separation. In a final letter to troops before departing Iraq, the general said he could not envision any greater privilege than having served with them, he told the audience.

He added that improvements would have been impossible without a unity of purpose and effort with the
military's diplomatic counterparts.

"No soldier could be so privileged as to have such a great diplomatic partner, and it was a great honor for me to be his military wingman," Petraeus said of Crocker.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates praised the partnership between the general and the diplomat while appearing before the Senate Armed Service Committee last week.

"Beyond their own brilliant individual performances, the Petraeus-Crocker team was a superb model of
military-civilian partnership, and one that should be studied and emulated for years to come," he said.

Accepting his award via videoteleconference from Baghdad, Crocker praised his working relationship with Petraeus, whom he called "the greatest
military commander of his generation."

"Thanks to all of you, my colleagues, and thanks to my colleagues who wear the uniforms of our great
military for what truly is a total partnership," he said.

DoD Revises Purple Heart Eligibility Criteria to Allow Award to POWs Who Die in Captivity

The Department of Defense announced today it has expanded the Purple Heart eligibility criteria allowing prisoners-of-war who died in captivity to receive the award.

The revised department policy presumes, for service members who die in captivity as a qualifying prisoner-of-war, that their death was the "result of enemy action," or the result of wounds incurred "in action with the enemy" during capture, or as a result of wounds incurred as a "result of enemy action" during capture, unless compelling evidence is presented to the contrary.

The revised policy allows retroactive award of the Purple Heart to qualifying prisoners-of-war since Dec. 7, 1941. Posthumous award will be made to the deceased service member's representative, as designated by the secretary of the military department concerned, upon application to that military department.

Each
military department will publish application procedures and ensure they are accessible by the general public. Family members with questions may contact the services: Army: Military Awards Branch, (703) 325-8700; Navy: Navy Personnel Command, Retired Records Section, (314) 592-1150; Air Force: Air Force Personnel Center, (800) 616-3775; Marine Corps: Military Awards Branch, (703) 784-9340. For further information, media representatives should contact Eileen Lainez, (703) 695-3895, eileen.lainez@osd.mil.

Face of Defense: Sergeant Calls Care of Soldiers Primary Mission

By Army Sgt. Carmen Guerrero
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - He hasn't always been a retention noncommissioned officer. In fact, he admitted he was a little leery at first about guiding soldiers down the path of re-enlistment. After all, he was on his first tour himself, and had no prior training to assume the vital role as retention NCO. Now however,
Army Sgt. Mark Shamburger, of Hattiesburg, Miss., said it is a job he thoroughly enjoys since it provides him an opportunity to take care of soldiers.

Shamburger works in Multinational Division Baghdad with the personnel office of 890th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, a National Guard unit based out of Gulfport, Miss. His mission of taking care of soldiers expands into other areas, as he also works as an equal opportunity
leader. It can be quite a load, Shamburger said, but he accepted the tasks that were laid out in front of him and began running with them.

Shamburger acts as a liaison and career counselor for the companies that fall under the 890th Engineer Battalion, and said he provides information and guidance concerning questions about the Montgomery GI Bill, the Student Loan Repayment Program and the Selective Reserves Incentive Program. He said he also keeps soldiers informed of changes in their specific situations and provides insight for each soldier.

"Some extra things I do for my soldiers is provide them with a re-enlistment certificate, re-enlistment coin, and photographs to commemorate their extension in theater," Shamburger said. "Technically, these things don't have to be done, but I think it's a great way to thank soldiers for staying in the
Army."

Shamburger has processed 36 enlisted soldiers' contracts for extension or re-enlistment bonuses. He also has assisted in the paperwork for six officers. The total combined years extended for enlisted and officers, he added, is 208 years, and bonus money the extending soldiers have received so far during the deployment amounts to $483,000 for enlisted soldiers and $120,000 for officers.

There are perks to the job as well, he said, citing July 4, 2008, when what officials here believe was the largest re-enlistment in the history of the armed forces took place at Al Faw Palace. More than 1,200 servicemembers from all branches of the
military re-enlisted under the hand of Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the commanding general of Multinational Force Iraq. It was a day for the history books, Shamburger said, adding that he was proud to witness it.

"His job is critical in maintaining the strength of the 890th Engineer Battalion," said
Army Capt. Phillip Moseley, the battalion's personnel officer, "as well as ensuring that each soldier gets their bonus for re-enlisting."

For Shamburger, however, it's just another day at the office doing what he enjoys best – taking care of soldiers.

"I love my job, retention especially," he said. "Taking care of soldiers is what I like doing. I was kind of hesitant about doing this job at first, but now I wouldn't trade it for anything else."

(
Army Sgt. Carmen Guerrero serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 890th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade.)

$1M Wearable Power Prize Competition Winner Announced

The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today that the DuPont/Smart Fuel Cell (SFC) Team was awarded a $1 million top prize for winning the Wearable Power Prize competition.

Designed to spur innovation, the competition was launched in July 2007 by the DoD's Research and Engineering Directorate to help develop a long-endurance, lightweight power pack for warfighters in the field. After beginning with 169 registered entries, the ultimate testing concluded on Oct. 4 when the final six teams met at
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., to determine the winner.

DuPont/SFC won the competition by building the lightest wearable system that provided an average of 20 watts of power for more than 96 hours and weighed less than 4,000 grams, or 8.8 pounds. AMI of Ann Arbor, Mich., was awarded $500,000 for second place, and Jenny 600S of Middleburg, Va., won the $250,000 third place prize.

All of the finalists used either fuel-cell or battery technologies or a combination of both to meet the rigorous standards set by the DoD.

The winners, and really all the teams that competed, have moved wearable power
technology forward," said William Rees Jr., the deputy under secretary for defense laboratories and basic sciences. "But the real winners from this competition are our ground warfighters, as these systems show great promise to reduce the weight of batteries they have to carry while performing their critical missions."

Rees, who sponsored the DoD Wearable Power Prize, also hopes this competition will inspire scientists and engineers.

"The rules we developed for this DoD competition attracted small businesses, individual inventors, and large companies alike," said Rees. "Our nation has tremendous capacity for innovation, so we hope that this and future competitions also motivates the scientific community to continue important advancements in
technology."

Media can direct queries to Cmdr. Darryn James, DoD Public Affairs, (703)-693-8287. More information on the Wearable Power Prize can be found at:
http://www.dod.mil/ddre/prize/final_event.html.

Gates to Attend Meetings in Macedonia, Hungary

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will travel this week to participate in a southeastern Europe defense ministerial conference in Macedonia and a NATO meeting in Hungary, senior defense officials said. The Russian invasion of Georgia probably will be a primary discussion point at the meeting in Macedonia, Defense Department officials said, adding that they believe Gates will get some fresh insights and feedback from his counterparts.

While in Macedonia, Gates and Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov will meet. Officials speaking on background said the meeting is a way for the secretary to show support for Ukraine and its engagement with NATO.

The NATO ministerial meeting in Budapest, Hungary, will focus on NATO operations, specifically those of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, officials said. The meeting will include non-NATO troop-contributing nations, officials said, and the discussion on Afghanistan will zero in on longer-term commitments to the nation.

"The secretary is really intent on focusing on the future of NATO," a senior defense official said. "His term is 'institutionalizing transformation' – the capabilities of NATO looking into the future. His focus is more overarching" than headline-driven, the official said.

Another discussion will focus on issues such as alliance headquarters reform. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has prepared some specific proposals for the ministers to discuss at this session. The ministers also will discuss multinational approaches to defense capabilities, such as NATO buying C-17 Globemaster III cargo jets to bolster strategic airlift capabilities. The C-17s will be based at a Hungarian air base, with the first planes arriving in the spring.

Other issues for discussion are deployability targets and the NATO Response Force, the officials said, and the
leaders also will speak about Kosovo and piracy issues, which have come to the forefront following increased pirate attacks of ships in the Indian Ocean, along the Somali coast. Two weeks ago, pirates seized a Ukrainian ship full of military arms in the area.

The secretary also will participate in a NATO-Georgia Commission meeting in Budapest. The commission was established a month ago, and this will be the first ministerial-level meeting. "We see this as an excellent opportunity to show support for Georgia at this time," the senior defense official said.

Because of events in Georgia, the NATO-Russia Council will not meet in Budapest, officials said. NATO had planned a NATO-Russia Council meeting for Budapest, but those plans changed after the invasion of Georgia, defense officials said.

"In fact, within two weeks after the invasion, Russia announced that it was suspending all high-level activities with NATO," one official said. "Even if Russia had not done so, it is highly unlikely NATO would have extended an invitation to Russia to participate in the Budapest gathering."

Army Secretary Announces 2009 Will Be 'Year of NCO'

By C. Todd Lopez
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - The
Army will recognize the value of its enlisted leaders at all levels of command as it observes "The Year of the Noncommissioned Officer" in 2009, Army Secretary Pete Geren said today. Geren made the announcement during his keynote address at the opening of the 2008 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition here.

"At the front of every
Army mission in the United States or overseas, you'll find a noncommissioned officer," he said. "They know their mission, they know their equipment, but most importantly, they know their soldiers."

The secretary said that during the year, the Army will develop new initiatives that enhance the training, education, capability and use of the NCO corps, showcase the NCO story to the Army and the American people, and honor the sacrifices and celebrate contributions of the NCO corps, past and present.

"Today's NCO operates autonomously, and always with confidence and competence," he said. "Our NCOs are empowered and trusted like no other NCO in the world, and most advanced armies in the world today are going to school on our model."

Geren noted he came to the Pentagon late in the summer of 2001, and that he was in the building during the Sept. 11 attack.

"And for seven years, I've watched soldiers go off to war, and watched their families stand with them," he said. "I've been inspired by the service of our soldiers, and humbled by the sacrifice of their families -- spouses and kids, moms and dads. And it's the privilege of a lifetime to work with and for soldiers and
Army families."

The Army's first priority, Geren said, are the loved ones in harms way.

"They are front of mind 24 hours a day, and we're committed to meeting with urgency the ever-changing, life-and-death needs and demands of our soldiers in Afghanistan and in Iraq," Geren said. "And not just meet their needs and meet the evolving threats, but anticipate, and do everything we can to get ahead of the threat. And care for those who have borne the battle, and their loved ones. These are moral duties of the highest order for our nation and our
Army."

The secretary also talked about an often unseen portion of the
military -- those who deliver goods and services to the fighting force: the Army logisticians.

"We have 250,000 soldiers in 80 countries, and we've been at war for seven years, with 140,000 soldiers in theater today," he said. "Nobody ever asks, 'Who feeds those guys?'

"Our logisticians are victims of their own success," he continued. "Their work is so good it is invisible -- it's a given. Wherever our Army goes, whatever our soldiers need, whenever they need it, they get it -- the miracle of
Army logistics."

Geren said the Army logistics community repairs more than 14,000 vehicles every year -- a number equal to the number of yellow cabs in New York City. They also move more than 700,000 personnel in and out of theater, equal to the entire population of Charlotte, N.C. And each day, he said,
Army logisticians provide 750,000 meals in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. They also dispense enough fuel in the combat theater to fill up 750,000 cars -- nearly four times the number of vehicles registered in Washington, D.C.

"We talked much about the surge -- 15,000 more Soldiers in Iraq -- but nobody ever mentioned that Army logisticians would serve 45,000 more meals each day, and ship 120,000 more gallons of water each day," he said. During operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, 619 sustainment and support soldiers have given their lives, the secretary said.

Geren also pointed out the historic anniversaries the
Army has celebrated in 2008, including the 25th anniversary of the Army Family Action Plan, the 30th anniversary of the disestablishment of the Women's Army Corps, and the 60th anniversary of the integration of the U.S. military.

"Sixty years ago, our
Army did not stand as one," he said. "It was not a single band of brothers, rather, a collection of bands of brothers divided by race."

The policy then, he said, was that the
Army was separate, but "hardly equal."

"[It was a] cruel irony of our nation sending soldiers to fight for freedom against the Germans -- yet affording privileges to white German prisoners of war held in the United States that were denied to the African-Americans soldiers who guarded them," the secretary said.

On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, declaring "there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin."

"With the stroke of a pen, President Truman launched the
Army on the path to the color-blind institution we know today," Geren said. "The Army moved slowly and stubbornly at first, but now stands as the model for equal opportunity in our nation. Today, we have an Army where the only colors that matter are red, white, and blue."

Geren also took time to reiterate another priority of the
Army -- the elimination of sexual assault within the ranks.

"The brothers and sisters of our Army must be able to count on each other, wherever they are, in the battlefield or in the barracks, and whenever, on duty or off, no matter the cost," he said. "We will create a climate of zero tolerance for gender-based misconduct -- in attitude, word, and deed, and become fully, as our values demand, a band of brothers and sisters."

(C. Todd Lopez works at the Soldiers Media Center.)

Military Olympians Visit Pentagon, Express Thanks for Support

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 -
Military Olympians and Paralympians visited the Pentagon today and expressed their gratitude for the Defense Department's support and partnership. "There's been a long history of military involvement in the Olympic and Paralympic games," Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics in Colorado Springs, Col., said.

More than 25 military athletes in this year's Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing were involved in the armed forces, either on active duty or as veterans, Huebner said. They earned seven gold medals, one silver medal and three bronze medals.

Retired
Army 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell, a Paralympic swimmer, is the first Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran to participate in the Paralympic games. Stockwell lost most of her left leg in April 2004 when her convoy was struck by a roadside bomb. Her strength and determination should serve as an inspirational example for other wounded warriors, Huebner said.

Huebner said Stockwell, better than anybody, can walk the halls of Walter Reed
Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

"One of the biggest things [
military Paralympians] can do is assume roles as mentors for other wounded servicemembers," he said. "Being able to go and spend time with other wounded warriors is critically important, and I can think of none better than those who've been wounded in war [and] then became Olympians."

As chief of Paralympics, one of Huebner's objectives is developing athletic and community programs for wounded veterans. The programs assist the newly injured and their families in letting them know that their lives are not over, he said.

"We just want to let wounded [veterans] know that they can still be physically active, they can still pursue education, and if they want, they can represent their country again at the Paralympic games," he said.

Stockwell expressed her appreciation for the Defense Department's support of returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and wounded warrior programs, citing how sports and competition are important to rehabilitating servicemembers.

"Sports have played a huge role for all of us here," Stockwell said, "and just getting back out there in life and enjoying the things that we used to do and the new things we try is something we have to do. These programs do give hope."

Maryland Guard Supports Olympic Heroes Parade

By Army Capt. Rick Breitenfeldt
American Forces Press Service

Oct. 6, 2008 - The
Maryland National Guard 'Minuteman' Humvee arguably is the most photographed military vehicle in the world -- at least it seemed to be over the weekend. An estimated 30,000 screaming fans lined the streets of Towson, Md., Oct. 4, along with local, national and international media to welcome home Olympic hero Michael Phelps as he made his way slowly down a two-mile parade route standing up through the sunroof of the now-famous Maryland National Guard Humvee.

"This thing is awesome," said Phelps as he looked around the inside of the modified military vehicle, which is typically used for recruiting and retention events. "Everyone needs one of these."

Driving the Humvee was
Maryland Guard Staff Sgt. Demetrius L. Luck, who works full time with the Baltimore County Police Department and is routinely assigned to protect dignitaries and distinguished visitors.

Luck -- no stranger to driving a Humvee, having just returned from Iraq after a deployment with the Maryland Guard's 58th Infantry Brigade Combat Team -- said he was honored to be assigned to Phelps for the parade.

"It was an exciting day for me," he said. "It didn't even feel like work."

Brig. Gen. James A. Adkins,
Maryland's adjutant general, equated the success Phelps and his fellow Olympians have enjoyed to that of Maryland Guard soldiers who deployed.

"Michael Phelps and all of our Olympians are hometown heroes and represent what you can achieve with hard work and dedication," Adkins said. "They have become much like the National Guard – a symbol of Maryland that has gone overseas and has returned with enormous success."

The
Maryland National Guard later provided a flyover with several UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at Fort McHenry.

Other local Olympians also participated in the parade and festivities, including Katie Hoff and Jessica Long.

(
Army Capt. Rick Breitenfeldt serves in the Maryland National Guard.)

DoD Launches Web Site on Chemical-Biological Warfare Exposures

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

Oct. 6, 2008 - The Defense Department has launched a new Web site to educate the public about chemical and biological testing conducted from the early 1940s through the mid-1970s. "This is a new Web site that we have created to put together for all those who may have interest in everything that we have been able to uncover and understand about the chemical and biological testing of warfare agents done from probably the early 1940s up through 1975," said Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, strategic communications director for the
Military Health System. He explained the recently launched Chemical-Biological Warfare Exposures Web site during a "DotMilDocs" radio program on BlogTalkRadio.com Oct. 2.

Officials launched the site to educate people on what was done and to also let them know what DoD knows about it, Kilpatrick said.

"The CB exposures Web site explains why the testing was done, where it was done, what was used in the testing, and really what DoD learned from the testing," he said.

Kilpatrick added that the Web site presents sections on chemical and biological testing that was conducted during
World War Two, during Project 112/SHAD -- shipboard hazard and defense -- and the Cold War. He explained why some of the testing, in particular during World War Two, was conducted.

"Chemical agents were used against our troops in
World War One," Kilpatrick said. "As we went into World War Two, we didn't know how to best protect our people, and during the Cold War we continued testing to understand how chemical and biological warfare agents behaved in different climates and terrains."

Officials have been working for a couple years trying to understand the chemical and biological exposure research that happened during the Cold War, Kilpatrick said. "As we got information," he said, "we passed names of individuals and medically related information to the Department of Veterans Affairs."

Project 112/SHAD was a series of tests conducted from 1962 to 1973 on
Navy ships at sea in various climates and in land-based tests in various terrains using chemical and biological agents, as well as simulated agents. Servicemembers were not test subjects.

"The Project 112/SHAD records were more difficult, because these were, essentially, classified tests looking at the behavior of chemical-biological-warfare agents," Kilpatrick said. "Since the sailors on the ships... were not human volunteers, it was more difficult to find out who they were. That process involved going through the ships' logs to determine who was assigned to those ships."

As officials conclude their search through archived files, they are relying on veterans who were involved in the testing to provide additional information, Kilpatrick said.

"Veterans can really help point us in other directions or give us other clues," he said. "As we are trying to recreate what happened 30 to 60 years ago, it is oftentimes very difficult. They may have papers, which would not have been archived, that may help fill in blanks about what we understand happened."

DoD and VA officials are working together to identify and notify servicemembers who were exposed in chemical-biological testing from the 1940s through the mid-1970s. Once DoD finds who was exposed to what agents at what time and where, that information is passed to the VA to then try to locate the individual and notify him.

"Once we have searched all locations for archived information on these exposures, the active part will be over," Kilpatrick said. "DoD plans to complete this search in 2011. However, the process is open-ended. It will never be closed. That's why we ask any veteran with any information to contact us. Our goal is to account for everyone who has been exposed."

Kilpatrick added that any veterans who think that they could have been exposed or who have any information on the tests can submit an e-mail to CBWebmaster@tma.osd.mil, or call DoD's contact managers toll-free at 800-497-6261.

(
Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg is assigned to the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS October 6, 2008

Army

Caddell Construction Co.,Inc,
Montgomery, Ala., was awarded Sept. 30, 2008, a $99,763,000 firm fixed price contract for design and construction of the 108 th Air Defense artillery complex. Work will be performed in Fort Bragg, N.C., with estimated and completion date of Oct 31, 2010. Four proposals bid were solicited and three proposal bids were received. The U.S. Army Engineer District, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-07-D-0051).

Walsh Construction, Chicago, Ill., was awarded on Sept. 29, 2008, a $69,758,553 firm fixed price contract for replace family housing at Whiteman
Air Force Base, Mo. Work will be performed in Whiteman Air Force base, Mo., with an estimated completion date of Dec 1, 2011. Bids were solicited via the Web and three bids were received. Corps Engineer Kansas City, Mo., is the contracting activity (W912DQ-08-C-0015).

CH2M Hill Facilities & Infrastructure Inc, Fort Bragg, N.C., was awarded Sept. 30, 2008, a $53,214,000 firm fixed price contract for construction of an ammunition supply point. Work will be performed in with estimated and completion date of Apr. 30, 2015. The U.S. Engineer,
Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-07-D-0060).

Spaw Glass Construction Corporation, Houston, Texas, was awarded Sept. 30, 2008, a $48, 390, 108 firm fixed price construction contract for Armed Forces Reserve Center Houston phase two and BRAC Armed Forces Reserve Center East Houston,, Ellington Field, Houston, Texas. Work will be performed in Ellington Field Houston, Texas, with estimated and completion date of Oct. 31, 2010. Bids solicited were posted on web and three bids were received. Corps of Engineers,
Louisville, Ky., is the contracting activity (W912QR-08-C-0052).

Walton Construction Co., Dallas Texas, was awarded Sept. 30, 2008, a $42,553,510 firm fixed price contract. This construction contract is for the design and construction of a consolidated family care and troop medical clinic facility at fort Bliss, in
El Paso, Texas. Work will be performed in Fort Bliss El Paso, Texas, with estimated and completion date of May 31, 2010. One hundred and seventy-five bids were solicited and five bids were received. U.S. Army Engineers District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-08-C-0075).

Baco-Epik-Metis Joint Venture,
Los Angeles, Calif., was awarded on Sept. 30, 2008, a $41,664,278 firm fixed price contract for construction of the Fiscal Year 2008 SOF Aircraft Operations Program at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Work will be performed in Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 1, 2010. Thirty bids were solicited and six bids were received. US Army Corps of Engineer, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-08-C-0048).

ACC Construction Co., Inc, Augusta, Ga., was awarded on Oct. 2, 2008, a $37,333,133 firm fixed fee price contract for design and construction of tactical equipment maintenance facilities and 108th Air Defense artillery complex site infrastructure at Fort Bragg. Work will be performed in Fort Bragg., with an estimated completion date of Mar. 30, 2010. Four bids were solicited and three bids were received. U.S.
Army Engineer, Savannah, Ga., is the contracting activity (W912HN-07-D-0042).

DRS Sustainment Systems Inc, St Louis, Mo., was awarded on Sept. 26, 2008, a $29,313,108 firm fixed fee price contract for Armored Knight Vehicles, spare parts and special tools. Work will be performed in St Louis, Mo., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. U.S. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-C-0523).

Ross Group Construction Corp.,
Tulsa, Okla., was awarded on Sept. 29, 2008, a $22,083,241 firm fixed price contract for all work required to construct a Combined Arms collective training facility. Work will be performed in Fort Bliss El Paso, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. Two bids were solicited and two bids were received. U.S. Army Engineer, Fort Worth., Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-08-D-0008).

Garco Construction,
Spokane, Wash., was awarded on Sept. 30, 2008, a $19,236,000 firm fixed price contract for design build for a vehicle maintenance shop located in at Yakima, Washington. Work will be performed in Yakima, Wash., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 10, 2010. Bids were solicited via posted on the Web and two bids were received. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, is the contracting activity (W912QR-08-C-0058).

Mapco Inc, San Antonio, Texas was awarded on Sept. 30, 2008, a $18,298,732 firm fixed price contract for building renovation and repairs at north Fort Polk, La., in support of foreign security forces transition team mission. Work will be performed in Fort Polk
Army Base, La., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2013. Bids were solicited via the Web and one bid was received. US Army Engineer, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-08-D-0045).

Viking Versar, Silver Spring, Md., was awarded on Sept. 30, 2008, a $9,449,530 firm fixed price contract for unit operations to include the temporary equipment maintenance facility, Fort Lee, Va. Work will be performed in Fort Lee, Va., with an estimated completion date of Dec. 30, 2009. Eighty bids were solicited and four bids were received. Corps of Engineer, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (W91236-08-C-0076).

HHI Corp., Farmington, Utah, was awarded on Sept. 29, 2008, a $8,232,865 firm fixed fee contract for construction of a munitions maintenance facility at Hill
Air Force Base, Utah. Work will be performed in Hill Air Force Base, Toole & Weber County, Utah, with an estimated completion date of Mar. 29, 2010. Bids were solicited via the Web and four bids were received. U.S. Army Engineer, Sacramento, Calif., is the contracting activity (W91238-08-C-0024).

NAVY

General Electric Aviation, Lynn, Mass., is being awarded a $33,201,530 priced delivery order # GB64 under an existing basic ordering agreement contract (FA8104-05-G-0003) for repair of components in the T64 engine, used on the H-53 aircraft. Work will be performed at Lynn, Mass., (86 percent); and Cherry Point, N.C., (14 percent). Work is expected to be completed by Sept. 2009. The contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

UNITED STATES TRANSPORTATION COMMAND

CAV International Inc., of Colorado Springs, Co., 80920-4162, is being awarded a $15,509,395 fixed price modification. This contract modification will exercise option year three to provide continuing air terminal and ground handling services on behalf of the Air Mobility Command in support of the Department of Defense Airlift System at Kuwait International Airport Abdullah Al Mubarak Airbase, Kuwait and will be completed Sept. 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contracting activity is United States Transportation Command, Directorate of Acquisition, Scott AFB, Ill., 62225. (FA4428-06-C-0005).

DoD Develops Compensation & Benefits Handbook

DoD announced today it has developed a comprehensive handbook describing compensation and other benefits service members and their families would be entitled to upon separation or retirement as a result of serious injury or illness.

"The Compensation and Benefits Handbook is the one source of information that covers everything a seriously ill and injured service member will need during his or her recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration," said Ronald A. Winter, principal deputy assistant secretary of the
Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs.

The handbook was compiled in cooperation with the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and the Social Security Administration. Additionally; there are references to assistance provided by other governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations.

"The handbook describes the disability eligibility process, various program qualifications, application procedures, and numerous resources with associated contact information," said Sharon Gunselman, policy and resource analyst for the Department of Defense.

Web sites and toll-free numbers are provided, and the electronic version includes hyperlinks. The electronic version of the handbook will be updated frequently and the hard copy of the compensation and benefits handbook will be updated annually.

The electronic version of the handbook can be found on the five Web sites listed below:

http://turbotap.org
https://www.nko.navy.mil
http://www.npc.navy.mil
https://www.aw2.army.mil
https://www.my.af.mil/gcss-af/USAF/AFP40/d/1073755231/Files/C&BHandbook