Military News

Friday, November 07, 2008

South Dakota National Guard Prepares for Blizzard Response

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 7, 2008 -
Leaders of the South Dakota National Guard began preparing personnel and equipment last night to support the state's emergency response in the wake of a fall blizzard that began two days ago in the western part of the state. During a conference call, senior Army and Air National Guard Leaders across the state placed into action a plan to prepare soldiers and airmen to respond to five possible missions that the Guard may receive from the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management over the next few days.

Guard officials are preparing for search-and-rescue missions, support missions for snow removal and power restoration, requests for power generator equipment and aerial observation missions.

"Our soldiers and airmen will be there when called," said
Air Force Maj. Gen. Steven R. Doohen, South Dakota's adjutant general. "Our Guard members are getting ready to hit the road and support our state's emergency management agencies, save lives, and ease suffering."

National Guard support is based on needs and requirements vetted though the Office of Emergency Management, which is the lead agency for all state emergency response.

The Guard has numerous pieces of snow removal equipment such as snow blowers, loaders, bulldozers, road graders and dump trucks throughout the state to support the potential emergency response.

"Our greatest resource is our people and their ability to respond," Doohen said. "Our team is standing by."

The
South Dakota National Guard has more than 4,000 soldiers and airmen available to respond to state emergencies, natural disasters and homeland defense.

(From a
South Dakota National Guard news release.)

DoD Announces Expansion of the Defense and Veterans Affairs Disability Evaluation System Pilot

The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today the expansion of the Disability Evaluation System (DES) pilot to 19 installations across the country, representing all military departments.

"The decision to expand the pilot was based upon a favorable review that focused on whether the pilot met its timeliness, effectiveness, transparency, and customer and stakeholder satisfaction objectives," said Sam Retherford, director, officer and enlisted personnel management, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. "This expansion extends beyond the national capital region, so that more diverse data from other geographic areas can be evaluated, prior to rendering a final decision on worldwide implementation."

On Oct. 1, 2008, the pilot was expanded to Fort Meade, Md., and Fort Belvoir, Va. The remaining 17 installations will be introduced to the pilot upon completion of site preparations and personnel orientation and training, during a 7-month period from November 2008 to May 2009.

The remaining installations to begin the program are: Army: Fort Carson, Colo., Fort Drum, N.Y., Fort Stewart, Ga., Fort Richardson, Alaska, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas, and Fort Polk, La.; Navy: Naval Medical Center (NMC) San Diego and Camp Pendleton, Calif., NMC Bremerton, Wash., NMC Jacksonville, Fla., and Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Air Force: Vance Air Force Base, Okla., Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska., and Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

In November 2007 the DoD and VA implemented the pilot test for disability cases originating at the three major military treatment facilities in the national capital region. The pilot is a test of a new process design eliminating the duplicative, time-consuming, and often confusing elements of the two current disability processes of the departments. Key features of the DES pilot include one medical examination and a single-sourced disability rating. To date, more than 700 service members have participated in the pilot during the last ten months.

The pilot is focused on recommendations from the reports of the Task Force on Returning Global War on Terrorism Heroes, the Independent Review Group, the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors (the Dole/Shalala Commission), and the Commission on Veterans' Disability Benefits.

Mullen Thanks Group That Bridges Gap Between America, Servicemembers

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 7, 2008 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last night saluted an organization dedicated to keeping America connected with its
military. "You reflect America's communities, united in spirit, and action, across thousands of lighted hilltops across the land," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told the members of the Soldiers' Angels group.

Mullen was the keynote speaker at the group's annual benefit gala at the Ronald Reagan Building here. The group connects servicemembers and civilians all across America. Volunteers connect with deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and let them know that they are valued. The group has sent more than 250,000 care packages to deployed troops, provided computers to wounded warriors, purchased airline tickets and distributed gift packages.

The group's motto is "May no soldier go unloved."

Almost 300 people attended the event, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, and U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, the House minority whip. About 20 servicemembers undergoing treatment at Walter Reed
Army Medical Center here and the National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md., were honored guests at the event.

Mullen called these wounded servicemembers the most distinguished guests, "who have served and sacrificed, and returned changed by war. It is the greatest of pleasures to say, on behalf of the Joint Chiefs and more than 2.2 million of your brothers and sisters in arms, 'Welcome home.'"

Mullen said he agrees with the idea that a nation reveals itself by those it honors. "November is a special month for America, when we honor our veterans, whose courage allows the freedom of choice we just exercised only two days ago," he said. "We honor them with parades booming down boulevards, and silent walks through sacred places like Arlington, and the Pentagon Memorial just consecrated in September."

The chairman called such sacred areas "vision-places of souls."

Another such area is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. President Ronald Reagan helped dedicate that memorial and said its healing touch was "a lesson in living love" for all those who served in Vietnam.

The chairman said that he and his wife, Deborah, and all those who lived and served in the 1960s and 1970s saw how disconnected U.S. society and American veterans became.

"We formed one lesson, in two words, indelibly etched in our minds: Never again," he said. "I feel that spirit in this room tonight. Because when we visit our heroes in Walter Reed and Bethesda, or meet families of the fallen during ceremonies in Arlington, or events like this one, we meet the true strength of our nation."

Mullen said the nation still has much to do to reach out to servicemembers and to wounded warriors. Aiding wounded servicemembers is the job of all Americans, he said.

The government has made progress is helping servicemembers and their families. The GI Bill is more generous today, and there are new efficiencies between the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the admiral noted. "We have, no doubt, sent a new sense of urgency down the spines of our governmental organizations," he said.

The war on terror continues, and it is changing at lightning speed, Mullen said. "And our peacetime processes at home must adapt to meet the realities of that war abroad. The truth, as of now, is that our support institutions have not yet met the demands of that struggle," he said.

Grassroots organizations provide a sea of goodwill and compassion that fills voids no institution could enter, he said.

"Recent studies suggest that as many as 20 percent of today's troops may suffer from post-traumatic stress brought on by combat in Iraq and Afghanistan," Mullen said. "It can be difficult to diagnose. Many are, understandably, wary of the stigma attached to mental health – a problem I believe we can alleviate through active early detection for everyone, so no one has to raise his or her hand."

Mullen spoke about a meeting he held with 25 to 30 post-traumatic stress disorder patients from all the services.

"It really bothered me to see what they had to go through just to get into the program – essentially bottoming out, like they were in an alcoholic or a drug rehab regimen," he said. "I believe we can do better. We must do better.

"There is no greater duty than to bind those wounds, both seen and unseen, and restore the losses of our families, who create the fabric of our society," he continued. "Those wounds, in many ways, have come to define their lives. They last a lifetime. And so should our care. Because how well we bind those wounds will, in time, define America."

Vets, Troops Not in Uniform Now Can Salute Flag

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 7, 2008 - A change to federal law allows U.S. veterans and
military personnel not in uniform to render the military-style hand salute during the playing of the national anthem.
The law took effect earlier this month, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs news release.

"The military salute is a unique gesture of respect that marks those who have served in our nation's armed forces," Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. James B. Peake said. "This provision allows the application of that honor in all events involving our nation's flag."

The provision builds on a change that went into effect last year. That change authorized veterans and
military personnel not in uniform to render the military-style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag.

Traditionally, veterans' service organizations rendered the hand-salute during the national anthem and at events involving the national flag while wearing their organization's headgear. Otherwise, as with all other Americans, the etiquette is to place the right hand over the heart.

The most recent change was part of the 2009 Defense Authorization Act, which President Bush signed Oct. 14.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of
Oklahoma, an Army veteran, sponsored both pieces of legislation.

"The salute is a form of honor and respect, representing pride in one's
military service," Inhofe said in a written statement. "Veterans and servicemembers continue representing the military services even when not in uniform. The U.S. Code is now consistent for veterans and all service members in regards to the symbolic gesture of the military salute."

U.S.-Japan Alliance Transformation Continues, Admiral Says

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 7, 2008 - Both the United States and Japan remain committed to plans to transform the U.S.-Japan alliance, including the move of about 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam the senior U.S. commander in the Pacific reported.
Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating discussed military transformation initiatives, including the Defense Policy Review Initiative focused on the U.S.-Japan alliance, during sessions in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations yesterday and the Foreign Press Center Nov. 5.

The plan includes moving 8,000 Marines and their families from the Japanese island of Okinawa to Guam, relocating two U.S. air bases in Japan from urban to rural areas, and realigning the Japan Self-Defense Forces to complement the U.S. realignments.

The plan is expected to reduce the U.S. footprint in Japan to about 10,000 Marines, while taking advantage of opportunities provided in Guam. Japan has agreed to pick up about $6 billion of the cost involved.

Despite budget challenges both countries face, Keating said both countries want the plan to move forward as quickly as possible. "The two governments of the United States and Japan have recommitted at the very highest levels -- prime minister and president -- to the eventual success of the DPRI," he said at the Foreign Press Center.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited Guam in May to get a firsthand look at growth under way to prepare for the Marines' arrival.

The secretary took a helicopter tour of Andersen
Air Force Base, Naval Base Guam and other island facilities to see construction already started in preparation of the arrival of members of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and an estimated 9,000 family members.

"All in all, it will be one of the largest movements of
military assets in decades and continue the historic mission of the United States military presence on Guam: to serve as the nation's first line of defense and to maintain a robust military presence in a critical part of the world," Gates said.

Keating called the recent move of the USS George Washington to Japan a broad-reaching transformational issue in the region. The
Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier arrived at Fleet Activities Yokosuka Sept. 25, and headed out to sea Oct. 1 for its first operational training in the region.

"The support of the Japanese government in moving a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Japan was ... significant," Keating said. "It's been years in the making, and it's a very strong signal of the spirit of cooperation that's so prevalent in our dealings with Japan."

Keating spoke in broad terms about challenges in the Asia-Pacific region that spans half the globe, emphasizing the importance of partnerships in the U.S. the security cooperation plan.

"We want to represent the strength and the capabilities of the United States
military, but we don't want to overdo that," he said. "We would much rather have a cooperative and collaborative atmosphere that we enjoy in almost every part of our [area of responsibility] rather than rely on military power."

Meanwhile, Keating said U.S. Pacific Command is watching closely the "potential areas of concern" in its region. These include terrorist threats in the Southern Philippines from the Jamaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf organizations; as well as tensions between Indian and Pakistan, North and South Korea and China and Taiwan.

Keating said he continuously emphasizes the importance of multilateral cooperation that promotes regional stability during his meetings with
military, political and commercial leaders.

"We do all that we can to reassure all of our partners and allies and friends in the region that we are all about a stable, secure environment with economic prosperity for all," he said.

U.S. Veterans Cite Importance of Honoring Military Service

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 7, 2008 - It's important to recognize the efforts of America's
military veterans –- past and present -- because their contributions and sacrifices have enabled all Americans to stay free, a group of veterans said here today. America's military men and women have provided selfless service in defense of the nation since its inception, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, 78, said at the annual American Veterans Center conference held in downtown Washington. The center's mission is to preserve and promote the legacy of America's veterans from World War II to the present.

"Being a part of that long line of history is something that I am particularly proud of, as I observe each Veterans Day and each Memorial Day," said Vaught, a long-time advocate for
military women and the president of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington, Va.

"I am for women serving wherever they can," said Vaught, who served in Vietnam in the late 1960s. After 28 years of service, Vaught retired from the
Air Force in 1985 as one of America's most highly-decorated military women.

"During the time that I was serving, it was always very much in my mind that I had to do well, so that another woman would have an opportunity to come behind me and perhaps have that same job," Vaught said.

Almost no women were trained to use weapons when she joined the
Air Force in 1957, Vaught said. All military women today are taught to operate rifles or pistols, she said, because "with terrorist-type activities, you never know where the threat is and you need to be able to defend yourself and you need to be able to take the offensive, if that's what is required."

Like their predecessors, today's women in the
military "are proud that they're serving; they feel that they are doing something for their nation -- and they are," Vaught said.

Another veteran, 86-year-old Robert Cone, regaled conference attendees with tales of his World War II experiences. Cone was an enlisted Army paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division in Europe. He was a member of the group known as the "Filthy Thirteen," whose exploits became the inspiration for the 1960s movie, "The Dirty Dozen," that depicted a group of trouble-making soldiers chosen to conduct an important mission behind enemy lines.

Cone and other members of his unit signed copies of the book, "The Filthy Thirteen," at the conference.


Military members' sacrifices, Cone said, enable Americans at home to enjoy their freedoms and way of life.

"I admire anybody that is a veteran and is fighting for this country and everybody else should really admire them as much as I do," Cone said.

Retired
Marine Corps Col. Wesley L. Fox, 77, enlisted in the Marines in 1950 and became an officer during the Vietnam War. He received the Medal of Honor in Vietnam for his actions in leading a rifle company against an overwhelming enemy force. Fox was a Marine paratrooper and he retired in 1993 after 43 years of active duty. Fox is the author of two books, "Marine Rifleman" and "Courage and Fear."

A "vocal minority" in the United States, Fox said, prevented Vietnam veterans from receiving deserved praise from the American public after the war ended.

That's all changed, Fox said. Today's
military veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan "are heroes -- we recognize that," he said.

Military veteran Michael H. Frederick, 50, is a writer working on a book about Marine Corps paratroopers. The Baltimore native served as an enlisted person during stints in the Marines and the Navy between 1976 and 1988.

"It's important that later generations do not forget what it took to get the United States to where we are and the sacrifices that people have made," Frederick said. "Some people have lost limbs and shed blood and we should not forget that."

Warrior Care: Survivability Begins With Soldiers on Battlefield, Leaders Say

By C. Todd Lopez
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 7, 2008 - The increasing ability of soldiers to survive their battlefield wounds starts with the soldiers themselves by way of their training and the equipment given to them,
Army leaders said today. "The progress that has been made in taking care of our soldiers and the increasing survivability of soldiers starts with the soldier," Army Secretary Pete Geren told reporters at a Pentagon press conference.

Geren and others from the
Army's medical community gathered to discuss warrior care and the progress that has been made in caring for injured soldiers. The event marked the beginning of "Warrior Care Month," an official month-long recognition by the Defense Department to focus on the care of wounded, ill and injured warriors.

The
Army's lessons in self-aid and buddy care is a prime factor in the 90-percent survivability rate of combat-injured soldiers, said Maj. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, commanding general of the Western Regional Medical Command, and chief of the Army nurse corps.

"Every single soldier is trained in self-aid and buddy-aid," said Horoho. "We do that so we have force multipliers across the entire theater of operations. They have the skills to save lives."

Horoho also said advances in the medical equipment soldiers carry with them have contributed to their ability to help themselves and others. The medical kits now include equipment to ensure continued breathing for those with chest wounds, various bandages and a new tourniquet that can be applied with only one hand.

Keeping breathing passages open and stemming blood loss have led to increases in survivability, Horoho said. Soldiers have given particular recognition to the new tourniquets.

"Almost every single one said it was either them placing the tourniquet on themselves or a battle buddy doing it for them which is what saved their lives," she said.

The
Army is testing medical products such as Combat Gauze and WoundStat as additional methods of reducing blood loss. Training for Army medics also is contributing to the success rate of soldiers injured in battle, Horoho said.

Every platoon is assigned a combat medic, known as a 68W, who are trained to national standards that are augmented by advanced combat trauma training, she said. "That gives them an advanced skill set to make a difference in the lives of all warriors ... within that first ten minutes," she said.

The
Army has worked to improve upon the civilian sector's concept of the "golden hour" of trauma care, where the best way to guarantee survivability is to get the most critical care to a patient within the first hour of an injury, the general said. The Army has recast that concept as the "platinum ten minutes," she said.

When soldiers return to the United States, they receive "level-4" medical care in hospitals like Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. But following that care, they may move to one of 36 Warrior Transition Units across the United States, Horoho said.

It is in the WTUs that the
Army has made great strides in assuring soldiers don't just "get well," but that they get their lives back on track – either transitioning successfully back into the Army, or moving back into the civilian world, according to Brig. Gen. Gary H. Cheek, the Army's assistant surgeon general for warrior care and transition.

There are more than 11,000 soldiers in Warrior Transition Units, Cheek said. "Each one is a soldier with a unique medical condition, with unique goals and aspirations," he said.

The Army has found success with those soldiers by assigning each a triad of care. That includes a squad
leader, a nurse case manager to manage medical appointments and schedule medical care, and a primary care provider to oversee managing multiple medical conditions.

"That triad works with the soldier to optimize their medical care," Cheek said. "It's a great system we have set up and the
Army has a lot to be proud of."

But Cheek also said the service has a way to go in the way it delivers care to soldiers, especially in making the process more predictable to soldiers and their families. "We can do that by improving performance in administration and making soldiers the centerpiece of this," he said.

(C. Todd Lopez works for the
Army News Service).

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 7, 2008

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

TW Metals, Inc., Carol Stream, Ill. is being awarded a maximum $45,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contract for various heat-treated and nonheat-treated aluminum sheet, plate, and floor plate. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with 2 responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is a five year contract (two-year base with three one-year options) and is exercising the third option year. The date of performance completion is November 8, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM500-05-D-0146).

McRae Industries Inc., Mt. Gilead, N.C.* is being awarded a maximum $8,585,171 fixed price with economic price adjustment, total set aside contract for hot weather, steel toe boots. Other locations of performance are in Chicago, Illinois and Asheboro, North Carolina. Using services are
Army and Air Force. The original proposal was Web solicited with 2 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is November 7, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-09-D-0011).

Navy

Navistar Defense LLC, Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded $24,843,500 for two firm-fixed-priced delivery order modifications under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5032) for the procurement of gunner restraints and for funding costs associated with accelerated Mine Resistant and Ambush Protected (MRAP) Category I production. Work will be performed in WestPoint, Miss., and work is expected to be completed by the end of June 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured. The
Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

EG&G Technical Services, is being awarded a $9,550,908 task order, M67854-02-A-9011-0068, to provide professional technical support to the ground transportation and engineer systems, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Joint Program Office. The contractor shall provide expert support directly to the Joint Program Manager and Deputy PMs; Assistant PMs for vehicles including Cougar; RG-33; MAXXPro; RG-31; Caiman;
Buffalo and MRAP II; and the following functional managers: integration and government furnished equipment, international programs, acquisition, contracts, production/quality, logistics, engineering (including spiral development) and test & evaluation. Work will be performed in Stafford, VA. Work is expected to be completed in November 2009. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $7,191,000 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-08-C-5122 to exercise an option for the ship self-defense system pre- and post-certification /life-cycle maintenance support services. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif. (90%); Tewksbury, Mass. (2.5%); Portsmouth, R.I. (2.5%); St. Petersburg, Fla. (2.5%); and Tucson, Ariz. (2.5%), and is expected to be completed by September 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $7,191,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington
Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.