Military News

Monday, November 10, 2008

Veterans Cemetery Honors Those Who Served

By Army Sgt. Amy Wieser-Wilson
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 10, 2008 - "They are dead; but they live in each patriot's breast, and their names are engraven on honor's bright crest," Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote. At the Veterans Cemetery here, 2,799 names are "engraven," remembered in their death for the life they lived and the war they fought. Nearly 1,000 more share the sacred space, honored for their service in the National Guard or reserves or as a veteran's family member.

Stoic white-granite stones pattern the lush green landscape, spreading out in four directions from a plaza where flags fly high and proud. This is where soldiers - and airmen and sailors and Marines - "fade away." They're certainly never forgotten, especially as Veterans Day nears.

Although the first burial at the cemetery took place just 16 years ago, on July 7, 1992, it's the final resting place for veterans of eight wars. More than 130 veterans have been re-interred there.

John Murray, who served with the 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Cavalry in the
Civil War, rests there, as do two men who served in the Spanish American War and 12 who served in World War I. World War II veterans fill more than half of the graves. Every conflict that followed is represented there as well, a virtual history lesson of service in times of a nation's greatest need.

About 250 times a year, Phil Miller lowers the cemetery's flags to half-staff to honor another veteran. Miller serves as the cemetery's director and has been with the cemetery throughout its history, having been hired as the construction manager in 1990. He rose to the rank of master sergeant in the North Dakota
Army National Guard, where he has served for 29 years. Miller works with four others, in addition to two seasonal workers, to care for the facility and grounds and to assist families and visitors.
"I find it an honor to provide a service to our fallen veterans," he said. "It's the least we can do for them by providing a final resting place."

Army Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota's adjutant general, has oversight of the cemetery.

"We approach our commitment to honoring veterans in the same manner we approach all of our missions here and abroad - with dedication, compassion and attention to detail," Sprynczynatyk said. "Our military funeral honors teams across the state pay final respects at veterans' funerals, and the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery provides a solemn place for our veterans to rest in peace.

"It's important that we never forget the sacrifices of any veteran. We not only remember this on Veterans Day, but every day."

Guardsmen constructed the Veterans Cemetery while benefiting from the additional training on operating equipment and performing similar tasks. Three grants from the National Guard Bureau went toward the flag plaza area, an underground sprinkler system, sidewalks and the visitor center construction.

The cemetery gives visitors a peaceful view of the entire Missouri River Valley, from the state Capitol to the University of Mary, and it builds from the history of nearby Fort Lincoln, a historic military post.

In its first full year of operation, 113 were interred at the cemetery. Last year, that number rose to 333. Veteran service officers across the state assist veterans in registering, which saves confusion and mistakes after a veteran's death.

Families can't always locate their loved one's military discharge papers, Miller said. Because headstone information comes from those papers, anyone with multiple enlistments must provide the most recent documentation to ensure the highest rank earned - as well as significant decorations and all branches of service - are properly annotated, he said.

One soldier, Miller said, was buried as a private, the rank he held when he first left active duty. He returned to the service and rose to the rank of colonel, but the updated paperwork was never provided, and the mistake wasn't realized until later, he said.

More than 3,000 living veterans have registered with the cemetery, and there's space for more than 8,000 others. A calculation of averages by cemetery officials estimates that space will be available for more than 96 years.

On Veterans Day, the nation honors the courage, commitment and patriotism of veterans across the United States. Every day, the staff of North Dakota Veterans Cemetery and other burial grounds recognize those same traits by caring for veterans' final resting places while keeping their memories alive.

(
Army Sgt. Amy Wieser-Wilson serves in the North Dakota National Guard.)

Vice Chairman Recognizes Wounded Warriors at Radio City Music Hall

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 10, 2008 - Before the first dancing reindeer set a tap-shoe-clad hoof on Radio City Music Hall's stage for a special performance yesterday, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged some VIPs in the audience. "We have [a] ... group that's with us, the wounded warriors," Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright told the audience here yesterday. "November is Wounded Warrior Month, and these valiant patriots are with us today as they heal and prepare to reintegrate into our forces and into our nation. We owe them a great debt."

United Service Organizations, in partnership with Microsoft, did its best to repay at least part of that debt. The organizations offered the 25 wounded servicemembers, their guests, and nearly 5,000 other servicemembers and their families a "Salute to the Troops" in the form of a private viewing of Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular.

The wounded warriors were joined by nearly 5,000 of their
military brethren for the show, which has entertained audiences for more than 75 years.

The show ran a little more than 90 minutes before the final note of the final scene had completely faded away. And just as soon as they had filled the theater, a sea of uniformed humanity, many with beaming children in tow, pushed through the doors into the crisp Manhattan day.

The show, with its 3-D introduction, bright lights, dazzling costumes and, of course, the world-famous Rockettes and their high kicks, definitely pleased the children like Sophia Salvo, who saw the show last year. The 8-year-old, whose father is
Navy Reserve Lt. Samuel Salvo, stationed at Fort Dix, N.J., had been ready to go as soon as Cartwright finished speaking, with her 3-D classes on and spinning a Rockette toy in her hand.

The "big kids" were just as enthralled.

Army Sgt. Joel Dulashanti, one of the wounded warriors participating in the USO-Microsoft weekend, said it was especially good because he'd never been to Radio City Music Hall. His favorite part of the show might be a bit surprising, though.

"The bears rocked," he said, flashing a mega-watt smile, and referring the dancers in bear costumes in the "The Nutcracker" scene. "The Rockettes in the [rein]deer costumes, that was kind of cool too."

That reaction only reinforced the thoughts of one Microsoft representative, who knows first-hand what this kind of an event can mean to servicemembers and their families.

"These are our heroes. These are America's finest sons and daughters, and they are doing a fantastic job out there," said Mark Dowd, a captain in the
Navy Reserve who was injured while serving in Iraq. "I think it's good to show them that America does care. We want to show our appreciation to them for their sacrifice."

This is the second year that the USO and Microsoft have teamed up to bring servicemembers and their families a private viewing of Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular.

As part of the special weekend, the wounded warriors saw the sights of
New York City, including a boat tour that took them past the Statue of Liberty, and visited Ground Zero for what proved a brief, but emotional, ceremony.

'Phantom Thunder' Promotes Motorcycle Safety, Honors Veterans


By Michael Heckman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 10, 2008 - The roar of nearly 1,200 motorcycle engines split the morning air at Hood Stadium here Nov. 7 as soldiers and civilians in the "Phantom Thunder" motorcycle safety event started their ride to Central
Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen. Army Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of 3rd Corps and Fort Hood, said he organized the 60-mile ride to emphasize the importance of motorcycle safety, family time and fun for soldiers and to honor the men and women who have served in the military and sacrificed their lives to defend American interests.

Addressing the crowd, Lynch said he asks himself the same questions every day: "Are we doing the right thing, and are we doing things right?"

"What we're doing today is, indeed, the right thing," Lynch said, noting that he implemented new rules for motorcycle riders on and off post "because it is ridiculous to have survived the fields of battle and combat and come home and die on the highways and byways of Central
Texas."

"I refuse to allow that to happen," he said.

With Veterans Day approaching, Lynch told the soldiers and veterans at the event that their service is important to all Americans. "It's because of the veterans who served today and in past battles ... that we have the freedoms we enjoy today -- the freedoms you provided us," he said. "We will continue your legacy to assure that your kids and our kids enjoy the same freedoms."

As he recognized
World War Two veterans, Lynch singled out an 83-year-old veteran who planned to ride. "Thank you for your courage," he said. "We complain about our 12- to 15-month deployments, but yours lasted five years. You and your generation mounted up and went to war and didn't come back until the war was over. Just know we love you and appreciate you."

Lynch also recognized two motorcycle groups whose members assisted with the ride, the Patriot Guard and Combat Veterans Association.

"You amazing people ... have been at memorial services and funerals for our fallen comrades for the past six years, ... and are there to assure that there is no disturbance to the dignity and solemnity of the event," he said. "Thank you."

Lynch then called country music artist Michael Scott, who performed as part of the event, a "true American hero" for his many performances for the nation's servicemembers. Scott performed several times at Fort Stewart, Ga., when Lynch was 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, Lynch said, and he invited Scott to perform for troops in Iraq. "He came and played at every base," the general said, "and ... whether it was for two or 2,000 soldiers, it was the same good party every time."

When two reports from a nearby howitzer signaled the start of the Phantom Thunder ride, Lynch led the 60-mile ride to the cemetery across the Central
Texas countryside with clear skies and temperatures near 70.

"We are here today to honor our veterans," Lynch said at the cemetery. "Not only those who currently serve but those who have served before us."

Lynch and
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Neil Ciotola, 3rd Corps command sergeant major, presented a wreath in honor of all veterans and then saluted the traditional Army memorial with an M-16 rifle and helmet on a pedestal.

Following the ceremony, one rider sitting next to his battle buddy said he was excited and honored to participate in the ride.

"This is one of those times that makes our service all worth it," said
Army Sgt. James Mosely, a wheeled vehicle mechanic for the 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. "It's like the times when someone walks up to you in a store and says, 'Thank you for your service,' but this event was that much more special." Mosely said he couldn't believe so many riders participated from so many different organizations.

Mosely's battle buddies were
Army Spc. Jason Arnold and his wife, Nicole, also from 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

Another unit that participated in the ride with 23 riders and 21 bikes was the 36th Engineer Brigade. Army Command Sgt. Maj. William Lewis and his wife, Liz, led the unit of riders.

"This was a beautiful day to ride," Lewis said. "I like to ride with wind in my face. And the views from a motorcycle are so different than a car. I just love it, and so do my guys."

He said this was the third safety and mentorship ride for his unit.

"We just like getting together," he said. "And the less-experienced riders really like the mentorship and tips they get for the more experienced riders."

Following the ceremony, the riders continued the ride through the Central
Texas countryside before returning safely to Hood Stadium for the after-ride party with their families and community members.

(Michael Heckman writes for the Fort Hood Sentinel.)

Face of Defense: Guardsman Succeeds on Battlefield, Gridiron

By Ashley Schiller
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 10, 2008 - A member of the
Utah National Guard's 19th Special Forces Group received the Meritorious Service Medal here Nov. 1 at halftime of a Utah State University football game in front of thousands of appreciative fans – and his teammates.

Army Sgt. Michael Green, who received the medal for service in Afghanistan as an intelligence noncommissioned officer, is a lineman for the Utah State Aggies.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound offensive tackle served for nine months in Afghanistan before coming to
Utah State to pursue a master's degree in political science.

He described several parallels between playing football and serving in the
military.

"Communication is huge in the
military," he said. "You've got to communicate with other units as you coordinate efforts, just like you have to communicate here as you coordinate on the offensive line."

Both create a feeling of camaraderie, he said, and require precise planning and intensity.

"You should play every play like it's life or death, which is the same as in the
military," Green said.

Although he faced some life-threatening situations in Afghanistan -- a suicide bomber attacked his base on his second day in the country -- Green said he mostly was away from direct combat. He served as an analyst, receiving and processing reports from intelligence collectors on the ground and in the sky.

"I would read the reports and try to figure out what each one meant and what was going on," he said. "I'd plot them on a map or on a computer and then look for patterns, similarities or dissimilarities. It was taking all the pieces of the puzzle and putting them together. We had to find where the intelligence gaps were, and then focus efforts to try to find out that information."

Many soldiers become desensitized to the danger surrounding them, Green said. He compared the experience of leaving the base to driving on the freeway.

"The freeway is very fast-paced, with a lot of moving things," Green said. "It's very dangerous, but you have control with your steering wheel, so you feel like you mitigate the risk. It's the same thing as going 'outside the wire.' You have controls with your helicopters [and] other units, and you have your gun with you. You're focused on the mission at hand, so you ignore some of the dangers.

"But there are times when you'll feel it," he continued, "just like when you see a car accident and you hear on the news that someone died. Sometimes it will be closer to you; you'll be in the car accident, and the person next to you will die. That's kind of how I correlate it."

Green's time in Afghanistan made him more grateful for simple things such as paved roads, flushing toilets and comfortable beds. "I also got a real good appreciation for white bread and soft Wonder Bread," he said.

Despite the sacrifices, "serving in the
military was worth it, just like playing football is worth it," he said.

And football apparently is worth it, whether he plays or not. Although Green has not yet played in a USU game, he fills an important role on the team as a scout player. He prepares the defense for the games by studying and then running the opposing team's plays during practice.

Green has dressed for several games over the past few years, thus fulfilling his childhood dream of running through the tunnel onto the field. Last fall's season opener, especially, made an impact on him.

"It was indescribable," he recalled. "The game brought a pretty big crowd. When you practice in the stadium, you don't realize how big it is. But when you go out in a game and you see all the people out there, you're like 'Wow.' It's a whole different experience."

Whether or not he gets the opportunity to run through the tunnel again this season, Green said, he believes he has had a fulfilling experience.

"I love the game," he said. "It's pretty cool to come out every day and put on the helmet and play when I'm almost 25 years old. It gives me something to do so I don't get in trouble." He said he also appreciates the "instant friendships" he made at the new school.

In addition to the friendships he's made, Green said playing for the Aggies has helped with his
leadership, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by USU head coach Brent Guy.

"It's a unique situation to have a player who has served his country," Guy said. "Mike brings a different maturity that you normally don't have, and with that comes added
leadership. It is a different experience for some of our younger players to be playing with a military veteran, especially with the theater of serving in Afghanistan."

Green, a pilot, is now nearly finished with his master's degree. His thesis focuses on government regulation, specifically the Federal Aviation Administration.

Green's next stop will be law school. He is applying to a variety of schools all over the country, but said he would like to stay in
Utah, and that he someday may want to run for public office.

(Ashley Schiller works in the
Utah State University Athletic Media Relations Office.)

Recruiting Successes Continue in Fiscal 2009

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 10, 2008 - Recruiting successes in fiscal 2008 continued into the first month of the new fiscal year, with all active and reserve components meeting or exceeding their October goals, defense officials reported today. Recruiting remained solid across the board, with the
Army leading the effort by exceeding its active-duty goal by 1 percent, its Army National Guard goal by 16 percent and its Army Reserve goal by 10 percent, officials said. The Army signed on 5,324 active-duty soldiers in October, as well as 6,487 National Guardsmen and 3,049 reservists.

The
Marine Corps topped its October active-duty recruiting goal by 4 percent and its Marine Corps Reserve goal by 51 percent, officials reported. The Marines recruited 2,983 new active-duty members and 968 reservists.

The
Navy reported a strong recruiting month as well, reaching its goals of 2,930 active-duty sailors and 664 reservists.

The
Air Force also met its October goals by signing on 3,336 active-duty airmen and 856 reservists. The Air National Guard exceeded its monthly goal by 20 percent, with 913 recruits.

The October recruiting successes came on the heels of strong fiscal 2008 recruiting successes, with all military services and their reserve components meeting or exceeding their goals.

David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, called 2008 the strongest recruiting year since fiscal 2004.

In addition to attracting numbers, officials emphasized, recruiters brought in quality members. More than 92 percent of recruits hold a high school diploma, contrasted with 75 percent of the general U.S. population in the same age range, officials said.

Nearly 70 percent of new active-duty recruits came from the top half of those in the United States testing highest in math and verbal aptitude, and about three-quarters of new recruits come from neighborhoods that are at or above the U.S. median annual household income of about $50,000.

"[It] is a great tribute to the qualities of America's youth today, their willingness to step forward, and their willingness to serve," Chu said. "The fact that we are getting some of the best and brightest in our society is a great tribute to the spirit that young people put into the notion of public service today."

National Mental Health Groups Sign on to Help Troops, Families

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

Nov. 10, 2008 - Four major U.S. mental health groups have joined the network of professionals who donate an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to servicemembers and their families. The American Association of Pastoral Counselors, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers are now part of the "Give an Hour" nonprofit group.

For many of the volunteers, it is a way to give back to those who have served overseas.

"We can honor our veterans," said Dr. Donald Arthur, senior vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer of Main Line Health Systems, part of the Give an Hour network.

"Every week we can give an hour of our time and say thank you by listening and helping to heal the absolutely normal effects of the extraordinary circumstance of combat," Arthur said. "Combat stress is normal."

Being able to heal from the effects of combat may be difficult for some Guard and Reserve members, who may not live near a
military or Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility.

"We know that the
military and the VA have expanded their programs for mental health and substance abuse treatment, but much more needs to be done," said Dr. Carolyn Rabinowitz, immediate past president of the American Psychiatric Association.

"Resources are stretched to the limit," Rabinowitz said. "The mental health personnel from the bases have been deployed to be embedded with the troops, and veterans from the Guard and Reserve may go back... to neighborhoods in which there aren't sufficient choices."

According to a Rand Corporation report released in April, about 300,000 of the 1 million servicemembers who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan have reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. But those symptoms affect more than just the servicemember.

"Post-traumatic stress, depression and other mental health issues can have a devastating effect on those who serve in the
military and their families," Rabinowitz said.

And while
military members may be able to receive care through the military or VA, many times their parents, siblings or an unmarried partner are not entitled to those benefits. They can find help through the Give an Hour network.

One of the goals of the group is to provide easy access to mental health professionals for those affected, including the servicemember's family, by the current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen Romberg, founder and president of Give an Hour.

Give an Hour now has almost 3,000 licensed mental health professionals in its network, covering all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

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

Lab Offers Last-Ditch Effort to Identify Servicemembers

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 10, 2008 - As U.S.
military recovery teams scour the jungles and mountains and woods and fields around the world looking for missing servicemembers from past wars, they hope to find enough remains to identify and return to their families for a proper burial. A jawbone with some teeth intact or a piece of a thigh bone with its DNA still salvageable sometimes can be all that is needed to finally put to rest a servicemember who died fighting on foreign soil decades ago.

But sometimes there simply are no remains left, or very little, and the recovery teams return home with what looks to the untrained eye like only a box of scraps – varied buttons and corroded buckles, scorched cloth and shredded boot soles.

For those cases, the Hawaii-based Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the agency charged with recovering and identifying the remains of missing servicemembers, has one last-ditch try at answering the burning question of family members: "What happened to my loved one?"

"When the cases come here, we are the last hope. If we cannot come up with an answer, there may not be an answer for the families who are waiting," said John A. Goines III, chief of the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory here.

The JPAC has identified nearly 1,500 formerly missing servicemembers, mostly through a combination of DNA and dental identification. But 88,000 are still buried on foreign shores and at sea. And in some cases, like those that end up at Goines' lab, it is likely no remains will ever be found.

The lab deals mostly with identifications from aircraft crash sites, because they are less likely to yield human remains. The heat, fed by jet fuel and loaded munitions, incinerates most human remains as temperatures reach several times those of a crematorium. But many pieces of
military uniforms and equipment will withstand those temperatures.

Goines and his handful of equipment analysts are students of history and experts in aircraft ejection systems, parachutes, life support equipment and uniforms. Most are veterans. Remarkably, most times they are able to piece together with scientific accuracy the likely final moments of servicemembers based on the artifacts.

The lab supports the services' accident boards investigating current aircraft crashes, and it also provides feedback to agencies working to develop new uniforms and life-support systems. But its primary purpose is to help the JPAC with its cases, Goines said. The JPAC sends the lab about a dozen cases every year that can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months to work through, Goines said.

The lab began supporting the JPAC mission part-time in 1988 and started supporting it full-time in 1994. Since 1994, it has analyzed 156 cases and accounted for 172 servicemembers. And while an identity cannot always be made from the artifacts, sometimes they still provide enough clues for the JPAC teams to return to the site, Goines said.

The 21,000-square-foot lab at the former Brooks
Air Force Base in San Antonio is home to more than 50,000 uniforms and pieces of equipment from as far back as World War I. Parachutes dangle from racks, and rows of 250 ejection seats line the walls. The rebuilt cockpits of more than a dozen aircraft, mainly of the Vietnam War era, are parked on its floors, and workstations with microscopes are scattered among the artifacts.

Goines is a life-long collector of
military uniforms and equipment. His first piece was an Air Force ball cap worn by airmen in his father's unit, he said. Goines was then 3 years old. He continued collecting patches, uniforms and equipment into his college years. Goines watched television in his college dorm room while sitting in an F-4 Phantom II fighter jet ejection seat, which now resides at the lab, where he started working full-time after college.

Goines estimates he has about 20,000 items in his personal collection, which he brings in when needed to help on a case.

The analysts use the artifacts and equipment at the lab as comparisons to those shipped to the lab from a recovery site. Goines is constantly on the lookout for new relics to add to the collection.

"Pretty much every night I'm on eBay looking for anything we don't have either in my personal collection or here in the lab to use as a reference item," Goines said.

Nearly every piece delivered from the field yields a clue. Melted pistols reveal portions of serial numbers, traceable back to the servicemember. Boot soles can be matched to the servicemember by uniform records. They also can indicate whether the pilot was still in the cockpit pressing down on the plane rudder at impact. A seatbelt buckle melted together in the closed position is a telltale sign that the pilot likely died in his craft.

These clues are pieced together like a puzzle and matched with historical reports, witness accounts,
military records and other evidence.

It can be tedious and painstaking work, said equipment analyst Jim Hodges. He has worked at the lab since 1988 after finishing a career as an egress systems expert in the
Air Force.

"It's very challenging. There's a lot of frustration, too," he said.

The analysts can spend hours hovering over a microscope analyzing fabric and piecing together uniforms. In Hodges' last case, he pinned together 122 individual pieces of a flight suit.

Hodges said he views the lab's mission as the fulfillment of the U.S. commitment to returning servicemembers home.

"When they say we never forget, that's not lip service," Hodges said. "There are a lot of people in this program still trying to account for those that are missing. And I'm proud to be a part of that."

Sometimes, though, despite their best efforts, there is not enough found at the site to render a conclusive identity.

"That's where the frustration is, when you just can't figure it out," Hodges said. "There's not enough there. You need more."

No speculation is allowed, Goines said. Everything must be proven. The integrity of the lab's report is critical, because families rely on it, he said.

To make an identity, lab officials work to match the remnants brought from a site to those of the aircraft believed to have crashed. This can be done with serial numbers found on data plates at the site, or by identifying equipment distinctive to a specific model.

They also try to pinpoint the timeframe of the crash, based on the artifacts, to verify a match with the case under investigation. For example, there were many uniform variations during the Vietnam War. Those found at the site must match those worn by those believed to have crashed.

It also is critical to find artifacts from the exact number of people reportedly in the crash. For example, recovering the soles of two right-foot boots would indicate that two people were in the crash. If the sizes match those worn by the two reported in the crash, that's more proof of identity.

Finally, the analysts try to determine, based on damage to the artifacts, if the crash was survivable.

"We have to follow all of those different leads to try to come up with the answer [to the question], 'What really happened at the event?'" Goines said.

A handful of families travel to the lab every year to find out about the last moments of their loved ones. The lab has an open-door policy and will accommodate anyone wanting to understand its identification process.

"The families who lost somebody lost somebody very important. And the hurt -- the 'miss' -- never goes away," said Robert S. Browning III, an equipment analyst at the lab. "There's no such thing as closure, but you can answer their questions. You can tell them what happened. In some cases, you can put their minds at ease that there was no suffering."

"You can, in fact, bring them to a better place," Browning said. "I think that's an important thing to do for people who have sacrificed a great deal."

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 10, 2008

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support, Orlando, Fla., is being awarded a $221,642,000 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to provide performance based logistics maintenance and support services for up to 500 U.S.
Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Hybrid, Radio Frequency, Communications Navigation and Instrumentation, and High Power Consolidated Automated Support System stations. Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla. (80 percent) and at various ashore and afloat aviation intermediate maintenance depots, NAVY training sites, and Marine Corps airwings (20 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2015. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposals; one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-09-D-0006).

EDO Western Corp., Salt Lake City, Utah, is being awarded a $33,272,851 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for AN/SQS-53C Unit 717 Sonar Tranducer Array Shipsets. The AN/SQS-53C Unit 717 Sonar Tranducer Array is a component of the AN/SQQ-89(V), which is a fully integrated Surface Ship Undersea Warfare combat system with the capability to search, detect, classify, localize, and attack submarine targets. Work will be performed in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is expected to be completed by November 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities, with twooffers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity (N00164-09-D-GP05).

Canadian Commercial Corp., General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada, is being awarded a $22,250,250 firm fixed priced modification to delivery order #0004 under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5028) for the purchase of Authorized Stockage List (ASL) parts to support 673 vehicles. Work will be performed in Durban, South Africa, and work is expected to be completed no later than July 9, 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.

General Dynamics, Electric Boat, Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $6,290,977 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-4003) for Nuclear Regional Maintenance Department tasks in support of operational nuclear submarines including maintaining and modernizing Government-owned facilities and equipment and providing off-hull support of submarine maintenance. The contractor will provide supervisory personnel as necessary, program management, engineering and planning, training, inspection and nuclear services to accomplish intermediate-level nuclear submarine maintenance, modernization and repairs. The contractor shall accomplish naval nuclear work tasks using approved processes, technical work documents, and equipment. The contractor's efforts shall include program management services such as planning, scheduling, coordination, integration, training, and certification of nuclear work. Work will be performed in New London, Conn., and is expected to be completed by September 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $6,290,977 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington
NAVY Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

AM General LLC, Mishawaka, Ind. is being awarded a maximum $62,718,847 firm fixed price, sole source, requirements type contract for parts and functional support services. Other locations of performance are Pennsylvania, Texas and Maine. Using service is
Army. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract has a one year base and four possible one year options. The date of performance completion is January 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC), Columbus, Ohio
(SPM7LX-09-D-9001).

AIR FORCE

John Bean Technologies, JBT Aero Tech of Orlando, Fla., is being awarded a firm fixed price contract for a maximum $44,553,589.25. This action will provide Halvorsen aircraft cargo loaders: aircraft cargo loaders, 55 each; production support, 55 each; packaging, 55 each; data 1 lot. At this point, $29,201,030 has been obligated. Robins AFB, Ga. is the contracting activity. (FA8519-09-D-0001)

Army

Beretta U.S.A. Corp., Accokeek, Md., was awarded on Nov. 7, 2008, a $8,154,800 three year firm fixed price contract for 20,000 Beretta 92FS 9mm pistols. Work will be performed in Accokeek, Md., with an estimated completion date of Oct. 20, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. TACOM Contracting Center, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52H09-09-D-0037).

ECM-GEC JV, Metairie, La., was awarded on Nov. 6, 2008, a $5,680,875 firm fixed price contract to provide four final Geotechnical Soil Reports, final construction plans and specifications for the design of the
New Orleans-to-Venice back levees of reaches NOV-6, NOV-7 and NOV-8 Hurricane Protection Project. Work will be performed in New Orleans to Venice, Plaquemines Parish, La., with an estimated completion date of Mar 31, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. US Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-07-D-0031).

Wounded Soldier Advocate Finds His Calling

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 10, 2008 - Doug Miller never really knew what he wanted to do when he grew up – that was, until after he retired this year. The 65-year-old combat veteran and former
technology businessman finally found his calling, he said, taking care of Army wounded warriors.

"I think we owe so much to these people who have served our country and who are now going through a whole lot more than they expected to go through. I want to do something for them," Miller said.

Miller took the federal civilian job this year after a friend called and asked if he'd be interested. With his daughter serving with the U.S. State Department in Iraq and his son serving as an
Army helicopter pilot, Miller jumped at the opportunity.

"I just felt compelled to go back and serve some more. This is the best thing I could do at my age," Miller said. "This is a chance for me to come back and do something that's needed."

Miller is a retired Army helicopter pilot and two-tour combat veteran. That usually opens doors for him as he calls those under his watch and introduces himself. He has 84 cases right now, although he is supposed to have only 30. Eventually, those extra cases will be turned over to two other case managers.

Of Miller's cases, about 70 percent of the troops are retired or awaiting the outcomes of physical evaluation boards. Two continue to serve on active duty in duty assignments, while others still are working through their recovery in warrior transition units on
military installations and at treatment facilities. Miller's territory includes northern California and parts of Nevada.

Poking Around the Edges

On a typical day, Miller spends most of his time on the phone, on e-mail or on the road. He calls every soldier once a month, Miller said.

"It's not just to have a brief conversation, but it's to, as best we can, assess the total family environment," Miller said. "We want to know how the soldier is doing but we want also want to know how the family is doing as well. Because a lot of times what's happened to the soldier has a significant impact on the family dynamics."

For the most part, he is a generalist, with no particular specialty, Miller said. His power comes from his reach back to Washington, D.C., that gives him access to specialists and senior
leaders to whom many times the soldiers and families do not have access.

"We identify an issue and we call headquarters. They do all the research, find the right resources and come to us with some recommendations and a solution," Miller said.

Sometimes servicemembers or families are upset over bureaucratic snafus or, once they are away from a
military treatment facility, have feelings of being ignored, Miller said.

"Sometimes you have to poke around the edges and not push too hard," Miller said of his conversations. "But as you establish a trust over several conversations, over several weeks or months, they begin to open up."

Miller said one soldier was extremely frustrated over not being able to receive his Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance -- a one-time payment aimed at helping severely injured soldiers through immediate financial needs brought on by their injuries. The amount varies depending on the injury, but it often makes it financially possible for families to be with the servicemembers during recovery.

For six months, the soldier's paperwork kept getting rejected over a discrepancy. The soldier was so frustrated by the time Miller first called him, he didn't even want to talk, Miller said.

"I said 'Just give me a chance. I know who to call,'" Miller said. "He gave me chance. I called him back and said 'Your payment's been approved.' We're the best of friends now. We talk all the time.

"It's not that I did anything. It's that I was there and showed some concern."

Care Plus Marketing Equal Advocacy

Miller's first objective is to let the soldiers and families know the
Army still cares about them. After that, his goal is to help them along their transition, whether it is back to military duty or into civilian life.

"Whether they stay in the service or they get out and go to school or get a job, we want to help them, mentor them, facilitate them along the way," Miller said.

He helps the soldiers develop a five-year plan that takes them through their transition and sets goals as steps along the way.

Miller's job complements the efforts of the warrior transition units. There, troops have squad
leaders and a command structure to help them through problems.

Part of Miller's time is spent meeting with and speaking to private and civic groups that want to help wounded warriors. He is active in his local Veterans of Foreign Wars in Pleasanton, Calif., and works with the Sentinels of Freedom, a nonprofit group that provides scholarships to help veterans become self- sufficient.

About 80 percent of Miller's time is spent talking to soldiers and families, and the rest marketing the program and advocating on soldiers' behalf.

The experiences of his past two jobs, as an
Army officer and in corporate marketing, have provided him with a perfect combination of skills for his efforts now, Miller said.

"As a government employee I can't solicit help for them, but I can make people in the community aware they are there," Miller said.

To be successful as an advocate, you have to have a passion for taking care of soldiers, Miller said. While he was attending training in Washington with other new advocates, he was impressed by the overall sense of dedication, Miller said.

"Everybody was very emotional," Miller said. "It was one of the most emotional experiences to hear everyone's story."

When Miller first considered the job, taken on in what was supposed to be his golden years, he told his wife he would stick with it for a year or two, he said.

But somewhere down the line, something changed.

"I think I'm going to have difficulty telling my wife, but I don't see any reason to quit," Miller said. "I don't know how long I'll do the job, but I can't see why I'd ever want to quit."

Miller said he used to joke during his time in the
military and while he was working in the corporate world that he never knew what he wanted to do when he grew up.

He's not joking anymore.

"Now, basically, I know. Everything I was doing in my life was preparing me for this job." Miller said.

Veterans Get Free Health Exams at Redskins-Sponsored Clinic

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 9, 2008 - Scores of
military veterans from across the National Capital Region visited FedEx Field here yesterday, but not to watch the National Football League's Washington Redskins play. Instead, while the players were taking a week off, veterans of all ages, some with their families, entered the Redskins' burgundy-hued locker room, where they received free health exams, including tests for cholesterol level, blood pressure, body fat percentage and other preventive-care checkups.

The event also featured children's games, candy, and appearances by the team's "Hoggettes" mascots and cheerleaders.

The Redskins conducted the clinic with the help of some health care firms and veterans' groups, said Stephanie R. Baldwin, the team's client services manager.

"Partnering together is a perfect way to get people out here and get them checked out," Baldwin said. "The
military veterans do so much for our country. ... It's very important to recognize them."

Army veteran Nicol D. Martin, who was a finance sergeant when she left the Army in 2001 after six years of service, said the Redskins' health clinic was a great idea, as she waited her turn to get her body fat percentage checked via computer. Martin "did well" on her test, according to examiner Ammanuel Haile-Leal.

The Redskins should be saluted for holding a health clinic "for the veterans who've served the country," Martin said.

"For one, you get to see the Redskins' locker room and then, too, you get to have the health screenings," said Martin, a 38-year-old Woodbridge, Va., resident who now works at the Pentagon.

After receiving a cholesterol-level test, retired
Navy Cmdr. Robert C. Douglass, 54, and his wife, Sheila, surveyed the bustling locker room. The Douglass' 11-year-old son, Jeremy, was among several other children at an X-Box 360 computer game set just a short distance away.

The Redskins and the other sponsors are to be commended for holding the health clinic, the
Navy retiree and Chantilly, Va., resident said.

"I enjoy the fact that people are concerned about veterans' health," Douglass said, adding that the multifaceted event "made it exciting for the family as a whole."

World War II
Army veteran and Alexandria, Va., resident Peter P. Evanko, 84, hailed the Redskins as he finished his prostate-specific antigen level screening, a blood test that helps to assess the health of the prostate gland.

"This is a very good thing, not only for a veteran, but I think all people should be taking care of themselves," said Evanko, left the
Army at the end of the war with a sergeant's rank after serving in the European theater.

The health clinic "is a great thing for those of us who were in the service, and I thank everybody who sponsored it," Evanko said.

Pharmaceutical, biological and health care company GlaxoSmithKline was one of the co-sponsors of the Redskins-hosted veterans' health clinic, said Howard K. Thomas, a senior federal program manager with the firm.

"We're an active supporter of veterans, and we're very honored to be able to in some small way give back to the people who've so bravely served our country," Thomas said. "They're the ones who protect us."

The war against terrorism has caused Americans to reflect on
military veterans' contributions throughout the years and of the efforts and sacrifices of present-day servicemembers, said Bill Bradshaw, 64, a Vietnam veteran, Army retiree and member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"They recognize the importance of the job that we do of taking care of America," Bradshaw said.