Military News

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nominations Open for Outstanding Employers of Guardsmen, Reservists

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve has opened nominations for its 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. National Guardsmen, reservists and their families have until Jan. 19 to nominate employers they believe have gone above and beyond requirements in their support of
military employees.

"In the past, recipients of the Freedom Award have provided full salary, continuation of benefits, or care packages -- even family support -- to employees fulfilling their
military obligation," said Beth Sherman, an ESGR spokeswoman.

Sherman noted that while some past Freedom Award winners have been large corporations, even small companies have proven to be especially supportive of their reserve-component employees.

"This year for example, we had Robinson Transport, ... a small, family-owned business out of Utah," she said. "They had, out of their 150 employees, five deployed."

The company purchased each of the deployed employees a laptop
computer for use while they were gone and contributed $5,000 so they could upgrade their Internet connections at home. They even provided $1,000 a month to supplement their deployed employees' household incomes for the duration of their deployments.

"They also provided full life, health, and dental insurance benefits and kept everything going for them to be able to go out and do their job without having to worry about their family or their bills back home," Sherman said. "That's kind of above and beyond ... what is required by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act."

Robinson Transport was one of 2,199 employers nominated for the 2008 awards. That number represents a 97 percent increase over the number of nominations in 2007, Sherman said. Since nominations for the 2009 awards opened Nov. 3, 628 nominations have come in, putting ESGR on track to surpass last year's record number.

Recipients of the 2009 award will be announced in the spring and honored during the 14th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony Sept. 17 in Washington.

The Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award was established in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional employer support.

ESGR, a Defense Department agency, was established in 1972 with a mission of gaining and maintaining support for Guardsmen and reservists by recognizing outstanding support, increasing the awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through media.

More information about the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, as well as nomination forms, can be found at http://www.FreedomAward.mil.

National Resource Directory Helps Wounded Warriors

By Jamie Findlater
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - A Web-based network of support for wounded warriors, veterans and their families, as well as the families of the fallen, has sprung from a collaborative effort by the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs. The National Resource Directory will include information on care coordinators, health care providers and support partners, Dr. Linda Davis, deputy undersecretary of defense for
military community and family policy, said during an "ASY Live" interview today on BlogTalkRadio.com.

"Working with wounded ill and injured servicemembers and their families, there [are] many resources and individuals available to help them," Davis said. "We needed one source that can tell us where everyone in the country is who wants to help our wounded warriors and their families."

The directory is part of a larger effort by the departments to improve wounded warrior care. Davis said research showed that in the
military hospital alone, servicemembers received offers from 35 people for 38 types of support.

"While the families did appreciate that, they also found it confusing," she said. "They didn't know who to call at the right time in the right place for the right service. The family oftentimes becomes the primary caregiver 24/7/365, and that is extremely stressful, both physically and emotionally."

To help them navigate the system, servicemembers and their families are assigned a care coordinator who ensures the recovery team works together jointly and collaboratively. Each recovering servicemember has an individualized recovery plan with personal and professional goals.

Previously, Davis said, emphasis had been placed on recovery in the hospital. These plans focus more on what happens after they leave, she explained.

"Our challenge was to get people to not only survive, but to thrive in their new conditions that will be facing them for the rest of their lives," she said. "We wanted to focus more on community reintegration, and to do that, we needed even more partners to be engaged."

To facilitate the coordination of these plans and ensure a smooth community reintegration, the directory is inter-linked to these personalized online plans to facilitate accessibility to available resources.

"Say you are populating the plan and the servicemember is talking about returning to Aurora, Kan., and needs housing adaptation and special tutoring for their autistic special needs child," Davis said. "You can go into the directory and contact both the governmental and nongovernmental organizations in and around Aurora and line up appointments and personnel to be of support way before the servicemember goes back to Aurora."

Davis noted that while the federal government has a lot of benefits and services available to servicemembers, it also is important to take state, county and locality benefits into consideration.

"If you are choosing where to relocate your family, you may be interested to know that a certain township has a benefit for veterans," she said.

The relevance of information in the National Resource Directory goes far beyond solely wounded illness, injury, and recovery services, Davis said. Many of the sections are very useful to any servicemember and their family, she noted.

"We have already had several other programs wanting to connect and use the directory, especially in the area of benefits and compensation," Davis said. "Here, you will find not only what's available through the DoD Disability Evaluation System and the VA disability compensation programs, but things like Social Security benefits, life insurance and video libraries. ... We have sections on how to file claims, on unemployment benefits, and benefits for retirees."

In addition to the directory's Web site -- http://www.nationalresourcedirectory.org -- a toll-free phone number, 800-342-9647, is available.

The Web site is expanding, Davis said, and visitors can suggest additional programs by clicking on "Suggest a Resource."

Launched Nov. 17, the site already has received a lot of positive feedback, she said.

"We had a very enthusiastic response in San Diego when we started the site," Davis said. "We found that a lot of organizations feel the need for this, and they have been trying to develop one on their own. In fact, we were excited today to find that there was a story of the directory being covered in the Netherlands.

"We have servicemembers throughout the nation and around the world and we hope that this directory can serve as a global tool for anyone supporting wounded servicemembers and their families."

(Jamie Findlater works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Department of Defense Information Assurance Leader Wins Prestigious Executive Alliance Award

On Nov. 17, 2008, the Executive Alliance awarded Robert Lentz, deputy assistant secretary of defense for information and identity assurance (DASD-IIA) in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Networks and Information Integration /Chief Information Office, its "Government Information Security Executive of the Year" award for North America. In addition, the DoD Data At Rest Tiger Team (DARTT), an intergovernmental program management office within the Defense-wide Information Assurance Program, that reports to the DASD-IIA, was one of three finalists for the "Government Information Security Project of the Year" award for North America. The winner in the government category was the Office of Management and Budget.

"I am honored to receive this prestigious award," said Lentz. "The competition was intense and included many of the community's most senior and highly qualified information assurance and computer network defense professionals. I am particularly proud of the DASD-IIA organization and the DARTT and appreciate the attention Executive Alliance pays to information security programs, initiatives and leaders across government, commercial and academic organizations."

More than 50 industry and government leaders and project teams were honored in the areas of academic, government and commercial for their achievements in information security. The Information Security Executive and Project of the Year awards are given to deserving candidates for making positive contributions to their organizations through risk management, data asset protection, regulatory compliance, privacy and information security, according to the Executive Alliance. The Executive Alliance is a worldwide organization recognized for creating leadership recognition forums that honor and celebrate outstanding achievements of executives in different industries.

MILITARY CONTRACTS November 26, 2008

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration, Owego, N.Y., is being awarded a $500,000,000 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-award-fee contract (N00019-05-C-0030) to provide additional funds for engineering development efforts in support of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) of the VH-71 Presidential Helicopter. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md. (28 percent); Owego, N.Y. (26 percent); Yeovil, United Kingdom (20 percent); Cascina Costa, Italy (15 percent); Rolling Meadows, Ill. (3 percent); Lynn, Mass (3 percent); Clifton, N.J. (2 percent);
Denton, Texas (1 percent); Grand Rapids, Mich. (1 percent); and Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command is the contracting activity.

BREMCOR (a joint venture), Arlington, Va., is being awarded a $15,054,841 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N62470-06-D-4611) to exercise Option 2 for Base Support Services at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $154,335,744. Work will be performed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and this option period is expected to be completed by November 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

Impact Technologies LLC*, Rochester, N.Y., is being awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract not-to-exceed $9,960,000, for a Phase III Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) effort under Topic N02-167 entitled "Intelligent Embedded Diagnostic System for Future Avionic Systems." The objective of the project is for the continued development of a "System of Systems" approach to effectively provide a continuous and active systems engineering feedback loop capability by integrating a diagnostic capability at the second or off-aircraft level of repair [(e.g. Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS)/Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD)]. Work will be performed Rochester, N.Y. (96 percent); Patuxent River, Md. (1 percent); San Diego, Calif. (1 percent); Norfolk, Va. (1 percent); and Jacksonville, Fla. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $1,257,361will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using SBIR program solicitation under Topic N02-167 and 20 offers were received. The Naval Air Systems Command, Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J., is the contracting activity (N68335-09-D-0001).

BAE Systems Technologies, Inc., Rockville, Md., is being awarded a $10,803,087 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-07-C-0019) to exercise an option for engineering and technical products and services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division's Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems. The estimated level of effort for this option is 130,000 man-hours. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md. (80 percent), San Diego, Calif. (10 percent), and various shipboard locations (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $750,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, St. Inigoes, Md., is the contracting activity.

Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $9,330,592 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, time and materials contract for an estimated 90,720 man-hours of engineering technical services for the maintenance of the E-2C airframe, the EA-6B airframe, and the Common Automated Test Equipment system, as required by the Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering Service Command (NATEC), San Diego, Calif. Work will be performed at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Wash. (28 percent); NAS Point Mugu, Calif. (28 percent); Naval Air Facility (NAF) Washington, D.C. (21percent);
Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, N.C. (16 percent); and NAS Norfolk, Va. (7 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-D-0003).

Red Tail Hawk Corp.*, Ithaca, N. Y., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $9,300,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for a Phase III Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program under Topic N05-095, entitled "Talk Through Audio Technologies for
Navy Hearing Protection Devices." The contractor will provide research and development for a hearing protection system for the Department of Defense. This system will be used in high noise environments, such as on flight decks, and will provide the user with increased face-to-face communication intelligibility, improved situational awareness, and a system that will monitor daily noise exposure levels. Work will be performed in Ithaca, N.Y. and is expected to be completed in December 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $496,572 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured using SBIR Program Solicitation under Topic N05-095 and 20 offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, N.J. is the contracting activity (N68335-09-D-0005).

Coffman Specialties, Inc., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $7,325,000 for firm-fixed price task order #0008 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N68711-04-D-3036) for repair of the Section 300 Ramp, Phases 9 and 11, at Travis
Air Force Base. Work will be performed in Fairfield, Calif., and is expected to be completed by November 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Two proposals were received for this task order. The Resident Officer in Charge of Construction, Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, Calif., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Qatar Fuel (WOQOD), Doha, Qatar, is being awarded a maximum $405,688,867 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for gasoline and diesel fuel. Other locations of performance same. Using service is
Air Force. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-08-D-1033).

Bethel Industries, Inc.*,
Jersey City, N.J., is being awarded a maximum $21,467,505 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity contract for Navy Task Force Working/Utility Uniform blouse and trousers. Other locations of performance are in New Jersey, Mississippi and Florida. Using service is Navy. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 15 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising first option period. The date of performance completion is November 29, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa.
(SPM1C1-08-D-1028).

Crowley Marine Services, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, is being awarded a maximum $15,617,903 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel delivery. Other location of performance is Alaska. Using services are Army,
Air Force and Federal Civilian Agencies. There are an unknown number of proposals originally solicited with six responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is September 30, 2011. The contracting activity is Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-08-D-1009).

SNC Telecommunication, LLC**, Comerio, Puerto Rico, is being awarded a maximum $14,968,000 firm fixed price, total set aside contract for duffel bags. Other location of performance is Cidra, Puerto Rico. Using services are Army,
Navy and Marine Corps. There was originally one proposal solicited with one response. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is November 26, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-09-D-0014).

Golden Manufacturing Company, Inc.*, Golden, Miss., is being awarded a maximum $12,625,755 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity contract for
Navy Task Force Working/Utility Uniform blouse and trousers. Other locations of performance are in Mississippi and Florida. Using service is Navy. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 17 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 3, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-D-1030).

Q.U.I.C.K., Inc.*, Florala, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $7,095,889 firm fixed price, total set aside, indefinite quantity contract for
Navy Task Force Working/Utility Uniform blouse and trousers. Other location of performance is in Taylorsville, Miss. Using service is Navy. This proposal was originally Web solicited with 17 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 3, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa. (SPM1C1-08-D-1030).

Campbellsville Apparel Co. L.L.C.*, Campbellsville, Ky., is being awarded a maximum $5,700,000 firm fixed price, total set aside contract for men's navy blue undershirts. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is
Navy. This proposal was originally Gateway solicited with six responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is November 25, 2009. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP), Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-08-D-1026).

TXU Energy, Irving, Texas is being awarded a maximum $28,176,983 firm fixed price contract for electrical services. Other locations of performance NASA Johnson Space Center, Texas. Using services are Federal Civilian Agencies. There were originally 100 proposals solicited with nine responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is January 31, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-8010).

Air Force

The
Air Force is awarding a firm-fixed contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation, Ft. Worth, Texas for an estimated amount, Not-to-Exceed $180,000,000. This action will provide for Advance Buy for four (4) Lot 10 F-22 Aircraft with an option for Advance Buy for 16 additional Lot 1- F-22 Aircraft. At this time, $49,000,000 has been obligated. 478 AESW/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8611-09-C-2900).

The
Air Force is awarding a Firm-Fixed-Price Contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, San Diego, Calif. Not-to-Exceed $115,158,656. This effort is for 16 Global War on Terror, MQ-9 Reaper, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. At this time $52,927,284 has been obligated. 703 AESG/SYK, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, is the contracting activity (FA8620-05-G-3028).

The
Air Force is modifying a Cost-Plus Award Fee contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif. for $70,086,735. This contract modification will provide a one-year contract extension for on-orbit operations and support to the Milstar and Defense Satellite Communications System. At this time, $9,409,096 has been obligated. MILSATCOM Joint Program Contracting Office, El Segundo, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA8808-94-C-0012, Modification P00069).

The
Air Force is modifying a Cost-Plus Incentive Fee, Firm Fixed Price contract with Thales-Raytheon Systems Company, Fullerton, Calif. for $58,809,301. This contract will complete development of The Battle Control System Increment 3. At this time $10,369,997 has been obligated. ESC/PK, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. is the contracting activity (FA8722-05-C-0003, Modification P00029).

The Air Force is awarding a firm-fixed price contract to United Technologies Corporation, Pratt and Whitney, East Hartford, Conn. for an amount not to exceed $7,000,000. This action will provide for Advance Buy for eight Lot 10 F119-PW-100 engines. At this time, $1,000,000 has been obligated. 478 AESW/PK, Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8611-09-C-2901).

Staying Power: Marine Corps' Call Center Contacts, Assists Wounded Warriors

y Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - Wounded warriors who call into the Marine Wounded Warrior Call Center near Quantico, Va., find truth in the motto, "once a Marine, always a Marine." That's because their calls are answered by people like Alfredo Soto, who fondly remembers the camaraderie he experienced during his service in the
Marine Corps.

"We were always being told to look out for and take care of your buddy," Soto, 36, said. He is one of several veterans and military family members who work the phones at the call center in Dumfries, Va.

"I know I'm out of the
Marine Corps, but it doesn't matter; once a Marine always a Marine," said Soto, who hails from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

After he reached sergeant's rank, a bad knee persuaded Soto to obtain an honorable discharge in 2007 after serving more than eight years in the Corps. Soto has worked at the call center for about a year. His fluency in Spanish, he said, helps him connect with veterans with Hispanic roots.

The center's mission is to seek out and assist discharged Marines and sailors injured during service in the global war on terrorism, said director John Chavis, who retired in 2005 as a Marine Corps first sergeant with 24 years of service.

The center has helped more than 9,400 former Marines and sailors since it opened on Nov. 19, 2007, Chavis said. It is a component of the Wounded Warrior Regiment established in April 2007 at the
Marine Corps Base at Quantico. The center recently relocated into more spacious quarters just down the street from its original site.

The outreach program, Chavis said, assures discharged Marines and sailors "that the Marine Corps is still with them."

A Proactive Approach to Help

The center's proactive approach pays dividends, especially since Marines tend to be independent-minded, Chavis said. Some former Marines, he said, might be "less apt to ask for help" and would rather try to work out their issues on their own.

The center's customer care representatives make their phone calls from a list of servicemembers known to have been wounded and separated from the military, Chavis said. The representatives also consult a checklist, he said, that contains contact information about available medical care, counseling and other services. The center also provides information to veterans who may want to appeal their service disability ratings, he said, and to help them with job searches.

"Once we make contact with them, if we give them information or something to do, we do a three-day follow-up call," Chavis said. The center also contacts agencies that the veterans have been referred to, he said, to ensure they're being provided the services they've requested.

Many people contacted by the center have suffered significant war-related wounds, Chavis said, including severe burns and brain trauma, as well as injuries that resulted in amputations. Other veterans bear less-visible wounds, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, he said.

Call center employees pride themselves on "ensuring that when we find an issue with an injured Marine [or sailor], we resolve his issue," Chavis said. "Our success rate, I'd say, is about 100 percent."

Injured Marines and sailors still on active duty are assisted by two wounded warrior battalions, one at Camp Lejuene, N.C., and the other at Camp Pendleton, Calif., he said.

Mary Duplechain, 36, who has worked as a customer service representative at the center for a year, knows the military's workings and its jargon. Duplechain's Marine husband is a senior noncommissioned officer. Her father, she said, retired from the
Navy after 23 years of service.

The call center can help
Marine Corps and Navy veterans secure appointments at Veterans Affairs hospitals and other facilities, Duplechain said.

"We have points of contacts, we have numbers [and] names" for available veterans' services and programs, she said.

The center also makes use of the Defense Department's America Supports You Web site, Duplechain said, which lists more than 300 nonprofit groups that assist veterans and servicemembers. The Military OneSource Web site is another good resource tool, she said.

Most veterans are grateful for the help, she added.

"That's the kind of feedback that motivates me to keep on," Duplechain said. "They are grateful and happy; they know that somebody is out there, wanting to listen to what's going on with them."

Jarrett Mattingly, 28, works as one of the call center's four shift supervisors. Like Duplechain, she is married to a Marine, a commissioned officer.

Mattingly is proud of her work in helping former Marines and sailors obtain benefits they've earned through their military service. "I feel that I'm doing something really good," she said. "It's a rewarding thing for the people who work here, and hopefully, we're providing the outcomes that that the people we're trying to help need."

The call center is open 24 hours per day, seven days per week, except for federal holidays. Its toll-free phone number is 877-487-6299.

Warrior Care: Army Chief Partners with Civilian Medical Community

By D. Myles Cullen
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - As part of November's Defense Department focus on warrior care,
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and key members of his medical team met this week with independent experts in psychology, mental health and resiliency training. The experts included former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, former President of the American Psychological Association Dr. Marty Seligman, U.S. Military Academy professor Dr. Michael Matthews, and Dr. Larry Dewey, chief of psychiatry at the Boise, Idaho, Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Casey told the panel that he invited them to Washington to discuss innovative approaches in support of resilience and comprehensive fitness training for an
Army stretched and stressed by the increasing demands of an era of persistent conflict.

Carmona echoed Casey's sense of urgency about health care system sustainability, noting that "it is an unprecedented time, ... and we need to transform."

"If we don't," he said, "the [percentage of our gross national product spent on health care] is going to be as high as 20 percent."

After sharing some of their research findings, the experts engaged the Army team on ways they could work together to complement current approaches to caring for soldiers and their families. Among the ideas discussed was the role of character development in enhancing soldiers' resiliency in the face of adversity.

"We can train our soldiers to be resilient from adversity," said Seligman, who is recognized as a world leader in positive psychology.

The panel also talked about ways to help returning warriors see that they can thrive in civilian life, and they discussed the important role that local communities and individual Americans play in the lives of soldiers and their families.

"I very much appreciated the conversation, and I hope we can continue the dialogue," Casey said, adding that continued engagement with outside experts will broaden the
Army's perspective and enable it to build a better warrior health care program that might eventually serve as a model for other institutions.

(D. Myles Cullen works in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the
Army.)

DoD Joins With VA to Resolve Gulf War Veterans' Health Issues

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 26, 2008 - The Defense Department continues to work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to resolve veterans' health issues, including maladies associated with the Gulf War, a senior DoD official said here today. "We work very closely with the VA for those who've separated" from
military service, Dr. Michael E. Kilpatrick, deputy director of health affairs for force health protection and readiness, told American Forces Press Service and Pentagon Channel reporters.

"We find that the No. 1 disability that veterans have is problems with muscles, bones and joints, ankles, knees and lower back," Kilpatrick said. These types of ailments, he said, also surface as the top health issues cited by active-duty troops at sick call.

"So, there's a relationship between service and those kinds of wear-and-tear joint problems," Kilpatrick said.

Of the nearly 700,000 U.S.
military members involved in the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Kilpatrick said, about 120,000 servicemembers returning from deployment in the Middle East reported a multitude of symptoms, including depression, tiredness, muscle and joint aches and pains, memory loss, headaches, and rashes. Servicemembers suffering from one or a combination of these maladies would later be said to have "Gulf War Illness."

While 80 percent of those 120,000 veterans received a medical assessment and treatment for their ailments, about 24,000 veterans with Gulf War Illness-related symptoms remain undiagnosed, said Kilpatrick, a former Navy physician who commanded an Army/Navy infectious disease research unit during the
Gulf War.

A congressionally-mandated report titled "Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans" was released Nov. 17 and presented to Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. James Peake. The 400-plus-page report says
Gulf War Illness is a genuine medical condition. The report also notes that pyridostigmine bromide pills taken by some servicemembers in theater as a prophylactic against nerve agents and the use of pesticides to ward off desert insects are possible causes of Gulf War Illness.

Kilpatrick said he disagrees with the report's findings regarding causes of Gulf War Illness, especially the alleged role played by anti-nerve agent pills and pesticides. Previous tests had determined that the pills were safe for consumption by servicemembers, he said, and there's no medical evidence that pesticide use was responsible for Gulf War Illness-related maladies.

Other reports conducted on
Gulf War Illness over the years, he noted, failed to substantiate its existence or couldn't provide medical evidence of possible causes.

Unlike today, the U.S.
military did not conduct pre-deployment medical screenings of servicemembers during the Gulf War, Kilpatrick said. He suggested that some individuals reporting Gulf War Illness-related symptoms may have had pre-existing medical conditions before they deployed to the Gulf.

"I think if you take a look at chronic fatigue syndrome, where people are extremely tired even after a good night's sleep; they're lethargic, they may have some short-term memory loss, some muscle pain in joints," Kilpatrick said. "That's part of that syndrome."

Gulf War Illness isn't a mystery, Kilpatrick said, but it is "something we don't understand, and we need to do more work."

Defense Department Plans Travel Charge Card Switchover Nov. 30

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - The government-issued Bank of America official travel charge card that's been used for years by Defense Department
military and civilian employees will be deactivated effective Nov. 30, Defense Travel Management Office officials said. Citibank has the new contract, and eligible defense military and civilian travelers should have received their new Citibank travel charge cards in August or September. The switchover to Citibank is slated to occur at midnight the morning of Nov. 30.

"The way the new Citi card will be used is exactly the same as the current Bank of America card," Nina Richman-Loo, DTMO's chief of special programs and outreach, said during a July 10 interview. "The cardholder agreement is the same cardholder agreement that our travelers read and signed when they got their Bank of America card."

Bank of America had held DoD's official travel charge card contract for a decade.

Travelers are required to call and verify receipt of their new Citibank cards, and personal identification numbers for the new Citibank cards should have arrived on or around Nov. 1.

The Citibank card will offer some of the same features Bank of America cardholders are accustomed to, including an online payment option.

Current Bank of America government travel card holders are required to pay off any outstanding balances by Nov. 29.

Travelers with questions about the new Citibank travel charge card can ask their agency travel program managers or access DTMO's Web site for answers.

Program Plans Suicide-Prevention 'Webinar' for Grief Counselors

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - As part of an effort to educate civilian and
military health care providers about grief counseling, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS, is planning a "webinar" featuring a leading expert in suicide prevention. "There are a lot of emotions that emerge during a time of grief," Jill Harrington LaMorie, TAPS education training manager, said in an "ASY Live" interview on BlogTalkRadio.com. "Sometimes, casualty assistance is very much on-the-job training, and it's important to know, 'What is grief? What is trauma? What are the emotions that a family goes through when a military death happens?'"

The webinar with Dr. David A Jobbs, co-clinical director at Catholic University, is the first in a series of professional continuing education training courses that TAPS is offering. It's scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. EST on Dec. 4.

"In the
military, deaths tend to be young and tend to be traumatic in nature and unexpected," LaMorie said. "We want to raise the understanding of those who interface with our family members as well as community health professionals. Additionally, a lot of our military members may turn to civilian outlets, and we want our community health providers to know that there are special needs encountered by our military members."

The webinar is free for active duty military members and employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs. For civilians seeking continuing education credit, a registration fee of $25 applies.

LaMorie explained that the seminars will be held during lunch time, so anyone with a computer and a telephone can access it. "Anyone who works with our
military and military surviving family members can benefit," she said, "including command leaders and military chaplains."

As a result of their participation, one continuing education credit will be granted for those who seek it. "We will also provide certificates of participation for those who need them," LaMorie added.

The webinar can be accessed at www.taps.org/professionaleducation.

"One of the key things we will address in the webinar is working with the surviving families to understand what they are facing," said Bonnie Carroll, the program's founder, who also was interviewed on ASY Live. "There is a need to understand when a certain individual needs professional attention."

TAPS is looking to continue to provide educational courses like this in the future, she said, planning for one every quarter.

TAPS is specifically geared toward providing ongoing emotional health hope and healing to all those who are grieving the loss of a loved one in
military service to America, she said. By calling a toll-free number, 800-959-TAPS (800-959-8277), grieving family members can connect to peer-based emotional support, crisis care, casualty casework assistance, and grief and trauma resources and information in local communities across the nation, Carroll said.

(Jamie Findlater works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

Gates Offers Gratitude to Troops, Families in Thanksgiving Message

American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates expressed his gratitude to the nation's servicemembers and their families in his annual Thanksgiving Day message.

Here is the text of the secretary's message:

"In this season of hope, I want to say how uplifting it has been to get to know so many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines during the last 24 months.

"Many of you are far from home, and I'm sure there's no place you would rather be than with your loved ones. But know that they, and all Americans, are free and secure because of what the men and women of the U.S.
military are doing all over the world – from Fort Lewis to Fort Drum, from Korea to Kosovo, from Bagram to Baghdad.

"The holidays are a time to reflect on the kind of nation we are: a nation whose character and decency are embodied in our armed forces. Those who risk life and limb every time they set foot "outside the wire." The medical personnel, engineers, and
civil affairs teams who improve the lives of thousands. And all are volunteers.

"To the families of our forces: thank you for sharing your loved ones to defend us all. To our troops: we admire your selflessness and pray for your success and safe return home. And to all: happy holidays."

Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense

Maryland Guard Takes Part in Africa Command Exercise

By Army Capt. Rick Breitenfeldt
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - For the first time since U.S. Africa Command stood up Oct. 1, the National Guard has deployed citizen-soldiers to an African nation to provide desperately needed medical care. The two-week deployment to Senegal of 18
Maryland National Guard doctors, dentists and other medical professionals was in support of a 14-nation exercise known as Flintlock 09, which concluded Nov. 20.

The
Maryland Guard medical team based at Camp Fretterd in Reisterstown, Md., was led by Army Col. (Dr.) John V. Gladden, the state surgeon, who said this type of training mission is exactly what the Guard needs to be doing.

"It teaches us how to do things outside our specialty [and] how to work together," Gladden said about his team, which treated nearly 1,600 Senegalese who visited the makeshift clinic with a variety of medical and dental issues.

Gladden, who has worked in eight previous medical exercises in his career, said the working and living conditions in Africa were the most austere he had ever seen, but that his fellow citizen-soldiers were professionals under the toughest of circumstances.

"Nobody got flustered," he said. "We knew there were limitations on what we could do to treat some of these patients, but nobody dwelled on this being a less-than-perfect outcome."

The two-week exercise was developed as a joint multinational exercise to improve information sharing at the operational and tactical levels across the Saharan region while fostering increased collaboration and coordination.

"This was a perfect fit," said
Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth McGill, the operations sergeant for the Maryland Guard medical detachment who organized the training mission.
"We had the professional talent, and they had everything we needed to do the job. This was the opportunity to take a portion of our staff [and] send them to a faraway land to do wonderful things and get more medical experience. Having an opportunity like this, even in the civilian world, is rare."

More than 200 people participated in Flintlock, a part of Africom's Operation Enduring Freedom Trans Sahara, which provides military support to State Department programs that aim to enhance regional security in Africa by also addressing economic and social development, disaster preparedness, medical emergencies and other issues.

Although this was the first such mission for the National Guard to an African country, the Guard has a long-standing State Partnership Program that was designed to build relationships with emerging democracies by pairing states and U.S. territories with more than 59 countries around the world.

"This is a terrific opportunity for our soldiers to take their military and civilian skills and apply them in a real-world training environment, while at the same time helping the people of the republic of Senegal," said
Army Brig. Gen. Alberto Jimenez, commander of the Maryland Army National Guard. "This exercise is a continuation of the ongoing efforts by the Maryland National Guard in support of emerging democracies in countries like Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, and now, Senegal."

Former Maryland assistant adjutant general
Army Maj. Gen. Edward Leacock, now deputy director of Africom's intelligence and knowledge development division, said the exercise "set a strong precedent for future U.S. Africa Command engagements where the U.S. military will actively seek the partnership of stakeholders to meet common challenges."

McGill said Gladden and his medical team's mission didn't end when the last patient left the clinic. The Guard team left behind all excess medical supplies and equipment for future use by the Senegalese government.

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

Bush Lauds Wounded Warrior for Serving Other Troops, Families

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Nov. 25, 2008 - President George W. Bush presented a prestigious award today to a severely wounded warrior at Fort Campbell, Ky., who mentors other wounded troops and their families and volunteers at the post's Fisher House. Bush presented the President's Volunteer Service award to
Army Staff Sgt. Josh Forbess, praising him for serving his nation in uniform, and going the extra measure to serve others in need.

The president lauded Forbess during a pre-Thanksgiving Day visit to the Fort Campbell, noting that he'll greatly miss the opportunities he's had as commander in chief to spend time with those who serve the country in uniform.

Forbess is one of just five 101st Airborne Division soldiers who survived a fiery Black Hawk helicopter collision over Mosul, Iraq, in November 2003. Then-Maj. Gen. David H. Petreaus, who commanded the "Screaming Eagles" at the time, called the crash that killed 17 of his soldiers a gut-wrenching low point for the entire division.

"The loss of 17 soldiers in one night when two helicopters collided over Mosul was just a blow beyond belief," he told American Forces Press Service after the division had redeployed in March 2004. "It's like losing 17 children. It's almost beyond comprehension -- a terrible, terrible blow to the organization and the individuals in it."

Forbess, who didn't wake up from the incident until eight weeks later, lost an ear and half of his nose and received broken bones, extensive burns and smoke inhalation injuries.

The accident launched his long, painful and heroic return to recovery as he struggled to return to duty and help his fellow wounded soldiers.

As he recovered, the 29-year-old Decatur, Ill., native called the opportunity to return to active duty the driving force that kept him motivated. "I love my job. I love training soldiers," he told American Forces Press Service as he was undergoing treatment at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. "There's nothing else I could do that I would enjoy as much as that."

He expressed no doubt that he'd achieve his goal. "As long as you have heart, there's nothing to stop you," he said. The driving force behind his efforts to recover fully and return to full duty in the military is "all in here," he said, tapping his chest.

Today, Forbess is back on duty as senior noncommissioned officer at Fort Campbell's Soldier and Family Assistance Center. He's also been a volunteer at the post Fisher House since it opened in 2006, leading wounded warrior meetings and providing an example of what's possible for other wounded troops.

On hearing of the honor he would receive, Forbess told a local reporter "just to be nominated is great." He said he expected to be speechless when he received the award.

Bush created the President's Volunteer Service Award in 2002 to recognize Americans who make a difference through volunteer service. He has presented more than 650 of the awards.