Military News

Monday, December 01, 2008

Soldier, Vietnam Vet Father Receive Silver Stars in Long-Distance Ceremony

By Army Spc. George Welcome
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 1, 2008 - Though decades separate the
Vietnam War and the war on terrorism, a common denominator in the two conflicts has been the bravery and sacrifice of the American servicemember.
.
Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan Harris received the Silver Star Medal here Nov. 28 while his father, former Army Staff Sgt. Gary Harris, simultaneously was decorated for his valor in Vietnam during a joint long-distance ceremony.

The Harris family watched from a conference room at Fort Campbell, Ky., as the younger Harris received the Silver Star here from Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Schloesser, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 101. Meanwhile, soldiers here watched a video screen as the elder Harris was pinned with the Silver Star and a Bronze Star he earned serving in Vietnam. Neither medal had been formally presented to him before.

"It's very rare that we present the Silver Star," Schloesser said. "We have a very high standard, and we make sure that the few who do earn it have done so through selfless sacrifice. It's clear that Mr. Harris did that, and it is also clear that the nation owes a debt to [former] Staff Sgt. Gary Harris. It was almost 40 years ago that he earned it, and I hope in some small way that we can pay back that debt by presenting him his award with his son's today."

Personal courage and selfless service could be said to run in the Harris family bloodline, as both father and son reacted similarly in their encounters with enemy forces. Both risked their lives to ensure the safety of their comrades.

The elder Harris displayed this courage Aug. 15, 1969, as a squad
leader in Vietnam. He and his company were patrolling a perimeter near Gol Ree and were attacked with mortars and rocket fire. He quickly directed the members of his squad to return fire on the enemy.

As the attack died down, he moved his squad closer to the perimeter, which had been weakened during the barrage. As the enemy resumed its assault, he again directed his squad to return fire, breaking the enemy attack. During the engagement, he risked his life by helping medics to aid wounded Marines and helping to bring them to safety.

The younger Harris also displayed bravery in the face of danger. On July 2, Harris, a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot assigned to Company C, 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, landed his helicopter at a landing zone near Gardez, Afghanistan, to pick up soldiers for transport when his aircraft came under attack by enemies using rocket-propelled grenades, a heavy machine gun and various assault rifles.

With the aircraft on fire, Harris and crew managed to fly it a short distance before putting it down again. After safely exiting the burning helicopter, the entire crew took up a defensive position. They managed to contact a CH-47 Chinook that was in the area to help extract them from the battlefield. As the Chinook landed, the enemy resumed fire.

It was then that Harris, who was helping one of his wounded crew chiefs to the helicopter, exposed himself to fire by engaging and killing an approaching enemy combatant. He entered the helicopter only after ensuring that the members of his crew, the ground forces and the quick-reaction force were safely aboard.

"Mr. Harris has been great since the incident," said
Army Sgt. DeeJay Norby, a crew chief who was also involved in the action at Gardez. "He didn't get down or anything afterward; he went right back to business doing his job. It's really awesome getting to fly with a great group of pilots and crew chiefs."

This was not the first award that Harris has received during this deployment. He also earned the Air Medal with valor device.

In his short address, Harris thanked his flight crew and the crew of the Chinook that performed the rescue operation.

"I'm so lucky to serve with so many great heroes," he said. "Without them, the outcome might not have been so good."

He also gave a heartfelt thank you to his father, whose life and service, he said, set the example for him.

"Every time people thank us for our service, I tell them to thank a Vietnam vet," he said. "So Dad, I want to thank you today."

(
Army Spc. George Welcome serves with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office.)

U.S. Forces Help Lebanese Military Assert Control

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 1, 2008 - The U.S.
military is helping the Lebanese military establish itself as the sole arm of the democratically elected Lebanese government, a senior Pentagon official said in a recent interview. "The Lebanese armed forces has a unique role," Chris Straub, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Near East and South Asian affairs, said. "It's one of the strongest national institutions in Lebanon. All Lebanese look up to it as a symbol of their state."

That is an important fact, given the recent history of the country. The Lebanese civil war lasted from 1975 to 1990. Beirut – once considered the Paris of the East – was in ruins, and the country seemed hopelessly divided between Muslim and Christian sects. Roughly 60 percent of the population is Muslim, and 40 percent is Christian, but the country has 18 different officially recognized sects.

The United States and Lebanon signed a
military cooperation agreement in October, establishing the U.S.-Lebanese Joint Military Commission to provide an official framework for the bilateral U.S.-Lebanese military relationship.

The U.S. and Lebanese militaries have worked together since 2006. The joint commission will provide a yearly opportunity for both sides to examine military cooperation and the goals for the coming year, Straub said, and much needs to be done.

"The Lebanese military was weakened not only by the civil war, but by the Syrian occupation," Straub said. Twice since Syrian troops left Lebanon in 2005, he added, U.S. Central Command officials have surveyed the Lebanese
military and presented findings and recommendations.

"The most important one was that the Lebanese military needed a lot of help in the military basics, which are not always the most glamorous," Straub, a retired Army officer, said. "They needed trucks, Humvees, parts and ammunition more than they needed high-end, expensive weaponry."

They also need training, he added. The 72,000-member Lebanese
military needs basic help with training in marksmanship, urban combat, logistics and maintenance, and staff functions. Lebanese officers are attending several U.S. military colleges, and the International Military Education and Training fund for Lebanon has grown from $1.4 million in fiscal 2008 to $2.1 million this year.

In 2006, the United States renewed its security relationship with Lebanon, and since then has funneled more than $400 million in foreign
military sales money.

"It is national policy that Lebanon be sovereign, that Lebanon be independent," Straub said. "Our part of that is to help build up the Lebanese armed forces so the Lebanese government can be sovereign in all its territory."

In the past, each sect and group in Lebanon has had a militia. The largest and best-equipped militia belongs to Hezbollah, which rules in the Shiia areas of southern Lebanon bordering Israel. The CIA World Factbook says the Lebanese
army and police have control of about two-thirds of the country. Hezbollah – which the United States says is a terrorist organization – and its allies control the rest.

The U.S. goal is for [the
army and police] working for the democratically elected Lebanese government to exercise power throughout the country, Straub said. "That's not going to happen tomorrow, or perhaps next year," he said. "But that is our goal."

The United States has sent 285 Humvees to Lebanon, and another 312 will arrive by March. The United States has sent 200 trucks to the Lebanese and 41 M-198 155 mm artillery pieces. The Lebanese
army also will get night-vision equipment and some tactical unmanned aerial vehicles.

"Behind it is all basics – 12 million rounds of ammo, spare helicopter parts, shoulder-fired rockets," Straub said. "We want them to play their role in controlling Lebanese territory. We also want them to deter the terrorist threat."

The United States is committed to getting Lebanon more modern tanks, and the U.S. military is working on delivering M-60A3 tanks. "We're not trying to build up some juggernaut that could be threatening to anyone in the region, but to make the Lebanese armed forces capable in their own country," Straub said.

Lebanese take care of their equipment, he noted, "because it has been hard to come by for them." He also said the Lebanese record on safeguarding American equipment "is impeccable."

None of this is done in a vacuum, Straub said.

"We don't have a conversation on these matters without considering the concerns of Israel and Israel's qualitative military edge," he said. "That's a U.S. commitment that we take very seriously." For example, the Lebanese
army M-60 tanks are no match for Israel's Mekava 4 main battle tanks.

"We think we are helping make the region more peaceful – at least more possibility for peace in the region – by giving the Lebanese government the ability to control the events in its territory – whether it be
terrorism or militias," Straub said. "Either way, we think this is good for everybody's security in the region, or we wouldn't be doing it."

The way forward will take time, Straub said. In fighting against terror groups holed up in a refugee camp, for example, the Lebanese
military rigged a Huey helicopter to drop bombs.

"It's important to do this at the level the Lebanese military can absorb," Straub said. "The next step is more capability for the air, thinking in terms of not only being able to transport things via air, but have a precise close-air support [capability]."

U.S. military cooperation with the Lebanese also sends a political message, Straub said. "The United States cares about Lebanon's independence and sovereignty," he said. "The people know that and appreciate it."

Sailor Missing from WWII is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from World War II, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Ensign Robert G. Tills, U.S.
Navy, of Manitowoc, Wis. He will be buried on March 23, 2009, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Representatives from the
Navy's Mortuary Office met with Tills' next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy.

On Dec. 8, 1941, two PBY-4 Catalina Flying Boats moored in Malalag Bay, in eastern Mindanao, Philippine Commonwealth, were strafed and sunk by Japanese aircraft. All of the crew on board the PBYs escaped the aircraft with the exception of Tills, who was seen by another crewman to have been hit and killed by machine gun bullets. Tills was the first
Navy officer to be lost in defense of the Philippine Islands. His body was not recovered.

In October 2007, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) was notified by U.S. authorities in the Philippines that aircraft wreckage had been discovered in Malalag Bay. A fragment of the wreckage bore the markings "PBY-4."

In November 2007, a JPAC team, along with the Joint U.S.
military Assistance Group-Philippines and the Philippines Coast Guard (PCG), surveyed the site and recovered human remains and non-biological evidence. Later that month, the PCG recovered additional remains from the site.

Among other
forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of Tills' remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420.

Gates Provides Continuity as Nation Fights Two Wars, Obama Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 1, 2008 - President-elect Barack Obama today cited the need for continuity as the United States fights two wars in announcing that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will remain at the Pentagon when his administration takes over next month. "At a time when we face an unprecedented transition amidst two wars, I have asked Robert Gates to continue as secretary of defense, and I'm pleased that he's accepted," Obama said at a news conference in
Chicago.

"He restored accountability. He won the confidence of
military commanders, and the trust of our brave men and women in uniform and their families," he said. "He earned the respect of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle for his pragmatism and competence. He knows that we need a sustainable national security strategy, and that includes a bipartisan consensus at home."

The president-elect said he will tell the secretary to end the war in Iraq through a successful transition to Iraqi control.

"We will also ensure that we have the strategy -- and resources -- to succeed against al-Qaida and the Taliban," he said. "As Bob said not too long ago, Afghanistan is where the
war on terror began, and it is where it must end."

Gates thanked the president-elect for his confidence.

"I am deeply honored that the president-elect has asked me to continue as secretary of defense," Gates said in
Chicago. "Mindful that we are engaged in two wars and face other serious challenges at home and around the world, and with a profound sense of personal responsibility to and for our men and women in uniform and their families, I must do my duty as they do theirs. How could I do otherwise?

"Serving in this position for nearly two years, and especially the opportunity to lead our brave and dedicated soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Defense civilians, has been the most gratifying experience of my life," the secretary continued. "I am honored to continue to serve them and our country, and I will be honored to serve President-elect Obama."

Obama said the national security challenges facing the country are as grave and urgent as the economic crisis.

"We are fighting two wars," he said. "Old conflicts remain unresolved, and newly assertive powers have put strains on the international system. The spread of nuclear weapons raises the peril that the world's deadliest
technology could fall into dangerous hands. Our dependence on foreign oil empowers authoritarian governments and endangers our planet."

The United States must be as strong at home as it is overseas, and American economic power must sustain
military strength, diplomatic leverage and global leadership, he said.

"The common thread linking these challenges is the fundamental reality that in the 21st century, our destiny is shared with the world's," Obama said. "From our markets to our security; from our public health to our climate - we must act with the understanding that, now more than ever, we have a stake in what happens across the globe.

"And as we learned so painfully on 9/11, terror cannot be contained by borders, nor safety provided by oceans alone," he said.

Obama called for a new dawn of American
leadership to face and master the challenges of the 21st century.

"We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends," he said. "We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships. We will show the world once more that America is relentless in defense of our people, steady in advancing our interests and committed to the ideals that shine as a beacon to the world -- democracy and justice, opportunity and unyielding hope -- because American values are America's greatest export to the world."

The president-elect also announced his choices for other posts: New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, Eric Holder as attorney general, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security, retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones Jr. as national security advisor and Susan Rice as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

MILITARY CONTRACTS December 1, 2008

Navy

The Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Space and Strategic Missiles, Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded $720,086,268 modification (PZ0001) to previously awarded cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00030-08-C-0100) to provide TRIDENT II (D5) and TRIDENT I (C4) missile subsystem. Specific tasks may include: Missile body, re-entry body, D5 instrumentation systems and support equipment production (D5 only); D5 Production Continuity Hardware (D5 only); Procurement of components and requalification activities in support of D5 life extension requirements; Critical components in support of D5 life extension requirements; Field Processing; Engineering and operational support services; Training material development and maintenance; Trainer design and operational support; Spares and integrated logistics support; Flight Test Analysis and Range Support; Safety Assurance including Nuclear Weapon Security (NWS); Missile and support equipment repair; Flight Test Planning and Flight Test Data Acquisition and Processing (D5 only); Development, production and installation of SPALTs/PADs/Sers [Special Projects Alterations, POMF (POLARIS Missile Facility) Alteration Documents, and Support Equipment Requirements]; Develop and produce an Alteration Release Assembly; Develop an Enhanced Telemetry System; Technical services in support of the C4/D5 Ballast System and Test Instrumentation Mast program; Technical services in support of all requirements associated with TRIDENT I(C4) related to asset dispositions and disposal. In addition to TRIDENT II (D5), and TRIDENT I (C4) missile subsystem requirements, there is also a requirement to: Provide storage and maintenance for the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile, Nuclear (TLAM-N) at the Strategic Weapons Facilities; Perform processing and provide technical services in support of the SSGN Attack Weapon System (AWS) at SWFLANT; Provide TRIDENT SWS Missile Training; Develop
technology applicable to global strike objectives that integrates with existing TRIDENT missile and/or the platform, and the missile processing and TRIDENT operations infrastructure; Provide Options for Flight Test Data Acquisition and Analysis for the Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency. Work will be performed in California (42 percent); Georgia (11 percent); Utah (16 percent); Florida (9 percent); Washington (8 percent); Virginia (3 percent); Tennessee (2 percent); New Jersey (1 percent); Massachusetts (1 percent); Illinois (1 percent); Maryland (1 percent); other (5 percent), and work is expected to be completed September 2012. Contract funds in the amount of $285,470,128 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. (LMSSC), Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $98,635,593 cost-plus-incentive-fee and award fee not-to exceed contract modification to develop, integrate and test the red side components of the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) Common Air Interface (CAI) waveform application to form a fully functional Joint Tactical Radio System compliant waveform application, version 3.x. Under contract N00039-04-C-2009, LMSSC is responsible for the development and production of the MUOS networked constellation, and the current MUOS CAI waveform effort, without the red side components, is being performed by LMSSC and its subcontractor General Dynamics, Scottsdale, Ariz. This additional capability is required to provide a complete set of radio functions and to eliminate the requirement for external cryptographic equipment for secure MUOS communications. This effort is expected to be completed in 2011. This award is made on a sole source basis. The synopsis was released via the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity (N00039-04-C-2009).

McDonnell Douglas Corp., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $95,000,000 delivery order under a previously awarded Performance Based Logistics contract for spares in support of the E/A-18 G Growler. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo. (40 percent), and El Segundo, Calif. (60 percent), and work is expected to be completed by September 2011. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00383-06-D-001J-TH00).

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems-Marine Systems (NGES-MS), Sunnyvale, Calif., is being awarded a $67,687,769 firm-fixed-price, fixed-price-incentive, cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract to provide for the acquisition of the TRIDENT II (D-5) deployed SSBN and the SSGN Underwater Launcher Systems (ULS), Engineering Refueling Overhaul (ERO) shipyard support, gas generator production, TRIDENT II (D-5) missile tube closure production restart, US and UK launcher trainer support, underwater launcher
technology sustainment (ULTS), SSGN Ancillary Hardware, Underwater Launcher System Ancillary Hardware, Launcher Initiation System Ancillary Hardware, Underwater Launcher Subsystem technology Support, Vertical Support Group-E mount advance procurement and US and UK SSP Alterations (SPALT) and non-compliance report (NCR) projects. This contract contains options, which if exercised, would increase the total contract value $156,196,862. Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, Calif. (86 percent); Bangor, Wash. (7 percent); Kings Bay, Ga. (7 percent), and work is expected to be completed September 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $35,529,097 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (N00030-09-C-0004).

Bath Iron Works Corp. (a General Dynamics Co.), Bath, Maine, is being awarded a $45,800,301 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-2303) to exercise an option for services associated with the detail design and construction of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class Destroyer. Work will be performed in Bath, Maine, and is expected to be completed by November 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington D.C., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., was awarded a $19,222,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-5102) on Nov. 26, 2008, for Aegis Weapon System Inter Site Data Link (ISDL) integration efforts. The contractor shall provide program management, system engineering and computer program development, ship integration and test, and technical manual services required for the development, integration, test, and delivery of the Baseline K1.1 Aegis Weapon System computer programs integrating the ISDL capability into the Sejong the Great class destroyers, also known as KDX III. This contract involves purchases for the Republic of Korea under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J. (90 percent) and Ulsan, South Korea (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by November 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington D.C., is the contracting activity.

Seaward Services, Inc., Dania Beach, Fla., is being awarded a $14,020,675 indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for operational and logistics support for ocean testing and related at-sea projects. The contractor will provide operational support personnel and specialized equipment such as remotely operated vehicles, diving services, aircraft support, specialized mobilization equipment and vessels with crews and provisioning in support of open ocean sea tests. Work will be performed in Dania Beach, Fla. (1 percent); Newport, R.I. (1 percent); and various oceans worldwide (98 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities and on the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division (NUWC), Newport contracts Web site, and one offer was received. NUWC, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity (N66604-09-D-0182).

Science Applications International Corp., San Diego, Calif., is being awarded a $10,779,079 modification to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00421-05-C-0026) to exercise an option for technical, engineering, and program services in support of the Tomahawk-All-Up-Round Missile Program for the U.S.
Navy ($9,701,171; 90 percent) and the United Kingdom ($1,077,908; 10 percent). Work will be performed in Lexington Park, Md., (85 percent); Patuxent River, Md. (10 percent); and other locations within the United States (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $479,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

SeeByte, LTD., Scotland, was awarded a ceiling amount $10,400,259 firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract on Nov. 26, 2008, to perform software engineering, technical support, and training of the SeeTrack Military software component of the Common Operator Interface for
Navy (COIN) Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) system. The U.S. Navy is engaged in an application developmental effort involving command and control software called COIN being operated at various U.S. Navy activities by U.S. Naval EOD Mobile Units, Mobile Diving and Salvage Units, and research and development activities. This software application is used for mission planning, equipment data transfer, mission execution tracking, post mission analysis, and data reporting. Work will be performed in Scotland, and is expected to be completed by December 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Md., is the contracting activity (N000174-09-D-0001).

McDonnell Douglas Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., is being awarded a $10,297,568 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00019-04-C-0014) to provide funding for non-recurring hardware and administrative and engineering services in support of U.S.
Navy F/A-18 aircraft. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Mo., and is expected to be completed in December 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $10,297,568 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

AT&T Government Solutions, Vienna, Va., is being awarded a $6,027,838 task order #0025 under previously awarded contract (M67854-03-A-5154). The scope of this effort is for Information
technology (IT) support services to both local and external customers at Headquarters Marine Corps Logistics Command, Command, Control, Communications and Computers (HQ MARCORLOGCOM, C4), ESD and LSD. This support includes: (1) providing IT customer support and performing Incident Management (i.e. "Service Desk") outlined in the Information technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best business practices as adopted by C4 Director; (2) providing IT database management, applications management, web and OS support, SAN and RAC management, Information assurance, mainframe support, enterprise backup and recovery, and system architecture support; and (3) providing IT project management (software development related) and application software support (analytical, testing and programming). Work will be performed in Albany, Ga., and work is expected to be completed in December 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

EG&G, Dumfries, Va., is being awarded $5,193,076 for task order #0070 under a previously awarded contract (M67854-02-A-9011) for Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) support services, a key element of the
Marine Corps Systems Command PM Advanced Amphibious Assault (PM AAA). Technical support under this effort includes the support services to advance the use of technology to improve system performance and operations, achieve design-to-unit production cost objectives, and to define mature production and manufacturing processes. Work will be performed in Quantico, Va., and work is expected to be completed in December 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps System Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Air Force

The
Air Force is awarding a cost reimbursable contact to Mitre Corp., Bedford, Mass. for $350,326,484. This effort will provide System Engineering and Integration Support for Air Force Ceiling Programs and Air Force Non-Ceiling Programs for fiscal year 2009. At this time, $22,048,674 has been obligated. ESC/PKE, Hanscom AFB, Mass. is the contracting activity (FA8721-09-C-0002),

The
Air Force is modifying a firm-fixed-price contract with time and material and cost reimbursement to Lockheed Martin Corp., Marietta, Ga., for an amount not-to-exceed $74,900,000. This effort is for an Engineering Change Proposal against the five-year option contract for non-recurring efforts to incorporate Special Operations Forces-unique modifications on the MC-130J configuration. At this time $19,634,000 has been obligated. 657 AESS, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8625-06-C-6456).

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Colonel John Harlan Buzby, USA (ret.)
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Colonel Ed Krekorian, USA (ret.)
Colonel Allan R. Millett, USMC (ret.)
Lieutenant Colonel Henry Cervantes, USAF (ret.)
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Lieutenant Colonel Robert B. Patterson Jr., USAF (ret.)
Major Den E. Slattery, USAR (ret.)
Captain Nelson A. Blish, USN (ret.)
Captain T. Bradley Hamlett, USAF (ret.)
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Chief Warrant Officer Three Ed Raciborski, USA (ret.)
Chief Warrant Officer Two Earl W. Thompson
Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch, USMC (ret.)

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Staying Power: Air Force Family Liaisons Help Wounded Warriors, Families

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 1, 2008 -
Air Force family liaison officers have an important role in assisting wounded warriors and their families, a San Antonio-based Air Force senior noncommissioned officer said. The Air Force's family liaison officer program "truly is the lifeblood of taking care of our war wounded," said Chief Master Sgt. Stephen B. Page, assigned to the 12th Flying Training Wing at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Page has assisted in the selection of family liaison officers that serve in his area.

Family liaison officers, or as FLOs, are appointed by local commanders, according to the Air Force's survivor assistance Web site. They provide assistance to surviving family members of deceased servicemembers and also render aid and support to injured
military members and their families.

"Our ability to take care of our people is paramount," Page, a 30-year Air Force veteran, said. "This program is so vitally important for us to ensure that we rehabilitate and put our airmen back on to their feet to the best ability that we can -- not just for them, but [also] to take care of their families."

Four family liaison officers operating in his area serve seven military families, Page said, noting that such assignments can last for years. FLOs support injured warrior families, he said, by attending to tasks such as medical appointments, housing, transportation, financial issues, daycare and more.

"I'm looking for the absolute best" people to serve as family liaison officers, Page said. "The second thing is I'm looking for a person who can be and remain committed, because this is a long-term process."

Air Force Senior Airman Daniel Acosta, 24, has served as a family liaison officer at Randolph for about a year now. Acosta himself is a wounded warrior, having lost his left arm to amputation due to a roadside bomb in Baghdad in December 2005.

Acosta assists Air Force Staff Sgt. Matt Flaydon and his wife, Annette. The injured staff sergeant is receiving treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in
San Antonio. A bomb blinded Flaydon near Baghdad, and he also lost his left arm to amputation, Acosta said.

"The purpose of the family liaison program is to basically take all the stress off the family member so that they can focus on their loved one who is recovering," Acosta explained.

Acosta said he does "everything and anything" to assist Flaydon's wife, Annette, including running errands and scheduling appointments.

"This program is great," Acosta said. Family liaison officers, he added, can be especially helpful to spouses with limited knowledge of the
military.

"That family liaison officer is that person who helps, who closes that gap and answers all those questions that the spouse cannot answer," Acosta said.

The
Air Force is totally dedicated to taking care of its wounded warriors and their families, said John Beckett, the Washington-based program manager for the Air Force's Wounded Warrior and Survivor Care programs.

It takes teamwork to support wounded warriors, Beckett said, citing the "fantastic" quality of today's
military medical care.

"People are surviving that would have never survived in previous wars," Beckett said.

Determined, resilient airmen, Beckett said, are working to recover from very serious wounds, some of which required amputation of limbs. Some severely injured warriors, he said, participate in marathon races.

"It is unbelievable to watch these folks," Beckett said. "They're just pushing and moving forward."

Nuclear Mission Vital to U.S. Security, Gates Tells Minot Airmen

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 1, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates traveled here today to emphasize the importance of the
Air Force's nuclear mission -- and in maintaining its long tradition of excellence -- to the men and women entrusted with carrying it out. Gates became the first defense secretary in memory to visit the home of the 91st Missile Wing, one of the Air Force's three operational intercontinental units, and the 5th Bomb Wing, which flies the aging B-52 aircraft he said remain critical to the nuclear deterrent.

"As stewards of America's nuclear arsenal, your work is vital to the security of our nation," Gates told the airmen.

"Handling nuclear weapons -- the most powerful and destructive instruments in the arsenal of freedom -- is a tremendous responsibility," he continued. "We owe you the attention, the people and the resources to do your job right."

Gates reminded the airmen that their job is the most sensitive in the entire U.S. military, demanding constant vigilance and leaving no room for error.

America's security depends on a reliable and credible nuclear deterrent, Gates said, even as the country continues to reduce its nuclear arsenal. While few argue that abolishing nuclear weapons is a worthy long-term goal, he said, the grim reality is that day hasn't yet come.

"As long as others have nuclear weapons, we must maintain some level of these weapons ourselves to deter potential adversaries and to reassure over two dozen allies and partners who rely on our nuclear umbrella for their own security, making it unnecessary for them to develop their own," he said.

Gates cited threats posed by rising and resurgent powers, rogue nations pursuing nuclear weapons, proliferation and international terrorism. These challenges make it necessary for the United States to maintain a hedge that makes clear its ability to provide an "overwhelming, devastating" response to attack, if necessary.

"Try as we might, and hope as we will, the power of nuclear weapons and their strategic impact is a genie that cannot be put back in the bottle, at least for a long time," Gates said.

But possessing nuclear weapons means accepting the responsibilities involved, he said citing "serious lapses of last year" over the
Air Force's handling of nuclear weapons and related material.

Those involved a mistaken shipment of sensitive missile parts to Taiwan in 2006, and -- even more troublesome to airmen here -- an unauthorized transfer of munitions from Minot
Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., in August 2007.

Severe consequences followed, starting at the unit level and reaching into the highest levels of the Air Force. Gates ordered the resignations of then-
Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and then-Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley. Another 15 officers, including six generals, received disciplinary action in connection with the nose-cone shipment.

The problems, an investigation determined, resulted from "a long-standing slide in the service's nuclear stewardship, where this critical mission -- and the career field associated with it -- did not receive the attention, funding or personnel it deserved," Gates said.

But Gates told the Minot airmen he's confident the Air Force is now on the right track.

"Based on everything I have seen, heard and learned in recent months, I strongly believe that the
Air Force is now moving in the right direction to reclaim the standards of excellence for which it was known throughout the Cold War," Gates told the Minot airmen.

Gates cited initiatives in place or under way:

-- A new office within the Air Staff that focuses exclusively on nuclear policy and oversight and reports directly to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz;

-- A new Global Strike Command to be stood up that will bring the nuclear-capable bombers and intercontinental ballistic missile under one entity;

-- Revitalization and expansion of the Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland
Air Force Base, N.M.;

-- A top-to-bottom review that is determining which nuclear components need to be taken out of the supply chain and placed under control of the Nuclear Weapons Center; and

-- The Air Force's development of a stronger, more centralized inspection process to ensure that nuclear material is handled properly.

In addition, Gates noted that he awaits recommendations from a task force he formed to review nuclear enterprise oversight within the
Air Force and Defense Department overall. Former Energy and Defense Secretary James Schlesinger is heading that effort.

Gates closed by reminding the airmen of his own Air Force background, when he served as a second lieutenant at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., as part of Strategic Air Command.

"Your mission at Minot
Air Force Base is as important as ever in the demanding security environment that our nation faces today – and will undoubtedly face tomorrow," he told them. "I have every confidence in you and in the Air Force that has served this nation so well for over six decades."

Obama Taps Gates to Keep Serving as Defense Secretary

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 1, 2008 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will remain in the Pentagon's top post when President-elect Barack Obama's administration takes office. Obama, who also announced his other nominees for top national security posts today, cited the necessity of continuity as the United States fights wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as his rationale for asking Gates to stay.

In a statement, Gates said he is "deeply honored" that the president-elect asked him to continue serving.

"Mindful that we are engaged in two wars and face other serious challenges at home and around the world, and with a profound sense of personal responsibility to and for our men and women in uniform and their families, I must do my duty -- as they do theirs," Gates said in his statement. "How could I do otherwise?

"Serving in this position for nearly two years -- and especially the opportunity to lead our brave and dedicated soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and defense civilians -- has been the most gratifying experience of my life. I am honored to continue to serve them and our country, and I will be honored to serve President-elect Obama," Gates said.

Obama also announced his intent to nominate the following people to serve in his administration:

-- New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to be secretary of state;

-- Retired
Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones Jr. to be national security advisor;

-- Eric H. Holder to be attorney general;

-- Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to be secretary of
homeland security; and

-- Susan Rice to hold Cabinet rank as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Gates will not have to go through the Senate confirmation process. President George W. Bush nominated Gates as defense secretary in November 2006. The Senate approved the nomination, and he was sworn into office in December 2006 to succeed Donald H. Rumsfeld. Gates will be the first Cabinet officer to continue serving in an administration from a different political party.

Clinton has represented New York since her election in 2000 and has served on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She served as the chairwoman of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform in 1993. She has supported military action in Afghanistan, and has opposed recent actions in Iraq. In the Senate, she sponsored legislation to increase the size of the Army and has consistently worked to help military families. If confirmed, she will replace Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Jones retired in 2007 after serving as NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command. Before that assignment, he was the
Marine Corps commandant. Jones received his commission through Georgetown University in Washington in 1967 and served in Vietnam. He received the Silver Star for his actions there. As NATO commander, he led the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. As national security advisor, he will help to coordinate all aspects of U.S. power in the war on terror. He is currently chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States. If approved, he would replace Stephen Hadley.

Holder served as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. He also has served as a judge, a prosecutor and as a front-line lawyer in the
Justice Department. A native New Yorker, Holder received his law degree from Columbia University. If confirmed, he would succeed Michael Mukasey.

If confirmed, Napolitano would be responsible for the
Coast Guard as part of her portfolio as homeland security secretary. A lawyer, she served as Arizona's attorney general before being elected as governor in 2002. Napolitano would replace Michael B. Chertoff.

Rice served on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration as assistant secretary of state for African affairs. She will replace Zalmay Khalilzad in the U.N. post.

Medic Earns Three Purple Hearts During One Deployment to Iraq

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Dec. 1, 2008 - If
Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sims was a cat, he'd have only six lives left after his yearlong deployment to Iraq with the 1st Armored Division's Company B, 270th Armor Battalion, out of Fort Riley, Kan. "I was wounded three times in Iraq the last time I was there," Sims said of the deployment that began in January 2005.

Sims, a medic, was riding in a tracked ambulance between two M1-A1 Abrams tanks when a roadside bomb detonated. Shrapnel pierced the vehicle and penetrated his flak vest, puncturing his left lung.

He was evacuated to the hospital in Balad. He spent about three weeks recovering before returning to his unit, but it was only the first of three stays at the hospital.

"They know me there," he said with a chuckle.

Three months after he'd returned to duty, his unit was on a foot patrol when it started taking enemy mortar fire. One mortar landed near Sims.

"Shrapnel hit near my lower left leg, penetrating through the front lower part and coming out the back," he said. "[I] almost, almost lost that limb in that incident, but everything's fine now."

Again, Sims was transported to Balad, where he spent another four weeks recovering from his injuries before rejoining his unit to finish his tour.

Unfortunately, he would endure one more interruption before rotating back home.

It was about 4 a.m., and Company B was patrolling Main Supply Route
Tampa, one of the main roads in Iraq, when Sims, who was riding in an Abrams tank, started seeing flashes in the distance. He doesn't remember anything after calling in the attack, however.

"I took a sniper bullet – 7.62 mm – to the front of the helmet -- straight in front, almost right between the eyes," Sims said. The bullet fractured his neck and skull and knocked him unconscious.

"I fell into the turret of the tank," he said, "and when ... [it] turned to fire at the enemy, it broke my right femur."

That earned him a two-month stay in the Balad hospital. He said the care he received there was excellent, and he gave the men in his unit kudos for their part in his survival and recovery.

"I attribute a lot of my speedy recovery ... [to] the care that I received actually on site at the point of injury -- quick response from all the people that were there," he said, referring to the soldiers he'd trained in the new Combat Life Saver program. "The people that were actually treating me were people that I had trained. By the time I got to Balad, I was pretty much good to go. They just had to kind of patch me up."

Sims' last tour in Iraq may have resulted in three Purple Hearts, but he said he's not hesitant about returning.

"No, not at all," he said. "I think that it's a lot safer than when I was there. I think the time that I was there, it was right around the national election time, [and] it was really the peak of all the main [bomb] attacks.

"I think now, it's almost 100 percent turnaround," he added.

It's good he's not timid about returning. His current unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 15th Engineer Battalion based out of Schweinfurt, Germany, is certain to deploy at some time.

"We're trying to get all the equipment in and get this unit stood up, because it's the only construction battalion in Europe right now," Sims said. "So, we don't know exactly where we're going yet, but we know we're going to go somewhere."

Sims, who has served 10 years since enlisting right out of high school, recently re-enlisted indefinitely. He hopes to become a doctor or a physician assistant, he said, but he has his sights on one of the
Army's top spots if he remains in the Army as an enlisted soldier. He said he'd like to be the first medic to serve as sergeant major of the Army.

"As a medic, you get a broad spectrum of everything that's in the
Army," he added. "You can go to any type of unit, so you're more well-rounded, I think."

Sims and his wife call St. Charles, Mo., home.