Military News

Monday, August 31, 2009

California Guard Helps to Save Forests From Marijuana Growers

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. David J. Loeffler
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - The California National Guard is part of a 17-agency endeavor to protect the state's forests from destructive marijuana growers. "The environmental impacts of the [marijuana] gardens include complete removal of vegetation, toxic materials which poison and contaminate California's watersheds, and the death of wildlife," said Special Agent Russ Arthur of the U.S. Forest Service. "Many of these sites will never go back to their original state."

Operation Save Our Sierra, or S.O.S., is the battle plan. It involves more than 300 personnel from 17 local, state and federal agencies, including the California National Guard, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.

In eastern Fresno County in July, California National Guard counterdrug task force members entered a marijuana garden after a challenging hike through rough terrain framed by poison oak and thorny brush. Large patches of marijuana were woven into the natural landscape in an attempt to conceal it from helicopter surveillance.

The marijuana looked strangely out of place in the once-pristine forest. Its color, a lighter shade of green than the native flora, stood out against the surrounding vegetation. The patches of marijuana appeared healthy, lush and manicured, while the surrounding plant life seemed languid in the 106-degree heat, struggling to survive.

The marijuana growers had clear-cut many of the native plants to make room for the illegal crop. Large piles of manzanita had been hacked down and stacked near the gardens, a clear indicator that often gives away the location of a marijuana garden. The air was thick and redolent with the sticky sweet smell of ripe marijuana.

Dangling from 100-foot lines attached to hovering helicopters, two-man teams dropped into the garden. In seconds, the teams detached themselves and started cutting down the marijuana with machetes, acting in unison with the precision of a machine making its collective way down the hillside. The marijuana, once hacked and stacked, was loaded into a large net and lifted by helicopter to an alternate location to be destroyed.

"By coordinating investigations and sharing intelligence and information, federal, state and local agencies are reclaiming national treasures from these criminal organizations," said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, who toured the marijuana gardens with the Guard's counterdrug task force in July.

The patchwork of illegal growth in Fresno County was connected by intricately placed watering systems that stole water from local streams, rivers and aqueducts — water that should have nurtured native plants and animals.

Fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides — many of which are banned in the United States because of their toxic ingredients —also had been abandoned in the forest, where they could leech into the ground, resulting in toxic levels of chemicals in the soil, streams and rivers.

Streams and rivers can become so polluted with toxic chemicals that the water becomes devoid of oxygen, resulting in the deaths of organisms that live in the bodies of water. Algae blooms become rampant, water becomes stagnant and forest animals are forced to search elsewhere for water.

"I'm absolutely appalled at the damage in the gardens," said Army Brig. Gen. Kevin G. Ellsworth, Joint Staff director of the California National Guard. "I'm proud of our team. It's an essential part of the war on drugs."

Operation S.O.S. removed more than 30 miles of irrigation pipe, 17,000 pounds of garbage and 4,050 pounds of fertilizer from state and national forests in July. Nonetheless, it will be years before the sites are returned to their natural states, and the cost of restoration can exceed $10,000 per acre.

The operation also removed more than 400,000 marijuana plants valued at more than $1.1 billion, seized 32 weapons and made 88 arrests.

The growers of these gardens are not stereotypical peace-loving hippies who grow marijuana for medicinal purposes, officials said. A common theme of the operation is that the mission is not about medical marijuana.

Instead the growers, Drug Enforcement Administration officials, are mostly illegal immigrants smuggled into the United States from Mexico specifically to raise marijuana in the forests. Many growers spend the entire growing season, from April through October, in the gardens. They often are armed, and have been known to set up booby traps to protect the gardens. Recently, hikers, campers and hunters have stumbled upon illegal gardens and been threatened and even shot at by the growers, officials said.

In addition to supplying manpower to remove the marijuana gardens, the Guard's counterdrug task force has provided hundreds of hours of aerial support, intelligence-gathering, criminal analysis and photo interpretation for Operation S.O.S.

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. David J. Loeffler serves in the California National Guard public affairs).

DoD Establishes Suicide Prevention Task Force

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs announced today the names of 14 members who will serve on the Department of Defense Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide by Members of the Armed Forces.

The congressionally directed task force will address trends and causal factors, methods to update prevention and education programs, suicide assessment by occupation, suicide incident investigations, and protective measures for confidential information derived from investigations for the department.

"One service member suicide is too many and DoD is taking a proactive and comprehensive approach towards prevention, with efforts to address the stigma of psychological health issues, reduce barriers to care and research best practices," said Ellen Embrey, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. "The members of this task force have significant and varied experience in national suicide prevention, research, policy and clinical care that will play a critical role in guiding the Department of Defense in addressing this very serious issue."

The task force will operate within the Federal Advisory Committee Act guidelines as a subcommittee of the Defense Health Board, responsible to the Secretary of Defense, through the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs and the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

Membership consists of, DoD and non-DoD experts, including at least one representative each from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps and one family member with a background in working with military families.

The task force will present their findings and recommendations to the secretary of defense within twelve months. Following review by the secretary, the task force's report and recommendations will be sent to Congress.

The names and biographies of the task force members are available on the Military Health Care Web site at http://www.health.mil/dhb/subcommittees-tfpsmaf.cfm .

MILITARY CONTRACTS August 31, 2009

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Science Applications International Corp., Fairfield, N.J. is being awarded a maximum $500,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery, prime vendor contract for maintenance, repair and operations supplies. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Federal Civilian Agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with seven responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is August 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM500-04-D-BP24).

Graybar Electric Co., Inc., St. Louis, Mo. is being awarded a maximum $400,000,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery, prime vendor, maintenance, repair and operations contract. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and federal civilian agencies. The original proposal was Web solicited with six responses. This contract is exercising the fourth option year period. The date of performance completion is August 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM500-04-D-BP25).

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Stratford, Conn. is being awarded a maximum $7,902,698 firm fixed price, sole source contract for main rotor blades. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Navy. There was one proposal originally solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is December 31, 2012. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency, Philadelphia, Pa., (N00383-06-G-006F-THG6).

US Foodservice Oklahoma Division, Oklahoma City, Okla., is being awarded a maximum $32,506,048 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for full line food distribution. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army and Air Force. There were originally eight proposals solicited with three responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Oct. 29, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.,

AIR FORCE
InDyne, Inc., Reston, Va., was awarded a $168,100,565 modified contract for Eglin Test and Training Complex Range operation and maintenance of test and training areas and technical facilities to include test and training mission support, engineering support for range system design/modification/range configuration, and range support service to accomplish authorized range activities. At this time no funds have been obligated. Air Armament Center (AAC/PKE), Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA9200-05-C-0001).

InDyne, Incorporated, Reston Va., was awarded a $55,668,789 modified contract to provide a single contractor for range operations, communications and information services required to support the 30th Space Wing mission. At this time no funds have been obligated. 30C CONS/LGCZG, Vandenberg AFB, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04684-03-C-0050).

DTS Aviation Services, Incorporated , Forth Worth, Texas, was awarded a $43,556,472 (estimated) modified contract for maintenance of T-38C, T-6, and T-1A aircraft at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. At this time no funds have been obligated. 14 CPTS-CONS/LGC, Columbus AFB, Miss., is the contracting activity (FA3002-05-C-0016).

Tybrin Corp., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded a $37,382,944 modified contract for software engineering support of guided weapons systems evaluations, simulations, and other services supporting research and development for the principals and customers of the Air Armament Center. At this time no funds have been obligated. AAC/PKET, Eglin AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity (F08635-02-C-0034, P00051).

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Incorporated, Scottsdale, Az., was awarded a $37,101,525 contract for the Identification Friend or Foe Mode 5 top-down directed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and initiated to overcome security issues: identified with the Mark XII IFF system. At this time $3,430,574 has been obligated. CPSG/PK, San Antonio, Texas is the contracting activity (FA8307-09-D-0003).

Concert Business Group, Phoenix, Az., was awarded a $13,938,551, contract for the acquisition of packaged furniture to include comprehensive program management associated with the installation of turn-key furniture systems. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. HQ Air Force Reserve Center (AFRC/A7KA), Robins AFB, Ga., is the contracting activity (GS-28F-034T, D.O. FA6643-09-09-F-0051; FA6643-09-F-0052 and FA6643-09-F-0053).

Booz Allen & Hamilton, Incorporated, Herndon, Va., was awarded a $8,539,052 modified contract to meet the Department of Defense's information assurance and cyber security requirement in developing a new national initiative that is greatly expanding the scope, goals, and methodologies of existing IA-related programs. At this time, $3,868,599 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt AFB, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002).

Call Henry, Incorporated, Titusville, Fla., was awarded a $7,741,426 modified contract to support the launch operation support contract and provided maintenance, modification, and modernization for aging facility, property, and Western Range Support equipment to ensure successful performance during tests, operations and launch. At this time no funds have been obligated. 30th Space Wing contracting Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04610-04-C-0004; Mod. P00096).

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $7,250,000 modified contract to provide for software and hardware updates as required for the F-16 avionics test station located at the 46TH Test Squadron's Data Links Test Facility at Eglin AFB, Fla. At this time no funds have been obligated. Air Armament Center (AAC/PKE), Eglin AFB, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA9200-07-D-0154).

NAVY
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Rolling Meadows, Ill., is being awarded a $98,727,678 ceiling-priced indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract for the procurement of Expeditionary Litening Pods (LPODs), upgrades to existing pods, and integration of LPODs into AV-8B Harriers (domestic and allied), F/A-18 Hornets (domestic and FMS), EA-6B Prowlers, C-130 Hercules, and Air Force platforms, including related parts and services. In addition, this contract provides for associated engineering and technical support and technical data. Work will be performed in Rolling Meadows, Ill., and is expected to be completed in June 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $16,107,955 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0025).

General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Conn., is being issued a $30,866,589 modification under a previously awarded contract (N00030-08-C-0031) to add new procurement contract line item numbers to produce and install the NAVSEA ship alteration kits, for the SSP shipboard integration Increment 1, MK98 MOD 6/7 fire control system; conduct investigations and resolution of problems associated with TRIDENT I and TRIDENT II submarine launched ballistic missile programs, Ohio Class submersible ship guided nuclear requirements; and provide strategic weapon systems technical engineering support. This is follow-on work from the base contract. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., (68 percent); Silverdale, Wash., (14 percent); Kings Bay, Ga., (14 percent); North Kingstown, R.I., (4 percent), and work is expected to be completed Aug. 4, 2010. Contract funds in the amount of $1,250,415 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Navy's Strategic Systems Programs, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity.

Duke University, Durham, N.C., is being awarded a $19,580,506 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA-08-22) to provide pre-symptomatic detection and diagnosis of illness resulting from infectious pathogens in humans. This work is expected to result in a breakthrough in predictive testing for pathogen-mediated illness: a point-of-care device that can integrate clinical information and biological information to provide military and other field personnel probabilities for development of a pathogen-mediated illness within a prescribed time. This two-year contract includes no options. Work will be performed at Duke University, Durham, N.C. (88 percent); Retroscreen Virology LTD, London, U.K., (9.0 percent); the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., (2.5 percent) and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. (0.5 percent), and work is expected to be completed Aug. 30, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with proposals solicited via the Commerce Business Daily's Federal Business Opportunities website. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific is the contracting activity (N66001-09-C-2082).

Team Corp.*, Burlington, Wash., is being awarded a $16,174,807 firm-fixed-price contract for weapons dynamic test systems for the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) Research, Development, Acquisition, Test and Evaluation Facility, in compliance with base realignment and closure 2005, to include delivery and installation. In addition the contract includes system validation, testing and training. This dynamic test system will provide NAWCWD with the capability to replicate the dynamic environment weapons are subjected to throughout the weapon's life-cycle. Work will be performed in Burlington, Wash., (90 percent), and China Lake, Calif., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in August 2011. Contract funds in the amount of $16,174,807 will 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-C-0113).

The Hana Group Inc.*, Honolulu, Hawaii, is being awarded an $12,602,474 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N62478-07-D-2311) to exercise option two for regional security services at Commander Naval Region Hawaii, Pearl Harbor; Naval Station Pearl Harbor; Naval Magazine Lualualei; and Naval Communications Telecommunications Area Master Station Wahiawa. The work to be performed provides for, but is not limited to, entry control point (ECP) services such as identification checks, fixed vehicle inspections, commercial vehicle inspections, and emergency ECP closures; and roving guard services such as surveillance detection and mobile vehicle inspections. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $36,643,791. Work will be performed in Oahu, Hawaii, and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

Amee Bay, LLC*, Anchorage, Ala., is being awarded a $12,387,339 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the acquisition of engineering services, planning and scheduling, installation services and other support needed to accomplish equipment alterations/modifications shipboard. The required services will support and accomplish various levels of ship system installation and equipment modification ranging from component level upgrades through system level upgrades. Systems may include hull/structural, mechanical, electrical, and electronic components. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., (25 percent); San Diego, Calif., (15 percent); Mayport, Fla., (15 percent); Everett, Wash., (15 percent); Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, (15 percent); and Yokosuka, Japan, (15 percent), and is expected to be completed by August 2014. Contract funds in the amount of $350,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, Ship System Engineering Station, Philadelphia, Pa., is the contracting activity (N65540-09-D-0035).

Overland Corporation*, Dallas, Texas, is being awarded an $11,712,934 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of a rotor blade processing facility at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. Work will be performed in Corpus Christi, Texas, and is expected to be completed by May 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with five proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-09-C-0754).

BBN Technologies Corp., Cambridge, Mass., is being awarded a $10,988,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Broad Agency Announcement (BAA-09-11), to provide improved command and control computer network capabilities for tactical military units, allowing commanders the flexibility to assign network resources on the basis of the mission. This one-year contract includes two, one-year options, which, if awarded, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to an estimated $41,687,000. Work will be performed in Cambridge, Mass., and work is expected to be completed Aug. 30, 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Commerce Business Daily's Federal Business Opportunities web site, with 12 proposals received. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific is the contracting activity (N66001-09-C-2073).

Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GMBH, Neuenburg, Germany, is being awarded a $10,944,176 firm-fixed-price, delivery order under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-06-D-1020) for procurement of 65,479 units of grenade, 66mm, smoke screening IR, vehicle launched MK1 Mod 0, DODIC GG24. Work will be performed in Germany, and is expected to be completed by Sept. 11, 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with two proposals solicited and two offers received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Stronghold Engineering, Inc., Riverside, Calif., is being awarded $9,316,127 for firm-fixed price task order #0004 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-06-D-1057) for design and construction for whole bachelor quarters modernization, Building 3204 at Angelley Hall, Naval Station San Diego. The work to be performed provides for the renovation of three, three-story wings surrounding a detached common-use core building. Renovation includes upgraded interior housing units, new conduit runs; upgraded mechanical, electrical, plumbing, security, and fire protection systems. The renovated buildings will house 336 personnel. The contract also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $10,006,127. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by December 2010. Funds for this project are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Suffolk Construction Co., Inc., Boston, Mass., is being awarded a $7,480,059 firm-fixed price contract for design and construction of a waterfront operations small craft facility at the Naval Submarine Base New London. The work to be performed provides for the design and construction of a new waterfront operations small craft facility which includes administrative, training spaces, and maintenance shops. It also includes demolition of Buildings 79 and 110, relocation of the fuel tank, construction of a new guard house, and repairs to the small craft boat ramp. The contract also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $7,510,059. Work will be performed in Groton, Conn., and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 10 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-7001).

Stronghold Engineering, Riverside, Calif., is being awarded $7,279,124 for firm-fixed price task order #0005 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-06-D-1057) for the repair and communications and energy upgrade of Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) Building 2002 at Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport. The work to be performed provides for renovations that will bring Building 2002 into compliance with current building codes, seismic codes, health codes, and fire safety codes and also provides for BEQ communications and energy upgrade, installation of a communications and coaxial cable system and alternative solar energy system throughout the building. The contract also contains a planned modification which if issued would increase cumulative contract value to $8,667,718. Work will be performed in Bridgeport, Calif., and is expected to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $7,200,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-07-C-5432) to establish contract line item ceiling for the remainder of 2009 production support for the ESSM. Production support includes tasks needed to support missile production, which are not directly associated with the manufacture of missile hardware. These tasks include missile improvement, support equipment improvement, software engineering and improvement, reliability monitoring, system safety monitoring, QA, risk management, test equipment, parts control, obsolete materials, CM, PVI, manufacturing qualification, logistics impacts, and other activities needed to support the engineering of an effective ESSM missile for the NATO SEASPARROW Consortium. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., (45 percent); Australia, (11 percent); Andover, Mass., (10 percent); Germany, (8 percent); Canada, (7 percent); The Netherlands (6 percent); Norway (5 percent); Spain (3 precent); Camden, Ark. (2 percent); Denmark, (1 percent); Greece, (1 percent); and Turkey, (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Wesco Consultants, Limited Liability Co.*, Ridgecrest, Calif., is being awarded a $6,365,065 firm-fixed-price time and materials contract for maintenance and repair services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division's (NAWC WD's) machine shops. Services to be provided include upgrade, tear down, transportation, packaging and installation of machine tools and equipment; wood floor maintenance; and stocking and inventory support. The estimated level of effort is 26,195 man-hours. Work will be performed at NAWC WD, China Lake, Calif., (90 percent) and NAWC WD, Pt. Mugu, Calif., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in June 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under an electronic request for proposals as a 100 percent small business set-aside; one offer was received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-C-0126).

NCS Technologies, Inc., Manassas Va., is being awarded a $6,071,077 firm-fixed-price delivery order under previously awarded contract (W91QUZ-06-D-0009) for a quantity of 2,248 fully ruggedized laptops for the operational forces refresh. This delivery order includes logistics support requirements and 2 year extended warranty for a total of five years. Delivery of equipment is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 30, 2009, sixty days after receipt of order. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. A mini competition was conducted for this delivery order between eight contractors via posting to the Army Computer Hardware Enterprise Software and Solutions, Army Desktop and Mobile Computing contract holders, and four offers were received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Healy Tibbitts Builders, Inc., Aiea, Hawaii, is being awarded a $5,975,741 firm-fixed-price contract modification to increase the dollar value of task order #0016 under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N62472-04-D-1300) to dredge West Loch Channel for the T-AKE vessel at Naval Magazine, Pearl Harbor. The work to be performed under this modification provides for operational and physical changes mandated by the explosive safety submittal. The ESS provides for the protection of dredging and material handling personnel and also for the safety of people working nearby. After award of this modification, the total cumulative task order value will be $24,301,033. Work will be performed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and 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, Hawaii, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

Navy Researchers Work on Malaria Vaccine

By Christen McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - Researchers at the Naval Medical Research Center are testing a malaria vaccine officials hope will protect both troops and civilians in tropical and subtropical regions afflicted by the disease. "Every minute, there are about two to three people that will die from malaria in the world," said Navy Capt. (Dr.) Judy Epstein, director of clinical trials at the Naval Medical Research Center's U.S. Military Malaria Vaccine Program.

"It is a top priority for the military to develop a vaccine," she said to "Dot Mil Docs" Pentagon Web Radio listeners Aug. 27.

Malaria affects 300 million to 500 million people throughout the world and kills about 1.5 million people per year. It occurs in many tropical and subtropical countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. military forces are at great risk of developing malaria while deployed in endemic areas. Malaria caused more lost work days among U.S. military personnel during the 20th century than enemy fire in all conflicts in tropical regions combined, Epstein said.

The medical research center is conducting the first trial in humans of a vaccine known as PfSPZ, developed by the biotechnology company Sanaria Inc. in Rockville, Md. The trial, being conducted at both the Naval Medical Research Center and the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus, includes 104 volunteers, with 80 getting the vaccine and 24 serving as the control group. The investigators are looking at the safety, tolerability, genetic immunology and protective efficacy of the vaccine, Epstein said.

The process to create the vaccine uses mosquitoes that are infected with the parasite that causes malaria. The mosquitoes are irradiated, and the sporozoites -- cells that spread the disease -- are extracted. The vaccine is a whole-organism vaccine, using the entire parasite in a weakened form. In contrast, most malaria vaccines under development today consist of recombinant, or genetically engineered, proteins that are a part of the parasite, Epstein said.

The clinical trial tests escalating doses of vaccine to see how the participants react with each dose. When the vaccinations are complete, the participants are challenged with bites of infected mosquitoes.

"We feel that having a vaccine that could be given to troops prior to departure, and perhaps boosting before going overseas, would be tremendously useful," Epstein said. "If we develop safe and well tolerated vaccines, they could also be given to infants and have a large global impact having two benefits -- for both the military and the developing world.

"I feel extremely hopeful about this vaccine," she continued, "because it is based on the model of the irradiated sporozoite vaccine model, which is the gold standard.

It will take years and other follow-up trials before this vaccine may be available, Epstein said. "The most important thing now is to demonstrate safety and efficacy," she added.

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Mullen Congratulates New Jersey National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program Grads

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 29, 2009 - Navy Adm. Mike Mullen congratulated more than 100 high school graduates here who pursued their diploma through a New Jersey National Guard program. In a ceremony at the War Memorial here today, the 30th graduating class of the New Jersey National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy culminated 22 weeks of hard work and training by earning their high school diplomas.

The 105 youths made a decision to better their lives by joining the program and are now in a position to make a positive impact on society and in their communities, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in his keynote speech before the class and hundreds of proud family members.

"You have been through a tremendous amount in the past months, and I know you've been through a great deal before that," Mullen said. "Let this be only the beginning of what will be a life full of achievements and accomplishments."

Since 1994, the New Jersey program has helped more than 2,500 troubled-teens transition into young adults. The three-phase program begins with a two-week residential assessment phase at Fort Dix, N.J., followed by a 20-week phase where cadets learn life skills, career development, leadership, community service and physical training. They earn their high school diplomas at the end of Phase II.

"There's probably nothing more significant, graduates, in your lives than the changes that have occurred over the past few months," the admiral said. "Continuing to change and grow is difficult, [but] you've learned a lot about yourselves. You can succeed."

The opportunities that follow participating in a program such as this pave way for a better future, he added.

"I can remember being about your age and not having much of a clue about what life would bring, but underpinned with good programs like this, it has great potential to bring good things," he said. "You're now in a position to be able to take advantage of what you've learned here."

For many of the teenagers, it was the challenge program or jail. But after participating in the program, the program's director, ensured the parents in the audience their son or daughter will return home better than when they left.

"Today we give you your kids back, and I think they're much improved models," retired Army brigadier general and program director John Nunn said. "I think you'll see that by the time you get home tonight."

After today, the cadets now move on to the final phase of the program. They'll return home but are assigned a community mentor who's also a graduate of the program. After a year of being mentored and volunteering, the cadets have completed the entire program.

Many will join the active duty military, some will joint the New Jersey Army or Air National Guard and others will attend community college, but all will more than likely continue improving their lives, Nunn said.

Guard's Youth ChalleNGe Turns At-risk Youth's Lives Around

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 29, 2009 - When Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presided today at the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe graduation in New Jersey, he witnessed a rite of passage being shared by about 8,000 at-risk youth across the country every year. All came to their state's Youth ChalleNGe program as high school dropouts identified as being at risk for substance abuse, pregnancy, delinquency and criminal activity.

All faced the same rude awakening when they showed up for the first day of a 22-week resident phase that starts the program: no cell phones or electronic games, "O-dark-30" wakeups for physical training, mandatory drug screenings and not a single minute of unstructured free time from sunup to sundown.

But for more than 90,000 cadets who have graduated from the program since Congress first authorized it in 1993, those sacrifices pale when compared to the possibilities the program provides.

Sixteen-year-old Haley Tolbert recently joined the Illinois National Guard's Lincoln ChalleNGe Academy, desperate to turn her life around. She had failing grades and was getting into trouble at school. She recently had moved out of her house to escape constant arguments with her parents.

"I didn't know of any other way to get my life back in order," she said.

Tolbert is among 378 cadets wrapping up their first week of Lincoln ChalleNGe at the former Chanute Air Force Base complex in Rantoul, Ill. It's the single largest Youth Challenge site, and one of the biggest of 33 programs conducted in 28 states and Puerto Rico. The Illinois program recently graduated 303 cadets from the resident program.

Richard Norris, Lincoln ChalleNGe's lead instructor, said he's amazed by the huge changes he sees in young people who elect to participate in the voluntary program.

"They've come here having made a decision that they need to change their lives," said Norris, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who's been with the Illinois program for 16 years. "They have made a commitment, and we have made a commitment to them, too."

The National Guardsmen and retired military members who run the program expose cadets to a steady diet of military-based training and supervised work experience that centers on core program values: citizenship, academics, life-coping skills, community service, health and hygiene, job skills training, leadership and "followership," and physical training.

Army Maj. Gen. William Enyart, Illinois' adjutant general, said the cadre's tireless efforts bring many cadets something they've never experienced.

"They instill the cadets with the discipline that up to that point has been lacking in their lives, and give them back those core values that can guide them in making a success life," Enyart said. "They are incredibly dedicated, incredibly hardworking, and devote countless hours of time to ensure that these cadets are successful."

Norris cited the second phase of the program, a year of mentoring, as a critical follow-on that builds on cadets' accomplishments during the resident phase. Cadets select their own mentors: a teacher, clergy member, police, firefighter or other adult community member. The Youth ChalleNge cadre offers training to help them be effective mentors.

"It really doesn't matter what we're able to do with these cadets if they finish the program and fall back into their old patterns," Norris said. "Mentors provide the continuity that is key in ensuring their success."

Eighteen-year-old Brandon Walton, another new cadet in the Lincoln ChalleNGe program, already has a pretty clear idea of how he'll measure his own success. Walton called the program his "last shot" in getting his life back on track. He was a high achiever in high school, earning a 3.5 grade point average, before he dropped out to help to support his financially struggling family.

Fast-forwarding 22 months ahead, he sees himself graduating from high school, making a gesture to every member of his family to thank them for what they've given him, then joining the Navy or Marine Corps.

"I have big goals and aspirations in life," he said.

Although Walton hopes to one day join the military, he's an exception. Only about 14 percent of the Lincoln ChalleNGe graduates do – a statistic Enyart said he's perfectly comfortable with. Youth ChalleNGe isn't designed as a recruiting program, he explained. It's just a way for the Guard to support the communities in which it operates.

"We view this as an important element of what we do for the community," he said. "We are a community-based organization, and by giving back to the community this way, we're helping build a stronger community and a stronger society."

The states appear to agree, with many seeking to expand their programs despite ever-tightening budgets. States pay 40 percent of the program cost, and the National Guard Bureau picks up the rest, about $93 million a year, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Anthony Kissik, director of the Guard Bureau's youth development office.

Air Force Col. Willie Cobetto, federal coordinator for Lincoln ChalleNGe, called the Illinois' legislature's commitment of $38 million to build a new facility for the program a sign of the value it places on the program.

"They recognize that this is a program that works," he said. "This program is about seeing the kids change, and making a difference and knowing they are on the right track."

FEEDBACK: Send your comments on this story to donna.miles@osd.mil

Research Group Earns Kudos for Military Employee Support

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - When reserve-component troops are called away for military duties, their civilian employers work hard to pick up the slack in their absence. That is especially true for the Mid American Kidney Stone Association, a research group of only 10 staff members in Kansas City, Mo. However, the small association gladly makes do and continues to support its part-time troops despite the heavy workload and small team, said Army Reserve Col. Harold DeLaughder, a citizen-soldier and Mid American nurse.

"When one of its employees has to perform military duties away from their civilian job, it is a strain on the company," DeLaughder said. "But they still go above and beyond in their support of their employees."

Because of that support, Defense Department officials will recognize the association with a 2009 Department of Defense Freedom Award for being one of the nation's most supportive employers of National Guard and Reserve troops.

Despite its small staff, DeLaughder said, Mid American supervisors always have encouraged him to seek required and advanced military training to enhance his military career. The company has helped to pay tuition for his bachelor's and master's degrees that the Army didn't cover. And when military employees are activated for longer than 12 months, the company pays the difference between their regular and military salaries, he said.

The research company also continues health care and dental benefits for the families and encourages other area medical facilities to offer the same support to their National Guard and Reserve employees, he added.

DeLaughder has been called up for active duty several times, including for two Iraq deployments, a flood and a hurricane. All of his mobilizations took place on short notice and without complaint or resentment from his employer. As one of only two full-time registered nurses at the association, DeLaughder's absences are not easy to accommodate, but his colleagues understand, he said.

"I know it is difficult for my employer when I'm gone," he said. "I provide considerable expertise and clinical support to the physicians at our facilities. [But they] understand the needs and demands of the military."

DeLaughder has devoted more than 20 years to the Army National Guard and Army Reserve while working with the association, and said he's never feared losing his job because of his military service.

"I have no doubt that I work for the best employer in the country," DeLaughder said. "This type of reassurance from an employer is welcomed and crucial to my continued service. No one has been more supportive of national security through employer support than the Mid American Kidney Stone Association."

ESGR was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve-component members and their civilian employers, and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment.

Defense Program Addresses Contaminants, Health Risks

By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - A Defense Department program is being recognized for identifying chemicals the department uses that have emerging environmental and health risks and finding alternatives to using them. The Emerging Contaminants Program has been nominated for an "Innovations in Government Award" by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

"The judges were certainly impressed that [the department] was taking action ahead of a regulatory requirement," said Shannon Cunniff, director of the Pentagon's chemical and material risk management directorate, which runs the program, during an Aug. 26 webcast of "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military" on Pentagon Web Radio.

The program acts as a funneling operation for the directorate's focus on reducing solid waste and analyzing water and chemical use. The strategy starts with a scan of scientific journals and a simple question about any chemical of concern, Cunniff said: "Is there something about the chemical that would affect human health or the environment and [the Defense Department's] operations?" If the answer is "yes," she explained, staff members are consulted and some chemicals are placed on a watch list for analysis by panels of scientists, engineers and subject matter experts.

"We use these experts to rank the risks based on their likelihood of occurring and the severity," Cunniff said, adding that not all contaminants are toxic or relevant to the department. "What we are looking at is any emerging contaminant that has potential high risks or impacts to the [Defense Department] mission," she said. "So if we don't use them, we're not interested."

Since the Emerging Contaminants Program began in 2006, several investigations have escalated chemicals to an action list, Cunniff said.

"We've had a couple of pretty significant policy memos come out of our office," she added. "One [was] on the minimization of the use of hexavalent 'chrome' -- a known carcinogen that was the one that the 'Erin Brockovich' film was made about – and we also did one on nano materials." Program findings about hexavalent chromium, an anti-corrosive agent, Cunniff said, have had broad impact due its wide use in the department.

"We were able to convince even the corrosion folks that it made a lot of sense to move away from hex chrome where we could; and this is because we found out in our analyses that the [Defense Department] had invested millions of dollars in alternatives to hex chrome, but they weren't necessarily being adopted, even though they had been proven out as feasible alternatives," she said.

Program officials also studied perchlorate. "In that case, it was public concern over the chemical - even before there was a toxicity level established by [the Environmental Protection Agency] - that caused us to limit training on two of our ranges," Cunniff said.

To anticipate federal regulation related to greenhouse gases, sulfur hexafluoride also was selected for thorough analysis. "It's an industrial chemical with a global warming potential that is 23,000 times that of carbon dioxide, which we are more used to hearing about," she said. "So we knew that [the Defense Department] uses it, we looked at that and we are in the process of developing risk-management measures."

Department stakeholders are involved throughout the analysis process, Cunniff said. The program's list of chemicals being studied is available to the public via the department's Defense Environmental and Network Information Exchange site.

"We put information about the basic reasons why it's on the list, how does [the Defense Department] use it, and then once we have those risk management options developed and endorsed by the governance council, we put those out there on the Web, too," she said.

Due to the global nature of manufacturing, Cunniff said, the toughest challenge is figuring out what materials are being used in equipment. "A part may be made in Zanzibar and then shipped over to Mozambique and added into some other product that then goes over to Brazil and finally makes its way into Kansas, and eventually onto a plane," she explained.

Cunniff credits the program's expert panels with carrying out thorough investigations. "Our process is only as good as the diversity and depth of the scientists we bring into it," she said.

(Judith Snyderman works for the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Conference to Deliver Latest in Military Family Care

By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 28, 2009 - The Defense Department's first joint family readiness conference in nearly a decade will take place next week in Chicago, the director of the Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth said. The conference is expected to draw about 1,500 helping professionals from throughout the world and will offer information and resources as well as the latest research affecting military family care, Barbara Thompson said.

"We are really excited about the depth and breadth of information that will be available at the conference," Thompson said. "We expect the conference to reaffirm, rekindle and to re-energize -- reaffirm the importance of the work the conference attendees do each day as they support and assist our families.

"We know that the high-operational tempo has had an impact on our helping professionals, too, so we want the conference to rekindle their energy and passion," she continued. "And we want them to return to their home stations re-energized and ready to continue their support."

Participants -- who represent each military service and active and reserve components -- serve military members and their families in professions such as family support, children and youth, psychological health, health care, education and the chaplaincy.

Conference topics are wide-ranging to address the needs of the multidisciplinary audience, Thompson said. Each day is packed with workshops and sessions on topics such as deployment and redeployment support, exceptional family members, youth support, relationship building, education, spouse employment, personal finance and health care and psychological services.

The keynote speakers are Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army, and his wife, Christi. The conference also will feature a town-hall session with senior enlisted advisors from each military service.

"Today there is a tremendous groundswell of support for military families resulting from an increased interest in and awareness of the sacrifices military families make," Thompson said. "In [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] and across the services, we've been working hard to build programs and support services that are responsive to the needs of our military families.

"We look to the conference as a time to solidify awareness of these programs, to improve communication across disciplines and provide an opportunity for professional growth and development," she said.

Thompson said the conference will be one of three this year that will focus on family readiness. The next conference will focus on the needs of families with young children, and the third will address support to families with special needs.

American Forces Press Service will cover the family readiness conference for Defense Department news and the department's "Family Matters" blog.

MILITARY CONTRACTS August 28, 2009

ARMY
Oshkosh Corporation, Oshkosh, Wisc., was awarded on August 26, 2009 a $ 280,919,717 5 year firm-fixed-price contract to purchase 2,568 Medium Tactical Vehicles plus Ordering Tear (OY) 01 Program Support, OY 01 data, additional care and storage, component first article test, first production vehicle inspection test, production verification test, live test family medium tactical vehicles winch, armor B-kits, and federal retail tax on subject contract. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, Wisc. with an estimated completion date of Apr. 30, 2010. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. TACOM LCMC Warren, AMSCC-TAC-ATB, Warren, Mich. Is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0159)

NAVY
PAE Government Services, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., is being awarded a $47,502,557 modification under a previously awarded cost reimbursement, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N33191-07-D-0207) to exercise Option 2 for base operating support services at Camp Lemonier and forward operating locations, i.e., Manda Bay. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $211,375,389. Work will be performed in Djibouti and Kenya, Africa, and is expected to be completed by September 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Europe and Southwest Asia, Naples, Italy, is the contracting activity.

Atlantic Electric, LLC*, N. Charleston, S.C., is being awarded a $14,909,128 firm-fixed-price contract for construction to repair and replace airfield lighting at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans. The work provides for the demolition and replacement of runway lights, guidance signs, taxiway lights with LED, transformers/ pads, all new electrical conduits and circuits, main 5kv feed, control panels, threshold lights, wave off lights, handholds, vaults, helipad lighting system and wind socks. The proposed new construction will also consist of repaving shoulders on Runway 4-22, Runway 14-32, Taxiways A, B, J & K along with adjacent shoulder areas for the purpose of providing positive drainage runoff. Portions of some runway and taxiway areas themselves will require demolition and replacement. Work will be performed in New Orleans, La., and is expected to be completed by April 2011. Funds for this project are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with four proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-09-C-0762).

Anderson Drace Joint Venture*, Gulfport, Miss., is being awarded a $14,453,279 firm-fixed-price construction contract for construction of a dormitory at Keesler Air Force Base. Work will be performed in Biloxi, Miss., and is expected to be completed by June 2011. Funds for this project are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with eight proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-09-C-0770).

The Haskell Company, Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded an $11,599,400 firm-fixed-price contract to design and build a headquarters building for United States Joint Forces Command at Naval Support Activity, Norfolk. The multi-story building will contain administrative areas, space for commercial food service vendors, open storage/secret, one sensitive compartmented information facility, conference rooms, data processing areas, storage, and an emergency generator. The contract also contains three unexercised options, which if exercised, would increase the cumulative contract value to $16,480,700. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by January 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with 13 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-5093).

Tektronix, Inc., Beaverton, Ore., is being awarded a $10,750,000 firm-fixed-price requirements contract for manufacture of oscilloscopes to support the general purpose electronic test equipment weapons system. Work will be performed at Beaverton, Ore., and work is expected to be completed by August 2014. Contract funds will not expire before the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured, with eleven proposals solicited and three offers received. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00104-09-D-D014).

Stronghold Engineering Inc., Riverside, Calif., is being awarded $9,955,127 for firm-fixed-price task order #0006 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-06-D-1057) for design and construction of whole bachelor quarters modernization, Buildings 14 and 15, at Naval Air Station Lemoore. The work provides for the design and construction to repair existing bachelor enlisted quarters, converting 130 rooms from 2+0 to 1+1E bachelor housing standard. The 1+1E module will feature two private sleeping rooms with closet, a shared bathroom, kitchenette, an area for stackable washer and dryer, and telephone, internet, and cable TV capability in each private room. The planned modification is for the associated furniture, fixtures and equipment necessary for a complete usable facility. The task order also contains one planned modification, which if issued would increase cumulative task order value to $11,355,127. Work will be performed in Lemoore, Calif., and is expected to be completed by January 2011. Funds for this project are provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

CDWG Government Inc., Vernon Hills, Ill., is being awarded a $9,861,119 firm-fixed-price delivery order under previously awarded contract (W91QUZ-06-D-0003) for a quantity of 10,404 General Purpose Laptops for the Operational Forces refresh and includes Logistics Support Requirements (LSR), and 2 year extended warranty for a total of five years. Delivery of equipment is scheduled to be completed by Sept. 27, 2009, thirty days after receipt of order. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. A mini competition was conducted for this delivery order between eight contractors via a posting to the Army Computer Hardware Enterprise Software and Solutions, Army Desktop and Mobile Computing contract holders, and six proposals were received. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

THR Enterprises, Inc.*, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded $9,357,000 for firm-fixed price task order #0005 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract for the construction of a child development center at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek. The child development center facility will support 305 children. The task order also contains two unexercised options, which if exercised would increase the cumulative task order value to $9,474,000. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by February 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Five proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-06-D-6009).

F and T Joint Venture*, Prospect Heights, Ill., is being awarded $6,850,645 for firm-fixed-price task order #0002 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N69450-08-D-1297) for renovation of a fitness center at Naval Air Station Meridian. The work provides for an addition to the existing fitness center to include a new area for aerobics and two racquetball courts; installation of a complete fire protection system; replacement of the roof; replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and extension of HVAC service to the existing basketball court area; renovation of the existing restroom, shower and locker areas and upgrade electrical and data circuits and demo/construction to meet Anti-Terrorism Force Protection requirements; design-build construction of a standalone pool facility which includes pool, decking, fencing, splash pad, locker rooms and bath facilities, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, pool mechanical and chemical storage; resurfacing and striping of two tennis courts, and installation of a jogging track. Work will be performed in Meridian, Miss., and is expected to be completed by March 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Three proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY
Hess Corporation, Woodbridge, N.J. is being awarded a maximum $21,291,328 firm fixed price contract for electricity. Other location of performance is Newport, Rhode Island. Using service is Navy. There were 50 proposals originally solicited with five responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is June 30, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-09-D-8027).

AIR FORCE
Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation, Integrated Systems Sector, San Diego, Calif., was awarded a $13,423,877 modified contract for Global Hawk engineering, manufacturing and development activities to develop replacement of the current engine turbine with its commercial variant. At this time, $6,313,284 has been obligated. 303 AESG/SYK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the contracting activity. (F33657-01-C-4600, P00316)

Harris Technical Services Corporation, Colorado Springs, Co., was awarded a $10,000,000 modified contract for operations, maintenance, and logistics support to Air Force Space Command's 50th Space Wing. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. 50 CONS/LGCZW, Schriever AFB, Calif. is the contracting activity. (FA2550-08-C-8011,P00032)

Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio was awarded a $9,227,662 modified contract to conduct studies and analysis required to protect Air Force and Department of Defense personnel and based against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear hazards. At this time, $743,961 has been obligated. 55th Contracting Squadron, Offutt AFB, Ne. is the contracting authority. (SP0700-00-d-3180)

BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., Rockville, Md., was awarded an estimated $7,127,725 modified contract to support the Instrumentation Radar Support Program and provides serviceable radar components and subsystems and technical field support for instrumentation radar of the C and X band families located ibn25 ranges in the United States and in five foreign countries (United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Germany, and Australia). At this time no funds have been obligated. 45 CONS/LGCZR, Patrick AFB, Fl., is the contracting activity. (FA2521-07-C-0009, P00117)

DEFENSE INFORMATION SERVICE
OPNET Analysis, Inc., Bethesda, MD, was awarded a $7,518,206.16, firm-fixed-price contract consisting of one one-year base period and four 1-year option periods. The solicitation was issued as an other-than-full-and-open competitive action pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1). One solicitation with one amendment was issued and posted on FedBizOps with one offer submitted in response to the posting. Performance will be at the Defense Information Systems Agency National Capital Region (Arlington VA) and is for OPNET software support services. OPNET Analysis, Inc. is a large business. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, National Capital Region is the contracting activity (HC1047-09-C-4020).

Kennedy Burial Steeped in Military, Personal Symbolism

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 28, 2009 - Twenty-six years ago, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy received a dire letter from a member of his Massachusetts constituency. A poor Boston woman with flagging health was pregnant with her first child. Unable to afford health care, her letter was a plea for the coverage she desperately needed. Kennedy personally responded.

"She might not have even had kids," Army Sgt. John Kenney said of his mother. "I might not be here today if it wasn't for him."

As Kenney narrates the circumstances surrounding the "high-risk" birth he survived, he crosses his arms and bears a tattoo with "Boston" scrawled in block letters across his right forearm. But tomorrow, the sergeant's ink homage will be obscured by the sleeves of his Army dress uniform, his hands covered with white gloves.

Kenney, a member of an elite team of military members, will lay his hometown hero's remains to rest at Arlington National Cemetery here.

"When I heard he was being buried down here, my first thought was: 'I have to be on that team,'" he said.

Despite any sense of personal connection or the prominence associated with the senator, Kenney and other members of the "casket team" assigned to overseeing the senator's remains from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., agree that their focus on their mission will be unwavering when duty calls.

This level of precision is customary throughout the military traditions will be evident throughout ceremonies honoring Kennedy, as the services join the nation in bidding farewell to the "Lion of the Senate."

Splashed on newspaper front pages across the country today were images of steadfast servicemember pall bearers leading Kennedy's flag-draped casket to a procession that departed yesterday from Hyannis Port, Mass., where the senator succumbed to his battle with brain cancer Aug. 25. The procession then traveled to Boston, where Kennedy will lie in repose until his funeral Mass and burial here.

Kennedy's coffin will arrive tomorrow afternoon at Andrews Air Force Base, where Kenney and the seven other members of the team will prepare the casket for a motorcade bound for Arlington National Cemetery. At the cemetery, a separate casket team and its commanding officer will assume responsibility. Teams are jointly composed of members of each military branch, with Army members hailing from the the 3rd Infantry Regiment, or "Old Guard."

The senator's coffin will be enshrouded in a U.S. flag, with the blue field over his left shoulder. The custom began in the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when a flag was used to cover the dead as they were taken from the battlefield on a caisson.

Kennedy's service in the Army and his tenure as an elected official made him eligible for burial at the nation's most hallowed military cemetery. But Kennedy's contribution to the U.S. military endured long after he left the Army.

The senator was a vocal champion of legislation such as the Goldwater-Nichols act, which vastly reorganized the armed forces as a joint structure, and of military pay reforms, which ushered in the most comprehensive reforms of the military and defense establishment since the end of World War II.

Graveside military honors will include the firing of three volleys each by seven servicemembers. This commonly is confused with an entirely separate honor, the 21-gun salute. But the number of individual gun firings in both honors evolved the same way. The three volleys came from an old battlefield custom. The two warring sides would cease hostilities to clear their dead from the battlefield, and the firing of three volleys meant that the dead had been properly cared for and the side was ready to resume the battle.

In keeping with tradition, an Army bugler will play "Taps," which originated in the Civil War with the Army of the Potomac. Union Army Brig. Gen. Daniel Butterfield didn't like the bugle call that signaled soldiers in the camp to put out the lights and go to sleep, and worked out the melody of "Taps" with his brigade bugler, Pvt. Oliver Wilcox Norton. The call later came into another use as a figurative call to the sleep of death for soldiers.

In a final gesture, the surviving members of Kennedy's family will receive the flag that draped the senator's coffin.

As with all military burials in which he's participated in the past two years, Kenney said he is striving to achieve technical perfection during the ceremony.

"We try to get it so the family says, 'I'm so proud how they honored our loved one,'" he said. "We go into doing the same thing we do with every funeral, and that's to give them their last honors."

But in a moment of introspection, Kenney revealed the personal symbolism underlying tomorrow's ceremony.

"It feels like it's come full circle," he said. "He helped me get here, and I'm going to see him out." (To comment on this article or if you have questions, e-mail John J. Kruzel at John.Kruzel@osd.mil.)

Navy Announces Delay of Environmental Impact Statement for East Coast Landing Field Sites

The Navy announced today that it will delay the expected release of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that examines five sites in Virginia and North Carolina for an outlying landing field (OLF) to support training for aircraft stationed at and transient to Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana and Naval Station Norfolk.

The environmental planning which would lead to a decision to establish an OLF has been a challenging process. Various delays have pushed the OLF timeline to the point that it will now coincide with the commencement of the EIS process for homebasing of the F-35C Navy Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). As NAS Oceana is the East Coast master jet base and the home for the F/A-18 C/D aircraft, the Navy will likely consider whether it should be identified as a potential candidate site for the JSF.

Including JSF data in the OLF EIS will ensure the Navy incorporates all relevant factors in the analysis in a fiscally responsible manner. The National Environmental Policy Act process will inform the Navy and provide the public access to all information necessary to understand and comment upon the potential environmental effects of the proposed action.

The Navy has been exploring the development of an OLF since 2000 and will continue to work closely with the Congress, state and local officials, and the public to determine the best possible site. The Navy will continue to fully consider environmental impacts and remain transparent throughout the process.

Media may direct queries to the U.S. Fleet Forces command (757) 836-3600.

Guardsman Lauds Employer for Military Support

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 28, 2009 - The past five years have been "the most exciting, dynamic and rewarding" of Brad Sams' professional career, not because of his success as an attorney, but because of the military opportunities his employer has enabled him to pursue, the Air National Guard major said.

"They create a culture that celebrates my involvement and service to this nation, its ideals, its dreams for a better world," Sams said of his employer, the Marks, O'Neil, O'Brien and Courtney law firm in Wilmington, Del.

The firm is recognized as one of the nation's most supportive employers of National Guard and Reserve troops, and was recently announced as one of this year's 15 recipients of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the government's highest honor given to employers for outstanding support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

Sams was born in Kentucky but spent his childhood in Ontario, Canada, with dreams of serving in the U.S. military, he said. He vacationed in Kentucky and Cincinnati every year as a youth and decided to move to the area permanently when he was 20 to attend Ohio State University, he added. He also enlisted in the Ohio Air National Guard and later was commissioned in Delaware's Air National Guard.

"Ever since I was a small child, vacationing every year in the Cincinnati/Kentucky area, where all my extended family lives, I wanted to join the U.S. military in some capacity and serve my nation," he said.

Between service in the Ohio and Delaware Air National Guards, Sams has accrued more than 20 years of military service. But the most gratifying of those years has come with the support of his current employer, he said.

"The work environment I enjoy every day leaves no doubt regarding the patriotism of the firm's partners and my colleagues," he said. "This has been the most exciting, dynamic and rewarding period of my professional career."

Sams has been called away for military duty an average of five weeks a year since he's been with the law firm, he said. And although the time away may not seem like much, 25 weeks of absence in five years can be a challenging load for a small, 23-person law firm. While Sams is away for military training and school, it takes time from several other lawyers and paralegals to pick up the slack, he added.

"Leaving for extended periods of time each year has its challenges in terms of coordinating personal and professional responsibilities," he explained. "The ease with which [the law firm] and all the staff allows me to transition back and forth removes any burdens and provides me with a level of support unparalleled. Even other deployed members are amazed when I share with them."

Sams and his family receive full health care, dental and life insurance benefits as well as pay and vacation compensation from his law firm while he's activated. The firm's support of the military extends beyond Sams and the one other Guardsman it employs. The firm is extremely active in its advocacy of all military members, he said.

About two years ago, Sams got his office involved in Delaware's "Stockings for Soldiers" program. Since then, his firm has donated financial support and volunteer hours to the program, which provides toiletries and supplies to deployed troops, he said.

"It's just another amazing piece in [the firm's] establishment of a culture that is completely devoted to those who serve -- not just to me as an employer, but also all those members unseen overseas -- despite having no personal military connections themselves," he said.

"I am honored and privileged to serve my country as a uniformed member," Sams added. "I am equally honored and privileged, indeed blessed, to have stumbled upon an employer who takes service to country as seriously and vigorously as I do."

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve-component members and their civilian employers, and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment. It is the lead Defense Department organization for this mission.

Navy Historian Traces Rise of Piracy

By Judith Snyderman
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 28, 2009 - Pirates often are in the news for their criminal activities at sea, but their antics are far from new. Pirates have been around since man first took to the high seas, and a type of sea raider known as a privateer made a mark between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Michael Crawford, a senior Navy historian, traced the rise of privateering and touched on strategies to combat modern pirates during an Aug. 24 "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable.

"A privateer is a private man of war who has a license from his sovereign government to attack the ships belonging to citizens of a country with which he is at war," Crawford said. "If he does capture an enemy ship, he has to go through all the legal requirements; he has to bring the ship into port and have it tried in an admiralty court."

Crawford traced the rise of privateering to the 15th century, when members of the merchant marine appealed to their kings after losing property in attacks at sea. The monarchs issued them letters of "marque and reprisal," giving them permission to retaliate and recoup their losses.

The use of privateers eventually expanded from peacetime to wartime, Crawford said. "The kings realized they could take advantage of these private merchant men who had armed ships to supplement their navies."

Privateers played a key role in the War of 1812, he said. Crawford estimates that the U.S. State Department issued a few thousand privateer ship commissions during the conflict with activity centered around Boston and Salem, Mass., and in Baltimore. The Baltimore privateers used highly maneuverable schooners and deployed them in pairs, Crawford said.

"One of these Baltimore clippers would go off and try to distract the British warships that were guarding the convoy of merchant men, and while that privateer was occupying the protecting ships, the other privateer would swoop in onto the merchant men and try to pick off as many of them as it could," he explained.

As a result, Crawford said, "the attack on Baltimore was, in large part, because the British hated the city for its role in sending out the privateers, which were actually doing a lot of damage to British commerce."

International conventions drafted in the 19th century effectively ended the recognition of privateering as a legitimate form of warfare. However, pirates continue to attack commercial and naval ships and to threaten regional security.

On Aug. 26, Navy officials reported that Somali pirates aboard a hijacked ship fired at, but did not hit, a Navy helicopter from the USS Chancellorsville. Somali pirates hijacked the Taiwanese-flagged Win Far vessel in April and have since used it as a "mother ship" to conduct attacks, including an attack on the U.S.-flagged Maersk-Alabama in the Indian Ocean south of Garacad, Somalia.

Meanwhile, Dutch Navy Commodore Pieter Bindt, commander of the European Union counter-piracy task group, visited the Combined Task Force 151 flagship USS Anzio at sea earlier this week to discuss counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

About 30 ships from 17 nations are taking part in missions to deter, disrupt and suppress acts of piracy off the Somalia coast.

"Piracy is a threat to the security of all nations," Navy Rear Adm. Scott Sanders, task force commander, said. "We are committed to continuing operations with our naval counterparts to create a lawful maritime order and deter acts of piracy activity here."

The strategies used to fight privateers in centuries past still hold true today, Crawford said.

"One is you can't fight pirates with large warships. You have to have ships that have shallow drafts that can go in and chase the pirates close to shore," he explained. "And the other thing we learned is that it's best to hit the pirates in their shore facilities. It's easier to stop their depravations ashore than it is to do it on the high seas."

(Judith Snyderman works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Proposed Leave Rule Would Provide for Warrior Care

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - Defense Department federal employees could receive up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a military family member injured in the line of duty if an Office of Personnel Management proposal is adopted. The proposal would allow eligible federal employees to take 26 "administrative work weeks" provided for under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for a servicemember wounded in the line of duty, OPM officials explained during a telephone conference call.

The provision would extend to families of National Guard members or reservists injured while on active duty, explained Jerry Mikowicz, OPM deputy associate director for pay and leave administration.

To qualify, the federal employee must be the spouse, child, parent, or next of kin of the servicemember declared medically unfit to serve, he said.

The OPM proposal also would allow agencies to advance up to 30 days of sick leave to federal workers who care for wounded military family members.

OPM also has recommended other sick-leave regulation changes to help agencies better plan for outbreaks of pandemic influenza or other serious communicable diseases.

The proposed rule would allow for agencies to advance up to 13 days of sick leave to care for a family member who has been exposed to a serious communicable disease and who health authorities say would jeopardize others' health. Federal employees also could receive up to 30 days of advanced sick leave if they are exposed to or stricken by a communicable disease that could be further spread in the workplace, Mikowicz said.

The OPM proposals were published in yesterday's Federal Register, and the public will have 60 days to comment on them.

OPM officials will review the comments before issuing a final rule, which will proceed through the regulatory process required before it is implemented, Mikowicz said.

New GI Bill Will Heighten Professional Work Force

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - More college-educated professionals will enter the next generation's professional work force as a result of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said this week at the American Legion's 91st National Convention in Louisville, Ky. Shinseki lauded the organization's efforts in advocating the new legislation, just as it fought for the original GI Bill more than 65 years ago.

"Just as you were responsible for the passage of the original GI Bill in 1944, your commitment here was instrumental, yet again, in getting this 9/11 GI Bill through the Congress," Shinseki said.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill took effect Aug. 1, and with its expanded benefits and the option of transferring benefits to family members, it's likely to affect the country the way the original GI Bill did in 1944, he said.

Between 1944 and 1956, millions of veterans took advantage of educational benefits provided by the original bill and helped to fill the nation's work force with qualified and trained professionals. Although they no longer wore the military uniform, the veterans' contributions to the country weren't any less significant, he said.

"Returning World War II veterans leveraged the educational opportunities they had under the original GI Bill into sustained economic growth for the nation, catapulting the nation into the world's largest economy [and into a position of] leadership in the free world," he said. "Our country became richer by 450,000 trained engineers, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 66,000 doctors, 22,000 dentists and [by] millions of other college-educated veterans who went on to lead our great country in the second half of the 20th century.

"This new Post-9/11 GI Bill has the potential to impact the country in the same way, thanks to your leadership and the leadership in country," he added. "You've been our eyes and ears for identifying needs for veterans."

The education opportunities also will help VA in its struggle to end homelessness among veterans, which, Shinseki said, also will have an indirect but positive effect on a host of other issues. Veterans lead the nation in homelessness, he said, and also are ranked among the highest groups in the country for depression and substance abuse.

In 2003, more than 195,000 veterans were without homes. Shinseki pointed to a lack of education and employment opportunities, as well as mental-health and substance-abuse issues, as the main reasons for the over-representation of homeless veterans.

Today, VA estimates that 131,000 veterans are homeless, and Shinseki said he's determined to get them off the streets within the next five years. His department and President Barack Obama's administration are moving in the right direction to tackle the issue, he said, but he noted it won't be easy.

"We're moving in the right direction to remove this block from all of our consciences, and are committed to ending homelessness," he said. "No one that has served the nation as we have should live without care and without hope. I know there are no absolutes in life, ... but I also know that if we don't put a big target out there, we won't get our best efforts."

Homelessness is the last stop in an unfortunate road for many veterans, the secretary said. "To do this well, we'll have to attack the entire downward spiral that ends in homelessness," he said. "We must offer education, we must offer jobs, we must treat depression and we must treat substance abuse, [and] we must offer safe housing [for homeless veterans]. We must do it all."

The Post-9/11 GI Bill may not deliver an immediate impact on the homeless issue and others that veterans may face, but education is a long-term investment that will ensure many of their futures, he said.

"This investment in America's future will go on for decades to come," he said. "I told you what happened the first time we did this: thousands of trained engineers, scientists, doctors, dentists, accountants [and] teachers. Lightning is about to strike twice. And those who've answered our nation's call are going to be benefited into being leaders for our country in the 21st century through this program."

Doctors, Scientists Team Up to Improve Wound Care

By Fred W. Baker III
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 25, 2009 - READER'S COMMENT:

Ronny R Dunn
Retired 1st Sgt.
Army Infantry
Aug. 26, 2009

Fred, I read your article regarding the fantastic work the medical professionals are researching.

Having been wounded by multiple fragmentation wounds myself I can attest to the fact that some wounds don't heal the same as the others. Even though they were from the same IED.

Having had my wounds cleaned daily the same way as all other soldiers and new bandages stuffed in the gaping holes.
The most terrifying times for me were when the nurses came in to change my bandages.

My god what excruciating pain. I always wondered why they didn't give me some sort of sedative or pain killer an hour before the procedure. I must tell you I more frightened of the nurses than the doctor. Surely in this day and age we have some sort of local numbing procedure to help alleviate this daily ritual of pain.

Besides the tormenting site of my buddies lying dead and other bad memories, I still have dreams of the nurses and their saline bottles, and those god awful tongs they used to pull the gauze out of the deep tissue.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2009 -- Army Spc. Adonnis Anderson said he knew the pain was coming.

After a bomb blew off much of his left forearm in Iraq in 2003, nurses came to his room daily to wash out his wounds. He described the treatment as two minutes of torture. They would swab the open wound as Anderson gritted his teeth and white-knuckle gripped the hospital bed railing.

"On a [pain] scale of 1 to 10, I'd give it a 15. It hurt really bad," Anderson said.

But the pain was a necessary evil. After being evacuated from the battlefield, Anderson's new fight was against dangerous infections that could destroy his chances of keeping his arm.

Anderson's story is not unique. Many soldiers evacuated from today's war zones suffer complex wounds from their injuries.

Bones are broken, and skin is burned or ripped by searing shrapnel. Mud, metal and fuel are fused into the wound. Harmful bacteria and other organisms are at work in the troops' bodies before they can be carried from the battlefield.

For the first time within the Defense Department, military doctors and scientists are working hand in hand to understand and improve the treatment of these complex wounds.

As part of an overarching, interservice combat wound initiative, scientists at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology are researching the makeup of complex wounds to help doctors in military hospitals better individualize and chart a course of care.

Dubbed "translational research," this partnership breaks down traditional barriers between the scientists who study the medical intricacies of the wounds and the clinicians who provide the care for the wounded. Now, each supports the work of the other, basically taking the science from "the bench" to the "bedside."

At the core of their work, scientists and doctors hope to discover why some wounds heal and others resist treatment.

Army Col. (Dr.) Alexander Stojadinovic, a surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here, heads the combat wound initiative program. He said that while two wounds may look similar, they don't always react to treatment the same.

"We were perplexed. Why, when you close one [wound] it heals uneventfully, and when you close the other it has a complication that impairs healing? When by all criteria that we traditionally use you would have expected it to heal," Stojadinovic said.

Since early 2008, Stojadinovic has spearheaded efforts to merge the actions of military and private hospitals to address complex wound care.

He now has a staff of Army and Navy doctors that operates out of Walter Reed's Military Advanced Training Center. They deliver all of the needed specialists to the patients to collaborate on care.

"The nature of battlefield wounds today is complex. These are difficult medical problems that really challenge our creativity, our knowledge base and bring to bear teams," Stojadinovic said. "There's no single individual that can address all the problems that result from blast injuries."

When Stojadinovic decided to add a research arm to his program, he did not have to look far. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology sits right in his back yard, situated on the same complex as Walter Reed.

About a year ago, Stojadinovic began talking with officials at the institute about research that can help doctors decide how to treat a wound and determine when it can be closed without further risk of infection. Many wounded troops are forced to endure several additional operations solely to remove infection. According to officials at the institute, the average soldier with complex wounds takes nine trips to the operating room.

Now, using troops enrolled in clinical trials at Walter Reed, doctors provide the scientists with wound fluids, blood and tissue that otherwise would be discarded. Scientists at the institute study the wound and provide feedback to the attending physicians. Scientists also study metal and other fragments that are taken from the wounds.

Depending on the study, scientists work to determine the number of bacteria in the sample, and characterize them genetically. The degree of bacterial contamination in a wound affects how it heals. Providing doctors with the number and type of bacteria allows them to avoid treatments that won't work and target treatments that will.

Officials also plan to use the data gathered in the studies to develop tools, such as a computer program, that will help doctors make faster, more tailored treatment decisions.

About 150 wounded troops are participating in clinical trials now. Their samples are stored in a repository at the institute of pathology. They are frozen and can be stored indefinitely.

This repository also can be to provide wound data for conflicts generations from now, said Dr. Mina Izadjoo, a microbiologist and the division chief of the wound biology and translational research at the institute.

Besides providing research for the clinical studies and maintaining the repository, Izadjoo's division also tests promising treatments that will advance wound care.

Already, a field deployable "dipstick" kit that can detect types of bacteria in a wound is being tested. This will allow doctors in the combat hospitals to identify which antibiotic to use first, she said.

"The bottom-line goal is [quickly] providing enough background information that leads to faster recovery of the wounded soldiers," she said.

(If you would like to comment on or have questions about this story, contact Fred Baker at fred.baker@osd.mil.)

Somali Pirates Fire on Navy Helicopter

American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - Somali pirates aboard a hijacked ship fired at a U.S. Navy helicopter yesterday, Navy officials said. According to the Navy, the helicopter from the USS Chancellorsville was not hit, and there were no injuries. The helicopter did not return fire.

The chopper received fire while on a surveillance flight over a Taiwanese-flagged vessel that pirates had captured in April. Footage taken from the SH-60B helicopter shows at least one pirate opening fire with what appears to be "a large-caliber weapon," officials said.

Somali pirates hijacked the Taiwanese-flagged Win Far vessel April 6, and since have used it as a "mother ship" to conduct attacks, most notably on the U.S.-flagged Maersk-Alabama in April. The incident occurred in the Indian Ocean south of Garacad, Somalia, where the Win Far is anchored.

During the flight, the aircrew members observed pirate activity, but did not confirm they were fired on until their return to Chancellorsville and review of the infrared surveillance footage. The helicopter was about 3,000 yards from Win Far when it happened.

(From a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news release.)

Chairman Honors Wounded Soldier for Selfless Service

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted on a recent visit to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., that wounded veterans recovering there all had one thing in common. "These are individuals, without arms and legs at that point, who had one common desire -- and that was to get back with their unit," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said Aug. 25 at the presentation ceremony for the 2009 International Brain Mapping and Interoperative Surgical Planning Society's Beacon of Courage and Dedication Awards in Boston. "Their only concern was, 'How do I get out of here and get back with them?'"

A desire to serve again also was expressed by one of the award recipients, retired Army Sgt. Maj. Colin Rich, who recovered from two traumatic brain injuries and returned to active duty each time.

And while he was given top-notch medical care for each injury, Mullen credits Rich's wife with completing the healing process.

"While we honor Colin tonight, we do so only because he has been incredibly supported by Nancy, who represents thousands and thousands of spouses and children and parents who've made such a difference to those who've been wounded and who offer so much for the future of our country as Colin does tonight," Mullen said. "It is an honor and a privilege to recognize, introduce and be able to say for over 2 million men and women who serve, how special you are, Colin ... and now, have been and always will be."

Speaking off the cuff because his head injuries have made reading difficult, Rich thanked the chairman.

"Admiral Mullen's kind of stolen some of my thunder," he joked. "He talked about my wife and all the other countless spouses and family members out there that have borne the brunt of this war as much as any soldier has."

His said his wife, Nancy, has been his pharmacist, his neurologist, counselor and masseuse.

"She was the first thing I saw after countless seizures. She was the last thing I saw after trying to get to sleep when I was in miserable pain," Rich said. "I've told her on countless occasions, 'Nancy, have I told you I love you today and thank you for everything you've done for me?'

"Today, I want to say it publicly," he added. "Nancy, have told you I love you and thanked you for everything that you have done for me?'"

He went on to accept the award on her behalf.

Rich joined the Army Reserve on April 13, 1981, and was recruited into active duty June 28, 1985. By late 1986, as a private, he had been assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment as an infantryman. Eight years and four months later, Staff Sergeant Rich moved on to his next assignment and several schools, which led him to serve in the ranks of 1st Special Operations Detachment, also known as Delta Force, in May 1994.

Later that year, a .45-caliber bullet "bounced off the front of my head," he said. "If I'd been an inch taller, we wouldn't be talking here right now."

Fast-forward to Shken, Afghanistan, on Dec. 28, 2002, and Rich was shot a second time in the head.

"OK, this is no kidding," Rich told the crowd gathered for the award presentation. "A .308 bullet hit me in the back of the head. If I was one inch taller, again, we would not be having this conversation today, and that is no exaggeration."

Rich served on active duty for another four years before retiring in 2007 with full disability. He's faced multiple challenges since the injuries, and he has a guide dog primarily to help him overcome visual impairment, but he still hasn't let the challenges he faces slow him down.

He's training for a 300-mile solo venture on the Appalachian Trail.

ABC News anchorman Bob Woodruff, who suffered traumatic brain injury while reporting on hostilities in Iraq, also was presented with the Beacon of Courage and Dedication Award.

The award was part of the 6th Annual World Conference for Brain Mapping and Image Guided Therapy, co-hosted by the society and publisher of scientific information, Elsevier.