Military News

Monday, January 12, 2009

MILITARY CONTRACTS January 12, 2009

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Tactical & Survival Specialties, Inc., Harrisonburg, Va.,* is being awarded a maximum $487,799,322 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity delivery, total set aside contract for items that support the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support Program. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other Federal civilian agencies. Proposals were originally Web solicited with 14 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract has a base period of two years with three, one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is Jan. 08, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM8EJ-09-D-0001).

W.S. Darley & Co., Itasca, Ill.,* is being awarded a maximum $487,799,322 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity delivery, total set aside contract for items that support the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support Program. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other Federal civilian agencies. Proposals were originally Web solicited with 14 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract has a base period of two years with three, one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is Jan. 08, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM8EJ-09-D-0002).

Atlantic Diving Supply, Virginia Beach, Va.,* is being awarded a maximum $487,799,322 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity delivery, total set aside contract for items that support the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support Program. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other Federal civilian agencies. Proposals were originally Web solicited with 14 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract has a base period of two years with three, one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is Jan. 08, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM8EJ-09-D-0003).

Source One Distributors, Inc., Wellington, Fla.,* is being awarded a maximum $487,799,322 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity delivery, total set aside contract for items that support the Special Operational Equipment Tailored Logistics Support Program. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and other Federal civilian agencies. Proposals were originally Web solicited with 14 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract has a base period of two years with three, one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is Jan. 08, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM8EJ-09-D-0004).

Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Co., Belleville, Ill., is being awarded a maximum $40,681,399 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for Army tan combat boots. Other locations of performance include Belleville Shoe Manufacturing Co., Bellville, Ill., and Bellville Shoe South Inc., DeWitt, Ark. Using services are Army and Air Force. Proposals were originally Web solicited with 6 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Jan. 09, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-09-D-0018).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Linthicum Heights, Md., is being awarded a maximum $25,966,340 firm fixed price, sole source contract for radar equipment for the F-16. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is the Air Force. Proposals were originally solicited through DIBBS with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Nov. 25, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Richmond, Richmond, Va., (SPM4A2-09-C-0001).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding an undefinitized contract to Boeing Co., Long Beach, Calif., for $1,118,679,176. This contact will provide proved Total System Support for the C-17 weapon system. At this time, $548,152,792 has been obligated. 730 ACSG/GFKAA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8614-04-C-2004-P00507).

The Air Force is awarding a cost share technology investment agreement contract to Cristal US, INC., of Woodridge, Ill., for $9,025,000. This contract is for Defense Production Act Title III Phase I Program to increase and enhance the domestic capability to produce metallic titanium power and related articles. At this time, $4,512,500 has been obligated. Det 1 AFRL/PKMD, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8650-09-2-5525).

The Air Force is modifying a contract with Raytheon Co., Tucson Ariz., for $6,736,211. This contract is a modification to the AMRAAM Production Lot 22 contract. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 695ARSS, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8675-08-C-0049 P00008).

NAVY

Lockheed Martin, Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $51,000,000 cost plus fixed fee letter contract for FY09 Aegis Platform Systems Engineering Agent (PSEA) activities and Aegis Modernization (AMOD) Advanced Capability Build (ACB 12) engineering. The PSEA will manage the in-service combat systems configurations as well as the integration of new or upgraded capability, including AMOD, into the CG 47 and the DDG 51 Class Ships. AMOD consists of ACB 12 software and Technical Instruction 12 hardware. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract for the first year's period of performance to $192,500,716. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5103).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., is being awarded a $44,335,934 modification to previously awarded contract N00024-07-C-5361 for engineering and technical services in support of Standard Missile research, development, test, and evaluation programs. The work performed under this modification includes flowdown of top level requirements; predicting and monitoring missile performance and reliability; internal external interfaces; interfaces with ship combat systems; interfaces with test and packaging, handling, storage and transportation equipment; improving missile design; and maintaining the technical data package. Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by Dec. 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.

Walker Power Systems, Inc., Phoenix, Ariz., is being awarded a maximum $17,287,442 fixed price, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract for an upgraded external auxiliary power unit to provide power to multiple systems while the M1A1 main engine is not on. The objective system will provide greater power, increased reliability, and less noise than the current model. The contract contains three one-year options. The initial amount to be obligated is $6,600,000. The maximum total dollar amount to be awarded under this contract is $17,287,442 which includes the initial order quantity and additional options. Work will be performed in Phoenix, Ariz., and work is expected to be completed Dec. 2009. This contract was competitively procured through full and open competition via Navy Electronic Commerce Office, with four offers received. The Marine Corps System Command in Quantico, Va., is the procuring contracting activity (M67854-09-D-6005).

ITT Industries Advanced Engineering & Sciences Division, Alexandria, Va., is being awarded a $7,896,524 costplus fixed fee term contract for scientific, engineering, technical and analytical support for a wide range of research and information technology service activities for the Naval Research Laboratory's (NRL's) Center for High Assurance Computer Systems. This contract contains options, which if exercised, will bring the cumulative contract value to $42,223,954. Work will be performed in Washington, D.C., and work is expected to be completed in Dec. 2010 (with options exercised Dec 2014). Contract funds in the amount of $235,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured under a Naval Research Laboratory Request for Proposal N000173-08-R-TB09. The Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., is the contacting activity (N000173-09-C-2053).

Honeywell International, Inc., Defense and Space Electronic Systems, Albuquerque, N.M., is being awarded a not-to-exceed $5,736,465 modification to a previously awarded undefinitized contract action (N00019-09-C-0004) for the procurement of 6 Block II Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) systems, including associated support equipment, spares, training, and engineering and logistics support for the United Kingdom under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Albuquerque, N.M., and is expected to be completed in Jun. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Departments Launch Safe-Driving Initiative for Veterans

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 12, 2009 - A new research and awareness program geared toward preventing motor vehicle fatalities among veterans who return from deployments was formally launched today during a news conference at the Veterans Affairs Department here. Veterans Affairs Secretary James B. Peake teamed up with the Defense and Transportation departments and NASCAR legend Richard Petty to announce the creation of the "Home Safe, Drive Safe, Stay Safe" initiative, which he told reporters is designed with one objective: to save the lives of veterans on the highways.

"We've all come together to address something that is a recurring problem," Peake said. "Young men and women in our armed forces return home safely from combat operations, yet they face a life-threatening risk at home on our highways."

VA and Transportation Department research on Vietnam and Gulf War veterans shows the risk of death from a motor-vehicle accident was much higher during the first five years after redeployment, regardless of gender. For present-day Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, the risk is 75 percent greater than the general U.S. population, Peake said.

Regardless of the conflict, gender or age, "there's an elevated risk to our returning heroes of dying on our roadways from traffic accidents," he added.

"Today, nearly 2 million men and women have served in combat zones since 2003, and there are more that will serve in the current conflicts," Peake said. "And as important, future generations will undoubtedly be called upon to serve the cause of freedom abroad, and we must do our part now to ensure that they will drive safe and stay safe when they return home."

The first aspect of the initiative is a public health information campaign on safe driving to raise awareness and educate veterans about risks and to remind them of proven safety measures such as using seat belts, not drinking and driving, wearing a helmet on motorcycles and knowing the dangers of speeding, he said.

Individual units throughout the military have programs and reintegration measures for accident prevention among active-duty servicemembers. As part of this initiative, a national education program through VA medical centers, community clinics, counseling centers and benefits offices seeks to raise awareness for veterans who've left the service, Peake said.

The second aspect of the program is continuing research to provide a strategic safety plan. Participants include scientists and policy officials from the VA, Defense, Transportation and Health and Human Services departments, as well as nongovernmental experts, he said.

Peake said experts in transportation safety, veterans' health and medical care, and public health are identifying gaps in current knowledge and developing a strategic plan for addressing key research questions in fields ranging from epidemiology to psychology to biomechanics.

"Our returning combat veterans have already put themselves in harm's way to protect our lives," Dave Kelly, acting administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, said. "Their increased risks on our roadways are too high of a price for us to be paying. We gladly offer up our expertise and resources to help our veterans make a safe transition home."

Petty also has offered his partnership. According to the Richard Petty Driving Experience Web site, Petty's program was launched in 2007 to promote and teach advanced safe driving skills. It's designed to raise situational awareness through compromising situations in driving simulators.

The site's staff can tailor it to provide whatever officials think they need to help the effort, Petty said during the news conference.

"[Deployed servicemembers] have been in a different environment, and it's up to us to say, 'OK guys, slow down. This is where you are, and this is what we've got to do to be safe. We didn't lose you overseas; we sure don't want to lose you once you get home,'" he said.

Soldier Missing in Action From Korean War is Identified

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

He is Sgt. Dougall H. Espey Jr., U.S. Army, of Mount Laurel, N.J. He will be buried April 3 in Elmira, N.Y.

Representatives from the Army's Mortuary Office met with Espey's next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process on behalf of the secretary of the Army.

Espey was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On Nov. 1, 1950, the 8th Cavalry was occupying a defensive position near Unsan, North Korea, in an area known as the "Camel's Head," when elements of two Chinese Communist Forces divisions struck the 1st Cavalry Division's lines, collapsing the perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. The 3rd Battalion was surrounded and effectively ceased to exist as a fighting unit. Espey was one of the more than 350 servicemen unaccounted-for from the battle at Unsan.

Between 1991-94, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the remains of 200-400 U.S. servicemen. North Korean documents turned over with several boxes in 1993 indicated that the remains from those boxes were exhumed near Chonsung-Ri, Unsan County. This location correlates with Espey's last known location.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

Simulator Helps Teens in Europe Learn to Drive

By Christie Vanover
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 12, 2009 - Teenagers here are learning to drive in the rain, in the fog, and even on narrow mountain roads at night. They're driving while their friends talk and laugh behind them, and even while their cell phones ring. But because of new technology, their lives are in no way at risk. They are the first students to use one of Installation Management Command Europe's new driving simulators. Ten simulators, including one at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe here, were installed throughout the region to enhance driver's education programs for teenage children of servicemembers and Defense Department civilians.

At first glance, students are pumped by the multi-panel monitors, which include a rear-view mirror, side mirrors and a lifelike perception of peripheral vision. Once they get behind the wheel, however, they're faced with all the complexities of an automobile.

Gavin Wainwright, the father of three teenagers, said he was glad to hear that U.S. Army Garrison Benelux was getting one of the simulators. "I thought it was one of the best things they brought to the community in a long time," he said. "I know it's a lot better than what I went through.

"I was considering sending one son back to the states last year so he could go through drivers training and then get his license," he said. "It would be a lot more expensive to send him there than this inaugural program, which is free."

His sons, Gavin Jr. and Justin, were among the first graduates of the driver's education course here. About midway through the course, Justin hopped into the simulator, buckled up and asked the teacher to challenge him on the winding mountain pass.

He chose to use the simulator in manual mode, forcing him to shift as he went up and down hills. Though he completed the two-minute exercise with no faults, toward the end of the lesson he was startled by a sudden curve with no guard rails. Had he been going too fast, he would have slid down the side of the mountain.

"I think it makes them more aware of some of the challenges of driving," his dad said. "They're learning how to be defensive as well as offensive, and how to balance that behind the wheel."

Kregg Kappenmon agreed. He has taught driver's ed for eight years, and said this simulator adds a realism that he's never been able to teach before. He can add weather elements, which require drivers to use their wipers and adjust their speed so they don't hydroplane. He can change the drive from small towns to freeways, forcing students to merge into traffic. He can even add elements of surprise, such as deer and children running into the street.

"The first time they see it out there, it won't be the first time," he said. "It's very, very, very realistic. It gets them to feel the car."

Caleb Crotts, another graduate of the class, happened to ace the test on the reading assignments that day, but when he got into the simulator, he faced an element of surprise. As he was driving, someone on the side of the road opened their car door unexpectedly.

"Weather is usually the big hazard talked about in the book," he said, admitting that he didn't know how to respond to the situation. He veered to the left and passed the car safely with an acceptable reaction time, but after finishing the drive, he immediately asked Kappenmon if he was supposed to swerve or stop.

It's that immediate lesson that Kappenmon said is invaluable. Everything the students do in the trainer is recorded, so Kappenmon can evaluate their driving patterns, reactions and habits to help them progress throughout the course.

Because of that feedback, Kappenmon said, students learn early on that this isn't a video game.

"I get results," he said, and from those results, combined with 18 tests based on his lecture and videos, students either pass or fail.

"My philosophy is they must have 80 percent or better," he said. "I don't want anyone out there with my family if they scored less. Do you?"

(Christie Vanover works in the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux public affairs office.)

Soldier Missing in Action From Korean War is Identified

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

He is Master Sgt. Cirildo Valencio, U.S. Army, of Carrizo Springs, Texas. He will be buried on Aug. 4 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

Representatives from the Army met with Valencio's next-of-kin to explain the recovery and identification process on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

Valencio was assigned to Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division then occupying a defensive position near Unsan, North Korea in an area known as the "Camel's Head." On Nov. 1, 1950, parts of two Chinese Communist Forces divisions struck the 1st Cavalry Division's lines, collapsing the perimeter and forcing a withdrawal. In the process, the 3rd Battalion was surrounded and effectively ceased to exist as a fighting unit. Valencio was one of the more than 350 servicemen unaccounted-for from the battle at Unsan.

In 2002, a joint U.S.-Democratic People's Republic of Korea team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), excavated a burial site south of Unsan near the nose of the "Camel's Head" formed by the joining of the Nammyon and Kuryong rivers. The team recovered human remains.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1420 or (703) 509-1905.

Reservists Jump at Chance to Show Military Skills to Employers

By Army Sgt. Eddie Reyes
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 12, 2009 - Army Reserve soldiers conducted an airborne jump here Jan. 9 for a group of civilian employers during the first Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve "Boss-lift" event for the 421st Quartermaster Company, 143rd Sustainment Command.
For Michael Price, a crime-scene unit sergeant for the Birmingham Police Department, attending the event was a small way to show his appreciation.

"I attended the event to show one of my employees support before he heads out to Afghanistan," he said. "There is a lot more going on than people think. It is not a weekend getaway. It is amazing how they balance their civilian lifestyle with their military duties. It is truly amazing."

Markus Heinrice, vice president of Derco Aerospace, said he continues to have a large amount of respect for the soldiers who work in his company after experiencing his first trip aboard the C-130 and watching soldiers jump into the landing zone.

"It was spectacular to see what these citizen-soldiers do to train and maintain their proficiency," Heinrice said. "We have had a number of soldiers employed in our company that have been deployed to the Middle East. Not only do we appreciate the sacrifices these soldiers make, but also the event itself was superb, and I cannot think of anything they could have done better."

Planning for the event, which officials plan to conduct annually, began in August, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jim Micko, the quartermaster company's special projects sergeant, said. Unit leaders coordinated with the Air Force Reserve and kept track of regional jump activity to find the best time to execute the project.

"To the person looking from the outside in, it might seem easy to just put civilians inside of a plane, but it is not that easy," he said. "Logistics have to be right, the maintenance of the planes has to be current, and we have to plan so that our jump does not impede the efforts of the Air Force in supporting the troops in combat. This was a joint-service event that was coordinated perfectly between the Army Reserve and the Air Force."

The ESGR Boss-lift program seeks to improve relationships between citizen-soldiers and their employers by showing the employers what their employees do in their military service, Micko said.

Soldiers briefed more than 20 civilian employers about the various tasks performed during a drill weekend, which include rigging parachutes and training drills before a jump. Several soldiers demonstrated the process and steps used to rig a parachute for personnel and supply drops, and the various spot checks along the way ensure proper parachute openings.

The employers got a tour of the unit's facilities and saw the different types of parachutes used to drop supplies from the air to soldiers on the ground, including the G-12 Container Delivery System used to drop fragile items at a low velocity. Briefers pointed out the attention to detail needed in accomplishing each task, noting that simple mistakes could cost a soldier's life. The employers learned that each soldier periodically jumps using a parachute he rigged to preserve trust and cohesion within the unit.

After the briefings, soldiers rehearsed plane-exiting procedures and proper landing techniques. Using a structure made of pipe and wires simulating the back of an Air Force C-130, soldiers attached their static lines to the wires, performed last-minute inspections and checks with jumpmasters, and completed simulated jumps, practicing their landings into a sand pit.

After the rehearsals, the employers boarded a C-130 Hercules transport from the Air Force Reserve's 94th Airlift Wing, 700th Airlift Squadron, and ascended into the skies. Soldiers simulated an airborne jump without jumping out so the employers could get a glimpse of all the steps needed for a successful jump. After the 45-minute flight, the employers visited the landing zone so they could watch their employees complete the airborne jumps.

"We were able to provide the civilian employers with a simulation of an actual airborne jump without placing them at risk," Air Force Master Sgt. Pete Kowalski, the C-130's crew chief, said. "Events like these help them understand, and give them a reason to support what we do. Plus, the thrill of flying on a military aircraft should encourage other civilian employers to participate in the program, because not everyone gets to be in one," he added.

(Army Sgt. Eddie Reyes serves with the Army Reserve's 204th Public Affairs Detachment.)

Servicemembers Rehearse 56th Presidential Inauguration

By Marine Corps Sgt. Michael S. Cifuentes
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 11, 2009 - From providing musical performances to acting as key personnel during the swearing-in process, hundreds of servicemembers were on hand this morning around the nation's capital to support the 56th Presidential Inaugural rehearsal. Each branch of service played a key role in working out potential issues before the inauguration, said Howard Gantman, staff director of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

The rehearsal started promptly at 5:30 a.m., with a rough walk-through, followed by the placement of military bands and joint-service cordon personnel.

Army Staff Sgt. Derrick Brooks, who serves with 741st Military Intelligence at Fort George G. Meade, Md., took a position of honor as he stood in for President-elect Barack Obama. Brooks' speech consisted of nothing more than, "My fellow Americans. God bless America," but event coordinators said his role was critical.

Other servicemembers stood in for Vice President-elect Joe Biden and the Obama and Biden families. Navy Seaman LaSean McCray played the role of Michelle Obama. Army Spc. Nicholas Rupple stood in for Biden, and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Karen Lowden, as Jill Biden.

Two military children stood in as the Obama girls. Dominique Sewell, the 14-year-old daughter of Army Sgt. 1st Class Natalie Sewell-Johnson, stood in as Malia. Ten-year-old Gianna Justice Samora-Nixon, daughter of Navy Chief Petty Officer Kenneth Nixon, was Sasha.

All were selected based on height, weight, gender and ethnicity similarities, explained Air Force Maj. Andra Higgs, an action officer with the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee.

The military's involvement in the presidential inauguration is a centuries-old tradition, which honors the commander in chief, recognizes civilian control of the military and celebrates democracy, Higgs said.

More than 5,000 servicemembers will participate in the Jan. 20 event and provide ceremonial assistance.

"It's an honor for them to be center stage," Higgs said. "We're very glad to have been provided with such world-class support."

Today's rehearsal gave members of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee a sense of what they can expect next week, when 240,000 ticketed guests and potentially millions of spectators gather in Washington to see Obama become the 44th U.S. president.

"It's an honor and a privilege to take part in this [rehearsal]," said Navy Lt. Marcus Jones, who stood in as an Obama family member. "Beside the birth of my children and my marriage, this will be one of the most memorable days of my life."

(Marine Corps Sgt. Michael S. Cifuentes is assigned to Headquarters Marine

Inauguration Represents Ultimate Change-of-Command Ceremony

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 12, 2009 - To people in the military, the presidential inauguration is America's ultimate change-of-command ceremony. At noon on Jan. 20, the United States does more than inaugurate a new president. The country also gets a new military commander in chief.

The military has been involved in helping to inaugurate the president since the beginning of the republic. When George Washington left his home in Mount Vernon, Va., to travel to the then-seat of government in New York City, local militias – and many Revolutionary War veterans – escorted him along the way.

Washington took the oath of office on April 30, 1789. Period engravings show members of the New York militia present at the ceremony on the balcony of New York's Federal Hall on Wall Street. These militia units, which today are part of the National Guard, were the main force of the infant republic's military, and they played a large role in the military traditions of presidential inaugurations.

The military presence at early inaugurals came from local militia companies that took it upon themselves to escort the president.

In 1801, a militia company in Charlottesville, Va., escorted Thomas Jefferson to Washington, D.C., for the first inaugural in the new capital. Jefferson's ceremony was small. There was no inaugural parade just a short speech and some patriotic airs played by the Marine Band. Militiamen then escorted Jefferson to the White House.

When James Madison was sworn in to succeed Jefferson in 1809, local Virginia militia companies again took it on themselves to escort the new president.

The first inaugural parade began in 1817 as a spontaneous event when Virginia militiamen escorting James Monroe staged a parade in his honor.

Active duty forces based in Washington started playing a larger role in succeeding inaugurations. The Marine Band -- the Marine Corps' oldest unit -- has participated in every inauguration held in the city. Ship crews in port at Washington Navy Yard also participated in some early inaugurations.

When Abraham Lincoln came to Washington in 1861, the military took on another role. Seven southern states had seceded even before Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861. Threats against Lincoln's life led to military personnel assuming a security role during his inauguration. News reports from the time talk about sharpshooters in buildings, cavalry units standing by and the platform where Lincoln delivered his inaugural address being surrounded by Army regulars with bayonets on their muskets.

During Lincoln's second inauguration in 1865, the military maintained a security role. And this had to be taken seriously. A photo of the inauguration ceremony on the east front of the Capitol, shows John Wilkes Booth – the man who gunned Lincoln down about five weeks later at Ford's Theater —standing off to the side. With the Civil War all but won, military bands and troops had time to take part in inaugural activities. Some of those same soldiers, sailors and Marines would participate in Lincoln's funeral.

The West Point Band first participated in an inaugural when academy graduate Ulysses S. Grant assumed the presidency. The band – and those of the other service academies – have been a fixture ever since.

Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, military units continued to play prominent inaugural roles. When Theodore Roosevelt took office in his own right in 1905, his paraders included the Rough Riders, the unit with which he rose to fame during the Spanish-American War.

During William Howard Taft's inauguration in 1909, the 7th New York Militia missed the parade because of bad weather. They refused to leave Washington until they paraded before Taft. Taft, therefore, had two inaugural parades.

The military continued to participate in inaugurations through the 20th century with little change. In 1933, however, the military again assumed a security role when Franklin D. Roosevelt took office. The Great Depression was at its height, and there were threats against the president.

Roosevelt turned the economic situation around, and the military mission at his second inauguration in 1937 was mostly ceremonial. Roosevelt's fourth inauguration in 1945 was sedate. America was still at war, and the occasion was marked by a small ceremony and parade.

After the war, demands on the military in Washington were centralized in the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee. This temporary, joint military command forms every four years solely to coordinate Defense Department support to inaugural activities. It works with the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, coordinating the participation of military units and escorts and some transportation and medical services.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the military again has an inaugural security role in support of lead civilian agencies. About 5,000 servicemembers will provide military support for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

Some of the servicemembers will be part of the ceremonial units. Others will provide transportation. Still others will be involved with logistics and security. No matter what they do, they will be carrying on a tradition as old as the republic.

Operation Healing Angel Gears Up for New Year

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 12, 2009 - A troop-support organization is gearing up for the early part of the new year, collecting Valentine, Easter and St. Patrick Day cards and gifts for servicemembers and the health professionals who take care of them. "The response is tremendous during [the Christmas holiday] for sending cards and gifts, but the need is just as great when this holiday ends," said Alessandra Kellermann, founder of Homefront Hugs USA, the group that manages the Operation Healing Angel program. "We run 365 days of the year. It's important for us to keep in contact with the troops throughout the year. Cards are a wonderful way to say thanks to those who sacrifice so much every day."

Operation Healing Angel's mission is not only to provide support to servicemembers at home and abroad, but also to reach out to health care professionals who take care of them when they are injured, Kellermann said. The program's volunteers collect items such as cards, pens, travel games, mini flashlights, alarm clocks and handkerchiefs for health care professionals in hospitals overseas and at home. Care packages for servicemembers include cards, U-shaped neck pillows, CDs and DVDs.

"What I love about this mission is that we include the caregivers -- the medical personnel too often forgotten," Kellermann said. "I once worked in an emergency room and intensive care unit, so I know the stress and toll of dealing with traumatic events and the need for a morale boost whenever possible. The coffee, blankets and soft music is received with much gratitude and appreciation."

Air Force Senior Airman Mackenzie Schroeder took time to express her gratitude upon completion of her tour in a military hospital in Iraq. "As my tour comes to an end," she wrote, "I just want to extend another thank you for all the care packages that you have sent to me, my coworkers and the men and women who come through this [hospital] daily. Your gifts, thoughts and prayers are much appreciated from everyone."

A medic stationed in Germany wrote to Kellermann three years ago, requesting support for a soldier he was treating. She knew then that she wanted to do something to uplift the spirits of both the medic and the injured soldier.

"The word spread quickly as we began to send cards, accompanied by care packages filled with blankets, cozy socks, spiritual books, bathrobes - anything the medical personnel or chaplains could give to these wounded troops," she said.

The majority of Operation Healing Angel cards and care packages go to Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals in Washington, D.C., Florida and Hawaii. Packages also go to military hospitals in Germany, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The need is great, as it reminds our heroes who care for our wounded and those injured that during their struggle to get better, they are never forgotten and someone is thinking of them, praying and hoping they know we are grateful for their sacrifices," Kellermann said.

Chairman Says He's Ready to Execute New President's Military Decisions

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 12, 2009 - Whatever decisions President-elect Barack Obama makes regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is prepared to carry them out, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in an interview last night on the CBS TV show "60 Minutes." "When President-elect Obama gets in and says, 'Here's the decision,' the United States military, led by me, is going to march off and execute that decision," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told correspondent David Martin.

Should that decision be to withdraw troops from Iraq, as Obama stated he would in campaign addresses, it's up to Mullen to tell the new president what it will take. Before Christmas, the chairman visited the front lines in Iraq to determine for himself what it will take to get 140,000 troops out of the country gracefully.

A withdrawal would include tons of equipment and command centers built up over nearly six years of war, and all of it has to be transported back to the United States without triggering the collapse of Iraq's government, the chairman noted.

"I don't think it's 'Mission Impossible,'" Mullen said, noting that the president-elect has said consistently that he wants to withdraw troops responsibly.

"Certainly, a responsible withdrawal ... is, I think, a very, very possible outcome here, given what I've seen transpire over the last couple of years and literally what I saw walking the streets of Samarra," the chairman said.

Samarra is home to the al-Askari Mosque, a Shiia Muslim shrine also known as "the Golden Mosque." The February 2006 bombing of the mosque sparked sectarian violence that nearly tore Iraq apart. The structure is now being rebuilt.

Mullen also made his way to Afghanistan during his pre-holiday trip, and he said he stands by his earlier assessment that "we are not winning" the war there.

"I said it because I believed it, and I still believe it," he said. "I think the level of violence in 2008 surprised us all. The sophistication of the tactics of the insurgency surprised us all."

A possible answer to the upswing in violence in Afghanistan includes more troops on the ground, he said. "The exact number isn't known," he acknowledged. "I talked ... about a range between 20,000 and 30,000."

That would nearly double the number of troops fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan. But even increased troop numbers won't do any good unless the insurgent safe haven in Pakistan is mitigated, the admiral said. Pakistan shares a border with Afghanistan, and Taliban extremists have been using safe havens within Pakistan to plan and train for attacks inside Afghanistan.

"That safe haven's got to be shut down to a level where it doesn't have the effect that it's having now," Mullen said. "In the long run, if that is not done, then additional troops are not going to have that big an impact."

Mullen said he makes a point of meeting with his Pakistani counterpart whenever he's in the area, including this past trip. This visit marked his seventh visit to the country since he took office in October 2007. It's a critical relationship, Mullen said, adding that relations with the country are equal to, if not more important than, those with any other country right now.

The relationship between the new president and the military he'll command also is critical, Mullen said. The chairman met with Obama in Chicago shortly after the election at the president-elect's request.

"As commander in chief, the connection with the military is absolutely vital," he said. "So making that connection as early as possible and as solid as possible is a huge deal."

Mullen said he doesn't sense any hesitancy from the military over the incoming president.

"What's really important about us in the military is that we stay neutral and remain apolitical," he said. "We work for whoever the president is. All of us in the military will do that faithfully to support President [George W.] Bush until the 20th of January, and we'll do the same thing for President-elect Obama once he gets into the position."