Military News

Thursday, January 15, 2009

President Praises Troops, Cites Accomplishments in Farewell Speech

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - President George W. Bush singled out military members for their selfless service and cited his administration's accomplishments over the past eight years during his farewell address to the nation. America owes a debt of gratitude to all its citizens who volunteer to defend the nation in this time of danger, Bush said tonight from the White House.

"I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families," he said. "And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight: There has been no higher honor than serving as your commander in chief."

Bush delivered the country's best wishes to his successor President-elect Barack Obama and his family, calling the inauguration of the first African-American president a chance for the world to see the vitality of American democracy.

"This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation," the president said.

Bush remarked on the central event of his presidency -- the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 Americans.

"I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock," he said. "I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93.

"I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son's police shield as a reminder of all that was lost," he said. "And I still carry his badge."

For most Americans, life was able to return to normal, but his never did, the president said. "Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation," he said. "And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe."

Bush spoke of the accomplishments that grew out of 9/11 including the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, the transformation of the military and improved cooperation among intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

"Our nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists' movements, freeze their finances and break up their plots," he said. "And with strong allies at our side, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them."

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, coalition forces went into Afghanistan to eliminate the safe havens from which al-Qaida terrorists planned, trained for and financed the attacks.

"Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al-Qaida and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school," Bush said.

U.S. forces also participated in providing freedom to millions of Iraqis who lived under a brutal dictatorship. The country was once a sworn enemy of America, but is now "an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States," the president said.

Bush admitted that there is legitimate debate about many of his decisions. "But there can be little debate about the results," he said.

"America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil," he continued. "This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe -- law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States armed forces."

The president said the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan are part of a larger ideological conflict between two radically differing visions of the future.

"Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience and marks unbelievers for murder," he said. "The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace."

Advancing the belief in freedom and justice is the only way for America to defend itself, Bush said. "When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror," he said. "When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism."

He may have done some things differently, Bush said. "Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind," he said. "I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions."

The president said terrorism remains the greatest threat to the United States.

"Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again," he said. "America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard."

America must continue to engage with the nations of the world and reject isolationism and protectionism, he said. Retreating would only invite danger.

"In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad," he said. "If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led."

America must maintain its moral clarity in the future. "I have often spoken to you about good and evil, and this has made some uncomfortable," he said. "But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right.

"This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace," the president said.

Even in tough times, Bush remains optimistic because he has faith in Americans.

He spoke of Marine Staff Sgt. Aubrey McDade, who charged into an ambush in Iraq and rescued three of his fellow Marines, and of Dr. Bill Krissoff, a surgeon from California.

"His son Nathan, a Marine, gave his life in Iraq," Bush said. "When I met Dr. Krissoff and his family, he delivered some surprising news: He told me he wanted to join the Navy Medical Corps in honor of his son."

Krissoff was 60 years old - 18 years above the age limit -- but his petition for a waiver was granted. "For the past year he has trained in battlefield medicine," the president said. Now a lieutenant commander, he soon will deploy to Iraq where he will help save America's wounded warriors and uphold the legacy of his fallen son.

"In citizens like these, we see the best of our country -- resilient and hopeful, caring and strong," the president said. "These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great nation will never tire, never falter, and never fail."

New Central Command Unit Makes It Tough to be a Pirate

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - A new patrol in the U.S. Central Command is working to make it unprofitable to be a pirate, the commander of U.S. Navy Central Command and 5th Fleet said today. Acts of piracy have "spiked" off the coast of Somalia with merchant vessels and crews being held for millions in ransom by pirates using AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and ladders to take "low and slow" ships traversing one of the world's busiest sea lanes.

The pirates come from a clan based on the northern coast of Somalia, Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney said, and they are in it for the money.

"The problem of piracy started ashore," the admiral said during a Pentagon news conference. "It's because there is no rule of law. There isn't a government. There isn't economic stability. There isn't a court system that will hold these criminals responsible for their actions."

Without a penalty for the Somalis, these clansmen -- who are normally fishermen -- took to piracy.

"As commander of the Combined Maritime Forces, I directed the establishment of the Maritime Security Patrol Area," Gortney said.

Coalition ships and aircraft patrol the area, but it is a complex operation, and task forces already in place had an existing counterterrorism mission. As a solution, Gortney established Combined Task Force 151 to conduct counter-piracy operations. Nations that are members of the task force "will bring their collective capabilities to bear to deter, to disrupt and eventually to bring to justice these maritime criminals," he said.

The coalition group works with all concerned nations to deter the pirates and it has had some success. "I think, it's really a fascinating story to watch unfold as, at this point, 14 nations have sent their navies to work against this destabilizing activity," he said.

This includes Russia and China, which are primarily escorting their own national flag vessels. "That allows us to go focus elsewhere with the rest of the ships that are down there," Gortney said.

The efforts against piracy focused on three areas: bringing in more international forces, working with the shipping industry to put in place defenses to prevent pirates from successfully getting onboard their vessel, and finding a way to deal with the pirates legally.

"When we capture a pirate, where do we take him? Where do we hold him? What court system tries him and holds him?" Gortney asked.

"When the activity spiked in the middle of August, we knew ... our current process wasn't working, and we had to take a new look at it," the admiral said.

And it is working. In the last six weeks there have been only four successful piracy attacks, the admiral said.

"Dis-incentivizing piracy" is what Gortney calls the missing piece. "The State Department is close on finalizing an agreement with one of the nations out there," he said. "And once we get that authority, then we're going to change my orders."

The orders to the coalition now are to disrupt and deter, but not capture, pirates. "But once we get the authorities, my orders will change to disrupt, deter and capture, and try and hold them accountable for their actions," he said.

"We have to make it unpleasant to be a pirate, and that's where, when we can capture them and try them and hold them accountable for their actions," he said.

Future Officers to Render First Salutes to Obama in Inaugural Parade

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - Cadets and midshipmen from the service academies will converge in Annapolis, Md., tomorrow to make final preparations before marching in the inaugural parade to pay tribute to the commander in chief they will serve as future officers. The U.S. Naval Academy will host cadets from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., in the days leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration.

On Inauguration Day, they'll lead the military formations marching down the 1.5-mile parade route stretching from the Capitol building to the White House, pausing to render a salute to President Barack Obama as they pass the reviewing stand.

Cadet 1st Class Tim Black, who will lead the Air Force Academy's Cadet Squadron 4 down Pennsylvania Avenue, said he's overwhelmed at the chance to salute the new commander in chief.

"There he will be, looking at his future troops, and I am going to be working for him for as long as he is in office," Black said. "I can't even begin to express how much of an honor it is to be able to actually salute the guy who will be overall in charge of us."

"It's absolutely amazing to know that we'll be there, getting a chance to see very highest echelon of command face to face," agreed Midshipman 1st Class Whitney Reese, a fourth-year Naval Academy student to graduate in May. "Everyone is excited about this. It is a real opportunity."

Reese will be following a family tradition when she marches in Obama's inaugural parade. Her father, a member of the academy's Class of 1982, marched in President Ronald Reagan's inaugural parade in 1981. "He said it was really cold, and that he sat on the bus for hours," she said. "But he also said how great it was and how he will never forget it."

Members of the company-size academy marching elements said they're excited about the opportunity to be a part of history in the making.

Cadet 1st Class Johann Fladeboe, commander of the West Point Honor Guard, has led his fellow cadets in myriad high-visibility events. "But this by far the biggest thing we have ever done, and being a part of it is huge," he said.

West Point, the oldest of the military academies, will be the first military marching unit to march the parade route. Fladeboe will carry the West Point guidon, marching directly behind Sally White, the corps of cadets' deputy commander.

Cadet 1st Class Tamara Abraham of West Point's class of 2009 said she's bursting with pride at the prospect of leading the parade -- both as an African-American and as a future Army officer.

"This is a historical event, and the whole nation and the world will be watching this," she said. "West Point has done a lot for me, so it's great to have the opportunity to represent West Point in this historical event."

At the Air Force Academy, many members of Cadet Squadron 4 learned last year, when they were named the cadet wing's outstanding squadron, that they would be the academy's representatives at the inauguration.

"I am absolutely honored and thrilled to be able to represent the Air Force Academy and the United States as a whole in this," Black said. The magnitude of the honor, he said, probably won't sink in until after the inauguration.

Cadet 2nd Class Danny Puhek, a third-year student at the Air Force Academy, called the chance in the inaugural parade "the opportunity of a lifetime."

"It's something I think we will cherish for a lifetime," he said. "Down the road, we will tell our kids and grandkids that story."

Naval Observatory Soon Will Track Time to 100 Trillionths of Second

By John Ohab
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - The ultra-precise timing technology that enables NAVSTAR Global Positioning Systems and high-speed Internet communication soon may resolve the measure of time to 100 trillionths of a second, according to the world's authority in time-keeping and celestial observation. "To know when an event occurred, you need a clock. We are that clock," said Geoff Chester, public affairs officer at the U.S. Naval Observatory, the majority contributor to the international determination of time. He explained the development of this new timing technology during yesterday's premier of the Defense Department's "Armed with Science" radio program on

For centuries, clocks have measured seconds through regular, rhythmic oscillations of a pendulum, a swinging weight susceptible to influence by factors such as gravity, temperature, and air viscosity. In the 1950s, scientists began investigating the oscillations of particular atoms as a more precise way to define the second.

"Atomic time is independent of what Earth does," Chester said. "Atomic clocks define time scales in terms of a certain number of oscillations of a certain type of atom that take place in the course of one second. The master clock at the Naval Observatory is an ensemble of dozens of these devices, and we take a weighted average of all of them to determine our base-reference time scale."

Standard atomic clocks measure microwave signals emitted from atoms as they change energy levels. Since 1967, the one-second time interval has been defined as the duration of 9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two energy levels of the cesium-133 atom.

"We guarantee that no two seconds that come out of here over the course of a year will differ by more than one billionth of a second," Chester said. "Our clock is so precise that it will not gain or lose one second on the order of 3 million years."

To meet the demands of technology and the needs of society, researchers at the U.S. Naval Observatory continue to develop more precise time-keeping systems. By 2010, they hope to release an operational version of their newest clock, known as a "fountain clock," which uses laser beams to induce oscillations of the rubidium atom. This rubidium fountain clock will provide a measure of time accurate to 100 trillionths of a second, about 10 to 100 times more precise than the current master clock.

"Rubidium atoms are smaller and easier to manipulate," Chester explained. "They allow us to keep a much better timescale than what we keep today."

The U.S. Naval Observatory, one of about 50 scientific laboratories concerned with time-keeping, maintains one-third of the operational atomic clocks currently deployed around the world.

In addition to its role in defining and maintaining universal time, the Naval Observatory also acts as a reference point for navigation and communications technologies that affect people's everyday lives. For instance, its ultra-precise time-keeping systems enable computer networks to rapidly and accurately transmit information, and the constellation of satellites used in GPS relies on the master clock to calculate locations on the Earth's surface.

"People ask what time is about," Chester said. "Timing is everything."

(John Ohab holds a doctorate in neuroscience and works for the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)



Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $373,511,932 cost plus fixed fee contract for the construction preparation efforts for the second aircraft carrier of the Gerald R. Ford class (CVN 79). Efforts under contract will include engineering, detail design, test and evaluation, logistics support and the procurement of long lead time material. Special performance incentives are also included under the contract. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by October 2010. 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, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-2116).

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Santa Clara, Calif., and Lockheed Martin Corp., San Diego, Calif., are each being awarded indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contracts for the research and development of Information Fusion (IF), the blending together of source information to produce situational awareness, threat assessment, and resource management as it relates to the IF Center established by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. Efforts to be performed under these contracts will include research and development, integration and testing, continual advancement and operation of the IF Center; training for newly developed software, hardware and other IF products, and independent verification and validation of sensors and systems relating to critical infrastructure protection and force protection. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems' ceiling is $95,279,035 and Lockheed Martin Corp's ceiling is $103,835,801. Both companies will have the opportunity to bid on each individual task order. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems will perform work under its contract in Santa Clara, Calif., (70 percent) and China Lake, Calif., (30 percent). Lockheed Martin Corp. will perform work under its contract in San Diego, Calif., (70 percent) and China Lake, Calif., (30 percent). These contracts are expected to be completed in Jan. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. These contracts were solicited under a multiple award electronic request for proposals and two offers were received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-D-0005, N68936-09-D-0006, respectively).

BAE Systems Land & Armaments L.P., York, Pa., is being awarded an estimated at $89,000,000 firm fixed price, indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract for Mine Roller Systems. Pressure activated explosive devices in the form of standard mines and Improvised Explosive Devices pose a significant threat to forces utilizing light and medium wheeled vehicles. These Mine Roller Systems are mounted to wheeled vehicles in order to initiate mines and Victim Operated Improvised Explosive devices before the vehicle passes over the explosive device. Delivery Order #0001 is being issued concurrently in the amount of $11,945,544. Work will be performed in York, Pa., and work is expected to be completed by Jan. 2014. Contract funds will not expire by the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-09-D-5050).

WTAK-1 Inc., Mobile, Ala., is being awarded $49,650,000 to exercise an option under a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00033-82-C-1019) for the purchase of Maritime Prepositioning Ship Sgt Matej Kocak. WTAK-1 Inc., which held Military Sealift Command's (MSC's) previous long-term contract for Kocak, is executing the sale on behalf of Wilmington Trust Co., as shipowner and UPB Leasing Ventures as beneficiary. The ship has been under long-term charter to MSC since 1984. The ship will remain crewed by about 30 civilian mariners employed by Waterman Steamship Corp., Mobile, Ala. Kocak is one of 15 Maritime Prepositioning ships that strategically preposition U.S. Marine Corps cargo at sea around the world, making the cargo readily available to warfighters who are flown into a theater of operations. The ship will transfer to U.S. government ownership on Jan. 15, 2009 and will continue to operate worldwide. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Braintree V Maritime Corp., North Quincy, Mass., is being awarded $48,585,495 to exercise an option under a previously awarded firm fixed price contract (N00033-82-C-1036) for the purchase of Maritime Prepositioning Ship Sgt. William R. Button. Braintree V, which held Military Sealift Command's (MSC's) previous long-term charter for Button, is executing the sale on behalf of Wilmington Trust Company as shipowner and Fifth Household Finance as Beneficiary. The ship has been under long-term charter to MSC since 1986. The ship will remain crewed by about 30 U.S. merchant mariners employed by American Overseas Marine Corporation of North Quincy, Mass. Button is one of 15 Maritime Prepositioning Ships that strategically preposition U.S. Marine Corps cargo at sea around the world, making the cargo readily available to warfighters who are flown into a theater of operations. The ship will transfer to U.S. government ownership on Jan. 15, 2009, and will continue to operate worldwide. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

WTAK-3 Inc., Mobile, Ala., is being awarded $45,650,000 to exercise an option under a previously awarded firm, fixed price contract (N00033-82-C-1023) for the purchase of Maritime Prepositioning Ship Maj. Stephen W. Pless. WTAK-3 Inc., which held Military Sealift Command's (MSC's) previous long-term contract for Pless, is executing the sale on behalf of Wilmington Trust as shipowner and UPB Leasing Ventures as beneficiary. The ship has been under long-term charter to MSC since 1985. The ship will remain crewed by about 30 U.S. merchant mariners employed by Waterman Steamship Corp., of Mobile, Ala. WTAK-3 is an affiliate of Waterman Steamship Corp. Pless is one of 15 Maritime Prepositioning ships that strategically preposition U.S. Marine Corps cargo at sea around the world, making the cargo readily available to warfighters who are flown into a theater of operations. The ship will transfer to U.S. government ownership on Jan. 15, 2009, and will continue to operate worldwide. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

R. N. Rouse, Cary, N.C., is being awarded a $14,350,000 firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of a Wounded Warrior Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, Camp Lejeune. The facility will be multi story with ambulatory physical recovery areas. The contract also contains one unexercised option, which if exercised would increase cumulative contract value to $15,650,000. Work will be performed in Camp Lejeune, N.C., 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 12 proposals received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-3200).

Marine Hydraulics International, Inc., Norfolk, Va., was awarded on Jan, 5, 2009, a $10,460,246 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-08-C-4415) for the USS Elrod (FFG-55) FY09 Selected Restricted Availability. The contractor will perform work items to repair, replace, preserve, install, and clean. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by May 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $6,996,027 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

SBG, Inc.*, Charleston, S.C., is being awarded $6,418,502 for firm fixed price task order #0017 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N69450-07-D-1774) for the repair and renovations to Building 11 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island. This work will include the addition of four entry elements; the addition of upfit of the interior construction for Open Office 216; upfit of the interior construction for Main Frame 208, Open Office 209, Office 210 and Office 211. Work will be performed in Parris Island, S.C., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2010. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Five proposals were received for this task order. Resident Officer In Charge of Construction, Beaufort, S.C., is the contracting activity.

General Dynamics C4 Systems, Scottsdale, Ariz., is being awarded a $5,843.218 modification to previously awarded cost plus fixed fee contract (M67854-02-C-2052) to incorporate engineering changes that will extend the Family of Systems solution set for the Combat Operations Centers (COC) Program. The COC is an integrated, mobile, command and control center consisting of shelter, power, cabling, processing systems, and trailers. Work will be performed in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by July 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, Wis., was awarded on Jan. 12, 2009 $5,793,158 for a firm fixed price contract option item under the previously awarded "rotable pool" spares provision of the Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) production contract (N00025-03-C-0002) for the acquisition of one warping tugboat. The work to be performed provides for the boat building of a single warping tug, which is for maneuvering other INLS modules into place during amphibious landings. Rotable pool spares may be ordered in addition to full rate production quantities of INLS watercraft. The total contract amount after exercise of this option will be $398,711,010. Work will be performed at the co., shipyard in Marinette, Wis. Delivery of this boat will be in Dec. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Headquarters, Wash., D.C., is the contracting activity.


The Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract to Boeing Company of Seal Beach, Calif., for $65,131,789. This contact will provide Launch Operations Support to include all aspects of the Launch preparation up to and including launch operations. At this time, $13,545,979 has been obligated. GPSW/PK, El Segundo Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-96-C-0025 P00607)

The Air Force is modifying a cost plus award fee contract to Boeing Co., of Seal Beach Calif., for $48,993,979. This contract will provide On-Orbit Operations Support for recurring on-orbit operations that commences with operations declaration for the space vehicle and concludes with the end-of-life disposal. At this time $13, 037,663 has been obligated. GPSW/PK, El Segundo Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-96-C-0025-P00606)

The Air Force is exercising an option with the CSC Applied Technologies LLC of Fort Worth, Texas for $29,186,679. The contract provides for Base Operation Support at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. At this time $29,186,679 has been obligated. 81CONS Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is the contracting activity (FA3002-08-C-0001-A0002)

The Air Force is modifying a contract with Boeing Service Co., of Richardson Texas for $27,746,196. This contract extends the contract for broadband data service to the Department of Defense and State Department operated aircraft equipped with the Connection by Boeing System. At this time the entire amount has been obligated. HQ AMC SCB, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois is the contracting activity (FA4452-03-C-0006-P00021)

The Air Force is exercising an option contract with Raytheon Company, Tucson Arizona. This action is exercising the option for the production of 46 R7 HARM Targeting System pods and initial spares. At this time $38,709,061 has been obligated. 693 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida is the contracting activity (FA8675-09-C-0003-P00001).

The Air Force is awarding a contract to Raytheon Co., of Tucson Ariz. This contract provides for the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile Targeting Systems Software Upgrade Program. At this time $4,533,762 has been obligated. 693 ARSS/PK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8675-09-C-0004).


World Fuel Services, Inc., Miami, Fla. is being awarded a minimum $35,364,920 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for fuel. Other locations of performance include various locations in Honduras. Using service is Air Force. There were originally 4 proposals solicited with 3 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Dec. 31, 2011. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-1251).

Shamrock Foods, Commerce City, Colo., is being awarded a maximum $6,304,673 firm fixed price, indefinite quantity contract for full line food distribution. There are no other locations of performance. Using services are Army, Air Force and Marine Corps. There were originally eight proposals solicited with five responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract is exercising the second of four one-year option periods. The date of performance completion is Jan. 16, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM300-08-D-3219).

Mississippi Limestone, Friars Point, Miss., was awarded on Jan. 13, 2009, a $6,601,175 firm fixed price contract for work consisting of casting 70,000 squares of articulated concrete mattress and an option to fill, place and remove sandbags at St. Francisville Casting Yard, St. Francisville, La. Work will be performed at St. Francisville, La., with an estimated completion date of Nov 30, 2009. Bids were solicited on the Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Protection Office, New Orleans, La., (W912P8-09-C-0018).

Obama Aims to Shape Military for 21st Century

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to assume the role of commander in chief, one of the stated items on his list of priorities is to shape the U.S. military for the 21st century. Obama, who's slated to be inaugurated Jan. 20, has not served in military uniform, but his climb to the U.S. presidency culminates a public service career that began in 1997 as a member of the Illinois State Senate, where he served three terms, followed by a successful bid for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

As a junior U.S. senator, Obama, a graduate of Harvard Law School and the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee. He fought to help veterans get the disability pay they were promised while working to prepare the Veterans Affairs Department for the thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the president-elect's Web site,

Obama's early exposure to military culture came from the maternal grandparents who helped to raise him during his adolescent years in Honolulu. His grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, enlisted in the Army during World War II and served under Gen. George S. Patton while his wife, Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham, worked on a bomber assembly line.

The president-elect has said that America's greatest military asset is the men and women who wear the uniform of the U.S. armed forces.

"When we do send our men and women into harm's way, we must also clearly define the mission, prescribe concrete political and military objectives, seek out the advice of our military commanders, evaluate the intelligence, plan accordingly, and ensure that our troops have the resources, support, and equipment they need to protect themselves and fulfill their mission," he told the Chicago Foreign Affairs Council in April 2007.

One of the stated goals of Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden is to "invest in a 21st century military." To this end, the incoming administration has laid out the following focal points on its Web site:

-- Rebuild the Military for 21st Century Tasks: Obama and Biden plan to build up special operations forces, civil affairs, information operations and other units and capabilities that remain in chronic short supply; to invest in foreign language training, cultural awareness, and human intelligence and other needed counterinsurgency and stabilization skill sets; and to create a more robust capacity to train, equip, and advise foreign security forces so allies are better prepared to confront mutual threats.

-- Expand to Meet Military Needs on the Ground: Obama and Biden support plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marine Corps by 27,000 Marines to help units retrain and re-equip properly between deployments and decrease the strain on military families.

-- Leadership from the Top: Obama and Biden plan to inspire a new generation of Americans to serve their country, whether it be in local communities in such roles as teachers or first responders, or serving in the military to keep the nation free and safe.

-- Lighten the Burdens on Troops and Their Families: The administration plans to create a Military Families Advisory Board to provide a conduit for military families' concerns to be brought to the attention of senior policymakers and the public. They've promised end the "stop-loss" policy that allows servicemembers to be retained beyond the term of their enlistment and to establish predictability in deployments so that active duty and reserve servicemembers know what they can and must expect.

Volunteers Gear Up for 'Day of Service for Military'

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - Operation Gratitude, a troop-support group, is joining forces with Washington, D.C., Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and thousands of volunteers from across the country on Jan. 19's Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday to assemble care kits for servicemembers deployed overseas. The effort, called "A Day of Service for Our Military," allows for people to show their support and express their appreciation to those in the military, organizers said.

"We are thrilled to partner in this event, as this is a great way to introduce more Americans to the great work of Operation Gratitude and provide an avenue for them to express their appreciation to our military," Carolyn Blashek, Operation Gratitude's founder, said.

"A Day of Service for Our Military" is part of a larger initiative called "Renew America Together," a nationwide effort that encourages Americans to make an ongoing commitment to serve their communities and their country through volunteering, not just on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but throughout the year.

Thousands of events are expected to take place across the country, organizers said.

Blashek said she expects about 15,000 volunteers will gather in a heated tent at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in the nation's capital to assemble 75,000 care kits for servicemembers. Care kit items, donated by Target, include candy, shaving supplies, lotion, shampoo, CDs, DVDs, socks and books.

Writing letters of thanks to servicemembers also will be encouraged, Blashek said.

Organizers urge potential volunteers to sign up at for a one-hour shift between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to assemble care kits.

"This is a wonderful event to be a part of," Blashek said. "[It's] day of service for our servicemembers, who continue to serve this country with honor."

Face of Defense: Soldier Juggles Versatility at Work, Home

By Army Sgt. Kajanuary Morgan
Special to American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - Soldiers are expected to adapt to any environment, and a Mississippi National Guard soldier here is living up to that expectation as she works outside her normal specialty. Army Spc. Susan Fautner is one of many soldiers who have adapted to a job and life outside of their experience. She joined the Guard in April 2004 as a supply specialist.

"Her ability to multitask, add humor and dependability has relieved me of a lot of extra duty hours," Army Staff Sgt. Rico McNair, supply sergeant for 890th Engineer Battalion Forward Support Company, said. "She has been a great asset for my section."

Fautner originally was part of the battalion's A Company supply section, but personnel shortages necessitated assigning her temporarily to the "Barrier Yard," normally an all-male assignment, to help supervise Iraqi civilians while they inventory and inspect concrete barriers prior to delivery.

At first, Fautner admitted, she was worried about being the only woman in the yard. But she said her faith in God and co-workers give her confidence that her new assignment would work out well.

Fautner said she learned to become flexible early in her deployment. As a single parent, she said, she was full of concerns when she learned she was deploying. She worried about matters such as who would preserve her children's routines and who will keep up her apartment.

"Child rearing is not an easy task while being deployed, especially with two teenage daughters, but support I received from family and friends made it bearable," she said. "The Internet capabilities have made this deployment [easier], because I can see my children instead of just hearing their voices over the phone."

Fautner watched a milestone in her elder daughter's life by watching her graduate from high school via video conference, and she helped her enroll into her first community college semester over the phone.

"Moments that I've spent my entire life waiting to see happen, and having to miss them really instilled a sense of pride in the sacrifices that I've made for my country," Fautner said.

Time she has spent mentoring younger soldiers has helped ease the pain of being away from her teenage daughters, Fautner said. The conversations she has with them, she noted, often are the same ones she has with her daughters.

"Not only do you have to be a soldier, but when you are a single parent, the responsibilities double," she said. "We do what we have to do. I'm not the only single mother out here, so my hat is off to all single mothers that are deployed."

In Mississippi, Faunter is a food-service worker at Biloxi Regional Medical Center. She said she's looking forward to enrolling at Perkinston Community College and purchasing her first home when she returns home.

"Hopefully, my oldest daughter and I will not have any of the same classes," she said with a laugh.

(Army Sgt. Kajanuary Morgan serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 890th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade.)

Early Champions Would be Proud of Equal Rights Progress, Gates Says

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - As Pentagon employees celebrated what would have been Martin Luther King Jr.'s 80th birthday today, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told of an early participant in the struggle for equal rights, a young African-American sailor. Benjamin Drummond was born a free man in New York in 1843, and at the age of 18 he enlisted in the Navy. While serving aboard the USS Morning Light in the Gulf of Mexico, he was shot three times and was taken prisoner. After a miraculous escape and return to Union lines, he re-enlisted in 1864.

"When his war wounds failed to heal properly, he became the first patient of any color at the Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill," Gates said. "Drummond was discharged in 1868, and years later received a disability pension of $4 a month, just over a dollar per gunshot wound."

It also was less than half the amount normally allotted for whites, Gates said. Drummond fought for an increase, and he eventually received a lump-sum payment of $210 just before his death. His wife then began her fight for what was then called a widow's pension.

"The Drummonds' struggle for what they were due presaged, both literally and figuratively, the promissory note to which Dr. King referred from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial nearly a century later," Gates said. "There, in his words, he came to cash the check of freedom and equality that for too long had been returned marked 'insufficient funds.'

"In five days, [President-elect Barack Obama] will place his hand on the same Bible that President Lincoln used in his inauguration in March 1861," he said. "As all of our citizens watch the historic events of the next week, we should remember Benjamin Drummond and countless others ... who faithfully defended this nation long before their duty and devotion had been earned or acknowledged."

Next week's inauguration would have been affirming for those who never had the chance, or even imagined it possible, to carry out the orders of a commander in chief of African descent, Gates said.

"I believe [they] will be looking down on the front steps of the Capitol with a measure of pride and satisfaction for themselves and for our country," he said.

The ceremony included a keynote address by Russell L. Adams, Howard University professor emeritus of African-American studies, and musical selections by Afro Blue, Howard University's premier vocal jazz ensemble. Four John Tyler Elementary School students, winners of the annual art and essay contest associated with the celebration, were honored as well. The theme was "Dr. King's vision of unity in the community."

The nation will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 19.

Defense Department Opens Psychological Health Center

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Jan. 15, 2009 - Defense Department officials today announced the opening of a new outreach center that will provide servicemembers, veterans and their families a new resource for psychological health problems and traumatic brain injuries. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury is operating the 24-hour center, which will be open 365 days a year and is staffed by behavioral health consultants and nurses, including some former military psychologists.

"We're providing 24/7 support to assist callers with questions regarding psychological health and traumatic brain injury," said Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Loree K. Sutton, director of the Centers of Excellence. "Getting the best possible information and tools, hassle-free, will empower and strengthen warriors and their families to successfully manage what can be confusing and disturbing circumstances."

The center promotes resilience, recovery, and reintegration of servicemembers facing psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues while working to advance research, education, diagnosis, and treatment of these conditions, Sutton said.

Its staff is equipped to handle not only routine requests for information, but also questions about symptoms a caller may be experiencing. Its staff also can help a caller find appropriate health care resources within the Defense Department or with other federal agencies, she added.

"What we want to make sure is ... that we provide the accurate information to allow folks to understand what's really true," Sutton said. "If we need to research a question, we'll do the legwork and quickly reconnect with the caller."

The outreach center will always be there for members, leaders, and health care providers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, the reserve components and veterans, Sutton said. Family members of servicemembers and veterans can call or e-mail the outreach center staff with questions pertaining to psychological health or traumatic brain injury. The center can be reached by calling 866-966-1020 toll-free, or by sending an e-mail to

"This outreach center will be a way where, even at 2 in the morning [and] whether you're on the home front or downrange, ... you'll have someone at the other end of that line who cares," Sutton said.