Military News

Monday, February 02, 2009

USO, NFL Host Super Bowl Party for Troops, Wounded Warriors

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

Feb. 2, 2009 - For the third straight year, the National Football League and the USO of Metropolitan Washington teamed up to sponsor a Super Bowl party for Washington-based servicemembers and their families. More than 250 servicemembers and wounded warriors recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and their families enjoyed Super Bowl XLIII here yesterday with NFL representatives, food, drinks and door prizes, compliments of the USO and the NFL.

Flat-screen televisions lined the walls at Patriot Sports Zone bar for the 18-and-older crowd, while across the hall at Spates Community Club, a family environment was provided for the younger sports fans to play video games as parents watched the big game on a theater-sized projection screen. Guests enjoyed free food and sodas as they cheered for the Pittsburgh Steelers or Arizona Cardinals.

NFL referees and cheerleaders from the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins circulated through the party, offering autographs and pictures with the troops and their families.

Redskins cheerleader Michelle -- cheerleaders' first names only are used for public events as a matter of league policy -- said she has great admiration for servicemembers and their families, because she knows first-hand the sacrifices they've made. Her father, an Army aviator, is serving in Afghanistan.

"We're here to support the troops and their families," Michelle said, "and it's a privilege, especially because my father has served for 26 years. So giving back to the military community is extremely important to me."

Army Sgt. Jonathan Shaner also enjoyed the Super Bowl festivities here. He's recovering from a hand injury and traumatic brain injury at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and he decided the Super Bowl party would be a good change of pace, he said. He was wounded Jan. 10 during a rocket attack in Baghdad during his second deployment with the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

The Super Bowl XLIII party was Shaner's first USO event -- as an infantryman, he said, he usually ends up on security details for celebrity visits rather than actually getting to participate.

"[The USO and NFL] took care of us pretty well," he said. "The food's good, big-screen [televisions] are all over the walls. It's just a good place to hang out during the Super Bowl and kind of relax. Being a part of this event here and seeing how helpful and supportive the USO and NFL really are -- I'm very appreciative."

The NFL has been working with the USO for decades, with NFL stars frequently visiting wounded military members stateside and traveling overseas, often to combat zones, to show their support, Pauline Ray, a USO representative, said.

The Steelers won a franchise-high sixth Lombardi Trophy in a closely contested 27-23 victory over the Cardinals that was decided in the last minute of play.

Patriot Guard Riders Assist Hoosier Homecoming Celebration

By Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Cloward
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - Members of the Patriot Guard Riders participated in homecoming ceremonies for Indiana National Guard units at Lucas Oil Stadium here Jan. 31. More than 100 volunteers from the group walked the perimeter of the field carrying U.S. flags before standing guard as more than 3,100 Indiana soldiers and airmen marched in review.

Vietnam War veteran Lloyd Valentine of Fairland, Ind., said he participates regularly with the Patriot Guard Riders. "It puts closure to 38 years of nightmares of 'Nam' for me," he said. "Doing this allowed me to come out and help bring closure to the faces I see every day of those I served with."

Attending the events gives him the opportunity to send other servicemembers off with honor and bring them home with the respect they deserve, he added.

The Patriot Guard Riders started in August 2005 with Chapter 136 of the American Legion Riders in Kansas who heard protesters were disrupting funerals of fallen warriors and decided to do something about it.

When they heard of a planned protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. John Doles in Chelsea, Okla., they established a mission statement that included getting the family's permission and contacting law enforcement and other motorcycle groups in Oklahoma. They agreed that their ultimate goal was to get veterans and motorcycle organizations from every state involved. They were very successful in mustering riders to honor Doles and limiting disruption.

After participating in two fallen warriors' funerals, Jeff "Twister" Brown from Broken Arrow, Okla., wanted to do more than just ride. He contacted the original American Legion riders in Kansas and told them of his plans to start a nationwide communication and recruiting campaign. Within days, Brown had formed the Patriot Guard Riders and began to garner support.

Within a week, the group's membership included riders from various veterans organizations and motorcycle clubs, as well as individual, nonaffiliated riders.

Damon Gastineau of Avon, Ind., is one of the Patriot Guard Riders who participated in Indiana's homecoming event.

"I'm not in the military, but I work with law enforcement at the police academy in Plainfield," he said. "I think it's the right thing to do, to thank them."

(Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Cloward serves in the 120th Public Affairs Detachment.)

National Guard Battles Ice Storm Aftermath in Three States

By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - Residents of three states still are recovering with help from the National Guard a week after a major ice storm that stretched from the Ozarks through Appalachia. Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri still have troops on duty clearing debris and conducting welfare checks, and they are getting help from neighboring states as well.

In Kentucky, the state's entire Army National Guard and about 325 Air National Guard members have been activated, for a total of 5,000 soldiers and airmen in what has been described as the largest call-up in state history.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said in a news release that he made the decision to ensure the safety and well-being of Kentucky's citizens after a storm that left about 700,000 residents without power and paralyzed the western part of the state.

"It's going to be a long haul for us," he told the Associated Press yesterday as he toured the state. "We've thrown everything we have at it. We're going to continue to do that until everyone is back in their homes and back on their feet."

The Kentucky Guard also is providing communications support, engineering capability, power generation, security and aviation recovery missions as well as distributing food and water.

Through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact request, the Florida Air National Guard will provide six regional emergency response networks, -- communications system operated by four-person teams -- and the Tennessee National Guard will send 30 Humvees to help with the storm response. More Humvees are expected to come from other states today.

National Guard Bureau officials said the Kentucky Guard has distributed about 100 generators throughout the state.

Beshear said the storm was the biggest natural disaster ever to hit the state. The Associated Press reported that the storm knocked out power to 1.3 million customers from Texas to Maine, including 700,000 in Kentucky and 300,000 in Arkansas.

In Arkansas, almost 1,000 Guard members are working in nine counties across the northern third of the state. They are being deployed in teams of 50 to support local authorities.

One team was sent to Marmaduke, Ark., to clear debris from the roadways, while others went door to door to notify the residents of an order to boil water before consuming it.

During the door-to-door visits, soldiers encountered a single mother and her children who had been stranded with nothing to eat for a number of days, according to a news release from the Arkansas Guard. The soldiers provided the family with their own food and water and notified community leaders for further support.

The Arkansas Guard also has provided power generation, cots and blankets, emergency shelter, fuel, water, shower systems, radios and chainsaws.

Army Capt. Chris Heathscott, the state public affairs officer, said the Guard's missions are expected to continue until the power companies restore power to the affected communities.

In Missouri, about 400 Guard members have been sent to 10 counties to support the needs of the communities in the southeastern part of the state.

"The service of our citizen-soldiers and -airmen in southeast Missouri continues to be invaluable in this recovery effort," Gov. Jay Nixon said.

In addition to route clearance and welfare checks, the Guard members have provided transportation support as well as 15 trucks of water, three trucks of cots and two trucks of blankets in Jefferson City, Mo. Two 5-ton trucks were sent to Poplar Bluff, Mo., to distribute food and water in the area.

"While Missourians continue to be affected by this devastating storm, your Missouri National Guard works alongside communities to help citizens get the help they need," Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Danner, Missouri adjutant general, said.

Danner and the governor visited the affected areas over the weekend. "During our visit to the area yesterday, my heart went out to those families affected by the devastation," Danner said. "But as bad as the devastation is, the local communities are working nonstop to ensure their citizens get the help they need.

"The Missouri National Guard is proud to be a strong part of that help," he said.

Missouri National Guard units supporting the mission are: 35th Engineer Brigade of Fort Leonard Wood; 1138th Engineer Company of Farmington; Headquarters Company, 1140th Engineer Battalion of Cape Girardeau; 880th Engineer Company of Perryville; Forward Support Company 1140th Engineer Battalion of Cape Girardeau; 205th Military Police Battalion of Poplar Bluff; 735th Quartermaster Company of DeSoto, Poplar Bluff, Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau, Rolla and Jefferson Barracks; 220th Engineer Company of Festus; 935th Aviation Support Battalion of Springfield; 276th Engineer Company of Monett and Pierce City; 294th Engineer Company of Carthage and Anderson; 1138th Military Police Company of West Plains and Springfield; 1137th Military Police Company of Kennett, Jackson and Doniphan; 1175th Military Police Company of St. Clair and St. Louis; 1035th Maintenance Company of Jefferson Barracks; 1140th Military Police Company of Fulton and Columbia; 131st Fighter Wing of St. Louis; and Joint Force Headquarters of Jefferson City.

(Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

New GI Bill Carries Different Eligibility, Benefits

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - A series of educational assistance programs administered by the Veterans Affairs Department, commonly called the GI Bill, have helped servicemembers pursue post-secondary learning for decades. Soon, another program will be added to the mix: The Post-9/11 Veterans Education Bill will be available to qualified individuals Aug. 1.

"We previously administered four major education programs before this bill came along," Keith M. Wilson, VA's education service director, said. "The new Post-9/11 GI Bill has different eligibility criteria [and] pays for different types of training."

The new GI Bill provides three separate types of benefit payments to those who entered the military on or after Sept. 10, 2001, and have at least 90 days of active service.

The first type of payment covers tuition and fees equal to what each state's most expensive state-run school charges for in-state, undergraduate study.

In addition, an allowance based on the Defense Department's basic housing allowance for an E-5 with dependents is available as a benefit paid monthly, Wilson said. The housing allowance's dollar amount depends on the location of the school the servicemember or veteran is attending, he added.

The third benefit is a stipend of up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies.

"Now, each of those payments is subject to the amount of active duty an individual has," Wilson said. Eligible people with 36 or more months of active duty will receive 100 percent of the three payments, he said. Those with less than 36 months of active service will receive a prorated amount.

For example, Wilson said, someone with 90 days to six months of active service qualifies for 40 percent of each of the three types of payments. The benefits increase with an individual's amount of active service, and extend to National Guardsmen and reservists who have at least 90 days of active service.

"Previously the Guard and reserve members didn't really have a stake in the GI Bill per se," he said. "Now, we have one program that covers both the active duty and the Guard and reserves."

For those who incur out-of-state tuition, attend a private school, or want to pursue graduate studies but find their tuition and fees above the cap set by the VA, there's the Yellow Ribbon program.

"The Yellow Ribbon program is a sub-element of the Post-9/11 GI Bill," Wilson said. "The ... program allows schools to enter into an agreement with VA by which the school will waive up to half of the difference of their tuition and fees charges and what the cap is for that state, and VA will match the amount that the school waives.

"It's basically a supplemental amount of tuition and fees that would be payable to the school," he added.

Wilson said he thinks the voluntary supplemental program has been well received by schools. He cautioned, however, that the VA still has steps to take before any formal agreements between any institution of higher learning and the VA can take place, including finalizing regulations and setting tuition caps.

"So no school, public or private, that would be interested in the Yellow Ribbon program really has enough information yet to make [the decision to participate]," he said.

It remains to be seen, Wilson said, what effect the country's current economic situation may have on the Yellow Ribbon program.

"The important thing to remember is that the Yellow Ribbon program is available to all schools," he said. "[Speculation about] whether or not schools' financial situations are going to impact their participation or not is a little bit premature. They don't have all the information they need from us yet."

More information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, eligibility, and how this new bill could affect those with service prior to Sept. 10, 2001, is available on the Veterans Affairs GI Bill site or by calling 1-888-GIBILL-1 toll-free. Along with answers to frequently asked questions, visitors to the site will find a link that will allow them to receive updates on the new GI Bill via e-mail as they become available.

California Guard Gets Green Light for New Airborne Firefighting System

By Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - A long-anticipated upgrade to the modular airborne firefighting system that's used to battle the nation's wildfires recently was approved for operational use. The approval comes months before the next fire season, National Guard Bureau officials said.

MAFFS II, as the new system is known, was approved for use on the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft.

The state has two of the new systems, which were showcased Jan. 30 to state officials and local media at McClellan Air Park in Sacramento, Calif.

MAFFS modules are owned by the U.S. Forest Service and are flown on Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve C-130 aircraft. Guard and Reserve wings, state governors and firefighting and federal agencies team up to operate MAFFS nationwide in wildfire responses. The aircraft and crews always are ready to deploy in anticipation of a state emergency, officials said.

"This new system is more capable; it can make a more effective [wildfire] retardant line and is more efficient," said Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Dave Condit, deputy commander of the MAFFS Expeditionary Air Group, which overseas three Air National Guard wings and one Air Force Reserve wing. "For those two reasons combined, we hope it's a more effective resource for fighting wildfires."

The system's orange-colored mixture of fire retardant and water coats fuel sources such as dry grass, brush and trees to keep a fire from spreading.

Condit said seven aircrews are trained in the new system and certified by the Forest Service.

MAFFS II eventually will replace all of the wings' older systems, Condit said.

"We hope that throughout this 2009 wildfire season, we will fully integrate the new equipment on all MAFFS aircraft," he said. He added that the older systems will be stored and kept ready to use on a moment's notice. The wildfire season comprises spring and summer.

Bringing MAFFS II to the fire line has taken "huge amounts" of cross-agency coordination and cooperation among MAFFS II designers at Aero Union, the Forest Service, the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Stoddard, Air National Guard MAFFS spokesman, said. "This capability is going to increase our nation's ability to protect itself against wildfires."

California has not had a firefighting capability on its C-130s since late 2006, which caused public concern over the ability to protect the state from wildfires, officials said. In 2008, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a letter to President George W. Bush asking that the state's Air Guard have MAFFS II for its wildfire response.

"This [MAFFS] asset is an important federal resource that we have relied upon in the past," Schwarzenegger wrote.

That year, California "suffered severe fires ... driven by high temperatures, dry conditions, and strong Santa Ana winds," according to National Climatic Data Center reports. "Mid-November fires ravaged much of Southern California, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of dwellings."

To support California, the nation's three remaining MAFFS wings -- the Wyoming Air Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing, the North Carolina Air Guard's 145th Airlift Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 302nd Airlift Wing in Colorado flew numerous fire retardant drops.

Condit said the arrival of MAFFS II in California will add to the state's critical wildfire assets. "Having that extra key member back again and fully capable is a big plus for the organization," he said.

(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith serves at the National Guard Bureau.)

Indiana Guard Sends Humvees to Winter Storm Recovery Effort

By Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - The Indiana National Guard has provided 100 Humvees to the Kentucky National Guard to aid in relief efforts after a crippling winter storm. "We're tickled to death about borrowing these Humvees," Army Sgt. Joe Kidwell said. Kidwell is a generator mechanic with the Kentucky Army National Guard's Company C, 276th Aviation Battalion, with headquarters in Frankfort, Ky.

Kidwell said he and members of his unit will travel door to door to check on people and make sure they are surviving the wintry blast of ice and snow that fell upon the Bluegrass State last week.

"A lot of people are without power – they're saying about 400,000 people here," said Army Spc. John Mitchell, a medic with the Kentucky Guard's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 63rd Aviation Battalion.

Army Sgt. Henry Kinney of the Kentucky Guard said some of the Humvees will be used to transport troops and supplies for the troops, and he is happy about being able to help Kentucky citizens in their time of need.

"This is my job. This is what I signed up to do," he said of his first time being called up for state active duty. Kinney, a 16-year military veteran, has served in the Kentucky Guard for about two years. He has spent the remainder of his service in the Marine Corps and the active-duty Army.

The Kentucky troops arrived here and checked the Humvees to make sure they were in working order. Then it was about a two-hour convoy south to Kentucky's capital of Frankfort and other towns in the state. The troops also signed for Humvees in New Albany, Ind., and Evansville, Ind., and drove them southward.

"It feels good we can help out a neighboring state," said Army Spc. Ronald Smith, a supply clerk here. "I'm sure they'd help us out if we needed it."

Kinney agreed. "We're all Guard family," he said. "One big family."

(Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Lowry serves with the Indiana National Guard.)

Face of Defense: Weight Loss Paves Airman's Road to Success

By Air Force Airman 1st Class David Salanitri
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - When Steven Childers decided he wanted to join the Air Force to follow in his father's footsteps, he knew some changes were in order, because he was significantly overweight. "I would get out of breath just walking up the stairs from my room to the living room," he said. "That's when I knew I needed a change." Knowing he had a long way to go to meet standards, he said, he waited a few months before visiting a recruiter.

"I lost about 20 pounds when I first went to the recruiter, which was enough to get the paperwork going, but I still needed to lose more," he said. "I started walking around my building during my lunch breaks at work. I cut out fried foods and started to run with my dad, who was training for a marathon."

Childers' father is a retired Air Force master sergeant.

"The first time my dad took me out to run," Childers said, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack after only one mile."

But after losing 70 pounds Childers was sworn into the Air Force and shipped off for basic training. But his success story doesn't end there.

He entered the Air Force in November, and was among the airmen to graduate from the new 8.5-week basic military training course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

"My dad told me about being a BMT honor graduate -- what it was and what it meant. He told me if you earn honor grad that you get a ribbon -- a ribbon he doesn't have, which made me want it even more."

Childers was selected as an honor graduate at the end of basic military training.

"It was such an honor to wear my uniform at his graduation -- just to stand shoulder to shoulder with him and be able to pass on the legacy was moving for me," retired Master Sgt. Tim Childers, Airman Childers' father, said.

"I wanted a solid career so I could provide for me and my wife," said the younger Childers, a Utah native who is now a student in the 338th Training Squadron's electronic principles course here. His wife, Ashley, said BMT training was one of the proudest moments of her life.

"I know all of the men and women had worked hard to get through basic training, but I knew that Steven started working hard long before basic training," she said.

Eighty pounds lighter since his journey to join the Air Force began, Childers said he is healthier and happier than he ever has been.

"I ran the fastest mile I have ever run in my entire life last week," he said. "I have more energy than ever before, and I feel confident in myself."

"It has been amazing to watch him come from obese to healthy," his wife said. "I know it wasn't easy, but he just kept working hard. I cry every time I look at the old pictures of my husband, because it reminds me of his outstanding dedication. He wanted to join the Air Force, so he did what he had to do."

(Air Force Airman 1st Class David Salanitri serves in the 81st Training Wing public affairs office.)

Officials Work to Meet Pentagon's Need for Space Capabilities

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

Feb. 2, 2009 - Adapting new capabilities within the rapidly changing military space environment is increasingly important to national security, and Defense Department officials in the Operationally Responsive Space office are working to meet the Pentagon's needs for space capabilities rapidly. ORS requires current technologies to be developed and fielded quickly to ensure the capabilities are available within months, and not decades as they were in the past, ORS director Peter Wegner said recently in an interview with American Forces Press Service.

The evolution of military space assets such as satellite imagery, global positioning systems, high-speed communications and missile warning systems have been a growing national defense necessity since the Cold War era, Wegner said, and with the threat of terrorism lurking throughout the world, those assets remain equally valuable today.

"In the past five years, the concept of ORS has gotten a lot of traction," Wegner said, noting the positive impact GPS and up-to-date digital imagery have had for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Commanders at every echelon in the global war on terror have come to rely on military space capabilities, he said. But the current space architecture consists of mostly larger, more exquisite satellite systems and is shared by all levels within the Defense Department, with the president having top priority, he said.

The priority list for those satellites can impede opportunities for ground commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan to benefit from their capabilities, Wegner said. For instance, soldiers in Afghanistan planning to raid an al-Qaida cell would benefit more from a satellite image of their target and route that is 30 minutes old than they would from a three-day-old image. If a bridge on their route was destroyed after the three-day-old image was take, he explained, the entire mission could be jeopardized.

So, when Pentagon officials established the ORS office at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., in May 2007, they wanted to build on the concept of augmenting the current space architecture with smaller satellites to provide more frequent audio, video and radio support for the warfighters on the ground, he continued.

"I want to be able to give [warfighters] a picture of what's over the next hill 30 minutes before they ever get there," Wegner said. "I want to be able to pick up the radio signals of the guy over the next hill, too, and tell troops what he's doing. I want to give troops radio links so that when part of them are over that hill and part of them aren't, they can still talk."

Pentagon space analyst Robert "Bo" Reese agreed that timely information is critical for warfighters. "It does no good to give [a commander] the best product in the world two days late," he said. "We need to give him a product to do his mission within an operationally relevant timeframe."

Another benefit of having more frequent access to satellite systems is systems in space are not regulated as conventional aircraft are. Though unmanned aerial vehicles and other surveillance aircraft have been generally successful, Reese said, operators must be aware of national airspace. Satellite surveillance has no such boundaries.

"One of the beauties of space is you go wherever you want," he explained. "In airspace, you have to be respectful of other nations' airspace. One of the things that space allows you is access to denied airspace."

"As [the Defense Department] began to integrate space capabilities into tactical warfighting, the demand for that capability is almost insatiable," he added. "The demand for intelligence surveillance and for communication and situational awareness in space and on the ground is critical to commanders."

Throughout the past year, ORS has developed solutions for several different needs, including UHF communications and enhanced space situational awareness, Wegner said.

"Whatever that capability is that the warfighter needs, [ORS] wants to get it to him," he said. "We want to provide assured space power focused on timely satisfaction of joint forces commanders' needs."

Web Site Helps Troops, Families Adjust After Deployments

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - A Military Health System Web site continues to help returning servicemembers and families adjust after a deployment ends, the site's program manager said Jan. 29. About 20 percent of servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan experience adjustment difficulties such as stress, irritability and sleep problems, Dr. Robert Ciulla, program manager for afterdeployment.org, said on the "Dot Mil Docs" program on BlogTalkRadio.com.

The afterdeployment.org project is one of several core projects within the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, known as "T2," located at Fort Lewis, Wash., under the direction of Dr. Greg Gahm. T2 is a directorate of the Defense Department's Center for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Ciulla noted that possible barriers to obtaining services, including a perceived stigma, stop many servicemembers from seeking out care. Ciulla emphasized that online resources have many advantages.

"Users can log on to afterdeployment.org in the privacy and comfort of their own homes and work with the site's resources anonymously. This should help with concerns about stigma," he said.

Ciulla said that logging on to afterdeployment.org "means that users don't have to worry about transportation, or scheduling appointments, or arranging a sitter for the kids." He added that online tools have other advantages, including 24/7 access anywhere an Internet connection is available.

Afterdeployment.org was officially launched in August, and is designed to provide behavioral health tools to servicemembers, their families and veterans in all the service branches, Ciulla said. It includes exercises and tools that the entire family can use.

"All of the materials on the site have value to families ... the main exercises and tools on the site -- such as stress and anger management, sleep hygiene, getting balance in one's life -- all of these tools are as relevant for a spouse or other family member as they are for someone on active duty just returning from deployment," he said. "We consider the self-help workshops, modeled after actual therapy sessions and which include exercises and vignettes and self-assessments, to be the site's signature elements."

Ciulla said the self-care tools available on afterdeployment.org provide the entire military community with vital service-delivery options. He noted that the site has particular advantages for National Guard and reserve units, who may be distant from a military treatment facility or otherwise located in areas lacking providers who are knowledgeable about military-related adjustment concerns.

Ciulla added that officials are working on future workshops on topics such as traumatic brain injury and resilience training. He also said he and others in the project office have "listened to the feedback we have received over the past months."

"In addition to TBI and resilience training," he said, "we'll be targeting content in a number of areas, including domestic and partner issues, and veterans' issues and women's issues, to name a few."

Additionally, Ciulla said, military leaders and health care providers can tap the site's materials to learn about common problems and change strategies, and to obtain useful contact information concerning local resources.

Currently, afterdeployment.org offers 12 programs: Adjusting to War Memories, Dealing with Depression, Handling Stress, Improving Relationships, Succeeding at Work, Overcoming Anger, Sleeping Better, Controlling Alcohol and Drugs, Helping Kids Deal with Deployment, Seeking Spiritual Fitness, Living with Physical Injuries and Balancing Your Life.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

People Key to Sustaining a Military 'Second to None,' Chairman Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - The military's emphasis on people needs to continue, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Reserve Officers Association here today. "I am 100 percent convinced that if we get it right for our people and their families, we will be able to continue and sustain a military second to none," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen told about 2,000 members of the association.

Reservists play an increasingly important role in national defense. During the Cold War, the reserve components were a strategic reserve, only called up if the Soviets went over the East German border.

Today, the reserves are an integral part of American military might. More than 600,000 reservists have been called up to serve in the U.S. Central Command area since 2001, Mullen said. The reserve components serve vital roles in Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas of the globe.

Mullen addressed the changing situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. "The elections in Iraq over the weekend were a signature event," Mullen said. "The outcome in Iraq was positive for the people. As conditions permit, I would hope that we can continue to draw forces down, because we also have change in Afghanistan."

As Afghanistan moves to the head of the queue for military resources, planners should keep in mind that the military cannot solve all problems. "Good governance is the lead issue in Afghanistan," he said. "The Afghan people are the center of gravity in the country."

Mullen said that when he visits troops overseas, he can't tell just by looking at the troops which are active duty and which belong to the reserves. This says much about the integration between the active and reserve components.

"It is a clarion call to a future that is more and more integrated," Mullen said.

Mullen stressed that the department must do more to address the problems of training, mobilization, deployment and demobilization, keeping the focus on reserve-component reintegration.

"One of the biggest concerns I have for the reserves is, you go to the fight for 12 months, you come back, you get off the airplane on Friday, and Monday you are in your job," he said. More has to be done to help these returning servicemembers.

The department also must do more to evolve career fields in civil affairs, military police, logistics, intelligence and areas that are under-manned, yet in high-demand.

"We need to make sure we never forget the fallen and the families of the fallen," Mullen said. "We must also do whatever it takes to take care of the people wounded in this conflict."

This includes helping those suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. The services and the Veterans Affairs Department must connect with people and give them a "lifeline or life preserver when problems crop up," he said.

The military is operating in a time of tremendous change and officials are "dependent on our young leaders for their feedback and to translate the lessons we have learned in what is now our eighth year of war," Mullen said.

He told the young officers to capture those lessons, and implored the seasoned leaders to listen.

Army Reserve Chief Describes Employer Partnership Initiative

By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service

Feb. 2, 2009 - An Army Reserve human capital strategy called the Employer Partnership Initiative is delivering staffing solutions and tangible incentives to businesses that employ Army Reserve soldiers while sustaining the operational nature of today's force. "What employers are telling us is when they hire a Reserve soldier, they don't just get an employee, they get somebody that has a great work ethic, that has integrity, that has loyalty, that has dedication, and that productivity goes up," Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, said to online journalists and bloggers Jan. 28.

Stultz came to his job with years of experience in the Army Reserve that has included several deployments.

"I have a good perspective, I think, in terms of how you go back and forth between a civilian to military, back to civilian -- some of the challenges it presents for both employers and the soldier, as well as for the family," he said.

The Employer Partnership Initiative was launched in spring 2008, and complements the Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve program by finding career employment opportunities for soldiers with employers who understand the demands of today's operational military climate and proactively seek to hire them.

"This truly is an operational force, and if you join the Army Reserve today, you are going to deploy," Stultz said. "What we owe you is predictability. What we owe you is to take care of your family. What we owe you is to help you with your employer to make sure that you can maintain a civilian job while you're serving your country. And, what we ask of you is your service."

Stultz added that the Army Reserve's retention is good, running at about 120 percent of its retention goal.

The EPI program benefits both the Army Reserve and potential employers, the general said.

"Rather than coming out and asking [employers] to give up [their] employees to be soldiers," he explained, "[we ask them], 'Why don't you let me go recruit for you, because we share the same skill sets?'"

He added that one of the first organizations that Army Reserve officials talked with was the American Trucking Associations. "I'm recruiting truck drivers, and I'm training truck drivers, and I'm putting them into Iraq and Afghanistan to prove their capability," he said.

Stultz added that after tapping into the trucking fields, officials sought future recruits from the medical community. Employers in other fields now are lining up to find the best candidates. "I've got 150 employers already signed up, [and] I've got 200 waiting," Stultz said.

An estimated 25,000 to 30,000 Army Reserve soldiers are mobilized on active duty, and about 20,000 of them are deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. The other mobilized reservists are serving in the United States in support and administration roles.

"Even in the current economic situation, we still have a lot of employers out there that are calling us every day," Stultz said.

(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)

MILITARY CONTRACTS February 2, 2009

ARMY

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Co., Bedford, Mass., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $128,150,933.68 cost plus fixed fee, level-of-effort engineering services contract award for 702,599 man-hours of effort. Work is being performed at Burlington, Andover, and Tewksbury, Mass.; Huntsville, Ala.; and El Paso, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Jan. 31, 2014. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-09-C-0057).

Sundt Construction, Inc., Tempe, Ariz., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, an $87,176,614
Task Order (0001) firm fixed price contract for design and construction of an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Light) Complex 2 – Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing – Barracks, PN 68961, Fort Bliss, Texas. This project is required by the Army's Military Construction Transformation Initiatives and will house single soldiers on a permanent basis and provide laundry facilities, and other amenities. Work is being performed at Fort Bliss, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 23, 2010. Bids solicited: RFP 0001 – 3 Offerors; Bids received: RFP 0001 – 3 Offerors. U.S. Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-09-D-0011).

Sundt Construction, Inc., Tempe, Ariz., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, an $87,176,614 Task Order (0002) firm fixed price contract for design and construction of an Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Light) Complex 2 – Unaccompanied Enlisted Personnel Housing – Barracks, PN 68962, Fort Bliss, Texas. This project is required by the Army's Military Construction Transformation Initiatives and will house single Soldiers on a permanent basis and provide laundry facilities, and other amenities. Work is being performed at Fort Bliss, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Apr. 20, 201l. Bids solicited: RFP 0001 – 3 Offerors; Bids received: RFP 0001 – 3 Offerors. U.S. Army Engineer District, Fort Worth, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-09-D-0011).

KILGORE FLARES COMPANY, LLC, Toone, Tenn., was awarded on Jan 30, 2009, a $22,801,750 firm fixed price contract for 225,800 M206 and 488,580 MJU-7A/B IR Countermeasure Flares. Work is being performed at Toone, Tenn., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 30, 2010. Two bids were solicited and two bids received. Headquarters, U.S. Army Field Support Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-04-C-0097).

ARMTEC COUNTERMEASURES, CO., Coachella, Calif., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $19,951,263 firm fixed price contract for 184,800 M206 and 399,720 MJU-7A/B IR Countermeasure Flares. Work is being performed at East Camden, Ark., with an estimated completion date of Apr. 30, 2010. Two bids were solicited and two bids received. Headquarters, U.S. Army Field Support Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-04-C-0096).

General Dynamics C4 Systems Inc, Taunton, Mass., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $9,000,000 cost-plus-award-fee contract. General Dynamics C4 Systems (GDC4S) is currently performing System Development and Demonstration (SDD) for the Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) under Contract DAAB07-02-C-F404. The effort will define, model, simulate, and demonstrate in a field environment the WIN-T System's architecture. Work is being performed at Taunton, Mass., and Gaithersburg, Md., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited by sole source and one bid received. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (DAAB07-02-C-F404).

The Boeing Co., Ridley Park, Pa., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $7,347,421 cost plus fixed fee contract for research with the primary objective of the program to carry out Phase 1 of the DiscRotor Risk Reduction Study. The DiscRotor concept consists of a fixed-wing aircraft fitted with a retractable single rotor. The DiscRotor concept has substantial potential to provide a high-speed, high-altitude aircraft (400+ KTAS at 30,000 ft) that has the hover and low-speed characteristics of a helicopter. Work is being performed at Philadelphia, Pa., and Blacksburg, Va., with an estimated completion date of Jul 31, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arlington, Va., is the contracting activity (HR0011-09-C-0056).

ALLIANT AMMUNITION AND POWDER COMPANY LLC, Radford, Va., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $7,142,000 firm fixed price modification to facility contract in support of the modernization effort at Radford Army Ammunition Plant. Work will be performed at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant with an estimated completion date of Mar. 31, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid received. Headquarters, U.S. Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAA09-03-E-0001).

BLUE TEE CORP, Enid, Okla., was awarded on Jan. 30, 2009, a $6,073,366 firm fixed price construction contract for Water Well Drilling System for the Government of Egypt. Work will be performed at Enid, Okla., and in Egypt, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2009. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Transatlantic Programs Center, Winchester, Va., is the contracting activity (W912ER-09-C-0005).

Alliant Techsystems Inc., Plymouth, Minn., was awarded on Jan. 29, 2009, a $29,729,805 firm fixed price modification for the manufacture and delivery of approximately 3,240 M829 A3 120mm Armor Piercing, Fin Stabilized, Discarding Sabot Tracer Cartridges. Work will be performed at 21 stateside locations with an estimated completion date of Apr. 11, 2011. One bid was solicited and one bid received. U.S. Army Joint Munitions and Lethality LCMC, Picatinny, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15QKN-07-C-0085).

DON JON MARINE COMPANY, Hillside, N.J., was awarded on Jan. 28, 2009, a $31,945,000 firm fixed price contract consisting of deepening of the existing 47 feet Mean Low Water (MLW) Federal Navigation Channel System to a depth of 52 feet (MLW). The project consists of dredging and disposal of non-rock and possible drilling, blasting, dredging and disposal of rock. Work will be performed at New York and New Jersey Harbor Westside of Newark Bay. Bids were solicited by Unrestricted Open Competition with three bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District New York, New York, N.Y., is the contracting activity (W912DS-09-C-0003).

Alutiiq International, Huntsville, Ala., was awarded on Jan. 28, 2009, a $13,140,665 firm fixed price construction contract for a project consisting of various buildings comprising the Transportation Management School. Work is to be performed at Fort Lee, Va., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 15, 2011. Eighty bids were solicited with 13 bids received. U.S. Army Engineer District Norfolk, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (W91236-09-C-0021).

Daimler Trucks North America LLC, Portland, Ore., was awarded on Jan. 28, 2009, a $6,517,184.70 firm fixed price 9 Year Requirements contract: Delivery Order 0111 adds 11 each, M916A3 Light Equipment Transporters and 20 each, M917A2 Dump Trucks to the contract. Work is to be performed at Portland, Ore., with an estimated completion date of Nov. 30, 2009. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (DAAE07-00-D-S022).

Bogert International Inc., Pasco, Wash., was awarded on Jan. 27, 2009, a $16,570,656 firm fixed price, 5-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to procure lifting jacks for the High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) for a minimum quantity of 10,000 each and a maximum of 108,243 each. Work is to be performed at Pasco, Wash., with an estimated completion date of Jan. 23, 2014. U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command Contracting Center, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-09-D-0060).

DRS C3 Systems Inc., Fort Walton Beach, Fla., was awarded on Jan. 27, 2009, a $13,915,132 firm fixed price contract for new work modification under the authority of Unusual and Compelling Urgency for 1,520 Driver's Vision Enhancer (DVE) TWV A-Kits (mounting hardware, wiring, and connectors) for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Program and 224 DVE CV A-Kits and 756 cable assemblies. Work is being performed at Fort Walton Beach, Fla., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2009. CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-06-C-W006).

Colt Defense LLC, Hartford, Conn., was awarded on Jan. 27, 2009, a $9,494,376 firm fixed price 5-year Requirements contract for Barrel & Front Assembly 18,000 each; Hand Guard 13,600 each; Heavy Barrel Assembly 7,100 each; Receiver, Cartridge 22,000 each; Extractor Spring Assembly 200,000 each. Work is to be performed at Hartford, Conn., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 28, 2012. Tank and Automotive Command Rock Island, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (DAAE20-03-D-0191).

MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY CONTRACT AWARD

The Boeing Co., Integrated Defense Systems (Global Services and Support Division), St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded $249, 937,154 for a cost plus fixed fee contract for operations and sustainment support for the fielded portions of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) System for calendar year (CY) 2009 with an option for CY 2010. The principal places of performance are the contractor's facility in Huntsville, Ala., and Missile Defense Agency facilities at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and Fort Greely, Alaska. This sole source contract is awarded pursuant to 10 USC 2304(c)(1), as implemented by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 6.302-1. Specifically, as provided in the Justification and Approval for Other Than Full and Open Competition, Boeing, as the incumbent prime contractor for the operations and sustainment of the GMD Weapon System, is the only qualified source to perform this effort without unacceptable delay to critical program schedules and unaffordable duplication of costs. The MDA, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (HQ0147-09-C-0007). The period of performance is from Jan. 2009 through Dec. 2009 with a one year option to continue work from Jan. 2010 through Dec. 2010. The contract will be incrementally funded for $133,429,130 at award. Fiscal year (FY) 09 Research, Development, Test and Evaluation funds (RDT&E) will be used for the primary operations and sustainment support activities. FY09 Army Operation and Maintenance (O&M) funds will be used for training of Army soldier-operators. The RDT&E funds will not expire at the end of the fiscal year. The O&M funds will expire at the end of the fiscal year. This award is an interim measure which will continue essential O&S support to the GMD system in the near-term while MDA acquires and verifies necessary technical data and develops its strategy for competitive acquisition of follow-on GMD O&S support. On January 29, 2009, MDA published a formal announcement of its intent relative to follow-on GMD O&S efforts subsequent to effort covered by this current award. The purpose of the Jan. 29, 2009 FEDBIZOPPS announcement is to initiate immediate dialogue with industry regarding a competitive acquisition strategy for follow-on GMD O&S support requirements, with a stated intent to make a competitive award for such requirements no later than calendar year 2011.

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is modifying a contract to Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Indiana for $120,000,000. This contract action covers sustaining services including logistics support, program management support, engineering services, spares and technical data in support of the C-130J propulsions system which include the AE 2100D3 engine and R-391 propeller systems. At this time $17,511,485 has been obligated. 330 ACSG/GFKA, Robins, AFB, Ga., is the contracting activity (FA8504-07-D-0001-P00004).

The Air Force is awarding a time and material contract to General Dynamics Information Technology Inc of Fairfax, Va., for $22,953,332. This action will provide personnel, equipment, materials, supervision, all items and onsite services to perform support services for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Rome Research Site, and Hanscom AFB. At this time, $376,000 has been obligated. 88 CONS/PKA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8601-09-F-0024).

The Air Force is awarding a firm fixed price contract with time and material and cost reimbursable elements to Abacus Technology Corporation of Chevy Chase, Md., for $14,645,109. This action will provide 34 Engineers for the Foreign Military Sales customer, Royal Saudi Air Force in Saudi Arabia for 30 Months to provide management, operation, maintenance and support of C4I Systems and provide training of military, civilian and contractor personnel. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 350 ESG/CONS, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity (FA8706-09-C-0002).

The Air Force is awarding a contract to Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio for $8,761,285. This action will evaluate the effectiveness of Coast Guard unit and installation CBRN response readiness, identify gaps in preparedness, and develop training, risk reduction, and other mitigation techniques to minimize effects of on Coast Guard ashore, afloat, and aviation commands. At this time $903,591 has been obligated. 55CONS/LGCD is the contracting activity (SP0700-00-D-3180).

NAVY

TEC, Inc. Joint Venture, Charlottesville, Va., is being awarded a $25,000,000 firm fixed price contract modification to increase the maximum dollar value of an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for the Guam build-up to support the relocation of the U.S. Marines Corps from Okinawa to Guam. The work to be performed provides for Architect-Engineering (A-E) Services for Environmental Planning to Support Strategic Forward Basing Initiatives and Related Technical Services. This includes environmental impact documents, environmental studies and technical services which may include, but are not limited to, preliminary site assessment studies, feasibility assessments, and engineering services with associated multi-discipline A-E support as required. After award of this modification, the total cumulative contract value will be $65,000,000. Work will be performed in Guam, and is expected to be completed by May 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is the contracting activity (N62742-06-D-1870).

Michigan Technology University, Houghton, Mich., is being awarded a $14,850,000 ceiling priced, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract to transition current laboratory Electro-Optical technology (e.g. photonic integrated circuits, optical fiber interconnects, and transmission media) and implement its application in real world printed circuit board manufacturing for use in military aerospace environments. Work will be performed in Houghton, Mich., (80 percent); Calumet, Mich., (10 percent); Eagan, Minn., (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in Jan. 2014. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via a Broad Agency Announcement, with one offer received. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00421-09-D-0003).

Concurrent Technology Corp., Johnstown, Pa., is being awarded an $11,468,212 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with a cost plus fixed fee pricing arrangement to provide technical and engineering services for continued Carriage, Stream, Tow, and Recovery System (CSTRS) development, test, and analysis. This procurement is in support of the ongoing development and test of the CSTRS to incorporate Airborne Mine Countermeasures capabilities and will be utilized on the MH-60S helicopter. Work will be performed in Johnstown, Pa., (88 percent) and Panama City, Fla., (12 percent), and is expected to completed by Feb. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, Fla., is the contracting activity (N61331-09-D-0004).

Converteam, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa., is being awarded a $9,313,451 firm fixed price contract for long lead materials for the DDG 1000 Baseline Tactical Advanced Induction Motor, Motor Drive, and Harmonic Filters for use in the Navy's Integrated Power System Land Based Test Site. This long lead material will eventually be incorporated into a DDG 1000 Baseline Tactical Advanced Induction Motor, Motor Drive, and Harmonic Filters that will be delivered to the Navy Land Based Test Site in Philadelphia, Pa. These components will meet the same specification established by the DDG 1000 shipyards for the lead ship installation. Work will be performed in Pittsburgh, Pa., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract wasnot competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-4203).

General Dynamics, Electric Boat, Groton, Conn., is being awarded a $6,290,977 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-4003) for Nuclear Regional Maintenance Department tasks in support of maintenance, repair and modernization of operational nuclear submarines. Under the terms of the contract, Electric Boat will continue to perform project management, engineering and planning, training, inspection and nuclear services. Work will be performed in New London, Conn., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $6,290,977 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING SERVICE

Lockheed Martin Government Services, Inc., Seabrook, Md., was awarded an eighth year option of $26,370,708 as part of contract MDA220-01-D-0002 for management of the Retired and Annuitant pay service formerly managed by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which was the subject of an A-76 action. The estimated aggregate face value of this contract at time of award was $346,432,288. Primary work is performed at DFAS Cleveland, Ohio and secondary work which includes document scanning and primarily imaging is performed at London, Kentucky. Under this option work will be performed between Feb. 01, 2009, through Jan. 31, 2010. The DFAS Contract Services Directorate, Columbus, Ohio, is the contracting activity (MDA220-01-D-0002).

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Tennier Industries, Boca Raton, Fla.*, is being awarded a maximum $36,610,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, total set aside contract for cold weather parkas. Other location of performance is in Tennessee. Using service is Army. The proposal was originally Web solicited with four responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Jan. 29, 2010. The contracting activity is Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-09-D-0026).

AGE Refining, Inc., San Antonio, Texas*, is being awarded a minimum $12,382,273 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for aviation fuel. Other location of performance is in Texas. Using service is Air Force. There were originally 92 proposals solicited with two responses. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This modification exercises the first option period of the base contract. The date of performance completion is Mar. 31, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-07-D-0464).