Military News

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Army Program Builds 'Strong Bonds' Among Couples, Families

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

March 24, 2009 - As one spouse tried to navigate the other across a room and through a minefield of foam toys, the games had begun at the Army's "Strong Bonds" marriage retreat near Baltimore. "What these workshops do is it helps us to understand that communication is an ongoing process," Army Cpl. Paul Garzon, a retreat participant, said. "It never ends."

And that's precisely what the game at last month's retreat was about -- spouses learning to communicate with and listen to each other despite outside distractions. In this case, the distraction was an immense hoopla created by the other retreat participants.

Founded in 1997 as the "Building Strong and Ready Families," the Armywide program was renamed Strong Bonds in 2005 and expanded to include programs for families and single soldiers. The unit-based, chaplain-led program helps soldiers and their families build strong relationships.

With more than half of today's soldiers married, the stress of deployment and frequent relocations also can stress intimate relationships.

Strong Bonds provides training not only in communication skills, but also in intimacy and conflict management. A better grasp of these skills has been shown to increase marriage satisfaction and reduce rates of family violence, according to the Strong Bonds Web site.

Though it's not all fun and games, the retreats also provide couples a chance to escape the stresses of everyday life.

"The beauty about these workshops is that it gives you opportunity to actually sit and talk about certain things," Garzon said.

He and his wife, Army Staff Sgt. Jennifer Garcia, both with the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade from Fort Meade, Md., agree that the program is beneficial.

"I think that all married personnel should go through it whether they're in the military or not," Garcia said. "It brings you back to the basics of why you're together and how to remain together peacefully; and if you do have conflicts, how to resolve them the best way."

That is especially true for Garcia and her husband, who have been married just two-and-a-half years, but have been together for four. The separations in those four years haven't been easy, they said, but the Strong Bonds program, firmly rooted in learning communication skills, has helped.

"It always felt like starting over every time we got back to see each other," Garzon said.

"We need to learn how to communicate again," Garcia agreed.

To date, the Army has provided this kind of training to more than 60,000 soldiers from the active and reserve components. The service takes healthy personal relationships seriously, acknowledging that solid personal bonds make for a better soldier.

"I think that strong relationships at home clearly make a stronger unit," Army Col. Robert Taylor, commander of the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade, said. "I think that the strength of our organization is not only with the soldier, himself, but their family is part of ... making our unit successful."

The program, while run by the Army, is open to servicemembers from all branches.

The 740th Military Intelligence Brigade Chaplain (Capt.) Bill Killough runs the unit's Strong Bonds program with his wife of 17 years, Holly. They take turns guiding participants through a workbook with exercises on topics such as determining whether a person is an introvert or an extrovert, and what time of the day is best for each spouse to sit down and talk.

"It gives soldiers and their spouses an opportunity to do something that's intentional about increasing their marriage wellness, their intimacy," Killough said. "If a soldier's happy at home, they're going to be happy at work."

This statement has received validation by way of increased support from commanders who are responsible for ensuring the Strong Bonds program is adequately resourced and is given time on the unit's training calendar, according to the Web site.

It spoke volumes to Killough that not only did the 704th commander lend his support and make time for his soldiers to attend, but attended the retreat himself.

Strong Bonds retreats are held throughout the United States and in locations overseas. Visit the Web site to find local events.

Medical Officers Discuss Efforts to Identify, Treat Brain Injuries, Stress

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

March 24, 2009 - Two Air Force medical officers highlighted military efforts to identify and assist servicemembers with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder at a military mental health care seminar here yesterday. Air Force Col. (Dr.) Christopher S. Williams, senior executive director for traumatic brain injury at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, told participants at the Reserve Officers Association-sponsored seminar that he's personally acquainted with TBI after being injured in a parachuting accident at Fort Benning, Ga., in the early 1990s.

"I have about 20 hours [of memory] that I'll never get back," Williams said, "that's probably a result of that bad parachute-landing fall."

TBI had affected him "in some ways that are indescribable," Williams said.

Fast-forwarding to present day, Williams said he'd witnessed servicemembers with TBI injuries last year during five months of service at an Air Force combat hospital in Kirkuk, Iraq.

Head concussions caused by explosions, blasts or blunt-force trauma constitute about 90 percent of TBI incidents that result in a loss of consciousness or an alteration of consciousness, Williams said.

And, post-concussive symptoms "are a hodge-podge of a lot of nonspecific things," Williams explained, including headaches, dizziness, balance problems, nausea and vomiting, fatigue and visual disturbances.

"All of those things own to a number of emotional things," Williams pointed out, such as irritability, anxiety, moodiness and cognitive problems.

Unreported or undiagnosed cognitive problems caused by TBI, he said, may constitute "one of the most significant" and potentially dangerous symptoms exhibited by injured servicemembers in war zones.

"When they have slow processing, decreased attention, poor concentration, they are a danger to their teammates when they are out on patrols and so on," Williams said of servicemembers who've sustained TBI. Many of those injured troops must be forced to seek treatment, he said, because they want to continue to serve with their comrades.

Consequently, Williams said, the military has instituted overseas field-screening processes to identify and treat servicemembers with TBI. And, he said, medical research, often taken from National Football League studies, shows that people who sustain three or more concussions exhibit more pronounced symptoms and lower memory scores.

And, TBI and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can appear intermixed, Williams pointed out.

"A lot of these [TBI] symptoms," he said, can be "overlapped with some of the psychological and mental health disorders, such as PTSD."

PTSD has been with the military a long time, said Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jay M. Stone, a clinical psychologist and Iraq veteran who also works at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

PTSD-related symptoms have been described and addressed by writers "for centuries," Stone said, going back to Homer in ancient Greece. The malady, he added, has been known as shell-shock, war-neurosis, combat exhaustion, battle fatigue, combat stress, and now PTSD.

Yet, PTSD isn't caused only by combat experiences, Stone pointed out, noting that any horrific, life-threatening event can trigger the disorder.

"Most people during their lifetime will be exposed to a traumatic incident," Stone said. However, he said, most don't develop PTSD.

Research demonstrates that the encountering of horrific, severe experiences increases a person's likelihood of developing PTSD, Stone said. The absence of social support after the trauma, he said, also supports the development of PTSD.

People who have had bad childhood experiences, have little education and low social-economic status, as well as those who have been exposed to multiple stressful events are at increased risk for developing PTSD, Stone said. Women are twice as likely to develop PTSD as men, he said.

Many other problems seem to develop alongside PTSD, Stone said, such as drinking and drugging, legal and relationship problems, and divorce. Feelings of hopelessness, shame or despair may beset a person afflicted with the disorder, which may end in homelessness or suicide.

No one knows how many servicemembers have PTSD, Stone said, noting best-guess estimates are based on the reporting of symptoms. However, he said, studies show that people who have experienced combat are five times more likely to report PTSD symptoms than others who didn't.

Meanwhile, Stone said, it's important that all of the military services have programs in place that address PTSD across the spectrum, from pre-deployment to in-country and back to post-deployment screenings, as well as educational briefings.

"That's having programs to prevent PTSD from developing and building resilience among our military members so that they're less likely to have problems," Stone said.

Guard Fights Flooding in North Dakota

American Forces Press Service

March 24, 2009 - The North Dakota National Guard has stepped up its flood-fighting efforts in the Red River Valley in North Dakota. About 800 Guard troops should be on duty in the eastern part of the state by the end of today. The soldiers and airmen are mostly based in Fargo and Wahpeton, N.D., although contingents have been assisting other towns in need. Additional soldiers are responding in the Bismarck-Mandan area and other western North Dakota communities.

"We have soldiers and airmen working around the clock to respond to communities' emergency requests," said Army Col. Jim Hrdlicka, of Bismarck, N.D., who is commanding the Joint Task Force East here. "Despite predictions, we are very confident that North Dakota citizens and our communities, together with the Guard, Department of Emergency Services, Department of Transportation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can mitigate this threat to the best of our abilities."

Joint Task Force East comprises soldiers from the North Dakota Army National Guard and airmen from the North Dakota Air National Guard working together to coordinate and manage local flood-fighting support.

Since the first group in-processed here March 20, soldiers and airmen have filled and hauled sandbags, transported equipment such as pumps and a generator light set, provided trained military police for traffic control points in risky areas, helped to construct a clay dike here, and worked to set up and fill "Hesco" barriers for flood protection.

Commonly used to protect troops from explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hesco barriers are large containers that offer protection when filled with sand. Guard troops have been helping to haul sand for them from Sabin, Minn.

"As we stabilize the site here in Fargo, we're prepared to move north to Grand Forks later this week," Army Capt. Craig Hillig, operations officer for Joint Task Force East, said. "We will still have personnel in Fargo, but we'll be
moving north to follow the water."

Army Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota National Guard adjutant general, extended his gratitude to employers throughout North Dakota who continue to share the talent and skills of citizen-soldiers and -airmen in their employment with the North Dakota National Guard.

"Fighting the flooding of 2009 will take a massive community effort. The North Dakota National Guard is one major component of this effort," the general said. "By allowing employees who also are Guardsmen to serve in this response, employers are contributing to our communities.

"Employers play an incredibly valuable support role throughout our many missions, whether here fighting floods or abroad fighting terrorists, and we thank them sincerely for their continued support of our men and women in uniform."

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 24, 2009

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Equilon Enterprises, Houston, Texas is being awarded a maximum $1,509,925,337 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other location of performance is Deer Park, Texas. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0465).

Valero Marketing & Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas * is being awarded a maximum $540,299,718 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. There are no other locations of performance. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0480).

Petromax Refining Co., LLC, Bay City, Texas ** is being awarded a maximum $538,622,438 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. There are no other locations of performance. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0061).

Equilon Enterprises dba, Houston, Texas is being awarded a maximum $494,696,609 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other location of performance is Mobile Alabama. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0470).

ConocoPhillips Bartlesville, Okla., is being awarded a maximum $433,969,126 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in Okla., Kan., and Colo. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0466).

ExxonMobile Fuels Marketing Co., Fairfax, Va. is being awarded a maximum $354,571,555 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other location of performance is in Louisiana. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Mar. 31, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0471).

Calumet Sales Co., Inc., Indianapolis, Ind., is being awarded a maximum $280,807,680 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in Louisiana. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0467).

Placid Refining Co., LLC, Port Allen, La.,* is being awarded a maximum $268,649,136 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. There are no other locations of performance. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0473).

Gary-Williams Energy Corp., Denver, Colo.,* is being awarded a maximum $213,495,680 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. There are no other locations of performance. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0478).

AGE Refining, Inc., San Antonio, Texas ** is being awarded a maximum $186,741,311 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. There are no other locations of performance. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0477).

Husky Marketing and Supply Co., Dublin, Ohio is being awarded a maximum $178,794,000 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other location of performance is in Lima Ohio. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0464).

Delek Refining, LTD, Tyler, Texas is being awarded a maximum $162,160,931 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. There are no other locations of performance. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0479).

Alon USA, L.P., Dallas, Texas is being awarded a maximum $121,912,240 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other location of performance is in Big Spring, Texas. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0476).


Hunt Refining Co., Tuscaloosa, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $112,324,646 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other location of performance is in Tuscaloosa, Ala. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr. 30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0469).

Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., San Antonio, Texas is being awarded a maximum $104,315,887 fixed price with economic price adjustment, indefinite quantity and indefinite delivery contract for fuel. Other locations of performance are in N. D., and Minn. There were originally 68 proposals Web solicited with 26 responses. Using service is Defense Energy Support Center. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Apr.30, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-09-D-0468).

NAVY

Oceaneering International, Inc., Hanover, Md., is being awarded a $29,480,948 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-05-C-4208) for the design, manufacture, testing and delivery of Transfer Under Pressure Capability hardware items for the Submarine Rescue, Diving and Recompression System, including program management and integrated logistics support. This contract modification includes an option which, if exercised, will bring the cumulative value of this modification to $30,201,838. Work will be performed in Hanover, Md., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2013. Contract funds in the amount of $499,147 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

McLaughlin Research Corp., New London, Conn., is being awarded a $24,491,145 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee contract for environmental planning, and technical and administrative support for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport. The Mission Environmental Planning Program (MEPP) of the Environmental Division provides environmental planning and analysis support to NAVSEA 04RE and NAVSEA activities, Chief of Naval Operations, the Fleet Forces Command, Office of Naval Research, Department of Homeland Security, and others that must meet the requirements of NEPA Executive Order 12114 and OPNAVINST 5090.1. The MEPP is also tasked with determining if proposed actions by the proponent organization would result in significant harm to the environment. The field activity must comprehensively address all environmental compliance issues for all of its operations and customers with regard to environmental planning. Work will be performed in Newport, R.I., and is expected to be completed by Mar. 2014. Contract funds in the amount $50,000 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, contracts web site, with one offer received. The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity (N66604-09-D-2349).

Hewlett-Packard Co., Bethesda, Md., is being awarded a $9,170,195 firm fixed price delivery order #MU73 under a previously awarded contract (W91QUZ-06-D-0004) for a quantity of 4,350 Tablet Personal Computers (PCs) for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) Tablet PC Project. The Tablet PCs shall refresh the current PCs used by MCRC. This delivery order includes Logistics Support Requirements (LSR), and two-year extended warranty for a total of five years. Delivery of PCs is scheduled to be completed no later than Apr. 24, 2009, thirty-days after receipt of order. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. A mini competition was conducted for this delivery order between nine contractors (via posting to the Army Computer Hardware Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS), Army Desktop and Mobile Computing (ADMC-2) contract holders). The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

Slone Associates, Inc.*, Valdosta, Ga., is being awarded at $6,912,052 for firm fixed price task order #0002 under a multiple award construction contract for renovations to Windy Hill Marine Corps Reserve Center. The work to be performed provides for construction of a two-story steel framed structure. It will contain rooms for medical exam, toilets and showers, day locker rooms, a conference room, an armory, comm-shop, maintenance, gear storage lockers, supply storage, fitness center, and NMCI telecommunication rooms. The existing building 1101 and the existing roadway will be demolished to make room for the new building. Work will be performed in Smyrna, Ga., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 2010. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals for this task order were received. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity (N69450-08-D-1781).

UNITED STATES TRANSPORTATION COMMAND

Lynden Air Cargo, LLC, of Anchorage, Ark., 99502-1809 is being awarded a $52,788,495.19 firm fixed price requirements contract to obtain air cargo service from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Ark., to Shemya and various points throughout the state of Alaska. The performance period is from Apr. 1, 2009, to Mar. 31, 2010, plus four one-year options. This contract was a competitive acquisition with one bid received. The contracting activity is United States Transportation Command Directorate of Acquisitions, Scott Air Force Base, Ill 62225 (HTC711-09-D-0015).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding a cost plus award fee contract to Tybrin Corp., of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., for $16, 799,185. This action will provide non-personal advisory and assistance services to fully support Aerospace Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Advisory and Assistance Services program primarily focuses on robust systems engineering and technical assistance services. At this time, $94,000 has been obligated. AFFTC/PKTJ, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (FA9304-09-C-0100).

The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with McDonnell Douglas Corp., of Saint Louis Miss., for $7,000,190. This action will purchase 100 Focused Lethality Munitions-Small Diameter Bomb I Variant. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 681 ARSS/PK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8672-09-C-0047, P00002).

Henley-Putnam University to offer Strategic Security Scholarship to current and former members of U.S. military

San Jose, CA, March 3, 2009 – Henley-Putnam University (www.Henley-Putnam.edu), a premier university for online higher education in the field of Strategic Security, is pleased to announce the creation of the Henley-Putnam Strategic Security scholarship for current and former members of the military who are interested in working in the field of Strategic Security and who wish to pursue a degree in the area of Intelligence Management, Terrorism and Counterterrorism Studies, and the Management of Personal Protection.

“We at Henley-Putnam know that in this time of great economic turbulence, all of us are facing many hard choices of where to spend our valuable time and resources to secure our future. We also know that it is during these trying times that there is the greatest need for constant vigilance among our Armed Forces to defend and protect our nation. Our government still needs highly qualified men and women who can meet the strategic security needs of our country. We are therefore committed to helping our nation fill these critical strategic security jobs by helping our students prepare for these mission critical jobs.” - Michael Corcoran, President of Henley-Putnam University

The $5,000 Henley-Putnam University Strategic Security Scholarship will be awarded to qualified prospective students who are active military service members, veterans, or in the reserves and who apply by June 30, 2009 and are admitted and start classes by August 1, 2009.

Interested prospective students can contact our admissions department by calling 1-888-852-8746 to learn more about the scholarship and to take the first step towards continuing their education.

ABOUT HENLEY-PUTNAM UNIVERSITY

A leading educational institution in the field of Strategic Security, Henley-Putnam University offers accredited online Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in Intelligence Management, Terrorism/Counterterrorism Studies, and Management of Personal Protection, and a Doctoral Degree Program in Strategic Security. Henley-Putnam prepares professionals in law enforcement, the military, intelligence, and private industry with skills and insights to advance their careers and protect the future. Committed to building a student/alumni network that serves its community, Henley-Putnam is an accredited member of DETC (www.detc.org) and offers 125+ courses taught by faculty from the CIA, FBI and other institutions.

For more information on Henley-Putnam University, call 888-852-8746 or visit us online at www.henley-putnam.edu.

Southern Command Baseball Team Embarks on 'Friendship Tour' to Latin America

By Petty Officer 1st Class Gino Flores
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 24, 2009 - A baseball team representing U.S. Southern Command will begin a 25-day "friendship tour" to five Latin American nations March 27 to play in exhibition games and conduct free clinics for aspiring players. The team, comprising command players, is scheduled to visit communities in Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile and the Dominican Republic.

The team will participate in exhibition games with military and civilian teams and conduct clinics for various age groups. It also will visit schools, hospitals, orphanages and little leagues.

"There is no better way to forge individual bonds with our friends in the region than through personal contact," Air Force Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears, military deputy commander for U.S. Southern Command, said. "The nations our team will be visiting share our passion for baseball -- a sport that now enjoys a growing global following. It is this shared passion for baseball that will bring players and fans together during this tour.

"Their personal contact will cultivate many new friendships and further strengthen the existing partnerships between our countries," he added.

The tour, dubbed Baseball Partnership Tour 2009, was planned in coordination with the State Department, host governments and Major League Baseball. It affords players an opportunity to take part in camaraderie-building athletic activities as goodwill representatives of their nation and the sport, officials said.

Now in its second year, the tour represents the command's ongoing commitment to strengthening friendships with partner nations in the hemisphere through activities that range from combined military training and exercises to personal interaction outside of traditional military settings.


(Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Gino Flores serves with the U.S. Southern Command public affairs office.)

'Super Coaches' to Assist Servicemembers with Psychological Problems

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

March 24, 2009 - The Defense Department is launching a new program soon that's designed to assist transitioning servicemembers in accessing help for mental health issues, a U.S. Public Health Service officer announced here yesterday. The Transitional Support Program is "designed to bridge potential gaps in psychological health services that can occur during periods of transfer," when servicemembers complete military service and re-enter civilian life, according to Cmdr. Guy Mahoney, who is detailed to work with the Defense Department.

Mahoney serves as a senior analyst with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs' force health protection and readiness (psychological health) directorate. He was one of several civilian and military guest speakers who attended yesterday's Reserve Officers Association-sponsored seminar here on mental health care.

Servicemembers experiencing mental health issues, Mahoney explained, are exposed to a window of vulnerability before they've actually seen a health care provider who can address and treat their maladies.

"During those times that folks are not being seen are pending times of great distress," Mahoney said. "Having someone available and dedicated to servicemembers during these times can be of just enormous help to prevent all sorts of problems from occurring.

"There's always a need to have somebody 'in-between' there for the servicemembers," he said, adding that the program, which is slated to begin later this week, is open to active-duty and reserve component troops.

The program comes in response to a recommendation from the Defense Department Mental Health Task Force, Mahoney said. It will feature a 24-hour, toll-free phone hotline to connect servicemembers in crisis to trained professional whose job is to direct them to mental health services.

The department is deeply committed to assisting servicemembers with psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues, Mahoney said.

"We have a system that is trying desperately to make sure there aren't gaps in services," Mahoney emphasized. "The fact is, when a servicemember leaves a military treatment facility, and they may have a mental health diagnosis of some sort, they may get access to care within a certain period of time, but they may not see a mental health provider for weeks, particularly if they are discharged in rural areas of the country."

The hotline facilitators are mental health experts who are trained in post-traumatic stress disorders, mild traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, Mahoney said. The facilitators, he added, also will assist victims of sexual assault and people with personality disorders.

A private-sector, nationwide health care organization has been awarded a contract to manage the transitional support program, Mahoney said.

"We knew that we could not build this [program] from the ground up; we needed to use an existing" health care network, Mahoney said.

The transitional support facilitators will function as "super coaches" and experts in crisis intervention, Mahoney said. The facilitators, he added, will assist servicemembers by ensuring that they access the appropriate mental health services to help them cope with stressful experiences such as family problems, divorce, thoughts of suicide and other issues.

The facilitators "will provide support for the servicemembers in times of distress," Mahoney said.

Group Encourages Americans to Reach Out to Female Servicemembers

By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service

March 23, 2009 - During Women's History Month, many Americans take time to salute the contributions of women. Manhattanville My Soldier, a New York-based troop-support group, is paying special attention this month to women serving in the U.S. armed forces.

"The military women I met while serving in Iraq were courageous and kind," My Soldier co-founder Juan Salas, an active-duty Army sergeant and Manhattanville College student, said. "We are asking civilians to pay respect to these brave women during Women's History Month."

In observance of Women's History Month, the group has created "My Soldier: Her Story," a program that encourages Americans to honor deployed female servicemembers by sending letters and care packages in appreciation of their service. The new initiative aims to spotlight women serving in all branches of the military.

"Every March, we have more Girl Scout troops, Brownie troops and women's organizations sign up with us to support female soldiers," Michael Seminara, Manhattanville My Soldier operations director, said. "Most intend to only send one or two packages, but the soldiers are so thankful that the groups continue sending letters and packages until their soldier has returned home safely."

My Soldier: Her Story is tailored to those groups or individuals who want to send support directly to women without an ongoing commitment.

Suggested support includes handwritten letters, thank you cards and children's artwork. Participants also can send care packages with food, nail care products, magazines, shampoo, lotion, and combs and brushes.

Salas is asking everyone -- if not through the My Soldier: Her Story program -- to reach out to female servicemembers this month.

"Please, send a letter to let a woman soldier know that you are thinking of her or to thank her for all she is sacrificing to make the world a safer place," Salas said.

Those interested in participating in "My Soldier: Her Story" program can contact Manhattanville My Soldier, located on the Manhattanville College campus, directly. Within a few days of registering, participants will receive the name and address of a platoon contact. The contact will distribute the letter or package to a female soldier in their unit.

Mail Must be Addressed to Specific Servicemembers, Military Says

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

March 23, 2009 - A recent increase in mail addressed to "Any Servicemember" has prompted the Military Postal Service Agency to remind the general public not to send mail or care packages addressed in such a manner. "Mail to 'Any Servicemember/Any Wounded-Recovering Warrior,' deposited into a collection box and erroneously accepted at a United States Postal Service post office will not be delivered," MPSA officials said in a news release. "This restriction applies to all classes and types of mail."

The Defense Department suspended the "Any Servicemember" and "Operation Dear Abby" programs in 2001 following the terrorist attacks. The policy was adopted as a way to bolster force protection.

"Even though these programs may provide an excellent means of support to deployed personnel and wounded-recovering warriors, they also provide an avenue to introduce hate mail and hazardous substances or materials into the mail system," MPSA officials said in the release.

The Dear Abby program, founded by the newspaper advice columnist, delivered mail to U.S. servicemembers overseas during the holiday season for 25 years. "Any Servicemember" mail grew out of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Since shortly after the start of recent operations in the Middle East, many grassroots organizations have made sure servicemembers know they're remembered. Those interested in writing to servicemembers can visit the Defense Department's Community Relations Web site and click the "Citizen Support" link on the right side of the page to find groups that support troops with letters.

Three-Year Korea Tours Good for Servicemembers, Alliance, Commander Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

March 23, 2009 - Being assigned to Korea will soon be the same as being assigned to Japan or Europe, under a new policy that came into force in December, the commander of U.S. forces on the peninsula said. "Tour normalization in Korea was long overdue," said Army Gen. Walter Sharp, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea.

In December, the Defense Department changed the assignment policy in Korea. In the past, almost all assignments to South Korea were unaccompanied and for one year. A few assignments were accompanied and for two-year tours.

The policy change increased accompanied tour lengths from two to three years. In the years to come, more and more servicemembers will be accompanied. The change also allows accompanied two-year tours to Uijongbu and Dongducheon, where they previously were not allowed.

Most unaccompanied tours will continue to be for one year. The change authorizes servicemembers to come to Korea for three-year accompanied tours at Pyeongtaek, Osan, Daegu, Chinhae and Seoul, Sharp said.

There have been a limited number of command-sponsored tours in the Republic of Korea for years.

"We have about 2,100 command-sponsored families in Korea right now," the general said. "Our goal is about 4,300 by this time next year."

The mid-range goal is to have between 5,500 and 6,000 command-sponsored families in Korea by 2015. This increase depends on the progress of building Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek. Sharp said that roughly half of the 28,500 servicemembers deployed to Korea are married, and he hopes that in the future about 14,000 servicemembers will bring their families to the country.

There is a demand for this. Many soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines bring their families over without command sponsorship. They pay the money out of their own pockets rather than be separated, U.S. Forces Korea said.

Infrastructure is the limiting factor right now, Sharp pointed out.

"I'm not going to bring more families to Korea than I can handle in terms of housing, health clinics, community centers and schools," he said. Those transferring to the 2nd Division area will receive housing allowances and use all the health and retail facilities, but the command will not build schools since the 2nd Division will move to Camp Humphreys. Sharps said families with no children or pre-school children will do well in those areas.

The command is already offering those serving two-year accompanied tours the opportunity to serve an additional year. "My goal is to allow as many as want to extend the opportunity to do so," Sharp said.

And Korea is a great place to serve, the general said. The country is a far cry from the war-torn Third World nation of 1953. The Republic of Korea has a trillion-dollar economy, ranked 13th in the world. It is a representative democracy, with an excellent transportation system and accommodations. There is low crime in the country and a state-of-the-art health system.

The Department of Defense schools in Korea annually score among the highest in the system.

Three-year accompanied tours make sense for individual servicemembers. Since many have to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, they do not need another unaccompanied assignment, Sharp said. Three-year family accompanied tours in Korea duplicate what servicemembers have had in Europe and Japan for decades. Putting the same in place in Korea demonstrates "long-term U.S. commitment to the Republic of Korea and other nations in Northeast Asia," Sharp said.

From a military perspective, Korea offers full-spectrum training. From humanitarian missions to high-intensity operations, servicemembers participate in realistic joint and combined exercises, the general said.

"We're very excited about creating the future of Korea, and the future of the U.S. military in Korea," Sharp said.

MILITARY CONTRACTS March 23, 2009

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Corp., – Maritime Systems & Sensors, Baltimore, Md., is being awarded a contract for LCS FY09 Flight 0+ ship construction, class design services, configuration management services, additional crew and shore support, special studies and post delivery support. As this award represents Phase I of a competitive two-phased acquisition approach to procure FY09/FY10 LCS, with Phase II including potential award of up to three additional LCS Flight 0+ Class ships, the award amount is considered source selection information (see FAR 2.101 and 3.104) and will not be made public at this time. LCS Class ships are networked, agile, and high-speed surface combatants with versatile warfighting capabilities optimized for littoral missions. LCS is optimized for flexibility in the littorals as a system of systems that are both manned and unmanned, and mission reconfigurable. LCS focuses on three primary mission areas: Littoral Surface Warfare operations emphasizing prosecution of small boats, Littoral Anti-Submarine Warfare and Littoral Mine Countermeasures. LCS also possesses inherent capabilities to execute other missions such as: Joint Littoral Mobility; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; Joint Special Operations Force support; Maritime Interdiction Operations; Homeland Defense; and Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection. Work will be perfo! rmed in Marinette, Wis. (63 percent); Moorestown, N.J. (12 percent); Washington, D.C., (11 percent); Clearwater, Fla., (4 percent); Baltimore, Md., (4 percent); Arlington, Va., (3 percent); Brunswick, Ga., (2 percent); and Eagan, Minn., (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-2303).

Lockheed Martin-Maritime Systems and Sensors, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded a $10,711,756 cost plus fixed fee contract to provide training material development and maintenance, instructor services, program management, administration, and training systems in support of International Programs for the Center for Surface Combat Systems. This contract provides purchases for the Governments of Japan, (37 percent) and Norway, (63 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales Program. Work will be performed in Dahlgren, Va., (50 percent), and Moorestown, N.J., (50 percent), and is expected to be completed by Mar. 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, Dahlgren, Va., is the contracting activity (N00178-09-C-2013).

AIR FORCE

The Air Force is awarding a cost type contract to International Business Machines Corp., of Yorktown Heights, N.Y. for $16, 246,981. This contract will provide the Millimeter-Wave Automatic Radio program focus on the development of sub-blocks of a millimeter-wave transceiver chip including local sensors, actuators, and control algorithm. At this time, $2,763,895 has been obligated. AFRL PKDA, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8650-09-C-7924).

The Air Force is modifying a firm fixed price contract with Lockheed Martin Corp., of Orlando, Fla., for $14,251,799. This action will provide additional depot spares and a Readiness Spares Packages for the AN/AAQ-39 to support a Six Ship deployment for the AC-130 Gunship Aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated. 667th AESS/SYKA, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio is the contracting activity (FA8629-08-C-2402, P00004).

Missile Defense Requires New Focus, Vice Chairman Says

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

March 23, 2009 - The future of missile defense requires a new way of thinking that will benefit the American taxpayer and allow the United States to stay ahead of foreign threats, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today. "As you look toward the future, it is a time, because of the economy, that we have to make some pretty significant decisions" regarding missile defense and related programs, Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright said during the 7th Annual U.S. Missile Defense Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center here.

Speaking to an audience of more than 300 missile defense experts, Cartwright said that keeping up with the rate of change in technology and accurately guessing the enemy has never been a forte of the military and missile defense community. And that trend must change, he noted.

"A perfect solution after the fact doesn't do us much good," the general said, addressing ballistic missile defense capabilities as an example. "Ballistic missiles are about as passé as sea mail. Nobody does it anymore."

Ballistic missile threats aren't as significant today as they once were, he explained, adding that "even countries who we consider 'Third World' have gone beyond that."

The Pentagon's focus on missile defense is shifting away from developing and improving individual weapons, such as ballistic missiles. Today and future programs must have flexibility, which is more attainable by enhancing other aspects of missile defense, he said.

"When you think about the sensors, command and control and the weapon, it's always been about the weapon," he explained. "The flexibility for the unknown lies in the sensors and the command and control."

Acquiring data and intelligence through satellite interceptor and sensory systems, as well as the command and control element of identifying and prioritizing strategic and tactical objectives will provide better defense for deployed forces and allies in the long term, he continued. These facets of missile defense tie into other national security missions, such as space and cyberspace, which will bring together a more unified, cost-effective and consolidated effort.

"With the range of threats this nation will face over the next 20 years ... if we're going to do something over the next couple of years to address the unknown, then my dollars are going to go to sensor and command and control," Cartwright said.

As the Defense Department tailors its fiscal 2010 budget, decisions for missile defense will be among the most scrutinized areas. But, the Pentagon hopes to procure the aspects that provide the most opportunity to address "the unknown" and stay ahead of the threat to protect the nation, he said.

"What it is that we really have to be doing is thinking about how to build capabilities during these hard times," he said. "When we're dealing with a global capability like missile defense, we're trying to put together an architecture that will serve this nation 20 years into the future."

Innovative Brain Therapies Offer Hope to Injured Troops

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

March 23, 2009 - Innovative therapies that have assisted previously comatose patients regain consciousness may be incorporated on a greater scale to treat troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, a brain injury expert said here today. Dr. Philip A. DeFina, chief executive and scientific officer at the not-for-profit International Brain Research Foundation Inc., in Edison, N.J., said that, over the past four years, electronic brain stimulation, oxygen-induction, drugs and other therapies were used to bring 43 people, including five injured soldiers, out of minimally-conscious or vegetative states.

DeFina, an Army veteran, is also the chief consultant for the brain injury program at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, a for-profit hospital in West Orange, N.J. He was one of several civilian and military guest speakers who attended today's Reserve Officers Association-sponsored seminar here on mental health care.

Brain injuries can occur because of blunt-force trauma to the head, explosions, and penetrative wounds, DeFina explained. Such injuries, he said, cause oxygen starvation in the brain, from which damage ensues.

"There are a number of different types of (brain) injuries that we've been dealing with -- all of which have been responding to the protocols," he said.

"What we're doing proactively, with our consortium of doctors and scientists," he said, is "to electrically and chemically stimulate the brain." Other treatments employed, he said, include drugs and oxygen-inducing regimes, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, where the brain is inundated with oxygen.

The goal, he said, is to balance the electrical and chemical activity in the brain.

"Once we can stabilize electrical-chemical activity, we can optimize what the brain's capability is at that point," he said.

Doctors can employ functional imagery techniques to examine the state of a person's neural markers, which are the chemical and electrical patterns within the brain, he said.

"We can then use that to guide us for treatment and to predict recovery," he said.

The prognosis for recovery for the five injured soldiers was "close to zero," he said, before they underwent the treatments at the Kessler institute.

"The brain heals," DeFina said, noting there are "different levels of improvement" among patients who'd formerly been minimally conscious and/or unresponsive.

After treatment, some people "wake up and some people can communicate," DeFina said. Other people, he said, may be able to perform simple tasks or return to work.

"So, we have different levels of the ability to recover," he said.

And, applying such innovative therapies to patients with mild to moderate forms of traumatic brain injury, he said, produces "dramatic results."

Congress has set aside about $6.4 million in Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations funding, DeFina said, so that the foundation can conduct continued research and development of the new therapies in cooperation with military health care organizations.

"We're in the process of accessing those funds," he said.

The foundation has developed close relationships with several Defense Department healthcare components, DeFina said, including the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, headed by Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Loree K. Sutton.

"Within the last year, we've had probably about 30 military doctors from the Army and Marines come visit Kessler to look at the program, including General Sutton," DeFina said. "We've briefed them, we've given them formal presentations on all the science, and then showed them the patients that are there.

"We've gotten a really good response from that," he said.

Many innovative therapies, DeFina said, have been used in a "stand-alone" manner to successfully treat patients with brain injuries.

Yet, using those therapies in combination "is even more powerful," he said.

North Dakota, Minnesota Guard Troops Respond to Red River Valley Flooding

By Army Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy
Special to American Forces Press Service

March 23, 2009 - Almost 500 Army and Air National Guard troops from two states were called out over the weekend to help stem the flow of floodwaters from the Red River near Fargo, N.D. North Dakota and Minnesota have each called up about 200 soldiers and airmen to provide traffic control points, fill sandbags and build temporary levees in the wake of rains that fell March 22, adding to already-high water levels resulting from melting snow in the area.

"We need this help," said Sheriff Paul Laney of Cass County, N.D. "We need to stay calm, we need to stay cool, but we need to get serious and get this done."

The number of Guard troops called up in North Dakota is expected to grow to 500 by tomorrow, according to a release from the North Dakota National Guard public affairs office.

The National Weather Service reported that the river was over its banks in Fargo on March 22 at a level of about 21 feet and is expected to crest between 39 feet and 41 feet later this week. Many of the major tributaries to the river have also overflowed causing flooding in other areas of the Red River Valley.

In some areas, ground transportation is limited or non-existent, according to local reports.

In response to a request from Grant County emergency services officials on March 22, the North Dakota Army Guard used a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to rescue two families near Carson and New Leipzig, N.D., after floodwaters had surrounded their farmsteads, making it impossible for emergency crews to reach them by ground.

"We've had guys that are 90 years old and have never seen it (water) come up this hard, this fast," said Linton Sheriff Gary Sanders. "We had rain a month ago that froze up all the culverts and held everything back."

Large ice jams have also backed up many tributaries and other waterways.

"There were some ice jams west of Linton," Sanders said. "We got a tracked excavator with a 60-foot boom and broke up the ice jams at the bridges. The water dropped for an hour, then rose again. It's just coming up and coming up."

Meanwhile, in Moorhead, Minn., which sits on the opposite bank of the Red River from Fargo, about 200 Minnesota Guard troops are working to raise levee heights, according to National Guard Bureau reports.
Clay County, Minn., reports numerous secondary roads with water over the roadways.

The Guard's efforts are not going unnoticed in either state.

"When something like this happens, you're grateful for any help you can get," Sanders said. "Having access to the Guard and the resources they provide is a good thing."